North Dakota ICWA Case on Qualified Expert Witness

Here: Interest of K.S.D. and J.S.D., 2017 ND 289

The lack of qualified expert testimony on whether the continued custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child leaves this record without evidence necessary for the district court to find the State established the ICWA requirement by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. 25 U.S.C. There is a line of authority that upholds termination of parental rights absent an ICWA qualified expert witness. We choose to follow the other branch of authority because the United States Code and the United States Code of Federal Regulations require—and do not merely suggest—that a qualified expert witness testify on the ICWA requirements in all ICWA terminations.

 

(Unrelated, one has to love a Court that only allows opinions to be downloaded as WordPerfect documents. That’s commitment.)

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