Judgments: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. Determination of a
jurisdictional issue which does not involve a factual dispute
is a matter of law which requires an appellate court to reach
its conclusions independent from a trial court.
Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. Before reaching the legal
issues presented for review, it is the duty of an appellate
court to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the
matter before it.
Courts: Final Orders: Appeal and Error. Final orders and
judgments issued by a county court may be appealed to
Courts: Final Orders: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. A
district court order affirming, reversing, or remanding an
order or judgment of the county court is itself a final order
that an appellate court has jurisdiction to review.
Judgments. An order affecting a substantial right that is
issued upon a summary application in an action after judgment
under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-1902 (Reissue 2016) is an
order ruling on a postjudgment motion in an action.
Words and Phrases. A substantial right is an essential legal
right, not a mere technical right.
Criminal Law: Judgments. An order regarding the statutory
right to remove criminal record history information from the
public record pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-3523
(Reissue 2016) affects a substantial right for purposes of
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-1902 (Reissue 2016).
Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. Where a lower court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of a
claim, issue, or question, an appellate court also lacks the
power to determine the merits of the claim, issue, or
question presented to the lower court.
__:__. When an appellate court is without jurisdiction to
act, the appeal must be dismissed. However, an appellate
court has the power to [299 Neb. 435] determine whether it
lacks jurisdiction over an appeal because the lower court
lacked jurisdiction to enter the order; to vacate a void
order; and, if necessary, to remand the cause with
Pleadings: Words and Phrases. In a legal action, the function
of a motion is not to initiate new litigation, but to bring
before the court for ruling some material but incidental
matter arising in the progress of the case in which the
motion is filed.
Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over a motion is dependent upon
the court's having jurisdiction over the case in which
the motion is filed.
. A court has jurisdiction to issue orders on motions
pertaining to incidental matters within the scope of the
action over which the court has jurisdiction.
Actions: Jurisdiction. A court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction to hear motions that seek an order granting
relief beyond the scope of the action at hand unless the
motion is authorized by statute. A litigant must file a new
action when seeking such relief.
Actions: Words and Phrases. An action is a distinct and
separate court proceeding, governed by separate pleadings and
requiring a separate process.
Courts: Appeal and Error. A higher court is not bound by a
precedent of an inferior court under the doctrine of stare
__ . The doctrine of stare decisis does not require a court
to blindly perpetuate its prior interpretation of the law if
it concludes the prior interpretation was clearly incorrect.
Statutes: Judicial Construction: Legislature: Presumptions:
Intent. Where a statute has been judicially construed and
that construction has not evoked an amendment, it will be
presumed that the Legislature has acquiesced in the
court's determination of the Legislature's intent.
Statutes: Judicial Construction: Legislature: Intent. The
doctrine of legislative acquiescence applies only when there
is a statutory provision to interpret.
__:__: __:__. A court's holding is not protected by the
doctrine of legislative acquiescence, if it does not purport
to interpret the statutory text.
from the District Court for Lancaster County, John A.
Colborn, Judge, on appeal thereto from the County Court for
Lancaster County, Matthew L. Acton, Judge. Vacated and
Jennifer Gaughan and Marian G. Heaney, of Legal Aid of
Nebraska, for appellant.
Neb. 436] Marcee A. Brownlee, Assistant Lincoln City
Attorney, for appellee.
Christopher L. Eickholt, of Eickholt Law, L.L.C., and Amy A.
Miller, of American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of
Nebraska, for amicus curiae American Civil Liberties Union of
P. Sullivan, for amicus curiae University of Nebraska Civil
Clinical Law Program.
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Funke, JJ.
N. Coble filed a motion to seal the record of her citation
for two misdemeanors which were subsequently dismissed. The
county court overruled Coble's motion, and the district
court affirmed. We conclude that Coble's motion was not
authorized by statute and that thus, the county court lacked
jurisdiction to consider the motion. As a result, the
district court and this court lack jurisdiction to review the
merits of the county court's order. We do not reach the
merits of whether Coble would be entitled to have her record
sealed were she to use a proper procedure. We vacate the
county court and district court orders and dismiss this
2013, Coble, who was 18 years of age at the time, was issued
a uniform complaint and citation for two misdemeanors. After
completing a diversion program, the charges were dismissed on
the city attorney's motion.
2017, Coble filed a motion in the county court for Lancaster
County, under the same case number as her criminal case,
captioned as "Motion to Seal Records." It requested
that the court issue an "[o]rder making all the records
[299 Neb. 437] associated with this case 'non-public'
pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-3523." The county
court issued an order overruling Coble's motion.
doing so, the county court concluded that the procedure
utilized by Coble (filing a motion to seal in the criminal
case), in spite of having no basis in Neb. Rev. Stat. §
29-3523 (Reissue 2016), was authorized by the Nebraska Court
of Appeals' opinion in State v.
court then concluded that Coble was seeking retroactive
application of a recent statutory amendment to §
29-3523, but the court refused to apply it retroactively
because it deemed the amendment to be a substantive change.
The court then determined that under the version of the
statute in effect at the time of the dismissal of Coble's
charges, the statute applied only to a "notation of
arrest, " not to records of citations. Thus, the
court concluded that Coble was not entitled to the relief she
appealed to the district court, which generally agreed with
the county court's analysis and affirmed.
ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR
two assignments of error, restated and summarized, claim that
the district court erred by affirming the county ...