Friday, March 02, 2012

Oregon rules against CPS

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh reports on a recent Oregon parental rights case:
Father had four children living with him and his girlfriend: his daughter, D (age 14), his son, R (age 12, D’s full brother), his girlfriend’s son, G (age 5 or 6), and his and his girlfriend’s daughter, S (age less than 2, D’s half-sister). D’s mother is in prison.

D accused father of physically abusing her, and is now in foster care. The father says “D was lying about the physical abuse and was an ‘out of control’ teenager.” The father is awaiting trial on the physical abuse charges.

D wants to visit with her siblings, and the trial court ordered that the father not interfere with that, at least as to R and G (but apparently not the very young S, though that’s unclear). The father objected, claiming this violates his parental rights with regard to R and G.

The Oregon Supreme Court agreed that the father’s parental rights were in play, and remanded for further development of the facts. Exactly what showing the court would find adequate for allowing a restriction of the father’s rights is not clear. But the court did conclude that the trial court cannot order sibling-sibling visitation as a matter of course, and had to consider the father’s rights to control access to those siblings who are still in his custody.
First, the dad is innocent until proven guilty, so for the purposes of this case, it should be assumed that the 14-year-old daughter is making a false accusation. There is not even an allegation that the dad has mistreated the other kids.

CPS was proposing that the Dad not be allowed to see his daughter, but that CPS could force the girl to see her brother. It seems plausible to me that the girl will be a bad influence on the boy, and that the Dad ought to block the visits. The Dad should be allowed to use his judgment.

I wish I could say that this was a victory for parental rights, but it appears to me that CPS only lost because it came to court completely unprepared and admitted that it didn't even know what the Dad wanted to do. The case does illustrate the evil intent of CPS in that it seems to be doing everything it can to destroy this family.


Anonymous said...

innocent until proven guilty applies only to criminal law.

George said...

The Oregon man is being charged in the criminal court.

Anonymous said...

then BIOTCh wins over innocent until proven guilty and due process.

Big money and influence trumps that.

Then national security interests trumps all. Unless big money and influence is of the highest order then there's a chance of skating.

Such is the pecking order in the American legal system.

Cami said...

While I'm glad the courts are being more fluid with single fathers' rights, I'm a bit saddened to see that they wouldn't even give D supervised visitation. Parents get that all the time, how would it be any different with a sibling who wants to see her siblings?

And if everyone is innocent until proven guilty, wouldn't that make the girl innocent as well? At least until she's proven guilty? How is it fair that the dad gets to be innocent so the girl is automatically guilty?

George said...

Yes, the girl should also be presumed innocent, but CPS separated her from the family, not the dad. She is only 14. Even if innocent, we don't normally let a 14-year-old tell the dad what to do.