Fifth Circuit

Abuse and Neglect

Sex Trafficking

United States v. Valas, 2016 WL 2956906 (5th Cir.). Defendant appealed his criminal conviction for sex trafficking of children by engaging in commercial sex acts with 15-year-old victim. Statute criminalizing sex trafficking of children imposed strict liability regarding defendant’s awareness of victim’s age if defendant had reasonable opportunity to observe victim.

Indian Child Welfare Act


Brackeen v. Bernhardt2019 WL 3857613 (5th Cir. 2019). The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2018 district court decision and held the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): (1) does not amount to race-based discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause; (2) does not violate the Tenth Amendment’s anti-commandeering doctrine; and (3) does not violate the non-delegation doctrine of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Circuit also held the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had authority to promulgate its 2016 ICWA regulations. Full Summary