I have been a bit behind in keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings in the Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnik federal class action. For those wanting more timely updates, my suggestion is to follow the Turtle Talk blogging of Matthew L.M. Fletcher and Kate Ford regarding the case.
At this point, it appears that transcripts have been produced for about 120 48 hour hearings. The statements of fact presented by the Plaintiffs, which I have little reason to doubt, confirm my suspicions that 48 hour hearings in Pennington County, as currently being handled, are little more than a procedural rubber stamping of whatever actions the Department of Social Services wants to take. I note that attorneys for the parents and children are not appointed by the 48 hour hearing, so I have not witnessed these proceedings as part of my work in this area.
The Plaintiffs have filed separate motions for summary judgment based on ICWA issues and due process issues. It does not appear that a response to these motions has been filed by the Defendants yet. I do not believe that the Plaintiffs are entitled to all of the relief requested in their motions. However, I also have no doubt that taking a person’s children for 60 days without any sort of meaningful hearing is unconstitutional. Changes are coming, the only question is what form they will take. I hope to opine on that topic a bit more, but will have to save it for a later day.
Aside from the summary judgment motions, there also appear to be some ongoing discovery disputes, often relating to whether certain information is privileged. I’m not inclined to opine too much on this topic.
I have again updated my original post regarding this case with links to the new documents, which are also found below.
- 2014_06_18 98 Plaintiff’s Mot to Compel Responses from Davis
- 2014_07_03 99 Davis Response to 2nd Motion to Compel
- 2014_07_07 100 Plaintiff’s Reply Brief re Mot to Compel
- 2014_07_07 101 Plaintiff’s Mot to File Under Seal
- 2014_07_11 106 Plaintiff’s 1st Sum Judgment Mot – ICWA
- 2014_07_11 107 Plaintiff’s Statment of Undisputed Facts re ICWA
- 2014_07_11 108 Plaintiff’s 2nd Sum Judgment Mot – Due Process
- 2014_07_11 109 Plaintiff’s Statment of Undisputed Facts re Due Process
- 2014_07_21 112 Order Granting Mot to Seal
- 2014_07_21 113 Plaintiff’s Motion to Unseal