Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion seeking post conviction relief from his conviction of third degree sexual assault of a child, second offense and sentence of fifty years' imprisonment, holding that Defendant could not prevail on any of his assignments of error. In his motion for postconviction relief Defendant argued that his trial counsel was ineffective at trial and on appeal. The district court denied the motion following an evidentiary hearing. Defendant appealed, asserting various grounds in support of his argument that the district court erred in denying his motion for postconviction relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no merit to any of Defendant's arguments on appeal. View "State v. Fuentes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the district court's imposition of a sentence of five years' probate with 180 days of jail time as a condition of probation for Defendant's conviction of attempted sexual assault of a child on the grounds that the sentence was excessively lenient, holding that the sentence was not unreasonable or clearly against conscience or evidence. The presentence investigation report in this case indicated that Defendant believed the child to be eighteen years old. Further, Defendant had no criminal record. The State appealed the sentence, arguing that it was excessively lenient and involved inappropriate consideration of an irrelevant factor. The court of appeals agreed with the State. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that although the sentence imposed by the district court was lenient, the sentence was not unreasonable, untenable, or clearly against justice or conscience, evidence, and reason. View "State v. Gibson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of possession of a stolen firearm, holding that the "intent to restore" clause of Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-1212.03 is an essential element of the crime such that failure to instruct the jury of this material element is plain error, and the error to so instruct in this case was not harmless. In the proceedings below, the jury was not instructed that the absence of an intent to restore the property was a material element of the crime. The Supreme Court held that the court erred when it did not instruct the jury on the intent to restore element of the crime, and the instruction error was not harmless. Thus, the Court reversed the judgment and remanded the cause for a new trial. View "State v. Mann" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court imposing an aggregate sentence of forty-two to fifty-five years in prison in connection with Defendant's no contest pleas to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, attempted first degree assault, and use of a firearm to commit a felony, holding that Defendant's sentences were not excessive, and Defendant's trial counsel was not ineffective. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant's claims that his counsel was ineffective for failing to utilize an interpreter when meeting with Defendant and failing to investigate, collect evidence, and interview witnesses were without merit; (2) the record was insufficient to address whether Defendant's counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress regarding Defendant's statements to law enforcement officers; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion when sentencing Defendant. View "State v. Chairez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of the crime of assisting suicide, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction and that the district court did not err in its evidentiary rulings. Defendant was convicted of assisting the suicide of his girlfriend. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in admitting the testimony of a forensic pathologist who performed the decedent's autopsy and in admitting text messages between Defendant and his romantic acquaintance and that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in permitting the forensic pathologist's testimony regarding the findings of the post mortem examination of the decedent; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the text messages; and (3) the evidence adduced at trial was sufficient to sustain a conviction for assisting suicide. View "State v. Stubbendieck" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's sentence imposed as a result of his revocation from post-release supervision, holding that the term of imprisonment imposed by the court was within the statutory range and was not an abuse of discretion. Defendant absconded from post-release supervision and failed to appear at the hearing on the State's motion for revocation. Defendant was arrested and spent ninety-eight days in jail prior to revocation. The lower court found Defendant guilty of the allegations set forth within the motion to revoke post-release supervision and ordered Defendant to serve a term of imprisonment of 365 days in the county jail with zero days' credit for time served. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court erred in extending his remaining term of post-release supervision upon revocation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not extend Defendant's term of post-release supervision, and therefore, Defendant's term of imprisonment was valid; (2) the term of imprisonment was within the statutory range; and (3) the court did not err in denying Defendant's request for jail time credit. View "State v. Phillips" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of enticement by electronic communication, in violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-833, and allowed the parties' stipulation to remand because the district court failed to instruct the jury in a manner that required it to consider whether Defendant knew that the recipient was under sixteen years of age. Although the parties stipulated to remand in this case, the Supreme Court addressed the stipulation in an opinion because it had not previously considered the precise issue. The Supreme Court allowed the stipulation, reversed the district court's judgment, and remanded the cause for a new trial, holding (1) where the prosecution under section 28-833 involves a minor child rather than a decoy, a defendant's knowledge that the recipient is under age sixteen is a material element of the crime of enticement by electronic communication device; and (2) the court erred in instructing the jury on the material elements of enticement by electronic communication device, and the error was prejudicial. View "State v. Paez" on Justia Law

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