The co-owner of a Sidney motel convicted of numerous felony charges for assaulting a woman at his business has lost his appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court.
The convictions stemmed an assault at the El Palomino Motel early the morning of September 14, 2014 after police received a report of a “blood curdling scream” from the facility. Court documents indicate the victim had two black eyes and bruises on a lot of her body, and was afraid for her life.
The victim told police that Jason Assad, who is now 41-years-old, had threatened to rape her in front of her son, had placed a knife to her throat, strangled her, and hit her repeatedly. Video surveillance in the motel showed Assad carrying a firearm throughout the premise.
In 2015, Assad was sentenced to 35 to 60 years in prison on convictions of: First Degree False Imprisonment, Terroristic Threats, Use of a Knife to Commit a Felony, Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Felon, and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.
In 2019, he filed an appeal with the Nebraska Court of Appeals, claiming that one of his two prior felony convictions was insufficient to merit his enhanced habitual criminal status. He also argued that he in ineffective counsel with when his case was heard on appeal.
Last February, the appellate court dismissed Assad’s claims and confirmed his conviction and sentence.
In his filing with the Nebraska Supreme Court, Assad contended that the Court of Appeals erred by affirming the district court’s denial of relief on his claim for ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.
He argues that under the circumstances, he is entitled to a presumption of prejudice and a new direct appeal.
Today, the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. They cited the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Strickland v. Washington, which has made it clear that in order for prejudice to be presumed as a result of counsel’s inadequate performance, the failure must be extreme.
The high court concluded that Assad was required to demonstrate prejudice under Strickland and that he failed to do so.
Nebraska of Department of Corrections shows that Assad will not be eligible for parole until at least 2047.