Counsel asks for suspension of phone search in public defender's case

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GERING, Neb. - (KNEP) - The counsel of a public defender who was arrested on drug charges looks to suspend search of defendant’s phone records.

Jon Worthman

According to court documents, the counsel for Box Butte County Public Defender Jon Worthman is asking the courts to suspend the state’s search and review of his cell phone.

The claim states that because Worthman is a criminal defense attorney, he uses his cell phone for calls and text messages with and from clients. Many of those clients have cases still pending in the 12th Judicial District court system.

Court documents further state that a review of the defendant’s phone without restrictions would allow them to see confidential client communications that are otherwise unrelated to the case. It further states that such action would violate those clients’ sixth amendment right to counsel, due process and a fair trial.

When the state was asked how they could conduct a lawful search of the phone without exposing confidential attorney-client communications, the counsel replied saying they would be out of town the rest of the week and would not engage in regards to the motion.

Court records later describe the defendant’s counsel asking that a third party look at the phone records and decide which data would be available for the state to search.

In the affidavit for probable cause, Worthman allegedly told officers he has exchanged legal advice for cocaine in the past. Its alleged Worthman believed he was buying two eight balls of cocaine when WING Drug Task Force executed the controlled buy.

Worthman’s next court appearance is set for January 17th.