In re Interest of D.W.

249 Neb. 133, 542 N.W.2d 407 (1996)

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In re Interest of D.W.

Nebraska Supreme Court
249 Neb. 133, 542 N.W.2d 407 (1996)

Facts

The Sarpy County attorney (plaintiff) filed a petition alleging that 13-year-old D.W. (defendant) was behaving in such a way as to injure or endanger the morals or health of himself or others. The juvenile court removed D.W. from his home and eventually placed D.W. in a facility that assisted wayward children and their families. When D.W. finished the facility’s program, he went to live with his grandmother. D.W.’s guardian ad litem asked the juvenile court to grant supervised visits between D.W. and his toddler-aged sister. The court took the matter under advisement, though there were no pleadings asking the court to take jurisdiction over the sister, and the court did not explain why it was assuming jurisdiction over the sister. At the next hearing, the father of D.W. and the sister appeared and stated that he and D.W.’s mother did not agree to the visits between D.W. and the sister because the visits were not in the sister’s best interests. The court ordered hour-long monthly visits between D.W. and the sister. The court reconvened four months later and learned that no visits had taken place. The court ordered the father and mother to make the sister available for visits. The father and mother appealed the visitation order without assigning any errors in the appeal. Thus, the Nebraska Court of Appeals reviewed the matter under the plain-error standard, which meant that the appellate court looked for an error that (1) was plainly evident on the record and (2) would harm the integrity, fairness, or reputation of the judiciary if the error were not cured. The appellate court found that the court did not commit a plain error and affirmed the juvenile court’s visitation order. The father and mother appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fahrnbruch, J.)

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