Justia Criminal Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, sitting as an appellate court, affirming the county court's denial of Defendant's motion for absolute discharge based on her statutory right to a speedy trial, holding that the county court did not clearly err in finding good cause for the judicial delays.Defendant was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence assault in the third degree. Defendant requested a jury trial. Defendant later filed a motion for absolute discharge, claiming violations of her statutory and constitutional rights to a speedy trial. The county court denied the motion. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly affirmed the county court's order denying Defendant's motion for absolute discharge under Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-1207 because the State failed to meet its burden to show that good cause existed sufficient to toll Defendant's speedy trial rights. View "State v. Chase" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion to dismiss with prejudice or for absolute discharge based on late disclosures of discovery information resulting in delays Defendant argued implicated his speedy trial rights and denying Defendant's motion to suppress, holding that there was no error.On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred when it denied his motion to suppress the fruits of the search of his residence, two cell phones taken from his person incident to his unlawful arrest, information obtained from a search of the contents of his two cell phones, cell records and cell site location information from the cell phone service providers. Defendant also challenged the denial of his motion to dismiss and motion for complete discharge. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's assignments of error. View "State v. Short" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court overruling Defendant's motion for postconviction relief, holding that Defendant failed to prove that he suffered prejudice under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).After a second trial, Defendant was convicted of three counts of first degree murder and related crimes. In his pro se motion for postconviction relief, Defendant argued that he received ineffective assistance of counsel by his counsel's failure to call impeachment witnesses. The district court denied the motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant failed to assert an ineffective assistance of counsel claim that warranted an evidentiary hearing. View "State v. Britt" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for second degree assault, holding that the district court's sentence of nineteen to twenty years' imprisonment was not excessive.At the sentencing hearing, the district court noted Defendant's prior criminal history and a probation officer's perception that Defendant showed no remorse. The court sentenced him to nineteen to twenty years' imprisonment. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court abused its discretion by imposing an excessive sentence because it failed adequately to consider mitigating factors. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing a sentence of nineteen to twenty years' imprisonment in this matter. View "State v. Greer" on Justia 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

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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

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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

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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

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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