Tulsa World: Discussions in Baby Girl Case End Without Settlement (Updated)


Before proceeding with the appeal, the state’s high court required last week’s mediation conference at the Court of Civil Appeals in Tulsa, where the families spent five days in negotiations and returned to the courthouse Monday morning for less than an hour.

The case now goes back to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

ETA: Additional information with statement from Cherokee Nation Attorney General. It appears that the OK Supreme Court lifted the stay. Here.

“This order, just like any other order from a foreign jurisdiction needs to be filed for domestication with the Cherokee Nation District Court,” said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree. “There is a conflicting Cherokee Nation order concerning a Cherokee Nation citizen on Cherokee Nation land. We are a sovereign nation with a valid and historic court system.

“As Attorney General, I will require that our court system be honored and respected. I took an oath when assuming this office to uphold the laws and constitution of the Cherokee Nation and the United States. Nowhere in that oath is it required that I defend the laws of South Carolina.”

Latest on Baby Girl Case, with Detailed List of All Oklahoma Courts Involved

Here. Updated with Cherokee Nation press release on the extradition order signed for Dusten Brown by Governor Fallin yesterday evening.

Where the Baby Veronica case has been:

1. Nowata County Courthouse: South Carolina’s court order to transfer custody had to be “domesticated” by an Oklahoma court, making it enforceable here. The case went to Nowata because Brown and Veronica live there.

2. Cherokee County Courthouse: With Veronica staying with her grandparents on Cherokee Nation trust land in Tahlequah, the Capobiancos filed a “writ of habeas corpus” to have Brown and his family brought to court. They hoped to get an order to transfer custody immediately, but instead agreed to enter mediation.

3. Sequoyah County Courthouse: Facing a felony warrant for custodial interference in South Carolina, Brown surrendered himself to authorities in Sequoyah County, apparently because a judge was on duty there to handle the bond arrangements. He faces an extradition hearing next week.

4. Cherokee Nation Courthouse: Before leaving the state for National Guard duties in July, Brown asked a tribal court to grant guardianship of Veronica to her stepmother and paternal grandparents. The Cherokee Nation has asserted jurisdiction because Brown and Veronica are members of the tribe.

5. Oklahoma Supreme Court: Brown and the Cherokee Nation are appealing the Nowata judge’s decision to send Veronica back to South Carolina without a best interest hearing.

6. Muskogee County Courthouse: For reasons not made public, the judge in Cherokee County removed herself from the case. And it was apparently reassigned to a judge in Muskogee.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Affirms Osage Immunity from State Worker’s Comp Jurisdiction

Here are the materials in Waltrip v. Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino:

Waltrip Opening Brief

Osage Answer Brief

Waltrip Opinion

United States Removes Oklahoma’s Water Rights Case to Federal Court

Here is the notice of removal and all the accompanying documents:

Fed Govt Removal Notice

And the news coverage.


Tenth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Federal Court ICWA Challenge on Res Judicata Grounds

Here is the opinion in Yancey v. Thomas.


We are not persuaded. We agree with the Thomases that Yancey’s action is barred by res judicata and that the state-court rulings must be given full faith and credit under § 1738.

The briefs:

Yancey Appellant Brief

Thomas Appellee Brief

Lower court materials here.

Okla. SCT Holds Adoption without Consent is Not Termination of Parental Rights under ICWA

Here is the opinion in In re G.D.J.

An excerpt:

¶36 Section 1912 of the ICWA requires the use of a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof, for certain purposes, in a proceeding to terminate parental rights. As discussed above, our statutes prohibit a trial court from taking any action that results in a termination of the parent-child relationship in a proceeding to determine a minor child eligible for adoption without the consent of a natural parent. Therefore, a “clear and convincing” standard of proof is all that is necessary in such a proceeding. The higher standard of proof is relevant to the specific determination, 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. The hearing on the petition for adoption, which has not occurred in the present case, will be a proceeding which may result in the termination of a parent-child relationship, and is the only proceeding in which the court may grant a final decree of adoption. At the hearing on the petition for adoption, evidence relevant to matters included in subsection (f) of Section 1912 must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to support a determination that parental rights should be terminated, including the testimony of an expert witness. Continue reading

Opening Brief in Okla. SCT Case — 1st to Address Federal Injunction against State Court Assertion of Jurisdiction over Tribal Casinos

Here is the opening brief in Sheffer v. Buffalo Run Casino:

Sheffer Opening Brief.


State Supreme Court Outcomes: Oklahoma

And now to a big target, Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s highest court for civil cases is the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and for criminal cases is the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

In Oklahoma, tribal interests have a 43 percent success rate.

Here are the cases:

Continue reading

Oklahoma Sup. Ct. Decides Land Title Dispute involving Non-Recognized Tribe

Here is the short opinion in Perme v. Southern Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

An exceprt:

In August 2000, Dynamic Gaming Solutions, Inc. (Dynamic), entered into an agreement with Gary Ridge, who represented himself as the Chief of the Southern Cherokee Nation. Pursuant to said agreement, Dynamic agreed to purchase two pieces of property in Webber Falls, Oklahoma, for the purpose of constructing a casino. Such casino operation was represented to be legally possible, according to Mr. Ridge, because the Southern Cherokee were a legitimate Indian tribe and, therefore, were a sovereign nation able to construct and operate a gaming business. Mr. Perme, who was a principal in Dynamic, agreed, as part of such transaction, to purchase eighty (80) acres for the benefit of Mr. Ridge and his tribe. The subject eighty (80) acres was deeded on August 28, 2000, by Richard A. Hayes and his wife, Margaret A. Hayes, to “The United States of America to be held in trust for the Southern Cherokee Indian Tribe.”