Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
TULSA, OKLAHOMA A broken and tearful Cherokee citizen Dusten Brown held a press conference this morning in Tulsa to let the nation know he was ending all legal litigation pending in Oklahoma to regain custody of his four year old daughter, Veronica.
He was forced to relinquish custody of Veronica on September 23.
He is doing so that Veronica can now have a normal life
“free of the spotlight.”
”For four years, Veronica has been in the media. I love her too much for her to be in the spotlight,”
said a contrite Brown, who broke down several times and found it difficult to speak during the press conference as he read a prepared statement.
He was joined at the press conference by Chrissi Nimmo, Cherokee Nation Assistant Attorney General, who announced the Cherokee Nation and Brown were dropping all legal pursuits before Brown spoke.
This essentially ends the four year legal battle Brown fought to be able to raise his biological daughter, who was given up for adoption by her natural mother at birth. Though engaged during the pregnancy, Brown and Veronica’s natural never married.
Brown vigorously fought to retain custody of his daughter.
“We have lost the battle,”
said Nimmo, who also found it difficult to speak during the her announcement.
This hotly disputed custody battle span two states: South Carolina and Oklahoma. And, the case known as “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl” even reached the US Supreme Court.
Veronica was born on September 15, 2009 and was taken to live with a non-Native adoptive couple in South Carolina. Brown won custody of his daughter in late 2011 and he moved her to Oklahoma, where they lived until last month as a family.
Brown was able to get custody of Veronica when South Carolina courts ruled he had not be afforded “voluntary consent” during the adoption proceedings. The Indian Child Welfare Act, most commonly known as ICWA, was cited in the South Carolina legal proceedings.
The case was argued before the US Supreme Court in April of this year and rendered a 5-4 decision that ICWA did not apply in “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl” and remanded the case back to the South Carolina courts.
The South Carolina Courts found in favor of the South Carolina couple.
Brown then took his fight to the Oklahoma courts. These courts, including the Oklahoma Supreme Court found in favor of the adoptive couple.
On September 23, Brown decided to abide by the court order for the transfer of Veronica to the South Carolina couple.
Today’s press conference was held 17 days later and Brown shared how difficult it is to come home from work to realize Veronica is not there to greet him. He expressed the pain he has when he goes to her bedroom to see her toys.
He is hopeful the South Carolina couple will allow him to have a relationship with Veronica.
Nimmo asked that all charges pending in South Carolina will be dropped against Brown.
posted October 10, 2013 2:40 am edt