A win for James Island Couple in baby Veronica case - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

A win for James Island Couple in baby Veronica case

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The Supreme Court of the United States is expected to make a ruling on the case we've come to know as "baby Veronica" otherwise known as Adoptive Couple V. Baby Girl. The Supreme Court of the United States is expected to make a ruling on the case we've come to know as "baby Veronica" otherwise known as Adoptive Couple V. Baby Girl.

The Supreme Court of the United States has made a decision on the case we've come to know as "Baby Veronica," otherwise known as Adoptive Couple V. Baby Girl.

The justices decided the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) doesn't apply. The case has been remanded for further proceedings.

A trial took place in the South Carolina Family Court in September 2011, by which time Baby Girl was two years old. The Family Court concluded that Adoptive Couple had not carried the heightened burden of proving that Baby Girl would suffer serious emotional or physical damage if Biological Father had custody. The Family Court therefore denied Adoptive Couple's petition for adoption and awarded custody to Biological Father. On December 31, 2011, a Veronica was taken away from the Capobianco family more than a year ago due to the Indian Child Welfare act.

SCOTUS now says that decision in South Carolina was incorrect because the birth father relinquished his rights and never had custody of the Indian child, therefore, the ICWA does not apply.

The Capobianco family and their legal team issued a statement Tuesday in response to the decision. "We are grateful for today's decision from the Supreme Court, which affirms that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not permit Veronica to be taken away from her adoptive parents. We are also hopeful that today's decision will prevent the tragic disruption of other adoptions and prevent this heartbreak from happening to other families."

Veronica's birth mother, Christinna Maldanando, also released a statement. "Today's opinion makes clear that Veronica's adoption should have been finalized long ago, and gives us all the opportunity to continue fighting for Veronica's best interests. I'm also hopeful it will spare many other children and families the heartbreak that Veronica, the Capobiancos, and I have had to endure," said Maldanando.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor who disagrees with the majority decision says this is again tragic for Veronica. Sotomayor voiced her disapproval inside the SCOTUS courtroom in April and repeats in her dissent, "it will be equally devastating now if, at the age of 3 1/2, she is again removed from her home and sent to live halfway across the country... But it can be said with certainty that the anguish this case has caused will only be compounded by today's decision."

SCOTUS's decision now kicks back to South Carolina's court, where the adoptive family says they will work with attorneys to see what paperwork they can file. They say they want to finalize their adoption. If the adoption is finalized, the court could decide how and when to conduct another transfer.

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