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State v. Jensen

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 26, 2018

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Victor Jensen, appellant.

         1. Criminal Law: Courts: Appeal and Error. In an appeal of a criminal case from the county court, the district court acts as an intermediate court of appeals, and its review is limited to an examination of the record for error or abuse of discretion.

         2. Courts: Judgments: Appeal and Error. Both the district court and a higher appellate court generally review appeals from the county court for error appearing on the record. When reviewing a judgment for errors appearing on the record, an appellate court's inquiry is whether the decision conforms to the law, is supported by competent evidence, and is neither arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable. But an appellate court independently reviews questions of law in appeals from the county court.

         3. Records: Appeal and Error. An appellant has the responsibility to present a record that permits appellate review of the issue assigned as error.

          Appeal from the District Court for Burt County, John E. Samson, Judge, on appeal thereto from the County Court for Burt County, C. Matthew Samuelson, Judge. Judgment of District Court affirmed.

          Victor Jensen, pro se.

          Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Kimberly A. Klein for appellee.

          Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Funke, JJ., and Harder and Noakes, District Judges.

          [299 Neb. 792] Cassel, J.

         INTRODUCTION

         Victor Jensen had been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) at various times throughout the pendency of his criminal case, which commenced in 2011. In 2016, he sought to have the county "pay" or waive his probation fees and court costs. The county court denied the request, and the district court affirmed. Because Jensen did not present evidence as to his financial condition at the time of the hearing on his motion and the record is inadequate to show that the county court erred in not waiving the court costs, we affirm the district court's decision.

         BACKGROUND

         Proceedings in County Court

         In 2014, the county court convicted Jensen of certain crimes. It imposed a jail sentence, ordered Jensen to pay $3, 000 in fines and $39.85 in costs, sentenced him to 24 months' probation, and ordered him to pay $600 in probation fees. After Jensen's appeals were resolved and jurisdiction returned to the county court, Jensen apparently filed a motion on May 25, 2016, seeking payment of four items, including probation fees and court costs. This motion is not in our record, but it is referred to in a county court order.

         On December 20, 2016, and January 24, 2017, the county court evidently held hearings. Our bill of exceptions does not contain a verbatim transcription of those hearings; instead, it includes exhibits offered at the December 2016 hearing. According to a subsequent order of the county court, it received the exhibits. Many of the exhibits were poverty affidavits and filings to proceed IFP at various times during the pendency of the case and appeals therefrom. The evidence contained a July 2012 financial affidavit and order permitting Jensen to proceed IFP and directing that costs not already paid as of that date be paid by the county. It contained a January 2013 affidavit of poverty and order sustaining Jensen's motion to appeal IFP to [299 Neb. 793] this court. The evidence also contained an August 2014 ...


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