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Paul Douglas' Nebraska State Bar Disciplinary Hearing

Paul Douglas' Nebraska State Bar Disciplinary Hearing

According to the Nebraska Constitution, any person facing impeachment who is also held to the Nebraska Code of Professional Responsibility may also be called to a disciplinary hearing. This was the case after former Nebraska Attorney General Paul Douglas was impeached. Mr. Douglas faced disciplinary review by the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA). The NSBA, in its opening statement about the case, explained that while the facts of this case would be extremely similar to the facts presented in the impeachment case, there would be some major differences. For example, certain acts are not impeachable offenses, but are violations of other bodies of law, such as the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act.

Although the legislature moved to impeach Douglas, the Nebraska Supreme Court eventually found him not guilty of the charges brought against him because the State failed to establish that he committed the charges brought against him beyond a reasonable doubt. Even though he was eventually acquitted, he still faced disciplinary review by the NSBA, which is provided by the Nebraska Constitution. Specifically, the NSBA evaluated whether or not Douglas was guilty of misconduct as a lawyer. Unlike a criminal proceeding, this disciplinary proceeding aimed at finding evidence that was clear and convincing enough to show that Douglas violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. This hearing did not evaluate his guilt or innocence.

Douglas was suspended from practicing law for a period of four years by the NSBA after they concluded that, while he did violate the Code, he was unlikely to do so in the future. To read this case in full, view NSBA v. Paul L. Douglas.