Several personnel changes have occurred in our Sacramento and Eureka offices. Jedd Parr, Eureka Staff Attorney, has been promoted to Sacramento Directing Attorney. CILS welcomes James Flower, new Eureka Staff Attorney. James has been practicing law for more than 30 years. CILS welcomes Blake Atkerson, new Sacramento Staff Attorney. Blake is a former law clerk in the Sacramento Office. Blake is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. Kimberly White is our new Legal Assistant in the Sacramento Office. Kim has extensive legal secretarial experience and joined the staff at the end of April.
In the Bishop office, Jasmine Andreas, Bishop Staff Attorney, has been promoted to Bishop Directing Attorney.
Growing up in Southern California, Laura Neacato received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles. Throughout her undergraduate career, she focused on providing education and resources to underserved communities in both Africa and the United States.
As a recent law school graduate of the University of San Francisco, Laura’s work focused on International Human Rights and Bankruptcy law. As an American Bankruptcy Institute Medal of Excellence Recipient, and a United States Bankruptcy Court judicial extern for the Honorable Elaine M. Hammond, Laura found Bankruptcy as another means to provide access and justice to underserved communities.
Through USF’s International Human Rights Clinic, Laura has advocated on two separate occasions at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland as a Frank C. Newman intern and as a Human Rights Advocate representative. She has participated in the U.N. forums for the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Through her participation, she spoke for the need for a legally binding instrument on corporations and business enterprises in the extractive industries. Her human rights work focused on Indigenous Peoples from all over the world and the paramount need to protect these vulnerable groups from human rights violations from business, transnational and national corporations.
CILS is pleased to host this summer Anna Hohag a law clerk from Seattle University School of Law’s Center for Indian Law & Policy to perform will drafting services for a local tribe. Originally from Bishop, Anna is a second year student at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, where she is president of the Native American Law Students Association. Welcome Anna!
On May 3, 2016, the California Supreme Court held argument on two Indian Child Welfare Act Cases—only the third and fourth times that the high court has accepted an ICWA case since 1991. California Indian Legal Services has participated in all four cases: Slone v. Inyo County (1991); In re W.B. (2012), and filed amicus briefs in the two 2016 disputes. In both of this term’s cases, Abbigail A. and Isaiah W., CILS presented oral argument before the state Supreme Court.
Watch the live feed of the Supreme Court of California Oral Argument.
At issue in Abbigail A. was whether Social Services has an obligation to assist an Indian child with her enrollment application after the Cherokee Tribe acknowledged her eligibility, but her father had not yet enrolled. Sacramento County Social Services opposed assisting, and objected to application of the ICWA while Abbigail’s application was pending. Isaiah W. addressed whether a mother forfeited her right to raise ICWA notice violations by not appealing at the early-stage dispositional hearing. Notice and application of the ICWA are a continuing, and case long obligation, but Los Angeles County took a one-strike-and-you’re-out position, that the mother was permanently precluded from raising ICWA violations at later hearings—even if the violations adversely affected a tribe that had not received notice, and could not yet participate.
Both Abbigail A. and Isaiah W. are under submission at the Court and a ruling is expected within 90 days.