CUSTER COUNTY—The decision to dismiss the case against Custer County Attorney Steve Bowers or let it continue will now be in the hands of Judge Jeffrey Wightman following court on Monday, August 12.
Bowers appeared in Custer County Court where he was arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. Bowers, alongside his attorney Michael Borders, filled a demurrer stating that the Attorney General’s Office did not follow the proper procedure and are also too vague in their charges.
During proceedings, Borders stated that when there is belief that an ethical violation has occurred, the issue is brought before the Supreme Court’s Council for Discipline and not through criminal court. This point was also brought forward by Judge Wightman to Gail VerMaas who is representing the state and the Attorney General’s Office during the proceedings.
When asked if this has ever taken place in Nebraska or any other state, VerMaas noted that it had not, but that this case had a special set of circumstances that were also not revealed to the court. Judge Wightman told VerMaas that the Attorney General’s Office was using the charge as an unusual use of criminal law.
Judge Whitman ordered that both sides would enter brief submissions to the court by the end of the day on September 12 for a ruling to be made. A tentative court date for a status hearing on the demurrer was set for October 4, which depending on the ruling, will also be the same date Bowers will enter a plea.