Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court denying without an evidentiary hearing Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief, holding that the district court did not err in denying postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony. In his postconviction motion, Appellant alleged that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. The district court denied the motion without a hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that counsel provided effective assistance and that the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. View "State v. Martinez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction and sentence for robbery, holding that none of Defendant’s argument on appeal warranted reversal of his conviction. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err when it admitted into evidence a note that was found in what Defendant claimed was an improper search of his person; (2) the district court did not err when it determined that Defendant was competent to stand trial and for sentencing; (3) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction; (4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant; and (5) as to Defendant’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, the claims were either without merit, not sufficiently stated, or could not be reviewed on direct appeal. View "State v. Garcia" on Justia Law

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In this action for declaratory judgment the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the district court finding that the City of Imperial, Nebraska was financially responsible for $436 in medical costs incurred by a person who was arrested, holding that declaratory judgment was not available. An arrestee filed this declaratory judgment seeking a determination that the City was solely responsible for the medical expenses the arrestee incurred when he was required to submit to a physical examination before being placed in jail. The district court agreed that the City was responsible for the arrestee’s medical costs. The court of appeals reversed, determining that Chase County, Nebraska was the responsible party. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that declaratory judgment was not available due to the lack of a justiciable controversy between the parties. The Court remanded the cause with directions to vacate the district court’s judgment. View "Chase County v. City of Imperial" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Defendant’s motion to vacate his sentence and withdraw the plea pursuant to the common-law procedure recognized in State v. Gonzalez, 830 N.W.2d 504 (2013), holding that the common-law procedure was not available to Defendant as a matter of law. Defendant pleaded no contest to second degree assault. After completing his sentence, Defendant moved to vacate his sentence and withdraw his plea pursuant to the Supreme Court’s holding in Gonzalez. In his motion, Defendant alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel failed to advise him of the deportation consequences of his plea-based conviction. The district court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court erred in granting Defendant’s common-law motion because he had a remedy under the Nebraska Postconviction Act. View "State v. Jerke" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences for first degree sexual assault of a child, incest with a person under eighteen years of age, and third degree sexual assault of a child, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his claims raised on appeal. Specifically, the Court held (1) the age classifications defining sexual assault of a child in Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-319.01(1)(a) and associated mandatory sentence in Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-319.01(2) are not unconstitutional; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in its challenged evidentiary rulings; (3) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s convictions; and (4) Defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel. View "State v. Hibler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s imposition of an eight-month jail term upon revoking Defendant’s post-release supervision, holding that the district court’s order imposing a term of eight months’ imprisonment was not an abuse of discretion. After pleading guilty to a Class IV felony, Defendant was sentenced to twenty months’ imprisonment followed by twelve months’ post-release supervision. After the period of post-release supervision began, Defendant admitted to violating several conditions. The district court then revoked the post-release supervision and imposed a term of eight months’ imprisonment in county jail. On appeal, Defendant argued that the imposition of an eight-month jail term resulted in his imprisonment for a total of twenty-eight months for a Class IV felony, which exceeded the maximum sentence of twenty-four months’ imprisonment authorized by Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-105. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) when a court has revoked post-release supervision the maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed is governed exclusively by Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-2268(2) and does not depend on the maximum sentence of initial imprisonment authorized under section 28-105; and (2) Defendant's term of eight months’ imprisonment was within the maximum term authorized by section 29-2268(2) an was not an abuse of discretion. View "State v. Wal" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court convicting Defendant of driving under the influence, fifth offense, and aggravated driving under the influence (DUI), fifth offense, holding that Defendant’s trial counsel provided effective assistance and that Defendant’s sentence was not excessive. The primary issue on appeal was whether Defendant’s trial counsel was ineffective by failing to offer at an enhancement hearing available evidence that purportedly would have established that the State was precluded from relitigating a Wisconsin court’s determination that a prior conviction was invalid for enhancement purposes. The Supreme Court held (1) issue preclusion does not apply to sentence enhancement proceedings, and therefore, Defendant was not prejudiced by his trial counsel’s failure to offer into evidence at the enhancement hearing the Wisconsin motion to preclude; and (2) the district court did not err by imposing excessive sentences. View "State v. Spang" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the district court convicting Defendant of three counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, holding that the trial court did not err in overruling Defendant’s motion to suppress. Defendant was arrested after law enforcement stopped and searched his person and belongings. In their search, the officers found illegal drugs and brass knuckles. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s decision overruling Defendant’s motion to suppress after applying the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment to justify Defendant’s continued detention after officers completed their initial investigation related to a reported altercation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the initial detention and investigation were reasonable and did not amount to a de facto arrest; (2) Defendant’s continued detention following the initial investigation was reasonable; and (3) the warrantless search of Defendant’s person did not violate the Fourth Amendment. View "State v. Shiffermiller" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing Appellant’s petition seeking damages under the Nebraska Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment Act, holding that Appellant insufficiently alleged that she was innocent under Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-4603(3). Appellant was convicted for use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and terroristic threats. After she served part of her sentence, Appellant was later pardoned by the Nebraska Board of Pardons. Appellant then filed a petition seeking damages under the Act, alleging that she was actually innocent of the crimes for which she was wrongfully convicted. The district court concluded that Appellant could not prove that she was actually innocent and dismissed her complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that Appellant could not prove “actual innocence” under the Act. View "Marie v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court denying Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief, holding that there was no merit to Appellant’s claims that his counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to preserve objections to certain evidence introduced at trial. Appellant was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to fifty years to life imprisonment. Appellant filed a motion for postconviction relief, which was denied without an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court reversed with respect to certain ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims and remanded for an evidentiary hearing. Thereafter, the district court held an evidentiary hearing and denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in denying Appellant postconviction relief. View "State v. Huston" on Justia Law