Defense fights to quash order that resulted in daughter’s seizure by police, affirm mother’s right to defend child and home
By Diane Bukowski
DETROIT — Thirty-Sixth District Court Judge Ronald Giles said June 30 that he is “ready to rule” in the Maryanne Godboldo case, both on a defense motion to quash the civil order police used as an excuse to break down her door to take her 13-year-old daughter in March, and a prosecution motion to suppress any evidence related to the court order.
At the request of defense attorney Allison Folmar, however, he adjourned Godboldo’s preliminary exam on multiple charges of “assaulting, battering, wounding, resisting, obstructing, opposing, or endangering” Detroit police officers until Monday, July 25, “promptly” at 8:30 a.m.
Godboldo has received international support in her stand against Child Protective Services’ attempt to take custody of Ariana, 13, in order to force her to take a dangerous psychotropic medication, Risperdal. A rally in her support is planned for Sunday, July 17 at the Little Rock Baptist Resource Center, 8801 Woodward at Gladstone, from 4 to 6 p.m. (Put “Godboldo” in VOD search engine to access earlier stories on case.)
“How do you tell me I need to address the prosecution’s issue when I just got their motion today?” Folmar said. “Our issue is that the court order is not presumptively valid. I mean to address the matter of whether or not my client had the right to protect her child in her own home.”
She displayed a copy of the initial document, “Order To Take Child(ren) into Protective Custody,” in the Godboldo case. It is blank at the line where the individual assigned to take custody is identified, says both that Child Protective Services did and did not “make reasonable efforts to prevent removal of the child(ren) from the home,”, and has only the rubber-stamped signature of Judge Leslie Kim Smith. Click on Order_to_Take_Children_into_Protective_Custody_321602_7 to view blank form from Department of Human Services website.
“You can rubber stamp an order to take a car or a home, but you cannot rubber stamp an order to take a child,” Folmar said.
CPS worker Mia Wenk obtained the order and contacted police to accompany her, although she was not on the porch when police knocked on Godboldo’s door. Folmar said Godboldo opened the door, asked if police had a warrant, and then closed it when they did not produce one.
Folmar said the court order was stamped at 11:30 a.m. March 24, and police appeared on Godboldo’s doorstep later that afternoon. The order gives 30 days to take whatever action is requested. It is a civil order, not a criminal complaint.
“Is it OK no judge ever read the order?” Folmar asked. “Is it OK that you can download an order online yourself and get it rubber-stamped with no legal ramifications? Is it OK that police can go to a person’s home to take their child with this order? You don’t kick in their door 10 minutes after being at the scene to execute a civil order. What was stopping them from leaving and going to court to get a warrant?”
Not only did Detroit police kick in Godboldo’s door, they were part of a Special Response Team armed with assault weapons and armor, and brought armored vehicles to the home where only Godboldo and her daughter lived.
“The last time Detroit police went storming into somebody’s home, they killed a little girl,” Folmar said. “If they had gotten in, they probably would have killed both Maryanne and her daughter,” Folmar said. Godboldo surrendered voluntarily after a 12-hour stand-off on the advice of community supporters and a judge.
A Detroit police Special Response Team shot seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones to death after bombing her east-side home without warning in May of last year. That case has also engendered world-wide outrage.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has yet to file charges against Officer Joseph Weekley or others involved in the child’s death, but hurried to file “one count of Discharge of a Weapon in a Dwelling, three counts of Felonious Assault, three counts of Resisting and Obstructing an Officer, and a Felony Firearm count” against Godboldo. Godboldo faces up to eight years in prison.
Worthy herself is the single mother of an only child, Anastasia, who is close to Ariana’s age. Judge Giles and his wife Joyce Hayes-Giles, a DTE executive, are parents of two high-school age daughters.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Paula Humphries earlier stayed all criminal proceedings in the Godboldo case until the Michigan Supreme Court decides People v. Moreno, a similar case involving police entrance into a home without a warrant.
In granting leave to appeal the Moreno case, the Supreme Court said, “The parties shall address 1) whether a person present in his/her own home can lawfully resist police officers who unlawfully and forcibly enter the home, without violating MCL 750.81d; 2) If not, whether so interpreted MCL 750.81d is unconstitutional; 3) Whether a defendant prosecuted under MCL 750.81d for resisting a police officer who unlawfully and forcibly enters defendant’s home can claim self-defense.”
Third Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell overturned the stay, saying the cases were dissimilar because the police had the court order, which he implied was equivalent to a criminal warrant.
According to the state’s court website, the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ) plans to file an amicus brief on behalf of Angelo Moreno.
Attorney Racine Miller is writing the brief for the 2,000 member MAJ. She said she is in contact with and assisting Folmar in the Godboldo case, and that the Moreno case involves far more than one instance of unconstitutional actions by police.
“We filed (and were granted) leave to participate because the civil rights of our state’s citizens are being eroded in favor of a police state,” attorney Miller said. “Moreno is not just a criminal case nor is it just about what happened to Angel Moreno. The High Court’s decision will have a far broader impact. In 2004, we as citizens lost the right to resist an unlawful command given by a police officer when the [appeals court] decision in People v Ventura came down. The resisting and obstructing statute and Ventura are being called into question here.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to discuss with the Justices why not only the warrantless, forcible entry into our homes by police officers should not be condoned, but also to reclaim our right to resist unlawful police commands, and reexamine the intent of the resisting and obstructing statute 750.81d, to ensure that it is constitutionally applied and that our legal system, law enforcement and judicial resources are not squandered by overreaching. I have two teenage daughters who are learning to drive, and police contact is all but certain. It is so painful to explain to them that they must obey an officer, regardless of what they know their rights to be, and fight about any misconduct through the proper channels after the fact.
“Further, after what you’ve personally been through, it’s clear that there are more frequent instances of police abusing the authority they’ve been charged with – we cannot extend their ability to do so without legitimate justification.”
[VOD ed. Diane Bukowski: I was charged and convicted of two counts under the same statute, while in the performance of my job as a journalist for The Michigan Citizen, in 2008. My appeal was denied, but my lawyers John Royal and Sharon McPhail have filed a motion for reconsideration, and plan to go to the State Supreme Court as well if that fails. Story coming on that matter. For further information on my case, click on http://freedianebukowski.org. ).
MCL 750.81d reads in part, “(1) Except as provided in subsections (2), (3), and (4), an individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.”
Folmar said police were not lawfully performing their duties when they kicked Godboldo’s door in, and therefore she should not be subject to those charges.
“It would be outrageous and offend sensibility to think the police can break into a home without a warrant, or that when they knock you to the ground and you defend yourself you could be charged with a felony,” Moreno’s attorney, Craig Haehnel, of Grand Rapids, earlier told VOD. “It’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment. . . . even under the current statute, the definition of ‘obstruction’ requires that it involves lawful activity [by the police].”
Sandra Hines, who works with the Justice4Maryanne committee, called on the community to attend both the support rally for Godboldo July 17 as well as the court hearing July 25, en masse.
From the Justice4Maryanne committee:
You are invited to the
Historic Little Rock Resource Center – 8801 Woodward Avenue at Gladstone
NEXT SUNDAY: July 17, 2011 at 4:00pm for
The Speak Out Rally and Fundraiser
To Stop Child Protective Services corruption, come to sign the Federal and State Petitions for an investigation of CPS. Also, come to enjoy the program and receive information.
***Maryanne Godboldo is a catalyst for Michigan to put a stop to CPS Corruption.***
It’s time for us to speak up and SPEAK OUT about what CPS is doing. Please join us. Please spread the word about this event and this cause.