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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of two counts of sexual assault of a child in the first degree and other crimes and sentencing Defendant to consecutive terms totaling between 180 years’ to life imprisonment, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below requiring reversal. Specifically, the Court held that the district court (1) did not err in refusing to give Defendant’s proposed jury instruction on sex trafficking of a minor; (2) did not abuse its discretion in overruling Defendant’s motions for mistrial and in overruling his evidentiary objections; and (3) did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant. View "State v. Swindle" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling in favor of Plaintiff on his claim that Defendants failed to pay him for work he performed on their residence, holding that there was no merit to Defendants’ assignments of error on appeal. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in finding that Plaintiff was entitled to recover under the theory of unjust enrichment when a contract existed between the parties and Plaintiff had a statutory remedy of foreclosure on his construction lien; (2) there was evidence to support the unjust enrichment recovery; and (3) the district court did not err in denying Defendants’ motion to transfer venue. View "Bloedorn Lumber Co. v. Nielson" on Justia Law

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court affirmed the compensation court’s findings that Plaintiff was entitled to benefits and that the court did not have jurisdiction to resolve issues regarding a third-party settlement but reversed the compensation court’s denial of Plaintiff’s request that she be awarded penalties, attorney fees, and interest. Plaintiff was driving a school bus when the bus was struck by a drunk driver, injuring Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s employer (Employer) paid workers’ compensation benefits for a time but refused to pay benefits when Plaintiff asserted that she was permanently disabled as a result of her injuries. The workers’ compensation court concluded (1) Plaintiff was entitled to additional benefits; (2) the court did not have jurisdiction to grant relief requested by Employer concerning a settlement that Plaintiff entered into with the third party who caused her injuries; and (3) Plaintiff was not entitled to penalties, attorney fees, and interest. The Supreme Court held that the compensation court (1) correctly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to resolve disputes related to Plaintiff’s settlement with the third-party tortfeasor; (2) correctly found that Plaintiff was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits; but (3) was clearly wrong in denying Plaintiff penalties, attorney fees, and interest because there was no reasonable controversy regarding her entitlement to benefits. View "Gimple v. Student Transportation of America" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s successive motion for postconviction relief on the grounds that the motion was time barred under the one-year limitations period of Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-3001(4), holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. Appellant was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder and other offenses. Appellant was sentenced to death for each of the murders. Appellant later filed this successive motion for postconviction relief, alleging that his death sentences were unconstitutional under Hurst v. Florida, __ U.S. __ (2015), and Johnson v. United States, __ U.S. __ (2015). The district court determined, sua sponte, that the successive motion was time barred under section 29-3001(4) and denied postconviction relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that Appellant’s successive postconviction motion was time barred; and (2) the district court did not err in the procedure it followed. View "State v. Torres" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the declaration of the district court that the fair market value of Fred Assam’s ownership interest in the law firm of Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP (FPM) was $590,000. After Assam voluntarily withdrew from the firm, FPM filed this suit seeking a declaration of the parties’ rights under a governing partnership agreement. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order declaring Assam’s interest in FPM to be $590,000 and that FPM should pay Assam that amount according to the terms of the agreement, holding that the district court did not err by (1) finding there was no conflict between District of Columbia and Nebraska substantive law governing the determination of Assam’s equity interest; (2) finding FPM did not breach the partnership agreement; (3) adopting the opinion of FPM’s expert in determining Assam’s equity interest; and (4) failing to award Assam a money judgment and attorney fees. View "Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP v. Assam" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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The Supreme Court held that the county court erred when it declined to make special factual findings for Juvenile to apply for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J) on the grounds that it was not a “juvenile court” for purposes of the statute. Juvenile’s grandfather (Grandfather) sought to be appointed as Juvenile’s guardian and requested that the county court make special findings of fact contemplated in section 1101(a)(27)(J) to potentially become eligible for SIJ status. The county court appointed Grandfather as Juvenile’s legal guardian but declined to make the requested special findings of fact that Juvenile could use in his immigration petition based on its conclusion that it did not constitute a “juvenile court” for SIJ findings purposes. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a county court with a jurisdictional basis under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1238(a) and which has made a child custody determination, such as appointing a guardian, has authority to make factual findings consistent with 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J)(i) and (ii); and (2) the county court erred when it made a custody determination under section 43-1238(a) but then refused to make special findings under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J)(i). View "In re Guardianship of Luis J." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the county court erred when it concluded that the appointed guardian (Guardian) of her juvenile nephew (Juvenile) had not satisfied 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J) and therefore denied Guardian’s motion to make special factual findings that are necessary to apply for SIJ status under the statute. In denying Guardian’s request to make special findings to be used in immigration proceedings, the county court stated that Juvenile was “not dependent on this court” and that Guardian had not satisfied the dependency or custody component of section 1101(a)(27)(J). During the pendency of this appeal, the Nebraska Legislature amended Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-1238(b) to clarify that courts with jurisdiction over initial child custody determinations under section 43-1238(a) also have jurisdiction and authority to make special findings of fact similar to the findings of fact contemplated by section 1101(a)(27)(J). The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, holding that because the county court made a custody determination under section 43-1238(a), it erred when it concluded that it had not made a custody determination for purposes of section 1101(a)(27)(J)(i). View "In re Guardianship of Carlos D." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court overruling Defendant’s postconviction motion claiming ineffective assistance of counsel without an evidentiary hearing and without appointing counsel, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion. Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. Defendant later filed a pro se motion for postconviction relief setting forth three claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The district court rejected each of Defendant’s claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err when it overruled Defendant’s postconviction motion without an evidentiary hearing because Defendant failed to show prejudice from trial counsel’s alleged errors; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion to appoint counsel because the postconviction proceeding contained no justiciable issue of law or fact. View "State v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the sentences imposed in connection with Defendant’s conviction for second degree murder and first degree assault, holding that there was no merit to the arguments Defendant raised on appeal regarding his sentences. Defendant was seventeen years old at the time of the offenses. He was sentenced to sixty years’ to life imprisonment for second degree murder and to forty to fifty years’ imprisonment for first degree assault, with the sentences to run consecutively. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Defendant will be eligible for parole at age sixty-seven, Defendant did not receive a de facto life sentence; and (2) the district court did not impose excessive sentences. View "State v. Steele" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s plea-based conviction and sentence for attempted violation of Nebraska’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), holding that the district court did not commit plain error by accepting the factual basis for the plea and by sentencing Defendant. On appeal, Defendant argued that there was no factual basis for the district court to accept his plea because he was not required to register in Nebraska and therefore could not have violated SORA by failing to register in Nebraska. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-4003(1)(a)(iv) requires registration in Nebraska where an individual is required to register in another municipality or jurisdiction of the United States; and (2) there was a sufficient factual basis for Defendant’s plea to attempted violation of SORA. View "State v. Clemens" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law