Dusten Brown files appeal with Oklahoma Supreme Court


Dusten Brown filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court contesting an order from Cherokee County that were reportedly concerning an immediate handover of Veronica

Three appendices have been filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Brown's behalf, but the contents of the appendices are unknown

CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) - The biological father of a 3-year-old Indian girl locked in a two-state custody battle filed another appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday afternoon.

Brown's lawyer, Clark Brewster, says the new filing appeals a decision by a Muskogee County judge to hand over Veronica to Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

Brewster says the new appeal should be joined with one filed last week to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. That filing appealed another judge's order to hand over the girl. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has issued an emergency stay, meaning the girl remains with Brown and his family.

According to court records that were briefly made public, the appeal is out of a Cherokee County order. Reports that stemmed from that hearing indicated that Veronica was supposed to be immediately handed over to Matt and Melanie Capobianco, her adoptive parents from James Island.

However, a late afternoon on Brown's behalf to stay the order was granted and the girl remained with her biological father through the holiday weekend.

Now the court's website only shows the message: "The information you requested from the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network is not public record, and is not available without proper authorization."

There have also been three supplemental appendices filed with the state's high court in regards to Brown's writ of prohibition petition.

Brown first solicited the state Supreme Court a week ago, filing for a writ of prohibition after a Nowata County judge ordered Veronica to be handed over. The Supreme Court halted the order until they could weigh the merits of the case.

In last week's filing, Brown is listed as a petitioner. Now Brown is listed as an appellant.

A gag order has prevented details of the court proceedings and the mediation agreement from being released to the media and the thousands of people watching this case.

The Capobiancos have been in Oklahoma for more than three weeks, vowing from their James Island neighborhood before boarding a flight that they were coming for their adopted daughter.

On Thursday, Brown surrendered to deputies in Sequoyah County after Gov. Mary Fallin signed a warrant for his arrest after he failed to maintain a passage of communication between the Capobiancos and Veronica.

"My goal in the Baby Veronica case has been to encourage both Mr. Brown and the Capobianco family to reach a quick settlement and come to an agreement that protects Veronica's best interests," Fallin said. "I said previously that I was willing to delay Mr. Brown's extradition to South Carolina as long as all parties were working together in good faith to pursue such a settlement. I also outlined parameters for what I believe to be acting in 'good faith:' both Mr. Brown and the Capobianco family should be able to see Veronica; both parties should continue meeting to pursue a resolution outside of court; and both parties must obey the courts and the rule of law."

Brown's attorney alleged that the cut-off of communication came after the Capobiancos threatened to take Veronica and run back to South Carolina, but the James Island couple's attorney responded with strong words, calling the allegations "conveniently timed" and "outrageous and false."

SPECIAL SECTION:{}The Baby Veronica Story

Before then, the two sides had apparently been quietly meeting, giving the Capobiancos a chance to meet with the girl they've called their daughter since 2009 but have not seen since December 2011 after a South Carolina Supreme Court order demanded they hand over Veronica to Brown.

The two sides are waiting for the Oklahoma Supreme Court to act after meeting with a court referee on Tuesday, which is where the rest of Thursday's legal maneuvering is taking place.

The court on Thursday afternoon received a certified copy of the final adoption decree filed in a South Carolina family court that makes the Capobiancos Veronica's legal parents - at least in South Carolina.

A supplemental filing was also given to the court in support of lifting the stay that's keeping Veronica in Brown's custody.

The court also received a pair of letters from adoption workers, filed by Dr. Linda J. Kats and Samantha Franklin. Kats is a therapist who works with families and individuals involved in adoptions. Franklin is Oklahoma's representative to the American Adoption Congress.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court became involved in the epic custody battle last week after Brown filed for a writ of prohibition in response to an Oklahoma court granting immediate custody to the Capobiancos.

For a short time last Friday, it appeared as though the Capobiancos would be returning home with their adopted daughter. But the consideration of Oklahoma's high court pushed that through the holiday weekend and into this week.

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.

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