An experienced Lincoln lawyer lost his job last week when he accidentally lost a key piece of evidence in a wrongful conviction trial.
Lawyer Daniel G. O’Donnell told The News Tribune in a story published Sunday that he was working with a witness when he forgot to take the witness’ key card.
“I forgot the key card for the witness, and it was in the front of my pocket,” O’Neill told the paper.
“When I realized that, I went down and grabbed it, and there it was.”
O’Neill said the witness had already testified about the events that led to the wrongful conviction and that he wanted to keep it confidential.
“It was a tough call,” he said.
“I lost my job, and I’m going to be devastated.
I really wish I hadn’t.”
O’donnell said he did not have a choice.
“The only thing I could do was to not work on this case,” he told the newspaper.
“But I’m not going to let it go.”
Odellons case was one of a few that resulted in a mistrial in the case against ex-Lincoln City Council member Chris D’Ambrosio, who was charged with the murder of former Lincoln City Councilwoman Teresa O’Hara.
The trial had been scheduled to resume Monday.
O’Donnell was hired by the Lincoln City Attorney’s Office in August 2014, but the office did not receive his application until October.
He told the Tribune that when he applied to work for the Lincoln County District Attorney’s office, he was told that he could not apply because he was not a registered lobbyist.
After the Lincoln attorney’s office refused to hire him, O’nell said, he started receiving letters from the office asking him to meet with them to make a deal.
“They were not just making requests,” O’donlli told the Times-Union.
“They were making threats.”
O’men said he contacted the district attorney’s offices in February 2015 to express his concerns about the lack of representation and the lack that he had received from them.
“All I could say was, ‘Please let me be represented,'” O’dontonsays.
“If you don’t want me, then I don’t have to.”
After two months, O’donte told the district attorneys office that he would no longer represent himself in a civil lawsuit, The Times-Union reported.
O’donte said that he has filed a complaint with the Nebraska Public Disclosure Commission about the handling of his case.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to bring this to the attention of the Nebraska PDC, and hopefully it will inspire others to make similar allegations,” he says in the Times Union article.
“Lincoln County District Attorneys Office, at the request of the Lincoln District Attorney, did not hire me.
This is the third time I have asked them to do so.
If I am not able to continue representing myself, it is my responsibility to pursue all legal avenues.”
O’tonnell told The Times Union that he will pursue a criminal case against the district and the Lincoln attorneys office.
“At the end of the day, I am a human being.
I can’t let this happen to someone else,” he tells the paper in the story.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to have this type of process, and unfortunately I’m the one that has to take this on.
But I can only do that because I am owed a right to represent myself.”