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Supreme Court of Alaska
January 18, 2008, Decided
Supreme Court No. S-12456, No. 6224
[*51] EASTAUGH, Justice.
Richard and Barbara George are the paternal grandparents of two young Tlingit children. They filed a superior court custody petition and served Dennis and Delores Starr, the maternal grandparents. The Georges had previously been granted visitation with the children in state court guardianship proceedings brought by the Starrs after the children's mother killed their father. While these three superior court cases were still pending, the Starrs obtained tribal council resolutions approving their adoption of the children. The Starrs then moved to dismiss the Georges' state court custody action. The Georges did not have prior notice of the tribal council adoption proceedings. [**2] The superior court denied the Starrs' motion to dismiss. After a trial the superior court granted physical and legal custody of the children to the Georges and visitation rights to the Starrs. Because the Georges' involvement in the pending superior court proceedings entitled them to notice and an opportunity to be heard in the adoption proceedings, the tribal council resolutions are not entitled to enforcement in Alaska state courts. We therefore affirm the superior court's order denying the motion to dismiss and its award of custody and visitation.
II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
Denni Starr and Richard "Buddy" George, Jr. had two daughters together, K.S., born in 1997, and S.G., born in 2002. On July 26, 2003, Denni Starr fatally stabbed Buddy George in the presence of their children. 1 A jury ultimately found Denni guilty of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment for recklessly creating a substantial risk of serious harm to her infant daughter, S.G., [*52] who was in her father's arms at the time of the attack. 2 The court sentenced her to thirty years for murder and one year for reckless endangerment. 3
In the meantime, the maternal grandparents, Dennis and Delores Starr, filed for guardianship of the children in superior court in Case No. 1JU-03-155 PR/G and Case No. 1JU-03-156 PR/G (collectively referred to as "2003 guardianship cases"); on August 5, 2003, the superior court appointed the Starrs as guardians. The paternal grandparents, Richard and Barbara George, initially consented to the Starrs' guardianships. By order of August 18, 2004, the superior court granted the Georges visitation rights in the guardianship cases. In September 2004 the Georges filed a motion in those cases to enforce their visitation rights, claiming the Starrs had denied the Georges visitation with the children. On September 27, 2004, the superior court ordered the Starrs to comply with the visitation order and set a hearing for November 1 to hear visitation issues.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
175 P.3d 50 *; 2008 Alas. LEXIS 5 **
DENNIS STARR and DELORES STARR, Appellants, v. RICHARD GEORGE; BARBARA GEORGE; and DENNI STARR, Appellees.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, First Judicial District, Juneau, Larry R. Weeks, Judge. Superior Court No. 1JU-04-869 CI.
Starr v. State, 2007 Alas. App. LEXIS 14 (Alaska Ct. App., Jan. 31, 2007)
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