In re N.L. and M.L., September 9, 2014 (Illinois)

Synopsis provided by Westlaw: State petitioned to terminate parental rights of father, a member of an Indian tribe, of one child and to terminate his legal relationship with other child, both of whom were born during marriage to mother. The 9th Judicial Circuit Court, McDonough County, Patricia A. Walton, J., terminated parental rights and legal relatonship. Father appealed.

Holding provided by Westlaw: The Appellate Court, McDade, J., held that:
1) circuit court did not have jurisdiction to allow State to supplement appellate record to demonstrate its compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA);
2) Appellate Court would allow State to supplement record in interests of justice;
3) record lacking submissions from State to tribe did not establish compliance with notice requirements of ICWA;
4) required notice did not apply to child who was later determined not to be father’s biological child;
5) court exceeded its statutory authority in terminating parental rights to nonbiological child;
6) court’s error in exceeding its authority was not harmless; and 7 there was no conflict of interest in counsel’s joint representation of father and mother.
Reversed and remanded.

Read the full decision on the National Indian Law Library website.