Saturday, December 11, 2010

Coming soon to the U.S. Supreme Court--chid welfare and the 4th Amendment

In March or April of 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case having to do with child abuse investigations and the 4th Amendment. The 9th Circuit issued a ruling this year pertaining to a lawsuit filed against a CPS worker and a sheriff's deputy by the mother of a little girl who was questioned, and later underwent medical examination, based on allegations that she might be sexually abused by her father. Although investigators maintain that the girl did disclose abuse (which led to the medical examination), she subsequently denied having done so. The investigation did not turn up abuse. The investigation itself has been criticized--including criticism by prosecutors who are following the case--as conducted unprofessionally. As a result, a case could be made that the girl was being abused (but a poorly-conducted investigation undermined any possibility of protecting the child), or that she was not (and a poorly-conducted, intrusive investigation caused her a great deal of trauma). But prosecutors who are following the case still object to the 9th Circuit decision (which favored the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and affirmed 4th Amendment protections in child abuse investigations). They claim it will endanger children by protecting perpetrators.

Greene v. Camreta

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