South Dakota Supreme Court Denies Transfer to Tribal Court [ICWA]

Here

The Tribe requested transfer and the child’s attorney objected. The trial court did not allow testimony regarding bonding and attachment from the child’s doctor. The Supreme Court held

With or without the 2016 regulations, though, circuit courts need the benefit of a sufficiently developed record to assist in the good cause determination. See A.O., 2017 S.D. 30, ¶ 13, 896 N.W.2d at 656; In re M.C., 504 N.W.2d 598, 601 (S.D. 1993). In both A.O. and M.C., we held that the circuit court should have conducted an evidentiary hearing before determining the motion to transfer jurisdiction. In the absence of a developed record, we are unable to conduct meaningful appellate review concerning the merits of the parties’ claims.

[¶17.] As it relates to this case, we conclude that the circuit court abused its discretion when it granted the Tribe’s motion to transfer without hearing the testimony of the child’s physician who was present in the courtroom. Relying upon the impromptu offer of proof by Child’s counsel, the court determined that Dr.
Whitney’s testimony was categorically irrelevant. We disagree.

The Court reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing.

 

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