Decision: Protective Services Overreacts

PUBLISHED: 1:46 AM 30 Jan 2018
UPDATED: 1:46 AM 30 Jan 2018

Judge Rules Protective Services Went Too Far

The social worker in this case went overboard even though there were no signs of abuse

The social worker in this case overreacted and took the children for no reason.

One family lived through what can only be described as a horrible nightmare. Child welfare workers, assisted by police, hauled away the toddlers then came back to seize family photo albums, cameras, and computers. What can only be described as a leftist plot has been thwarted by the court to prevent more law-abiding families from being destroyed by the misinterpretation of an innocent action.

Authorities who are supposed to look out for children’s safety shouldn’t be the ones to cause them harm. “Taking a child from his or her home, family, and community constitutes a separate trauma, in and of itself,” Judge Marsha Berzon writes.

A landmark decision, handed down last week, means your children will no longer be taken away and you don’t have to worry that harmless family snapshots might get you thrown in the pokey on kiddie-porn charges. A harshly worded opinion, handed down by a three-judge panel of the blatantly left-leaning 9th Circuit Court of Appeals actually defends the Constitution, surprisingly standing up for parental rights.

Children, the Court says, are not to be used as pawns in a hysteria of extreme political correctness. “There is a well-establish and overwhelming right of parents to control their children without government supervision,” the judges write.

In a welcome reversal of Obama era delirium, parents no longer need to fear those baby-in-the-bathtub photos in the family album.

Obama’s big brother policies of “if you see something, say something,” resulted in a nightmare for one family, as common sense was thrown right out the window. The whole mess started back in 2008 when they dropped some film off at Walmart to be developed.

“A Wal-Mart employee, developing photos, saw several pictures of naked children and called the police. According to court records, the pictures involved their daughters, then age 5, 4 and 1 1/2, nude and lying on towels.” Detectives came crawling out of the woodwork.

One investigator demanded to know why a father would dare to take such a photo in the first place. “So when we look back on ’em years later, look at their cute little butts,” The father expected the detective to realize parents have been taking similar snapshots as long as cameras have been around.

The investigators didn’t see it that way. For them, it was enough to get the kids hauled off for “medical exams.” The tests “showed no signs of abuse” but the lack of physical evidence wasn’t enough to stop them from persuading a local judge to let them step in.

When they brought the children back, they also brought “a warrant to seize computers, printers, photographs, cell phones, undeveloped film, cameras and various media.”

The agency that used to be called Child Protective Services, now Department of Child Safety, “took the children into emergency temporary custody, taking them to foster homes and later to their grandparents where they stayed for about a month,” DCS investigator Laura Pederson relates.

Their fishing expedition came up empty, “the juvenile court never found the children had been abused or neglected,” neither parent was arrested or charged.

After hearing arguments on both sides, the Ninth Circuit, representing most of the Western states, decided, “Courts must “scrupulously guard a child’s constitutional right to remain at home.” That’s why “the law requires close judicial supervision of even temporary governmental interference in the parent-child relationship.”

The Court explained that yes, there are “narrow circumstances” when an agency can pull the kids out of the house, even without a court order, but this isn’t one of them. There needs to be “reasonable cause to believe that the child is likely to experience serious bodily harm in the time that would be required to obtain a warrant.”

That could not have applied in this case.

According to the judges, all the evidence “showed the parents had done nothing wrong and that the children were in no immediate danger, if any danger at all.”

“The only expressed concern was that the children could be subject to future criminal sexual exploitation because the parents had taken what the social workers described as ‘sexually explicit’ pictures of all three children.”

Nobody had accused the parents of distributing the pictures. They had not taken any “photos of children in sexual situations” and weren’t likely to, the Court noted.

The Court added, “there was no suspected risk to the children of serious bodily harm, including molestation, imminent or otherwise.” The panel concluded, that “provides evidence that the defendants acted unconstitutionally in removing the children without a court order.”

After the Juvenile court found no wrongdoing, the parents sued officer Pederson along with her supervisor, Amy Van Ness. Van Ness had approved the decision to remove the children from the home. Officer Pederson reached an out of court settlement with the family.

The original trial judge in Phoenix now gets “to hear the parents’ claims that their constitutional rights were violated and what damages they should receive.”