Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed, as modified the post-release supervision order of the district court adding to the conditions of Appellant's post-release supervision before his release from the Department of Correctional Services, holding that modification was warranted.On appeal, Appellant argued that, under Neb. Ct. R. 6-1904(B), the State was required to prove new circumstances to warrant modification of the terms of the post-release supervision order. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's post-release supervision order only to the extent that Appellant have no contact with the victims during the term of his post-release supervision, holding that the State cannot seek changes to the conditions of post-release supervision in the absence of new circumstances. View "State v. Sullivan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court overruling Defendant's motion to dismiss the criminal case against him for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to the intrastate detainer statutes, holding that the district court did not err.The State charged Defendant with two felonies. Defendant later filed a motion to dismiss due to the State's failure to bring him to trial within the statutory 180-day time limit. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the interstate detainer statutes, including the speedy trial provision of Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-3805, cease to apply to a criminal defendant when he is discharged from the custody of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS); and (2) Nebraska's intrastate detainer statutes no longer applied to Defendant after he was discharged from DCS custody. View "State v. Yzeta" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's nineteen convictions for first degree sexual assault, incest, and intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his claims of error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant failed to raise his arguments that the district court violated his constitutional due process and double jeopardy protections in the district court and thus waived the issues for appeal; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant's convictions for first degree sexual assault; and (3) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant's convictions for intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult. View "State v. Bershon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) but reversed his conviction for violating a municipal traffic signal law, holding that Neb. Rev. Stat. 60-6,123(3)(c) preempted the city ordinance under which Defendant was convicted.Defendant moved to quash count two charging him with violating a municipal traffic signal law and moved to suppress the evidence derived from a traffic stop, which the state intended to offer to prove the charges in count one charging him with DUI, first offense. The county court ruled that city ordinance at issue was not preempted by state law and denied relief. The district court and court of appeals affirmed Defendant's convictions. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the city ordinance was preempted by state law; and (2) it was objectively reasonable for the officer who stopped Defendant to presume that the ordinance was enforceable, and therefore, the county court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress. View "State v. Albarenga" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing and without first giving him an opportunity to respond to the State's reply, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion for postconviction relief.Defendant was convicted of first degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony, and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person. The Supreme Court affirmed. Thereafter, Defendant brought his motion for postconviction relief, raising several allegations of error. The district court rejected Defendant's claims without holding an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's assignments of error. View "State v. Jennings" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant for terroristic threats, in violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-311.01, and sentencing him to two years' imprisonment followed by eighteen months of post-release supervision, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his assignments of error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err in its interpretation of section 28-311.01(1)(a), as applied to these facts, and there was no merit to Defendant's argument that the terroristic threats statute does not require a recipient of the threat; and (2) venue was proper under Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-1301 because the State offered sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an element of the terroristic threats occurred in Sarpy County. View "State v. Godek" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant, following a jury trial, of disturbing the peace, holding that the district court did not err by reviewing his appeal only for plain error and that the record was insufficient to reach Defendant's argument that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a statement of errors.Defendant's counsel timely appealed Defendant's county court conviction and later filed a bill of exceptions but did not file a statement of errors within ten days of filing the bill of exceptions. Consequently, the district court reviewed the appeal only for plain error and affirmed the judgment below. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err by limiting its review to plain error; and (2) the record was insufficient to reach Defendant's remaining argument. View "State v. Warren" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of sexual assault in the first degree, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in prohibiting Defendant from questioning the complaining witness, J.K., about her prior allegation against a doctor.On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred by prohibiting from asking J.K. about an allegation she made against her prenatal doctor regarding inappropriate touching during the course of a prenatal examination. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court's decision to exclude the evidence did not violate Defendant's constitutional right to confront his accuser. View "State v. Ali" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-217, holding that the petition did not state a cognizable ground for relief.Appellant pled no contest to attempted first degree sexual assault and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Appellant later filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that his conviction and sentence were void. The district court dismissed the action without prejudice pursuant to section 25-217. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court erred when it dismissed the habeas petition pursuant to section 25-217 because section 25-217 has no application to habeas corpus proceedings; and (2) upon de novo review, it was proper to dismiss the petition for writ of habeas corpus because none of the allegations in the petition set forth facts which, if true, would entitle Appellant to habeas relief. View "Childs v. Frakes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of murder in the first degree and criminal conspiracy to commit first degree murder and his sentence of death, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his allegations of error on appeal.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) there was no merit to Defendant's challenges to the death qualification of his jury; (2) the trial court did not err by refusing to sever the trials on the charges for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder; (3) the court’s release of the victim’s mother from sequestration after she testified was not an abuse of discretion; (4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's motions for a mistrial and a new trial after a verbal outburst and act of self-harm in front of the jury; and (5) Defendant's constitutional challenges to Nebraska's sentencing scheme were unavailing. View "State v. Trail" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law