Wyoming Supreme Court Rejects Equal Protection Challenge to ICWA “Clear and Convincing Evidence” Standard

Here the opinion in In re KMO.

An excerpt:

Several state courts have evaluated the equal protection argument in the context of the ICWA as compared with a state statute with a “clear and convincing” standard of proof. See, In re Application of Angus, 655 P.2d 208 (Ore. App. 1982), Knight v. State (In re MK.), 964 P.2d 241 (Okla. Civ. App. 1998); State v. Sonya L. (In re Phoenix L), 708 N.W.2d 786 (Neb. 2006). Those courts have applied the test articulated in Moe and concluded that there was no equal protection violation under the United States Constitution. See, e.g., Application of Angus, 655 P.2d at 213 (holding “the protection of the integrity of Indian families to be a permissible goal that is rationally tied to the fulfillment of Congress’ unique guardianship obligation toward the Indians.”). Mother provides no legal authority or cogent argument in support of her position that an equal protection violation has occurred. We follow the reasoning of the Oregon court in Application of Angus and hold that the different burdens of proof in the federal ICWA and Wyoming’s termination statute do not violate Mother’s constitutional right to equal protection under the law.