Nebraska Revised Statute 43-279
Chapter 43 Section 279
Juvenile violator or juvenile in need of special supervision; rights of parties; proceedings.
(1) The adjudication portion of hearings shall be conducted before the court without a jury, applying the customary rules of evidence in use in trials without a jury. When the petition alleges the juvenile to be within the provisions of subdivision (1), (2), (3)(b), or (4) of section 43-247 and the juvenile or his or her parent, guardian, or custodian appears with or without counsel, the court shall inform the parties:
(a) Of the nature of the proceedings and the possible consequences or dispositions pursuant to sections 43-284 to 43-286, 43-289, and 43-290 that may apply to the juvenile's case following an adjudication of jurisdiction;
(c) Of the privilege against self-incrimination by advising the juvenile, parent, guardian, or custodian that the juvenile may remain silent concerning the charges against the juvenile and that anything said may be used against the juvenile;
(d) Of the right to confront anyone who testifies against the juvenile and to cross-examine any persons who appear against the juvenile;
(e) Of the right of the juvenile to testify and to compel other witnesses to attend and testify in his or her own behalf;
(f) Of the right of the juvenile to a speedy adjudication hearing; and
(g) Of the right to appeal and have a transcript for such purpose.
After giving such warnings and admonitions, the court may accept an in-court admission by the juvenile of all or any part of the allegations in the petition if the court has determined from examination of the juvenile and those present that such admission is intelligently, voluntarily, and understandingly made and with an affirmative waiver of rights and that a factual basis for such admission exists. The waiver of the right to counsel shall satisfy section 43-3102. The court may base its adjudication provided in subsection (2) of this section on such admission.
(2) If the juvenile denies the petition or stands mute the court shall first allow a reasonable time for preparation if needed and then consider only the question of whether the juvenile is a person described by section 43-247. After hearing the evidence on such question, the court shall make a finding and adjudication, to be entered on the records of the court, whether or not the juvenile is a person described by subdivision (1), (2), (3)(b), or (4) of section 43-247 based upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If an Indian child is involved, the standard of proof shall be in compliance with the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, if applicable.
(3) If the court shall find that the juvenile named in the petition is not within the provisions of section 43-247, it shall dismiss the case. If the court finds that the juvenile named in the petition is such a juvenile, it shall make and enter its findings and adjudication accordingly, designating which subdivision or subdivisions of section 43-247 such juvenile is within; the court shall allow a reasonable time for preparation if needed and then proceed to an inquiry into the proper disposition to be made of such juvenile.
- Laws 1981, LB 346, § 35;
- Laws 1982, LB 787, § 15;
- Laws 1985, LB 255, § 34;
- Laws 1985, LB 447, § 22;
- Laws 1998, LB 1073, § 23;
- Laws 2016, LB894, § 17.
Courts should take special care in scrutinizing a purported confession or waiver by a child. In re Interest of Dalton S., 273 Neb. 504, 730 N.W.2d 816 (2007).
Where a juvenile waives his or her right to counsel, the burden lies with the State, by a preponderance of the evidence, to show that the waiver was knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made. In re Interest of Dalton S., 273 Neb. 504, 730 N.W.2d 816 (2007).
Whether a juvenile has knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived the right to counsel is to be determined by the totality of the circumstances, including the age, intelligence, and education of the juvenile; the juvenile's background and experience; the presence of the juvenile's parents; the language used by the court in describing the juvenile's rights; the juvenile's conduct; the juvenile's emotional stability; and the intricacy of the offense. In re Interest of Dalton S., 273 Neb. 504, 730 N.W.2d 816 (2007).