December 22, 2014

Immigrant driver’s license issue sent to state court

A lawsuit attempting to force Nebraska to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants brought to this country illegally by their parents has been sent to state court.

Chief United States District Judge Laurie Smith Camp rejected an argument by the American Civil Liberties Union that federal court was the proper venue for its lawsuit filed on behalf of four residents from Omaha.

The four are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program develop by President Barack Obama.

The lawsuit contends Nebraska officials violated state law by refusing to issue the residents driver’s licenses.

Deadly weekend in Omaha

Crime Scene TapeA deadly weekend in Omaha during two separate shootings.

The Omaha Police Department reports 25-year-old Kerrington Luker was found lying on a sidewalk, dead of a fatal gunshot wound early Sunday morning in northeast Omaha. Few details of the shooting have been released.

Later, police responded to a second shooting in northeast Omaha. Officers found three wounded men early Sunday evening.

27-year-old Derek Johnson died of his wounds.

28-year-old Jermaine Richey and 24-year-old Demetrion Washington are being treated at a local hospitals.

Reports are that more than 20 shots were fired outside an apartment complex.

Bruning challenges ruling to lift life sentence in juvenile murder case

Attorney General Jon Bruning is challenging a judge’s move to overturn the life sentence of a prison inmate convicted of sexually assaulting and shooting his adopted 12-year-old sister.

York County District Judge James Stecker vacated the life sentence of Sydney Thieszen, convicted of first degree murder in the 1987 sexual assault and murder of 12-year-old Sacha Thieszen at their home near Henderson. Sydney Thieszen was 14 at the time.

Bruning has filed a motion in York County District Court, challenging Stecker’s decision to vacate the life imprisonment sentence.

Stecker based his decision on a 2012 United States Supreme Court ruling that prohibits courts from imposing mandatory life sentences against juveniles. The Nebraska Supreme Court has interpreted the court ruling to apply retroactively.

Bruning argues the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to decide whether its ruling applies retroactively. It is scheduled to hear a Louisiana case next year on whether the ruling should apply to cases decided prior to its 2012 decision.

The Attorney General’s Office has asked Judge Stecker to reconsider his ruling, reinstate the life sentence and wait to see what the U.S. Supreme Court decides.

Nebraska wants Colorado marijuana legalization overturned

Attorney General Jon Bruning

Attorney General Jon Bruning

Attorney General Jon Bruning says Nebraska wants Colorado’s move to legalize marijuana overturned.

“Today, Nebraska was joined by Oklahoma and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in filing an original action in United States Supreme Court, seeking a declaration that Colorado’s marijuana legalization process violates the United States Constitution,” Bruning said during a news conference in his Capitol office.

The lawsuit contends Colorado’s legalization of marijuana violates the Controlled Substance Act adopted by Congress in 1970 and the Constitution declares federal law trumps state law. Both Nebraska and Oklahoma claim the Colorado marijuana law has increased the trafficking of the drug in neighboring states, causing an unnecessary burden on the states.

The Attorney General said Colorado has created a system that legalizes, promotes, and facilitates distribution of marijuana. Bruning added legalizing marijuana in Colorado has led to increased illegal trafficking of marijuana in Nebraska, which he said is being most felt by county law enforcement in Nebraska’s Panhandle.

AUDIO:  Attorney General Jon Bruning announces lawsuit against Colorado marijuana law. [5:30]

Douglas County Attorney moves for vehicular homicide charge in deadly September crash

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has asked the Nebraska State Patrol to issue a citation for motor vehicle homicide in a deadly accident September 11th that claimed the life of 36 year old Ryan Boelman.

The State Patrol and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigated the deadly accident that happened at 252nd and Pawnee Road.

That investigation indicates 21-year-old Kyle Swatzell was driving a straight truck and failed to stop at a stop sign.  He hit Boelman’s vehicle at that intersection. Boelman died as a result of injuries he sustained in that collision.

Motor Vehicle Homicide carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.  Swatzell’s arraignment will be scheduled for a later date.