Saturday, October 1, 2011

Leaving 3 year old in car for 13 minutes is not neglect

This New Jersey court is as good at overturning their child protective services agency's findings of neglect as the Massachusetts courts are at upholding them:

Dept. of Children Youth & Families v. A.S., New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division, decided 9/29/11

Three year old wanted to stay in car to continue watching DVD while mom did some last minute barbecue shopping at big box store. Mom left her strapped in her car seat, the doors locked, the car started with remote start and the air conditioner on for 13 minutes. Child was unfazed when police arrived, police could not get car doors opened. DCYFS found her neglectful. So did the administrative hearing.

But, citing the statute and a couple of other New Jersey cases that also reversed neglect findings, the court reversed and ruled in favor of mother.

Thanks to for posting this unpublished, per curiam decision.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

SCOTUS overturns CA9 on Warrantless CPS interrogations

The U. S. Supreme Court issued its decision today in Camreta v. Greene. Read the full decision here:

This is the 9th circuit case in which the circuit court found a Fourth Amendment violation based on a CPS worker and Sheriff's deputy's warrantless interrogation of a then 9-year-old at school. The 9th Circuit, though finding the violation, found that the official had qualified immunity since the law was unclear before. The deputy was granted cert in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled it could review the appellate court's constitutional decision, even though Camreta was the prevailing party below, based on qualified immunity. Nevertheless, the Court held the case is moot, because Greene has no continuing stake in the controversy. Consequently, it vacated the portion of the 9th Circuit opinion that imposed the warrant requirement.

Justice Kagan wrote the majority opinion in which Roberts, Scalia, Ginsberg and Alito joined. Scalia wrote a concurring opinion. Sotomayor, joined by Breyer wrote an opinion concurring in the result, but opining that the court should have decided only that the case was moot and vacated the judgment below. Kennedy, joined by Thomas, wrote a dissent concluding that Camreta as a "prevailing party" should not have been permitted to appeal the constitutional decision below, which he describes as "obiter dictum".

Thanks to the NACC yahoo group for notice of and the link to the decision and to members of the group for the concise summary quoted above.

Thursday, February 3, 2011