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In re Trenton W.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

June 16, 2015

IN RE INTEREST OF TRENTON W. ET AL., CHILDREN UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE. STATE OF NEBRASKA, APPELLEE,
v.
RICHARD W., APPELLANT, AND SUSAN W., APPELLEE

Page 805

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Appeals from the County Court for Boone County: Stephen R.W. Twiss, Judge.

Ted M. Lohrberg for appellant.

Jeffrey C. Jarecki, of Jarecki Law, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee Susan W.

Jeffrey M. Doerr, of Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Doerr, guardian ad litem.

MOORE, Chief Judge, and IRWIN and RIEDMANN, Judges.

OPINION

Page 808

[22 Neb.App. 977] Riedmann, Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Richard W. appeals, and Susan W. attempts to cross-appeal, from the order of the county court, sitting as a juvenile court, which adjudicated their five minor children within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Supp. 2013). Because we find that there was insufficient evidence to support the adjudications based upon the actions of Richard, we reverse the judgment of the juvenile court adjudicating the children on that basis and remand the cause for further proceedings.

BACKGROUND

Richard and Susan are the natural parents of five minor children: Jasmine W., born in 2001; Emily W., born in 2003; Ashlee W., born in 2004; Trenton W., born in 2007; and Bella W., born in 2012. On May 8, 2014, the State filed petitions to adjudicate each of the minor children under § 43-247(3)(a). The petitions alleged that Richard and Susan neglected or refused to provide proper subsistence, education, or other care necessary for the health, morals, or well-being of the children; that the children were in a situation dangerous to life or limb or injurious to their health and morals; and that the children lacked proper parental care by reason of the fault or habits of Richard and Susan. The petitions did not contain any specific factual allegations to support the general allegations stated above and were not accompanied by an affidavit.

[22 Neb.App. 978] The same day the petitions for adjudication were filed, however, the State filed motions for temporary custody which were accompanied by an affidavit. It alleged that three of the minor children were left in a motel room without adult supervision on May 7, 2014; that there was concern Richard and Susan were abusing prescription drugs and alcohol and failing to provide appropriate care for the children; and that the family had been involved with Child Protective Services in Tennessee before moving to Nebraska. Both parents entered a denial to the allegations. An adjudication hearing was held, during which the following evidence was adduced:

Richard and Susan moved with their children from the State of Tennessee to Albion, Nebraska, in early April 2014. Susan enrolled the children in school immediately. The family moved in with Susan's sister, Sheryl B., where they planned to live temporarily until they could obtain their own housing. On May 5, however, they were asked to leave Sheryl's home due to conflict between Susan and Sheryl. Richard and Susan had no other relatives in Albion, so they arranged to stay three nights--May 5 through 7--at a local motel where Richard was working.

On May 7, 2014, Ginger Buhl-Jorgensen, an investigator with ...


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