The Nebraska Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded Gering attorney Bell Island for a press release and statements he made to KNEB during the Dustin Chauncey trial in February of 2015.
Chauncey was convicted of killing 2-year-old Juliette Geurts in July, 2008, but Island represented the victim’s mother Charyse Geurts and was commenting in the middle of the trial on her decision not to testify under fifth amendment protection.
The Supreme court said Island’s statement in the press release that special prosecutor Jim Zimmerman wanted his client to “lie or face perjury charges” was offensive and questioned the integrity and ethics of Zimmerman and the bar as a whole. In his statement island told KNEB “the only testimony the prosecution wants to believe is their version of the truth. ”
The Supreme Court noted in their public reprimand Island had been reprimanded for an incident that occurred at the same time. But the court also said that Island later admitted he regretted the wording of the press release and did not mean to call into question Zimmerman’s integrity and ethics.
The public reprimand followed an investigation to a formal complaint filed with the Supreme Court by Zimmerman in July of last year.