South Carolina Court Denies Rehearing In Baby Veronica Case - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Court Denies Rehearing In Baby Veronica Case, Orders Adoption Finalized

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Photo of Matt and Melanie Capobianco with Veronica. Photo of Matt and Melanie Capobianco with Veronica.
Photo of Dusten Brown with Veronica. Photo of Dusten Brown with Veronica.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina -

The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request to reconsider its July 17 order in the "Baby Veronica" case.

7/17/2013 Related Story: South Carolina Court Orders Baby Veronica Returned To Adoptive Parents

The Cherokee Nation and Veronica's father, Oklahoman Dusten Brown, had asked for a hearing to determine what's best for the girl.

In the court order, the South Carolina Supreme Court said the best thing is for South Carolina couple Matt and Melanie Capobiancos to have Veronica.

The couple raised her the first two years of her life.

Read South Carolina Supreme Court's ruling.

In Wednesday's order, the South Carolina Supreme Court directed the family court to finalize Veronica's adoption by the Capobiancos.

The court stated its decision was based on the US Supreme Court's ruling that the Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply to the case.

"One year ago, the South Carolina Supreme Court found that denying the adoption and awarding custody to Dusten Brown was in Veronica's best interests," The National Congress of American Indians said in a news release. "Today, that same Court summarily reversed that decision based on a two-year-old record and without providing a hearing for Veronica."

Veronica will be transferred back to South Carolina once the details are worked out.

The child has lived with Brown in Oklahoma since December 31, 2011. Brown is a member of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Nation and Brown filed their request for a rehearing on July 22.

7/22/2013 Related Story: Cherokee Nation Asks For Rehearing In Baby Veronica Case

In response to the Wednesday ruling, the following statement was provided by Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians issued the following statement:

"The South Carolina Supreme Court has utterly failed to evaluate Veronica's current best interests in this case and confirmed our worst fears – when it comes to Veronica Brown, standard adoption procedures do not apply. Apparently, the Court believes that there is no need to require the family court to hold a formal and thoughtful hearing to determine what is in Veronica Brown's best interest. Like thousands of Native American children before her, Veronica now faces the prospect of being removed from her Cherokee family, without a formal consideration of her needs, her culture and her well-being. This is an alarming failure of the judicial system, and it represents a grave threat to all children in adoption proceedings, but most notably Native American children, who deserve all the legal protections, afforded any child in this nation.

 

"The National Congress of American Indians refuses to stand by as the rights of this child are violated.  Together with the Native American Rights Fund and the National Indian Child Welfare Association we are preparing to file litigation in order to protect Veronica's civil rights.  On behalf of all Native American children, we will pursue every legal option available to us to ensure that standard adoption procedures are upheld in this case.

 

"Let me add that I believe the South Carolina Supreme Court has shown willful disregard for the facts when it claims Dusten Brown has not been involved in the life of his daughter. On the contrary, Dusten Brown has gone to extensive lengths to maintain his family and to care for Veronica. The Court's willingness to ignore these facts and rush a resolution in this matter is deeply troubling. "

6/25/2013 Related Story: Supreme Court Rules Indian Child Welfare Act Does Not Apply In Adoption Case

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the tribe was devastated by the news and feel as though the rights of the child have not received proper consideration.

"It is a travesty that this court would refuse to hold a hearing to determine what is in this Cherokee child's best interests, and summarily move to terminate this fit and loving father's parental rights with no new evidence presented in nearly two years," Baker said. "It is heartbreaking that Veronica Brown's rights are being ignored. We have, and always will, stand steadfast with the Brown family in their continued fight to raise this child with her biological family. We ask for your prayers as the Brown family continues this difficult journey."

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