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State v. Garcia

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

October 22, 2019

State of Nebraska, Appellee,
v.
Eleazar Z. Garcia, Also Known As Eleazar Garcia-Zuniga, Appellant.

         1. 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.

         2. Effectiveness of Counsel: Appeal and Error. Whether a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel may be determined on direct appeal is a question of law.

         3. ___: ___.In reviewing claims of ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal, an appellate court decides only whether the undisputed facts contained within the record are sufficient to conclusively determine whether counsel did or did not provide effective assistance and whether the defendant was or was not prejudiced by counsel's alleged deficient performance.

         4. Trial: Waiver: Appeal and Error. Failure to make a timely objection waives the right to assert prejudicial error on appeal.

         5. Sentences: Waiver: Appeal and Error. Generally, where no objection is made at a sentencing hearing when a defendant is provided an opportunity to do so, any claimed error is waived and is not preserved for appellate review.

         6. Appeal and Error. An appellate court may find plain error on appeal when an error unasserted or uncomplained of at trial, but plainly evident from the record, prejudicially affects a litigant's substantial right and, if uncorrected, would result in damage to the integrity, reputation, and fairness of the judicial process.

         7. Rules of the Supreme Court: Interpreters. Pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-2405 (Reissue 2016), a court interpreter is not required to recite an [27 Neb.App. 706] oath at the beginning of each proceeding if already certified under the rules of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

         8. Appeal and Error. An alleged error must be both specifically assigned and specifically argued in the brief of the party asserting the error to be considered by an appellate court.

         9. ___. An appellate court does not consider errors which are argued but not assigned.

         10. Effectiveness of Counsel. As a matter of law, counsel cannot be ineffective for failing to raise a meritless argument.

         11. Sentences: Time. A sentence validly imposed takes effect from the time it is pronounced.

         12. Sentences. When a valid sentence has been put into execution, the trial court cannot modify, amend, or revise it in any way, either during or after the term or session of court at which the sentence was imposed.

         13. Judgments: Records. When there is a conflict between the record of a judgment and the verbatim record of the proceedings in open court, the latter prevails.

         14. Sentences: Appeal and Error. Where a sentence imposed within the statutory limits is alleged on appeal to be excessive, the appellate court must determine whether a sentencing court abused its discretion in considering and applying the relevant factors as well as any applicable legal principles in determining the sentence to be imposed.

         15. Sentences. In determining a sentence to be imposed, relevant factors customarily considered and applied are the defendant's (1) age, (2) mentality, (3) education and experience, (4) social and cultural background, (5) past criminal record or record of law-abiding conduct, and (6) motivation for the offense, as well as (7) the nature of the offense and (8) the amount of violence involved in the commission of the crime.

         16. ___. The appropriateness of a sentence is necessarily a subjective judgment and includes the sentencing judge's observation of the defendant's demeanor and attitude and all the facts and circumstances surrounding the defendant's life.

         17. Effectiveness of Counsel: Appeal and Error. When a defendant's trial counsel is different from his or her counsel on direct appeal, the defendant must raise on direct appeal any issue of trial counsel's ineffective performance which is known to the defendant or is apparent from the record in order to preserve such claim. Once raised, the appellate court will determine whether the record on appeal is sufficient to review the merits of the ineffective performance claims.

         18. Effectiveness of Counsel: Records: Proof: Appeal and Error. An ineffective assistance of counsel claim made on direct appeal can be found to be without merit if the record establishes that trial counsel's [27 Neb.App. 707]performance was not deficient or that the appellant could not establish prejudice.

         19. Effectiveness of Counsel: Proof. To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984), the defendant has the burden to show that his or her counsel's performance was deficient and that this deficient performance actually prejudiced the defendant's defense.

         20. Effectiveness of Counsel: Pleas. In a plea context, deficiency depends on whether counsel's advice was within the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases.

         21. Convictions: Effectiveness of Counsel: Pleas: Proof. When a conviction is based upon a guilty or no contest plea, the prejudice requirement for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim is satisfied if the defendant shows a reasonable probability that but for the errors of counsel, the defendant would have insisted on going to trial rather than pleading guilty.

         22. Pleas. To support a finding that a defendant has entered a guilty plea freely, intelligently, voluntarily, and understandingly, a court must inform a defendant concerning (1) the nature of the charge, (2) the right to assistance of counsel, (3) the right to confront witnesses against the defendant, (4) the right to a jury trial, and (5) the privilege against self-incrimination. The record must also establish a factual basis for the plea and that the defendant knew the range of penalties for the crime charged.

         23. Effectiveness of Counsel: Proof: Appeal and Error. General allegations that trial counsel performed deficiently or that trial counsel was ineffective are insufficient to raise an ineffective assistance claim on direct appeal and thereby preserve the issue for later review.

          Appeal from the District Court for Sarpy County: George A. Thompson, Judge. Affirmed as modified, ...


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