State v. Petrick

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State v. Petrick

Case Number
A-15-1104
Call Date
October 12, 2016
Case Time
1:30 PM
Case Summary

A-15-1104, State of Nebraska v. Caleb R. Petrick (Appellant)

Sarpy County, District Court Judge David Arterburn

Attorney for Appellant: Patrick J. Boylan (Public Defender's Office)

Attorney for Appellee: Douglas J. Peterson, George R. Love (Attorney General's Office)

Criminal Action: Caleb R. Petrick was charged with three crimes: Count I, third degree assault of an officer or health care professional; Count II, resisting arrest; and Count III, obstructing a peace officer.

Action Taken by Trial Court: A jury found Petrick guilty of the above charges, and the district court sentenced him on Count I to 3 to 5 years imprisonment, Count II to 6 to 12 months, and Count III, 6 to 12 months. The sentences on Count I and II run consecutive to each other and the sentence on Count III runs concurrent to Count II.

Assignments of Error on Appeal: Petrick assigns that the district court erred in: (1) not defining 'unreasonable force' for the jury in a jury instruction, (2) not admitting the LaVista Police Department use of force protocols into evidence, and (3) finding that the State adduced sufficient evidence to sustain the convictions on all three counts.

Extended Case Summary (for Educational Purposes):
A-15-1104, State of Nebraska v. Caleb R. Petrick (Appellant)

Sarpy County, District Court Judge David Arterburn

Attorney for Appellant: Patrick J. Boylan (Public Defender's Office)

Attorney for Appellee: Douglas J. Peterson, George R. Love (Attorney General's Office)

Criminal Action: Caleb R. Petrick was charged with three crimes: Count I, third degree assault of an officer or health care professional; Count II, resisting arrest; and Count III, obstructing a peace officer.

Action Taken by Trial Court: A jury found Petrick guilty of the above charges, and the district court sentenced him on Count I to 3 to 5 years imprisonment, Count II to 6 to 12 months, and Count III, 6 to 12 months. The sentences on Count I and II run consecutive to each other and the sentence on Count III runs concurrent to Count II.

Assignments of Error on Appeal: Petrick assigns that the district court erred in: (1) not defining 'unreasonable force' for the jury in a jury instruction, (2) not admitting the LaVista Police Department use of force protocols into evidence, and (3) finding that the State adduced sufficient evidence to sustain the convictions on all three counts.

Facts: On July 1, 2014, a citizen called 911 to report that two youths on bicycles were looking in a car window and trying to open the car doors. Three officers, Pablo Jimenez, Brian Stolley, and Michael Brown of the La Vista Police Department responded to the report. Jimenez asked Petrick to come over and talk to him, but Petrick resisted and swore at the officer. Stolley then approached Petrick from behind and grabbed his wrist. Petrick twisted his arm and swung at Stolley before both men fell to the ground. Petrick put his arm around Stolley's neck in a choke hold. Brown witnessed Stolley grabbing Petrick's wrist and assisted Jimenez in getting him off Stolley and down to the ground. Petrick resisted handcuffing until Jimenez threatened to tase him. Following the scuffle, Petrick was placed under arrest for assaulting an officer. Stolley suffered minor injuries. A jury trial was ultimately held, and the jury found Petrick guilty of all three charged offenses.

On appeal, Petrick first argues that jury should have been provided a definition for the term 'unreasonable force' in the jury instruction on self-defense. Petrick admits that he did not request such a definition but claims that the court's failure to provide the definition amounts to plain error because the court failed in its duty to correctly instruct the jury on the law.

Petrick next claims that the district court erred in refusing to receive into evidence a section of the La Vista Police Department protocols outlining the factors the police department uses to determine the reasonableness of force. At trial, Petrick argued that these protocols would assist the jury in determining whether the officers used reasonable force in Petrick's detainment and arrest. The State objected to the exhibit, and the district court sustained the objection, finding that it could confuse the jury from the ultimate issue it was to decide. On appeal, Petrick argues that the protocols were relevant and necessary.

Finally, Petrick asserts that the evidence presented at trial was not sufficient to support any of his three convictions.

Case Location
Doane University
Panel Text
Inbody, Riedmann, and Bishop, Judges