UPDATE from Justice4Maryanne Committee
Ariana is HOME! Mother and Child Reunion Party this Sunday 1-3 p.m.
Our prayers have been answered. Ariana was released into the care of her Aunt, Penny, today. Thank you so much for all of your calls, letters, emails, donations and other forms of support. Your outrage with DHS and CPS was finally met with a small act of Justice today. The FIGHT is NOT over – Maryanne will be in court on May 11th to have her parental rights recognized by the court until the trial begins on June 8th. So – we still have a LONG way to go. But we have MUCH cause to celebrate now that Ariana is back home with her family.
The Justice for Maryanne Action Committee presents: A Mother and Child Reunion Celebration. This Sunday May 8, 2011. 1-3pm Hartford Memorial Baptist Church – Vincent Room. Dr. Charles G. Adams, Senior Pastor. Charles C. Adams, Presiding. 18700 James Couzens Drive Detroit, Michigan. Please join us for this brief but powerful celebration welcoming Ariana back home this Mother’s Day.
By Diane Bukowski
DETROIT – Wayne County Juvenile Court Judge Lynn Pierce ruled May 4 that Ariana Godboldo-Hakim must be released from the Hawthorn Psychiatric Center and placed in her aunt’s home by May 6.
An army that included police tanks, helicopters, and officers armed with assault weapons seized the child from her mother Maryanne Goldboldo Mar. 25 at the request of state Child Protective Services. Godboldo still faces felony charges for resisting what she and her attorneys contend was an illegal kidnapping of the 13-year-old girl.
CPS said they seized Ariana because her mother had taken her off the psychotropic medication Risperdal, among other allegations. However, Godboldo signed a consent form which is in the court file saying she had the right to do so at any time.
“A show cause order is now issued for Friday at 1:30 p.m.,” Pierce said. “Any parties who do not cooperate will be found in contempt of court [at the hearing]. I’m not going to have anyone stonewalling the placement.” She added later, “I have not heard anything today indicating that Ariana’s placement in her aunt’s home is detrimental to her welfare.”
The courtroom was packed with supporters of Godboldo and Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim. The family has received support from around the world as well.
Dr. George Mellos, acting chief of clinical affairs for Hawthorn, and Dr. Margaret Betts, a well-known Detroit M.D. and allopath, who is to treat Ariana on her release, reached agreement on a joint medical treatment plan for the child April 29. Ariana has not yet been diagnosed for a disorder her mother believes was related to a series of vaccinations she received.
Her court-appointed guardian ad litem, David McGuire, said on the record May 4 that he was satisfied with the plan, and that it was “more detailed” than most he had seen.
Pierce ruled April 22 that Ariana should be placed as soon as a medical treatment plan was agreed on. During interim discussions in Pierce’s chambers April 29, however, CPS representatives continued to stall. Evans said she immediately filed motions for the May 4 hearing to effectuate Ariana’s release.
During the May 4 hearing, Evans and Roger Farinha, Hakim’s attorney, argued for the child’s immediate release from the psychiatric facility and return to her family.
“We are asking first that the child be placed with Maryanne Godboldo,” Evans told Pierce. “You have the authority to release her to her mother while an investigation is pending. The medical professions have indicated that their plan can’t be put into place until the child returns home. Penny [Godboldo-Brooks] elected to have Maryanne take the child first, but if the court doesn’t allow that, she should go to Penny immediately.”
The two-hour hearing became heated as state Child Protective Services (CPS) supervisor Jeannine Washington and an Assistant State Attorney General objected to the doctors’ agreed on plan.
Washington testified that she received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice in 2007 and had been employed by the state for three years. She said she was assigned to the Godboldo case only after Ariana was seized from her home.
She and the assistant AG asserted at length that the treatment plan was “too vague.” Despite the fact that Washington had already done a home assessment and a criminal check on Ariana’s aunt and her husband, they said extensive paperwork regarding foster care licensing, educational plans, and other matters still needed to be completed before Ariana could be released from Hawthorn.
“Are you aware that the doctors are recommending Ariana’s release immediately?” Farinha asked during cross-examination of Washington. “Have you and your supervisor discussed the harm that is being done to her by remaining in a mental hospital setting away from her family?”
Washington said they had done so, but had not documented the discussions in writing.
Evans asked Washington, “You’re not an M.D. or psychiatrist, are you? But you don’t think the medical plan is detailed enough?” Washington insisted that it wasn’t.
Evans said that legally the licensing process and other matters can be completed after placement, but Washington took issue with that as well.
After leaving the witness stand, Washington almost jumped on Farinha across the table at which they were both seated, while the hearing was still in progress.
Pierce denied requests by Evans and Farina to present their own witnesses, including Dr. Betts, who was in the courtroom, and Penny Godboldo-Brooks, saying she was ready to rule without their testimony.
After Judge Pierce ruled, the state assistant AG placed the state’s objection to her ruling on the record.
Evans said afterwards, “We’re closer to Ariana’s coming home than we were last Friday. I’m happy with that as long as she is home on May 6. Our position has always been that the child has been traumatized by her removal and her condition has deteriorated while she is away from her mother, placed in a facility where she knows no one.”
Hakim said he had been visiting his daughter every day at Hawthorn, and agreed with Evans’ assessment. Another relative said they have had to go through four locked gates just to visit the child, and that it appeared she had a cigarette burn on her hand during the last visit.
Her mother filed a police complaint against Hawthorn after they took the child to Children’s Hospital, saying she had contracted a sexually-transmitted disease.
The Department of Community Health has yet to supply a list of all complaints filed against Hawthorn in the last five years, requested under the Freedom of Information Act by VOD.
“CPS is doing all this to punish the mother,” said attorney Allison Folmar, who is representing Maryanne Godboldo in her criminal case. “The child never should have been removed in the first place. There was no emergency.”
Family friend Rukiyah Shabazz added, “Ariana is a political prisoner. They are punishing her too. The state has no place interfering with her care.”
Dr. Betts said after the hearing that she had been visiting Ariana regularly at Hawthorn.
“The child is being traumatized on a day-to-day basis by people she doesn’t know or trust, experiencing the psychological trauma anyone feels on being locked up,” Betts said. “We cannot fully determine appropriate care until she is back home and reacquaints herself with her family. She has a medical team that is ready and willing and I plan to see her the day she comes home. This whole process has been eye-opening and unbelievable, something I never would have expected in a free country.”
She said Dr. Mellos told her he was “appalled” because he has never had to go through the same complications with any other child. She said he told her Ariana was basically dumped at Hawthorn, with no medical records accompanying her.
Another hearing in the case is scheduled for May 11.
There will be a Community Circle Dance Concert fundraiser for the Godboldo Justice Fund Sat. May 14th at 6 p.m., at the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center, 311 E. Grand River in downtown Detroit. For more information, go to http://justice4maryanne.com