In re Interest of Ezra C.

Caselaw Number
No. A-17-699
Filed On

Summary: DHHS appeals an order of the County Court of Cheyenne County overruling their motion to require Kenneth, Ezra’s stepfather, to undergo a psychosexual evaluation. The appeal is dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction.

A petition was filed in 2016 as to Ezra, that he was a child within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a). He was placed into out of home placement. That year, his mother and stepfather entered no contest pleas to the adjudication of the petition. The GAL later filed a motion of both parents to participate in a sex offender risk assessment. The risk assessment was ordered and that order was later rescinded. Late in 2016 or early 2017, Ezra was reunified. DHHS did not appeal the reunification order. The County Attorney filed to terminate jurisdiction in April 2017, which was denied. Later that month, DHHS filed a motion for a psychosexual evaluation of Kenneth. A hearing was held that included testimony from psychologists and caseworkers. The Court denied the motion based on the safety plan that was already in effect.

DHHS argues that the Court erred in denying the motion.

A jurisdictional issue is a matter of law. In re Interest of LeVanta S., 295 Neb. 151 (2016).

DHHS argues that the order is final and appealable because it substantially affects their right as parens patriae of the child. The Court finds that this order is not final and appealable because it does not affect a substantial right of the state. DHHS could refile its motion for the psychosexual evaluation, especially if new evidence arises. The Court also notes that allowing interlocutory appeals can cause significant delays in juvenile cases, which is antagonistic to the purpose of juvenile court. See In re Interest of Marcella B. & Juan S., 18 Neb. App. 153 (2009).

Therefore the appeal is dismissed.