Justia Native American Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in North Carolina Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and remanded the order of the district court terminating Mother's parental rights in her child, holding that, while the trial court properly applied North Carolina law in terminating Mother's parental rights, the case is remanded for further proceedings to ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.After a termination hearing, the trial court entered can order concluding that grounds existed to terminate Mother's rights in her child pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1)(2), and (3). Mother appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the trial court failed to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not err in determining that Mother's parental rights were subject to termination pursuant to section 7B-1111(a)(2); and (2) because the determination of whether there was reason to know the child was an Indian child could not be made on the record, a remand was required. View "In re A.L." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the trial court terminating Respondents' parental rights to their child, holding that the trial court impermissibly failed to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act.After a hearing, the trial court entered an order in which it determined that grounds existed to terminate Respondents' parental rights and concluded that termination of Respondents' parental rights was in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court to conduct a new hearing on termination of Respondents' parental rights, holding that the trial court did not comply with 25 C.F.R. 23.107(a) and therefore could not determine whether it had reason to know that the child was an Indian child. View "In re M.L.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this termination of parental rights case to the trial court, holding that while the trial court correctly applied North Carolina law in terminating Mother's parental rights, the case should be remanded for further proceedings intended to ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. 1901-1963.The trial court found that Mother's parental rights were subject to termination under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1) and (2) and that termination of Mother's parental rights would be in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court remanded the case, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to conduct an inquiry into the issue of whether a guardian ad litem should have been appointed for Mother; (2) the trial court did not err in determining that Mother's parental rights were subject to termination for neglect and that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the child's best interests; and (3) this case should be remanded for further proceedings concerning whether the notice of ICWA were complied with and whether the child was an Indian child for purposes of ICWA. View "In re N.K." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his children, holding that the trial court failed to comply with the mandatory notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act and that the post termination proceedings did not cure the errors.On appeal, Father asked the Supreme Court to vacate each of the judgments and orders entered in this case because the trial court failed to comply with the notice requirements under the Act before terminating his parental rights. The Supreme Court agreed and remanded the case, holding that where the trial court had reason to know that an Indian child might be involved and that where any notices the trial court sent failed to include all of the necessary information required by statute, the trial court's order terminating Father's parental rights must be reversed. View "In re E.J.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's convictions and rejecting Defendant's argument that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, holding that Defendant failed to demonstrate that he was an Indian for purposes of the federal Indian Major Crimes Act (IMCA) such that he was not subject to the jurisdiction of North Carolina's courts.Defendant was charged in Jackson County with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Defendant moved to dismiss the charges for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that he was an Indian, and therefore, he could only be tried in federal court pursuant to the IMCA. After a hearing, the trial court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss, determining that Defendant was not an Indian within the meaning of the IMCA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss; and (2) the trial court did not err by denying Defendant's request for a special jury verdict. View "State v. Nobles" on Justia Law