State v. Godek

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State v. Godek

Case Number
Call Date
September 27, 2022
Case Time
9:00 AM
Court Number
Case Location
Court Type
District Court
Case Summary

S-22-015, State of Nebraska (Appellee) v. James T. Godek (Appellant)

Appeal from the District Court for Sarpy County, Judge Stefanie A. Martinez

Attorneys: Todd A. West (Assistant Sarpy County Public Defender for Appellant) and Nathan A. Liss (Assistant Attorney General for Appellee). 

Proceedings Below: After Appellant was convicted by a jury of one count of terroristic threats, he filed a motion for new trial, which was overruled. Appellant was sentenced to two (2) years in prison which is to be followed by eighteen (18) months of post-release supervision, with credit for 434 days already served. On its own motion, the Nebraska Supreme Court ordered this case to be removed from the docket of the Nebraska Court of Appeals and transferred this case to its docket. 

Issues: On appeal, Appellant makes the following assignments of error: 1) The district court erred by not sustaining Godek’s motion to quash and dismissing Godek’s terroristic threats charge for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because Godek committed the offense in the State of Iowa – not Nebraska; 2) The district court erred by giving the jury an improper and misleading instruction of the law, Instruction No. 3, which stated that venue was appropriate in Sarpy County, Nebraska, even if Godek was not in the State of Nebraska; 3) During closing arguments, the prosecutor engaged in misconduct by repeatedly and improperly misstating the material elements of terroristic threats, which deprived Godek of his right to a fair trial. The district court erred by not sustaining Godek’s objection to the prosecutor’s improper statements, by not issuing a curative instruction as Godek requested, and by not sustaining Godek’s motion for a mistrial; 4) The district court erred by not sustaining Godek’s motion for a directed verdict, based on its incorrect finding that there was sufficient evidence to support a prima facie claim of terroristic threats in Sarpy County, Nebraska; 5) The evidence presented at trial lacks the probative value to sustain a verdict of guilty for terroristic threats in Sarpy County, Nebraska; 6) The trial judge abused its discretion by not granting Godek’s motion for a new trial based on prosecutorial misconduct, error of law, verdict contrary to law, and verdict not supported by sufficient evidence.

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