State v. VanderpoolAnnotate this Case
Defendant pleaded guilty to and was convicted of attempted first degree sexual assault. Throughout the criminal proceedings, Defendant was represented by a Nebraska attorney (Attorney) whose license had been suspended for nonpayment of dues. After learning Attorney's license was suspended but before Attorney was disbarred, Defendant filed a motion for postconviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court denied the motion after (1) declining to apply a per se rule, reasoning that Attorney was qualified when admitted and was suspended solely for nonpayment of dues; and (2) finding Defendant's specific claims were either affirmatively disproved by the record or constituted mere conclusions. The Supreme Court affirmed after declining to adopt a per se determination of ineffectiveness based on the fact that Attorney was suspended for nonpayment of dues at the time he represented Defendant, holding that Defendant failed to establish Attorney provided ineffective assistance based on specific aspects of Attorney's actual performance.