In re Appeal in Maricopa County

922 P.2d 319 (1996)

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In re Appeal in Maricopa County

Arizona Court of Appeals
922 P.2d 319 (1996)

Facts

T.L.M. was a non-Native woman who had a child with A.J.B., a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation (nation) (defendant). The Arizona Department of Economic Security (state) (plaintiff), which was unaware that A.J.B. was the child’s father, filed a dependency petition in the state superior court, alleging that T.L.M. was unable to care for the child, the child was in danger while in T.L.M.’s custody, and the identity of the father was unknown. The court made the child a ward of the court and gave physical custody to relatives of T.L.M. When the state learned that A.J.B. was the child’s father, the state filed an amended dependency petition identifying A.J.B. as the child’s father and a member of the nation, alleging that the child was an Indian child. The nation filed and was granted a motion to intervene. In August 1995, the court transferred the child’s custody to her paternal grandmother, who lived on the reservation. T.L.M. did not object, nor was she advised that her acquiescence could be viewed as consent to transfer jurisdiction to the tribal court. The nation filed a motion under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to transfer jurisdiction to the tribal court. T.L.M. objected. The court denied the transfer motion, finding that under ICWA, no good cause existed for the state court to retain jurisdiction but that ICWA required the court to retain jurisdiction because T.L.M. objected. The nation appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Weisberg, J.)

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