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DeShaney V. Winnebago County Social Services (1989)

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Alex Werner

on 15 April 2014

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Transcript of DeShaney V. Winnebago County Social Services (1989)

DeShaney V. Winnebago County Social Services (1989)
Mrs. Deshaney & Joshua DeShaney
* The Social Services took Joshua away for a reason.
* If they had kept their custody of Joshua then he wouldn't of been almost beaten to death
* Ms. DeShaney's son is now permanently paralyzed and is mentally retarded because of the DSS's decision to return her son back to the abusive father.
* Within a year after the DSS originally tried to gain custody of Joshua he had gone to the hospital 5 more times.
Winnebago County Social Services
* The DSS wanted custody of Joshua but the juvenile court dismissed the case and sent him back to his father. Not the DSS.
* Joshua was not their responsibility after the DSS's problem after they returned him to his father.
* Joshua was not in their custody therefor they can be held liable, and aren't required to protect him from harm.
* The DSS could not be held responsible for his brain damage after being returned to his father.
* Had visited house multiple times and suspected child abuse.
* There had been brain damage before but when Joshua fell into a coma and needed immediate surgery is when he was officially diagnosed with being mentally retarded.
4 year old Joshua DeShaney
Winnebago, Wisconsin
The city where everything happened.
Does a state in failing to protect an individual against private violence, violate the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment?
Facts on the Case
*4 year old Joshua DeShaney lived with his father who physically abused him. Leading to permanent brain damage
*The Department of Social Services took custody of Joshua but returned him only 3 days later. After, Joshua was hospitalized with severe bruises and brain damage.
* Ms. DeShaney eventually pressed charges against the father (Randy DeShaney) for child abuse.
*The father was convicted of child abuse and sent to prison.
Facts on the Case (Continued)
*Mother sued the Social Services under violation of the 14th Amendment.
* Technically the 14th Amendment doesn't protect against parents to children, and no where in the 14th Amendment does it respond to child abuse.
*From the abuse, Joshua fell into a coma and needed immediate surgery which worked but led to Joshua being permanently paralyzed and mentally retarded.
The 14th Amendment protects people from being deprived of life, liberty,or property without process of law
Analysis/ Opinion
I think the court's decision was right. The DSS had taken Joshua away because of the child abuse,
the Juvenile Court dismissed the case and the DSS was forced to return Joshua. It was not their choice. And, if the DSS were to keep Joshua, even after the Court dismissed the case, they would've gotten into major trouble and Joshua would still have been returned. There was no way they wouldn't have had to return Joshua, no matter what. And the 14th Amendment doesn't say anything about child abuse. If anything, it would have been the 8th Amendment for cruel and unusual punishment due to the fact that Joshua didn't commit a wrongful act.
The Court ruled against Joshua and his mother. The actions of the Social Services were not a violation.
Everyone has rights, no matter what age, gender, or race.
Alex Werner Period 1
The 14th Amendment
Full transcript