Following Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to sign an extradition order for Dusten Brown, biological father of Veronica, both Cherokee citizens, the Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued a stern response.
“We are unspeakably saddened that Gov. Fallin chose to sign the extradition warrant of Dusten Brown and subject him to arrest,” said Hoskin in a written statement. “This illegitimate charge stems from allegations that Dusten did not appear for a court-ordered meeting in South Carolina, when all parties involved knew that Dusten was out of state serving his country at National Guard duty, and thus unable to comply with the order.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley requested Brown’s extradition from Oklahoma to South Carolina on Aug. 13. Brown, who has had custody of the child for the past two years, is facing charges of custodial interference in South Carolina.
He turned himself in to the Sequoyah County sheriff’s office, and a court date is set there for Sept. 12.
Veronica is currently in the custody of her biological grandparents, Alice and Tommy Brown. The extradition will not affect the placement of the child.
Hoskin views Fallin’s decision as a failure.
“We feel that the governor has failed in her duty to protect our most vulnerable citizens, which is exactly what Veronica Brown is – a minor child and citizen of the great state of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation,” said Hoskin. “We all continue to pray that a court will determine what is in Veronica’s best interests, which has yet to happen.”
According to Fallin’s spokesman, Alex Weintz, the governor expected Brown to turn himself in, and he did so a short while ago in Sequoyah County.
On Wednesday, the Capobiancos, a non-native South Carolina couple who are the adoptive parents of Veronica, and the Brown family, appeared in Muskogee County court before District Judge Tom Alford.
Alford issued a writ ordering Veronica to the Capobiancos, pending a decision from the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Alford said any arguments dealing with the validity of Veronica’s adoption in South Carolina should be “tried in that court, not here.”
Hoskin, who is an attorney, pointed out the state supreme court stayed the custody of Veronica, who is living with Brown’s parents currently.
“Gov. Fallin has hastily inserted herself into the judicial process as Dusten seeks his due process,” said Hoskin. “Instead of allowing the courts to decide this case, Gov. Fallin has used her authority to attempt to coerce Mr. Brown into handing over his daughter. The civil rights of both Dusten and Veronica Brown are being ignored.”
Hoskin believes Fallin’s actions, along with the bitter court battle that has been waged over the past four years should frighten every parent in the state, particularly fathers.
A gag order has been issued, and the case records have been sealed, preventing any of the interested parties from speaking.
“Additionally, Gov. Fallin has issued a statement that contains false information about Mr. Brown, knowing full well that Mr. Brown, who is bound by a court’s gag order, cannot respond and defend himself in the media. This is unacceptable and Oklahomans will not forget.”
Hoskin hopes those who are concerned about the case will take action.
“We urge those who support father’s rights and tribal rights to contact the governor’s office to voice their displeasure with this unnecessary overreach in authority,” said Hoskin.
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Good morning! Here's what we'll have for you in Tuesday's Press:
Kitten adopted from Tahlequah Facebook page found rabid
The Oklahoma State Department of Health is looking for anyone who might have adopted, or had direct contact with, kittens that were advertised for adoption on the Tahlequah Online Garage Sale Facebook group, known as TOGS, on Oct. 1.
Adopting families picked up the kittens in the Walmart parking lot, according to the OSDH. The four kittens are described as approximately nine weeks old with black and white markings.
On Thursday, Oct. 3, one of the adopted kittens developed symptoms consistent with rabies and was subsequently euthanized, the OSDH said Friday. Rabies testing at the OSDH Public Health Laboratory confirmed the presence of rabies.
The fight for Veronica is over.
“Veronica is only 4 years old and has lived almost her entire life in front of the cameras,” Dusten Brown said, breaking down in tears as he read a prepared statement. “I love her too much to have her in the spotlight like this.”
With his wife and attorney by his side, Brown and Cherokee Nation assistant attorney general Chrissi Nimmo announced Thursday morning that they will not pursue any appeals or further litigation in the protracted custody battle for Brown’s 4-year-old daughter. Last month, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a non-Native South Carolina couple who had been attempting to adopt the girl since birth, assumed physical custody of Veronica after the Oklahoma Supreme Court dissolved an emergency stay that allowed her to stay with her biological family while the appeals process played out.
“One day, you’ll read about all of this,” Brown said, addressing his daughter. “I hope you never, ever forget that I love you. My home is always your home.”
Read the complete story in Friday's Tahlequah Daily Press
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