Articles Posted in Civil Rights

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of aggravated driving under the influence and displaying unlawful or fictions license plates. The Court held that the district court did not err in (1) there was probable cause to support Defendant’s arrest for operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest; (2) law enforcement had probable cause to arrest Defendant for driving under the influence (DUI); and (3) the court did not err in finding Defendant guilty of second-offense DUI and unlawful/fictitious display of license plates. View "State v. Petsch" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Defendant’s postconviction motion on the grounds that the motion was filed outside the one-year limitations period under Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-3001(4). In 2011, Defendant pled no contest to one count of attempted assault on an officer and admitted he was a habitual criminal. In 2013, Defendant filed a motion for postconviction relief, alleging that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a direct appeal after Defendant asked that he do so. The district court dismissed the motion, finding that that motion was time barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the files and records affirmatively showed that Defendant’s postconvcition motion was time barred. View "State v. Conn" on Justia Law

by
Because third degree sexual assault is not a lesser-included offense of first degree sexual assault, the juvenile court erred in adjudicating Jordan B. based on its finding that he committed third degree sexual assault when the only law violation alleged in the petition was first degree sexual assault. The county attorney filed a petition asking the juvenile court to adjudicate Jordan as a juvenile who committed an act that would constitute a felony pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(2). The felony alleged was first degree sexual assault, as described in Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-319. The juvenile court found that the State failed to prove Jordan committed acts constituting first degree sexual assault as charged. Nevertheless, the court raised sua sponte the “lesser included offense” of third degree sexual assault and adjudicated Jordan as a child within the meaning of section 43-247(1). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the juvenile court adjudicated Jordan on grounds for which he had no notice, in violation of the Due Process Clauses of the Nebraska and United States Constitutions. View "In re Interest of Jordan B." on Justia Law

by
Because third degree sexual assault is not a lesser-included offense of first degree sexual assault, the juvenile court erred in adjudicating Jordan B. based on its finding that he committed third degree sexual assault when the only law violation alleged in the petition was first degree sexual assault. The county attorney filed a petition asking the juvenile court to adjudicate Jordan as a juvenile who committed an act that would constitute a felony pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(2). The felony alleged was first degree sexual assault, as described in Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-319. The juvenile court found that the State failed to prove Jordan committed acts constituting first degree sexual assault as charged. Nevertheless, the court raised sua sponte the “lesser included offense” of third degree sexual assault and adjudicated Jordan as a child within the meaning of section 43-247(1). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the juvenile court adjudicated Jordan on grounds for which he had no notice, in violation of the Due Process Clauses of the Nebraska and United States Constitutions. View "In re Interest of Jordan B." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences for first degree murder, unlawful discharge of a firearm, and other crimes, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his claims of error. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court’s instruction regarding transferred intent, when read with all the instructions, did not misstate the law; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction for unlawful discharge of a firearm; and (3) Defendant’s claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel were either without merit or could not be determined based on the record. View "State v. Wells" on Justia Law

by
A substantial right is not affected until judgment is entered in a garnishment action, and therefore, a judgment debtor who unsuccessfully objects to a garnishment may not immediately appeal. After the district court overruled Appellant’s objection to a garnishment and ordered that “the garnishment may proceed,” Appellant appealed. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction because there was no final order. Appellant filed a petition for further review, asserting that he appealed from a final order because the order that the garnishment “may proceed” affected a substantial right and was determined in a special proceeding. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the order overruling Appellant’s challenge to the garnishment did not affect a substantial right and therefore was not a final, appealable order. View "Shawn E. v. Diane S." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court vacating Defendant’s conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) and granting him a new trial on the grounds that his warrantless blood draw was unlawful and inadmissible in light of Birchfield v. North Dakota, __ U.S. _ (2016). After Defendant’s issues on appeal to the district court had been briefed, the United States Supreme Court released its opinion in Birchfield. Based on Birchfield, the district court reversed the conviction and remanded the matter for a new trial. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred by vacating Defendant’s DUI conviction without considering whether his blood draw was voluntary or whether the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied; and (2) the good faith exception applied to the pre-Birchfield warrantless blood draw in this case, and therefore, the district court erred in reversing Defendant’s conviction and vacating his sentence. View "State v. Hatfield" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence of seventy years to life imprisonment imposed for a murder he committed at the age of fourteen. Defendant pled guilty to second degree murder. In 1988, the district court imposed a sentence of life imprisonment for the murder conviction. In 2013, Defendant filed a motion for postconviction relief pursuant to the decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). The district court vacated Defendant’s sentence. At the time of resentencing, Defendant was forty-four years old. The district court sentenced Defendant to seventy years’ to life imprisonment for first degree murder. Defendant’s primary complaint on appeal was that his sentence was excessive. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the sentence was not excessive, did not amount to a de facto life sentence, and was not disproportionate to the offense. Defendant’s remaining claims of error were similarly unavailing. View "State v. Thieszen" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence of seventy years to life imprisonment imposed for a murder he committed at the age of fourteen. Defendant pled guilty to second degree murder. In 1988, the district court imposed a sentence of life imprisonment for the murder conviction. In 2013, Defendant filed a motion for postconviction relief pursuant to the decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). The district court vacated Defendant’s sentence. At the time of resentencing, Defendant was forty-four years old. The district court sentenced Defendant to seventy years’ to life imprisonment for first degree murder. Defendant’s primary complaint on appeal was that his sentence was excessive. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the sentence was not excessive, did not amount to a de facto life sentence, and was not disproportionate to the offense. Defendant’s remaining claims of error were similarly unavailing. View "State v. Thieszen" on Justia Law

by
The stop of Defendant’s vehicle for the purpose of gathering information about the presence of stolen firearms and other criminal activity at the residence Defendant drove from, for which a search warrant was being sought, did not violate Defendant’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 1, section 7 of the Nebraska Constitution. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court convicting Defendant of felony possession of a controlled substance, holding (1) the application of the balancing test set forth in Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979), which recognizes that warrantless seizures without reasonable suspicion may be reasonable under certain circumstances, was appropriate under the facts of this case; and (2) the stop was reasonable under Brown. View "State v. Sievers" on Justia Law