Legal Ethics

After police sting, public indecency conviction results in discipline for lawyer

A Nebraska lawyer has been publicly reprimanded for his encounter with an undercover police officer in a park near Lincoln.

The Nebraska Supreme Court reprimanded David Cording after an appeals court upheld the lawyer’s conviction for public indecency in connection with the June 2010 incident. The Legal Profession Blog links to the opinion (PDF) and to a prior story by the Lincoln Journal Star.

“This disciplinary action should serve as a warning to all members of the Nebraska bar that this court will not ignore or acquiesce in public conduct of this nature,” the Nebraska Supreme Court said. “Public indecency by an attorney does not promote trust and confidence.”

The Journal Star outlines the police account of what happened: Cording appeared to signal to an undercover officer in the park, and the two men struck up a conversation that became sexual. Cording touched the officer in a sexual manner and began to undo the cop’s belt and zipper. At that point, the man identified himself to Cording as a police officer.

The incident took place in a wooded area of the park and there is no indication anyone else saw the encounter, the Nebraska Supreme Court said in its opinion.

Cording also had a prior 2002 misdemeanor conviction for sexual battery in Kansas. The court did note many letters supporting Cording that described him as a man of integrity who was truthful, honorable, conscientious and hardworking. He was also active in the Lions Club and the Rotary Club and a church organist for 40 years.

The Legal Profession Blog comments on the ruling. “To be clear: It appears that Nebraska has imposed discipline for a consensual sex act between adults with no commercial aspect because it took place in a public area (though remote and seen by no one else),” the blog writes.

Updated on Feb. 5 to correct a typo.

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