A Wayne County judge is still being sued after a federal judge refused to dismiss the case against her. The Wayne County judge allegedly signed many blank orders for child removal, which were then filled out and used by other authorities at their discretion. The federal judge indicated that signing such orders ahead of time clearly violates a parent’s right to a notice as well as a hearing prior to their child being removed by protective services. The Wayne County judge was technically acting as an administrator when she pre-signed the orders and her judicial immunity will therefore not apply.
The child custody dispute that revealed the judge’s questionable procedure began in April of 2008. A father and his 7-year-old son were attending a Detroit Tigers game when a Comerica Park security guard noticed the boy drinking alcohol. The father, a professor at the University of Michigan, had mistakenly given the child a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, claiming that he was unaware of it’s alcohol content. Medical staff at Comerica examined the boy and determined that he was fine. The child was also brought to a Detroit Children’s Hospital to undergo another examination, which revealed a blood alcohol level of zero.
Even though the boy was cleared to return home with his father, he was nevertheless brought into the custody of Child Protective Services. The boy was not even allowed into his mother’s custody, who was not present at the baseball game, nor could he be released to an aunt who is a licensed foster parent and social worker. The ACLU determined that these actions were unconstitutional, as it was not proven that the boy was in immediate danger.
It’s arguable whether or not the boy’s father should have less custody of his child after what was apparently a simple mistake. Certainly, as was stated by the ACLU of Michigan, the mother of the child should not have had to deal with losing the custody of her son for several days when she had nothing to do with the incident. The judge in this case may have noticed the inconsistencies had she not provided officials with pre-signed orders.
Source: detroit.cbslocal.com, “Lawsuit In Case Of Child, Booze At Detroit Tigers Game Moves Forward” No author given, Nov. 27, 2013