Nebraska Case Law

The Nebraska state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Nebraska is the Nebraska Supreme Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Nebraska Court of Appeals. It also reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts in limited situations. Decisions by the Nebraska Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.

The middle level of the Nebraska state court system is the Nebraska Court of Appeals, which consists of six judges. Most appeals from trial courts must pass through the Court of Appeals before reaching the Supreme Court, with a few exceptions. These include death penalty cases, sentences of life imprisonment, and challenges to the constitutionality of a law. A party also may ask the Supreme Court to take a direct appeal from a trial court.

The lowest level of the Nebraska state court system consists primarily of the Nebraska District Courts and the Nebraska County Courts. The District Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by County Courts. The jurisdiction of the County Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, traffic offenses, violations of city ordinances, and civil matters with no more than $51,000 at issue. 

Nebraska also has certain other courts that review distinctive types of cases. These include the Nebraska Separate Juvenile Courts, the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court, and the Nebraska Problem-Solving Courts. The Separate Juvenile Courts, which exist in only three counties, review all types of juvenile matters. Outside those counties, County Courts review juvenile matters. The Workers' Compensation Court reviews workers' compensation disputes. The Problem-Solving Courts typically review cases involving community issues, drug crimes, DUI, domestic violence, and mental health issues.

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