IN THE YOUTH COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY MISSISSIPPI IN THE INTEREST OF CHASE HUSON, A MINOR CAUSE NUMBER 17,079
REFERRAL NUMBER 84104
MOTION TO EXPEDITE ADJUDICATION AND DISPOSITION AND EMERGENCY MOTION FOR RETURN OF CHILD
NOW COMES, Matthew Parr, to request of the court to proceed with an uncontested adjudication and disposition in the above numbered cause following the plea hearing on June 10th, 2009 and to immediately return Chase Huson to his legal and physical custody. In support of this motion, movant states the following: 1. I am the legal custodian of my son, Chase Huson and have presented the Court with proof in the form of an exemplified and certified copy of a custody order. 2. I have cooperated with every request made of me by the Department of Human Services and this Court and made myself available to all parties in person since June 1, 2009 and I have personally met with Terry Holtz (GAL), Lena Parker (MDHS) and Gaelene Conley (CASA) and answered all of their questions to the best of my ability and knowledge. 3. This case has already caused me financial hardship and I cannot afford to remain in Mississippi nor am I able to return in the near future. I have exhausted all options with my school and will not be granted any further leave of absence. 4. It is unfair to my son and not in his best interest to remain in the custody of the State of Mississippi. There is no longer an emergency situation as I am willing and able to take him today. 5. In further support I submit the attached Memorandum of Law.
WHEREFORE, I pray for the following: 1. The Court immediately acts on the uncontested adjudication and proceed with final disposition in the matter involving Chase Huson. 2. The court grant full faith and credit to the order of the 288th Judicial District Court of Bexar County and order physical and legal custody of Chase Huson, a minor, be immediately returned to Matthew Parr with any modifications to the order or stipulations this Court deems appropriate.
Respectfully submitted on this 8th day of June, 2009.
______________________________ Matthew Parr 2424 Gold Canyon Road, Apt 1617 San Antonio, TX 78259 Telephone: (210)519-8344 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew M. Parr 2424 Gold Canyon Road, Apt 1617 San Antonio, Texas 78259 Tel: (210)519-8344
IN THE YOUTH COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY MISSISSIPPI IN THE INTEREST OF CHASE HUSON, A MINOR CAUSE NUMBER 17,079
REFERRAL NUMBER 84104
MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF MOTIONS Detention in Violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments The Fourth Amendment is violated when an individual is unlawfully seized. Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 434 (1991). It also requires judicial determination of probable cause as a prerequisite to extended restraint of liberty following seizure. Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 114 (1975). The Fourth Amendment applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 142-143 (1979). Chase Huson was detained on May 7, 2009 by order of this court and has been in the legal and physical custody of the Department of Human Services since April 21, 2009. The custody order, however, became invalid by statute on May 21, 2009. Mississippi law only authorizes more than temporary custody for thirty days. Mississippi Code §§ 43-21-301, 307, 309. There is no case before any court in Mississippi or elsewhere, in which cause has been shown for the continued detention of Chase Huson. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states in relevant part: “No State shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” U.S. Const. Am. XIV. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees parents cannot be separated from their children without due process of law except in an emergency. Mabe v. San Bernardino County, Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 237 F.3d
1101, 1107 (9th Cir. 2001). The timeline in which the Department of Human Services’ social workers acted in this case contradicts any claim of an emergency or any claim that continuing custody is necessary. The importance of protecting minor children from abuse and neglect is recognized. Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385, 393 (1978). However, the preservation of liberty and the rights of families must be considered. Rogers v. San Joaquin County 487 F. 3d 1288 (9th Cir. 2007). The facts in this case are similar to those of Rogers. Chase Huson has now been in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services without any charge or cause for fifty-two days and counting. It can easily be argued that the latest removal and placement of Chase Huson into Foster Care could easily have been forseen and avoided. The Department of Human Services was aware that another court had already found that Chase’s maternal grandparents had previously created an inappropriate situation which required emergency action by the court back in 2007. Interference With Rights of Parents The parent-child relationship between Chase Huson and Matthew Parr is established and recognized by the orders of a Texas District Court on two occasions – October 23, 2007, in which paternity was established and again on June 1, 2009. The United States Supreme Court has recognized the rights of parents as far back as in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), closely followed by Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925). The Mississippi Department of Human Services, by denying his access to the children and by assuming “legal and physical custody” of the children, has effectively terminated Mr. Parr’s parental rights without due process and without any court having met the constitutional standard of “clear and convincing” proof. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745. The Mississippi Supreme Court established a “credible evidence test” to determine whether parental rights should be terminated. Vance v. Lincoln County Dept. of Public Welfare by Weathers, 582 So. 2d 414, 417 (Miss. 1991). Nothing in the pleadings or petition before the Youth Court in Jackson County meets the credible evidence test of Vance or the “clear and convincing” standard of Santosky.
Full Faith and Credit Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states "Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state." 28 USC §1738 states that “Such Acts, records and judicial proceedings or copies thereof, so authenticated, shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the US and its Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State, Territory or Possession from which they are taken.” The Supreme Court has recognized a public policy exception to the full faith and credit clause and its pursuing statute. Wisconsin v. Pelican Insurance Co., 127 U.S. 265; Huntington v. Attrill, 146 U.S. 657; Finney v. Guy, 189 U.S. 335; see also Clarke v. Clarke, 178 U.S. 186; Olmsted v. Olmsted, 216 U.S. 386; Hood v. McGehee, 237 U.S. 611; cf. Gasquet v. Fenner, 247 U.S. 16. There is no information before this court which would justify the claim of a public policy exemption. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Most actions involving custody of children are governed by a Uniform Act designed to provide uniformity among states in custody decisions. Mississippi adopted this Act, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) in 2004. It governs jurisdiction in all actions which are governed by separate jurisdictional grounds. The UCCJEA applies to both initial custody actions and modifications, and to permanent as well as temporary orders. In addition to custody orders in divorce and independent custody actions, the Act applies to proceedings involving separation, guardianship, neglect, abuse and dependency, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence. The act does not apply to proceedings involving juvenile delinquency, petitions for adoption, or authorization for a child’s emergency medical care. Miss. Code Ann. §93-27-102 (2004). In this case, the initial custody action began in the State of Texas in October 2007 and was finalized June 1, 2009. The UCCJEA applies because this is an emergency custody modification request
brought by the petitioner of the original custody action due to allegations the child has become neglected, while in Mississippi, as a result of the actions by the child’s mother. Under the UCCJEA, a state in which the child is physically located can take jurisdiction on a temporary basis over a child who has been abandoned or needs protection because of an emergency related to mistreatment or abuse of the child. Miss Code Ann. §93-27-201, 204(1). The State of Texas assumed emergency jurisdiction after hearing the evidence and reviewing the pleadings in the petition filed in October, 2007 alleging that the child had been neglected and abused at the hands of his maternal grandparents. In addition, the child was physically present in the State of Texas at the time of the petition and issuance of the Temporary Order on October 23, 2007. A Court can and should refuse to hear a case in which the home state or other jurisdiction is based on a petitioner’s “unjustifiable conduct,” unless (1) all parties consent to jurisdiction, (2) the proper court to have jurisdiction determines that the court is a more appropriate forum, or (3) no other state has jurisdiction. Miss. Code Ann. §93-27-201 (2)(2004). In most cases, a court must have personal jurisdiction over the parties, which requires that the respondent have minimum contacts with the state. However, when a court adjudicates status rather than rendering a personal judgment, minimum contacts with the forum state are not required. In these actions, historically referred to as “in rem”, the parties need only be properly served. Adjudication of custody are considered to be in rem actions. A court with subject matter jurisdiction may enter a custody decree without personal jurisdiction over the respondent. Jurisdiction over the original order was proper in the State of Texas. After hearing argument and reviewing the evidence by the petitioner in person and through his attorney, the Court determined that the proper jurisdiction was the State of Texas for the following reasons: 1) the petitioner and the child were present in the State of Texas; 2) the Petitioner had no significant contact with any other state; 3) all parties had submitted to the jurisdiction of Texas; 4) paternity was established in the State
of Texas; 5) an emergency situation existed; and 6) there was no misconduct involved in bringing the child to Texas. Under the UCCJEA, the court issuing an initial custody decree has continuing exclusive jurisdiction to modify the order. Exclusive jurisdiction continues until both parties and the child move from the state. Miss. Code Ann. §93-27-202(1) (2004). A court without home state jurisdiction may also exercise jurisdiction to enter temporary modification orders in emergencies. A state may also modify another state’s order that was not entered in compliance with the Act. For example, under the Act’s predecessor, the UCCJA, a Texas order was not entitled to full faith and credit because the court did not have jurisdiction to enter the order under the UCCJA. Mosley v Huffman, 481 So. 2d 231, 239 (Miss. 1985) (no jurisdiction because the child was wrongfully taken into state). In this case, the child was not wrongfully removed from state. A state may modify another state’s order even though one party remains in the issuing state if the issuing court determines that the state has no continuing significant connection with the action and that substantial evidence related to the child is not available in the state. This determination may only be made by the state issuing the order. Miss. Code. Ann. §§ 93-27-202, 203 (2004). In this case, Texas has continuing exclusive jurisdiction to modify the order. The petitioner has not moved from the State of Texas. Mississippi was within its right to exercise temporary emergency jurisdiction when a petition was filed charging the child’s mother with neglect of the child. As the original petitioner has now presented to the court an exemplified and certified copy of the a final order from the original court of jurisdiction and has appeared to exercise the rights given him in the order, an emergency no longer exists and temporary jurisdiction is no longer necessary. The Texas order is entitled to full faith and credit. The Mississippi Youth Court Act
The Mississippi Youth Court Act § 43-21-313 states that “A child held in custody under order of the youth court shall be released upon a finding that a change of circumstances makes continued custody unnecessary.” Continued custody is no longer necessary. According to the petition filed on May 12, 2009, the Court ordered “physical and legal custody” to the Department of Human Services on Tuesday, April 21, 2009. On April 20th, 2009, an agent of the Department of Human Services spoke to Mr. Parr, and requested a copy of the custody order from Texas and verified his contact information. At that time, prior to any proceeding before this Court, the Department of Human Services was aware of a valid custody order, or the possibility thereof. In addition, the school records of the child contain Mr. Parr’s contact information and a copy of the order from Texas. There is also a letter authorizing the school and district to release to “any agency of the State, County or City” this information. This has been in the file since August 4, 2008. The aforementioned Temporary Order, which has since been finalized and was provided in an exemplified certified form to the Court, granted “Joint Managing Conservatorship” (custody)(Texas Family Code Sec. 101.016) to Mr. Parr with the exclusive right to determine the children’s place of residence. Full faith and credit should be given this order pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1738A and Miss. Code Ann. § 43-25-1. On May 4, 2009, pursuant to § 43-21-309 a shelter hearing took place and a Shelter Order was issued for for the child without the presence of either parent. The Court did not meet the statutory requirement of reasonable notice, thus depriving Mr. Parr and other parties of the “right to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses produced by others” Miss.Code Ann. §§ 43-21-309(2),(3). The Court presumably acted on what it considered an emergency situation based on the information presented by the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Shelter Orders must state that either “reasonable efforts” were made to keep the children in their home or such an emergency situation existed that reasonable effort could not be made. In this
case, neither case can be made. “Reasonable effort” is defined in the Adoption and Safe Families Act. These laws require that no child is placed in foster care who can be protected in his or her own home; and when removal is necessary, reunification always be attempted unless the juvenile court has determined that no reunification efforts need be made. The “emergency situation” argument is invalidated by the timeline and actions of MDHS. See Rogers. After obtaining the order for legal and physical custody on April 21, 2009, MDHS did not exercise the order and take physical custody of Chase Huson until May 7, 2009 – sixteen days later. Procedural Errors In addition to the aforementioned arguments, there have been several procedural errors in this cause. The petition seeking an adjudication that the child is a neglected child should have been filed within five days of the shelter hearing Miss. Code Ann. § 43-21-451. The shelter hearing took place on May 4, 2009 and the petition was not filed until May 12, 2009 – eight (8) days later. Once the petition was filed the statutory requirements for service of summons was not met which resulted in Mr. Parr having to request a continuance. The requirement is that summons is sent by certified mail to out of state parties at least ten days prior to the hearing date. The summons for the hearing scheduled on May 18, 2009 was mailed on May 13, 2009 and did not arrive until the day of the hearing. Further delay in this matter would violate the requirements set forth in Miss. Code Ann. §43-21-551. Chase was taken into custody on May 7, 2009. The last date for adjudication without his consent was June 6, 2009. Release Required Upon Change of Circumstances “A child held in custody under order of the Youth Court shall be released upon a finding that a change in circumstances makes continued custody unnecessary.” Miss. Code Ann. §43-21-313(1). The circumstances as the Court knew them have changed. “A written request for the release of the child from custody, setting forth the changed circumstances, may be filed by the child; by the child’s parent, guardian or custodian.” Miss. Code Ann. §43-21-313(2). Mr. Parr made such request to the Court on
May 31, 2009. There is no longer a need for continuation of custody by the State and there is nothing which would meet the standard of Vance for the Court to conclude that the children should not be returned to the custody of Mr. Parr. In fact, the only statements made which allege any wrongdoing by Mr. Parr are hearsay statements by the children’s maternal grandparents which have already been discredited by sworn affidavit. Conclusion The Youth Court of Jackson County Mississippi was right to exercise temporary emergency jurisdiction in this case. Whether or not an emergency situation ever existed is not relevant. The situation before the court has changed and there is no longer a valid argument for continuing emergency jurisdiction or continued custody of the child. The court of exclusive continuing jurisdiction is the 288th Judicial District Court of Texas. As Matthew Parr has presented to the court a lawful order of the court with continuing exclusive jurisdiction, full faith and credit should be given to the order and legal and physical custody of the Chase Huson should be returned to him immediately.
Dated: June 8, 2009 By: Matthew Parr