Alaska high court voids decision in child custody case

March 3, 2017 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court says a custody petition involving children from Alaska was transferred erroneously to a Texas court.

The case involved the children of John C. McDonald, a Fairbanks man who pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of his wife in 2016. The couple had three young children.

McDonald’s sister moved the children to Texas after his 2014 arrest. Along with other relatives, the sister filed a custody petition there without disclosing the charges he faced.

The supreme court opinion issued Friday also noted relatives of McDonald’s wife weren’t notified.

The sister of McDonald’s wife then filed a custody petition in Alaska. The judge eventually decided the Texas court has jurisdiction in the case.

But Alaska’s high court said the judge based his decision on the children’s current status but minimized evidence of alleged domestic violence and consideration of Indian Child Welfare Act requirements.