What's more, many similar hearings in which Indian children are removed from their homes for no reasons given to the parents occur at least 100 times a year in Rapid City, South Dakota, alone. Based on the 120 transcripts, we recently filed motions asking the federal court to rule that South Dakota officials engage in a pattern and practice of denying Indian families and Indian tribes their basic rights to fairness under ICWA and the Constitution. And next month, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will consider a report submitted by the ACLU on U.S. failure to meet its international treaty obligations to end pervasive and institutionalized discrimination, including the lack of due process in American Indian child custody proceedings in South Dakota. Ultimately, we hope to restore justice to a group of people who our legal system has repeatedly failed. [ACLU Blog of Rights]Recall the resignation of Judge A.P. (Pete) Fuller in 2011:
Pennington County State’s Attorney Glenn Brenner, Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender and then Pennington County Sheriff Don Holloway made the formal complaint in May that led to Fuller’s suspension and subsequent investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, a seven-member body that includes 7th Circuit Court Judge Jeff Davis of Rapid City. The frustration in the State’s Attorney’s Office reached the boiling point when Judge Fuller called Rapid City police officers a “bunch of racists” while listening to an officer explain in a juvenile court hearing why he stopped a car driven by a Native American who was on probation. [Andrea Cook, Rapid City Journal]A federal judge has compelled South Dakota state courts to comply with subpoenas in a class action lawsuit brought by families who believe that the Department of Social Services violated the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Judge Jeffrey Viken has thrown out South Dakota's Attorney General Marty Jackley's motion to dismiss lawsuits against the state's Department of Social Services.
Native American activists often accuse the Department of Social Services of seizing children unnecessarily and placing them with white foster families. A group of families sued social services in federal court last year, alleging children are taken for months, though hearings last less than five minutes and don't offer parents a chance to respond. Some child advocates say recent incidents in Aberdeen highlight a pattern of insufficient investigation and an agency more concerned with covering mistakes than correcting them. [John Hult, Secrecy cloaks foster care investigations by S.D. social services]South Dakota: Land of Infinite Villainy.
Read the Madville Times piece linked here.
ACLU files to unseal docs in SD Indian foster care case. Defendant refuses-says docs will lead to "embarrassment and public scandal"
— Laura Sullivan (@LauraSullivaNPR) July 21, 2014