Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first degree sexual assault of a child, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's claims of trial error, and Defendant was not entitled to relief on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.On appeal, Defendant argued (1) the trial court erred by, inter alia, refusing to appoint him a DNA expert and by sustaining the prosecution's objection to further use of a forensic video to refresh the victim's recollection; and (2) trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in numerous ways. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant's claims of trial error were without merit; and (2) all of Defendant's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel were without merit with the exception that this Court did not reach the merits of one of Defendant's ineffective assistance arguments. View "State v. Wood" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for violating a municipal ordinance prohibiting driving under the influence, holding that there was no error.The State charged Defendant with several offenses arising out of a traffic stop. The State's theory at trial was that Defendant was under the influence of his prescription medications. On appeal, Defendant argued that his medications did not qualify as "any drug" under the relevant ordinance and, alternatively, that there was insufficient evidence that he was under the influence of those prescription medications. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the phrase "any drug" refers to all drugs, including Defendant's prescription medications; and (2) there was sufficient evidence that Defendant was under the influence of his prescription medications. View "State v. Taylor" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reducing Defendant's sentence imposed for his firearm conviction as excessive, holding that the court of appeals erred.Defendant pled no contest to manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The district court accepted Defendant's pleas, found him guilty, and sentenced him to fifteen to twenty years' imprisonment for manslaughter and thirty to forty years' imprisonment for the firearm possession conviction, to be served consecutively. The court of appeals reduced Defendant's sentence on count II to a sentence of ten to fifteen years' to run consecutively to the sentence for the manslaughter conviction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant on the firearm conviction. View "State v. Morton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court modifying the decree dissolving the marriage of Matthew Keiser and Krystal Keiser, holding that there was no abuse of discretion.In 2018, a decree dissolved the parties' marriage and awarded the parties joint legal and physical custody of their four children. The court also ordered Matthew to pay child support of $2,000 per month. Eight months later, both parties sought to modify the decree, with Father seeking a reduction in child support and Mother seeking an increase. The court found a material change in circumstances regarding custody because Krystal now had sole physical custody of two of the children and ordered Matthew to pay child support of $2,873 per month. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining Matthew's income for child support purposes and that Matthew invited any error in the court's methodology to calculate child support. View "Keiser v. Keiser" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the marital dissolution decree entered by the district court in this case, holding that the court's ultimate division was reasonable and fair.In the marital dissolution decree dissolving the marriage of Marcia Kauk and Randall Kauk, the district court divided the property and awarded Randall the marital homestead acreage. Marcia appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by failing to include certain contracts or payments in the marital estate, classifying four payments as payments of marital debts in valuing marital assets, and awarding the marital acreage to Randall. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in its marital asset determinations and in awarding Randall the marital acreage. View "Kauk v. Kauk" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Defendant's motion for a new trial filed after Defendant was convicted of second-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person were upheld on direct appeal, holding that there was no error.On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that the newly discovered testimony would not have produced a substantial difference in the result had it been offered and admitted at trial because it was not credible. View "State v. Brown" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the determination of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) that Timothy Moore, while serving as the chair of the board of trustees for the village of Madrid, Nebraska, violated the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act (NPADA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 49-1401 to 49-14,142, holding that there was no error.The NADC found that Moore violated the NPADA by having an interest in a contract with the Village Board by having an interest in a contract with the Village Board and failing to comply with the disclosure and abstention requirements of Neb. Rev. Stat. 49-14,103.01(5). The district court affirmed. On appeal, Moore argued that the district court erred in finding that he had a sufficient interest in the contract with the Village Board to trigger the disclosure and abstention provisions of section 49-14.103.01(5). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Moore was not exempted from the disclosure and abstention requirements of section 49-14.013.01(5); and (2) the district court's judgment conformed to the law, was supported by competent evidence, and was neither arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable. View "Moore v. Nebraska Accountability & Disclosure Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Thomas Pribil and William Kilzer (together, Appellees), the copersonal representatives of the estate of Charles E. Lakin and the cotrustees of the Charles E. Lakin Revocable Trust, holding that a dispute of material fact existed precluding summary judgment.Appellant in this case was the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, Inc. Appellant argued that Appellees improperly paid Pribil approximately $7 million after Lakin's death. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Pribil and Kilzer in their individual and representative capacities. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a dispute of material fact existed regarding the foundation's fudicairy duty claims against Appellees as copersonal representatives and cotrustees. View "In re Estate of Lakin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court overruling Appellant's second motion for discharge on statutory speedy trial grounds, holding that a defendant can permanently waive his or her statutory speedy trial rights even if he or she does not pursue an appeal.Appellant was charged with a crime and filed a motion for discharge on statutory speedy trial grounds. The district court overruled the motion, and Appellant did not appeal. Appellant subsequently filed a second motion for discharge. The district court overruled the motion, concluding that, by filing her first motion, Appellant permanently waived her statutory speedy trial rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a defendant permanently waives her speedy trial rights when an ultimately unsuccessful motion for discharge results in the continuance of a timely trial to a date outside of the statutory six-month period, calculated on the date the motion for discharge was filed. View "State v. Riessland" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court modifying the decree dissolving the marriage of Donald and Linda Eis, awarding Linda an increased equalization payment of $176,462, holding that there was no error.The district court's decree dissolved the marriage of the parties and divided their real and personal property. Linda later filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment and for a new trial. The district court entered a modified decree, awarding Linda an increased equalization payment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Donald's assignments of error were without merit. View "Eis v. Eis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law