United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
IRVING D. JUMPING EAGLE, . Plaintiff,
LLOYD WARREN and KATIE WARREN, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS,
§ 1915(A) SCREENING, and DENYING MOTION FOR
Lawrence L. Piersol United States District Judge
Irving D. Jumping Eagle ("Jumping Eagle") filed
a. pro se Petition, an Application to Proceed
without Prepayment of Fees, a Prisoner Trust Account Report,
and a Motion for Court-Appointed Counsel. (Docs. 1, 4, 5, 6.)
He also filed a motion for production of court records and a
motion for judicial notice of adjudicative facts. (Docs. 7,
8.) Subsequently, Jumping Eagle requested additional time to
review the state-court record and amend his Petition. (Doc.
11.) The Court granted the request for additional time,
allowing Jumping Eagle until May 1, 2019, to file a motion to
amend with a proposed Amended Complaint. (Doc. 12 at 8.) But
he did not file a motion to amend or an Amended Complaint
and, therefore, the Court will screen Jumping Eagle's
Eagle, the biological father of the minor child, I.L.J.E.,
filed a Petition to invalidate the state court custody
proceedings involving the child. He brings the Petition
pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 1914 of the Indian Child Welfare
Act ("ICWA" or "Act"), 25 U.S.C.
§§ 1901 et seq., seeking to invalidate an
order entered by the Third Judicial Circuit Court in
Brookings County, South Dakota, appointing Defendant Lloyd V.
Warren, the child's uncle, and Defendant Katie L. Warren,
the child's aunt, guardians of I.L.J.E. (Doc. 1-1,
"Guardianship Order"). The facts relevant to
Jumping Eagle's claims are set forth in the Court's
April 2, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order. (Doc. 12.)
Instead of restating all of those facts, the Court
incorporates them herein by reference.
support of his request to vacate the Guardianship Order,
Jumping Eagle alleges in his Petition that the trial court
failed to inquire into and determine Jumping Eagle's
indigent status and eligibility for court appointed counsel
to assist him in the proceedings, in violation of 25 U.S.C.
§ 1912(b). Second, Jumping Eagle claims the trial
court "continued to ignore" the ICWA by receiving
evidence regarding the criminal prosecution of Jumping Eagle.
He says that this led to the state court's decision to
award custody of I.L.J.E. outside the tribal and cultural
settings in violation of 25 U.S.C. § 1915. Finally, Jumping
Eagle alleges that he was denied his right to appeal to the
South Dakota Supreme Court, and to this Court, because he did
not have counsel or a record to assist him.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction." United
States v. Afremov, 611 F.3d 970, 975 (8th Cir. 2010). A
district court "has a special obligation to consider
whether it has subject matter jurisdiction in every
case." Hart v. United States, 630 F.3d 1085,
1089 (8th Cir. 2011).
subject matter jurisdiction of this Court may derive from the
citizenship of the parties, see 28 U.S.C. §
1332, a federal question posed by the underlying lawsuit,
see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or special circumstances
covered by federal statute. Jumping Eagle's asserted
basis for jurisdiction is a federal statute, 25 U.S.C. §
1914, which provides:
Any Indian child who is the subject of any action for foster
care placement or termination of parental rights under State
law, any parent or Indian custodian from whose custody such
child was removed, and the Indian child's tribe may
petition any court of competent jurisdiction to invalidate
such action upon a showing that such action violated any
provision of sections 1911, 1912, and 1913 of this title.
25 U.S.C.A. § 1914.
Circuit Courts that have addressed the issue have held
"that federal district courts have jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1331 over complaints in which a plaintiff
alleges a violation of §§ 1911, 1912, or
1913." Morrow v. Winslow, 94 F.3d 1386, 1394
(10th Cir. 1996) (citing Roman-Nose v. New Mexico
Dep't of Human Servs., 967 F.2d 435, 437 (10th Cir.
1992)); see also Doe v. Mann, 415 F.3d 1038, 1047
(9th Cir. 2005) (holding that, through ICWA, "Congress
explicitly authorized federal courts to invalidate state
court judgments in this limited area [of Indian child
dependency and custody judgments].").
Jumping Eagle alleges, in part, that the South Dakota state
court did not properly comply with the requirements of §
1912 of the ICWA in granting the defendants' petition for
guardianship of I.L.J.E. Thus, the Court concludes that
subject matter jurisdiction exists in this case.
Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a prisoner who
"brings a civil action or files an appeal in forma
pauperis . . . shall be required to pay the full amount of a
filing fee." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The court may,
however, accept partial payment of the initial filing fee
where appropriate. Therefore, "' [w]hen an inmate
seeks pauper status, the only issue is whether the inmate
pays the entire fee at the initiation of the proceedings or
over a period of time under an installment plan.'"