Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Federal judge should hear Arlington CPS case

The Washington DC examiner editorializes about a Virginia case:
One of the most disturbing stories I've ever written for The Washington Examiner was about a 3-week-old baby girl who was snatched from her mother's arms and placed in foster care by Arlington County Child Protective Services because she lost 10 ounces after birth. Baby Sabrina's story hit me hard in the gut because that could have been me; my youngest daughter lost a whole pound postpartum.

Newborn weight loss is normal, Sabrina was under a doctor's care and had even regained all of her lost birth weight when she was taken. Kit Slitor, a freelance video editor, and his wife, Nancy Hey, a federal employee, were never charged with or convicted of child abuse or neglect, and the Virginia Department of Social Services exonerated them of any wrongdoing. It didn't matter.

After doing everything social workers and the Arlington Domestic and Juvenile Relations Court, or DJR, demanded of them -- including home inspections, supervised visitation, and psychological testing -- their parental rights were terminated and Sabrina was put up for adoption. They spent more than $250,000 fighting for her, all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court, which declined to hear their case.

Four years later, their story still haunts me.

On Sept. 16, a class-action lawsuit modeled after a similar pleading in Massachusetts was filed in federal court in Alexandria on behalf of eight children -- including Sabrina -- who have been placed in foster care by Arlington County. ...

If social workers and judges can take your child away without due process, the Constitution is nothing more than a piece of paper the powerful can continue to ignore with impunity.
I think that my readers can answer that. Our Constitution is toilet paper, on these issues.

In another case, the feds have been forcibly giving anti-psychotic drugs to the 23-year-old shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has, Jared Lee Loughner, and his lawyer is appealing. I mentioned this case before, as the big issue is whether the feds can drug him without due process. The Wash. Post reports:
Loughner lead attorney Judy Clarke said in Monday’s brief that their client has been denied a prompt review for the “four- to five-drug cocktail currently forced on him” by the federal court.

“Did the prison deprive Mr. Loughner of liberty without due process by failing to seek a prompt hearing to determine whether continued forced medication was justified?” Clarke wrote. “Have the prison’s actions denied Mr. Loughner due process by forcibly medicating him without an adversarial hearing and a judicial determination that anti-psychotic medication is medically appropriate and, considering less intrusive means, essential to the safety of Mr. Loughner and others?”

The opening brief by Loughner’s lawyers challenging to the medication ruling wasn’t due until Nov. 28. It was unclear Monday why Clarke filed it a week early.
The funny part of this is that it is newsworthy that a lawyer filed court papers a week before the deadline. Nearly all lawyers wait until the deadline every time, regardless of whether there is any advantage to waiting.

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