Justia Constitutional Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the conclusion of the court of appeals that the record refuted two of Appellant's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to object to improper evidence under Neb. Rev. Stat. 27-404, holding that, while this Court's reasoning differed from that employed by the court of appeals, there was no error in the court's ultimate judgment.After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and sentenced to a term of twenty-five to thirty years' imprisonment. The court of appeals affirmed, thus rejecting Appellant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel for counsel's failure to object to improper rule 404 evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, while this Court's reasoning differed from that employed by the court of appeals, this Court's conclusion on the judgment was the same. View "State v. Wheeler" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant for possession with intent to distribute marijuana and failure to affix a tax stamp, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his claims of error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the district court (1) did not err by denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence of marijuana found when law enforcement conducted a warrantless search of a duffel bag and suitcase on a passenger trial; (2) did not err in failing to suppress certain testimony at trial; (3) did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's motion for a mistrial; and (4) did not abuse its wide discretion in sentencing Defendant to four to six years of imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute marijuana. View "State v. Vaughn" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion for postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing, holding that the district court did not err in determining that all of Defendant's claims were either insufficiently pled or affirmatively refuted by the record.Defendant, in inmate who was serving consecutive sentences for three convictions, including a life sentence for first degree murder, brought this motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel both at trial and on direct appeal. The district court denied the motion after determining that all of Defendant's claims were either insufficiently pled or affirmatively refuted by the record. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that none of Defendant's claims warranted an evidentiary hearing and that the district court properly overruled Defendant's motions to add exhibits and to appoint counsel. View "State v. Cox" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence on one count of assault in the second degree and one count of negligent child abuse, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on her claims of error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel were unavailing; (2) Defendant failed to preserve for appellate review his argument that the trial court erred by excepting from its sequestration order an eyewitness to the crimes who was the wife of one victim and mother of the other; (3) the trial court did not err by refusing to give a self-defense instruction; and (4) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that Defendant was not a suitable candidate for probation. View "State v. Johnson" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's plea-based convictions, holding that the court of appeals erred in concluding that the record as a whole demonstrated that his pleas were entered voluntarily and intelligently.Defendant was charged with eleven felonies. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Defendant entered a plea of no contest to three charges. Defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that his no contest pleas were not entered freely, intelligently, voluntarily, understandingly, and knowingly. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in finding that Defendant's no contest pleas were voluntarily and intelligently entered because the record did not affirmatively show that Defendant understood his rights or that he expressly waived them. View "State v. Mead" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's nineteen convictions for first degree sexual assault, incest, and intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his claims of error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant failed to raise his arguments that the district court violated his constitutional due process and double jeopardy protections in the district court and thus waived the issues for appeal; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant's convictions for first degree sexual assault; and (3) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant's convictions for intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult. View "State v. Bershon" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court dismissing certain defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that the defendants' contacts were too attenuated for them to have purposefully established minimum contacts within Nebraska.The out-of-state defendants at issue on appeal facilitated the sale of allegedly defective software installed by a local mechanic in four of Plaintiff's trucks. Plaintiff asserted against them claims for strict liability, negligence, and breach of implied warranties. The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding that Plaintiff failed to make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the quality and nature of the defendants' activities related to this action did not support personal jurisdiction. View "Wheelbarger v. Detroit Diesel ECM, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part and remanded this matter for a new trial, holding that the district court erred in proceeding to a trial without a jury on Plaintiff's causes of action for breach of contract, breach of guaranty, and unjust enrichment.Plaintiff's brought this complaint against Defendants for, among other causes of action, forcible entry and detainer. The district court granted relief on the forcible entry and detainer claim, ordering restitution. After a bench trial, the district court heard the remaining causes of action and awarded damages to Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiff's remaining causes of action were legal in nature, and the issues of fact that arose thereunder entitled Defendants to a jury trial unless waived; and (2) there was no waiver of Defendants' right to a jury trial. View "132 Ventures, LLC v. Active Spine Physical Therapy, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing and without first giving him an opportunity to respond to the State's reply, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion for postconviction relief.Defendant was convicted of first degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony, and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person. The Supreme Court affirmed. Thereafter, Defendant brought his motion for postconviction relief, raising several allegations of error. The district court rejected Defendant's claims without holding an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's assignments of error. View "State v. Jennings" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant, following a jury trial, of disturbing the peace, holding that the district court did not err by reviewing his appeal only for plain error and that the record was insufficient to reach Defendant's argument that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a statement of errors.Defendant's counsel timely appealed Defendant's county court conviction and later filed a bill of exceptions but did not file a statement of errors within ten days of filing the bill of exceptions. Consequently, the district court reviewed the appeal only for plain error and affirmed the judgment below. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err by limiting its review to plain error; and (2) the record was insufficient to reach Defendant's remaining argument. View "State v. Warren" on Justia Law