The Missouri Supreme Court has sided with a Guatemalan immigrant in a child custody case, ruling the state failed to follow its laws in terminating her parental rights and allowing her son to be adopted by someone else.
But Tuesday’s decision does not automatically return the child to the mother. Instead, the court ordered the state to follow proper procedures and hold a new trial on whether the mother’s parental rights should be terminated. (Kansas City Star)Encarnacion Bail Romero was arrested during an immigration raid in May 2007 at a chicken plant in Barry County, Missouri. Romero's family in the US ended up taking care of her son while she served a two-year prison sentence for using forged documents. At some point, the family could no longer care for the baby and the baby boy was adopted by the Mosers, a Missouri family. Romero said that she was okay with her son staying with the family temporarily, but that she did not agree to his adoption.
The seven-judge panel agreed that Romero's parental rights should not have been terminated by the state. However, they were divided over whether Romero should have been given immediate custody of the child. According to one of the judges,
"Every member of this Court agrees that this case is a travesty in its egregious procedural errors, its long duration, and its impact on Mother, Adoptive Parents, and, most importantly, Child.
The dissenting members of this Court rely significantly on information outside the record to find that Mother has been victimized repeatedly and that her rights have been violated. The dissenting members believe passionately that custody of Child should be returned to Mother without further proceedings. That result can be reached only by disregarding the law."Unfortunately, for all involved, the case will again have to be heard by a trial court.