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State v. Dalland

Supreme Court of Nebraska

January 24, 2014

State of Nebraska, Appellee,
v.
Roger L. Dalland, Appellant.

Page 93

Petition for further review from the Court of Appeals, SIEVERS, PIRTLE, and RIEDMANN, Judges, on appeal thereto from the District Court for Hamilton County, MICHAEL J. OWENS, Judge.

Judgment of Court of Appeals reversed, and cause remanded with direction.

Michael P. Kneale, of Bradley, Elsbernd, Andersen, Kneale & Mues Jankovitz, P.C., for appellant.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and Nathan A. Liss, Lincoln, for appellee.

Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Stephan, McCormack, Miller-Lerman, and Cassel, JJ.

Syllabus

1. Trial: Investigative Stops: Warrantless Searches: Appeal and Error. The ultimate determinations of reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop and probable cause to perform a warrantless search are reviewed de novo, and findings of fact are reviewed for clear error, giving due weight to the inferences drawn from those facts by the trial judge.

2. Trial: Witnesses: Evidence. Where a party without reasonable explanation testifies to facts materially different concerning a vital issue, the change clearly being made to meet the exigencies of pending litigation, such evidence is discredited as a matter of law and should be disregarded. In applying this rule, the important considerations are that the testimony pertains to a vital point, that it is clearly apparent the party has made the change to meet the exigencies of the pending case, and that there is no rational or sufficient explanation for the change in testimony.

Page 94

3. Witnesses: Testimony. Where it is clear that a party as a witness, to meet the exigencies in pending litigation and without reasonable explanation, changes such witness' testimony and then testifies to facts materially different concerning a vital issue, the subsequent and altered testimony from such witness is discredited as a matter of law and should be disregarded.

4. Witnesses: Testimony: Juries. An inconsistent or contradictory statement by a witness, who is not a party opponent, is a factor which may affect a jury's evaluation of a witness' credibility or weight to be given such witness' testimony.

5. Trial: Parties: Witnesses: Testimony. Testimony altered for trial to meet the exigencies of the pending litigation should be disregarded as a matter of law only if the witness giving the testimony is a party to the action.

6. Judgments: Appeal and Error. A correct result will not be set aside merely because the lower court applied the wrong reasoning in reaching that result.

[287 Neb. 232] 7. Constitutional Law: Search and Seizure. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and article I, ยง 7, of the Nebraska Constitution guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.

8. Search and Seizure: Motor Vehicles: Probable Cause. A warrantless search of a vehicle is permissible upon probable cause that the vehicle contains contraband.

9. Probable Cause: Words and Phrases. Probable cause is a flexible, commonsense standard that depends on the totality of the circumstances.

10. Probable Cause. Probable cause to search requires that the known facts and circumstances are sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable prudence in the belief that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found.

11. Trial: Evidence: Appeal and Error. In reviewing findings of fact, an appellate court does not reweigh or resolve conflicts in the evidence, but will uphold the trial court's findings of fact unless those findings are clearly erroneous.

12. Evidence: Appeal and Error. An appellate court resolves evidentiary conflicts in favor of the successful party, who is entitled to every reasonable inference deducible from the evidence.

Wright, J.

NATURE OF CASE

Roger L. Dalland was convicted of possession of a controlled substance after syringes with trace amounts of methamphetamine were discovered during a warrantless search of his vehicle. At a hearing on Dalland's motion to suppress, the State argued that it had ...


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