The public cannot follow along as the state Supreme Court considers an emotional custody dispute over a 2-year-old girl, which pits her adoptive parents on James Island against her biological father in Oklahoma.
The high court handed down an order sealing all documents related to the case that touched off a "Save Veronica" movement that garnered supporters around the globe.
The clerk of the Supreme Court mailed a copy of the order to The Post and Courier in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for the first brief filed in the case.
James Island couple Matt and Melanie Capobianco connected with Veronica's birth mother in Oklahoma in 2009 after seven failed in vitro fertilizations. Matt and his wife cared for Veronica for her first four months before her biological father filed for paternity and custody.
Dusten Brown, 30, is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation. After nearly two years of paperwork and hearings, a Charleston family court judge ruled in Brown's favor under the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law designed to preserve Native American families.
The judge ordered the Capobiancos to turn over Veronica, and Brown and his parents drove the toddler back to Oklahoma on New Year's Eve. In the weeks that have passed, the Capobiancos' friends have gathered more than 20,000 signatures on a "Save Veronica" petition, which they delivered to federal lawmakers' offices and to Gov. Nikki Haley herself last month.
The couple took their case to the state Supreme Court in mid-January in hopes of overturning the family court ruling. Both sides remain mum on where the case could go from here, honoring a court-ordered gag rule issued in the days following Veronica's transfer to her birth father.
The Supreme Court order, signed Friday and mailed to the newspaper, notes that Brown's attorney requested that the family court ruling in the case be made public. Until that decision, all documents related to the case "shall be sealed and shall not be available to the public," the order said.
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