In re Interest of Lizabella R., a child under 18 years of age.
Elizabeth L., appellant. State of Nebraska, appellee,
Juvenile Courts: Appeal and Error. An
appellate court reviews juvenile cases de novo on the record
and reaches conclusions independently of the juvenile
Evidence: Appeal and Error. When the
evidence is in conflict, an appellate court may give weight
to the fact that the lower court observed the witnesses and
accepted one version of the facts over the other.
Appeal and Error. Plain error is error
plainly evident from the record and of such a nature that to
leave it uncorrected would result in damage to the integrity,
reputation, or fairness of the judicial process.
4. __ .
Plain error may be asserted for the first time on appeal or
be noted by an appellate court on its own motion.
Parental Rights: Proof. Parental rights may
be terminated pursuant to a showing of best interests of the
child and by establishing, through clear and convincing
evidence, one of the 11 statutory bases for termination under
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292 (Reissue 2016).
Evidence: Words and Phrases. Clear and
convincing evidence is the amount of evidence that produces
in the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction about the
existence of the fact to be proved.
Parental Rights. Neb. Rev. Stat. §
43-292(2) (Reissue 2016) provides for termination when the
parents have substantially and continuously or repeatedly
neglected and refused to give the juvenile or a sibling of
the juvenile necessary parental care and protection.
parent's incarceration, standing alone, does not provide
a ground for termination of parental rights.
Parental Rights: Abandonment. In a
termination of parental rights case, parental incarceration
may properly be considered along with other [25 Neb.App. 422]
factors in determining whether parental rights should be
terminated based on neglect.
Parental Rights. Although incarceration
itself may be involuntary, the underlying criminal conduct
that resulted in incarceration is voluntary.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292(6) (Reissue 2016) provides for
termination when, following a determination that a juvenile
is one as described in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a)
(Reissue 2016), reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify
the family under the direction of the court have failed to
correct the conditions leading to the determination.
. A court order to complete relinquishment counseling is, by
its very nature, not an effort intended to preserve and
reunify the family.
Appeal and Error. An appellate court is not
obligated to engage in an analysis which is not necessary to
adjudicate the case and controversy before it.
Parental Rights: Proof. Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 43-292(7) (Reissue 2016) states that the statutory
grounds for termination are met if the juvenile has been in
an out-of-home placement for 15 or more months of the most
recent 22 months.
__:__.In addition to proving a statutory ground, the State
must also show that termination of parental rights is in the
best interests of the child.
Constitutional Law: Parental Rights. A
parent's right to raise his or her child is
Parental Rights: Presumptions: Proof. There
is a rebuttable presumption that the best interests of the
child are served by having a relationship with his or her
parent. Based on the idea that fit parents act in the best
interests of their children, this presumption is overcome
only when the State has proved that the parent is unfit.
Constitutional Law: Parental Rights: Words and
Phrases. In the context of the constitutionally
protected relationship between a parent and a child, parental
unfitness means a personal deficiency or incapacity which has
prevented, or will probably prevent, performance of a
reasonable parental obligation in child rearing and which
caused, or probably will result in, detriment to a
Parent and Child. The law does not require
perfection of a parent; rather, courts should look for the
parent's continued improvement in parenting skills and a
beneficial relationship between parent and child.
from the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County: Elizabeth
Crnkovich, Judge. Reversed and remanded for further
Maureen K. Monahan for appellant.
Neb.App. 423] Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney,
Jennifer C. Clark, and Laura Elise Lemoine, Senior Certified
Law Student, for appellee.
PIRTLE, RIEDMANN, AND ARTERBURN, JUDGES.
L. appeals from an order of the separate juvenile court of
Douglas County terminating her parental rights. For the
reasons that follow, we reverse the order and remand the
cause for further proceedings.
is the biological mother of Lizabella R., born in January
2015, and Jose R., born in February 2016. The children have
different biological fathers. The juvenile court terminated
the parental rights of Lizabella's biological father, and
Jose's biological father has indicated that he would like
to relinquish his parental rights. This ...