The Burger Court (1969–86)

First Amendment

What happened to Edwin Charles Simants, the alleged murderer in the case?

A jury convicted Simants of murder and sentenced him to death in his first trial. However, in a post-conviction proceeding, evidence was revealed that the local sheriff had made inappropriate contact with the jurors who were sequestered in a local hotel. The sheriff allegedly visited and even played cards with the jurors. Thus, Simants’s conviction was vacated. Simants was tried a second time. The second jury found Simants not guilty by reason of insanity. Nebraska law provided that the state could bring civil commitment proceedings against inmates found not guilty by reason of insanity. The state did so and Simants has remained institutionalized as a ward of the state at Lincoln Regional Center.


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