Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Appellant postconviction relief after an evidentiary hearing mandated by the Court’s decision in the first appeal. Appellant pled guilty to first degree murder. Appellant later sought postconviction relief, claiming that DNA evidence had been planted. The district court denied relief, concluding that Appellant’s claim was procedurally barred. The Supreme Court remanded, determining that Appellant’s claim was not procedurally barred and that Appellant alleged facts which, if proved, could constitute an infringement of his constitutional rights. Appellant then filed an amended motion for postconviction relief alleging, among other claims, that his constitutional rights were violated by the planting of DNA evidence. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court denied Appellant’s amended motion for postconviction relief for failure to meet his burden of proof. The Supreme Court (1) vacated and set aside the district court’s order granting leave to file an amended motion for postconviction relief and the portion of its order concerning those claims which were outside the scope of the Court’s mandate; and (2) affirmed in all other respects the district court’s order denying postconviction relief, holding that Appellant’s remaining claim was without merit. View "State v. Henk" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Keshaud Hunt’s motion to transfer his case charging him with multiple felonies arising from two armed robberies to juvenile court. Hunt was fifteen years old when he committed the offenses underlying the charges. The Court also affirmed the district court’s denial of Hunt’s request for disposition under the Nebraska Juvenile Code and imposition of consecutive prison sentences. The Court held (1) the district court’s basis for retaining jurisdiction over Hunt was supported by appropriate evidence, and therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to transfer the case to juvenile court; and (2) there was no abuse of discretion in the sentences imposed. View "State v. Hunt" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Keshaud Hunt’s motion to transfer his case charging him with multiple felonies arising from two armed robberies to juvenile court. Hunt was fifteen years old when he committed the offenses underlying the charges. The Court also affirmed the district court’s denial of Hunt’s request for disposition under the Nebraska Juvenile Code and imposition of consecutive prison sentences. The Court held (1) the district court’s basis for retaining jurisdiction over Hunt was supported by appropriate evidence, and therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to transfer the case to juvenile court; and (2) there was no abuse of discretion in the sentences imposed. View "State v. Hunt" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting relief to Appellant in the form of a new sentencing hearing. Appellant was sentenced in 1974 to life imprisonment for a murder he committed when he was seventeen years old. After Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and State v. Mantich, 842 N.W.2d 716 (2014), were decided, Appellant filed a postconviction motion seeking a new sentencing hearing. The district court resentenced Appellant to 110 to 126 years in prison, with credit for time served. The court stated that Appellant would be eligible for parole after serving fifty-five years. Appellant appealed, arguing that the district court imposed an excessive sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in resentencing Appellant to 110 to 126 years in prison. View "State v. Russell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the separate juvenile court transferring Steven S.’s case to county court, holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the transfer. The State charged Steven, a juvenile, with escape and simultaneously filed a motion to transfer Steven’s case from juvenile court to county court. The juvenile court concluded that the State had proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the matter should be transferred to county court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, upon the Court’s de novo review of the record, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in ordering that Steven’s case be transferred to county court. View "In re Interest of Steven S." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the county court overruling Kaitlyn Coble’s motion to seal the record of her citation for two misdemeanors that were subsequently dismissed and the order of the district court affirming the county court. On appeal, Coble argued that the district court erred by affirming the county court’s order overruling her motion to seal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal without reaching the merits of the appeal, holding that the county court lacked jurisdiction to consider Coble’s motion because the motion was not authorized by statute. As a result, the district court and this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the merits of the county court’s order. View "State v. Coble" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of two counts of first degree murder and two counts of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, holding that Defendant’s assignments of error were without merit. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred by not admitting photographs he claimed supported his defense that another individual committed the murders and that his collective sentence of ninety to 140 years’ imprisonment was the functional equivalent of a sentence of life imprisonment. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the photographs by reasoning that the small amount of relevance was outweighed by Neb. Evid. R. 403; and (2) Defendant, who was a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed, received the protections required by Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). View "State v. Trotter" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of two counts of first degree murder and two counts of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, holding that Defendant’s assignments of error were without merit. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred by not admitting photographs he claimed supported his defense that another individual committed the murders and that his collective sentence of ninety to 140 years’ imprisonment was the functional equivalent of a sentence of life imprisonment. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the photographs by reasoning that the small amount of relevance was outweighed by Neb. Evid. R. 403; and (2) Defendant, who was a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed, received the protections required by Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). View "State v. Trotter" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court terminating Defendant’s post-release supervision “unsatisfactorily,” holding that the district court erred in terminating post-release supervision. After finding that Defendant had violated his post-release supervision, the district court decided that it was not appropriate to revoke the supervision and so terminated the post-release supervision altogether. The Supreme Court vacated the sentencing order and remanded the cause for further proceedings, holding (1) under the circumstances of this case, the district court was authorized by Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-2268(3) to either order a reprimand or warning, intensify supervision or reporting, impose additional conditions of probation, impose custodial sanctions, or extend the term of probation; and (2) because the district court did none of these, the sentencing order was erroneous and resulted in an excessively lenient sentence. View "State v. Kennedy" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained when officers, following a traffic stop leading to Defendant’s arrest, searched the vehicle Defendant was driving before impounding it and discovered methamphetamine. Contrary to the sheriff’s office’s policy, a completed inventory sheet did not list the methamphetamine, and the officers failed to list it separately. On appeal, Defendant argued that the search in his case was not a reasonable inventory search because it was not connected in accordance with the policy of the sheriff’s office. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the search was reasonable and that the procedural defects did not raise an inference that the search was conducted to discover evidence. View "State v. Nunez" on Justia Law