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Defense structure, 2017

  • Organization


  • Oversight

    Partial oversight

Nebraska provides counsel to indigent youth through a county-based system that includes elected public defenders, contract public defenders, and assigned counsel. Visit the National Juvenile Defender Center's Nebraska state profile for more details.

Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile may make an affirmative waiver of the right to counsel.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    No restrictions

  • Crime

    No restrictions

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    No restrictions

Timing of counsel, 2013

In Nebraska, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: Custodial Questioning / Talk with Intake Officer; All Stages of Proceedings / All Critical States of Proceedings. By statute, in Nebraska, all law enforcement personnel or other governmental officials having custody of any person under eighteen years of age who has been arrested, restrained, detained, or deprived of his or her liberty for whatever reason must permit the person in custody, without unnecessary delay after arrival at a police station or detention facility, to call or consult an attorney who is retained by or on behalf of such person in custody or whom the person in custody may desire to consult, except when exigent circumstances exist. An attorney must be permitted to see and consult with the person in custody alone and in private at the place of custody.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Indigency determination: Judicially

The legal authority in Nebraska is both juvenile statutes and adult statutes, which provide the determination of indigency and several useful definitions. By statute, special juvenile law education / training / experience/ program for appointed juvenile counsel. Indigency is judicially determined. Court can / must appoint attorney for juvenile if non-indigent parent refuses to pay for juvenile's attorney. Court can / must appoint attorney for juvenile if parent cannot be located / parent refuses to go to juvenile. Specialized juvenile training available or required.

Progressive data

The Nebraska Juvenile Justice System Annual Report series, initiated in 2015, includes in depth analyses of juvenile access to counsel.  The report includes the number and percent of youth appearing in juvenile court with and without counsel across age, gender, and race.  In addition, these analyses are also provided for youth transferred to adult court. 

Report excerpt 2015 Nebraska Juvenile Justice System Report (p.20)

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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