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In re Becka P.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

October 27, 2017

In re Interest of Becka P. et al., children under 18 YEARS OF AGE.
v.
Robert P. and Veronica M., appellants. State of Nebraska, appellee,

         1. Juvenile Courts: Appeal and Error. An appellate court reviews juvenile cases de novo on the record and reaches a conclusion independently of the juvenile court's findings.

         2. Appeal and Error. On a question of law, an appellate court reaches a conclusion independently of the court below.

         Appeals from the County Court for Garden County: Randin Roland, Judge. Affirmed.

          Robert S. Harvoy for appellant Robert P.

          On brief, Michael R. Snyder, of Snyder & Hilliard, PC, L.L.O., for appellants.

          Philip E. Pierce, Garden County Attorney, for appellee.

          Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Kelch, and Funke, JJ.

          Heavican, C.J.

         INTRODUCTION

         After a dispositional hearing, the county court for Garden County, Nebraska, sitting as a juvenile court, declined to adopt a case plan and a court report recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Among [298 Neb. 99] other instructions, the court ordered DHHS to update the children's immunizations. The children's parents, Robert P. and Veronica M., appeal. We affirm.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Robert and Veronica are the parents of Becka P., Thomas P., and Robert P., Jr. Prior to 2015, multiple claims were made against Robert and Veronica, alleging physical neglect of the children. The court concluded that these allegations were unfounded. In one instance, Becka was removed from the home for a time, but was returned and noncourt services were provided. In another instance, services were offered but rejected.

         In December 2015, the State filed juvenile petitions and affidavits in support of those petitions, alleging that Robert and Veronica had collectively been cited four times since 2013 for failure to use a child safety restraint. Evidence was presented that one of Robert and Veronica's children had been involved in several automobile accidents while riding unrestrained in the front seat while Robert was driving. One of the accidents involved a fire, and another accident involved a rollover, where it was determined that the child was sitting unrestrained on Robert's lap while he was driving. The children were adjudicated; that adjudication was affirmed in an unpublished memorandum opinion by the Nebraska Court of Appeals on October 16, 2016, in cases Nos. A-16-351 through A-16-353.

         While the adjudication was on appeal, the juvenile court appointed an educational surrogate for the children. Robert and Veronica appealed. This court found that Robert and Veronica were appealing from final orders and affirmed the county court's appointment, concluding that (1) the appeals of the adjudication did not divest the juvenile court of jurisdiction to issue or rule on the various orders to show cause and (2) the orders appointing the educational surrogate were not premised on a finding of contempt; thus, Robert and Veronica's assertion that they should have been given ...


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