Michigan Child Protective Services (CPS) sent a police SWAT team with an armored vehicle to take a girl from her home because the mother refused to give the teenager the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.
The police raid occurred even though the mother, Maryanne Godboldo, said the drug had made her child’s health worse when it previously had been administered. Her attorney said it had made the daughter “horribly ill, aggressive and violent.”
“My whole insides just collapsed because I knew if those people got their hands on my daughter, I knew what they were going to do,” Godboldo said of CPS. “And that’s exactly what they did. They harmed her in a bad way. It was so painful. My heart just sunk.”
The seizure took place in 2011 but is getting new national attention because she is filing a lawsuit, and also because judges in criminal court this year have ruled in her favor.
Immunizations and Drugs Lead to Nightmare
Godboldo’s nightmare began in 2009 when she decided to let Ariana, who had been homeschooled, to attend public school. That meant Ariana had to be vaccinated, and Godboldo contends that the vaccinations led to a severe change in her daughter’s behavior.
In an attempt to get help, Godboldo took her daughter to a clinic called the New Oakland Center. The center’s psychiatrist diagnosed Ariana with a mental health problem and prescribed Risperdal, a potentially dangerous drug that can cause severe health problems.
Ariana’s problems got worse, so Godboldo took her off the drug — which a consent form she had signed gave her the right to do. Shortly after that, a pediatrician diagnosed Ariana with encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, caused by immunizations.
Individuals with at least two different clinics reported Godboldo to social workers.
SWAT Team Used to Enforce Illegal Order
On March 10, 2011, social workers told Godboldo that she must continue giving the drug to her daughter. She refused, knowing what it would cause. So on March 24, social services and police officers knocked on Godboldo’s door when she was cooking dinner. The officers said they had an order to remove Ariana from her home. Godboldo later said the officers did not produce the order when she demanded to see it, and she told the officers to go away.
Instead of going away, officers used a crowbar to enter her home without a warrant or legal court order. When Godboldo allegedly pulled out her gun and fired a warning shot into the ceiling, a 10-hour standoff ensued. The mother eventually surrendered when police agreed to turn Ariana over to her sister – which did not happen. Instead, the girl was placed in a juvenile facility.
Later that year a judge ordered the child be returned to her mother, and another judge ordered the charges be dropped because the original removal court order was invalid. MLive.com reported that in the order, the “line for the agency that was to execute the order was left blank; there was no date; and it did not state whether other reasonable efforts to remove Ariana had been made.” A judge also did not sign the order.
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In June of this year an appeals court upheld the dismissal of charges against Godboldo. She filed a federal lawsuit against the state in March.
“We are extremely pleased that justice has been done,” said Byron Pitts, one of Godboldo’s attorneys. “The police came into this house without legal authority.. to kidnap a child.”
Supporters said her reaction to the police was warranted.
“In the end, it is a basic human right for parents to choose if they want to medicate their children,” Godboldo attorney Allison Folmar was quoted as saying in MLive.com. “When the state steps in and says ‘hey, mom and dad, we know what’s better for your child,’ that’s wrong. There are too many of these cases where the state believes it knows more than the parents. It isn’t good for the kids, it isn’t good for the parents and it is ripping families apart.”
Pitts called it a “home invasion,” not an arrest.
“This court finds that the defendant, in fact, did use reasonable force.. to prevent an illegal attachment,” Judge Ronald Giles ruled. “The Detroit Police did not have the authority to remove a child at that time.. based on the invalid court order that was being used and presented.
Her lawsuit could prevent other similar situations from happening.
“Ironically, Godboldo was jailed for the first time in her life for defending her right to protect her daughter’s health and her minor daughter’s right to not have inappropriate and potentially devastating psychotropic medication forced upon her,” the lawsuit states.
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