Changes ordered in '48-hour hearings' involving Native children
Dakota and Pennington County officials must make changes in their
handling of temporary custody hearings involving Native American
children as the result of judgments issued Thursday by the U.S. District
The suit, filed in
2013 by Native American parents and the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux tribes,
claimed that procedures in the state’s so-called 48-hour hearings
violated the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The defendants are the
Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office, the state Department of
Social Services and the 7th Circuit Court.
attorney for the plaintiffs, Dana Hanna, said the decision by Chief
Judge Jeffrey Viken will “radically and fundamentally” change the way
the hearings are being conducted, adding that the changes are supposed
to take effect immediately.
In March 2015, Viken found
that local court procedures violated Native American rights by not
advising parents they had a right to contest the state’s petition for
temporary custody and by not requiring the state to present live sworn
testimony from a witness.
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