|Updated: 8/23/2012 3:52 pm
||Published: 7/26/2012 9:07 pm
Unless the United States Supreme Court reverses Thursday’s decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court, baby Veronica, who has been at the center of long custody battle, will grow up with her father, Dusten Brown, in Oklahoma.
The Supreme Court in South Carolina sided with Veronica's biological father and the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
“The purposes of this act were totally fulfilled by this court decision, and we're very happy with the result. This is an instance where South Carolina simply did not follow federal law,” Todd Hembree, Cherokee Nation Attorney General, told FOX23.
For Hembree this was the only decision that made sense.
“We're ecstatic that a Cherokee child is going to be able to stay with a Cherokee father, and not only is this a victory for them, it's victory for all of Indian Country.”
A spokesperson for the Matt and Melanie Capobainco, Veronica’s adoptive parents who live near Charleston, South Carolina, say the ICWA was never meant to be applied like this.
“It ultimately came down to the Indian Child Welfare Act which is a federal law that was meant to preserve families, and it really is destroying families and its creating unnecessary heartbreak and pain and suffering,” Jessica Munday said.
In this case, the ICWA superseded South Carolina adoption laws. The court determined that Veronica's biological father did not sign off on the adoption and the child was lawfully his. Hembree is prepared for the backlash from supporters of the Capobiancos.
“Sometimes being just does not equate to popularity,” Hembree said.
He believes this case has educated a large portion of the country on the Indian Child Welfare Act.
“If you follow the law and the processes, events like this won't happen.”
Attorney General Hembree hopes this is the end of this long and painful battle.
“I hope there is no writ to the United States Supreme Court, it's time to let this child have stability and be with her father.”
The Capobiancos have not said if they plan to appeal, but they did release this statement, "There really are no words to describe the incredible heartbreak, disappointment and pain we are feeling. Obviously, we do not agree with the ruling and we are just trying to process everything. We ask everyone to review the powerful and thoughtful dissent by Justice Kittredge. We couldn't agree more and are shocked that his and Justice Hearn's opinions weren't shared by the other three Justices involved in the ruling. This is a complete failure within our justice system - not only to us and Veronica - but to the birth mother who's rights as a loving parent have been completely ignored. Right now, and as it has always been, our main concern is Veronica and what is best for her. We thank everyone for their continued support and prayers.“
FOX23 did reach a friend of Dusten Brown, Veronica’s biological father, and that person said the family was not ready to talk to the media.