- Associated Press - Friday, December 9, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A lawyer who handled the final appeal of a man convicted in the 1970 bombing death of an Omaha police officer is entitled to attorney’s fees, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The state’s high court found that Douglas County District Judge James Gleason abused his discretion when he refused to order payment to Timothy Ashford, an Omaha lawyer who claimed about $7,400 in fees for work he did on a post-conviction appeal for David Rice. Gleason had appointed Ashford to represent Rice, but later determined the appeal was frivolous and refused to order payment to Ashford.

But the high court said reasonable fees must be paid to a lawyer once he or she is appointed to a case. The high court ordered the case be sent back to Douglas County - but to a different judge - to determine the amount Ashford should receive.

Rice, who went by the name Mondo we Langa, was convicted along with fellow Black Panther Edward Poindexter in the death of officer Larry Minard. Authorities say they lured police to a house with a 911 call, then detonated a homemade bomb that killed Minard.

The pair maintained their innocence and argued they were targeted by an FBI program that undermined radical political groups.

Rice died in March at the age of 68 at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln after a lengthy illness.

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