Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of failure to appear, holding that there was no error in the admission of certain court records and that Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-2221 should not be used to calculate the three-day period in the failure to appear statute.At issue was whether the court records the State relied upon to prove Defendant's failure to appear were properly admitted and whether there was sufficient evidence to support his conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in overruling Defendant's objection to the admission of the court records; and (2) the State introduced sufficient evidence of all of the essential elements of a failure to appear offense. View "State v. Hassan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court overruling Defendant's motion for absolute discharge on statutory speedy trial grounds, holding that Defendant's appeal was without merit.Defendant was charged with one count each of assault in the first degree, assault in the third degree, and disturbing the peace. Before trial commenced, Defendant filed a motion for absolute discharge on speedy trial grounds. The court denied the motion, concluding that Defendant prematurely filed his motion for absolute discharge. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's judgment was not clearly erroneous. View "State v. Billingsley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions and sentences for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and for aiding and abetting a robbery, holding that the district court did not violate Defendant's right to confrontation when it allowed a witness to testify via two-way interactive video.The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions, holding that the district court did not err when it (1) overruled Defendant's confrontation objection to the testimony of the witness at issue, who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing symptoms; (2) determined that the foundation was sufficient to admit the witness's testimony regarding his translation of Spanish words spoken by Defendant; (3) admitted certain Facebook messages; and (4) sentenced Defendant. Lastly, there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant's convictions. View "State v. Comacho" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Defendant's motion for a new trial, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's arguments.Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. In his motion for a new trial, Defendant argued that new DNA evidence obtained through the DNA Testing Act that was acquired from two billfolds found near the victim's body warranted a new trial. The trial court disagreed, concluding that the DNA evidence, when considered with the evidence previously presented at Defendant's trial, did not warrant a new trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err by not considering evidence that was not presented to the jury at Defendant's former trial and was not newly discovered DNA or similar forensic testing evidence; and (2) the district court did not err in concluding that the DNA testing results probably would not have produced a substantially different result had they been presented at Defendant's former trial. View "State v. Duncan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for perjury based on testimony she gave at her husband's trial on a misdemeanor charge, holding that there was neither error nor plain error in the proceedings below.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err in receiving the transcript from Defendant's husband's trial over Defendant's hearsay objections and did not err in overruling her motion for a directed verdict; and (2) the district court did not commit plain error by allowing the prosecutor to comment on Defendant's husband's conviction and to allow the jury to consider the transcript of the husband's trial without redacting a comment made by the judge. View "State v. Childs" 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 testing under Nebraska's DNA Testing Act and his motion for the appointment of counsel, holding that the district court did not err in denying the motion.After a retrial, Defendant was convicted for a double homicide and sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed. Defendant later filed a motion for DNA testing on two types of evidence found at the crime scene. The district court denied the motion, concluding that the testing would not produce exculpatory evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the motion was correctly denied because the DNA testing sought by Defendant would not result in noncumulative exculpatory evidence relevant to his wrongful conviction claim. View "State v. Jacob" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court overruling Defendant's motion for absolute discharge for a violation of his statutory speedy trial rights under Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-1207, holding that the district court properly found that Defendant's statutory speedy trial rights had not been violated.The State charged Defendant by an information with one count of possession of methamphetamine, a felony. Defendant later filed his motion for absolute discharge pursuant to the speedy trial statute. After a hearing, the district court overruled the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the State failed to bring Defendant to trial with its six-month statutory deadline and that the evidence did not prove or permit a reasonable inference of delay resulting from either "absence or unavailability" or "other proceedings." View "State v. Hernandez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing, holding that the district court did not err.Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony in connection with the death of his girlfriend. The Supreme Court affirmed on direct appeal. Defendnat later filed a pro se motion for postconviction relief, alleging that both his trial counsel and appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance. The postconviction court denied relief without a hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the allegations in Defendant's postconviction motion did not warrant an evidentiary hearing and that Defendant was not entitled to relief. View "State v. Munoz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dissolving the marriage of Daniel Cornwell and Melanie Cornwell, holding that the district court did not err in using the immediate offset method of valuation to value the martial portion of Daniel's pension.Both parties appealed in this case. Daniel argued that the district court erred in using the immediate offset method to value his pension. On cross-appeal, Melanie argued that the district court erred in not awarding her attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion by using the immediate offset method of valuation and to accordingly value and divide the estate; and (2) did not err in not awarding Melanie attorney fees and costs. View "Cornwell v. Cornwell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court quashing Appellant's application for writ of habeas corpus and dismissing Appellant's error proceeding, holding that the district court did not err.Appellant's parole was revoked after he pled guilty for violating a condition of parole. Appellant filed an amended complaint, styled as a "Petition in Error & Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus," challenging the decision. The court quashed the application for writ of habeas corpus and dismissed the error proceeding. Appellant appealed, assigning fourteen errors with regard to both proceedings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court lacked jurisdiction over the error proceeding because the petition in error was not timely filed; and (2) because habeas corpus is a collateral proceeding, the district court did not err in quashing Appellant's application for a writ of habeas corpus. View "Tyrrell v. Frakes" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law