Iowa SCT Affirms State Criminal Jurisdiction; Magistrate Judge Richard Vander Mey Had Barred Tribe/State from Invoking Jurisdiction of His Court [updated]

Here is the opinion in State v. Stanton:


An excerpt:

Upon review of the complaints, a magistrate concluded that recent federal legislation removed state jurisdiction for crimes committed on the Settlement. As a result, the magistrate dismissed the three pending misdemeanor charges and assessed costs against the Meskwaki Nation. The magistrate further advised that the Tama County Sheriff should consult with the county attorney to determine whether prisoners such as the defendant should even be received and retained in custody by the Tama County Sheriff. The district court further stated that tribal police officers should be instructed by tribal judicial officers to cease and desist from charging persons with violations of the Iowa Code as such charges “will only serve to clog state courts and result in the imposition of court costs upon the Meskwaki Tribe for cases which must be dismissed.”




Resistance to Application for Discretionary Review [Vander Mey pleading]

Sac and Fox Amicus Brief

US Amicus Brief

Federal and tribal amicus briefs not available. If anyone has them, please send to me. Would also love to read the lower court opinion.

Judge Vander Mey is a repeat player on TT. In 2011, mad about the Iowa Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, he refused to accept the tribe’s immunity defenses in civil actions. He was removed from the bench for a time, but then reinstated.

In 2017, Vander Mey again refused to acknowledge tribal sovereignty in another civil suit.

NCJFCJ Statement Supporting ICWA

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, one of the oldest and largest judicial membership organizations in the country serving an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system has released a statement supporting ICWA.

The full statement is available here 

The Honorable John J. Romero, Jr.  President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges  (bold added by me):

It’s imperative to preserve the rights, culture, connections, and traditions of Indian children and their families. The disproportionate numbers of American Indian and Alaska Native children in our child welfare system persist almost 40 years after ICWA became law. Consequently, the new ICWA rules and regulations enacted in 2016 promote the uniform application of ICWA and to advance and protect Indian children’s best interests.

Our American Indian and Alaska Native children are essential to the security and stability of each tribe. In each ICWA proceeding, the judicial officer and other court professionals should be mindful that children are the heart of the law. Committed uniform application of ICWA and the Regulations will advance and protect the best interests of each child and enhance tribal security and stability.