Capobiancos meet Veronica, but future meetings in jeopardy
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL/WCIV) -- Court records indicate that the adoptive parents of the Indian girl known as Veronica were being allowed the opportunity to visit the 3-year-old girl.With a gag order in place, information about what is said inside courtrooms is still unavailable. But court documents have released some information stating, among other things, that until recently Matt and Melanie Capobianco have been allowed to see Veronica.According to the documents, this came after a motion was made last Friday in a Cherokee County courtroom to halt visitation until further hearings could be held. And it was Veronica's court-appointed attorney, Angel Smith, who put forward the motion.Attorneys for the Capobianco's filed a motion objecting to Smith's request to halt visitation. Additionally, another objection was made after Smith put forward a motion to appoint a court-sanctioned guardian for Veronica, also known as a "Guardian Ad Litem."The ABC affiliate in Tulsa, KTUL, has not been able to confirm when visitation began or how many times the Capobiancos have met with Veronica. Both adoptive parents have been in Oklahoma since they arrived in Tulsa back on Aug. 13 from South Carolina.Smith was appointed by the Cherokee Nation to represent Veronica. Cherokee County documents confirm that she is also representing her during proceedings in Cherokee County.In addition to the motions filed above on Friday, the judge presiding over the court proceedings entered an order of recusal. This essentially removes herself from the case, but it is uncertain why she made the motion.
Brown and the Cherokee Nation have been battling South Carolina's order to hand Veronica over to the Capobiancos since the South Carolina Supreme Court directed a Charleston family court to finalize the adoption.
Brown gained custody of Veronica after the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that he had a prevailing right to claim custody based on the Indian Child Welfare Act. She was removed from the Capobiancos' James Island home on Dec. 31, 2011.
Since then, she has been living in Oklahoma while her adoptive parents and birth mother fight to regain custody.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that Brown's ICWA-based argument was in error and ordered the lower court that had initially sided with him to reconsider their ruling without the consideration of the child protection law.
That's when the state Supreme Court decided that the Capobiancos should have custody of Veronica and urged family court to make final their adoption request.