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State v. Earith

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

October 29, 2013

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Jaime Earith, also known as Jaime Hyde, Appellant

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

Appeal from the District Court for Saline County: Vicky L. Johnson, Judge.

Joseph M. Casson for appellant.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, Erin E. Tangeman, J. Kirk Brown, and Siobhan E. Duffy, Senior Certified Law Student, for appellee.

Moore, Pirtle, and Bishop, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Pirtle, Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Jaime Earith, also known as Jaime Hyde, appeals from convictions of possession of methamphetamine, a Class IV felony, and possession of marijuana, less than 1 ounce. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Earith was charged by information with possession of methamphetamine, a Class IV felony, and possession of marijuana, 1 ounce or less. Prior to trial, the court was informed that a witness would be unavailable for trial. A video trial deposition was taken so the witness' testimony could be played for the jury. On the day before trial, a court hearing regarding a motion in limine filed by the defense was held and certain evidence was ruled inadmissible.

A 2-day jury trial was held in the district court for Saline County.

Ashley Griess, a probation officer with the State of Nebraska, testified by video trial deposition. Griess testified that she knew Earith because Griess had previously been assigned as Earith's probation officer. The terms of Earith's probation included that she submit to drug tests and that she could be subject to searches. Earith's probation order also provided that if she tested positive for a controlled substance, she would have to serve 72 hours in jail.

Griess had previously given permission in her capacity as a probation officer for officers to search the residence where Earith and her husband were currently staying, although it was not their home. There was suspicion that controlled substances were present in that home.

On December 23, 2011, Griess went to the Saline County jail because she believed Earith would be there. Earith was found in the visitor room talking to her husband. Griess told Earith she knew Earith's husband had recently been arrested for possession of drugs and asked Earith to submit to a drug test.

Griess also testified in her video deposition that after Earith submitted to the drug test and the results were determined, Griess required Earith to serve 72 hours in jail. The specific results of the drug test were ruled inadmissible prior to trial when the trial court sustained Earith's motion in limine. When the video deposition was presented to the jury, Griess' statement that Earith had tested positive was not redacted and was heard by the jury. Earith objected and moved for a mistrial. The trial court overruled Earith's motion and stated, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I am instructing you to disregard the testimony of . . . Griess regarding the positive test. You are not to use that as evidence regarding her possession of methamphetamine because the State cannot put the test results into evidence."

During the search on December 23, 2011, Griess also asked Earith for permission to search her car. Earith stated that the car belonged to her and that she had driven it to the jail that morning.

Griess was assisted in the search by Jennifer Retchless-Chavez (Chavez), a deputy sheriff with the Saline County sheriff's office. There was a dog in the car, so they asked Earith to hold the dog during the search of the car, and Earith complied. Chavez found two pill bottles in the passenger compartment. One bottle ...


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