Box Butte County Public Defender Resigns Rather Than Face Possible Recall


        Box Butte County Public Defender Enet Somers-Dehaney has resigned in the face of a recall attempt.

The County Commissioners are expected to accept the resignation Wednesday morning.

       A recall petition was filed against Somers-Dehaney last Tuesday, a move that gave her the option of resigning or fighting the recall. She submitted her letter of resignation a week later.

        Somers-Dehaney was appointed public defender by the county commissioners in December 2021, the third successor to Jon Worthman, who’d gone on leave in January 2020 after being arrested on felony drug charges. He later resigned and pled guilty..

        The recall petition from chief circulator Brent Hansen of Alliance accused Somers-Dehaney of incompetence, saying she’d lost most of her caseload – forcing the county to hire outside attorneys. 

         The petition said having to pay both Somers-Dehaney’s salary and the fees of the outside attorneys has caused “a depletion of county funds.” 

      Clerk of the District Court Kevin Horn estimates Box Butte County has spent over $20,000 so far this year on outside defense attorneys in district court alone, which handles far fewer cases than county court.. 

     Somers-Dehaney was scheduled for trial in Box Butte County District Court on Thursday on 5 counts of contempt of court. Horn did not know Tuesday afternoon if the trial was still on. 

     The charges stemmed from failing to appear for court sessions and continuing to try to represent clients whose cases had been reassigned by their judges.