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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of eight felonies and holding that Defendant had failed to prove that he was not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect. Defendant was charged with eight felonies, including aggravated assault and battery, aggravated robbery, and theft. Defendant pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect (NGMI). After a bench trial the court found Defendant guilty on all eight counts. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in concluding that he failed to prove he was not guilty by reason of mental illness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the applicable standard of review is whether, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, a rational trier of fact could have found that the defendant failed to prove the defense by a preponderance of the evidence; and (2) under this standard, Appellant failed to prove the NGMI defense by a preponderance of the evidence. View "Gabbert v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of eight felonies and holding that Defendant had failed to prove that he was not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect. Defendant was charged with eight felonies, including aggravated assault and battery, aggravated robbery, and theft. Defendant pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect (NGMI). After a bench trial the court found Defendant guilty on all eight counts. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in concluding that he failed to prove he was not guilty by reason of mental illness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the applicable standard of review is whether, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, a rational trier of fact could have found that the defendant failed to prove the defense by a preponderance of the evidence; and (2) under this standard, Appellant failed to prove the NGMI defense by a preponderance of the evidence. View "Gabbert v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court quieting title on the mineral rights in lands conveyed by two deeds in 1913 in Box Creek Mineral Limited Partnership. Box Creek brought this action against BNSF Railway Company seeking to quiet title in the mineral rights at issue. The parties disputed whether the 1913 deeds passed a fee simple estate from Box Creek to BNSF, thereby conveying the underlying mineral estate, or if the deeds merely conveyed an easement in fee simple, whereby the minerals would not pass to BNSF. The district court concluded that the deeds were ambiguous and that the parties intended an easement-like conveyance rather than a fee simple interest and quieted title to the mineral estate in Box Creek. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly concluded that the parties intended a limited grant from Box Creek to BNSF, in what amounted to an “easement-like conveyance"; and (2) the district court properly admitted the testimony of Marc Strahn as expert witness testimony. View "BNSF Railway Co. v. Box Creek Mineral Limited Partnership" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated certain portions of the order of the district court fixing restitution after Defendant pleaded no contest to obtaining welfare benefits by misrepresentation. Following Defendant’s no-contest plea, the district court fixed restitution at $18,733. Defendant filed a motion requesting that the district court find she was unable to pay the restitution. After a hearing, the district court issued an order that fixed the amount of Defendant’s restitution at $18,733 but did not require Defendant to pay it, finding that she lacked the ability to do so. Nevertheless, the district court allowed the State to reduce $18,733 to a civil judgment. The Supreme Court held (1) because the district court did not order restitution, it erred as a matter of law when it allowed the State to reduce $18,733 to a civil judgment; and (2) the district court erred as a matter of law by failing either to order restitution or specifically find that there exists no reasonable probability that Defendant will be able to pay restitution in the future. View "McEwan v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s second conviction for kidnapping and affirmed his remaining convictions, holding that Appellant’s convictions and sentences for two counts of kidnapping violate double jeopardy. Appellant was convicted of strangulation of a household member, domestic battery, and two counts of kidnapping. The convictions arose from a single violent episode involving Appellant’s girlfriend. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the State to introduce evidence of uncharged misconduct; (2) the two convictions for kidnapping violated Appellant’s protections against double jeopardy because Appellant’s actions supported only one continuing kidnapping offense; and (3) the separate convictions for domestic battery and strangulation of a household member did not violate Appellant’s protections against double jeopardy because Appellant did not satisfy his burden to prove that the two convictions were based on the same incident. View "Volpi v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and battery, and conspiracy to commit theft. On appeal, Defendant argued that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support three of his convictions. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault and battery. View "Jordin v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and battery, and conspiracy to commit theft. On appeal, Defendant argued that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support three of his convictions. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault and battery. View "Jordin v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this wrongful death action, holding that there were disputed issues of material fact that precluded the district court’s entry of summary judgment. Plaintiff, on behalf of the estate of the decedent, brought this action against a commercial trucking company and two of its drivers, alleging that the drivers illegally and negligently parked a semi tractor-trailer in an I-80 emergency lane, causing the vehicle the decedent was driving to collide with the tractor-trailer and the decedent to suffer immediately fatal injuries. Defendants asserted that they were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law because Plaintiff did not prove that parking on the shoulder of the highway caused the decedent to lose control of his vehicle. The district court granted the motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court did not apply the proper standard and that Plaintiff must prove instead that the act of parking on the shoulder of an interstate highway created a reasonably foreseeable increased risk of injury to the decedent. Accordingly, the proximate cause issue should be resolved by the jury. View "Wood v. CRST Expedited, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting Heather Hope Schumacher’s motion to enforce a settlement agreement she entered into with Cowboy’s LLC after Cowboy’s failed to pay Schumacher the money as agreed. Schumacher claimed that her divorce decree awarded her certain property, that her ex-husband failed to convey the property to her, and that she had filed lien statements against the disputed property, which was then owned by Cowboy’s. The parties eventually reached a settlement agreement requiring Cowboy’s to pay Schumacher $98,742 in return for her release of all liens against the property. When Cowboy’s failed to pay Schumacher as agreed, Schumacher sought an order requiring Cowboy’s to comply with the settlement agreement. The district court ordered Cowboy’s to perform as agreed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Schumacher’s liens were valid and enforceable; and (2) the “deemed denial” of Cowboy’s motion to set aside the order enforcing the settlement agreement was properly denied. View "Cowboy's LLC v. Schumacher" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Father and Stepmother’s petition for a decree of adoption allowing Stepmother to adopt MMM without Mother’s consent, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Father and Stepmother failed to establish that Mother willfully abandoned MMM or that she willfully failed to pay child support. Here, Father and Stepmother filed a petition for a decree of adoption in favor of Stepmother, without the consent of Mother, alleging that Mother willfully abandoned MMM and willfully failed to provide court-ordered child support. The district court denied the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it found that Father and Stepmother failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that Mother willfully abandoned MMM or willfully failed to pay child support during the relevant period. View "In re Adoption of MMM" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law