Victims Of Child Abuse Laws
Case Law for Families
Here are some snippets of case law that upholds the constitutional right to be a parent
to one's children.
Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 120 S.Ct. 2054, 147 L.Ed.2d 49 (2000). - The Supreme Court stated "We have long recognized that a parent's interests in the nurture, upbringing, companionship,
care, and custody of children are generally protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e.g., Meyer
v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390, 399, 401 (1923); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510, 535 (1925); Stanley v.
Illinois, 405 U. S. 645, 651 (1972); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U. S. 205, 232 (1972); Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U. S.
246, 255 (1978); Parham v. J. R., 442 U. S. 584, 602 (1979); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U. S. 745, 753 (1982); Washington
v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 720 (1997). As we first acknowledged in Meyer, the right of parents to "bring up children,"
262 U. S., at 399, and "to control the education of their own" is protected by the Constitution, id., at
401. See also Glucksberg, supra, at 761 (Souter, J., concurring in judgment).
Santosky v. Kramer, 102 S Ct 1388; 455 US 745, (1982). - Even when blood relationships are strained,
parents retain vital interest in preventing irretrievable destruction of their family life; if anything, persons faced with
forced dissolution of their parental rights have more critical need for procedural protections than do those resisting state
intervention into ongoing family affairs.
The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause has a substantive component that “provides heightened protection against government interference
with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests,” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 720, including parents’ fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their
children, see, e.g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651. Pp. 5—8.
There is a presumption that fit parents act in their children’s best interests, Parham v. J. R.,
442 U.S. 584, 602; As this Court explained in Parham:
"[O]ur constitutional system long ago rejected any notion that a child is the mere creature of the State and, on the contrary,
asserted that parents generally have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare [their children] for
additional obligations. ... The law's concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks
in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life's difficult decisions. More important, historically
it has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children." 442 U. S.,
at 602 (alteration in original) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
There is normally no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question
fit parents’ ability to make the best decisions regarding their children, see, e.g., Reno v. Flores,
507 U.S. 292, 304.
Thus, a balance must be reached between the fundamental right to the
family unit and the state's interest in protecting children from abuse, especially in cases where children are removed from
their homes. Miller v. City of Philadelphia, 174 F.3d 368, 373 (3d Cir.1999)
In balancing these competing interests, courts have recognized that a
state has no interest in protecting children from their parents unless it has some definite and articulable evidence giving
rise to a reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused or is in imminent danger of abuse. Croft, 103 F.3d
BROKAW v MERCER COUNTY, 235 F.3d 1000 (7th Cir 2001)(2000)
where a child's life is in imminent danger or where there is immediate danger of severe or irreparable injury to the child's
health (and prior judicial authorization is not immediately obtainable) may an official summarily assume custody of a
child from his parents.").
The Court of Appeals, Manion, Circuit Judge, held that:
seizure of child from his home
was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment;
county sheriff and county probation
officer who removed child from home were subject to individual liability;
state judge who handled wardship
proceedings had judicial immunity;
four month separation following
removal could be challenged under substantive due process clause;
allegations were sufficient
to state a procedural due process claim based on post-deprivation process;
allegations were sufficient
to state conspiracy claim under § 1985; and
recusal of district court judge
for bias was not warranted.