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State v. Roberts

Supreme Court of Nebraska

November 1, 2019

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Jason D. Roberts, appellant.

         1. Moot Question: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. Because mootness is a justiciability doctrine that operates to prevent courts from exercising jurisdiction, appellate courts review mootness determinations under the same standard of review as other jurisdictional questions.

         2. Judgments: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. A jurisdictional question that does not involve a factual dispute is determined by an appellate court as a matter of law, which requires the appellate court to reach a conclusion independent of the lower court's decision.

         3. Moot Question: Appeal and Error. An appellate court may choose to review an otherwise moot case under the public interest exception if it involves a matter affecting the public interest or when other rights or liabilities may be affected by its determination.

         4. ___: ___. When determining whether a case involves a matter of public interest, an appellate court considers (1) the public or private nature of the question presented, (2) the desirability of an authoritative adjudication for future guidance of public officials, and (3) the likelihood of future recurrence of the same or similar problem.

          Appeal from the District Court for Pierce County: James G. Kube, Judge. Appeal dismissed.

          Melissa A. Wentling for appellant.

          Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Nathan A. Liss for appellee.

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

          [304 Neb. 396] Papik, J.

         Jason D. Roberts was convicted of a felony offense in one district court and multiple felony and misdemeanor offenses in another. His sentences in both courts included terms of incarceration and terms of postrelease supervision and were ordered to be served consecutively. After Roberts had served the incarceration portion of his sentences and had been released, the State filed a motion in one court alleging that he had violated the terms of his postrelease supervision and asking that his postrelease supervision be revoked. The district court did so and ordered that he serve the entirety of the time remaining on his postrelease supervision term in jail. Roberts appeals, contending that the court ordered him to serve more time in jail than was permitted by law.

         At this point, however, Roberts has completely served his sentence. The parties agree that this renders Roberts' appeal moot. And although Roberts asks that we nonetheless decide the merits of his appeal under exceptions to the mootness doctrine, we decline to do so and dismiss the appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         Roberts' Convictions and Sentences.

         In April 2016, Roberts was sentenced in the district court for Madison County for possession of morphine. The court sentenced him to 364 days in jail plus 9 months' postrelease supervision. His sentence was ordered to run ...


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