July 2, 2015

Violent weekend in Omaha followed by Monday murder

After a series of shootings in Omaha over the weekend, another murder investigation is underway. Police are looking for suspects after one man was shot and killed and another critically injured around 4 pm Monday near a golf course and a busy city park in northeast Omaha.

This follows a violent weekend of six separate shootings that left one man dead and seven others injured between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Officer James Shade says it is too soon to know if this shooting to that recent rash of gun violence. He says, “We always increase officer presence in those areas where we feel there could be possible retaliation or other issues that could occur.”

Following Monday’s shooting Jamymel Ray was rushed to a hospital where he later died. The second victim, Charles Fisher continues to recover at the hospital.

More cases of jury duty scam in Nebraska

An old scam has resurfaced in Nebraska where victims are receiving calls they missed jury duty and owe a fine. Douglas County Clerk of the District Court John Friend the victim is also told if they don’t pay the fine a warrant for their arrest will be served at their home.

Friend says these scammers have also done their homework. They have apparently gone online and looked up the names of judges, court staff and senior staff at the sheriff’s office and use those names when calling victims.

Friend says, “People need to understand the government will never call you and ask you for money because you missed jury duty – period. “

Officials recommend you hang up on the scammer and call your local jury commission or sheriff’s office to check your status and to report the call.

AG Peterson doesn’t like it, but says state will comply with same-sex ruling

AGDoug_Peterson_closeup

Attorney General Doug Peterson

Nebraska has dropped its appeal of a federal court ruling striking down the state ban on same-sex marriage.

The action comes in wake of the United States Supreme Court ruling granting same-sex couples across the nation the right to marry.

Attorney General Doug Peterson says the state will comply with the ruling.

That doesn’t mean he agrees with it.

Peterson says the opinion doesn’t seem to be based on a recognized constitutional right.

“But, rather it is more of an outcome that the court wanted to get to, more of a public policy approach and public policy should be defined by the legislative branch, not the judicial branch,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network.

Peterson cautions those applauding the ruling.

“Some people may find that they approve of the ruling today, but there can be another time where they again create a constitutional right that someone may not be happy about,” according to Peterson. “I don’t think the framers of our Constitution wanted to give that much power to the Supreme Court.”

In 2000, Nebraska voters approved a constitutional amendment that limited marriage to one man, one woman. It survived an earlier challenge in federal court, but faced a second one. That latest challenge was suspended while the United States Supreme Court took up the issue.

Peterson says the courts have historically left the definition of marriage up to the states, but the Supreme Court ruling today changes that.

“Because, I think, of the tide that’s changed across the country. That’s not what courts should do. They should stay to the rule of law and not be dictated by what the current, popular theme is, because frankly some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you,” Peterson says. “If people like courts acting outside the scope of the Constitution, it may be good for them one day and it may be down the road something that they’re going to disdain.”

Peterson says basing the Supreme Court ruling on the 14th Amendment is a bit of a stretch.

ACLU Nebraska applauds Supreme Court same-sex ruling

Same Sex WeddingsThe United States Supreme Court has ruled same-sex couples can get married in every state, striking down bans on same-sex marriage, such as the one in Nebraska.

Legal Director of the ACLU of Nebraska, Amy Miller, is pleased with the ruling.

“We are absolutely floored with happiness,” Miller tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Of course, we were hoping for this result, but there has been uncertainty over the last couple of months. The decision today offers love, security, and dignity for thousands of Nebraskans across the state and we are just overjoyed with such a resounding victory from the Supreme Court.”

Miller calls the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges a clear victory for same-sex couples.

“So, there’s no wiggle room here,” according to Miller. “It’s in fact so clear how decisive this decision was that the state of Nebraska has already filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in our own state. This is also good news that we’re not going to be fighting any rearguard battles about the interpretation of the decision.”

In a written statement, Attorney General Doug Peterson said the state will comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court.

“Recognizing the rule of law, the State of Nebraska will comply with the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell. Nebraska officials will not enforce any Nebraska laws that are contrary to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell,” Peterson said at the end of a long written response which criticized the decision.

 

Omaha event planner charged with felony theft

The owner of Creative Creations in Omaha turned herself into authorities today and is facing three counts of felony theft. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine filed the charges against Patricia Urbanovsky for bilking her employees out of more than $100,000. He says Urbanovsky is accused of having her employees use their own credit cards to buy airline travel vouchers and their reimbursement checks bounced.

Kleine says, “That is why the people in this kind of business that do these kinds of things are called “con men”. They gain people’s confidence and get them to do things like she got here employees to do here.”

Creative Creations sold millions of dollars in worthless travel vouchers and customers never received a refund. This investigation is just getting underway and more charges are pending.