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Court Exposed: Wayne County, MI

May 26, 2012 in CPS, due process, family court, justice, Michigan

We put Wall Street men and women in jail when they defraud people of their money. Yet Judge Leslie Kim Smith thinks nothing of giving her clerk a stamp with her signature on it — to remove people’s children. And nothing is being done about.

What is wrong with this picture?

Families torn apart illegally? Heather Catallo investigates

University of Michigan Law Logo

By:  Heather Catallo

(WXYZ) – When protective services take children from their parents, state law  says a judge must first personally review the case and sign off. But that was  not happening in one of Michigan’s busiest courts.

It’s called “rubber stamping,” and last August 7 Action News first exposed  how court staff were literally stamping a judge’s name onto orders that allowed  the state to take kids from their parents.

After our investigations – the rubber stamping stopped – but no one has ever  been held accountable — not the judge, not the chief judge or child protective  services.

“Why was this allowed to happen in your court,” Catallo asked Wayne County  Circuit Court Judge Leslie Kim Smith.

Smith is the presiding judge at the James Lincoln Hall of Justice, the  county’s juvenile court. It was her name that had been stamped on removal  orders. And legal experts tell us, that stamp allowed children to be taken from  their parents illegally.

Testimony under oath in the Godboldo case revealed that caseworkers routinely  took their petitions to probation officers inside the court, who would then  stamp Judge Leslie Kim Smith’s name onto the removal orders.

“It is completely illegal,” said Joshua Kay a professor with the University  of Michigan Law School’s Child Advocacy Law Clinic

 

“This system is destroying the future of America.  And if something is  not done about it, we won’t have a future,” said Godboldo.

Maryanne Godboldo is now suing the state, Wayne County, and Detroit police  for illegally taking her child.

Read more: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/removal-order#ixzz1vxPp398W

Please do some checking into your own case. If your case was rubber stamped, you can and should sue. (It is surely happening in more places than Wayne County, Michigan)

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Public Records Case Law

July 24, 2009 in Illinois

In a recent Illinois court case the 4th District Court of Appeals in Springfield has ruled internal affairs files are a public record regardless of the outcome of the probe.

I, for one, would be curious to learn if this same case law could be applied to other forms of government entities, such as Child Protective Services internal investigations. If so, this could have far reaching ramifications for those seeking justice for their children.

As public servants, their files should be open to public scrutiny. It’s time we held these agencies accountable for their actions.

Excerpts below, Read more…

Appeals court declares police internal affairs files public records

In a case some argue could throw open the long-standing secrecy behind police internal investigations, the 4th District Court of Appeals in Springfield has ruled internal affairs files are a public record regardless of the outcome of the probe.

Attorneys specializing in Illinois public records law said Thursday it is the first such ruling of its kind in the state and therefore binding on trial courts statewide. It could also have repercussions for long-running complaints about Chicago police brutality.

“This opinion is part and parcel of a general feeling that government in Illinois needs to be more transparent than it has been,” said attorney John Myers, who argued the case on behalf of Springfield dentist G. Mark Gekas.

Police and government agencies have long denied public access to records of internal affairs investigations, citing a portion of state law that protects citizens from a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

The appellate court shot down that argument.

“What he does in his capacity as a deputy sheriff is not his private business,” Appleton wrote. “Whether he used excessive force or otherwise committed misconduct during an investigation or arrest is not his private business. Internal-affairs files that scrutinize what a police officer did by the authority of his or her badge do not have the personal connotation of an employment application, a tax form, or a request for medical leave.”

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