Family Defense

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CNN - Couple Wrongly Accused of Child Abuse Print E-mail

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Washington Post - Supreme Court confronts conflict between constitutional rights and protecting children Print E-mail

The following article by Robert Barnes appeared in the Febraury 27, 2011 Washington Post.

In Oregon, a 9-year-old girl was escorted from class to a school conference room, where a child-welfare caseworker and a police officer questioned her about whether her father had touched her inappropriately. After two hours of questioning, she finally said he had, a statement she later recanted.

In North Carolina, a 13-year-old was pulled out of class for a closed-door meeting with police officers and the principal, where he was urged to do the right thing and eventually implicated himself in a recent burglary. He was not given his Miranda rights because the interview at the school was not considered official police custody.

Both cases are on the Supreme Court's docket this month as justices continue to parse how the Constitution applies to children. Justices repeatedly have established "that youth are different from adults and, accordingly, should be treated differently by the courts," said Bill Grimm, senior attorney for the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, Calif.

The rest of the article can be found at

AP - Justices weigh dispute over child-abuse cases Print E-mail

The following is an excerpt from a February 26, 2011 Associated Press article written by David Crary.

NEW YORK (AP) - Eight years ago, a child protection investigator and a deputy sheriff removed a 9-year-old Oregon girl from her classroom and questioned her at length as to whether her father had sexually abused her. According to the girl, they wouldn't take "no" for an answer, and she falsely incriminated her father.

On Tuesday, that incident will be the focus of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in a divisive case that has roused intense interest among those with a stake in child welfare issues.

The central question: Did the two men violate the Fourth Amendment's ban on "unreasonable search and seizure" when they questioned the girl in that manner without a warrant, without her mother's consent, and in the absence of emergency circumstances?

The rest of the article can be found at

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