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June 2015 Archives

Signed Laws Protect Members of Armed Services from Losing Custody

Governor Rick Snyder signed three laws in Michigan last Tuesday to protect members of the armed services from losing custody of their children. Some members of the military are ordered to appear in court, but cannot due to deployment orders. The Daily Telegram staff spoke with Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge who said, "Members of our armed forces, who risk their lives to protect our freedoms, deserve to fulfill their service without fear of losing custody of a child while they are on duty."

Detroit Mother Guilty of Killing Two Children

The Detroit Free Press reported that a mother admitted to killing two of her children, whose bodies were discovered on March 24 this year. The children were put into a deep freezer in the Martin Luther King Apartments in Detroit, and were only discovered when a crew was carrying out orders of an eviction notice. Mitchelle Blair was in court in early June and began yelling loudly during her custody hearing. She has two other children, ages 8 and 17, who are fathered by two different men. Blair said she did not deny killing the other children, but that the fathers of the two living children were not there for the 8 and 17 year-old and should not be given custody. Blair went back to court on June 19th for charges of felony murder, first-degree premeditated murder, torture and child-abuse and is being held in the Wayne County Jail. 

Language Barrier Results in Custody Battle for Mother

The Des Moines Register reported on an unfortunate case of miscommunication that resulted in a mother coming close to losing custody of her children. Sui Hlei Cuai is a Burmese refugee, and lives in Iowa. She was being abused by her husband, and called 911 to report an incident. At this time, Cuai was 26 years old and did not speak English. Investigators misunderstood her case and reported child abuse in the home. Later her children were taken from her and put in a foster home for 2 1/2 years. After years of struggling to find translators and legal aid, she was finally able to regain custody of her children. 

23 Year Old Soldier Burns Daughter with Water

A soldier from Fort Bragg has been accused of scalding his 1-year-old daughter with boiling water, as was reported on fayobserver.com. Investigators in Spring Lake have charged Nicholas Young with felony child abuse. The father claimed that he had only accidentally spilled hot water on his 17-month-old daughter when removing a cup from the microwave. The girl was taken to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and placed in the Burn Center. Medical staff determined that the girl suffered third degree burns on her torso and lower parts of her body. The Spring Lake police were called once the hospital discovered how badly and how expansive the burns were. The police believe the burns are "consistent with being submerged in hot water." Young is in jail with a $500,000 bail. 

Obama signs Rape Survivor Child Custody Act into Law

Every year, 25,000 to 32,000 women become pregnant as a result of rape. About one-third of them decide to give birth and raise the baby. However, many rapists use the babies as a tool in harassing the mothers or threatening to seek custody of the baby unless the woman drops the criminal charges. The Christian Science Monitor reports that now, mothers can "petition for the termination of parental rights based on clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived through rape."

Michigan Offers a Break for Some Owing Child Support

MLive, a news source out of Michigan, reports that Washtenaw County is offering a short period of amnesty for parents with warrants for outstanding child support payments. This is referred to as "bench warrant" amnesty. The Washtenaw County Friend of the Court is offering this to parents who pay $100 toward their child support and meet with a staff person to discuss their case. The county says that no one who attends will be arrested and that warrants for attendees will be recalled. However, the amnesty does not apply to warrants issued in a criminal case. 

Boy in England Subjected to Smoke-Filled House

A two-year-old boy in England was found to be living in a smoke-filled house in England with drug paraphernalia scattered around the living quarters. The Guardian, a news source from England, reported that there was a visible cloud of smoke around the child and dangerous looking wires over the child's play area.

Adoption Agencies May be Saying 'No' to Gay Couples

Plans are underway to shield Religious child welfare agencies from being sued if they choose not to place children with a same-sex couple. The Statesman reports that a bill going through the Texas House would also protect the same foster groups if they decide to decline a family because they provide contraception. State Representative Scott Stanford, R-McKinney set Senate Bill 206 into motion last Wednesday, which is considered a Sunset bill. This amendment is a result of waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court to make their decision on the same-sex marriage ban. Civil rights groups in Austin pointed out that since the bill is so broad in nature, many other groups besides same-sex couples could be turned down.

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