Veronica is four years old today. She is the “baby girl” in the famous “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl” case that went before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)
It will be her second birthday away from the adoptive parents who raised her for more than two years before the South Carolina Supreme Court gave her back to her birth father because of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Most recently the Oklahoma State Supreme Court stated that she would remain in Oklahoma until the appeals filed by her birth father are decided.
Currently she is living on land owned by the Cherokee Nation, possibly being allowed visits from her adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco, but the court gag order makes it difficult to determine if this is true.
Recap of recent events in the case:
In June of this year, SCOTUS declared that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not apply in this case. The South Carolina family court then finalized Matt and Melanie Capobianco's adoption of Veronica and ordered her return. Brown refused to comply. South Carolina issued a warrant for his arrest on the grounds of custodial interference.
The legal battle moved to Oklahoma, where Brown lives. He turned himself to authorities and was released on bail. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin declined to sign the extradition orders until Brown had a hearing in the Oklahoma court.
As all of this transpired, the Capobianco's arrived in Oklahoma to take home their now legally adopted child. In a news conference held on Aug. 14, the Capobianco's said they had not been allowed to see Veronica or meet with Brown since their arrival. Fallin threatened to expedite Brown's extradition if he did not allow visitation between the Capobianco's and Veronica. The judge from the South Carolina family court repeated his order for her immediate return to the Capobianco's.
The Capobianco's filed a writ of habeas corpus in the Cherokee County Court and the court ordered all parties in the case, including Veronica, to appear in court on Aug. 16. Brown did not bring Veronica as he had been ordered. The families spent three hours in court, but the only result that found in the court records is that the two families entered into mediation a mediation agreement that would allow the Capobianco's to visit with Veronica. Apparently they did not order the Brown family and the Capobianco's to come to reach a settlement in the custody battle.
Immediately afterward, the Brown family appeared in the Cherokee Nation Court. The Capobianco's and Veronica's birth mother were excluded from this hearing. Since the judge in the Cherokee County court placed a gag order on all parties in this case, there is no way to know exactly what happened in either court.
The next court appearance was in Nowata County. There District Judge Curtis Delapp confirmed the South Carolina courts order for Brown to return the child to the Capobianco's. Brown, however, filed an appeal with the Oklahoma State Supreme Court and they stayed that order.
All of this time Veronica had been held on Cherokee land. From the information available, it seems that she never leaves there even for her visits with the Capobianco's. On Aug. 31 the Capobianco's were turned away from their visit with her there by Cherokee Marshals. Browns attorneys say it was because they wanted to take Veronica back to South
Carolina. The attorneys for the Capobianco's deny this. Since the gag order is still in play, it is difficult to know exactly what went on. However, it may be that the Capobianco's simply wanted to see her away from the influence of the Browns and the Cherokee Nation. It is very hard to tell what a child is actually feeling when she is being observed by people she feels she must please.
The families met in court again on Sept. 3, first in the Nowata County court and then in the Oklahoma Supreme court The following day they met in the Muskoee County Court. District Judge Thomas Alford ordered a writ of habeas corpus returning her to the Capobianco's depending on what the Oklahoma Supreme Court decides.
At the same time Fallin signed the extradition warrant for Brown stating in a press release, “Unfortunately, it has become clear that Dusten Brown is not acting in good faith. He has disobeyed an Oklahoma court order to allow the Capobianco’s to visit their adopted daughter and continues to deny visitation. He is acting in open violation of both Oklahoma and South Carolina Courts, which have granted custody of Veronica to the Capobianco’s.”
Once again Brown surrendered and was released on bond and awaits an extradition hearing on Oct. 3. He has also filed a second appeal in the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.
Today Veronica is four years old.
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