Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Federal judge should hear Arlington CPS case

By: Barbara Hollingsworth

One of the most disturbing stories I've ever written for The Washington Examiner was about a 3-week-old baby girl who was snatched from her mother's arms and placed in foster care by Arlington County Child Protective Services because she lost 10 ounces after birth. Baby Sabrina's story hit me hard in the gut because that could have been me; my youngest daughter lost a whole pound postpartum.

Newborn weight loss is normal, Sabrina was under a doctor's care and had even regained all of her lost birth weight when she was taken. Kit Slitor, a freelance video editor, and his wife, Nancy Hey, a federal employee, were never charged with or convicted of child abuse or neglect, and the Virginia Department of Social Services exonerated them of any wrongdoing. It didn't matter.

After doing everything social workers and the Arlington Domestic and Juvenile Relations Court, or DJR, demanded of them -- including home inspections, supervised visitation, and psychological testing -- their parental rights were terminated and Sabrina was put up for adoption. They spent more than $250,000 fighting for her, all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court, which declined to hear their case.

Four years later, their story still haunts me.

On Sept. 16, a class-action lawsuit modeled after a similar pleading in Massachusetts was filed in federal court in Alexandria on behalf of eight children -- including Sabrina -- who have been placed in foster care by Arlington County.

The list of serious accusations contained in the lawsuit against DJR Judges George Varoutsos and Esther Wiggins, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jason McCandless, and various Arlington CPS officials is long: perjury, RICO violations of civil rights, fraud upon the court, obstruction of justice, unconstitutional "ex parte" hearings, court orders that were never served, depriving parents of their due process rights, "missing" court orders, illegal searches and seizures, and felony removal of documents from court files, to name just a few.

Arlington CPS "has not implemented the reforms necessary to remedy the severe and persistent legal violations within its foster care system, despite its longstanding knowledge of these systemic ills," the lawsuit alleges. The allegations are so grave that if the judicial system were working properly, an emergency restraining order against DJR would be issued immediately.

Don't hold your breath. The "next friend" lawsuit was filed by nonlawyer James Renwick Manship, a disabled Navy cryptologist and court-appointed special advocate, on behalf of foster children and their impoverished parents. It's the longest of long shots aimed directly at a corrupt, unaccountable system that holds every card in the deck.

Or almost every card. Judge James Cacheris caused quite a legal stir in May when he cited the landmark Supreme Court Citizens United ruling to strike down a ban on corporate political donations. Campaign finance is an important issue, but it pales in comparison with judicial kidnapping, which strikes at the very heart of Americans' God-given rights.

If social workers and judges can take your child away without due process, the Constitution is nothing more than a piece of paper the powerful can continue to ignore with impunity.

There's still a chance that Cacheris, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Reagan, will search his conscience, rise to the occasion, and allow this David vs. Goliath case to proceed to trial despite tremendous pressure from the legal establishment to ignore the compelling evidence of official misconduct and continue covering up this rot.

Source http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/2011/11/federal-judge-should-hear-arlington-cps-case

No comments:

Post a Comment