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State v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

January 8, 2019

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Jahhme D. Jackson, appellant.

         1. Jury Instructions: Appeal and Error. Whether jury instructions are correct is a question of law, which an appellate court resolves independently of the lower court's decision.

         2. Rules of Evidence. In proceedings where the Nebraska Evidence Rules apply, the admissibility of evidence is controlled by the Nebraska Evidence Rules; judicial discretion is involved only when the rules make discretion a factor in determining admissibility.

         3. Rules of Evidence: Appeal and Error. Where the Nebraska Evidence Rules commit the evidentiary question at issue to the discretion of the trial court, an appellate court reviews the admissibility of evidence for an abuse of discretion.

         4. Convictions: Evidence: Appeal and Error. In reviewing a criminal conviction for a sufficiency of the evidence claim, whether the evidence is direct, circumstantial, or a combination thereof, the standard is the same: An appellate court does not resolve conflicts in the evidence, pass on the credibility of witnesses, or reweigh the evidence; such matters are for the finder of fact. The relevant question for an appellate court is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

         5. Sentences: Appeal and Error. An appellate court will not disturb a sentence imposed within the statutory limits absent an abuse of discretion by the trial court.

         6. Jury Instructions: Proof: Appeal and Error. To establish reversible error from a court's refusal to give a requested instruction, an appellant has the burden to show that (1) the tendered instruction is a correct statement of the law, (2) the tendered instruction is warranted by the [26 Neb.App. 728] evidence, and (3) the appellant was prejudiced by the court's refusal to give the instruction.

         7. Self-Defense. To successfully assert the claim of self-defense, a defendant must have a reasonable and good faith belief in the necessity of using force and the force used in defense must be immediately necessary and justified under the circumstances.

         8. Self-Defense: Proof. The defendant bears the initial burden to produce evidence which supports a claim of self-defense.

         9. Self-Defense. Only unlawful force directed at a defendant provides a justifiable basis for self-defense.

         10. Sentences: Appeal and Error. An appellate court will not disturb sentences that are within statutory limits, unless the district court abused its discretion in establishing the sentence.

         11. ___: ___. Where a sentence imposed within the statutory limits is alleged on appeal to be excessive, the appellate court must determine whether the sentencing court abused its discretion in considering and applying the following factors: the defendant's age, mentality, education, experience, and social and cultural background, as well as his past criminal record or law-abiding conduct, motivation for the offense, nature of the offense, and the amount of violence involved in the commission of the crime.

         12. ___: ___. An abuse of discretion takes place when the sentencing court's reasons or rulings are clearly untenable and unfairly deprive a litigant of a substantial right and a just result.

          Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: Darla S. Ideus, Judge. Affirmed.

          Joe Nigro, Lancaster County Public Defender, and Yohance Christie for appellant.

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


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