Supreme Court of South Dakota
542 N.W.2d 119 (S.D. 1996)
Kevin Jones (plaintiff) and Dawn Jones (defendant) were married. Kevin was Native American, and Dawn was Caucasian. The couple had three children. Kevin filed a petition for divorce and custody of the children. To support his petition, Kevin argued that the children should continue to be exposed to their Native American heritage. The trial court granted Kevin custody. In doing so, the trial court stated that custody determinations must be racially neutral, but also evaluated Kevin’s willingness and ability to expose the children to their Native American heritage. Dawn appealed, arguing that the trial court violated her right to equal protection by awarding custody based on race.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Johns, J.)
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