CHARLESTON, S.C. - "Baby Veronica," a 3-year-old at the center of a high-profile custody case that advanced all the way to the Supreme Court last month, has been ordered back to the child's adoptive parents, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
SEE THE RULING (http://bit.ly/SCBabyVeronica)
June's U.S. Supreme Court decision gave jurisdiction back to the South Carolina Supreme Court and ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act was not valid in the case.
STORY: U.S. Supreme Court decision (http://bit.ly/1aKpgzF)
That ruling, the South Carolina Supreme Court indicated Wednesday, led to a 3-2 vote to overturn their previous decision to return the child to her birth father, Nowata County native and Cherokee Nation member Dusten Brown.
Brown, who was awarded the rights to Baby Veronica following the South Carolina Supreme Court's initial ruling and filed for adoption rights himself July 3, still has the 3-year-old in his care for the time being, according to Brown's attorney.
RELATED: Father, grandparents file for Baby Veronica adoption (http://bit.ly/12W9ETn)
The case, which has gained national notoriety, revolves around Veronica, Brown, and Matt and Melanie Copabianco, the couple who took a newborn Veronica home from the hospital. A debate over the rights of the child soon began when Brown filed for custody of Veronica four months later.
Veronica's fate now lies with the South Carolina Family Court, which is expected to approve and finalize the adoptive rights of the Copabianco family and terminate Brown's parental rights.
"We aren't happy and won't give up," Cherokee Nation communications director Amanda Clinton said after the decision.
The Cherokee Nation released the following statement:
We are outraged and saddened that the South Carolina Supreme Court would order the transfer of this child without a hearing to determine what is in her best interests, particularly in light of the fact that this very same court previously found “we cannot say that Baby Girl's best interests are not served by the grant of custody to Father, as Appellants have not presented evidence that Baby Girl would not be safe, loved, and cared for if raised by Father and his family.
Dusten Brown is a fit, loving parent and Veronica is, as the court previously defined, “safe, loved, and cared for." That should be enough.
Lori Alvino McGill, the attorney for Veronica's biological mother, said she and her client were "over the moon" and are now awaiting the Family Court's action.
"The only question now really is how and when this transfer of custody is going to happen, and how best to ensure a smooth transition for Veronica," McGill said.
Michael Nomura, general counsel for a non-profit adoption agency in Oklahoma, says, in his opinion, an appeal could be forthcoming. A petition for a re-hearing must be filed within five days.
Read more: http://www.kjrh.com/dpp/news/local_news/state-supreme-court-rules-against-father-in-baby-veronica-case-ordered-back-to-adoptive-parents#ixzz2ZLjkQa3y