2019 State Court Cases

Last updated: March 20, 2019
Next update should be ready by: April 1, 2019

Recently Added Cases:

Research was preformed through 3/20/19



Older Cases:




















Smith v. State
2019 WL 989399
No. A-12309
Court of Appeals of Alaska.
March 1, 2019

Legal Topics: Jury Selection



Matter of A. J. M. R.
296 Or.App. 356
Court of Appeals of Oregon.
February 27, 2019

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act - Notice

Long v. Snoqualmie Gaming Commission
2019 WL 912132
No. 77007-1-I
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1.
February 25, 2019

Legal Topics: Land into Trust; Gaming

Related News Stories: Snoqualmie Tribe celebrates 'Land into Trust' decision (Snoqualmie Valley Record) 2/25/19

The People ex rel. Becerra v. Huber
2019 WL 912147
Court of Appeal, First District, Division 4, California.
February 25, 2019

*Synopsis: State brought enforcement action against owner of tobacco smokeshop, who was a member of Native American tribe, alleging violation of Unfair Competition Law (UCL). The Superior Court, Humboldt County, No. DR110232, W. Bruce Watson, J., granted summary adjudication to State and entered permanent injunction. Owner appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeal, Streeter, Acting P.J., held that:
1) exercise of state court jurisdiction over enforcement action did not infringe tribal sovereignty, supporting application of default rule of existence of general jurisdiction on part of state court, and
2) State's enforcement of UCL was not preempted under doctrine of Indian preemption.

Matter of S.R.
2019 WL 758839
DA 18-0188
Supreme Judicial Court of Montana.
February 21, 2019

*Synopsis: Department of Public Health and Human Services petitioned to terminate mother's parental rights to children. The District Court, Silver Bow County, Brad Newman, J., terminated rights. Mother appealed, arguing that District Court had possessed reason to know that children could have been eligible for tribal enrollment so as to trigger Indian Child Welfare Act's (ICWA) tribal notice and enrollment eligibility determination requirements, yet District Court had failed to observe requirements.

*Holdings: The Supreme Court, Dirk Sandefur, J., held that:
1) the District Court had possessed reason to know that children could have been eligible for tribal enrollment, triggering ICWA requirements, but
2) the District Court's failures to comply with ICWA had been harmless.



Interest of D.E.D.I
2019 WL 386795
No. 11-18-00188-CV
Court of Appeals of Texas, Eastland.
January 31, 2019

*Synopsis: Father appealed order of 446th District Court, Ector County, terminating his parental rights to Indian child.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Jim R. Wright, Senior Chief Justice, held that trial court was able to determine that Indian tribe's representative was qualified as an expert witness.

In re Interest of Audrey T.
26 Neb.App. 822
No. A-17-1308
Court of Appeals of Nebraska
January 29, 2019

*Synopsis: State filed an adjudication petition alleging that mother was unable to meet child’s basic needs for care and protection, mother used inappropriate discipline, and mother’s mental-health issues put child at risk of abuse and/or neglect. The County Court, Scotts Bluff County, James M. Worden, J., entered an order placing temporary custody of child with Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services. State then filed motion to terminate mother's parental rights. The County Court granted the motion. Mother appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Welch, J., held that:
1) there was clear and convincing evidence that child had been in an out-of-home placement for 15 or more months of the most recent 22 months, as statutory ground for termination of mother's parental rights;
2) opinion testimony from qualified expert supported finding that continued custody by mother was likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to child;
3) evidence showed that termination of mother's parental rights was in child's best interests; and
4) evidence established that tribe in which child was enrolled was given proper notice of proceedings.

In re. L.D. v. M.J.
2019 WL 910996

Court of Appeal, Sixth District, California.
January 24, 2019

*Synopsis: County department of family and children's services filed juvenile dependency petition on behalf of nine-year-old child who may have Native Alaskan ancestry. The Superior Court, Santa Clara County, No. 17JD024833, Michael L. Clark, J., found sufficient notice was sent, pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), to Athabascan Indian tribe in Alaska before declaring child dependent. The court subsequently issued restraining order protecting child from mother, and mother was later found to have violated restraining order by possessing or having access to handgun. Mother appealed to challenge the ICWA notice.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeal, Grover, J., held that mother's challenge to ICWA notice was untimely.
Appeal dismissed.

Chemehuevi Indian Tribe v. Mullally
2019 WL 273041
No. 1 CA-CV 18-0175
Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 1
January 22, 2019

Legal Topics: Attorneys' Fees

In re Interest of Mercedes L.
26 Neb.App. 737
Nos. A-17-1281 through A-17-1286.
Court of Appeals of Nebraska
January 15, 2019

*Synopsis: In child protection proceedings, the County Court, Platte County, Frank J. Skorupa, J., approved a change in permanency objective for mother and each of her six minor children from reunification to guardianship. Mother appealed, and appeals were consolidated.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that:
1) orders issued by juvenile court approving change in permanency objective affected mother's substantial rights and, thus, were final appealable orders;
2) changing permanency objective for mother and each of her six minor children from reunification with concurrent plan for guardianship to guardianship only was in children's best interests; and
3) State made adequate active efforts prior to seeking change in permanency objective with respect to Indian children.
Affirmed in part and vacated in part.

In re Children of Mary J.
2019 WL 81125
Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.
January 3, 2019

*Synopsis: The Department of Health and Human Services filed a child-protection petition alleging neglect by both the mother and the father of several children who were living with mother in an Indian reservation. The Department then requested a preliminary protection order, seeking custody of the children. The Calais District Court, D. Mitchell, J., allowed the Department to seek foster placement. Following Department's removal of the children from their mother's care, tribe filed motion to intervene. The District Court denied the motion. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Supreme Judicial Court, Jabar, J., held that:
1) removal of children from mother's custody was not impermissible state regulation of the internal tribal matter of who had the right to reside within Indian territories, and
2) tribe's participation in child-custody case was not necessary to protect the tribe's sovereign power to decide who could and could not reside within its territory.

In re Shirley T.
2019 WL 81122
Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.
January 3, 2019

*Synopsis: In child protection proceeding involving children deemed to be Indian children under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), parents and Indian tribe moved to transfer jurisdiction of matter to Tribal Court. The Portland District Court, Powers, J., denied the motions. Parents appealed.

*Holdings: The Supreme Judicial Court, Gorman, J., held that trial court had “good cause,” within meaning of ICWA, not to transfer matter to Tribal Court.


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