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Court: Placement of Navajo boy with non-Indians OK
FLAGSTAFF — A Navajo child can remain with his non-American Indian caretakers, despite a federal law that gives preference to placement with tribal members, the state Court of Appeals has ruled.
The ruling upheld a juvenile court decision that found good cause to deviate from the Indian Child Welfare Act. The child identified as “Z” in court documents was a month old when relatives of the man thought to be his father began caring for him.
The appellate court said Tuesday that the boy, now 2, would suffer severe distress if removed from his current setting. The family has been certified to adopt him and pledged to expose him to Navajo culture with the help of his biological relative, the court wrote in a unanimous ruling.
The Navajo Nation, while conceding that “Z” was in a healthy, loving home, said that tribal culture must be learned in a Navajo home through daily ceremonies and by being surrounded by the language. Tribal Department of Justice officials, who did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday, also had argued that the boy’s bond with the family was not sufficient to constitute good cause.
Tennis referee pleads not guilty to murder
LOS ANGELES — A professional tennis referee beat her elderly husband to death with a coffee cup and used the broken handle to repeatedly stab him before judging a tennis match and getting a manicure, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.
The actions of Lois Ann Goodman showed premeditation and a lack of remorse, Deputy District Attorney Sharon Ransom said while urging a judge to keep her bail at $1 million.
After considering defense arguments, Superior Court Commissioner Mitchell Block reduced bail to $500,000 for the 70-year-old defendant and allowed home confinement with electronic monitoring after bail is posted.
In making the ruling, Commissioner Block said he considered her close ties to the community, her age and lack of a criminal record.
About two dozen supporters filled the Van Nuys courtroom as Mrs. Goodman pleaded not guilty to murdering her 80-year-old husband.
Mrs. Goodman, who has refereed matches between many tennis greats, was arrested last week in New York just before she was to referee at the U.S. Open.
Her husband, Alan Goodman, died in April. Authorities initially thought he likely fell down stairs at home while she was away, but later decided it was murder.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
By Donald Lambro
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