Unconscionable and Unconstitutional—Cruel CPS Tactic Fails in Court

parental_rights

Victory for Parental Rights

This 3-0 court decision  was long overdue.  Anyone with a minimal understanding of constitutional rights in the Child Protection Services Agency should have been able to see that this tactic goes against every fiber of freedom in this country.  Countless hundreds, perhaps thousands of families have been falsely accused simply because this bureaucracy valued power over freedom.

See this from the Pacific Justice Institute whose nation wide legal team fights valiantly for families in cases like these, free of charge:

Federal Appeals Court Finds CPS Tactic Unconstitutional
As families gather for the holidays, a recent ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals offers hope to hundreds of thousands of parents haunted by the nightmare of unproven child abuse allegations.For years, attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute have warned parents that, once CPS decides to investigate them for child abuse – sometimes based on anonymous tips from neighbors or vindictive ex-spouses – their names can end up on California’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). Parents are listed on the CACI even when CPS eventually deems the charges “inconclusive” and closes its files. The CACI listing shows up on background checks for years to come and prevents parents from obtaining jobs or state licenses.In Humphries v. County of Los Angeles, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sharply criticized the ease with which people are listed on the CACI and the obstacles which prevent their names from being removed. The court was also troubled by a study indicating that as many as half of the more than 800,000 individuals listed on the CACI “may have a legitimate basis for expungement.” Calling the list “the reverse of the presumption of innocence in our criminal justice system,” the court ordered the state to enact greater procedural safeguards.PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “It is gratifying that the Ninth Circuit has acknowledged what we have been saying for years-that treating parents as criminals when they are never convicted of a crime is unjust. We call on the legislature to finally fix this broken system in a way that honors basic constitutional rights.”Karen Milam, who directs PJI’s Southern California office, stated, “Every year, PJI is inundated with hundreds of calls from desperate parents who do not understand how they could be labeled as child abusers based solely on unproven suspicions. This ruling is an important step toward keeping CPS honest.”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s article on the actual case is eye opening.  This scenario is representative of many others, the  silent victims of  CPS’s long arm of government gone awry.

There is nothing more sacred and precious than God’s children. To trample the rights of families under the guise of “protecting the children” is a tactic that is increasingly used to bully and subject healthy families to government scrutiny, and the scarring effects for  children can be life long.

Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the details of the case:

“Boynton’s clients, Craig and Wendy Humphries, were placed on the list after their 15-year-old daughter accused them of abusing her in 2001.   Sheriff’s deputies arrested the couple and put their other two children in protective custody, but the charges were dropped after a medical examination disclosed that no abuse had occurred, and two judges later declared the couple innocent.

Under the law, the Humphries’ only chance to get their names removed from the child abuse list was to persuade the investigating deputy that the allegations were unfounded. But the sheriff’s department told them the deputy no longer worked there, and a supervisor decided some crime must have occurred because charges were filed, the court said.

With no further appeal possible, the Humphries said the listing is an obstacle to their plans to volunteer at a local child care center and could hurt Wendy Humphries’ chances of renewing her teaching credential.

A federal judge dismissed the couple’s suit, saying damage to their reputation did not amount to a violation of their constitutional rights. But the appeals court, in an opinion by Judge Jay Bybee, said the listing “both stigmatizes the Humphries and creates an impediment to (their) ability to obtain legal rights,” like employment.

Bybee cited a 2004 state task force report that looked at listings from one county and found that half of them might be erroneous.

Although the state is justified in keeping a list of suspected abusers, including those who haven’t been convicted of crimes, he said, the California index has too few safeguards to meet constitutional standards.”

Half of the reports could be false.  Half.  That is truly frightening.

—Beetle Blogger

The ruling in Humphries vs. County of Los Angeles is available at www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/ and the full SF article here

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12 Comments

  1. December 31, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I might get myself in trouble for saying so, but I am very glad for this kind of ruling as a male. The fact that most abuse cases involve males as perpetrators is scary for those of us who don’t engage in that sort of behavior, because once accused, as the article indicates, it’s very difficult to clear your name. Suppose you accuse me of being abusive: If I am, I’ll probably say I’m not. If I’m not, I’ll also say I’m not. There’s nothing I can say to clear my name to make you believe me, because saying “I didn’t” is in my best interest in both cases. Guilt is often irrelevant, because often only accusations matter in public opinion.

  2. lawdoll said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I am going to try to link your blog to mine, but I am unsure how. You can view my blog at http://www.stopcorruptdss.wordpress.com or standupspeakup-leesa.blogspot.com

    I like your blog, it is important for us to get these stories out so the world can see the illegal and unethical behavior of this system…

  3. Pearl said,

    December 31, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    800,000! Unconscionable is the most perfect word for this. How could the CPS be given so much power as to preclude any checks and balances or supervision? And, as I seem to be so fond of saying lately, where is the protection for the children when the supposed child defender turns into child offender? I’m immensely relieved for this ruling as well and am deeply grateful that the judge saw fit to reign in the outlandish accusations of the CPS.

  4. December 31, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Unfortunately there are some families that are dysfunctional and need help from organizations to set them selves straight. It looks like the state is over zealous and ends up discriminating against great families. It certainly is unfair to be declared not guilty of a crime and still have your name on a file somewhere which prevents you from working with children.

  5. byassociation said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    There are far more serious things that can happen to you from being on this list. You can’t volunteer at your kids’ school, you can’t adopt children, you can’t do anything that requires a background check, AND if your nosy neighbor or disgruntled ex files a report against you, for whatever reason, the child abuse listing will make you automatically guilty.

    It’s a pretty serious thing. Since the list was started, they’ve increased the number of agencies with access to it’s contents and the number of things it can affect has grown. The list is a lifetime list in California. Once you’re on it, you’re on it.

    Just recently they made it so that child abuse lists coordinate between states, so if you’re in one state and somehow get on the list through no fault of your own, too bad, you have to leave the country to get away from the implied stigma.

  6. Liberty Belle said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    There is no way that the government should have that kind of power. In criminal courts they at least mandate due process and those sorts of rights.

  7. cschande said,

    January 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Wow. I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work. I’ve just started a new blog that will be highlighting the dangers of the secular progressive movement (pro-gay “rights”, pro-abortion, anti-religious freedoms, etc). Unfortunately, most Christians still don’t know what’s going on out there and the mainstream media certainly isn’t covering it.

    We’re looking to build a solid group of social conservatives who’ll frequent our site regularly and contribute to some good discussions. I appreciate your earlier comment and I hope you’ll continue to join in.

    I’d love to be on your blogroll. I’m going to go ahead and add you now. Our blog is at http://religionandmorality.wordpress.com/

    Thanks!

  8. rubyeliot said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:11 am

    thanks for posting this beetle!

  9. Michael said,

    January 7, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Children are our future, yet it appears they are being alienated, used, abused, discarded, maimed, exploited and even murdered all in the name of power and money! I will do whatever I can to stop the abuse of innocent children, including my own, who are being emotionally and possibly physically abused, thanks to our wonderful system! Please help me in my fight to reform CPS. They MUST be brought in line with lawful investigation practices, to maintain civil and Constitutional Rights. Stop the war against Americas families NOW! Injustice against one American is injustice against ALL Americans. http://rallycongress.com/fight-cps/1448/cps

  10. A Leo said,

    March 23, 2009 at 3:49 am

    If you would like to make new case law, please visit the above site and sign one of the letters posted there, or email aleo966@yahoo.com for instructions. CA residents only. Thanks

  11. A Leo said,

    March 23, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Sorry here is the link to the site where the letter is posted with instructions:

    http://legallykidnapped.blogspot.com/2009/03/email-i-recieved.html

  12. kindness said,

    January 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    my name is landa. I live here in stark county ohio. im fighting cps for my 2 kids. we need a good strong organization in all states. we need to all come together. cps is all about money & lies. we need a lot of & support here in ohio. cps is putting way too many kids up for adoption. It is very sad here in stark county ohio. A LOT of kids are being put up for adoption all because the parents dont have money to pay for a good fighting attorney. anyone can send me a e-mail kindnessohio33@yahoo.com im not giving up the fight. we have to all keep fighting for our kids & rights. I know a lot of parents dont have a lot of money for a attorney. we can still fight for all of our kids. we have to stop cps.


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