In re Interest of Manuel C.

Caselaw Number
Filed On

SUMMARY: A father striking his 13-year-old child multiple times with an extension cord, although this being the only time he had hit the child, was sufficient to find the child within the meaning of 43-247(3)(a). 

Manuel, DOB 8/95, is the child of Jesus. On April 14, 2009, Manuel and Jesus got into an argument about Manuel filling out papers for Boys Town. Manuel left the house and his father followed calling out to him. Manuel ignored him and Jesus grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back. Manuel hit his father and continued walking away, so Jesus grabbed an extension cord laying on the ground and began hitting Manuel on his arm, back and head. Police were dispatched and arrived to the scene of Manuel crying on the ground with Jesus and Manuel’s uncle standing over him. Manuel was taken into custody. At the adjudication hearing on July 7, 2009, the court dismissed the petition, citing In re Interest of D.S., 232 Neb. 345, 440 N.W.2d 477 (1989). The State appealed.

The Nebraska Court of Appeals reversed the juvenile court’s order. It noted that this was the first instance of Jesus hitting Manuel, but noted the severity of Manuel’s injuries as indicated in 18 photos taken afterward. It distinguished In re Interest of D.S., where the court dismissed the petition alleging the mother hit the teenage daughter with a miniature baseball bat on her knee because it was an isolated incident of parental frustration, by noting the severity of the injuries to Manuel, including serious bruising on his arm, back and head. It also found that there was a risk of future harm based on the testimony of the responding police officer and the assigned caseworker.