Hough asks judge to
review court-assisted abduction ruling
By Jeff Armstrong
Jawnie Hough has filed a motion asking Beltrami County district judge
Terrance Holter to set aside his Oct. 3 ruling in favor of Hough's
ex-husband's family, whom she alleges misused tribal and state courts
to legalize the abduction of her four-year-old daughter.
"[M]y child was with me essentially every single day for 3 years until
taken away by this court and given to my ex-in-laws in Red Lake,
Minnesota, without my knowledge or consent," said Hough in an affidavit
in support of her motion, a preliminary step toward appealing to a
Four-year-old Meghan Brun was seized from her mother Jan. 10, 2001 by
University of Minnesota police at a campus hospital on the basis of a
Beltrami County order enforcing a Red Lake tribal ruling. The child
suffers from a serious neurological condition, compounding her mother's
fears for the child's well-being and safety.
The father, Donald Brun, Jr., pled guilty to fifth degree domestic
assault against Hough on April 12, 1999 for allegedly shattering the
passenger window of her sister's truck and punching Hough repeatedly.
The Beltrami County court granted the Leech Lake woman temporary
custody of her child in an April 19, 1999 preliminary restraining order.
According to Hough's motion, Judge Holter extended the protection order
on May 5, 1999 and strictly curtailed paternal visitation rights to
prevent the very circumstances which were to follow:
"The Court would like to order some visitation for the respondent, but
[the Court] is afraid that if respondent chooses to take the child and
flee to the Red Lake Reservation, petitioner will be unable to secure
[the child's] return. At this time the only visitation permissible is
supervised with someone who petitioner approves of."
Awarding physical custody of the child to Hough in a June 14, 1999
decision, Holter took care to require that "Neither party shall remove
the minor child of the parties from the State of Minnesota for the
purpose of changing her place of residence without the written consent
of the other party."
Hough's recent motion alleges Donald Brun, Jr. and his parents "held
the subject child on Red Lake Reservation, aided and abetted by his
parents, against the primary custodial parent's intentions and known
wishes, and subsequently obtained a Red Lake Tribal Court Order, in
violation of this Court's then existing order."
Although Brun raised the issue of the Red Lake ruling through the
divorce case file, Hough contends that Holter failed to properly
consider his prior deliberations or to require that the mother be given
notice of the hearing.
"[T]he Order of October 3, 2001 clearly remarks that '[m]erely
disliking the first forum addressing the issue of custody and choosing
to disregard proceedings in this court concerning the issue is
insufficient to vacte[,]' which is in fact what Respondent has done by
filing for custody in Red Lake to circumvent and reverse the custody
determinations of this court, the first forum, by using a foreign
forum, place and time which greatly favored Respondent," states Hough
in her brief.
In his successful brief opposing Hough's initial motion to vacate
Holter's comity ruling, attorney for the Bruns Michael Ruffenach argued
that the state had jurisdiction to issue the enforcement ruling but not
to reconsider it.
"This Comity case was filed in the same file as the Dissolution of
Marriage file and this Court had continuing jurisdiction over the
parties and the child...[However,] [o]nce a court grants Comity to a
Tribal Court Order it has no jurisdiction to un-grant it," the