Appeals court hears tribal challenge to South Dakota child removals

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A federal appeals court is considering a tribal challenge to a South Dakota county's procedures for removing children from homes.

The Oglala and Rosebud Sioux tribes sued in 2013, saying Pennington County's procedures for conducting initial hearings in child endangerment cases violated the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

The tribes argue parents were denied the right to an attorney and to challenge the allegations, and that the county came up with a lopsided process to ensure the state always wins.

A federal judge sided with the tribes in 2016 and ordered changes to give parents more rights at those initial hearings.

Attorneys for the Pennington County prosecutor told the appeals panel Tuesday the lower court did not follow proper legal procedures.

The court took the case under advisement.