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In re Neuhardt

Supreme Court of Montana

October 24, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF SOLOMON S. NEUHARDT, An Attorney at Law, Respondent. ODC File No. 13-077

COMPLAINT

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana ("ODC") hereby charges Solomon S. Neuhardt with professional misconduct as follows;

General Allegations

1. Solomon S. Neuhardt, hereinafter referred to as Respondent, was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 2001, at which time he took the oath required for admission, wherein he agreed to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Disciplinary Rules adopted by the Supreme Court, and the highest standards of honesty, justice, and morality, including but not limited to, those outlined in parts 3 and 4 of Chapter 61, Title 37, Montana Code Annotated.

2. The Montana Supreme Court has approved and adopted the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC"), governing the ethical conduct of attorneys licensed to practice in the State of Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times mentioned in this Complaint.

Count One

3. ODC re-alleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 2 of the General Allegations as if fully restated in this Count One.

4. Respondent was defense counsel of record in State of Montana v. April Trewhella, Yellowstone County District Court Cause No. DC 12-0502, Judge Gregory Todd presiding, wherein his client, hereinafter Trewhella, was charged with DUI and Criminal Endangerment for conduct committed on or about August 20, 2012.

5. The charged criminal conduct against Trewhella concerned her driving while impaired and crashing her vehicle into a house on August 20, 2012, at approximately 1:48 a.m.

6. Respondent was also counsel of record for Trewhella in a civil action seeking reinstatement of her driver's license which had been suspended for her failure to provide the requested breath or blood sample within the DUI investigation on or about August 20, 2012. Judge Ingrid Gustafson presided over this matter, which was styled April Trewhella v. State of Montana, Department of Justice Driver Improvement Bureau, Cause No. DV 12-1027.

7. In the criminal matter, DC 12-0502, Respondent lodged a motion, supporting brief, and reply brief seeking dismissal of the case for failure to state a claim, a purely civil theory of relief.

8. The grounds for the dismissal motion were based on allegations of outrageous government conduct and prosecutorial misconduct based on the alleged failure of a Billings police officer to arrest Trewhella earlier in the evening on April 19, 2012, for her disorderly conduct or potential DUI as she had been detained for drunken conduct at the Billings airport. Rather than arrest her for that conduct, the officer drove her home and instructed her to stay put.

9. While patrolling the area after midnight, the officer observed Trewhella attempting to enter her vehicle and advised her not to drive. A short time later while en route to another call, the officer heard a radio advisement of an impaired female crashing her vehicle into a house. That impaired female was Trewhella.

10. Respondent's dismissal argument was based on the premise that but for the officer's failure to arrest Trewhella earlier in the evening, her later criminal conduct would not have occurred.

11. After briefing, Judge Todd denied the dismissal motion with a vociferous challenge to the non-existent factual and legal bases for the ...


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