Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court overruling Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from a traffic stop, holding that this was an investigatory traffic stop supported by reasonable suspicion. Defendant moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the search of his car, arguing that the law enforcement officer did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop. The district court found that the traffic stop was supported by probable cause and overruled the motion to suppress. The Supreme Court affirmed, although its reasoning differed from that of the district court, holding that the investigatory stop of Defendant’s car was supported by reasonable suspicion and was therefore constitutional. View "State v. Barbeau" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and sentence of probation, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on her ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Specifically, the Court held (1) because Defendant did not file a timely motion for new trial, this Court could not consider Defendant’s arguments of error relating to the overruling of the motion; and (2) applying the standard set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), the record was insufficient to resolve Defendant’s claims that she received ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s personal interest conflict. View "State v. Avina-Murillo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming the judgment of the circuit court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress based upon the exclusionary rule’s good faith exception, holding that there was no plain error. After having submitted to a blood draw performed before the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, __ U.S. __ (2016), Defendant was convicted for driving under the influence. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from the traffic stop and warrantless blood draw, arguing that the exclusionary rule’s good faith exception did not apply in this case and that the State failed to raise the issue in the county court. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this Court’s holding in State v. Hoerle, 901 N.W.2d 327 (2017), controls, and the district court did not err in performing its review for plain error; and (2) there was no plain error in applying the good faith exception to warrantless pre-Birchfield blood draws or in determining that the State raised the good faith exception. View "State v. Nielsen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Regional West Medical Center and dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint alleging retaliatory discharge and employment discrimination, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in finding that Plaintiff’s discrimination claims were barred by the relevant statute of limitations; and (2) the district court did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s retaliation claim on the basis that there was no evidence to support a finding that Plaintiff’s termination was retaliatory. View "Brown v. Regional West Medical Center" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing, holding that the district court properly denied relief and without holding an evidentiary hearing. Appellant was convicted of first degree murder and other crimes. Appellant later filed a motion for postconviction relief, alleging claims of trial court error, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of trial counsel, and ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. The district court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) failing to find trial counsel deficiency violated the Nebraska and United States Constitutions; (2) failing to grant Appellant postconviction relief; (3) failing to find Defendant was prejudiced by trial counsel’s performance; (4) failing to find Appellant was prejudiced by appellate counsel’s performance; and (5) denying Appellant an evidentiary hearing. View "State v. Foster" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing, holding that Appellant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claims that trial counsel failed to file notice of and present evidence of his alibi defense and failed to investigate information regarding potential suspects. Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and other crimes. After his convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal, Defendant moved for postconviction relief, raising claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and a claim of actual innocence. The district court denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Defendant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claims relating to his alibi defense and the failure to investigate information related to potential suspects. View "State v. Stricklin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing, holding that the district court erred in denying Appellant an evidentiary hearing on his claim that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and present certain alibi evidence. Appellant was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder and other crimes. In his motion for postconviction relief, Appellant raised claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and a claim of actual innocence. The district court denied the postconviction motion without an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded for an evidentiary hearing limited to Defendant’s claim relating to his alibi defense and otherwise affirmed. View "State v. Newman" 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 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

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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