Friday, February 25, 2011

Camreta Revisited by SCOTUS

In past posts here and here, I discussed a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling (Greene v. Camreta) which determined that removing a child from a classroom and subjecting that child to a two hour interrogation was a violation of the child's and the parent's fourth amendment rights. I mentioned that the states were in an uproar, doomsaying that this would cause more children to be abused. Gasp.

The question before the Supreme Court is whether police and child protective services investigators, consistent with the Fourth Amendment, may conduct a custodial interrogation of a child in a public school as to the details of her home life, without: (1) a warrant supported by probable cause, (2) consent of parent, (3) a court order, or (4) exigent circumstances. Press Supreme Court orders for the questions as framed in the petitions for certiorari.
The caseworker and the police officer sought certiorari because even thought the Ninth Circuit ruled that they had qualified immunity for this event (because the law was not clearly established at the time) they did violate fourth amendment rights of the family. This means that any subsequent incident would find the offending government official liable. 

I have been reading the merits and amicus briefs provided at The Family Defense Center web site. I observe that nine amicus briefs were filed in support of the caseworker/police officer and eighteen in support of the parents. I found the brief of the Attorneys General of forty-one states to be extremely revealing. I will note, for the record, the states listed do include the the worst states for child welfare outcomes and violations, i.e. Colorado, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin.

The states have expressed a compelling interest to continue running roughshod over the rights of parents and children as having, "gained wide acceptance as the best practice because such interviews are the most effective tool available for overcoming the many obstacles to obtaining reliable investigative outcomes. . ."

They view their abusive tactics as justified because, "By their nature, CPS investigations typically involve situations in which the perpetrator is a parent or other family member, and often a member of the child’s household. If, as the Ninth Circuit implies, CPS investigations are therefore to be seen as 'storming the castle,' see Greene, 588 F.3d at 1016, then one must also perceive the strength of the fortress walls behind which abused children await rescue."

Agencies view mothers who deny the father sexually abused the child (this involved a sexual abuse allegation based on third-hand hearsay from outside the home) as part of the problem, and therefore refuse to consider her as a non-offending parent, but as an enabler. I have analyzed many of these cases, and more often than not, the agency discounts the evidence showing daddy couldn't have possibly done it, such as daddy was out of state at the time the incident was alleged, and  insists mom is enabling the abuse. This is their justification for not seeking parental consent, nor obtaining a court order or warrant. 

Interesting that in this case, there was, as there usually is, a non-offending parent whose presumption that she acts in the best interests of her child means nothing because her child is "awaiting rescue" from mommy and daddy who hide behind the fourth amendment? How perverted is this delusion? The little girl that was the protected puked five times after the interrogation when she got home because her <ahem> well-intentioned, highly professional knights-in-shining-armor were just doing their job. They argue they need to do their job and the fourth amendment just gets in the way.

This might be arguable, IF they were as infallible as they believe they are. But S.G. (the victim) recanted saying that Greene kept telling her she was giving the wrong answer so she just said what he wanted to hear so he would leave her alone. I've seen this happen so often that it brings most disclosures under suspicion, and the biggest crime is that they don't video record these interrogations (they REFUSE to video record because it would expose them) so that you can prove they did it wrong. They get it wrong far more often than they get it right, so infallibility is not a valid consideration.

The doomsaying continues to run amok. Only WE (CPS) can protect the kiddies, parents don't ever protect their own children. Parents are perpetrators. Is it any wonder parents give these government agents the hairy eyeball when the agencies want to invade their castle?

The Attorneys General would have a lot more credibility if the state agencies could get it right, if they could administer a case without traumatizing the kiddies, bankrupting the parents and destroying the child's family, and if the children in foster care were safer than in their own homes.

I hope the Supremes recognize that the emperor has no clothes.

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Leave the emotions, propaganda and rhetoric at the door. This blogger is only interested in intelligent, logical, well-thought out, factually based comments which are on-topic, indicating the writer has an open mind and a mature ability to reason.