Cherokee Nation files another suit in Veronica case - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Cherokee Nation files another suit in Veronica case

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Dusten Brown, Veronica's biological father, released this photo just before the case was heard by SCOTUS. Dusten Brown, Veronica's biological father, released this photo just before the case was heard by SCOTUS.
CHARLESTON, SC -

Another suit was filed in South Carolina Wednesday citing a violation of due process and a violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act in the case of baby Veronica.

Read the full complaint here.

Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Veronica Brown

Statement of Support Issued by Tribal Governments and Leading Native American, Civil Rights, Child Welfare and Legal Advocates along with Arizona and New Mexico State Attorneys General to Stop Violation of "Baby Veronica's" Civil Rights by South Carolina Courts

Washington, DC (July 31, 2013) - Today, the Native American Rights Fund filed a complaint in the United States District Court in South Carolina to protect the civil rights of Veronica Brown, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who has been denied due process in the South Carolina courts. The filing comes after the South Carolina Supreme Court issued two controversial orders to the state's family court on July 17 and 24, calling for the removal of Veronica from her father and a transfer her to the adoptive couple without a hearing of best interest.

The lawsuit was supported in a national statement released today by a broad coalition of civil rights, child welfare, adoption advocates, legal authorities, tribal governments, and Native American advocacy groups. These groups and individuals joined with the National Congress of American Indians, Native American Rights Fund, and National Indian Child Welfare Association in releasing the national statement of support for Veronica's civil rights, and the rights of all children, to a hearing of best interest.

The litigation was filed on behalf of Veronica, by Angel Smith, an attorney appointed as counsel for the child by the courts of the Cherokee Nation, in U.S. District Court in South Carolina, and asks the Court to determine whether Veronica has a constitutionally protected right to a meaningful hearing in the state courts to determine what is in her best interests. Furthermore, the litigation asserts that Veronica, as an "Indian child" under the Indian Child Welfare Act, has a federally protected right to have the state courts fully consider and appropriately weigh her best interests as an Indian child. Daniel E. Martin, Jr., the judge for the family court system of South Carolina, is named as the defendant in the suit.

According to the filing, Veronica "doubtless has a liberty interest in remaining with her father and such an interest justifies at a minimum a plenary hearing on her current status, her relationships with others and her genuine need for stability… Despite the finding of the family court and the implicit assumption by the Supreme Court of South Carolina that [Veronica's] best interest would be served by being with her father, two years later the court now determines, despite the passage of time and [Veronica's] stage of development at age four, that her 'best' interests will now be served by being removed from him and given back to the adoptive couple. Again, this order is without any consideration to the present circumstances, psychological and emotional well-being, and future impact on [Veronica]. This is an arbitrary result, depriving [Veronica] of any opportunity to be heard on her own behalf, irrespective of the competing interests of the adult litigants in her young life."

It's filed by an attorney with the Cherokee Nation who has the right to file on behalf of three-year-old Veronica because of her affiliation with the tribe.

Learn more about Veronica's case here.

Similar to the stay file with the Supreme Court of the United States Friday, this states the need for a best interest hearing before biological father Dusten Brown will hand Veronica over to the Charleston adoptive couple.

The family court hearing is currently in progress without media inside the courtroom so it's not yet known whether this or any other filings will halt the transition process of baby Veronica. 

News two's Haley Hernandez will have more at 5 & 6.

 

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