by Tim Brown
A federal judge has determined that parents were completely voluntary in opening up their home to social workers, Rhonda Cash and Jenna Cramer, along with multiple uniformed officers after the two social workers threatened to take their children if they didn’t let them in the house.
Apparently an anonymous tip was communicated to social services in 2005 in Arizona that the children of John and Tiffany Loudermilk were being neglected and the house was uninhabitable. However, the matter was so serious that these social workers took over two months to show up.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously ruled that deputies Joshua Ray, Joseph Sousa, Richard Gagnon and Michael Danner had qualified immunity for their role in the 2005 confrontation with the Loudermilks, the parents of five children.
Jim Mason, a senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association’s litigation team, which represents the Loudermilks, explained that in 2005, the couple was confronted at their door by authorities investigating a two-month-old anonymous allegation that their home was unsafe.
Faced with losing their children, Mason said, the Loudermilks opened their door to the investigators, “and the allegation was quickly proven false.”
“We argued that the search of the Loudermilks’ home was coerced because the social workers used the threat of taking their children to gain access,” Mason said. “Both the social workers and sheriff’s deputies argued that they were immune to such claims because the Loudermilks ‘voluntarily’ opened their home to be investigated.”
“While the sheriff’s deputies had arrived on the scene late and were not insisting to enter the home, the social workers were,” Mason continued. “It was the social workers who claimed that their visit was an ‘emergency’ despite the allegation being two months old. The social workers, not the deputies, threatened to take the Loudermilk children into custody. Despite our response to the social workers’ request, the district court ruled that the social workers were also immune from violating the Loudermilks’ rights based on the ruling of the Ninth Circuit in favor of the deputies.”
He also said, “Based on the facts and the law, it is our view that the social workers should not be entitled to the same benefit of the doubt that the Ninth Circuit afforded the deputies.”
Home School Legal Defense Association noted the following:
“For 40 terrifying minutes, this homeschooling couple had asserted their Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search of their home. The two investigative social workers were eventually joined by six uniformed sheriff’s deputies who were called because the social workers considered the Loudermilks to be ‘uncooperative.’”
“In the two months between receiving the anonymous report and arriving unannounced on the Loudermilks’ front porch, social services clearly never believed that the situation needed emergency intervention,” HSLDA asserted. “No one ever asked a judge for a court order. But when it came time for the social workers to complete their investigation, the family’s Fourth Amendment rights just got in the way.”
The entire problem started when the Loudermilk’s began to build their dream home in Arizona. The country gave them permission occupy the premises with only a few minor projects needing completion. However, a social worker had contacted them by leaving a business card. Their attorney gave warning to the county that it had given permission for the family to move in to the residence.
However, these social workers were clearly out of line threatening to remove the children and put them in state custody, when they knowingly were negligent in following up an anonymous tip two months later.
U.S. District Judge Earl H. Carroll at that point ordered that a lawsuit by the family against the social workers and sheriff would be allowed to continue, because the social workers’ concerns were based on “an anonymous tip that the … Loudermilk children were being neglected and that plaintiffs’ home was uninhabitable.”
However, the judge said that under federal law, an anonymous tip, “without more, does not constitute probable cause.”
Obviously, this is a very similar instance to what our family endured at the hands of social services. They have some of the most incompetent people around and sadly have immunity in many areas, since their work is considered administrative and not judicial. This is exactly how they get around the Fourth and Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution.
About Tim Brown: Husband to my wife. Father of 10. Jack of All Trades. Christian and lover of liberty. Follow Tim on Twitter.
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