Jury Instructions: Appeal and Error. Whether
jury instructions are correct is a question of law, which an
appellate court resolves independently of the lower
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
evidence, and (3) the appellant was prejudiced by the
court's refusal to give the tendered instruction.
Insanity: Proof. The insanity defense requires proof
that (1) the defendant had a mental disease or defect at the
time of the crime and (2) the defendant did not know or
understand the nature and consequences of his or her actions
or that he or she did not know the difference between right
Jury Instructions. Jury instructions are not
prejudicial if, when taken as a whole, they correctly state
the law, are not misleading, and adequately cover the issues
supported by the pleadings and the evidence.
Petition for further review from the Court of Appeals.
Riedmann, Bishop, and Welch, Judges, on appeal thereto from
the District Court for Lancaster County, Kevin R. McManaman,
Judge. Judgment of Court of Appeals affirmed.
E. Rappl for appellant.
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, Melissa R. Vincent,
and Derek T. Bral, Senior Certified Law Student, for
Neb. 730] Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy,
Funke, Papik, and Freudenberg, JJ.
ingesting methamphetamine, Shannon D. Bigelow was in a
hospital emergency room, where hospital personnel
administered medications which, instead of relaxing him
caused him to become agitated, whereupon he assaulted an
officer. We granted Bigelow's petition for further review
of the decision of the Nebraska Court of Appeals which
affirmed his conviction in the district court for Lancaster
County for third degree assault on an officer. On further
review, Bigelow raises issues regarding jury instructions
refused and given on the defenses of insanity and
agree with the Court of Appeals that the district court did
not err when it refused Bigelow's proposed insanity
defense instruction and instead gave an instruction regarding
both voluntary and involuntary intoxication. We affirm.
charge against Bigelow arose from an incident which occurred
in July 2016 when he was admitted to a hospital after he
ingested methamphetamine and exhibited bizarre behavior.
Bigelow became agitated and restless at the hospital, so
nurses injected him with three medications-Haldol, Ativan,
and Benadryl-which were intended to relax him. However,
Bigelow became more agitated, left his room, and began pacing
around the emergency room. After personnel called for
security, an off-duty police officer working for hospital
security arrived and told Bigelow that he needed to leave the
emergency room. Bigelow punched the officer in the face,
"took him to the ground," and punched the officer
several more times while reaching for the officer's gun.
He then fled the emergency room, pursued by the security
sheriff's deputy responding to an emergency dispatch saw
Bigelow running out the doors of the emergency room [303 Neb.
731] followed by the security officer. The deputy pointed his
Taser at Bigelow and told him to stop and get on the ground.
Bigelow immediately stopped running and complied with the
deputy's command to get on the ground. Bigelow also
immediately complied with subsequent orders to roll over and
put his hands behind his back. The deputy testified at trial
that Bigelow was "completely compliant," that he
did not resist and was not aggressive but instead was
"[t]he opposite," and that he was compliant with
other police officers who arrived and helped complete the
was arrested, and the State charged him with third degree
assault on an officer in violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. §
28-931 (Reissue 2016). The State later amended the
information to allege that Bigelow was a habitual criminal.
to trial, Bigelow filed a notice of intent to rely on an
insanity defense. After a competency evaluation, the court
determined that Bigelow was competent to stand trial.
defense at trial, Bigelow called Dr. Klaus Hartmann as a
witness. Hartmann had conducted an evaluation in January 2017
to determine whether Bigelow was insane at the time of the
incident in July 2016. Although Hartmann noted that at times
prior to the incident, Bigelow had been diagnosed with
various mental disorders, including schizophrenia, the
general thrust of Hartmann's testimony was that he
attributed Bigelow's behavior in the emergency room to
the effects of the three drugs given to him at the hospital.
Hartmann also testified that the methamphetamine Bigelow had
ingested prior to being admitted to the hospital would have
made him "more energized," but Hartmann disagreed
with an evaluation by another doctor who concluded that the
assault was "precipitated by the voluntary use of
amphetamine." When asked to opine on whether Bigelow
knew what he was doing when the assault took place, Hartmann
opined that "he was sufficiently impaired by the effects
of these medicines that he did not know what he was
doing." When asked whether the effect of the three drugs
could be described as "some sort of either [303 Neb.
732] a mental disease or defect or disorder," Hartmann
declined to use one of those terms and instead described the
effect as "a temporary drug-induced impairment."
Hartmann had also described the effect of the three drugs as
being "almost like [Bigelow] had been drinking alcohol
excessively and he was not in a position to control his
actions and be in full possession of his faculties."
his cross-examination by the State, Hartmann testified that
it was "the three drugs [Bigelow] was given at the
hospital" and "[n]ot the methamphetamine" that
had "caused his problems" at the time of the
assault. At the end of the cross-examination, the State
specifically asked Hartmann, "And your opinion is not
that he was suffering from the mental disease to the extent
that he did not know the difference between right and wrong
with respect to what he was doing, it was the impairment due
to the three drugs, correct?" Hartman replied,
Bigelow rested his case, the State moved the court for an
order that Bigelow would not be entitled to submit an
insanity defense to the jury. The State noted Hartman's
testimony that it was not mental disease that caused
Bigelow's behavior and that instead, he was impaired due
to the drugs he had been given. Bigelow argued in response
that "the mental disorder was essentially an involuntary
intoxication . . . caused by the three drugs." The court
found that Bigelow's evidence did not present a prima
facie case for the insanity defense and granted the
State's motion. In connection with the ruling, the court
commented that it thought Bigelow's evidence showed both
voluntary and involuntary intoxication but not the mental
disease, defect, or disorder necessary for an insanity