Nebraska State Constitution Article III-17

Nebraska State Constitution » III-17
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III-17. Impeachment; procedure.

The Legislature shall have the sole power of impeachment, but a majority of the members elected must concur therein. Proceedings may be initiated in either a regular session or a special session of the Legislature. Upon the adoption of a resolution of impeachment, which resolution shall give reasonable notice of the acts or omissions alleged to constitute impeachable offenses but need not conform to any particular style, a notice of an impeachment of any officer, other than a Judge of the Supreme Court, shall be forthwith served upon the Chief Justice, by the Clerk of the Legislature, who shall thereupon call a session of the Supreme Court to meet at the Capitol in an expeditious fashion after such notice to try the impeachment. A notice of an impeachment of the Chief Justice or any Judge of the Supreme Court shall be served by the Clerk of the Legislature, upon the clerk of the judicial district within which the Capitol is located, and he or she thereupon shall choose, at random, seven Judges of the District Court in the State to meet within thirty days at the Capitol, to sit as a Court to try such impeachment, which Court shall organize by electing one of its number to preside. The case against the impeached civil officer shall be brought in the name of the Legislature and shall be managed by two senators, appointed by the Legislature, who may make technical or procedural amendments to the articles of impeachment as they deem necessary. The trial shall be conducted in the manner of a civil proceeding and the impeached civil officer shall not be allowed to invoke a privilege against self-incrimination, except as otherwise applicable in a general civil case. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the Court of impeachment that clear and convincing evidence exists indicating that such person is guilty of one or more impeachable offenses, but judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, profit, or trust, in this State, but the party impeached, whether convicted or acquitted, shall nevertheless be liable to prosecution and punishment according to law. No officer shall exercise his or her official duties after he or she shall have been impeached and notified thereof, until he or she shall have been acquitted.

Source

    Neb. Const. art. III, sec. 14 (1875);
    Amended 1972, Laws 1971, LB 126, sec. 1;
    Amended 1986, Laws 1986, LR 318, sec. 1.

Annotations

    An impeachment trial is conducted as a civil proceeding, and the standard of proof for a conviction of impeachment is clear and convincing evidence. Nebraska Legislature on behalf of State v. Hergert, 271 Neb. 976, 720 N.W.2d 372 (2006).

    The Nebraska Supreme Court's role as fact finder is limited to finding whether the Legislature has shown by clear and convincing evidence that an officer is guilty of one or more impeachable offenses. Nebraska Legislature on behalf of State v. Hergert, 271 Neb. 976, 720 N.W.2d 372 (2006).

    This provision limits the Nebraska Supreme Court's judgment to removal from office and disqualification to hold other state offices. This provision specifically provides that the party impeached, whether convicted or acquitted, shall nevertheless be liable to prosecution and punishment according to law. Thus, the Nebraska Constitution explicitly provides that a conviction of impeachment is not the same as a criminal conviction and that impeachment sanctions cannot rise to the level of criminal punishment. Because criminal conviction is not at stake in an impeachment proceeding, a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of proof is not required. Nebraska Legislature on behalf of State v. Hergert, 271 Neb. 976, 720 N.W.2d 372 (2006).

    An impeachment must be tried by the Supreme Court. State v. Douglas, 217 Neb. 199, 349 N.W.2d 870 (1984).

    The effect of this provision is to require the concurrence of five or more judges to convict on any count of an impeachable offense. State v. Douglas, 217 Neb. 199, 349 N.W.2d 870 (1984).

    A constitutional officer can only be removed by impeachment. Laverty v. Cochran, 132 Neb. 118, 271 N.W. 354 (1936).

    Only method of removing county judge is by impeachment under this section. Conroy v. Hallowell, 94 Neb. 794, 144 N.W. 895 (1913).

    Impeachment is essentially criminal prosecution and accused must be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. State v. Hastings, 37 Neb. 96, 55 N.W. 774 (1893).

    Authority to present other or amended articles of impeachment rests along with Legislature, and power to impeach cannot be delegated. State v. Leese, 37 Neb. 92, 55 N.W. 798 (1893).

    Power of impeachment is exclusively conferred upon the Legislature and either one of two judgments can be pronounced, removal from office or removal and disqualification to hold office. Impeachment will not lie after term of office has expired. State v. Hill, 37 Neb. 80, 55 N.W. 794 (1893).