Justia West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Native American Law
State ex rel. Del. Tribe of Indians v. Honorable Nowicki-Eldridge
The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition precluding the circuit court from enforcing its September 30, 2022 order denying the Delaware Tribe of Indians' motion to transfer the underlying abuse and neglect proceedings to the District Court of the Delaware Tribe pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. 1901 to -1963, holding that the circuit court erred in denying the motion to transfer this action to the tribal court.The Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) filed a second amended abuse and neglect petition alleging that Father abandoned I.R. Father, who claimed to be a member of the Tribe, later indicated his desire to voluntarily relinquish his parental rights. The Tribe successfully moved to intervene in the proceedings, after which the court concluded that the ICWA was not applicable to these proceedings. The court thus denied the Tribe's motion to transfer this action to the tribal court. This petition seeking a writ of prohibition followed. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the circuit court (1) erred in determining that the ICWA was inapplicable to this case; and (2) clearly erred in determining that good cause existed to deny transfer of this matter to the tribal court. View "State ex rel. Del. Tribe of Indians v. Honorable Nowicki-Eldridge" on Justia Law
In re N.R.
In this abuse and neglect case the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court's dispositional order placing three children in the legal and physical custody of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), holding that the circuit court erred by not terminating Mother's and Father's parental rights.Upon finding that Mother and Father were unable to adequately care for their three children the circuit court entered a final dispositional order placing the children in the custody of the DHHR. The guardian ad litem and DHHR appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred by not terminating the parents' parental rights. The parents also appealed, contending that the circuit court failed to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. 1901 to -1923. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the circuit court for entry of a dispositional order terminating Mother's and Father's parental rights, holding (1) there was no violation of the ICWA in this case; and (2) the best interests of the children required termination of Mother's and Father's parental rights pursuant to W. Va. Code 49-4-604(b)(6). View "In re N.R." on Justia Law