Briefs Filed In Pennington County ICWA Appeal

Jun 5, 2017

ACLU Attorney Stephen Pevar
Credit Victoria Wicks file photo

Last year a federal judge in Rapid City ruled that the rights of Indian parents have been systematically violated in Pennington County.

At issue are hearings held within 48 hours of the removal of children from their homes on allegations of abuse or neglect. At those hearings, judges determine whether the child returns home or stays in state custody pending further hearings.

Judge Jeffrey Viken found that officials violated parents' due process rights and the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. He ordered officials to change their practices to fix the problems.

Officials with the state Department of Social Services, the Seventh Circuit Court, and the Pennington County State's Attorney have filed an appeal with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

And now the ACLU has filed briefs in response.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this update on a story that started in March 2013.