Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming the judgment of the circuit court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress based upon the exclusionary rule’s good faith exception, holding that there was no plain error. After having submitted to a blood draw performed before the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, __ U.S. __ (2016), Defendant was convicted for driving under the influence. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from the traffic stop and warrantless blood draw, arguing that the exclusionary rule’s good faith exception did not apply in this case and that the State failed to raise the issue in the county court. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this Court’s holding in State v. Hoerle, 901 N.W.2d 327 (2017), controls, and the district court did not err in performing its review for plain error; and (2) there was no plain error in applying the good faith exception to warrantless pre-Birchfield blood draws or in determining that the State raised the good faith exception. View "State v. Nielsen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the sentence imposed by the district court for Defendant’s convictions of theft by deception, holding that the sentence and conditions set by the district court were within statutory limits. The district court sentenced Defendant to two years’ imprisonment and twelve months’ postrelease supervision. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court abused its discretion by failing to impose terms and conditions of postrelease supervision that could be served by Defendant while he was incarcerated in another state and were reasonably related to his rehabilitation. The Supreme Court held (1) Defendant waived the objections raised in his second argument; and (2) the sentence and conditions were not an abuse of discretion. View "State v. Shaull" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing, holding that the district court properly denied relief and without holding an evidentiary hearing. Appellant was convicted of first degree murder and other crimes. Appellant later filed a motion for postconviction relief, alleging claims of trial court error, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of trial counsel, and ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. The district court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) failing to find trial counsel deficiency violated the Nebraska and United States Constitutions; (2) failing to grant Appellant postconviction relief; (3) failing to find Defendant was prejudiced by trial counsel’s performance; (4) failing to find Appellant was prejudiced by appellate counsel’s performance; and (5) denying Appellant an evidentiary hearing. View "State v. Foster" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing, holding that Appellant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claims that trial counsel failed to file notice of and present evidence of his alibi defense and failed to investigate information regarding potential suspects. Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and other crimes. After his convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal, Defendant moved for postconviction relief, raising claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and a claim of actual innocence. The district court denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Defendant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claims relating to his alibi defense and the failure to investigate information related to potential suspects. View "State v. Stricklin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing, holding that the district court erred in denying Appellant an evidentiary hearing on his claim that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and present certain alibi evidence. Appellant was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder and other crimes. In his motion for postconviction relief, Appellant raised claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and a claim of actual innocence. The district court denied the postconviction motion without an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded for an evidentiary hearing limited to Defendant’s claim relating to his alibi defense and otherwise affirmed. View "State v. Newman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of two counts of sexual assault of a child in the first degree and other crimes and sentencing Defendant to consecutive terms totaling between 180 years’ to life imprisonment, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below requiring reversal. Specifically, the Court held that the district court (1) did not err in refusing to give Defendant’s proposed jury instruction on sex trafficking of a minor; (2) did not abuse its discretion in overruling Defendant’s motions for mistrial and in overruling his evidentiary objections; and (3) did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Defendant. View "State v. Swindle" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s successive motion for postconviction relief on the grounds that the motion was time barred under the one-year limitations period of Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-3001(4), holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. Appellant was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder and other offenses. Appellant was sentenced to death for each of the murders. Appellant later filed this successive motion for postconviction relief, alleging that his death sentences were unconstitutional under Hurst v. Florida, __ U.S. __ (2015), and Johnson v. United States, __ U.S. __ (2015). The district court determined, sua sponte, that the successive motion was time barred under section 29-3001(4) and denied postconviction relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that Appellant’s successive postconviction motion was time barred; and (2) the district court did not err in the procedure it followed. View "State v. Torres" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court overruling Defendant’s postconviction motion claiming ineffective assistance of counsel without an evidentiary hearing and without appointing counsel, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion. Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. Defendant later filed a pro se motion for postconviction relief setting forth three claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The district court rejected each of Defendant’s claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err when it overruled Defendant’s postconviction motion without an evidentiary hearing because Defendant failed to show prejudice from trial counsel’s alleged errors; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion to appoint counsel because the postconviction proceeding contained no justiciable issue of law or fact. View "State v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the sentences imposed in connection with Defendant’s conviction for second degree murder and first degree assault, holding that there was no merit to the arguments Defendant raised on appeal regarding his sentences. Defendant was seventeen years old at the time of the offenses. He was sentenced to sixty years’ to life imprisonment for second degree murder and to forty to fifty years’ imprisonment for first degree assault, with the sentences to run consecutively. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Defendant will be eligible for parole at age sixty-seven, Defendant did not receive a de facto life sentence; and (2) the district court did not impose excessive sentences. View "State v. Steele" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s plea-based conviction and sentence for attempted violation of Nebraska’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), holding that the district court did not commit plain error by accepting the factual basis for the plea and by sentencing Defendant. On appeal, Defendant argued that there was no factual basis for the district court to accept his plea because he was not required to register in Nebraska and therefore could not have violated SORA by failing to register in Nebraska. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-4003(1)(a)(iv) requires registration in Nebraska where an individual is required to register in another municipality or jurisdiction of the United States; and (2) there was a sufficient factual basis for Defendant’s plea to attempted violation of SORA. View "State v. Clemens" on Justia Law