Nebraska attorney suspended for having relationship with inmate

21 de Junio de 2024 a las 11:00 ·

Nebraska Supreme Court (Courtesy Photo)

The Nebraska Supreme Court suspended a former ACLU attorney this week after she had a yearlong relationship with a prison inmate.

According to the court’s opinion, Amy A. Miller abused attorney-client privilege as it pertains to protected communications between a lawyer and an inmate at a state prison.

Miller was suspended from practicing law for 90 days, followed by nine months probation.

Miller has been practicing law since 1996. She was employed as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska until November 2019, when she submitted her resignation. In February 2020 she joined Disability Rights Nebraska as a staff attorney. She was formally charged with violating the Nebraska Rules of professional Conduct and her oath as an attorney on July 11, 2023. She admitted the allegations in September.

The opinion stated that in the spring of 2018, Miller interviewed an inmate at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln as part of a class action lawsuit. The two began an intimate relationship that fall and communicated by mail and telephone under the guise of attorney-client communications.

The two continued communicating until November 2019, when prison officials intercepted Miller’s personal correspondence in a packet marked “attorney” or “legal” mail. Miller then self-reported the misconduct and admitted to having improper communication with the inmate over a full year. The relationship was limited to calls and letters, and there was no physical contact beyond a handshake.

The court finding stated that by misrepresenting herself to prison officials to pursue a nonphysical romantic relationship with a vulnerable person, Miller frustrated the relationship between prison officials and the legal profession, in addition to potentially jeopardizing the federal class action case.

Miller admitted the allegations in the formal charges. She also admitted that she violated her oath of office as an attorney.