In re Interest of Hla H., a child under 18 Years of Age.
Hla H., appellant. State of Nebraska, Appellee.
Juvenile Courts: Appeal and Error. An appellate court reviews
juvenile cases de novo on the record and reaches its
conclusions independently of the juvenile court's
Statutes: Judgments: Appeal and Error. The meaning of a
statute is a question of law, which an appellate court
resolves independently of the trial court.
Juvenile Courts: Rules of Evidence. The Nebraska Evidence
Rules control adduction of evidence at an adjudication
hearing under the Nebraska Juvenile Code.
Rules of Evidence: Hearsay: Appeal and Error. Apart from
rulings under the residual hearsay exception, an appellate
court reviews for clear error the factual findings
underpinning a trial court's hearsay ruling and reviews
de novo the court's ultimate determination to admit
evidence over a hearsay objection.
Rules of Evidence: Hearsay: Words and Phrases. Neb. Evid. R.
801, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 27-801(3) (Reissue 2016), defines
hearsay as a statement, other than one made by the declarant
while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence
to prove the truth of the matter asserted. One definition of
"statement, " for the purposes of the Nebraska
Evidence Rules, is an oral or written assertion.
Hearsay. If an out-of-court statement is not offered for
proving the truth of the facts asserted, it is not hearsay.
Rules of Evidence: Hearsay. Apart from statements falling
under the definitional exclusions and statutory exceptions,
the admissibility of an out-of-court statement depends upon
whether the statement is offered [25 Neb.App. 119] for one or
more recognized nonhearsay purposes relevant to an issue in
Hearsay: Words and Phrases. A verbal act is a statement that
has legal significance, i.e., it brings about a legal
consequence simply because it was spoken. Words that
constitute a verbal act are not hearsay even if they appear
Hearsay. Verbal acts, also known as statements of legal
consequence, are not hearsay, because the statement is
admitted merely to show that it was actually made, not to
prove the truth of what was asserted in it.
. A nonhearsay purpose for offering a statement does exist
when a statement has legal significance because it was
spoken, independent of the truth of the matter asserted.
Rules of Evidence. Neb. Evid. R. 902, Neb. Rev. Stat. §
27-902 (Reissue 2016), states that certain documents are
self-authenticating and extrinsic evidence of authenticity as
a condition precedent to admissibil-ity is not required.
Rules of Evidence: Proof. Neb. Evid. R. 901, Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 27-901(1) (Reissue 2016), does not impose a high
hurdle for authentication or identification. A proponent of
evidence is not required to conclusively prove the
genuineness of the evidence or to rule out all possibilities
inconsistent with authenticity. If the proponent's
showing is sufficient to support a finding that the evidence
is what it purports to be, the proponent has satisfied the
requirement of rule 901(1).
Evidence: Testimony: Proof. Authentication of letters may be
provided by testimony.
Juvenile Courts: Public Officers and Employees: Minors. Neb.
Rev. Stat. § 43-276(2) (Reissue 2016) requires that
prior to filing a petition alleging that a juvenile is a
juvenile as described in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(b)
(Supp. 2015), the county attorney shall make reasonable
efforts to refer the juvenile and his or her family to
community-based resources available to address the
juvenile's behaviors, provide crisis intervention, and
maintain the juvenile safely in the home.
Statutes: Appeal and Error. Statutory language is to be given
its plain and ordinary meaning; an appellate court will not
resort to interpretation to ascertain the meaning of
statutory words which are plain, direct, and unambiguous.
from the Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County: Toni G.
Thorson, Judge. Affirmed.
Nigro, Lancaster County Public Defender, and James G. Sieben
Neb.App. 120] Joe Kelly, Lancaster County Attorney, and
Maureen E. Lamski for appellee.
Pirtle, Bishop, and Arterburn, Judges.
appeals the order of the separate juvenile court of Lancaster
County adjudicating him as a juvenile within the meaning of
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(b) (Supp. 2015) for being
habitually truant from school between August 12 and December
18, 2015. At issue in this case is whether the office of the
Lancaster County Attorney (County Attorney) fulfilled the
statutory duty to make reasonable efforts to refer Hla and
his family to community-based resources prior to filing the
juvenile petition. We conclude that the County Attorney did,
and we therefore affirm the decision of the juvenile court.
January 19, 2016, the State filed a petition alleging that
Hla, born in July 2000, was a juvenile within the meaning of
§ 43-247(3)(b), because he was habitually truant from
school between August 12 and December 18, 2015. The State
Further, a description of the efforts made by the County
Attorney to refer the juvenile and family to community-based
resources available to address the juvenile's behavior,
provide crisis intervention, and maintain the juvenile safely
in the home is as follows:
1. On or about October 26, 2015, a letter from the Lancaster
County Attorney's office was provided to Eh [P.]
[Hla's mother] which a) referred the family to a guide of
available resources in Lancaster County; b) encouraged the
family to work closely with the school to access those or
other resources; and c) provided information about how to
contact the county's Truancy Resource Specialist if the
student/family needed assistance in [25 Neb.App. 121]
accessing appropriate services to overcome any barriers to
regular school attendance that the student/family [was]
adjudication hearing was held on June 20 and 23, 2016. Hla
and his mother, Eh P., were present at the hearing. Because
Eh's native language is Karen, an interpreter was also
State's only witness was Matthew Gerber, an instructional
coordinator at Hla's school. Gerber works with students
regarding behavioral concerns, attendance, scheduling, and
"all the general responsibilities of the student's
education." He worked with Hla during the 2015-16 school
1, a "Conference Absence Report, " was received
into evidence without objection. The report contained a
number of codes such as "TR" and "TD."
Gerber testified that "TR" means "truant"
and indicates that the student was absent during that period
of the day. "TD" means "tardy" and
indicates that the student arrived late to that class period.
The report showed that in the fall of 2015, Hla had numerous
truancies and tar-dies in August, September, and October (and
by December 18, he had anywhere from 22 to 38 unexcused
absences for each class period).
to Gerber, the school worked with Hla to help him improve his
attendance. One of the "primary interventions" the
school used was a "collab[o]rative plan meeting"
held on October 26, 2015. The meeting was attended by the
school's attendance team leader, Hla, Eh, an interpreter,
and Gerber. The purpose of the collaborative plan meeting was
to determine if there was anything preventing Hla from
attending school and to determine any "supports"
that could be provided to help improve attendance.
collaborative plan meeting, it was noted that Hla had already
missed a significant amount of school and that if he
continued to miss school, his grades would suffer and he
would be referred to the County Attorney once he accumulated
20 days of absences. Hla's attendance record was provided
[25 Neb.App. 122] and explained to Eh, outlining the number
of absences Hla had by October 26, 2015. Exhibit 2, the
"Collaborative Plan" for the meeting, was received
into evidence over Hla's hearsay objection (not
challenged on appeal). Gerber testified that exhibit 2 was
the agenda for the meeting, and he outlined a series of
questions that were asked of Hla and Eh to determine if there
were any barriers to school attendance. Neither Hla nor Eh
provided any explanation as to why Hla was missing school.
The collaborative plan shows that the attendees considered
the following to reduce barriers to improve attendance:
illness, educational counseling, educational evaluation,
referral to community agencies for economic services, family
or individual counseling, and assisting the family ...