People v. W.B.

The Minor in this case was the subject of several delinquency petitions. Minor was eventually placed in foster care. Minor appealed, arguing the dispositional order placing him in foster care had to be reversed because the juvenile court had failed to comply with the notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (INCA). The court of appeals affirmed, holding notice was not required because federal law specifically excludes delinquency cases from ICWA, and any interpretation of California law that would expand ICWA's application to delinquencies would be invalid under federal preemption principles. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) California law requires the court to inquire about a child's Indian status at the outset of all juvenile proceedings, but ICWA's additional procedures are not required in most delinquency cases; (2) a delinquency court must ensure that notice is given and other ICWA procedures are complied with only under certain circumstances; and (3) assuming Minor was an Indian child, the juvenile court did not err in failing to give notice under ICWA in this case. View "People v. W.B." on Justia Law