Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-279.01

Nebraska Revised Statutes of 1943

Chapter 43. Infants and Juveniles

Article 2. Juvenile Code

(D) Preadjudication Procedures


§ 43-279.01. Juvenile in need of assistance or termination of parental rights; rights of parties; proceedings.


(1) When the petition alleges the juvenile to be within the provisions of subdivision (3)(a) of section 43-247 or when termination of parental rights is sought pursuant to subdivision (6) or (7) of section 43-247 and the parent or custodian appears with or without counsel, the court shall inform the parties of the:


(a) Nature of the proceedings and the possible consequences or dispositions pursuant to sections 43-284, 43-285, and 43-288 to 43-295;


(b) Right to engage counsel of their choice at their own expense or to have counsel appointed if unable to afford to hire a lawyer;


(c) Right to remain silent as to any matter of inquiry if the testimony sought to be elicited might tend to prove the parent or custodian guilty of any crime;


(d) Right to confront and cross-examine witnesses;


(e) Right to testify and to compel other witnesses to attend and testify;


(f) Right to a speedy adjudication hearing; and


(g) Right to appeal and have a transcript or record of the proceedings for such purpose.


(2) After giving the parties the information prescribed in subsection (1) of this section, the court may accept an in-court admission, an answer of no contest, or a denial from any parent or custodian as to all or any part of the allegations in the petition. The court shall ascertain a factual basis for an admission or an answer of no contest.


(3) In the case of a denial, the court shall allow a reasonable time for preparation if needed and then proceed to determine the question of whether the juvenile falls under the provisions of section 43-247 as alleged. After hearing the evidence, the court shall make a finding and adjudication to be entered on the records of the court as to whether the allegations in the petition have been proven by a preponderance of the evidence in cases under subdivision (3)(a) of section 43-247 or by clear and convincing evidence in proceedings to terminate parental rights. If an Indian child is involved, the standard of proof shall be in compliance with the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, if applicable.


(4) If the court shall find that the allegations of the petition or motion have not been proven by the requisite standard of proof, it shall dismiss the case or motion. If the court sustains the petition or motion, it shall allow a reasonable time for preparation if needed and then proceed to inquire into the matter of the proper disposition to be made of the juvenile.


Source: Laws 1985, LB 447, § 23; Laws 1989, LB 22, § 3.


CROSS REFERENCE


Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, see section 43-1501.


NOTES OF DECISIONS


Subsection (1) of this section states in part that when a petition alleges a juvenile to be within the provisions of subsection (3)(a) of section 43-247 and the parent or custodian appears with or without counsel, the court shall inform the parties of the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses. Subsection (3) of this section provides that when adjudicating whether a juvenile is dependent or neglected within the purview of subsection (3)(a) of section 43- 247, the State must establish its allegations by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Interest of Danielle D. et al., 257 Neb. 198, 595 N.W.2d 544 (1999).


Adequate notice of the possibility of the termination of parental rights must be given in adjudication hearings before the juvenile court may accept an in-court admission, an answer of no contest, or a denial from a parent. A parent in a juvenile court case has the right to appointed counsel if unable to hire a lawyer. In re Interest of N.M. and J.M., 240 Neb. 690, 484 N.W.2d 77 (1992).


Eight-month delay between the time when the child is "temporarily" taken from the child's parent until an adjudication hearing is held cannot be condoned, even when the parties agree to repeated continuances. In re Interest of D.M.B., 240 Neb. 349, 481 N.W.2d 905 (1992).


To determine whether due process requires the assistance of counsel for the parent in a temporary detention proceeding under sections 43-247(3)(a) and 43- 254, the court must weigh the interest of the parent, the interest of the State, and the risk of erroneous decision given the procedures in use. In re Interest of R.R., 239 Neb. 250, 475 N.W.2d 518 (1991).


The statutory provision requiring that an adjudication hearing be held within six months after a juvenile petition is filed is directory, not mandatory. In re Interest of C.P., 235 Neb. 276, 455 N.W.2d 138 (1990).


A ruling refusing to permit the withdrawal of an answer of no contest filed pursuant to the provisions of this section is not a final, appealable order. In re Interest of C.D.A., 231 Neb. 267, 435 N.W.2d 681 (1989).


The trial court's failure to advise a mother of her rights, of the possible dispositions, or of the nature of juvenile court proceedings arising from the State's petition alleging that the mother inappropriately disciplined her 20- month-old child and that the child was without proper parental care through the mother's fault or habits violated the mother's due process rights, even though the mother vigorously defended against the charges. In re Interest of Billie B., 8 Neb. App. 791, 601 N.W.2d 799 (1999).


Failure to advise a party to a termination hearing of his or her rights as delineated in this section requires reversal of the order of termination. In re Interest of Joelyann H., 6 Neb. App. 472, 574 N.W.2d 185 (1998).


Failure of a court to provide the parties with explanations and warnings as mandated by this section results in a denial of due process. In re Interest of A.D.S. and A.D.S., 2 Neb. App. 469, 511 N.W.2d 208 (1994).

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