State v. Seckinger

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State v. Seckinger

Case Number
S-17-1099
Call Date
November 2, 2018
Court Number
Scotts Bluff
Case Location
Lincoln
Case Summary

S-17-1099 State v. Kathy A. Seckinger (Appellant)

Scotts Bluff County District Court, Judge Leo Dobrovolny

Attorneys: Nathan A. Liss (Attorney General’s Office) --- Darin J. Knepper (Public Defender’s Office for Appellant)

Type of case: This is a criminal case tried to a judge on stipulated facts surrounding Seckinger’s possession of methamphetamine

Proceedings below: Following a suppression hearing, the district court denied Seckinger’s motion to suppress evidence. After a stipulated bench trial, she was found guilty and sentenced to 2 years’ probation.

Issues: Whether the district court erred in overruling the Seckinger’s motion to suppress and overruling her objection to the same evidence at trial.

Facts: Seckinger’s vehicle was pulled over by the State Patrol for a traffic violation. The officer smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and conducted a search. Inside Seckinger’s purse was a baggie containing methamphetamine. Seckinger challenged the search of her vehicle as unlawful because it was not supported by probable cause. The court overruled her motion to suppress evidence finding that the odor of marijuana, standing alone, provides probable cause to search a vehicle under State v. Watts, 209 Neb. 371 (1981). At the stipulated bench trial, the district court again overruled her motion to suppress and her objection to the admission of evidence. The district court found Seckinger guilty of possession of methamphetamine and sentenced her to 2 years’ probation.

Seckinger now appeals. Both sides submitted written briefs to the Supreme Court. After hearing arguments from both sides at an oral argument before the Supreme Court, the Court will submit the case for disposition, and will issue an opinion in the coming months.