The California Supreme Court refused to stay the order to return a 6-year-old foster child to her relatives in Utah and denied a petition to reconsider the appellate court ruling.
The case of the girl, known as Lexi, has garnered worldwide press attention because of the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Lexi had been placed with foster parents Rusty and Summer Page in December 2011. According to court documents, the county Department of Children and Family Services had already decided to reunite Lexi with her father, if he could be rehabilitated from a history of drug abuse and criminal activity, or with relatives in Utah, if he couldn’t be.
The Pages, who are unrelated, then sought to adopt Lexi and appealed a 2014 court decision that ordered the girl’s return to her relatives in Utah. The appeals court denied the foster parents’ petition March 18, and DCFS workers removed her from their home on March 21 and returned her to extended family members in Utah, with whom Lexi’s half-sisters live.
Some of Lexi’s relatives, including her father and her now-deceased grandmother, are enrolled members of the Choctaw Nation, which joined the case as an intervenor. Under ICWA, the child, grandchild or great-grandchild of an enrolled member of a recognized Indian tribe, regardless of the amount of so-called “Indian blood,” is eligible for membership in the tribe and falls under the federal statute.
On March 22, the Pages’ attorney, Robert Flores, filed for a stay of the appellate court ruling and on March 25 petitioned to have the case transferred to the Supreme Court. The Pages’ trial court attorney, Lori Alvino McGill, filed to appear. Attorney Kim Nicole Nemoy filed objections on behalf of the plaintiff, L.A. County DCFS. On Wednesday the court denied the stay and the petition to transfer.
From the court docket requesting a stay: “The application for a stay and petition for writ of supersedeas are denied.”
From the court docket requesting reconsideration: “The request to transfer is denied.”
A separate petition for reconsideration by the appeals court, filed March 21, is still pending.
The Supreme Court cases are [S233315 (petition to reconsider)] and [S233316 (petition for stay)].
The 2nd Appellate District case is [B270775]. The trial court case number was CK58667.