Three weeks after his two attorneys withdrew from representation, the Neligh man accused of sexual assault of a child was back in court, where he was appointed a new attorney and given a new trial date.
In Antelope County District Court on Wednesday afternoon, Judge Mark Johnson approved a motion by Ronald E. Temple and Frederick T. Bartell and the firm of Fitzgerald, Vetter, Temple & Bartell withdrawing as counsel for Darryl Lierman.
The motion cited §3-503.7 of the Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct, which refers to conflict as "Lawyer As Witness."
Johnson asked Temple, who was present for Wednesday's court appearance, if he could offer the date when the conflict arose. Temple said he filed the motion promptly as he was made aware of the conflict.
"The conflict came to my attention on the morning of April 4 around 11 a.m. I did not sit on this," Temple said.
The motion was officially filed on Tuesday, April 5.
According to the Nebraska Judicial Branch, "combining the roles of advocate and witness can prejudice the tribunal and the opposing party and can also involve a conflict of interest between the lawyer and client."
Temple assured Johnson that any disclosement with new counsel in the transition of the case would not continue the conflict of interest.
"I am confident any disclosure by myself will not result in new conflict to withdraw," Temple said.
Johnson then appointed Douglas Stratton of Stratton, DeLay, Doele, Carlson & Buettner, P.C., L.L.O, in Norfolk, as Lierman’s new counsel.
In order to give Stratton sufficient time to prepare, Johnson scheduled a pretrial date for July 27 at 1 p.m. and the jury trial for the week of September 19.
“September makes sense to me. That gives me time to get up to speed and ready to go,” Stratton said.
Lierman is charged with three counts of first degree sexual assault of a child (class 1B felonies), three counts of third degree sexual assault of a child and four counts of child abuse (class IIIA felonies).