1-15-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, "High Court Drops Murder Conviction,(State v. Myers, [6-0] "... gave Meyer's jury a definition for second-degree murder that was essentially the same as manslaughter.")
2-10-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Douglas County Cases, State v.Houser/Carman/Grimes/Blackson
2-10-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD,Convictions for Murder Questioned - Malice Seen as Key for Second Degree (State v. Houser/Carman, "In addition, defendants whose appeals have been completed can contend they received ineffective representation because their attorneys did not contest jury instructions ...")
5-7-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man's Murder Conviction Overturned State v. Jones, [5-2] "to overturn its controversial 1989 decision [State v. Pettit] that defined manslaughter an 'intentional' slaying upon the heat of a sudden quarrel.
Eliminated the requirement that such a slaying must be committed intentionally to be deemed manslaughter.")
5-9-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Intent no Longer Necessary for Manslaughter Conviction (State v. Jones/Blackson, "... eliminated the element of intent from the definition of manslaughter." and in Blackson said, "A finding that the defendant killed another purposely and maliciously but without deliberation and premeditation and without just cause or excuse satisfies the requirement that the killing was done with malice.")
6-8-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man Agrees to Plea Before His third Trial (State v. Houser, "... the judge erred because he essentially defined second-degree murder as an intentional killing without premeditation.")
7-23-94 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Supreme Court Orders New Trial in Murder Case (State v. Grimes, [6-
1] "... when a charge of second-degree murder is filed, it [Information] must also state that the alleged crime was committed with malice.")
7-23-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judges Once Again Overturn Conviction in Case of Murder (State v. Grimes, [5-1] "... the high court majority maintained that 'malice' needs to be included in the definition of second-degree murder to distinguish the crime from manslaughter. ... If malice were not an element of second-degree murder, the homicide statutes would not make sense.")
7-29-94 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Conviction Reversed in Slaying of Father (State v. Manzer, [6-1] "... failure to include malice as an element of second-degree murder is plain error.")
7-30-94 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Court Reverses Murder Conviction (State v. Manzer/Ladig, [6-1 Manzer] "... 125 people now in prison and 11 parolees were sentenced after that date. [January. 1, 1979])
7-30-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Court Ruling Could Force Many Retrials (State v. Manzer/Ladig)
7-31-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, A New Lease on Life for Nebraska Killers
8-4-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, State Attorney General Seeks Second Look at Murder Ruling (State v. Manzer, "In both motions, the attorney general argues that the Supreme Court rewrote state law. That is the job of the State Legislature, not the court, Brown wrote.")
8-5-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Change Again Urged in ruling on Murders (State v. Ladig, "... a summary that said the new provision differs from the present section, which requires the killing to be purposely and maliciously, whereas the new code requires that the cause of death of a person need only be done intentionally.")
11-8-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man's No-Contest Plea To Murder Halts Retrials (State v. Jones, "... using a firearm to commit a felony, was dropped by prosecutors.")
11-19-94 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Supreme Court Reaffirms Conviction of Lincoln Man (State v. Dean/Martin, in Martin, "... the high court ordered a new trial ...")
12-13-94 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Teen Again Sentenced to Life for Dad's Death (State v. Manzer, "His lawyer, John Gerrard of Norfolk, asked Monday that Manzer be sentenced to 20 years ..." [Gerrard later became a State Supreme Court Justice])
5-5-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Court Ruling Could Affect 140 Killers (State v. Williams/Wilson, [4- 2] "The court said the men were convicted of second-degree murder under a faulty state statute.")
5-6-95 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Stenberg Says Ruling Could Free Murderers (State v. Williams/Wilson, [4-3] "Last year he pleaded [Stenberg] with lawmakers to pass a crime bill which would limit the number of post-conviction proceedings to one." in Williams' case, "... remind lower court judges ... their obligation to follow the law as has been announced by the Nebraska Supreme Court.)
5-6-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg Says Rulings May Free Convicts--State v. Williams, [4-2] "... the attorney general does not care about justice ... Stenberg is a politician, not a lawyer.' ... Chambers said, 'What he's saying [Stenberg] is, if a person is improperly convicted, after a certain amount of time it turns into a proper conviction.'")
5-10-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, State Supreme Court Making Law In Defining Second-Degree Murder (State v. Williams/Wilson)
5-18-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Court is Asked to Reconsider Murder Ruling (State v. Williams, "Stenberg contends that an issue that could have been raised in Williams' first appeal should not have been raised in a subsequent appeal.")
5-20-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Court Overturns Another Murder Case (State v. Plant, [5-2] "Judges John Wright and William Connally dissented. ... Participating in the majority decision were Chief Justice C. Thomas White and Judges Dale Fahrnbruch, David J. Lanphier, D. Nick Caporale and retired District Judge Herbert A. Ronin.")
5-22-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, A Split Court Decision in Lincoln Creates Potential for Judicial Mess (State v. Williams, "The court should have enforced the rule that a defendant must raise all relevant issues in a timely fashion.")
6-2-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg to Press Second Degree Murder Dispute ("The only thing now that stands between the retrial or release of nearly every second-degree murderer in the state of Nebraska is the United States Supreme Court.")
6-7-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Omahan's Murder Conviction Reversed by Appeals Court (State v. Green, "A three-judge panel ... our obligations to follow the rulings of our Supreme Court ... a new trial.")
6-9-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judges Criticized, Face discipline Over Malice (State v. Lowe, "Troia [Douglas County District Court Judge] rejected Lowe's subsequent request for a new trial. The judge had said the high court was 'legislating' with its second-degree murder rulings." "Stenberg said he would urge Nebraska's county attorneys to seek first-degree murder convictions for any inmates seeking a new trial on a second-degree murder conviction. He said his office would assist smaller counties in seeking the tougher convictions.")
6-10-95 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR & The Associated Press, Attorneys Prepare for Malice Fallout (State v. Lowe, [5-2] "I intend to ask the county attorneys to seek first-degree convictions for those second-degree murderers who try to use this loophole created by the state Supreme Court as a free pass to get out of jail."
"Second-degree murderers are eventually eligible for parole, but someone convicted of first-degree murder can't be paroled ..." "Those in prison considering the use of this loophole should consider it carefully, because they could end up serving many more years in prison than they already face.")
6-10-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judges Criticized, Face discipline Over 'Malice' (above reprinted.)
6-10-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Crime Bill Passage Doesn't End Dispute
6-15-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Flap Over Second-Degree Murder Should Not Be Happening, but It is (State v. Green, "It will continue to happen unless Supreme Court Judges John Wright and William Connoily, who have dissented in the decisions reversing second-degree murder convictions, can convince at least two of their fellow Supreme Court judges to reconsider their position.")
6-17-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Judicial Lawmaking, Word Games Grate on Ordinary Sensibilities ("... the legislative branch writes the laws and the judicial branch interprets them. But in Nebraska ...")
6-21-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Sad Commentary: Court Making Laws ("Former State Sen. Roland Luedtke has spoken up ... there is no reason for the court to be fooling around with malice anymore. Malice was purposely removed from the definition of second-degree murder in the effort to clean up the criminal code. ... 'no judges, lawyers or others objected to the supposed omission.")
6-24-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Supreme Court Upholds Second-Degree Murder Case..(State v. Derry, "Derry's case did not raise the question of whether the word 'malice' should be included in the definition ... The high court said that the manslaughter definition submitted to the jury was not an issue because presumably the jury first determined Derry was guilty of second-degree murder and therefore did not need to consider manslaughter.")
6-29-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Two witnesses Balk at Retrial in 1992 Death (State v. Ladig)
7-1-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD,Sentence is Upheld in '93 Carjacking-Murder (State v. Eona/Barfoot, [4-2] "In another case [Barfoot] ... The high court ordered a new trial because the information ... did not say malice ...")
7-7-95 KEARNEY HUB, Conviction Taken Under Advisement (State v. Caddy, "BUT PROSECUTORS will file a first-degree murder charge against Caddy if the post-conviction relief is granted, Buffalo County Deputy Attorney Don Miller said.")
7-12-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man Expected to be Freed After 11 Years in Prison (State v. Eggers, "... as the result of a plea agreement and a Supreme Court ruling. ... pleaded guilty ... to felony manslaughter ... Even if Eggers had been retried for second-degree murder, he might have served little to no additional time, Turnbull said. People convicted of second-degree murder in Nebraska serve an average of 12 years in prison.")
7-16-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Inmate Decides Not to Appeal His Conviction (State v. Gondringer, "The possibility is very likely that Gondringer would face the death penalty, and he decided not to take that gamble, Bethune [Sam Bethune, Gondringer's attorney] said.")
7-17-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Again, Nebraska's Supreme Court Makes a Safety Tool Harder to Use ("... making it possible that 140 convicted murderers could eventually have to be retried ...")
7-19-95 KEARNEY HUB Caddy Granted New Trial (State v. Caddy, "Prosecutors filed a first-degree murder charge ... Miller said Caddy was initially charged in 1992 with first-degree murder, but that the charge was reduced as part of a plea bargain. 'The plea bargain (from 1992) has been broken essentially.' Miller said. 'So we went back to what was originally charged. We essentially start over." [Note: original Information was for second-degree--starting over at a higher level.])
7-19-95 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Man Appeals Second-Degree Murder ruling (State v. Caddy)
8-1-95 KEARNEY HUB, Caddy Faces Murder Charge (State v. Caddy, ... will go on trial on a first-degree murder charge.")
8-10-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Killer resentenced, Given Lighter Term for 1992 Shooting (State v. Grimes, "... six to 16 for manslaughter and six to 13 for using a firearm to commit a felony. ... had received a life sentence for second-degree ...")
8-10-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg: State Court Abused its Power (State v. Williams, "Stenberg asked the U.S. Supreme Court ... because it usurped powers reserved to the Nebraska Legislature. ... state court improperly concluded ... lawyers blundered when they did not raise the malice issue during his trial or during subsequent appeals in 1990 and 1992.")
8-14-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, The Second-Degree Murder Issue: Stenberg Right to Defend the Law (State v. Williams)
8-27-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Former Cult Member Wants Murder Conviction Set Aside (State v. Haverkamp, "... suggested a new trial or a resentencing on a manslaughter charge.")
8-28-95 KEARNEY HUB, Convicted Killer Wants New Trial (State v. Haverkamp, "... counsel did not inform him that malice needed to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt ...")
8-28-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Convicted Killer Wants New Trial (State v. Klinginsmith, "... jurors weren't instructed that 'malice' had to be proved ...")
9-5-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Rulo Figure Appeals Based on Malice Ruling (State v. Ryan, "Stenberg argues that Dennis Ryan missed his opportunity to raise the issue of jury instructions both in his initial appeal and in a second appeal ... in 1990.")
9-8-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Another Disturbing Test of Law Involves Rulo Cult Slaying Figure. (State v. Ryan/Harrison, "The court has reversed 13 previous second-degree murder convictions for similar reasons ... Ryan is the first ... in which John M. Gerrard, recently appointed to the court, will participate." "... 20 to 40 years in prison for second-degree ... To avoid a new trial on the second-degree murder charge, Harrison agreed to plead no contest to the lesser charge of manslaughter ... 15 to 20 years)
9-14-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Court Urged to Protect Constitution State v. Illig, "... assistant state attorney general asked the State Court of Appeals on Wednesday to protect the Nebraska Constitution rather than follow the lead of the State supreme Court ... has rewritten the statute to ignore what the Legislature did ...")
9-14-95 KEARNEY HUB Attorney Urges Court to Protect Constitution (State v. Illig, "Citizens have the right to be governed by the laws passed by the people they elected.")
9-15-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Verdict is guilty in Stabbing Retrial (State v. Sanchez, "... convicted of attempted second-degree murder in 1991 has been found guilty of first-degree assault in a retrial.")
9-29-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Plea Bargains Resolve 2 Cases Resurrected by 'Malice' Ruling (State
v. Patz/Sanchez, "Patz was sentenced to life in the case 11 years ago, and
handed down the same sentence again." "... six to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty last month to first-degree assault ... Sanchez credit for the four years ... for attempted second-degree ...")
10-9-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, New Sentencing Makes Omaha Man Eligible for Parole (State v. Williams/Clark, "... pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1992 is eligible for release from prison after his resentencing Tuesday. Martize A. Williams, 24, received a sentence of 6 1/2 to 20 years for manslaughter, a reduced charge. Last Tuesday brothers Harry A. Clark, 47, and Lee L. Clark, 37, received sentences of 61/2 to 20 years for manslaughter. They had been serving life sentences for second-degree murder and had been in prison for 12 years."
10-11-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Resentencing May Mean Killers' Release (State v. Clark/Williams, "... the Clarks ... received 6 1/2 to 20 years ... Williams pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, manslaughter. ... was sentenced to 25 years [second-degree]")
10-12-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Supreme Court's Flawed Reasoning May Free Two Convicted Killers (State v. Clark, "Meet the Clark brothers, poster boys for the
insidious effect of the Supreme Court's flawed jurisprudence on second-degree murder."
10-14-95 KEARNEY HUB, Caddy Pleads Guilty in Re-Trial of '92 Murder (State v. Caddy, "After seeking a new trial on a technicality ... a sentence stronger than the original one is possible. The judge, he said, has discretion in sentencing and is not bound by the previous sentence.")
10-24-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Dues to Society Have Become Too cheap (State v. Williams, "Williams was sentenced to 10 to 25 years ... Your dues, and the dues of other second-degree murderers, are being unjustly reduced--or discharged--because a majority of the Supreme Court has decided to revise the second-degree murder law.")
10-28-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, State Supreme Court Reinstates Alliance Man's Drug Conviction (State v. Cody/Ladig/Russel, "Ladig's original conviction for second-degree murder was lowered because the jury had not been instructed to consider 'malice' ... After pleading no contest to the lower charge, Ladig was given the same life sentence as he had been given on the second-degree murder.")
10-28-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man Convicted of Killing Wife Wins New Trial Over 'Malice' (State v. Klinginsmith, "... even though the state's attorney general argues that the Legislature removed the requirement from state law. ... would be charged with first-degree murder again.")
11-1-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, New Murder Sentence May Free Omahan Soon (State v. Lupino, "... received ... 10 to 20 years, the same sentence received in 1986. ... Special prosecutor Greg Schatz said the word 'malice' was inserted in the 1985 charge, and Lupino again admitted his involvement ... stabbed several times in the chest with the sharp end of a sign post and strangled with a belt ...")
11-4-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD , Malice' Issue cuts Sentence in '92 Slaying (State v. Lowe, [got manslaughter]
11-15-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Resentencing Revives Trauma of Brother's Murder for Woman (State
v. Campbell, "... pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a reduced charge. ... was already eligible for parole under his initial sentence of 22 years, Riley said. was one of the most brutal killings ...")
11-17-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, New Trials for Nebraska Killers Open Old Wounds for No Reason (State v. Campbell, "... criminal whose second-degree murder conviction has been set aside by the Douglas County District Court. ... Many of those whose second-degree murder convictions have been overturned pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, manslaughter. ... some criminals who would have spent many or all of their remaining years behind bars suddenly find themselves on the street. His [Campbell] sentence of 22 years for second-degree murder was changed to 20 years for manslaughter.")
12-5-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD & Associated Press, U.S. High Court Rebuffs Nebraska 'Malice' Appeal (State v. Williams, "The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling on the definition of second-degree murder will stand. ... Stenberg ... contending that the court had exceeded its authority. Stenberg maintained that the Legislature, not the courts, has the duty to define crimes. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Stenberg's argument without comment. ... Williams was sentenced to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder and three years for using a firearm to commit a felony.")
12-5-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD & Associated Press, Stenberg Says Ruling ends Malice Dispute. (State
v. Williams, "We have exhausted all of the traditional legal options, ..."
12-7-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Nelson Talks About Legal Issues With Law-Enforcement Officials ("The governor said the courts must give further direction before anything can be done about the second-degree murder issue and ....")
12-8-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Discouraging Outcome in Murder Cases (State v. Williams, "So far, 26 of the 60 Douglas County murderers have had their convictions thrown out. the results: one dismissal, six guilty pleas to second-degree murder, seven guilty pleas to manslaughter and 12 cases awaiting retrial.")
12-?-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judge Gives Same Term in Killer's Resentencing (State v. Plant, "Plant's life sentence will have to be commuted to a specific number of years before he will be eligible for parole, Burkhard said. ... Plant initially received a sentence of 10 years to life for second-degree murder, 6 1/2 to 20 years for assault and one to three years for child abuse. The sentences for assault and child abuse were to be served at the same time.")
12-19-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Three Convicted Killers Sentenced (State v. Clausen/Matthies/Priebe, Clausen received a new prison sentences of one to 20 years for manslaughter; 6 1/2 to 10 years for using a firearm to commit a felony; five years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; four to six years for escape and two to three years for theft. ... he was found guilty of first-degree murder in December 1993. Matthies received sentences of 25 to 40 years for second-degree murder; 15 to 25 years for attempted second-degree murder; 15 to 25 years for attempted first-degree murder; and five to 10 years for each of three counts of using a firearm to commit a felony. ... Priebe received sentences of 10 to 50 years for second-degree murder and five to 10 years for using a firearm to commit a felony.)
12-29-95 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Fixing the Second-Degree Murder Law (Legislative Bill 727, sponsored by State Sen. Kate Witek of Omaha, would reinsert the element of malice in second-degree murder so that the crime as defined in the state's criminal code matches the definition of the crime insisted upon by the high court. The change would have little practical effect. Prosecutors already are adding malice to their charges of second-degree murder.")
1-24-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Killer's Prison Term Reduced (State v. Morrow, "... was serving 10 to
40 years for second-degree murder and five to 10 years for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony ... received credit for thee six years ... received sentences of six to 15 years for manslaughter and two to three years for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.")
2-3-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Conviction Overturned in Rulo Case (State v. Ryan, [4-3] "Supreme
Court Chief Justice C. Thomas White and Judges D. Nick Caporale, Date
Fahrnbruch and David Lanphier ruled with the majority. Judges John Wright,
William Connolly and John Gerrard dissented. ... Friday was the first time that
Gerrard, who joined the court last July, has ruled on the malice issue.
Fahrnbruch ... 'This is a court of law ... not a court of justice.")
2-17-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD & Associated Press, Malice Ruling Dismays Halt County Prosecutor (State v. HaIl/Ryan/White, [4-3] "... White was charged with first-degree murder ... The jury found him guilty of [second-degree murder.]")
2-28-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg's Call for Term Limits on High Court Judges Attacked ("... Houghton, an Omaha lawyer. 'Politicizing the judicial process is simply not the answer.' ... Stenberg said his plan ... described as a 'court unpacking plan.")
3-16-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, U.S. High Court Might Look at Ryan Case (State v. Ryan, "two arguments ... a state's highest court may by authoritative interpretation put words in a statute as if it had been so amended by the Legislature ... that the Supreme Court [Nebraska] has violated federal constitutional guarantees of a republican form of government.")
3-17-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Young Killer Wants First Taste of Freedom (State v. Ryan, "... originally charged with first-degree."
3-20-96 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR editorial,...Murder by Degree: Match Statute with Court Rulings ("... George Will even waded into the fray last fall to suggest that the court had strayed beyond its proper boundaries into the area of law-making. Maybe. Maybe not. It is at least arguable that the Legislature could have fixed this last year or this year by reinserting the word malice in the second-degree definition. But again, a bill is gathering dust."
3-23-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Retrial Ends in Conviction on More Serious Charge (State v. Thieszen, "... was sentenced to life at the age of 15 ... would have served as few as 10 years ... Now he will be in prison at least 30 years before any reduction is considered ... Stenberg has recommended that prosecutors file first-degree murder charges in every second-degree murder case that is overturned.")
4-12-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Legal Experts: Court Upset with Stenberg (State v. Williams, "Responding to Stenberg's request that an execution date be set for death-row inmate Robert Williams, the high court said, 'Motion asking court to unlawfully prejudge issues presented on post-conviction appeal, motion overruled.' ... that the court rethink its decision that required the overturning of scores of second-degree murder convictions ... 'Containing irrelevant and scandalous matter, state's brief stricken; not being supported by brief, motion for rehearing overruled.' ... In the concluding paragraphs in a brief written by Assistant Attorney General J. Kirk Brown, ... 'All over the State of Nebraska, killers are returning like re-awakened monsters to haunt the communities in which they had years before destroyed lives."
4-13-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg Says Court in Conflict (State v. Williams/Ryan/Joubert, "The ruling has forced the retrial of about 130 people convicted of second-degree murder ... [Connolly] Jabberwocky decision in which the rules are subject to change without notice to the parties or the trial court."
4-13-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Omaha Man Convicted Again in Son's 1983 Shooting Death (State v. Wilson, "... serving a 35 year sentence for second-degree murder [jury verdict] and a six to 20 year sentence for using a firearm to commit a felony.")
4-19-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Man Convicted 2nd Time in Estranged Wife's Death (State V. Klinginsmith, "... charged with first-degree ... plea agreement reduced to second-degree ... sentenced 10 to 50 ... paroled in July 1994 ... revoked in January 1995 ... requested a new trial in August 1995 because malice ...")
4-21-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Time to Revisit Murder Ruling (State v. Ryan, "Of the six judges who made the 1994 malice ruling, only C. Thomas White, now chief justice, and Nick Caporale remain. Subsequent high-court appointees John Wright, William Connolly and, John Gerrard have dissented from the 1994 malice ruling at every opportunity. The two newest members of the court, Ken Stephan of Lincoln and Michael McCormack of Omaha, have yet to participate in a second-degree murder case. ... back on record as a body that believes in applying, rather than rewriting, a plainly written criminal statute.")
4-25-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man Convicted in 1988 Killing is Resentenced to Same Term (State v. Anderson/Wilson, "Anderson, 24, was sentenced to life in prison for murder and to 10 years in prison for using a firearm ... Wilson  received a 50 to 60-year sentence for second-degree murder and a 6 to 20-year sentence for using a firearm ... he will be eligible for parole after 28 years ... was serving a 35-year sentence for second-degree murder and a 6 to 20-year sentence for the firearm charge. Sentencing laws and parole eligibility requirements have changed since Wilson initially was sentenced.")
4-25-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Resentencing Prompts Release (State v. Williams, "... received 20-year sentence for manslaughter and a three-year sentence for use of a firearm to commit a felony. ... has served nine years ... out on bail for about six months ... was found guilty by a jury of second-degree murder and use
sentenced to 20 ... and three ...")
5-30-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Double Jeopardy Argued in Ryan Case (State v. Ryan, "... originally was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder ... his jury rejected that charge [first-degree] ... that would mean the person could never again be charged with first-degree murder because the jury, in effect, acquitted the person of that crime." [Brown argued that the new charge was felony murder and different from premeditated murder, even though both are stated within 'the same statute.])
5-23-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Retrial Ends in Conviction on More Serious Charge (State v. Thieszen, "... was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 15 ... pleaded guilty to second-degree murder ... second trial convicted him of first-degree murder. Campbell [prosecutor] said it was possible that Thieszen would have served as few as 10 years under the life sentence imposed in the second-degree murder plea. Now, he will be in prison at least 30 years before any reduction is even considered ... also convicted of the firearm charge. ... State Attorney Don Stenberg disagrees with the high court on the issue and has recommended that prosecutors file first-degree murder charges in every second-degree murder case that is overturned.")
6-2-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Most Inmates Forego New 'Malice' Trials (State v. Klinginsmith/Hall/ Thieszen/Ryan/ Wyatt, "... the reason is that local prosecutors are playing 'hardball' by filing first-degree murder charges whenever possible. ... So far, all but 14 are still in prison. ... Ron Riethmuller said that of the 41 resentenced, 27 still are in prison. Of the 14 inmates who have been released from prison, seven previously had been sentenced to life, he said. For the other seven, sentences were reduced by from one to 23 years. ... Two or three have rolled the dice and wound up with longer sentences than they began with. ... District Judge Teresa Luther gave him [Klinginsmith] the same sentence as before: 50 years in prison. ... Wilfred Nielsen, a 'jail-house lawyer' ... 'They could be looking at a death penalty.' Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey said that's good advice. ... A new trial cost Thieszen his eligibility for parole. Dennis Ryan 26, also faces a first-degree murder charge ... Prosecutors say, 'We made the original plea agreement in good faith ... If they don't want to abide by that any more, I don't see why we should abide by it. I've told defendants if you want to take the chance, go ahead, spin the wheel.
All over the State of Nebraska, his office once argued, [Stenberg] killers are returning like reawakened monsters to haunt the communities in which they had years before destroyed lives. They return to reopen old wounds, revitalize old fears and to suck dry the fiscal resources of their hosts. ... At least one person released under the ruling has indicated that he does not intend to prey upon people. Keith Wyatt, 31, who was convicted of attempted second-degree murder ... would have spent another 20 years in prison. Instead, he recently was featured on a national television news program that attempted to test honesty in various cities. Program personnel distributed 'lost' wallets containing cash in several cities ... Wyatt discovered [and returned] one of the wallets.")
6-3-96 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Stenberg Position Signature Judgment Dismissed ("Stenberg had asked for a declaratory judgment that constitutional amendment adopted in 1968 was unconstitutional. ... 'The power to construe and interpret the constitution and the laws of Nebraska lies squarely within the power of judiciary, and particularly with the Supreme Court of Nebraska,' McGinn [Judge] said.")
6-3-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Conviction is Upheld in Crete Stabbing (State v. Wilson, "The Nebraska Court of Appeals upheld the attempted second-degree murder conviction ... Saline County District Judge Orville L. Coady in March 1995 sentenced Wilson to not less than 40 years nor more than 40 years for the assault, not less than two years nor more than two years for robbery, and not less than 20 years nor more than 20 years for use of a weapon to commit a felony. In an opinion written by Judge Everett Inbody, the Appeals Court said the sentencing judge violated state law when he set indeterminate sentences with the same maximum and minimum limits. ... there must be a difference ...")
6-4-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, 2nd-Degree Murder ruling Persists Without Plausible Legal Rationale (State v. Meyers/Pettit, "In a 1989 case, State v. Pettit, the court again exceeded the constitutional powers of the judiciary by inventing the crime of 'intentional manslaughter' which blurred the distinction between second-degree murder and manslaughter. ... Criminal, law professor Reneta Lawson Mack of Creighton said the court's reasoning was soundly based on judge-made case law. But as attorney and former State Sen. Roland Luedtke pointed out, 'Crimes are defined by legislative enactment.' A hallowed principle of American law is that legislators, not judges, define the elements of a criminal act.")
6-7-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, by Raneta Lawson Mack, 'Malice Distinguishes' ("A June 4 editorial regarding the debate surrounding the second-degree murder statute mischaracterized and decontextualized my remarks. ... I did not imply Nebraska is a common-law state. ... interpreting the statutes is made more difficult by the language of the manslaughter statute, which seems to countenance intentional actions done without malice. ... If the Legislature intended to do away with voluntary manslaughter, it should have eliminated the 'sudden quarrel' language. Until then, common-law interpretations of that language will support the notion that such conduct results in an intentional killing. How, then, do we distinguish between second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter? The element of malice. It's just that simple.")
6-11-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judges Are Urged to Take New Law Into Own Hands ("The Nebraska Supreme Court says they can't consider decisions from the state's intermediate-level appeals court as precedent-setting. The Legislature says they must.")
6-14-96 HASTINGS TRIBUNE & ASSOCIATED PRESS, Henderson Man Gets Life--Again--in Sister's Death--(State v. Thieszen, " Stenberg ... has recommended that prosecutors file first-degree murder charges in every second-degree murder case that is overturned."
6-22-96 HASTINGS TRIBUNE & ASSOCIATED PRESS 2nd-degree Murder Appeal Brings 1st- degree Conviction (State v. Thieszen, "... At sentencing, York County District Judge Robert Steinke called the crime 'particularly violent, brutal and completely senseless.' 'Sometimes,' he said to Thieszen, 'you should let sleeping dogs lie.'")
6-22-96 HASTINGS TRIBUNE, Ruling Releases Killers (State v. Moniz/Eggers, "Joseph Moniz, 73, was sentenced to life ... ruling that so far has permitted Moniz and 14 other men convicted of second-degree murder to walk free. At the core
In 1979, the Legislature revised the definition ... The intent was to distinguish the charge from first-degree murder and make it easier to win convictions, said Roland Luedtke, then chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. In January 1994, the state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 [6-0 actually] that prosecutors in second-degree murder cases must prove defendants exhibited 'malice' ... So far, 53 inmates have appealed, 41 were resentenced, including the 15 who were freed, and 12 cases are pending. ... Stenberg ... has urged prosecutors to treat appeals harshly and, when possible, to file new first-degree murder charges. ... Eggers ... walked out of prison last July after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter. He had served 10 years of a life term ... Turnbull said he didn't pursue new second-degree murder charges in part because witnesses could not be found. 'We were put in a difficult position,' Turnbull said, 'I thought it was important that we have a conviction on the record.' State Parole Board Chairman Ron Bartee worries about releasing people like Eggers without benefit of parole or work release programs. 'You have someone locked up and then you turn them loose? You almost anticipate that something will happen,' he said. 'If something rubs you the wrong way in the institution, you defend yourself.")
6-23-96 COLUMBUS GAZETTE, Absence of Malice Set Killers Free (State v. Moniz, "The intent was to distinguish the charge from first-degree murder and make it easier to win convictions, said Roland Luedtke, then chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. ... The Legislature cannot reverse the court decision, said John Lindsay, current chairman 'of the Judiciary Committee. 'We can say we really meant it,' Lindsay said, 'but they'll just respond, 'We really meant it, too")
6-28-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man is Sent Back to Prison for '86 Slaying (State v. Suffredini, "A
35-year-old man's life sentence for second-degree murder has been renewed in his third attempt to revisit a 10-year-old case.")
8-20-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Chambers Asks for Disbarment of Stenberg ("State 'Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha has filed an 83-page disciplinary complaint ... for allegedly undermining Nebraska's court system. ... Chambers cites nine instances in the past two years in which, he says, Stenberg or his subordinates were disrespectful to Nebraska's judges. ... in February for 'term limits' ... to April in second-degree murder cases alleging that the court had overstepped its constitutional powers. ... criticism of the Douglas County District Court for commuting death row inmate John Rust's sentence to life in prison.")
9-5-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Effort Mounted to Vote Out Judge Lanphier ("Kent Bernbeck of Lincoln, Guy Curtis of Imperial and Carolyn Moriarity, formerly of Omaha, announced Wednesday that they were forming a nonprofit corporation called 'Citizens for Responsible Judges.' Its goal is to unseat. ... 'His willingness to set convicted murderers free on minor technicalities, in our view, renders him unfit to serve on the court.' ... Ms. Moriartity's brother was bludgeoned to death in Omaha in 1986. Three of the four men convicted in his slaying received lighter sentences after they won new trials because of the Supreme Court ruling on second-degree murder.")
9-6-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Judge's Rulings Become an Election Issue ("Lanphier was part of the four-judge majority that rewrote the state's second-degree murder statute from the bench, adding the word 'malice' although the Legislature had intentionally left it out.")
9-29-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD by David S. Houghton [president of the Nebraska State Bar Association], Comment on Judicial Retention Vote Isn't About a Few Decisions ("... But never, at least as far as I know, has anyone attempted to use the retention of one judge to send a message to a whole court. ... The citizens don't want to send a message to the Supreme Court by yielding to the special interests of the term limits lobby ... or with victims' rights groups (whether or not they disagree with the second-degree murder cases). Nebraskans will do the right thing.")
9-29-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD by William F. Arendt [1992 term-limits campaign chairman], Challenge is Legal and Proper ("Justice Lanphier voted twice to strike down term limits, an idea endorsed by nearly 70 per cent of Nebraskans; he was part of a four-judge majority that rewrote the state's second-degree murder statute, throwing out the convictions of more than 100 criminals. His opinion changed--nearly doubled--the number of signatures needed for citizen initiative and referendum actions in Nebraska, thus crippling any attempt to return to nonpaid, voluntary circulators. We cannot vote on retention of all of the judges who ignore the public will, but we certainly should have this debate this year on the actions of Justice Lanphier.")
10-12-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD. Complaint Filed Over disclosure ("... filed by State Sen. Ron Withem of Papillion [a friend of Lanphier], alleges that the anti-Lanphier organization, Citizens for Responsible Judges, has refused to disclose its contributions and expenditures to the commission as required by law.")
10-15-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Leader of Effort to Remove Judge Fights Campaign Laws ("Bernbeck said people have told him they would fear 'judicial retaliation' if their contributions to his organization, ... were public record. ... Bernbeck said --does not apply to campaigns involving retention of judges. ... Cavanaugh, co-chairman of Nebraskans For An Impartial Judiciary, said Bernbeck has made statements that should be investigated by law enforcement.")
10-18-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, editorial, Group Opposing Judge Lanphier Wins a Point in the Disclosure Law ("The anti-Lanphier people, Bernbeck said, fear of retribution by judges.")
10-20-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, editorial, Murder Cases Key in Lanphier Issue (State v. Ryan, "To date, neither Judge Lanphier nor the others voting with him in the majority (Chief Justice C. Thomas White and Judges Dale Fahrnbruch and D. Nick Caporale) have explained how a criminal could intentionally but non-maliciously kill someone.")
10-21-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Stakes in Vote Go Beyond One Judge's Job ("A State Supreme Court judge has never before been the focus of a campaign against retention. Luedtke, however, said Lanphier's role as 'swing vote' on the second-degree murder ruling is sufficient cause for his removal. 'All four of them are plain 'wrong,' said Luedtke, a former state senator who was chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee when the second-degree murder statute was enacted.")
10-24-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, editorial, It Isn't a Case for Lawyers Only ("I think it is simply outrageous to raise the specter of a 'police state' in response to the police union's efforts to remove Judge Likes from office. ... As in the case of efforts to remove ... Lanphier in the Nov. 5 election, attorneys circling the wagons in defense of a judge should spend more time discussing the specific cases involved and less time expressing criticism and dismay because groups of Nebraska citizens have chosen a constitutionally authorized way of expressing their dissatisfaction with judicial performance.")
10-30-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Lanphier Says Foes distorting His Record ("... David Lanphier broke his silence Tuesday about the campaign to oust him ... 'We seem to have come full circle since the adoption of the Missouri Plan in 1961, which was designed to take us out of politics.' ... 'Since I began serving on the Supreme Court on Jan. 1, 1993, the adult prison population in this state has risen by more than 47 percent,' he said. 'Violent offenders are receiving longer sentences than they had in the past. It's hard to say our court, or courts in general, are soft on crime. Nebraska is one of the 10 safest states in the U.S.")
11-2-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, editorial, Foes Blaming Lanphier Too Much; Voters should Keep Him in Office (State v. Myers, "[Bernbeck] has reminded the public that the Supreme Court wiped out scores of murder convictions by arbitrarily redefining the crime of second-degree murder in 1994. Here, Lanphier is open to legitimate criticism. However, the seeds of the second-degree murder controversy were sown before Lanphier joined the court in 1993. The Legislature, effective Jan. 1, 1979, removed the element of malice from the statute defining second-degree murder. The Supreme court didn't seem to notice. It used the old definition, which included malice, in a 1979 case, and again in 1983. Curiously, in a 1992 case, the court defined second-degree murder as an intentional killing, with no reference to malice. The confusion over malice were unnoticed because second-degree murder was not the main issue in any of those cases. ... [in Myers] The issue had not been raised by the defendant or argued before the court. On its own initiative, the court ruled that malice was needed to distinguish second-degree murder from manslaughter.
Unfortunately, the distinction between the two crimes had been blurred in a 1987 case when the court stumbled into a discussion of 'intentional manslaughter.' The court seemed to correct itself when, in a case decided shortly after the 6-0 decision, it disavowed 'intentional manslaughter' and reaffirmed that intent to kill separated second-degree murder from manslaughter. ... Dumping Lanphier will not repair the damage.")
11-6-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Lanphier Loses Seat on Supreme Court ("The no votes outnumbered the yes votes by a 2-to-1 ratio ... Lanphier said he understands that some of the court's decisions have had an emotional impact on many people. Nevertheless, 'he said, he would not change any of his rulings. 'Not and live with myself.")
11-7-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Some Worry That Voters' Ouster of Lanphier May Politicize Bench ("[Roland Luedtke] It was not a political issue, it was a legal issue. It was a question of separation of powers," he said. "Judge Lanphier is a brilliant lawyer and a good judge. But when you start legislating from the bench, it's critical to the future.")
11-7-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, High Court Judge Fahrnbruch Announces Plans to Retire ("lt was coincidence, the judge said, that his retirement letter went to Gov. Nelson on the same day that fellow Supreme Court Judge David Lanphier, 51, was removed from the bench by the voters.")
11-8-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Vote on Supreme Court Judge Reflected a Concern for Safety ("The voters knocked him off the court by a vote of 67,757 to 32,521. Fewer than one of every three voters in the judicial district wanted Lanphier retained. ... Howard Olsen, president of the Nebraska Bar Association, said the failure of Lanphier to win retention 'affects the independence of the judiciary.' Vard Johnson, an Omaha attorney, said judges will now be looking over their shoulder in making decisions 'to see what interest groups might take exception.")
11-8-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD by Sara A. Juster, Omaha reader, 'No' Vote 'a Shame' ("If we retain only those judges whose decisions are popular, our state will no longer be ruled 'by laws but rather by the ever-changing whim of the electorate. Judges, like politicians, will do whatever it takes to get re-elected. Trials will be conducted by Gallup Poll. Only the innocent will be granted appeals. Is that what we really want?")
11-17-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Judges Losing Favor at Voting Booth ("The nonretention of Judge Lanphier was, I think, a wake-up call," Olsen said.")
11-18-96 WALL STREET JOURNAL , Sending Judges a Message ("Some scholars are even suggesting that judicial usurpation heralds 'an end to democracy.'...Back in 1979, Nebraska's nonpartisan legislature decided that malice no longer had to be proven for second-degree murder convictions and defined the crime as an intentional killing. In at least four cases since then, the state's Supreme Court followed the revised definition. Then in 1994, the court suddenly voted 4 to 3 that malice would once again have to be part of a prosecution for second-degree murder. ... On Election Day, when it was clear the judge would lose, one of his colleagues who had joined him in redefining second-degree murder and opposing term limits announced he would retire this year. ... Ben Nelson, the man who appointed Judge Lanphier, declined to support him ... is now likely to appoint moderates to replace both judges.")
12-19-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, editorial by Connie Kearney, 'Judge Candidates should Be Recruited ("Until 1962 judges were elected. ... In 1963 the Legislature adopted statutes addressing selection and retention of judges ... The statute reads in part: 'The commission may, before or after the hearing ... institute a search for additional candidates.' ... no woman or minority person sits ...")
12-20-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man is Resentenced for Lincoln Slaying (State v. Hill, "... has been resentenced to life in prison. ... second-degree murder for the 1989 shooting...was 16 at the time.")
12-21-96 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Appeal Denied in North Platte Slaying State v. Trevino, "... second-degree murder in the 1986 slaying ... Trevino, 27, is serving a life sentence
awarded a new trial in 1995 ... In January, he was convicted a second time by a Lincoln County jury. ... argued doubled jeopardy. ... Supreme Court said he filed too late, ...")
2-2-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, New Direction Seen for the Nelson Court ("Some legal observers predicted that the new Nelson court will result in a new majority coalition that will reverse at least one of the court's most controversial series of rulings in recent years--those involving convictions for second-degree murder. ... Richard Shugrue predicted that ... he is fairly certain that the 'malice' ruling will be overturned. ... Shugrue said Nelson's appointments are unsurprising, considering that the governor himself was a private-practice insurance lawyer ... 'The last two appointments--these are two guys who have represented insurance companies, which is what he did. ... Former Judge Sam Van Pelt said he personally sees little difference in the performances of private-practice lawyers and lower-court judges when the are appointed to an Appeals Court position. However, he said, there's a perception that lower-court judges promoted to the Supreme Court are more likely to affirm convictions because they are more forgiving of procedural errors.")
2-5-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Revamped State Supreme Court Should Do Some Repair Work ("The rate of turnover was unusual. Fahrnbruch, appointed in 1987, was the only new judge on the Supreme Court during a nine-year period ending in January 1993. Among the rulings ... Second-Degree Murder. ... It's too late to undo the damage resulting from the court's defiance of the Legislature's authority to define crimes. However, a reversal of the 'malice' position would put the court back on record as a body that believes in applying--rather than amending--criminal law. It also would allow trial courts to abandon the absurd practice of using a definition of second-degree murder that conflicts with the state criminal code. Court of Appeals. ... were not binding precedents for trial courts in future cases. ... The Bright-Line Rule. ... Under the 1993 rule, if a lawyer moves from one firm to another, the new firm cannot participate ... if the case involves an issue on which the old firm represented the client while the lawyer still was with the old firm. ... also applies to a law firm's support staff ...")
2-9-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Mike McCormack Noted for Common-Man View ("He said the court cannot abandon stare decisis, ... 'You've got to have that, or you have chaos,' ... 'But I think that can be tempered with common sense.' McCormack said the courts, particularly the appellate courts, should issue decisions that are in sync with what the majority of citizens would think is reasonable. In his interview with the governor ... Nelson expressed concern about the ... decisions on second-degree murder and the outcry that followed. 'He wondered whether there had been some legislating by the court,' McCormack said of Nelson. ... McCormack said he cannot reveal how he would vote ... 'But I did say that I would take a good, hard look at it if that issue comes before the court again.")
2-9-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Nice Guy-Good Lawyer Describes Ken Stephan ("... his father-in-law, Donald Ross, a senior judge of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ... Gov. Nelson and Supreme Court Judge John Wright, who were law school classmates; former law partner C. Arlen Beam, a judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; his across-the-back-fence neighbor Jeffre Cheuvront
former law partners Larry Ruth and William Mueller, who are lobbyists. And Mueller is married to Lt. Gov. Kim Robak. Even so, Stephan is not really part of the 'good old boy' network.")
3-5-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Rulo Charge is Reduced in Plea Deal (State v. Ryan, "... pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge of manslaughter in the 1985 Rub, Neb., cult slaying of James Thimm. ... The sentence for second-degree murder is 20 years to life. The sentence for manslaughter is one to 20 years. ... also pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and could receive a sentence of one to 20 years
was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 ...")
3-6-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Retrial Cost Pushes Plea Bargain (State v. Ryan, "Gallup ... suspected that the county wanted to avoid another expensive trial.")
3-7-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Court rule May Free Dennis Ryan Despite His Role in Heinous Slaying ("Thimm was sodomized with shovel handle and forced to copulate with a goat. He was partially skinned. His fingers and toes were shot off before Michael Ryan killed him by crushing his chest. ... was one of the most heinous murders in the history of the state.")
3-13-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Pardons Board Refuses To Reopen Slaying Case (State v. Stutzman, "... was sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison for second-degree murder and using a weapon ... in the March 1995 death of her husband.")
3-15-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Court Stands by Retrial Order (State v. Reeves, "The Eight U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Nebraska Attorney General's Office's request Feb. 27. ... was returned to District Court in Nebraska this week.")
3-29-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD Court Rejects Murder Appeal(State v. Thieszen, "The Supreme Court ruled Friday that there was no merit in four errors ...")
4-14-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial by Dick Herman, Supreme Court ("... the court sustained four amendments which citizens added to Nebraska Constitution ... it pleased the Legislature. ... This may be another example of a lowering-the-profile Nebraska Supreme Court operating in a nervous post-Lanphier environment.")
4-16-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judge Lets Dennis Ryan Walk Free ("Finn sentenced him on Tuesday to two 20-year term manslaughter--to be served at the same time--for manslaughter and first-degree assault... required him to serve 10 years ... has served 11.")
4-17-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg Says He'll Appeal Malice Ruling (State v. Ryan, "... will ask the Nebraska Supreme Court one last time to overturn itself on the ruling that allowed new trials for Ryan and others ... Stenberg sent letters Wednesday to county attorneys statewide, asking them to send his office cases to be appealed ... should be taken again ... because it has two new judges.")
4-21-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Time to Revisit Murder Ruling (State v. Ryan, "... it would put the court back on record as a body that believes in applying, rather than rewriting, a plainly written criminal statute.")
6-14-97 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR Court Refuses Convicted Killer's Bid for Lesser Sentence (State v. Wilson, "... originally was sentenced ... to 35 years for the second-degree murder ... 6-20 years for use of a firearm ... retried by a jury and found guilty of the same charges. ... Hartigan sentenced Wilson to concurrent sentences of 50-60 years for the murder and 6-20 years for the use of the firearm. Hartigan credited Wilson for the 10 years he served ... claimed the judge did not identify anything about his conduct after the original sentence to justify the new penalty. ... Stephan said the district court ... noted ... first trial that his son's death was a suicide or accident, but claimed in the second trial ... self-defense ... in the second trial that Wilson traveled to Florida to rob a drug dealer ... Wilson's testimony in the second trial 'was discredited' by the jury
'any presumption of vindictiveness ... is effectively rebutted")
6-21-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Conviction is Upheld in Teen's 1988 Slaying. (State v. Anderson, ...
was convicted again in 1995 of the same charges and received the same
sentence--life in prison for murder and up to 10 years in prison for using a
firearm to commit a felony. ... Some members of the jury had seen a
newspaper article about his case ... No juror said they had read the body of
the article, although several said they had seen the headline.")
6-22-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial by Don Stenberg, 'Courts' Duty Is Not Policymaking ("This is in response to the Omaha World-Herald editorial of June 18 opposing my proposal to limit the authority of the lower federal courts and require a super- majority of the U.S. Supreme Court to declare federal and state statutes unconstitutional. ... The fundamental issue here is who will govern ... the people ...or federal judges?")
9-26-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, High Court's Ruling Faces Appeal (State v. Belmarez, "Three new
faces ... may be the edge need[ed) ... to appeal the court's 1994 ruling that
set aside Dustin Belmarez's second-degree murder conviction and about 129
other such convictions.")
10-11-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg Appeal to Test Malice Ruling (State v. Belmarez, "... one last request that the court overturn State vs. Myers ...' would restore public confidence in the court system. ... Scores of them received new trials or renegotiated plea agreements.")
10-16-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Restoring Legislature's Intent On Murder Law Now Possible (State v. Belmarez, "The mistake was made in 1994 ... in, a 1979 overhaul of the criminal laws, the Legislature defined manslaughter as an unintentional killing and second-degree murder as an intentional killing, with intent becoming the distinguishing element. For the next 15 years, proving malice was not necessary. ... In practical terms most of the damage ... is already done. Most convicts who were affected either were so close to being released that they had little to gain, or they have had their sentences reduced or been freed. But there is a chance to stop Belmarez and any other stragglers before they, too, take advantage of the situation. Furthermore, a reversal ... would let prosecutors and judges follow the precise language of the Legislature in future cases. That's the way criminal law is supposed to work.")
10-17-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judges: Public Must Be Told of Merit of Independent Judiciary ("The campaign 'against Lanphier's retention by a citizens group attacking his decisions on term limits and a controversial ruling on second-degree murder cases was pat of a growing trend to politicize judicial decisions, said judges serving on a panel at the bar's annual convention Thursday in Lincoln.")
10-22-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Longer Sentences Are Paying Off. ("But government's primary obligation is to keep the people safe. ... Now a judge can order a minimum sentence all the way up to the maximum sentence in length. The State Parole Board, moreover, is granting fewer early releases. ... Cassia Spohn, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said legislators around the country have toughened sentencing laws because the public wants action against crime. She said no evidence exists that longer prison terms deter crime.")
10-25-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, State's High Court Denies Convicted Killers Appeal (State v. Gibbs, "... pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1985 ... was sentenced to life was granted a new trial in 1996 ... 'malice' must be included ... The Platte County Attorney's Office then filed a new case against Gibbs, charging him with first-degree murder and use of a firearm ... The court also joined the old case, in which he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, with the new charges of first-degree murder. ... Attorneys for Gibbs filed an appeal to the 'Supreme Court in January ... In its ruling Friday, the Supreme Court left the cases joined. ... Hadfield said the time limit on the 6 month speedy trial statute in Nebraska should have begun in February 1996, when Gibbs' conviction was set aside.")
11-14-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man Faces ResÚntencing In Shooting (State v. Hall, "... will be sentenced for second-degree murder for the second time ... Hall pleaded no contest Wednesday to second-degree murder for the January 1991 shooting
five days before his trial was scheduled to begin in Hall County ...")
12-7-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Based on Defendant's Ignorance, Supreme Court Voids Conviction (State v. Hays, "When John Hays pleaded guilty in Cedar County Court to the charges, he did not expressly waive his rights ... the high court said. ... the charges can be refiled ... 'There's an obligation on the attorneys as well as the judges to make sure these plea takings and sentences go properly,' Deck said.")
12-11-97 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Man Accused in Fatal Beating Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter (State v. Bates, "... had been charged with second-degree murder. ... plead guilty Monday in Douglas County District Court to the reduced charge of manslaughter, use of a deadly weapon and theft. ... Second-degree murder is an intentional slaying done with malice but without premeditation.")
4-22-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Convictions Set Aside in Beatrice Triple Murder (State v. Jacob, "... plea agreement ... pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder in the January 1986 slayings ... sentenced to three consecutive life sentences Jacob has requested that his convictions be converted to three counts of manslaughter. ... Smith said ... he plans to proceed with trial on three counts of first-degree murder. 'That's what the charges were before he entered his plea agreement,' Smith said. ... could affect about 70 other murder defendants...")
4-25-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial by Michael A. Nelsen, Judge Selection Sound in Nebraska ("Next November, a number of judges across the state will stand for retention. ... First ... our system has produced good judges ... Second, we should not vote against a judge simply because of one decision--however controversial ... let's recall that a controversial decision may be a correct one.")
4-26-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Jacob Case May bring Ruling on Malice (State v. Jacob/Ryan, "Rist set aside the 1986 triple second-degree murder convictions ... Smith filed a notice of Intent to appeal ... hours after ... observers say only a small number of similar cases would be affected, regardless of how the court rules. Prosecutors said ... [extensive details provided] ... Shugrue said, '... independence has been shown by McCormick, I have sense he'd be persuaded by the young guys.")
4-26-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR editorial by Dick Herman, Protecting Appellate Judges From Ouster Not Worth Changing System ("The talking point here is a proposed constitutional amendment placed on the November ballot. ... would grant virtual lifetime job security to Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges, now 13 in number. in my judgment, an overreaction--to the 1996 ousting of Supreme Court Judge David Lanphier by Omaha voters. ... I still cannot accept to notion that to protect all appellate judges against a possible Lanphier II, the system must be changed.")
4-27-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Malice ruling May Get Another Look (State v. Jacob, "More than 100 people ... have been given the opportunity to appeal ... Two of the ... judges who helped form the 4-to-3 majority ... are no longer on the court, while the three dissenters remain.")
4-28-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Supreme Court Has Opportunity to Rectify Murder Law Ruling. ( State v. Jacob, "The strange story of second-degree murder law in Nebraska may be nearing a, resolution. One of the 1970s revisions was the elimination of the element of malice ... That left prosecutors the options ... of filing a charge of manslaughter (accidentally killing during an illegal act), second-degree murder (intentionally killing without forethought) or first-degree murder (planning and carrying out a homicide). The Legislature included malice as an element of some forms of first-degree murder. ... Exact figures were never tabulated. ... more than 100 killers had their convictions overturned.")
5-9-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Court Closes Route for Murder Retrials (State v. White, "... originally charge with first-degree murder ... in December 1991 shooting ... a jury found White guilty of second-degree murder ... overturned by a 1994 Supreme Court ruling ... subsequently charged White with felony murder, and second-degree murder ... White contended that the felony murder charge constituted double jeopardy ... The Supreme Court agreed ... 'We have previously determined that premeditated murder and felony murder are two different methods of committing a single offense,' the court said Friday in a decision written by Justice John M. Gerrard. Felony murder is simply one definition of first-degree murder, not a separately defined offense in state law, the decision said. ... cannot be retried for first-degree ... can be retried for second-degree murder ...")
5-9-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR High Court Rules Against State in Case (State v. White, "The state went too far in charging a man with first-degree murder after his conviction for second-degree murder in the same case was overturned ...")
6-2-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, New Era is Seen for Court ("Creighton Law School Dean Larry Raful said the departures of White and Caporale will mark a changing of the guard from an older generation ... to the baby boom generation ... '... They learned the law in a different way.' ... In recent years the court has come under sharp criticism for some of its decisions, including its decisions to throw out term limits and to redefine second-degree murder.")
7-3-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Judge Allows Sears Attorney to Review Grand Jury Papers (State v.Sears, "... set a hearing for July 20 on other defense motions that ask for dismissal of the case."
[Note: Sears' attorney had filed a motion to dismiss the manslaughter charge because the statute
was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.])
7-30-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Slaying Case in McCook Is Revived, (State v. Belmarez),
"In 1996, Belmarez's conviction for Chester Tucker's death was overturned after a controversial
Nebraska Supreme Court ruling regarding second-degree murder cases."
8-1-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Caporale Hangs Up His Robe, "Caporale also was part of a four-judge majority that made a series of decisions clarifying the definition of second-degree murder in Nebraska. . . ."
8-8-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, High Court Upholds Murder Conviction, (State v. Hill), "Hill was granted a new trial in 1995 because of a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that "malice" was an essential element of second-degree murder...."
8-15-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Decision On Malice Overturned, (State v. Burlison)
8-15-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Court reverses second-degree murder ruling, (State v. Burlison), "This is a long way from being over," said Jerry Soucie, an attorney who works for the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy. "I don't think it solves anything."
8-15-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Observers split over reason behind ruling, (State v. Burlison), "However, if they reversed themselves based upon public outcry, I'm really troubled because it will mean they're (the court) not
going to look at the language of the statute...
8-15-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Family of Rulo victim confounded by decision, (State v. Burlison), "What value is a Supreme Court if they don't know what they are doing?"
8-16-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR editorial, High court's blunt reversal deserves praise.
8-17-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Supreme Court's Self-Reversal A Judicial Restraint Landmark.
8-20-98 HASTINGS TRIBUNE, Stenberg to fight releases, The Attorney General wants those originally convicted of 2nd degree murder, but released because of the malice ruling, returned to prison (includes a list of those released).
8-20-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Stenberg wants second-degree murder sentences reinstated.
8-20-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg Aims to Restore Murder Sentences for 64, (includes the list of those released).
8-21-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Nelson Praises Court's Reversal, "Nelson said he used the 1994 decision to probe into the judicial philosophy of the candidates for the high court but did not specifically ask them how they would have voted."
8-21-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Nelson hoped for overturn
on ruling, "I'm just very pleased that the people that I put on the bench saw fit to change a precedent that very few people ever agreed with."
8-25-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Murder Ruling At Issue, The Attorney General's office asked for a rehearing to determine how the Burlison decision will affect the 62 others that won retrials or resentencings.
8-25-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Stenberg asks for ruling on malice decision.
9-15-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Stenberg Challenges Sentencings.
10-2-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Life Term Is Reinstated For
2nd-Degree Murder, (State v. White), "A convicted murderer who was one of the last to try and get a new trial using a controversial court ruling redefining second-degree murder has been foiled."
10-7-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Conviction Reinstated in Pickax Slayings, (State v. Belmarez).
10-7-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Judge upholds conviction in murder of twin brothers, (State v. Belmarez).
11-20-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD, Malice-Ruling Request Denied By High Court.
11-28-98 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Stenberg Still to Pursue Killers, "Attorney General Stenberg said Friday that
public safety demands that he continue to pursue convicted killers released from prison under a now-overturned second-degree murder ruling."
11-24-98 OMAHA WORLD HERALD editorial, Stenberg Won Key Skirmishes.
3-20-99 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Malice ruling intact, (State
12-6-2000 LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, "Appeal brings malice issue back before the high court" (State v. Redmond)
Redmond's crime was committed two weeks before the Burlison decision. "Malice" was left out of Redmond's
jury instructions even though it was required when the crime was committed.
5-2-2000 OMAHA WORLD HERALD (AP), "Malice Ruling is Appealed in Death" (State v. Caddy)
This article states" "In his appeal, Caddy asks the court to reverse its 1998 ruling, so prosecutors
would have to prove that he act6ed with malice." That is incorrect, Caddy argued that the 2nd
degree murder statute is unconstitutional. This same AP article appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star on 5-3-2000.