District Judge Patrick Lee Sits with Nebraska Supreme Court

District Judge Patrick Lee Sits with Nebraska Supreme Court

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Nebraska District Court Judge Patrick M. Lee of Grand Island, Nebraska, was invited to sit with the Nebraska Supreme Court on April 24, 2023.

Lee heard arguments in the case of S-22-0568 State of Nebraska v. Eric A. Ramirez.  He sat in place of Justice John Freudenberg who was recused from the case. In that case, Appellant was a juvenile when he was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony, attempted second-degree murder, attempted robbery, and conspiracy, and he sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murders.  On direct appeal, Appellant’s convictions were affirmed, but his sentences were vacated and remanded for resentencing.  See State v. Ramirez, 287 Neb. 356, 842 N.W.2d 694 (2014).  Appellant has now been resentenced as follows:  forty (40) to sixty (60) years in prison for each first-degree murder charge, twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years for each use of a weapon to commit a felony charge, twelve (12) to twenty (20) years for attempted second-degree murder, twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years for attempted robbery, and twelve (12) to fifteen years for conspiracy.  On appeal, the Appellant asserts that his sentences was excessive and that it amounts to a de facto life sentence. 

Lee also heard arguments in the consolidated cases of S-22-0665, S-22-0666, and S-22-0667 Western Tabor Ranch Apartments, LLC v. Lincoln County Board of Equalization. He sat in place of Justice Jeffrey J. Funke who was recused from the case. In that case, Appellant filed a property value protestation with the Tax Equalization and Review Commission [TERC], which entered an order reversing and vacating the taxation from the Lincoln County Board of Equalization.  The Appellant, the Lincoln County Board of Equalization, argues that the Tax Equalization and Review failed to properly consider and follow the statutory requirements of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1333.  On its own motion, the Supreme Court ordered this case to be transferred from the docket of the Court of Appeals to its docket.

The Court session was held in the Supreme Court Courtroom of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln.  Seven justices make up the Nebraska Supreme Court: Chief Justice Mike Heavican and six associate justices. On occasion, a justice must recuse him or herself from a case, and a judge from a district court or the Court of Appeals is asked to sit with the Supreme Court.    

The April 24, 2023, oral arguments can be viewed on the Court’s archive.


Reporters:

Screenshot from argument session on Nebraska Public Media:

(L to R) Justice Jonathan Papik, Justice Stephanie Stacy, Justice Lindsey Miller-Lerman, Chief Justice Mike Heavican, Justice William Cassel, Justice Jeff Funke, and Judge Patrick Lee. Calling the Court to order is Allyson Stewart.