Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals reversing Defendant's plea-based conviction for felony child abuse, holding that the court of appeals properly found that there was not a sufficient factual basis for the plea but erred in its disposition. The court of appeals reversed the district court's order accepting Defendant's no contest plea to felony child abuse and vacated that conviction, concluding that the factual basis presented by the State was not sufficient to support Defendant's no contest plea, and affirmed Defendant's conviction for attempted possession of a controlled substance. The court then vacated the sentence and remanded the matter for resentencing on Defendant's conviction for attempted possession of a controlled substance. The Supreme Court remanded the matter to the court of appeals with directions to reverse both convictions and vacate the sentencing, holding that the district court abused its discretion in finding a sufficient factual basis to support Appellant's no contest plea to child abuse but held that the court of appeals erred in its disposition because it focused only on the conviction for felony child abuse rather than setting forth a remedy focused on the entire plea agreement. View "State v. Ettleman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of manufacturing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of a controlled substance, holding that the lower court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during and after his interaction with law enforcement. Defendant argued that suppression was warranted because he was unlawfully seized, his statements were obtained in violation of Miranda, and his consent to the search was coerced. The district court concluded that the initial seizure of Defendant was appropriate, Defendant's other statements were not made during a custodial interrogation, and Defendant's consent to the search of his residence was voluntary and not coerced. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant's Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights were not violated in this case. View "State v. Schriner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions and sentences, holding that there was no merit to the assignments of error that the Court could reach on direct appeal. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court abused its discretion by imposing excessive sentences and that his counsel provided ineffective assistance in four separate instances. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion when imposing the sentences because the court considered relevant factors and did not consider improper factors; and (2) three of Defendant's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel lacked merit, and the record was insufficient to address the fourth claim on direct appeal. View "State v. Blaha" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Appellant's motion for postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing, holding that Appellant's counsel did not provide ineffective assistance. Appellant pled no contest to second degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony. Appellant later filed an amended motion for postconviction relief asserting two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing, holding that Defendant did not allege sufficient facts and that the record affirmatively disproved his claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the facts alleged were insufficient to show deficient conduct by trial counsel and that the record affirmatively disproved Defendant's allegations. View "State v. Privett" on Justia Law

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After the charge against Appellant for theft by unlawful taking was dismissed the Supreme Court reversed the district court's order granting in part Appellant's motion for return of property seized from him and originally alleged to be stolen, holding that the burden of proof was not properly applied. As part of a plea agreement, the State dismissed the charge against Appellant of theft by unlawful taking. Thereafter, Appellant filed a motion for return of the property seized from him. The district court conducted an evidentiary hearing and then ordered some items of property returned to Appellant and others returned to Appellant's former employer. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the district court erred as a matter of law by requiring Appellant, as the proponent of the motion seeking the return of property seized from him, to prove ownership of the property seized. View "State v. Ebert" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant's sentences for manslaughter and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person and remanded this matter for resentencing for those offenses, holding that there was plain error in Defendant's sentencing. Defendant was convicted of manslaughter, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, and pandering. On appeal, Defendant assigned nine errors. The Supreme Court vacated Defendant's sentences in part, holding that the district court's failure to impose an indeterminate sentence when required by statute constituted plain error and that there was plain error in the district court's award of a credit for time served. Otherwise, the Court affirmed, holding that Defendant's assignments of error were without merit. View "State v. Briggs" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of two counts of first degree sexual assault of a child and one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's convictions and that Defendant failed to sufficiently allege ineffective assistance of counsel. On appeal, Defendant asserted that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions and that his trial counsel was ineffective. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Defendant's first assignment of error was without merit and that Defendant failed to allege ineffective assistance of counsel was sufficient particularity. View "State v. Sinkey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of delivery of a controlled substance, a class II felony, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-416, holding that the photographic identification of Defendant by a confidential informant as the person who sold drugs to the informant was reliable even though the confrontation procedure may have been suggestive. During the course of the criminal proceedings Defendant repeatedly sought to suppress the informant's identification of him, arguing that the identification violated his due process rights. During the jury trial, the informant's identification was admitted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly found that the identification of Defendant was unduly suggestive but did not err in its conclusion regarding the reliability of the identification as analyzed with the five factors set forth in United States Supreme Court precedent. View "State v. Cosey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court affirming Defendant's conviction for driving under the influence, second offense, holding that the district court erred in affirming the conviction after finding that the county court erred in admitting breath test evidence. The district court determined that the county court erred in admitting breath test evidence but affirmed the conviction, concluding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the county court's consideration of the breath test evidence, which the district court later found inadmissible, was not harmless error. View "State v. McGinn" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Appellant's motion for postconviction relief following an evidentiary hearing, holding that the district court did not err in denying Appellant's motion for postconviction relief. Appellant pled no contest to first degree assault and tampering with a witness and was sentenced to fifty to fifty years' imprisonment. Following the denial of his direct appeal, Petitioner initiated this postconviction proceeding, alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at both the trial and appellate levels. The district court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant's claims were either without merit or that Appellant failed to establish prejudice. View "State v. Beehn" on Justia Law