Lawmakers passed a bill May 19 that ensures legal consultation for juveniles facing serious criminal charges.
Under LB307, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, if a juvenile who is charged with a felony waives the right to legal counsel, the court is required to show affirmatively that the juvenile will not be removed from their home or detained outside of the home:
• between adjudication and disposition of the case;
• during any probationary period; or
• in response to an alleged probation violation.
The Nebraska State Supreme Court will develop a process to ensure that a juvenile is provided with an opportunity to consult counsel in making the initial decision to waive counsel. An initial consultation with counsel is not required if the juvenile and their family already have conferred with private counsel before the hearing.
The bill includes provisions of LB354, originally sponsored by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, which require a judge to consider a motion to transfer a criminal case to juvenile court within 30 days.
LB307 passed on a 29-6 vote.