S-12-0432, State v. Susan M. DeJong (Appellant)
Jefferson County, Judge Paul W. Korslund
Attorneys: James W. Mowbray, Jeffery Pickens (Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy) (Appellant) --- James D. Smith (Attorney General’s Office)
Criminal: First degree murder, use of a weapon
Proceedings below: A jury found Appellant guilty of both offenses. She was sentenced to life in prison for first degree murder with a consecutive 50 to 50 year sentence for use of a weapon.
Issues: The district court erred in (1) admitting statements made by Appellant to law enforcement because Appellant invoked her Miranda rights; (2) admitting the statements made by Appellant to law enforcement as they were a product of compulsion and thus “fruit of the poisonous tree”; (3) admitting evidence of Thomas DeJong’s injuries on prior occasions and Appellant’s statements concerning those injuries as there was no evidence that Appellant committed a crime, wrong or act with respect to those injuries; (4) admitting evidence of Thomas DeJong’s injuries on prior occasions as the probative value of the evidence was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.