NYS Supreme Court Decision speaks loudly on 'system of justice'
Op-Ed by Rhonda J Mangus
The least-noticed cases sometimes say the most about the institution and our system of justice. They can also say the most about the rights of a mother to the care, education, and upbringing of her children, and the opinions of medical professionals, whose primary concern is that of the safety, health and welfare of children in education.
Last month, a ruling on a little-noticed NYS Supreme Court case represents a shameful chapter in NYS Supreme Court history that could have wide-ranging implications for mothers and medical professionals whose primary concern is that of the safety, health, and welfare of the child in education.
With no mainstream media attention, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in its decision In the Matter of RHONDA MANGUS against NIAGARA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES and NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF CHILD & FAMILY SERVICES, denied this Author the relief requested in an Article 78 Proceeding.
It is unclear at this point why Justices Robert G. Hurlbutt, J.P., Nancy E. Smith, Eugene M. Fahey, and Edward D. Carni unanimously ignored the QUESTIONS PRESENTED by the Law Offices of Anthony S. Pecoraro in its Brief on behalf of this Author:
“ (1) Did Petitioner establish that the Appellant committed the alleged maltreatment, by a fair preponderance of the evidence pursuant to New York State Social Services Law Section 422? Answer: No
(2) Whether the Administrative Law Judge violated the Appellant’s Due Process Rights when they failed to advise and obtain, on the record, an intelligent or understanding waiver of the Appellant right to be afforded the opportunity of counsel? Answer: Yes”
What is clear in its Decision, Justices' Hurlbutt, Smith, Fahey, and Carni unanimously and completely not only ignore the QUESTIONS PRESENTED, they also ignore SUPPORTING EVIDENCE that establishes there is no basis for an indicated report of ‘Educational Neglect’ against this Author, including SUPPORTING EVIDENCE “…that there was, not one but two, doctor’s orders to keep the child out of school.” The record is complete with medical references to keep the child from attending school.” Appellant’s Exhibit 3 and 4. “At no time was the child kept out of school by the Appellant where there was no doctor’s directive or instruction to do so. Simply, there is no evidence introduced by NDSS that either Doctor removed their demand for home schooling and cleared or certified the child to return to school.”
In this case, SUPPORTING EVIDENCE clearly establishes that this mother did not maltreat her child. Yet, the Justices effectively construct a Memorandum and Order that portrays, erroneously, “…that respondent’s determination that respondent Niagara County Department of Social Services established by a fair preponderance of the evidence at the fair hearing that petitioner maltreated the subject child is supported by substantial evidence.”
The Justices’ refusal to acknowledge the QUESTIONS and SUPPORTING EVIDENCE in its final Decision speaks loudly of the system of justice in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. This Author however will not be deterred by this 'set-back' in her endeavors to expose the truths of the 'system of justice' in New York State.
The Court's Decision, here.
NYS OCFS/NYSED Model Policy on Educational Neglect (2/2008)
NYS Senator Montgomery's Bill Number S5974 - An act to amend the social services law in relation to reports of educational neglect by school districts (6/2009)
Author’s Note: Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General of the State of New York, for Respondent’s New York State Office of Child and Family Services; Andrew D. Bing, Deputy Solicitor General and Zainab A. Chaudhry Assistant Solicitor General, of counsel; Jean Greinert, Administrative Law Judge; Richard E. Davidson, Bureau of Special Hearings NYS OCFS; Caseworker Robin Stroud, Niagara County Department of Social Services, North Tonawanda, NY; and Thomas W. Scirto, attorney for Niagara County Department of Social Services; Attorney Laura Wagner, of counsel.
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North Tonawanda, New York, United States