On Monday, January 30, 2023, the Oregon State Professional Responsibility Board dismissed an ethics complaint against attorneys Eric J. Nisley and Leslie C. Wolf alleging obstruction of access to evidence and knowingly making false statements to the tribunal.

According to the complaints, attorney Wolf, a prosecutor who was assigned to a specific case in regards to a criminal defendant named Garardo Garci-a Gonzales, had an extra-marital affair with the lead detective and witness of the prosecution, Dalles police sergeant detective Jeffrey Kienlen.

Upon investigation based on speculations, it was alleged that attorney Nisley, a co-prosecutor of attorney Wolf, along with the latter, knowingly made a false statement to a tribunal in regard to the relationship of detective Kienlen with attorney Wolf.

The filing states:

“Kienlen’s supervisor learned that Kienlen stayed with Wolf in Salem. On February 16, 2011, Waterbury and Sergeant Steve Baska conducted a recorded interview with Kienlen. During this interview, they questioned Kienlen about the pen gun incident and where he stayed during the conference. During this interview, Kienlen admitted that he did not stay with his cousin, but instead stayed with Wolf. He said he did not disclose where he stayed in order to prevent further rumors about him and Wolf.”

The filing continues:

In a letter of Attorney Nilsen’s letter to Judge Paul Crowley, she wrote

“I have been acquainted with Officer Jeff Kienlen since he was hired in January 1995 by The Dalles Police Department. Since that time have never had a reason to question his truthfulness in regard to his position with the police department. I have never known Officer Kienlen that closely to make a judgment regarding his personal life. I promoted him to the position of Sergeant in October 2007. Part of the promotion process is based on truthfulness. In early February of this year, Officer Kienlen was scheduled to attend a class in Eugene, Oregon. He had asked if he could take a department car because he wanted to visit a cousin of his in Eugene. I gave approval for his request. I later discovered that he didn’t have a cousin in Eugene and he admitted to that. I felt he was untruthful with me to cover up a personal indiscretion. On February 17, 2011, | demoted Officer Kienlen from Sergeant to Officer for violating a department policy regarding truthfulness.”

The filing further states:

“When Judge Crowley made this statement, he had not looked at the file since 2011, including the December Letter. In a follow-up call, Judge Crowley stated, after having reviewed the two letters, “I believe that my focus at that point was it was a single act of misconduct… In retrospect, I probably should have disclosed that and allowed the trial judge to make a determination about it. Waterbury’s notice of discipline. it goes on in my mind at least to more specifically outline on the third page the Chief’s opinion that Officer Kienlen was not an honest person. I definitely would have disclosed the second one. In retrospect, I should have disclosed the first one.” whether that led to any admissible evidence. Reviewing now Chief”

According to the board, there is no clear and convincing evidence that Kienlen lied about his relationship with Wolf. At that time, the only basis to believe that the two were in an intimate relationship was rumors. Moreover, the board emphasized that the complainants did not produce clear and convincing evidence supporting their allegations nor any solid proof that Nisley or Wolf knowingly and unlawfully obstructed access to evidence, or unlawfully concealed a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. Based on these foregoing reasons, the board found no violations against the respondents.

The Disposition states:

“Because there was no clear and convincing evidence that Nisley did not have a good faith basis for failing to disclose the Notice, there was no probable cause that Nisley violated RPC 3.8 by failing to produce the Notice in Hester and subsequent cases. For similar reasons, the SPRB determined that there was no clear and convincing evidence that Wolf violated this rule.”

Mr. Nisley practices in Wasco County, Oregon. He is licensed in Oregon. His info can be found on lawyersjustia.com.

Ms. Leslie Wolf practices in Lane County, Oregon. She is licensed in Oregon. Her info can be found on lawyersjustia.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.