Matt and Melanie Capobianco of James Island appeared in another Oklahoma courtroom Monday — this time in Tulsa — as they continue to fight to get custody of the girl they adopted in their home state.
The proceeding came after the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided Friday to issue a ruling in the battle for Veronica, who turned 4 on Sunday, but there was no indication about when that might happen.
The Tulsa World newspaper reported their presence at a downtown courthouse, but Veronica’s birth father, Dusten Brown, wasn’t seen. The hearing was closed to the public.
Brown has fought to maintain custody after a South Carolina court finalized the Capobiancos’ adoption in July. Brown’s attorneys and his American Indian tribe, the Cherokee Nation, have asked for a hearing to determine what’s in the girl’s best interests.
The tribe’s chief, Bill John Baker, told a crowd of members Sunday that the Oklahoma Supreme Court had finally granted those wishes.
“(The judges have) taken the stance that they have jurisdiction,” Baker said in remarks during a Texas gathering that was filmed and posted online. “They finally, after all this time, have decided it might be a good idea to do a best-interest hearing.”
Others have rebutted Baker’s statement, insisting that the court had not called for such a proceeding. The court said Friday that it would rule on the case, but no further details were available.
Veronica lived with the Capobiancos for the first 27 months of her life, but Brown got custody in late 2011 through the Indian Child Welfare Act.
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer that Brown wrongly got custody, a South Carolina court finalized the Capobiancos’ adoption.
The decree has been registered in Oklahoma courts, allowing authorities there to enforce it, but Brown’s attorneys won a temporary stay from the state’s high court that blocked any immediate custody change.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.