Uniform Separate Juvenile Court Rules of Practice and Procedure (Ch. 6, Art. 17 of the Official/Codified Supreme Court Rules)
Rules of Practice and Procedure in the Separate Juvenile Courts of Douglas County, Nebraska
(Effective January 20, 2000; amended September 24, 2014.)
3.1 Within fifteen (15) days of the filing of a petition, the county attorney shall make available to opposing counsel and to any and all guardians ad litem, all documents in the county attorney’s possession which support the filing of such petition. In turn, all counsel have a corresponding obligation to take proper steps to request and obtain such documents from the county attorney’s office. The county attorney shall timely supplement, as additional documents become available.
3.2 Within twenty-one (21) days of the detention hearing or arraignment, whichever comes first, of a Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a), (3)(b), or (3)(c) case, the court shall hold a pretrial conference.
3.4 At least one (1) day prior to the pretrial conference, all counsel, including parties appearing pro se, shall sign and file a proposed pretrial schedule with the court, delivering a copy of the same to the bailiff, indicating whether the matter is contested or can be disposed of by a plea agreement.
c. Whether agreement has been reached by the parties regarding deadlines for conducting discovery; the filing of pretrial motions; the exchange of witness lists; and the identification of exhibits, indicating the proposed deadline for each;
e. Stipulations regarding the advisability/necessity of certain evaluations to be performed prior to trial, and identifying with respect to each: the nature of each evaluation; the person(s) upon whom it is to be performed; what arrangements have been made or need to be made in order to obtain such evaluation; and the amount of time needed to complete the evaluation and for the parties to obtain the written report of the same;
a. Each courtroom will reserve at least two (2) one-half hours per week during which the court will hear contested motions, which do not involve the testimony of witnesses, including but not limited to motions to dismiss; motions under Rule 12; motions supported by affidavit; motions relating to discovery; and motions for continuance; as well as any other motions or matters which the court, in its discretion, may choose to hear.
c. Prior to calendaring the motion, as designated by the court in Rule 4.1 above, the attorney for the party seeking the hearing on a contested motion shall consult with the court’s bailiff to obtain a specific hearing time for the motion.
d. In the event of vacation, extended illness, or prolonged absence of the judge to whom the case is assigned, the attorney seeking a hearing upon a motion shall contact the Juvenile Court Administrator’s office to make arrangements regarding a hearing on the motion.
a. The hearing on a probable cause finding granting immediate custody of a juvenile in a delinquency or status offense case shall be heard within twenty-four (24) hours of the juvenile’s being taken into custody, or on the next judicial day.
b. The hearing on an ex parte order granting immediate temporary custody in a child abuse/neglect case filed under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) shall be heard within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the entry of such order by the court.
c. All other ex parte motions, excluding those described in Rule 4.3(a) or (b) above, shall be heard within ten (10) calendar days after the ex parte order granting said ex parte motion was signed.
5.1 All documents, including, but not limited to, predisposition reports, case plans, progress/probation reports, and guardian ad litem reports shall be delivered to all counsel and pro se parties at least five (5) judicial days prior to the hearing in which the documents are to be offered.
a. Written notice of all hearings shall advise all counsel (or parties, if unrepresented by counsel), and the Court Administrator's Office for scheduling in JUSTICE, of the date, time, courtroom, or location at which the hearing will be held upon the particular motion or pleading involved.
b. Written notice of all hearings, excluding child support hearings in the juvenile court (which are governed by Rule 9 below), shall be mailed or personally delivered to all other counsel in the case (or to a party, if such party is not represented by counsel) at least three (3) full judicial days prior to the hearing upon the motion.
c. Service of notice of hearing may be faxed to any and all attorneys involved in an action if that attorney(s) has consented to receive service via fax transmission. An attorney who consents to this mode of service and to accept notice of hearing via fax shall so indicate by including his or her fax number with the attorney’s signature, name, address, and telephone number on a document filed in an action.
d. Service of notice of hearing may be emailed to any and all attorneys involved in an action if that attorney(s) has consented to receive service via email. An attorney who consents to this mode of service and to accept notice of hearing via email shall so indicate by including his or her email address with the attorney’s name, address, and telephone number on a document filed in an action.
8.2 Service of all other notices or requests, pleadings, and briefs should be made so as to allow opposing counsel a reasonable time for response or preparation, or as governed by applicable statutes or Supreme Court Rules, or in accordance with such timeline as the court may direct.
8.3 All pleadings, motions, notices, and briefs, excluding the initial petition and the initial ex parte motion for custody of the juvenile, shall contain a certificate of service certifying the manner and date upon which service of such pleading, motion, notice, or brief was made upon all attorneys of record (and parties, if unrepresented by counsel). The certificate of service must be signed by the attorney or attorney’s representative (or by the party, if unrepresented by counsel) who filed the pleading, motion, notice, or brief.
8.4 The use of first-class mail for service of pleadings, motions, notices, and briefs shall constitute sufficient compliance with this Rule, except as may be otherwise required by statute or rule of the Nebraska Supreme Court, or as the juvenile court may direct.
Rule 8.1.a. amended August 5, 2016.
10.1 Court files may be checked out by attorneys licensed to practice law in Nebraska or by an attorney's law clerk or other duly-authorized representative. Proper identification shall be furnished upon request by the Clerk, and the person checking out the court file shall sign a receipt for the file upon which the Clerk shall note or stamp the date and time of check-out.
10.2 A court file may be checked out for a period not to exceed one judicial day and may be checked out for purposes of making copies of the same, or to present the file to the court or to the parties in connection with any matter. Files shall be returned to the Clerk with all documents in the exact same order and condition as when they were checked out.
10.3 In no event shall a juvenile court file be returned to the Clerk later than three (3) judicial days prior to any juvenile court hearing or proceeding in the case to which the file/files relate. It is the responsibility of each attorney or firm checking out the court file to be aware of the date of the next hearing or trial in the case.
10.4 All other persons, including individuals appearing pro se, may review the court file in the presence of the Clerk and, for a fee, obtain copies of pleadings contained within the court file. Copy fees shall be waived for indigent pro se litigants.
10.5 Violation or failure to comply with these Rules governing court files will result in cancellation by the Clerk of the privilege to check out court files by said attorney or by such other person. The Clerk will maintain a list of persons whose privilege to check out court files has been canceled. A judge of the juvenile court may reinstate such privilege upon good cause shown.
11.1 The court will appoint counsel for any juvenile or for any parent determined indigent by the court, and for any other person whenever appointment of counsel would be appropriate in the exercisie of the court's discretion. The court will also appoint a guardian ad litem for a juvenile as required under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-272 and as required by any other section of the Nebraska Juvenile Code.
11.2 Attorneys who are willing to serve as court-appointed counsel in juvenile court proceedings shall notify the Juvenile Court Administrator of that fact, providing the administrator with their contact information. The Juvenile Court Administrator shall maintain a current list of all attorneys who are willing to accept appointments in juvenile court and shall provide the same to all judges, and shall keep the list updated. Any attorney who wishes to be removed from the list may do so upon request to the Juvenile Court Administrator. Said list may be examined by the public upon request.
11.3 Appointments shall be made by the court using the list described in Rule 11.2 above. The court is entitled to rely upon its knowledge of an attorney’s qualifications, skill level, and experience in appointing an attorney whom the court deems suitable to serve on a particular case.
12.1 Generally, court costs ordered paid in Juvenile Court shall be paid to the Clerk of the District Court for Douglas County. Payor shall be able to provide docket and page or case number of the case for appropriate credit.
12.3 Where counsel for a parent has reason to believe that his or her client is incarcerated or otherwise detained, counsel shall timely contact the Juvenile Court Administrator's office to make suitable arrangements for the transportation of the parent to the hearing, which may necessitate the filing of a motion by counsel and the obtaining of an order for transport.
12.4 The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services shall notify, in writing, the court and all parties within one (1) judicial day of any emergency change in the child's placement and shall notify the court and all parties, in writing, seven (7) days prior to any non-emergency change in placement.
12.5 Companion Cases. The county attorney shall, at the time of filing each petition, note or stamp upon the front-page of the petition, the case title and docket number of all other open companion cases involving the juvenile, and the name of the judge to whom each companion case has been assigned.
A “companion case” as defined by this Rule includes: (1) all other open dockets involving the juvenile, whether delinquency, status offense, abuse-neglect, or dependency, filed under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247; and (2) those in which multiple juveniles are charged, in separate petitions, with delinquent acts arising out of the same set of facts.
12.6 Request for Transcript by Non-party. Where a non-party seeks the transcript of any juvenile court hearing pursuant to Neb. Ct. R. § 1-203, such non-party shall (1) file an appropriate pleading with the juvenile court in accordance with Rule 6 of these Rules, which pleading shall contain the request for the transcript of each requested hearing, and (2) secure a hearing date from the bailiff regarding the request.
12.7 Such non-party shall perfect service of his or her pleading in accordance with Rule 8 of these Rules. Where a request for transcript of hearing is made in a case where the court’s jurisdiction has been terminated, notice and service under Rule 8 shall be given by the non-party requestor to all persons or entities who were parties to the proceeding on the date of the hearing for which the transcript is being requested.
12.9 Payment of all costs for the preparation of the transcript shall be governed by Neb. Ct. R. § 1-203(B).
Rules of Practice and Procedure in the Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County, Nebraska
(Effective January 1, 2015)
The following rules of practice and procedure have been adopted by the Lancaster County Separate Juvenile Court Judges and are effective upon approval by the Nebraska Supreme Court. They supersede all former rules of practice and procedure promulgated by this court.
The Lancaster County Separate Juvenile Court shall be a single division with each judge handling cases on an alternating assigned basis.
A. All motions or similar filings in which a hearing is requested shall be in writing and filed with the Clerk of the District Court (the Clerk) at least 5 judicial days prior to hearing, except by permission of the court.
B. Counsel at the time of making such filing shall obtain a date for hearing thereon from the judge to whom the case is assigned or the judge’s bailiff and file a notice of hearing with the filing. Unless approved by the judge, a hearing date must be obtained for each motion, even if motions in the same case are already scheduled. The Clerk shall not accept said filing unless it is accompanied by notice of the time and date of the hearing.
C. Notice of said hearing shall be mailed or personally delivered to other counsel or unrepresented parties 3 full judicial days prior to said hearing. The use of the U.S. Postal Service shall constitute sufficient compliance. Judicial days refer to days that the court normally would be in session, not including weekends and legal holidays.
D. All motions for orders sought to be entered without a hearing shall be accompanied by a proposed order for the judge’s signature.
E. A Motion to Continue can be filed disclosing that all other parties and counsel agree to the continuance in which case the court may grant the motion without a hearing. Once a case has been set for hearing, the case may not be continued except for good cause shown as determined by the court. Counsel seeking the continuance shall obtain a proposed date from the court’s bailiff and verify the new date with other counsel and unrepresented parties. If the new date is not agreeable, it is the responsibility of the movant to obtain a new date that is agreeable to all counsel and unrepresented parties. A Motion to Continue without agreement of opposing counsel and parties shall be set for hearing by the court as previously outlined herein.
F. Motions for Placement Change can be approved by the court without further hearing after 7 days from filing unless an objection is filed with the Clerk and notice is given to the judge or judge’s bailiff, whereupon the matter shall be set for hearing by the court. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services shall notify in writing the court, guardian ad litem, and counsel within 24 judicial hours of any immediate change in placement.
G. Motions for Immediate Custody involving delinquency cases may be set and heard by the court as early as 24 hours of the court’s receiving notice of the detention occurrence, but no later than 48 hours, excluding nonjudicial days. Orders for Immediate Custody based upon violations of conditional release may be waived in writing by counsel for the juvenile.
H. Ex Parte Motions for Temporary Custody involving nondelinquency cases shall come on for hearing within 10 days of the Ex Parte Order’s being signed.
I. A written Denial may be filed with the Clerk and shall include counsel’s estimate as to the amount of time necessary for trial.
A. All pleadings, motions, and proposed orders filed with the Clerk shall be printed or typewritten on 8½- by 11-inch paper.
B. All pleadings shall contain the caption of the case.
C. No pleadings, documents, exhibits, court orders, judgments, and decrees filed in the court shall include the birth dates, Social Security numbers, and financial account numbers of any persons, including minor children, as outlined in Nebraska Supreme Court rule (Neb. Ct. R. § 6-1701).
D. The margin at the bottom of the first page of any pleading or other document filed with the Clerk shall be at least 2¼ inches. This area is reserved for court use to permit affixing a barcode or exhibit identification markings and for other official uses. No image, printing, or marking of any nature may appear within the bottom margin except as made or authorized by the court or the Clerk.
E. Any party making a filing shall serve the same upon all counsel of record or parties of record if not represented by counsel. Service by the U.S. Postal Service shall be deemed sufficient. Any pleading or document filed subsequent to the petition shall contain a certificate that service was made upon counsel or parties pursuant to this rule.
A. All counsel shall conduct themselves in a manner which promotes a positive image of the profession, assists the court in properly reviewing the case, and displays appropriate respect for the justice system.
B. All parties and their counsel shall be punctual and prepared for all court appearances at the time set for hearing by the court.
C. Counsel shall examine witnesses and address the court from the counsel’s table and shall not approach the bench or witness stand while the court is in session without first obtaining permission of the court.
D. Witnesses and parties shall be referred to and addressed by their surnames unless age or other circumstance allows for usage of their first name.
E. Only one counsel for each party shall examine a witness or make objections during the testimony of such witness.
F. At the discretion of the security officers, upon order of the court, any person may be subjected to a search of his or her person for possession of any weapons, destructive devices, or components thereof.
G. Counsel shall be attired in ordinary business wear. All parties, witnesses, and persons present in the courtroom shall be appropriately attired. The court may continue or delay a hearing if any parties’ appearance is inappropriate. The court may also cause the removal from the courtroom of any individual inappropriately attired.
H. Cellular telephones, pagers, or other such electronic devices shall be turned off or otherwise disabled so as not to cause a disturbance during court proceedings.
I. All court hearings are open to the public as provided by law; however, the court may close the hearing or a portion thereof pursuant to law and Nebraska Supreme Court rules.
J. Unless expressly authorized by the judge, all broadcasting, televising, and/or taking photographs, as well as audio and video recording, except for the making of the official court record of the proceeding, are prohibited in the courtroom and in the areas immediately adjacent to all juvenile courtrooms, as well as in the juvenile court reception area, during sessions of court or during the recesses between sessions.
Rule IV(H) and (J) amendments approved December 10, 2014.
A. No person except the judge or the Clerk shall take from the courthouse or out of the office or possession of the Clerk, any records, papers, or files of the court pertaining to the causes therein, except by permission of the judge or the Clerk. Any legal file so removed shall be returned to the Clerk within 5 days unless requested sooner by the Clerk, and at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of any trial or hearing in conjunction with said case.
B. All documents, including but not limited to, predisposition reports, case plans, and progress reports shall be delivered to all counsel and pro se parties in the court at least 3 judicial days prior to the hearing in which the documents are to be offered. The party offering said exhibit shall have the exhibit numbered by page and then separately marked by the court reporting personnel prior to the scheduled time of the hearing. Exhibits shall not contain any unrelated attachments.
C. Copies of all exhibits received into evidence may be placed in a social file corresponding to the respective case involving the child or children. Only the judge and court staff may have access to said social file. All others shall not have access to the social file or exhibits without permission of the court. Those exhibits in the custody of the court reporting personnel may be open for inspection by counsel appointed or appearing on behalf of the parties upon a reasonable request of the court reporting personnel. All others may not have access to said exhibits without permission of the court.
Rule V(C) amendment approved December 10, 2014.
A. The court will appoint counsel for a party determined indigent by the court and whenever else appointment of counsel would be appropriate. The parties shall complete a Request for Court-Appointed Counsel as directed by the court.
B. The court may require any party to resubmit a financial statement periodically as ordered by the court. The court may order parties to reimburse Lancaster County for the services of court-appointed counsel if their financial situations change. Failure to maintain contact with counsel may result in the attorney’s being discharged.
C. Attorneys willing to serve as court appointed counsel shall complete the form entitled “Request for Court Appointment List” and shall file it with the Juvenile Court Administrator. The Juvenile Court Judges shall review the request and place the attorney on the list in the appropriate categories. The Juvenile Court Administrator shall maintain a current list of attorneys and the list shall be open to public inspection upon request.
D. Appointments of attorneys shall be made on an impartial and equitable basis and shall be distributed among attorneys on a rotation system, subject to the court’s sole discretion to make exceptions due to the nature and complexity of the case, an attorney’s experience, the nature and disposition of the defendant, a language consideration, a conflict of interest, the availability of an attorney, geographic considerations, prior or current representation of a party, and any other relevant factors that may be involved in a specific case.
E. The court will monitor attorney performance on a continuing basis to ensure the competency of attorneys on the appointment list. An attorney may be removed from the list by a majority vote of juvenile court judges. If an attorney is under consideration for removal from the list, written notification will be given indicating the concerns giving rise to consideration for removal, and be given the opportunity to respond in writing before a final decision is made. An attorney who has been removed from the list may be considered for reinstatement by a majority vote of the judges after the deficiencies contained in the notice have been resolved. A practicing attorney who wishes to have his/her name removed from the list shall file a request for removal with the Juvenile Court Administrator.
F. Court appointed counsel shall utilize the Juvenile Court web-based system to submit requests for approval of attorney fees pursuant to Lancaster County Juvenile Court Attorney Fee Guidelines.
Rule VI(C)-(F) amendments approved December 10, 2014.
A. Intent. The Court finds that matters relating to the establishment, modification, enforcement, and collection of child support and to paternity matters should be handled by the court in an expeditious manner, so that parties may obtain needed orders and other action as quickly as possible. It is determined that the appointment of a child support referee is necessary to aid the court in meeting the case progression standards established by Nebraska Supreme Court rule and federal law.
B. Appointment. Each referee shall be appointed by order of the judges of the court and shall be an attorney in good standing admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska. The referee shall be sworn or affirmed, and the oath for judicial officers shall be administered by the presiding judge of the court. The referee may be removed at any time by the court.
C. Duties. The referee shall hear matters pertaining to the establishment, modification, enforcement, and collection of child support, paternity, and all other matters permitted by law and assigned by the court. The referee shall have the power to summon and enforce the attendance of parties and witnesses, administer all necessary oaths, supervise pretrial preparation pursuant to the rules of discovery, grant continuances and adjournments, and carry out any other duties permitted by law and assigned by the court. The functions performed by the referee under expedited processes shall, at a minimum, include
(1) taking testimony and establishing a record;
(2) evaluating evidence and making recommendations to establish and enforce orders;
(3) accepting voluntary acknowledgment of support liability and stipulated agreements setting the amount of support and accepting voluntary acknowledgments of paternity; and
(4) recommending default orders if absent parents fail to respond within the time specified by law.
D. Safeguards. Under the expedited processes established by this court rule:
(1) The due process rights of the parties shall be protected.
(2) The parties must be provided a copy of the recommendation of the referee and the ratified order.
(3) To be enforceable, the referee’s recommendations must be entered as an order by a judge.
E. Hearings. A hearing before a referee shall be conducted in the same manner as a hearing before the court. Testimony in such matters shall be preserved by tape recording or other prescribed measures and in accordance with prescribed standards. Transcripts of all hearings shall be available upon request, and all costs of preparing the transcript shall be paid by the party for whom it is prepared, unless he or she has been determined to be indigent.
F. Findings and Recommendations. Upon the hearing of a matter, the referee shall prepare, in writing, his or her findings and recommendations to the parties or their attorneys and submit a report to the court containing findings of fact and recommendations and any and all exceptions.
G. Judicial Review. In all cases referred to a referee, the parties shall have the right to file an exception within 10 days of the date of the referee’s findings and recommendations. The exception shall be accompanied by a praecipe requesting the preparation of the bill of exceptions of the proceedings before the referee. The hearing before the court on the exception shall be de novo on the record before the referee. The court may ratify or modify the recommendations of the referee and enter judgment based thereon. If no exception is filed, the court shall proceed to consider the referee’s findings and recommendations and render a final order without further notice or hearing.
H. Case Progression. Actions to establish or enforce support obligations and/or paternity shall be completed in accordance with state and federal law.
A. Prior to temporary custody hearings, prehearing conferences with all parties and counsel may be held and may be facilitated by mediators. The facilitators are disinterested parties who will gather necessary information regarding parentage, possible Indian Child Welfare Act applicability, placement of the children, visitation, services, and evaluations or assessments offered. Any documents completed in the prehearing conference may be marked and offered into evidence. Discussions taking place at such facilitated conferences shall be confidential and privileged to the extent provided by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247.01.
B. Pretrial conferences may be on order of the court and shall specify the date, hour, and location requirements placed upon counsel; the manner in which the conference will be held; and any other matters the court deems appropriate. It is strongly encouraged that any and all stipulations should be entered into at the time of the pretrial conference. At the time of the pretrial conference, all counsel shall have made efforts to speak with their respective client and each other and shall be prepared to inform the court
(1) whether the matter will be contested;
(2) if contested, the estimate of time necessary to adjudicate;
(3) whether in-chambers testimony will be requested and any other objections thereto;
(4) whether any matters may be stipulated;
(5) whether an interpreter of any nature will be required; and
(6) whether there are any special health needs of counsel, parties, or witnesses requiring accommodation.
A. Any case which is to be tried to the court may be assigned by the court to a trial term. A trial term is a period of time determined by each judge during which more than one case will be scheduled for trial. By order of the judge to whom the case is assigned, other requirements governing the progression of the case may be imposed. Cases assigned to a trial term for trial shall proceed as follows:
(1) All counsel and persons having cases set for trial during a trial term shall be ready for trial whenever called during the next and all subsequent trial terms.
(2) The court’s bailiff will maintain a current list of cases set for trial during the judge’s trial terms. Cases set for trial during a trial term will be called up for trial in the order in which they are listed thereon.
A. Case plans and court reports shall be delivered to all counsel, parties, and the court at least 5 days prior to the hearing.
B. Guardian ad litem reports shall be delivered to all counsel, parties, and the court at least 1 day prior to the hearing. The guardian ad litem shall utilize a form approved by the court.
C. Counsel shall inform the court's bailiff if an interpreter is needed for any hearing so that arrangements can be made to obtain an appropriate interpreter.
D. Counsel representing incarcerated parents shall request a transportation order sufficiently in advance from the court’s bailiff if the party wants to be present.
E. All children under the court’s jurisdiction as defined by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) shall be present in court at the dispositional hearing and at every 6-month review hearing unless excused by the court. A request to excuse a child or children from the hearing may be submitted to the court’s bailiff in advance by any party and reviewed by the judge.
F. Parties shall provide financial statements for child support as ordered by the court and shall submit said statements and any requests for deviations 10 days in advance of any child support hearing. The parties shall exchange calculations 3 days in advance of the hearing.
Rules of Practice and Procedure in the Separate Juvenile Courts of Sarpy County, Nebraska
(Effective January 1, 1995, adopted March 31, 1995)
These rules shall govern the procedure of this Court so far as they are applicable and are not inconsistent with any statute of the State of Nebraska or any rule or order of the Supreme Court of Nebraska having the force of law.