Williams v. Frakes

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Williams v. Frakes

Case Number
Call Date
October 6, 2023
Case Time
9:30 AM
Court Number
Case Location
Minden High School
Court Type
District Court
Case Summary

S-22-0719 Justeen Williams (Appellant) v. Scott Frakes, in his official capacity as Director, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, et al. (Appellee)

Appeal from District Court for Lancaster County, Judge Kevin R. McManaman

Attorneys: Gerald L. Soucie (Soucie Law Office for Appellant) and James D. Smith (Sr. Asst. Attorney General for Appellee)

Civil: Declaratory Judgment, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, and Sovereign Immunity

Proceedings below: Appellant filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment alleging that Nebraska Department of Correctional Services had miscalculated her tentative release date, but the district court dismissed Appellant’s case for lack of jurisdiction.  Appellant filed a Petition to Bypass the Court of Appeals, which the Supreme Court sustained and ordered this matter transferred to its docket. 

Issues: Appellant makes the following assignments of error:  1) The district court erred in holding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as to Causes of Action I and II when Ms. Williams was seeking prospective declaratory relief that her tentative release date (T.R.D) should be 3 years less than claimed by Respondents based on Nebraska statutory and case law, citing solely to Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 78 (2005); and 2) The district court erred in holding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-911 as to Cause of Action III because after Ms. Williams had exhausted the NDCS grievance process set forth in Neb. Admin. Code Title 68, Chapter 1 and 2, she could not seek judicial review through declaratory judgement as to whether Respondents threatened application of her three valid sentences would extend her discharge date by three years because of “sovereign immunity” in violation of state and federal constitutional law, citing to Heist v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, 312 Neb. 480(2022).


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