18 August 2013

Baby Veronica case timeline

From TulsaWorld.com:

September 2009: Baby Veronica born in Oklahoma, taken to South Carolina for adoption.

January 2010: Father, Dusten Brown, signs away custody but files an appeal a few days later.

December 2011: Baby Veronica returns to Oklahoma after a family court in South Carolina grants custody to the father.

July 2012: South Carolina Supreme Court upholds the custody decision.

January: U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal from the adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

April: U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in the case.

June 25: U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal law doesn't require that Veronica be given to her biological father. The court did not clear her adoptive parents to immediately regain custody.

July 9: Cherokee Nation District Court officials confirm that Dusten Brown's mother and father, Alice and Tommy Brown, have filed for adoption of Veronica - in line with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissenting opinion.

July 17: Cherokee Nation courts name three of Dusten Brown's family members as joint guardians, giving them the power to make legal and medical decisions for Veronica and complicating the issue for South Carolina courts. Later that day, the South Carolina Supreme Court terminates Brown's parental rights and gives full custody to the adoptive parents.

July 24: Christy Maldonado, Veronica's birth mother, files a lawsuit with several other women who have placed children for adoption, seeking to have part of the Indian Child Welfare Act declared unconstitutional.

July 26: Dusten Brown files a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and require South Carolina courts to hold a best-interest hearing for Veronica.

July 31: Prior to a hearing on transition details for Veronica, a Cherokee Nation attorney appointed for Veronica files a federal lawsuit in South Carolina seeking to temporarily stop the hearing and hold a best-interest hearing. It is denied.

Aug. 2: The U.S. Supreme Court denies Brown's July 26 petition. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were the only dissenters.

Aug. 5: A South Carolina judge orders Brown to surrender custody "immediately" after he didn't bring Veronica to a court-ordered visitation with the adoptive parents in South Carolina.

Aug. 9: South Carolina officials issue an arrest warrant for Brown. He is expected to be taken into custody in Iowa, where he is training with the Oklahoma National Guard.

Aug. 10: National Guard officials grant Brown requested leave from training after he is subpoenaed to appear in Cherokee Nation tribal court for an emergency hearing in Tahlequah.

Aug. 12: Brown does not appear at the emergency hearing. He turns himself in to authorities in Sequoyah County and is released after posting $10,000 bond. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signs a warrant for Brown's extradition and sends it to Gov. Mary Fallin for her approval.

Aug. 13: Fallin declines to sign off on the warrant, saying Brown has a right to contest extradition in court. She says she will not act upon the warrant until after Brown's next extradition hearing on Sept. 12. Capobiancos arrive in Tulsa that night.

Aug. 14: Capobiancos hold news conference in downtown Tulsa saying they had been denied a chance to see Veronica and meet with Brown. Fallin says she will speed up Brown's extradition to South Carolina if he does not allow the Capobiancos to see Veronica. A South Carolina family court judge reiterates that he wanted Veronica returned to the Capobiancos "forthwith."

Aug. 16: Both sides appeared in Cherokee County court as well as Cherokee Nation court. Records show that Brown and the Capobiancos have entered into a mediation agreement. A judge-imposed gag order prevented either side from speaking afterward.

Upcoming court action:

Aug. 23: Deadline for Brown to contest South Carolina's custody order in Oklahoma court.

Sept. 4: A Cherokee tribal court will consider extending a temporary guardianship for Veronica's stepmother and grandparents, potentially claiming jurisdiction over the case.

Sept. 12: Brown to return to Sequoyah County Court for a hearing on his extradition.
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