Judge says he handed off Millard South sex assault case because attorney once represented him

By Todd Cooper / World-Herald staff writer

November 6, 2018 

The judge who recused himself in a former Millard South administrator’s sexual assault case said there’s a simple reason he stepped aside: An attorney in the case once represented the judge.

Douglas County District Judge Duane Dougherty released that reasoning after prosecutors requested last week that he explain why he recused himself nine months after being assigned the case of Matt Fedde, the former assistant high school principal who sexually assaulted a 15-year-old student at the school.

Dougherty refused to reconsider his recusal, saying it was in the best interests of justice for him to hand off the case. He cited the Nebraska Code of Judicial Conduct, which says “a judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” For more information.