Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass had planned to resign March 1, following allegations that he drove drunk and thus violated his probation for an earlier DUI.
He may have to leave sooner. The reason: A Nebraska bar disciplinary committee that governs attorneys in eastern Nebraska has called for an emergency suspension of his license to practice law.
That raises questions about whether Glass, 46, can appear in court over the next two weeks.
Told of the suspension recommendation Tuesday, Dodge County Board Chairman Bob Missel said he had just learned of it. Missel said he and county officials were in discussions about what to do next. The earliest the board could act, he said, is at its next scheduled meeting on Feb. 24.
“I felt that he did the honorable thing by submitting his resignation, because he didn’t have to,” Missel said. “He could have tried to hang on (until the next election, in 2022). So at the time, I had no issue with the March 1 date. ... Now, we’ll have to look into it.”
Glass’ attorney, Clarence Mock, said: “Any disciplinary action from the Nebraska Supreme Court would not in any way affect his March 1 departure.”
Glass wouldn’t be the first elected county attorney to at least temporarily lose his law license while in office. In 1998, voters elected Jim Miller as Sarpy County attorney despite an ethical case that was hanging over Miller for charging an Omaha woman excessive fees. Eleven months after Miller took office, the Nebraska Supreme Court disbarred him.
For a while, Miller argued that he could finish the remaining three years on his term by acting as an office administrator. Sarpy County officials convinced him otherwise, and Miller stepped down.
Glass submitted his resignation last week.
“I intend to use my last few days in office to wrap up office affairs and to assist in easing the transition process,” he said. “I am most certain that the attorneys and staff members remaining in the office will keep it up and running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”
An emergency move to suspend an attorney’s law license is used “when an attorney is engaging in conduct that, if allowed to continue until final disposition of disciplinary proceedings, will cause serious damage to the public and members” of the Nebraska State Bar Association, according to rules posted on the Nebraska Supreme Court website.
The move signals for the first time that there is a disciplinary proceeding pending against Glass’ law license. Disciplinary cases against attorneys typically are confidential until the Nebraska Supreme Court Counsel for Discipline files formal charges. Suspending Glass’ license would be a stopgap “until final disposition of any pending disciplinary proceedings” — which could involve anything from a reprimand to disbarment, according to the rules.
Glass’ conduct has raised eyebrows, in legal circles and beyond.
In March 2020, Glass was driving drunk near the Christensen baseball fields on the edge of Fremont while a 911 caller followed him. Fremont police didn’t respond to the call; the caller suggested they were taking their time because they knew who it was. Eventually, a Dodge County sheriff’s deputy fell in behind Glass and pulled him over. His blood alcohol content was .142, above the legal limit of .08.
That same month, Glass badgered the new boyfriend of his estranged wife — sending him 46 texts calling him a “faggot,” “retart” (sic) and “bitch.” Glass laced the texts with off-kilter questions about whether the boyfriend, Nathan Schany, had seen the ending of “Breaking Bad,” referencing the violent death of a character. “Such a silky game,” he wrote.
Schany had been drinking that night and said the texts, along with 10 phone calls from Glass, sent him into a tailspin, culminating in him taking one of his buddy’s Adderall pills to try to calm his anxiety. That morning, he called his parents and told them he was thinking about killing himself. His mother called Fremont police, who took him to Methodist Fremont Health.
Schany spent the next six days in the psychiatric ward — an unusually long stay. Schany and his attorney, Andrea McChesney, questioned whether Glass had anything to do with that stay or with Schany’s termination from his job at a Fremont office supplier. Glass adamantly denies those allegations.
In April, Schany was arrested after he confronted Glass outside a Casey’s gas station and contended that Glass had been following him and Glass’ estranged wife, Katie. Schany shoved and punched Glass and later was convicted of misdemeanor assault for that incident.
In August, Glass was placed on 15 months of probation for the March DUI. As part of his probation, he was required to abstain from alcohol.
Prosecutors allege he violated that probation at least three times. They are investigating a December crash in which Glass ran off the road during a snowstorm and severely damaged his pickup truck. Glass walked away from the crash and didn’t report it for several hours.
In mid-January, Glass tested positive for alcohol during a routine urine test administered by a probation officer. Then, about 9 p.m. Jan. 28, Glass arrived at his estranged wife’s home to pick up his kids for his parenting time. The children, ages 9 and 11, noticed he was drunk and refused to get in the car with him.
Katie Glass called 911. Before Fremont police could arrive, Glass drove to a home owned by his parents near the Fremont Country Club. Police caught up to him there and Glass blew a .202 in a preliminary breath test, nearly three times the legal limit.
However, after taking Glass to jail on the probation violation, Fremont police did not administer a more detailed test involving a Datamaster alcohol testing machine. That jeopardizes a second DUI prosecution of Glass — preliminary breath tests are not admissible in court.
Glass’ probation violation is pending. If convicted of that, he faces up to 60 days in jail.
Todd Cooper: Memorable stories of 2020
Cooper, who covers the justice system, relays his five most memorable stories of 2020.
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