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State v. Clark

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

July 8, 2014


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Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: ROBERT R. OTTE, Judge.


Lisa F. Lozano for appellant.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and Kimberly A. Klein for appellee.

INBODY, Chief Judge, and MOORE and PIRTLE, Judges.


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[22 Neb.App. 126] Moore, Judge.


Kenneth W. Clark appeals from his conviction and sentence following a jury trial in the district court for Lancaster County of a violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). The court sentenced Clark to 90 days in jail with credit for time served. Clark assigns error to the court's failure to give a requested jury instruction, the overruling of his motion for directed verdict, and the sufficiency of the evidence to convict him. He also asserts that the court imposed an excessive sentence and that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Finding no merit to the assignments of error, we affirm.

[22 Neb.App. 127] BACKGROUND

In 2008, Clark pled no contest to and was convicted of third degree sexual assault, a Class I misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 360 days in jail. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. See State v. Clark, 278 Neb. 557, 772 N.W.2d 559 (2009). As a result of the conviction, Clark was subject to the registration requirements of SORA. See, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-320 (Reissue 2008); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-4003 (Cum. Supp. 2012) (SORA applies to persons who, on or after January 1, 1997, plead to or are found guilty of certain listed crimes, including sexual assault). The present appeal arises out of Clark's conviction for failure to follow those registration requirements in 2012.

On October 5, 2012, the State filed an information in the district court, charging

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Clark with a SORA violation, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-4011(1) (Cum. Supp. 2012), a Class IV felony.

On November 27, 2012, Clark's attorney filed a motion for competency evaluation. A hearing on the motion was held on November 28. During the course of the hearing, Clark objected to his attorney's motion and explained the nature of his objection to the district court. On November 28, the court ordered that a competency evaluation be conducted. On January 2, 2013, a hearing was held to determine Clark's competency following the evaluation, and an order was entered on January 3 finding that Clark was not competent to stand trial. This order committed Clark to the Lincoln Regional Center for treatment until such time as the disability may be removed. On February 1, the court found Clark competent to stand trial and ordered him to be released from the Lincoln Regional Center.

A jury trial was held on April 1 through 3, 2013. Testimony was presented from the civilian supervisor for the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) Sex Offender Registry, a Lancaster County Department of Corrections officer, the records system supervisor for the Lancaster County sheriff's office, and a Lincoln Police Department officer. In addition, certain documentary evidence with respect to Clark's SORA registration and subsequent verifications was admitted.

[22 Neb.App. 128] The record shows that Clark completed his original registration under SORA in May 2008. Clark's original registration forms list his mother as another occupant at the same address. Clark completed a verification form in May 2009, showing no changes in his address. In December 2009, Timothy Kennett, a Lincoln Police Department sergeant whose duties include the investigation of SORA violations, contacted Clark as a part of his compliance checks on registered sex offenders. This contact was made in an effort to update registrants' information prior to an upcoming change in SORA verification requirements in January 2010. Kennett assisted Clark at that time in making sure his information was up to date.

Reporting requirements for verification by registrants changed in 2010. As of January 1, 2010, offenders were required to report to a sheriff's office for verification annually, biannually, or quarterly, depending on their registration duration. Offenders convicted of misdemeanors are required to register for 15 years, and as of January 2010, 15-year registrants were required to verify their information annually in their birth month. At the end of October 2009, the NSP sent a mass mailing to all actively registered offenders, advising them of their registration duration and new verification schedule. Clark was sent a letter dated October 26, 2009, via certified mail, informing him about the changes in verification requirements and that, beginning in 2010, as a 15-year registrant, he would have to verify his registration information every 12 months in his birth month, which is March. The October 2009 letter was returned unclaimed to the NSP, even though it was sent to Clark's last known address in the registration database.

On April 8, 2010, Clark was an inmate at a Lancaster County correctional facility. Following an inquiry regarding Clark by the Lincoln Police Department, a county department of corrections officer asked Clark to fill out a change of address form. This was necessary because sex offender registrants who are incarcerated for more than 3 working days are required to notify the sheriff's office of the change in address. The ...

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