State v. Smith

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF versionPDF version

State v. Smith

Case Number
S-16-0199
Call Date
December 5, 2016
Court Number
Washington
Case Summary

S-16-0199 State v. Brian D. Smith (Appellant)

Washington County District Court, Judge John E. Samson

Attorneys: Melissa R. Vincent (Attorney General's Office) --- Jeffery A. Pickens (Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy)

Criminal: Kidnapping

Proceedings below: Appellant was convicted of kidnapping in 1983 pursuant to a guilty plea and sentenced to life imprisonment. In May 2015, the Lancaster County District Court granted Appellant's application for a writ of habeas corpus and vacated his life sentence pursuant to Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010). In February 2016, following a mitigation hearing, Appellant was resentenced to 90 years to life imprisonment by the Washington County District Court.

Issues: 1. The district court abused its discretion and imposed an excessive sentence because it unduly considered the nature of Appellant's crime while failing to properly consider Appellant's objective immaturity, vulnerability, and lack of true depravity, in violation of Graham v. Florida, the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and art. I, '' 9 and 15 of the Nebraska Constitution. 2. The district court erred by imposing upon Appellant a defacto sentence of life imprisonment without parole and denying him a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation, which is categorically prohibited by Graham v. Florida, the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and art. I, '' 9 and 15 of the Nebraska Constitution.

3. The district court erred by overruling Appellant's objection to the State's breach of the plea agreement and denying Appellant's motion for specific performance of the plea agreement and motion to withdraw his guilty plea to kidnaping, in violation of Appellant's right to fundamental fairness under the Due Process Provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and art. I, ' 3 of the Nebraska Constitution.