Eyewitness Identification Reform
Nebraska enacted a statute requiring all law enforcement agencies that conduct eyewitness identifications to adopt a written policy and submit it to the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. The policy shall include the minimum standards developed by the Commission relating to the following: (a) standards which describe the administration of a lineup, (b) procedures governing the instructions given by a peace officer to an eyewitness, and (c) procedures for documentation of the eyewitness's level of certainty of an identification.
The Commission approved minimum standards and a model policy that includes the 'core four' evidence-based practices: blind/blinded administration of the lineup, instructions to the eyewitness that the perpetrator may or may not be present, use of non-suspect fillers that generally match the eyewitness's description of the perpetrator and do not make the suspect noticeably stand out, and eliciting a statement of confidence from the eyewitness immediately after an identification is made. Statute effective: 2016; Policy adopted: 2016.
Recording of Interrogations
Law enforcement officers are required to record custodial interrogations at a place of detention in connection with crimes resulting in death or felonies involving sexual assault, kidnapping, child abuse or strangulation. A failure to comply yields a jury instruction. Effective: 2008.
Post Conviction DNA Testing
Any person can apply for DNA testing with the court that entered the guilty judgment at any time after conviction. Effective: 2001; Amended most recently: 2015.
State statute requires the automatic preservation of biological evidence in relation to a criminal case for the length of an individual’s incarceration. Effective: 2001; Amended most recently: 2007.
Nebraska's statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.
Any person with a pardon for innocence, whose conviction was vacated, or whose conviction was reversed and remanded for a new trial and no subsequent conviction was obtained is eligible for damages found to proximately result from the wrongful conviction with a maximum of $500,000. Effective: 2009.
Nebraska enacted a law in 2019 which requires prosecutors to automatically disclose specific jailhouse witness evidence to the defense at least 30 days prior to trial, including: any benefits offered, requested, or expected; their complete criminal history; details about the statement allegedly made by the defendant; and any previous jailhouse informant activities. The law also requires each county attorney’s office to maintain an internal, searchable record of jailhouse witnesses with information about their testimony and cooperation with the state. Effective: 2019.