Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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Defendant pleaded no contest to obstructing government operations for interfering the prosecution of a city employee in order to prevent the employee from being fired. The county court found Defendant guilty, sentenced him to thirty days in jail, and ordered him to pay $55 in court costs. The district court affirmed and conviction and sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by (1) affirming the county court’s findings that there was sufficient factual basis to support the conviction; (2) finding that the amended complaint was adequate; and (3) finding that Defendant’s sentence was not excessive. View "State v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law
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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. The district court sentenced Defendant to a term of imprisonment from five to fifteen years. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction and sentence, holding (1) the district court did not err in allowing the State to present on rebuttal extrinsic evidence of a prior incident in order to impeach Defendant’s testimony which he presented in his own defense; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction; and (3) the district court did not impose an excessive sentence. View "State v. Carpenter" on Justia Law
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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence, holding, among other things, that the trial court did not err by (1) denying Defendant’s motion to suppress; (2) admitting into evidence journal entries written by Defendant while incarcerated for another crime; (3) not excluding the testimony of certain witnesses on the grounds that Defendant was presented with a “Hobson’s choice” of either conducting effective cross-examination that would bring to light other bad acts or not conducting an effective cross-examination; and (4) giving Defendant a life sentence. View "State v. Oldson" on Justia Law

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The victim testified that a man she knew (Abejide's brother) invited her over as she walked by his group, on the sidewalk drinking beer. The victim briefly talked and drank beer with them. As the victim was leaving, Abejide pulled her into an alley, where he started choking her and stated he was going to “knock [her] out.” The victim testified that she thought that Abejide was going to kill her and was trying to rape her. She screamed; a police officer arrived and handcuffed Abejide. The officer testified that he saw woman’s pants pulled down and Abejide’s penis exposed; the woman appeared “fearful” and said, repeatedly, “‘He’s trying to rape me.’” Two officers testified that Abejide appeared to be intoxicated. Abejide did not present any defense during his trial for first-degree sexual assault and terroristic threats. The court refused Abejide’s proposed instructions: to include attempted third-degree sexual assault as a lesser-included offense; to require the jury's unanimous agreement regarding whether Abejide acted with the intent to terrorize or whether he acted in reckless disregard of the risk of causing terror; and setting forth an intoxication defense. The court instructed the jury that it could not consider Abejide’s voluntary intoxication in deciding whether he had the required intent. The jury found Abejide guilty. He had three prior convictions, including for sexual assault and violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act. The court sentenced Abejide to imprisonment for 10-20 years for attempted sexual assault and for 10 years for terroristic threats, to be served consecutively. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting challenges to the jury instructions and the sentence. View "State v. Abejide" on Justia Law
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A 2004 dissolution decree awarded Kerry custody of the parties’ children, provided Michael with parenting time, and ordered Michael to pay child support. The parties settled a 2011 petition for an increase in support and counter-petition, but neither petition was dismissed. In 2013, the court granted Michael’s motion to compel compliance with the settlement. The Court of Appeals remanded with direction to prepare the applicable worksheets. Following remand, both appealed. In 2015, the Court of Appeals reversed in part. In 2013, while the first modification was ongoing, Michael sought changes of custody and child support. A summons issued, but a deputy was unable to serve Kerry. An appointed special process server later certified that personal service had been “effectuated,” but did not actually serve Kerry with a summons. Kerry objected to jurisdiction. The court found that Kerry received actual notice and had not been prejudiced by the manner of service. Kerry filed an answer. In 2014, the district court granted Michael’s application to modify the order. The Court of Appeals vacated, holding that Michael’s failure to serve the summons on Kerry within six months deprived the court of jurisdiction. The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed. Kerry waived service of process by making a general appearance in the second proceeding and the court retained jurisdiction to modify custody while an appeal on other issues was pending. View "Burns v. Burns" on Justia Law

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Nicole and Jeremy had three children, born in 2001, 2004, and 2005, and lived in Missouri. In 2007, Madysen, then 6 years old, reported that Jeremy had been sexually abusing her for more than a year. Jeremy was arrested. Nicole moved with the children to Nebraska and filed for divorce. The 2007 dissolution granted sole custody of the children to Nicole and stated that Jeremy “shall not have any parenting time.” The court ordered Jeremy to pay $50 per month in child support. IPursuant to a plea agreement, Jeremy was sentenced to 16 years’ confinement. Nicole married William in 2013; they sought adoption by a stepparent and to terminate Jeremy;s parental rights. Jeremy opposed the adoptions. The petitions asked the court to find that Jeremy had abandoned the children under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-104, such that Jeremy’s consent was not required. Jeremy’s mother had consistently paid the ordered child support; Jeremy had sent the children cards. The court ordered that Jeremy’s consent was not required. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the record did not support a finding upon clear and convincing evidence that Jeremy had abandoned his children. The Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed an interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the Court of Appeals had also lacked jurisdiction. The order was not final, pending an order on the adoption petition. View "In re Adoption of Madysen S." on Justia Law

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Lindner sued the City of La Vista, challenging ordinance No. 979, creating an off-street parking district adjoining a Cabela’s store, as unconstitutional. The district court found that the action was time barred and dismissed. The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed, stating that is was not apparent from the face of Lindner’s complaint when Lindner’s cause of action accrued. On remand, the court accepted evidence and determined that the four-year catchall limitations period, Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-212, applied and that Lindner’s action accrued more than four years before he filed suit. The court identified the dates when the city opted to pay for the cost of off-street parking through general revenues and sales tax revenues, enacted ordinance No. 983 authorizing the issuance of bonds, issued the bonds, and first paid on. Each of these events occurred greater than four years before Lindner filed his complaint. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed. The district court correctly identified the three undisputed dates when the city chose the funding mechanism to be used and implemented that decision. Even if using the latest event, October 16, 2006, as the date upon which - Lindner’s claim accrued, Lindner’s December 16, 2011, complaint was filed more than four years after the action accrued. View "Lindner v. Kindig" on Justia Law
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The Lindsays were minority shareholders of the 304 Corporation; its principal asset was Mid City Bank. In 2010, the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance and the FDIC began an examination of the bank. In 2011, the Department appointed the FDIC as the bank's receiver, stating that “‘large commercial real estate loan and poor management practices . . . led to a deterioration of the bank’s capital’” so that there was “‘no option but to declare the insolvent institution receivership.’” The bank reopened and regained good standing. In 2014, the FDIC filed suit, alleging that Fitl “was grossly negligent and breached his fiduciary duties,” 12 U.S.C. 1821(d)(2)(A)(i). The Lindsays also filed suit, alleging breach of fiduciary duties. The court dismissed. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed. The Lindsays’ claims are similar to all other shareholders’ claims and did not arise from a special duty, since the injury was not “separate and distinct.” The district court correctly concluded that the Lindsays’ claims were derivative in nature and that as a result of the FDIC lawsuit, the Lindsays had no standing to bring a derivative action on behalf of the corporation. View "Lindsay v. Fitl" on Justia Law

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Several indoor tanning salons filed claims for tax refunds with the Department of Revenue for admissions taxes. Apparently, in 2012, the Attorney General’s office had issued an opinion that Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-2703(1) did not authorize subjecting tanning salons to admissions taxes. The Department has since repealed the regulation listing tanning salons among the businesses subject to the tax and has ceased collecting the tax. The Tax Commissioner disallowed the claims, stating that “[a] refund of a tax improperly or erroneously collected can only be issued by the State directly to the purchaser who paid the tax.” The district court consolidated the cases and affirmed. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, agreeing that the salon customers were the taxpayers of the admissions tax. View "Aline Bae Tanning, Inc. v. Neb. Dep't. of Revenue" on Justia Law
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The Nebraska Constitution confers on the Legislature the authority to define crimes and fix their punishment and on the Parole Board “power to grant paroles after conviction and judgment, under such conditions as may be prescribed by law, for any offenses committed against the criminal laws of this state except treason and cases of impeachment.” A statute provides: Every committed offender shall be eligible for parole when the offender has served one-half the minimum term. Because it is impossible to determine when an offender has served one-half of a life sentence, the section has been interpreted to mean that an inmate sentenced to life imprisonment is not eligible for parole until the Board of Pardons commutes the sentence to a term of years. Adams, an inmate serving two sentences of life imprisonment, challenged the statute as an unconstitutional usurpation of the Board's authority. The district court dismissed and the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, reasoning that the commutation requirement was a “condition” prescribed by the Legislature within the meaning of the constitution’s “conditions clause,” which “reserves to the Legislature the ability to add to or subtract from the [Board’s] power to grant paroles in all cases except in cases of treason or impeachment.” View "Adams v. State" on Justia Law