Saturday, January 26, 2008

Social workers in 9th Circuit don't have absolute Immunity.

It is no secret that the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which makes up the states of California, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, Montana, Washington, and Alasaka is very liberal, and in fact, of all the federal circuits, its decisions are reversed more by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court constantly undermines the U..S. Constition, individual liberties, and State rights. However, as any court, once in a while, they get something right. But before I get to the main point, let me state this. One of the most basic rights as Americans is for families to raise their children without the government trying to tell them how to do their job. For example, schooling. So many children are now being home schooled throughout this country because the public schools have been destroyed by the homosexual and integrationists agenda. We don't want our children to be destroyed through these activists, and we want our children to be raised as good wholesome Christians that love their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and their race, and parents don't want them to be perverted by alternative lifestyles of homosexuals and race mixing promoters. Now, to my point with the Ninth Circuit. One of the problems with the government is the social workers of the different states. So often, social workers with the local department of human services will investigate problems at homes, and will file petitions to find that families are in need of services from the juvenile court, or will file petitions when the social workers believe that children are delinquent or being neglected. This gives them the ability to quickly move children out of the homes of the parents and put custody under the control of the state. (This can some time comes when parents don't want their children be tought the filth in these public schools). The problem is these social workers sometimes have an attitude of "I know what is best", and will push their opinions upon the innocent and then may possibly exagerate or fabricate evidence to get the juvenile court involved. As a lawyer that has practiced in the juvenile courts, I have seen this and sometimes highly suspect that is what occured. Now the story. The Ninth Circuit held that social workers are not absolute immune from federal lawsuits when they make false affidavits in order file a petition in the juveile court. I believe this is a big victory to many families that live in these states. I have reprinted the story below:
COBY BELTRAN, by and through his
Guardian Ad Litem Lori Beltran,
of the County of Santa Clara;
EMILY TJHIN, individually and as an employee of the County of Santa Clara, Defendants-Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Ronald M. Whyte, District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted
December 12, 2007—Pasadena, California
Filed January 24, 2008
Before: Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Stephen Reinhardt,
Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Michael Daly Hawkins,
Kim McLane Wardlaw, William A. Fletcher,
Ronald M. Gould, Richard A. Paez, Marsha S. Berzon,
Richard R. Clifton and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges.
Per Curiam Opinion
1. Melissa Suarez, a social worker for Santa Clara County’s child protective services, investigated whether Lori Beltran was abusing her son, Coby. After this investigation, Suarez’s supervisor Emily Tjhin filed a child dependency petition, which Tjhin signed under penalty of perjury. This petition included a three-page statement of facts describing the findings of Suarez’s investigation. Suarez also filed a separate custody petition, which she signed under penalty of perjury. The custody petition attached and incorporated by reference the three-page statement of facts from the dependency petition. BELTRAN v. SANTA CLARA 1203
The dependency petition was denied, Coby was returned to his parents, and the Beltrans sued Suarez and Tjhin under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, charging constitutional violations in removing
Coby from the Beltrans’ custody and attempting to place him under the supervision of the state. Specifically, the Beltrans claimed that Suarez and Tjhin fabricated much of the information
in the three-page statement of facts. Relying on Doe v. Lebbos, 348 F.3d 820, 825-26 (9th Cir. 2003), the district court held that Suarez and Tjhin had absolute immunity for
their actions connected to signing and filing the dependency and custody petitions—including the alleged fabrication of evidence and false statements. It therefore dismissed plaintiffs’
claims that were based on the allegedly false petition statements. The district court eventually granted summary judgment to the defendants on the remainder of plaintiffs’
claims, but those issues are not before us, as plaintiffs appeal only the dismissal of claims based on absolute immunity. [1] 2. Parties to section 1983 suits are generally entitled
only to immunities that existed at common law. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 417-18 (1976). We have therefore “granted state actors absolute immunity only for those functions
that were critical to the judicial process itself,” such as “ ‘initiating a prosecution.’ ” Miller v. Gammie, 335 F.3d 889, 896 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc) (quoting Imbler, 424 U.S. at
431). It follows that social workers have absolute immunity when they make “discretionary, quasi-prosecutorial decisions to institute court dependency proceedings to take custody
away from parents.” Id. at 898. But they are not entitled to absolute immunity from claims that they fabricated evidence during an investigation or made false statements in a dependency petition affidavit that they signed under penalty of perjury, because such actions aren’t similar to discretionary decisions about whether to prosecute. A prosecutor doesn’t have absolute immunity if he fabricates evidence during a preliminary investigation, before he could properly claim to be acting as an advocate, see Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509
U.S. 259, 275 (1993), or makes false statements in a sworn 1204 BELTRAN v. SANTA CLARA
affidavit in support of an application for an arrest warrant, see Kalina v. Fletcher, 522 U.S. 118, 129-30 (1997). Furthermore, as prosecutors and others investigating criminal matters have no absolute immunity for their investigatory conduct, a fortiori, social workers conducting investigations have no such immunity. See id. at 126. [2] The district court’s error is perfectly understandable, as it relied on our incorrect ruling in Doe v. Lebbos, which we overrule today. We reverse the district court’s ruling that defendants are entitled to absolute immunity and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

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