The Nebraska Supreme Court is housed at the Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln. (Rebecca S. Gratz for the Nebraska Examiner)
LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court began hearing arguments Wednesday on a case looking at whether Nebraskans being evicted from their homes have a constitutional right to a jury trial.
Legal Aid of Nebraska and Nebraska Appleseed consider it a “landmark case.” They are jointly representing defendant Teresa Holcomb, the tenant, against NP Dodge Management.
NP Dodge has asserted that Holcomb violated a clause about crime-free housing by threatening to attack two other residents in a common area.
The Legal Aid and Appleseed team have argued that Holcomb deserves a jury trial to determine whether her “words of frustration” violated the clause.
The appeal to the Supreme Court followed a decision by a Douglas County District judge who upheld a county court’s ruling allowing NP Dodge to evict Holcomb from a South Omaha apartment complex.
Kasey Ogle, an Appleseed lawyer, said that eviction proceedings are “extremely fast” and that a jury trial would offer more opportunity for tenants to present a defense.
Caitlin Cedfiedt of Legal Aid hopes the spotlight will remain on the eviction process.
“There was a lot of talk about the eviction process when the pandemic began, but this has been — and will continue to be — an issue throughout the state regardless of the pandemic,” she said.
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