Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of possession of methamphetamine and sentencing her to two years’ probation, holding that the trial court did not err in overruling Defendant’s motion to suppress. On appeal, Defendant argued that the odor of marijuana alone no longer provides probable cause to support a warrantless search a vehicle because due to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) when an officer detects the odor of marijuana emanating from a readily mobile vehicle, the odor alone furnishes probable cause to suspect contraband will be found, and the vehicle may be lawfully searched under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement; and (2) in this case, the odor of marijuana coming from inside the car furnished probable cause to suspect contraband would be found in the car, and therefore, the warrantless search was lawful. View "State v. Seckinger" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming the judgment of the county court overruling Defendant’s motion to withdraw a no contest plea he entered years earlier pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 29-1819.02(1), holding that the statute does not authorize the withdrawal of pleas based on inadequate translation. Section 29-1819.02(1) provides that if a court fails to give the required advisement that conviction may have certain immigration consequences and the defendant faces the immigration consequences about which he was not advised, the defendant has a right to have the judgment vacated, to withdraw the plea, and to enter a plea of not guilty. Defendant argued that he was entitled to withdraw his plea because an interpreter translated a word improperly when she recited the court’s advisement to Defendant in Spanish. The county court overruled the motion, and the district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant was not entitled to withdraw his plea because he did not demonstrate that the trial court failed to give all or part of the required advisement. View "State v. Garcia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and of being a habitual criminal and Defendant’s sentence of ten to eighteen years in prison, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) the evidence was sufficient to support a guilty verdict; (2) the district court did not err in allowing evidence of text messages from cell phones over hearsay, foundation, completeness, and best evidence objections; and (3) the district court did not impose an excessive sentence. View "State v. Savage" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences for one count of first degree sexual assault of a child and two counts of incest related to an incident with his girlfriend’s children, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting “Y-STR” DNA evidence over Defendant’s objections. Prior to trial, Defendant filed a motion in liming seeking to exclude all evidence of Y-STR DNA testing under the Daubert/Schafersman analytical framework. The district court denied the motion, determining the reasoning and methodology behind the Y-STR DNA testing to be valid and reliable. Defendant was subsequently found guilty. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in admitting the Y-STR DNA evidence; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant within statutory limits. View "State v. Tucker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences for first degree murder, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person but modified the sentencing order to reflect additional credit for time served, holding that no prejudicial error occurred with respect to Defendant’s convictions but that the district court erred when it did not give Defendant credit for ninety-one days of time served in Wyoming. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant’s assignments of error related to instructions that the court gave or refused to give were unavailing; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction for first degree murder; and (3) while the court did not impose excessive sentences, it did fail to give Defendant adequate credit for time served. View "State v. Mueller" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court denying without a hearing Appellant’s motion seeking a hearing at which he could prove that he was not informed of the district court’s denial of his motion for postconviction relief and was thus unable to file a timely appeal from the denial of postconviction relief, holding that the district court erred in denying the motion without a hearing. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes. Appellant later filed a motion seeking postconviction relief. The district court dismissed the motion, and the clerk of the court certified that a copy of that dismissal was sent to the State and to Appellant. Thereafter, Appellant filed a motion alleging that he never received a copy of the order dismissing his postconviction motion and was thus unable to file a timely appeal. Appellant’s motion was denied. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the cause for a hearing at which Appellant may offer evidence in connection with his claims, holding that the district court erred in denying the motion without a hearing. View "State v. Parnell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal of a district court order overruling his motion to reconsider the denial of his motion to transfer to juvenile court under Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-1816, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the appeal. Appellant was seventeen years old when he was charged sex-related offenses. Appellant timely filed a motion to transfer to juvenile court, but the motion was overruled. Appellant later filed a motion to reconsider the denial of his motion to transfer. The court overruled the motion. Appellant appealed the order overruling his motion to reconsider. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that because Appellant failed to appeal the order denying his underlying motion to transfer within the statutory time period, the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to consider any subsequent appeal of the order on Appellant’s motion to transfer. View "State v. Uhing" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying Defendant’s motion for testing under the DNA Testing Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-4116 to 29-4125, and Defendant’s motion for the appointment of counsel, holding that the district court applied principles governing relief which might be available after testing when it should have limited its consideration to whether it was required to order testing. Defendant was convicted of murder. Nearly twenty years later, Defendant filed a motion pursuant to the DNA Testing Act seeking DNA testing of twenty-six items of evidence taken from the crime scene. After a hearing, the district court denied the motion, concluding that testing wasn’t warranted under section 29-4120(5)(c) because the results would not provide exculpatory evidence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court’s order failed to make clear that its denial of DNA testing was based solely on section 29-4120(5), and therefore, the case must be remanded to the district court for a determination under that section based upon the existing record. View "State v. Myers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences for first degree murder and first degree assault, affirmed his convictions but vacated his sentences for use of a weapon to commit a felony and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, holding that the district court committed plain error. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions; (2) the district court did not err in not instructing the jury on the lesser-included offense of manslaughter; but (3) the district court committed plain error with respect to the convictions for possession by a prohibited person and use of a deadly weapon. The Court remanded this cause to the district court for resentencing. View "State v. Lessley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of possession of a controlled substance and child abuse, holding that Defendant was not unconstitutionally seized when Defendant was detained beyond the time reasonably necessary to complete the mission of the traffic stop. Defendant was driving a vehicle owned by his girlfriend when law enforcement stopped him to investigate a citizen report of dangerous driving. Defendant’s children were in the back seat of the vehicle when Defendant was stopped at a gas station. Dafter completing their routine investigation related to the stop law enforcement discovered that Defendant was driving with a suspended license and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Thirty minutes later, the vehicle was searched by drug detection dogs. Police officers then searched the car and discovered methamphetamine. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress because the discovery of the methamphetamine was not the product of an illegal search and seizure; (2) Defendant’s assignments of error related to the evidentiary rulings at trial were unavailing; and (3) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction for child abuse. View "State v. Ferguson" on Justia Law