Bar Association clears Nisley and Wolf

The State Professional Responsibility Board (SPRB)of the Oregon State Bar has cleared former Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley and former Deputy District Attorney Leslie Wolf of complaints filed against both by current Wasco County District Attorney Matthew Ellis. Ellis alleged that Nisley and Wolf hid evidence that former member of The Dalles Police Jeff Kienlen had been untruthful. Ellis, who had been a defense attorney prior to taking office, said that should have been disclosed to the defense in cases where Kienlen was a witness. Ellis also accused Wolf of having an affair with Kienlen. 

The 14-page document released by the board opens as follows:

“At a meeting held on January 28, 2023, the State Professional Responsibility Board carefully considered this matter and found no violation of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct by Eric J. Nisley (Nisley) and Leslie C. Wolf (Wolf). As a result of the decision, your grievance has been dismissed and I am closing this file.”

It was signed by Allison F. Wilkiinson, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel for the CPRB

The remainder of the document outlines the whole history of the complaint, including information that Nisley had presented the evidence in camera — that is, privately in the judge’s chambers — to Judge Paul Crowley in a key case cited by Ellis. And Judge Crowley rulled that the evidence was “not discoverable” by the defense.

The document coincludes:

“Because there was not clear and convincing evidence that Nisley did not have a good faith basis for failing to disclose the Notice, there was not 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 not clear and convincing evidence that Wolf violated this rule.”

Nisley issued the following statement in response to the news:

“I am relieved to know that the Oregon Professional Responsibility Board concluded that Leslie Wolf and I did nothing wrong in this matter. It is interesting that Mr. Ellis could not wait to see the results of his complaint before dismissing 167 cases for “dishonesty” when the evidence of dishonesty is not and would not have been admissible against Jeff Kienlen. It is my understanding that he timed the release of the “report” with the release of the bar complaint because he was so confident we were wrong. He is the one who was wrong. Wasco County deserves a district attorney who understands the rules of evidence and will spend his time going after criminals, not police officers.”