In re Interest of Violet T.

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In re Interest of Violet T.

Caselaw No.
286 Neb. 949
Filed on
Friday, November 22, 2013


SUMMARY: A Nebraska juvenile court does not have jurisdiction of a newborn child who was born in Nebraska but immediately went to live with relatives in Iowa prior to a petition being filed. 

Violet was born in Douglas County in November 2012 to Abigael, who tested positive for methamphetamine, admitted to use during pregnancy and stated she was not prepared to care for an infant. Violet was discharged from the hospital a few days later and taken to live with relatives in Iowa, where she has remained. On November 16, 2012, the State filed a petition alleging Violet to be within the meaning of N.R.S. 43-247(3)(a). At a hearing on November 21, 2012, Abigael moved to dismiss the proceedings for lack of jurisdiction, as Violet had never lived in Nebraska. On December 3, 2012, the State filed an amended petition that included “born” and “domiciled” in the allegation, and requested temporary custody of Violet, which the court granted. At a December 10, 2012, hearing, Abigael and DHHS again requested dismissal based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and improper venue. The juvenile court found that Violet was born in Douglas County but went to live in Iowa prior to the filing of the petition and, on January 2, 2013, dismissed the petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The State appealed.

The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the juvenile court’s dismissal. The Supreme Court noted its prior holdings that the jurisdiction of a state in such a matter “arises out of the power that every sovereignty possesses as parens patriae to every child within its borders to determine the status and the custody.” 286 Neb. at 953 (quoting Jones v. State, 175 Neb. 711, 717, 123 N.W.2d 633, 637 (1963)(emphasis supplied by current opinion)). In this case, Violet was born in Nebraska but was no longer within its borders by the time the petition was filed and has never lived anywhere else but Iowa. The Supreme Court further noted that the county attorney only has authority under N.R.S. 43-274(1) to file petitions when “having knowledge of a juvenile in his or her county.“ Finally, the Supreme Court found that the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) did not establish jurisdiction under the provision that “[T]his state is the home state of the child on the date of commencement…or…within six months before….” because Nebraska had never been a “home state” for Violet.