Right to counsel

Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

In Nebraska counties with a population of under 150,000 residents, there is a right to appointed counsel in all juvenile proceedings (which includes abuse/neglect cases):

 

when any juvenile shall be brought without counsel . . . , the court shall advise such juvenile and his or her parent or guardian of their right to retain counsel and shall inquire of such juvenile and his or her parent or guardian as to whether they desire to retain counsel.  The court shall inform such juvenile and his or her parent or guardian of such juvenile’s right to counsel at county expense if none of them is able to afford counsel.  If the juvenile or his or her parent or guardian desires to have counsel appointed for such juvenile, or the parent or guardian of such juvenile cannot be located, and the court ascertains that none of such persons are able to afford an attorney, the court shall forthwith appoint an attorney to represent such juvenile[.]

 

See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-272(1)(a).  In counties with a population of 150,000 residents or more, the right to appointed counsel is limited to juvenile delinquency and truancy proceedings.  See§ 43-272(1)(b).  In all juvenile proceedings:

 

The court shall appoint an attorney as guardian ad litem.  A guardian ad litem shall act as his or her own counsel and as counsel for the juvenile, unless there are special reasons in a particular case why the guardian ad litem or the juvenile or both should have separate counsel.  In such cases the guardian ad litem shall have the right to counsel, except that the guardian ad litem shall be entitled to appointed counsel without regard to his or her financial ability to retain counsel.  Whether such appointed counsel shall be provided at the cost of the county shall be determined as provided in subsection (1) of this section.

 

Neb. Stat. § 43-272(3).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes