lexi-california-icwa
Courtesy scvnews.com (Santa Clarita, Ca)
On March 21, foster parents Summer and Russell Page ignited a worldwide firestorm of publicity when they initially refused to turn Lexi over to her biological relatives because of their objections to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Breaking: California Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Lexi Case

Suzette Brewer
3/30/16

Today the California Supreme Court denied a petition to reconsider a state appellate court ruling in the case of a 6-year-old Choctaw Nation tribal member who was returned to her relatives last week after a five-year custody battle. On March 21, foster parents Summer and Russell Page ignited a worldwide firestorm of publicity when they initially refused to turn Lexi over to her biological relatives because of their objections to the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law enacted in 1978 to prevent the dissolution of tribal families and communities across the country.

See the court docket here.

With dozens of media outlets and protesters camped out at the couple’s home, officials with the county Department of Child and Family Services were concerned about the child’s safety and made the decision not to retrieve her that day and began attempting negotiations for a more peaceful transfer, according to those familiar with the case.

But after the couple indicated they would not be willing to facilitate the transfer in a more “neutral” location, on March 22, the Department of Child and Family Services issued a press release announcing its intention to follow the court order and told the Pages to prepare her for transfer.

That afternoon, chaos erupted at the Page’s home with shouting and screams of protest as officials from DCFS arrived to collect the child, who sobbed as she was carried to a waiting vehicle. As the vehicle pulled away, some of the protesters beat on the windows of the car with the child inside.

On March 25, Robert Flores and Lori Alvino McGill, who are attorneys for the Pages, filed petitions to have the case transferred from the appellate court to the California Supreme Court. The Pages attorneys requested a stay of the order returning Lexi to her relatives in Utah and filed a petition to reconsider the appellate court ruling, both of which were rejected by the California Supreme Court this afternoon, effectively setting the stage for another showdown with the United States Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act only three years after Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

The case began in 2010 when the child’s father lost custody of his daughter after he went to jail for selling stolen auto parts, according to court documents. The girl went through several foster homes before being placed with the Pages, who subsequently tried to adopt the girl out of foster care, in spite of repeated warnings that she was not up for adoption and that she had biological family in Utah who wanted to raise her.

In 2014, a California appeals court rejected the Pages’ appeal of an order to return the girl to her relatives in Utah, as well as their petition to be recognized as parents with the same rights and legal standing as biological parents. The Utah couple, who also have custody of Lexi’s biological half-sister, have had ongoing, lifelong contact with Lexi. According to court documents and the Choctaw Nation, the couple have visited her at their own expense every month and Skyped with her at least once a week. Additionally, Lexi has also visited them for extended stays at their home in Utah numerous times, contradicting the Pages contention that she “doesn’t know them.”

After the chaos surrounding Lexi’s transfer last week, authorities have placed a gag order on the Pages for violating the confidentiality laws surrounding minor children in state custody. Ignoring the gag order, however, the couple have continued to appear in media interviews to voice their objections to ICWA and appeal for donations and public support in their quest to adopt the child.

“By now, the Pages’ pattern of willfully violating court orders they don’t agree with should be cause for great alarm for anyone following this case,” The National Indian Child Welfare Association said in a statement on its Facebook page. “A gag order exists for one reason: to protect the child. This public relations campaign is not only ill-advised and irresponsible, it is harmful to the child.”

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Comments

Shea Grimm
Shea Grimm
Submitted by Shea Grimm on
The headline and first parargraph are wrong and misleading. The CA Supreme court did NOT reject an appeal or "petition for reconsideration" by the Pages, as the court docket clearly shows. The CA SC denied the application to transfer the appeal currently pending before the 2nd district appellate court, as well as the petition for a stay pending the disposition of that appeal. The appeal was filed by the Pages 3/21 in the 2nd district appellate court and now, with the rejection of the application to transfer, will be heard there. It will then, presumably, be appealed by the losing party to the CA Supreme Court, paving the way for a SCOTUS appeal.

turbojesus's picture
turbojesus
Submitted by turbojesus on
haha, a centurion to aid in carrying the cross? They condemn you with it then try to speed up making you a matyr?

Panda's picture
Panda
Submitted by Panda on
The former foster parents are following a well documented script that was successful in removing Baby Veronica from her fit and loving biological father's home to be forcibly adopted out to an unrelated and non-native infertile couple. Please tell me why the Pages and others have not been slapped with violating the gag order yet! If it was the biological family that acted in this manner to violate a gag order, you can be sure there would be swift and steep sanctions! There are those whose heartfelt desire is to see the overturning of ICWA, and these players, Lori Alvino McGill included, are plying their craft to make sure others have more rights to your children than you and your biological family do. By cutting a child off from extended family, not only do they chip away at the very heart of what makes a family by a legal game of "Keep Away", but they are enabling the trafficking of children for profit. Money goes into their coffers to pay all the key players - foster and adoptive parents, adoption agencies, state agencies, attorneys, expert witnesses, ad infinitum, but nary a drop to keep the original family intact. We must all maintain hyper-vigilance over those who want to harm our children and our families by stealing that which is most precious to us - our future! For a bit more behind the scenes info on this case which ties to the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl Supreme Court case - https://ethicalchristianadoption.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-case-of-baby-a-aka-save-lexi/

editors's picture
editors
Submitted by editors on
@Shea Grimm: Bottom line–The stay of the court's order returning Lexi to her relatives, the writ of supersedeas, as well as the motion for transfer were all denied on March 30, 2016 by the California Supreme Court. The lower court has already made its ruling, which is still in effect. The case has been closed. Also, see these links. http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search/case/mainCaseScreen.cfm?dist=0&doc_id=2136433&doc_no=S233216 http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search/case/mainCaseScreen.cfm?dist=0&doc_id=2136924

tvictor13's picture
tvictor13
Submitted by tvictor13 on
Question Why was the child given to non tribal members to begin with? Why weren’t the biological relatives to the child considered? Was there reason to believe that the child was in necessary danger if they didn’t go to the relatives? Concerns A child of native American heritage should be with native americans due to the Indian Child Welfare Act. Culture, tradition, and language may be a huge concern for the child as well if he/she is not raised in the family belief/values. I know as a native mother I wouldn’t want my children to be with non natives, but today not much also has changed on the reservations with drugs, crimes and alcohol. It is also like that everywhere else in this country. I have much respect to any native who would want their biological child back unless if that biological parent has shown/proved the cause of being stable and fit for their child in their native respectful way. I am still puzzled on why the child was placed outside the reservation and why the other family members weren’t considered?
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