Giles cites COA ruling which opened the door to other reasons for dismissal
Godboldo and supporters jubilant
Attorneys call on Pros. Kym Worthy to end family’s ordeal now; but Worthy says she intends to appeal
By Diane Bukowski
March 15, 2014
DETROIT – A jubilant crowd of Detroit mother Maryanne Godboldo’s supporters erupted in applause after 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles once again dismissed all criminal charges against her March 14. Godboldo has received national awards and international acclaim for standing off a Detroit police “SWAT” team who tried to take her daughter Ariana Godboldo-Hakim, then 13, in 2011, to administer the dangerous drug Risperdal to the child.
They acted on what Giles earlier ruled was an “illegal order” written by Mia Wenk, a state Child Protective Services (CPS) worker with no medical training. It was rubber stamped with a judge’s signature, without a judicial hearing, by a probation officer at Wayne County Juvenile Court. [Voice of Detroit first revealed this fact after a court supervisor testified at a hearing before Wayne County Juvenile Court Judge Lynn Pierce.]
When Godboldo would not admit police to her home, a “SWAT” team with helicopters, tanks, and assault rifles was called to the scene, and the 11-hour stand-off took place. Godboldo was charged with eight felonies including discharging a firearm in a dwelling.
“I feel wonderful,” Godboldo said outside the courthouse afterwards. “I am a firm believer in Yahweh, and knew he was protecting me. I knew Judge Giles was a just judge and would uphold the law. I have had the support of moms from all over the world, including my own mother, along with that of my wonderful attorneys.”
She said her daughter, now 16, is “100 percent” better than she was while held captive in the state Hawthorne psychiatric facility for six weeks after the traumatic incident. Wenk gave written permission for doctors there to administer not just Risperdal, but numerous other medications, to the child. Godboldo and Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim have also contended that Ariana was severely abused there.
“She’s still not completely well,” Godboldo said. “We have had to go back to a counselor. She still suffers nightmares about the abuse, and often stays up all night. It doesn’t help that I keep having to go back to court hearings on the case.”
Attorneys Allison Folmar, Byron Pitts, and Roger Farinha represented Godboldo and Hakim during their three year ordeal, which included an ultimately failed attempt to seize permanent custody of Ariana.
“This is the third time that a judge has dismissed these criminal charges,” Pitts said. “This is a victory for mothers across the country, in stopping the kidnapping of children by the state. I strongly urge the Wayne County Prosecutor to leave this mother alone now. Any force used in the home was reasonable, against the unlawful entry by police without legal authority to kidnap a child. Mothers across Wayne County must unite and contact the Prosecutor’s Office to tell her to stop this.”
“My client was charged for simply being a mom,” Attorney Folmar added. “CPS must stop the senseless removal of our children.”
Both Giles and Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill adamantly dismissed the charges against Godboldo in 2011.
Giles conducted a lengthy preliminary exam which spanned two full days, during which he allowed Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Laura Weingarden to present all evidence she deemed necessary. He then ruled on Aug. 29, 2011 that the prosecution’s evidence was “the fruit of a poisonous tree . . . .an order that is grossly inadequate and incorrect. . . .It is ridiculous to go in to remove in this court’s opinion somebody’s children based on THIS order.”
Bill expressly upheld all of Giles’ findings.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed their decisions, and a state Court of Appeals remanded the case to Giles for further consideration beyond “the fruit of a poisonous tree” doctrine.
“I agree with the prosecution that a person cannot use deadly force to resist an unlawful arrest,” Giles said. “However, if you look at the facts, [the defendant] is charged with felonious assault, but not assault with intent to commit murder. I disagree with the prosecution that the fact alone that a firearm was discharged means that deadly force was used. The gun was discharged at the top of the door into the ceiling, which can be characterized only as some type of warning shot.”
Giles said evidence given the preliminary exam only “inferred” that Godboldo was even the shooter. He said he agreed with defense arguments and briefs that the Court of Appeals opinion actually opened the door for him to dismiss the case on other grounds.
“In its opinion, the Court of Appeals [cited rulings] that a defendant may use reasonable force as necessary, and has a common law right to resist unlawful police conduct. Based on that, I find that the defendant did use reasonable force to prevent an illegal attachment, the removal of her child by the Detroit police with an invalid court order. The court is not going to bind the defendant over and the case is dismissed.”
Giles noted that his ruling is likely to “go upstairs” on appeal. Many in the courtroom cited him for his fortitude, using the terms “balls” and “guts,” since some lower level judges are cowed when higher courts overturn their decisions.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, through her spokesperson Maria Miller, said, “We appealed Judge Giles’ ruling dismissing the case before and prevailed, as a result, and the case was remanded for the judge to rule today. We disagree with the judge’s dismissal of the case, and we will be appealing the ruling to the Wayne County Circuit Court.”
Attorney Folmar added later, “A parent has the final word on using any anti-psychotic drug on their child,” Folmar said. “In this case, the mom tried it, and it made Ariana horribly ill and aggressive. Risperdal has killed children. In a ‘free’ society we are not medical property. In America, we can go and get a second opinion. Somebody could have died that day.”
Folmar earlier cited the killing of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones by during a “SWAT” team raid on her home May 16, 2010, shot in the head by Officer Joseph Weekley, using an MP-5 submachine gun. A pre-trial hearing for Weekley on charges of “involuntary manslaughter” and “reckless use of a firearm” was once again postponed indefinitely May 14, allegedly due to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway’s continued “scheduling conflicts.”
Many feel it is likely Weekley and the rest of the police department involved will walk scott free. Aiyana’s uncle-in-law Chauncey Owens has now been convicted on first-degree murder charges, and her father Charles Jones on second-degree murder charges, in the death of Jerean Blake two days before the raid. Mainstream media has eported falsely that the original raid on the Jones home sought both Owens and Jones. However, police had only a warrant seeking Owens. Jones was not charged until 17 months later.
Jones’ sentencing has been postponed. His jury contradictorily found him not guilty of gun charges in the case, while the prosecution had charged him with murder, solely alleging that he gave a gun to Owens during the Blake killing. Both cases are being appealed.
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