California Coalition Challenging Family Court Judicial Immunity in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Today
October 23, 2014—San Diego, CA—California Coalition for Families and Children, PBC, today announces filing of its Opening Brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California Coalition for Families and Children v. San Diego County Bar Association, Case No. 14-56140. In the appeal, California Coalition asks the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse rulings of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California made in July of this year.
California Coalition is advancing three arguments critical to families in domestic disputes.
1. Limiting Judicial Immunity For All Judges
California Coalition is asking the Court of Appeals to reexamine a critical 1986 case that extended broad judicial immunity to judges accused of wrongdoing in office. The case, Ashelman v. Pope—under which family court judges today receive absolute immunity for any act done in their “official capacity”—was decided inconsistently with a prior 1978 United States Supreme Court case, Stump v. Sparkman. California Coalition offers the Court of Appeals a meticulous analysis of the history of judicial immunity from the seminal 1872 case of Bradley v. Fisher, and its Twentieth Century progeny of Pierson v. Ray, Monroe v. Pape, and Pulliam v. Allen, explaining that the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Ashelman betrayed the Supreme Court’s instructions to examine whether a judge was performing a “judicial act” that was immune as of 1871—when the Civil Rights Act was passed into law by Congress.
October 3, 2014–San Diego, CA–A United States District Judge this week issued a “blistering” Order against San Diego County Child Protective Services workers, and their employer, the County of San Diego, for CPS’s unwarranted removal of the two children of Joanna and Steven Swartwood from their home for two days. Excerpts and analysis from the order granting summary judgment in the case by Judge Thomas Whelan:
“Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit after D.S. and R.S. were removed from their home without a warrant and subjected to medical exams, which included a urine test and examination of their genitalia, without notice to Steven or Joanna.”
“Plaintiffs contend Defendants’ conduct in removing the children, continuing to detain the children, and conducting the medical exams violated their Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights and are suing under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [and state law.]”