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Court of Appeals Call - Extended Case Summaries

Moore, Chief Judge, Inbody and Riedmann, Judges

Chadron State College - Tuesday, April 11, 2017 subject to call at 9:30 AM

A-16-813 & A-16-814, In re Interest of Jayden J. and Stevie J., Children under 18 years of age. State of Nebraska v. Crystal J. (Appellant), a termination of parental rights case, to be argued 4/11/17 at Chadron State College.


In April 2014, the State filed petitions alleging Jayden and Stevie lacked proper parental care by reason of Crystal’s faults or habits. In June 2014, a temporary order of custody was signed removing the children from the home and placing custody of Jayden and Stevie with the Department of Health and Human Services.  At a hearing soon after, Crystal admitted to possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the presence of the children, that she was arrested for the offense of possession of methamphetamine, and that there was a history of domestic violence in the presence of the children.


In March 2016, the State filed motions for termination of Crystal’s parental rights, alleging that termination was in Jayden and Stevie’s best interests. A trial on the motions for termination of Crystal’s parental rights was held and the State called multiple witnesses to testify regarding Crystal’s continued concerning behaviors, including her relationship with the children, regular incarceration, her parenting of the children, the efforts made to reunify Crystal with her children despite the children’s out of home placement for nearly two years, and Crystal’s use of illicit drugs.


After hearing all of the witness and allowing the parties to brief their positions for the county court, the county court determined that the State established the children had been out of the family home for 15 or more months, that Crystal failed to correct the conditions leading to trial, that Crystal is a habitual user of illicit drugs which is seriously detrimental to the well-being of the children, and that Crystal substantially, continuously, and repeatedly neglected and refused to provide necessary parental care. The court also determined it was in the best interests of Jayden and Stevie that Crystal’s parental rights be terminated because, despite showing potential of being a reasonable parent, Crystal was unable to stay out of jail, free from illegal drugs, or parent the children in a consistent manner. Based on the county court’s determination, Crystal appealed to this court claiming that there was not clear and convincing evidence to terminate her parental rights and that the termination of her parental rights was not in the children’s best interests.