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State v. Clemens

Supreme Court of Nebraska

July 27, 2018

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Nathan W. Clemens, appellant.

         1. Pleas: Appeal and Error. A trial court is given discretion as to whether to accept a guilty plea, and an appellate court will overturn that decision only where there is an abuse of discretion.

         2. Judges: Words and Phrases. A judicial abuse of discretion exists when the reasons or rulings of a trial judge are clearly untenable, unfairly depriving a litigant of a substantial right and denying just results in matters submitted for disposition.

         3. Statutes: Appeal and Error. Statutory interpretation presents a question of law, which an appellate court reviews independently.

         4. Pleas. To support a plea of guilty or no contest, the record must establish that (1) there is a factual basis for the plea and (2) the defendant knew the range of penalties for the crime with which he or she is charged.

         5. Pleas: Effectiveness of Counsel. When a court accepts a defendant's plea of guilty or no contest, the defendant is limited to challenging whether the plea was understandingly and voluntarily made and whether it was the result of ineffective assistance of counsel.

         6. Pleas. A sufficient factual basis is a requirement for finding that a plea was entered into understandingly and voluntarily.

         7. Statutes. Statutory language is to be given its plain and ordinary meaning.

         8. Statutes: Legislature: Intent: Appeal and Error. An appellate court will not look beyond a statute to determine the legislative intent when the words are plain, direct, or unambiguous.

         9. Statutes: Intent: Appeal and Error. When interpreting a statute, effect must be given, if possible, to all the several parts of a statute; no sentence, clause, or word should be rejected as meaningless or superfluous if it can be avoided. An appellate court must look to the statute's purpose and give to the statute a reasonable construction which [300 Neb. 602] best achieves that purpose, rather than a construction which would defeat it.

         10. Convicted Sex Offender: Jurisdiction: States. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-4003(1)(a)(iv) (Reissue 2016), whether one is "required to register as a sex offender" in another jurisdiction is determined under the laws of the other jurisdiction rather than under Nebraska law. Section 29-4003(1)(a)(iv) adds no additional requirement that registration in the other jurisdiction must be based on a "conviction" or an offense that would have required the person to register in Nebraska if the offense had been committed in Nebraska.

         11. ___:___: ___.A sex offender registrant's actual registration under another jurisdiction's law is conclusive evidence that the registrant was required to register within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-4003(1)(a)(iv) (Reissue 2016).

          Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: John A. Colborn, Judge. Affirmed.

          Joseph D. Nigro, Lancaster County Public Defender, Todd Molvar, and Sarah L. Burghaus, Senior Certified Law Student, for appellant.

          Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Melissa R. Vincent for appellee.

          Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, and Papik, JJ., and Hall, District Judge.

          MILLER-LERMAN, JUDGE

         NATURE OF CASE

         Nathan W. Clemens appeals his plea-based conviction and sentence in the district court for Lancaster County for attempted violation of Nebraska's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). He claims that the district court committed plain error when it accepted the factual basis for ...


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