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What are Nebraska Juvenile Court Records?

Youths accused of committing crimes in the state of Nebraska are typically treated differently from adult offenders. Instead of going through the state criminal justice process, they are processed through the juvenile justice system. As they journey through the system, they are accompanied by paperwork that documents all events that happen to them; these are called Juvenile Court Records. The state juvenile justice system constitutes the Nebraska State Courts; the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), public defenders, assigned counsel, law enforcement officials, the Nebraska Department of Health And Human services, and the state office of Juvenile services. These agencies provide counsel, habilitation, rehabilitation, support, and successful reintegration of disadvantaged and delinquent youths into the community. According to state laws, a child under the age of 18 is subject to the juvenile court’s jurisdiction. Pursuant to Chapter 43 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes, juvenile adjudication under the Nebraska Juvenile Code is not a conviction and does not impose any of the civil liabilities that generally accompany a conviction. All juvenile matters in Nebraska are resolved in county courts except in the counties of Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy, where they have specific Juvenile Courts designed to handle these cases.

What Information is Contained in a Nebraska Juvenile Record?

Nebraska juvenile records constitute all records documenting the proceedings of a juvenile court. These include all information regarding the offense, the child’s arrest, custody, petition, complaint, pleadings, indictment, trial/hearing, adjudication, correctional supervision, dismissal, or other disposition or sentence. It will also detail the appearances, findings, orders, decrees, judgments, and any other evidence given during the case.

What Cases are Heard by Nebraska Juvenile Courts?

Nebraska juvenile matters are generally heard in county courts and juvenile courts. In Nebraska, Juvenile Courts were typically created to meet child needs that were not being addressed in the adult court. As a result, most cases handled in these courts are child welfare or juvenile justice cases. Child welfare cases are initiated when the state of Nebraska perceives that a minor is being mistreated, abused, or neglected. Here, the government files a petition against the parents or guardians of the child. In contrast, the state’s juvenile justice cases are filed under Nebraska Revised Statute §43–247(1)-(4) when a minor is believed to have broken the state laws and needs to be held accountable.

Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Nebraska

Generally, unsealed juvenile records can be viewed by any public member. However, the information provided to the public may be limited because most aspects of the juvenile records are kept confidential and inaccessible. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43–2,108, there are certain exemptions to this confidentiality clause:

  • Law enforcement agencies for investigation reasons
  • The subject of the record
  • Court personnel
  • Social service agencies and representatives that support the child or the child’s immediate family member
  • Child’s attorney
  • Child’s parent or guardian

Also, upon the child’s consent and court order, juvenile child records can be inspected by any individual or entity.

How to Find Juvenile Records in Nebraska

Nebraska juvenile records are public information and can be accessed on request unless they are sealed. According to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43–2,108, the medical, psychological, psychiatric, and social welfare reports, reports within a juvenile court record are permanently confidential. Hence, the only parts of the juvenile record accessible to the public include the docket records of pleadings, orders, decrees, and judgments.

Typically, these records are created, collected, stored, and maintained by the Nebraska Judicial Branch. Through their website, inquirers can access juvenile documents filed in Nebraska’s county and juvenile courts. They can generally view basic case details such as the date and outcome of the trial, the name of the presiding judge, the name of the respondents, their associated attorneys, and the register of actions or decisions made in the course of resolving the case.

Records that are inaccessible online are obtainable at the court clerk’s office or at the public access terminals at the courthouse that handled the case. Also, Nebraska courts accept formal written requests under the Public Records Act, and the court employees may provide a specific court record when given the party name, case year, and case type.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Can you Lookup Nebraska Juvenile Records Online?

Although most parts of Nebraska juvenile records are confidential, the open and unrestricted details are available on an online database called JUSTICE. The website grants access to court records such as criminal, civil, traffic, juvenile, and probate cases filed in Nebraska’s county and district courts. With a monthly subscription fee, users are allowed to run searches by party name. Public information provided on the platform concerning a case includes:

  • Date of the trial
  • Judgment or outcome of the trial
  • Case type and title
  • The presiding judge
  • Name of respondents and their attorneys
  • Fees and costs associated with the case
  • Court payments
  • Register of Actions

Do Nebraska Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?

Yes, provided the juvenile adjudication is not sealed, it will show up on the background check. Nebraska’s criminal history report generally contains records of all adult charges, arrests, convictions, and even juvenile records. Although most parts of juvenile records in Nebraska are not public information, the background check reports will still have basic case details such as the nature of the conviction, date of adjudication or conviction, and juvenile disposition.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Nebraska?

According to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43–2,108.03, if the charges against a delinquent child are dismissed, or if no petition or complaint was filed, the court will automatically seal the child’s record. In this situation, all agencies that possess the original records of the citation, arrest, custody, petition, complaint, disposition, etc., must immediately seal and prevent public access to them. Also, suppose the offense occurred after July 15, 2010, the record will be automatically sealed and unavailable to the public when the child delinquent turns 17 years of age, on the condition that all conditions set by the court have been met.

However, records cannot be sealed automatically if the offense occurred before July 15, 2010, and if the child is under the age of 17. A parent or guardian of a child delinquent that falls in this category may file a motion to seal. The court may also initiate this process of its discretion if the record is not sealed automatically. This is only possible after the juvenile has completed all court-required probation or rehabilitation programs. Failure to complete any part of the program will result in the denial of the motion to seal the record. If the court denies the motion to seal the record, the juvenile can wait one year, fulfill all outstanding requirements, and re-petition the court to seal the documents.

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