KEARNEY, Neb. — University of Nebraska Regent Kent Schroeder is asking the state Court of Appeals to review his shovel theft conviction.
Schroeder, through his attorney and son-in-law Brandon Brinegar of Kearney, filed his notice of intent to appeal last week in Buffalo County District Court. Transcripts of Schroeder’s 2011 trail in Buffalo County Court will now be forwarded on to the state Court of Appeals for their review.
The process could take several months.
In April, District Court Judge Derek Weimer of Sidney ruled that Schroeder’s appeal was without merit.
Brinegar had argued that during Schroeder’s original 2011 trial special Buffalo County Court Judge Linda Caster Senff of Central City made three errors at the time of trial: that special prosecutor Kurt McBride of Lexington didn’t have authority to prosecute a Kearney city ordinance violation; that there was insufficient evidence to convict Schroeder; and that McBride failed to show the crime occurred within the Kearney city limits.
Caster Senff and Weimer were both appointed to preside over Schroeder’s trial and appeal because Schroeder, a Kearney attorney, regularly practices law in Buffalo County. All documents were filed in Buffalo County.
In June 2011, Schroeder was found guilty of stealing a $30 shovel from a neighbor near a duplex he owns. Caster Senff acquitted Schroeder of a related charge of trespassing.
During his hourlong testimony at the five-hour trial, Schroeder admitted walking into Michael Lohmann’s home Feb. 26, 2011, to determine if there was asbestos in the house. Schroeder had earlier talked with homeowner and former law associate Vikki Stamm about possibly purchasing the house.
After a January fire, Schroeder assumed no one was living in the house because of the damage. He said he borrowed the shovel. Schroeder went back to his duplex next door where he said he scooped the steps.
Then, running short on time, he put the shovel inside one of his duplexes. It wasn’t until a day after the shovel was taken, and after a friend of Lohmann’s had confronted Schroeder, that Schroeder returned the shovel to Lohmann.