Tuesday, April 21, 2015

FLORIDA UPDATE: 4-yo Circumcision Case Goes Federal

I'd like to apologize to my readers for not being "on the ball" regarding the latest in the ongoing circumcision court battle in Florida. It's already been a few days since the latest developments in the Florida Circumcision Saga, and I'm just barely getting to it. Given my current circumstances, I simply don't have the time to write a fully fleshed post how I'd like to at the moment. This post itself is going to be rather short, as I will only post the most important details and most relevant links.

Cutting to the chase (as it were), here are the details:
  • A dispute between a couple who never married, over whether or not to circumcise their 4-yo son culminated in a lengthy court battle
  • The father claimed rights to have their son circumcised, citing a written agreement signed by both parents
  • Three years later, the mother has come across new and relevant information regarding infant circumcision, has changed her mind, and is fighting to prevent the circumcision of their son
  • The judge in the court battle places the mother at a disadvantage by placing a gag order on her, forbidding her to go to the media and/or seeking necessary funds for legal expenses
  • Invoking the written agreement both parties signed three years ago, the judge dismisses arguments made in the mother's defense
  • The judge sides with the father, going as far as ignoring an amicus curiae filed by other parties wishing to help the mother, even denying an independent guardian to speak for the child
  • The judge gave a specific date on which the mother was to hand over her son so that the father's wishes to have him circumcised could be realized
  • The mother failed to appear in court, instead, seeking asylum at a women's crisis center
  • Angry at the mother for not simply handing in her child for needless surgery, the judge vilifies the mother and signs a warrant for her arrest
  • The desperate father was last cited trying to enter a motion to deny the mother the use of any funds collected for her by others, and making her bear sole responsibility for all legal fees
  • Mother and child remain in hiding, mother fearing arrest, and child fearing impending genital cosmetic surgery to appease his father's wishes

The Plot Thickens
In the latest development, the mother's new attorney has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the father, the judge and the county sheriff's office. The complaint reiterates the fact that the child is not suffering a medical condition that necessitates surgery, and that he has voiced that he doesn't want to be circumcised, and is in constant fear of it. Furthermore, it alleges that is unconstitutional for the judge, sheriff, or anyone to force a healthy, non-consenting 4-year old to undergo needless surgery, as doing so violates the child's rights under the 5th and 14th ammendments of the US Constitution and additional state laws; forcing circumcision on the child in question constitutes assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, and/or child abuse under Florida law.

The federal civil rights complaint names Honorable Jeffrey Gillen and the Palm Beach County Sheriff as defendants, alleging that their "application of Florida law to impose unnecessary, elective, cosmetic circumcision upon [the child in question] at the age of 4 ½ years old for no religious reason," and the judge having denied him a guardian ad litem to advocate for his position in court, "violates [the boy's] fundamental right to privacy and bodily integrity secured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution", as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Establishment and Free Exercise of Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.

That is all I have for this post.

The civil rights complaint can be accessed via PDF here.

May this poor child be protected from needless surgery, and may those responsible for antagonizing his mother and threatening him with needless surgery face due justice.

UPDATE 4/22/2015
After publishing this post, a very reliable source who is in the know has informed me that the child's father has yet to be served with the court papers, and has been hiding from the court process servers since the federal civil rights complaint was filed last week. I feel the irony of the father going into hiding was too good to pass up.

You can help this child and his mother
As far as your author knows, it is still possible to help this mother financially. You can donate to Doctors Opposing Circumcision via PayPal and include the words "Chase's legal fund" in the note to earmark the donation for the mother's attorney, or visit the webpage for the fundraiser being administered by Doctors Opposing Circumcision, at http://chasesguardians.org.

Previous Posts:
FLORIDA UPDATE: Father Intent on Circumcising 4-yo Son Seeks to Legally Paralyze Mother

FLORIDA UPDATE: Mother in Circumcision Dispute Fails to Appear in Court - Judge Orders Her Arrest

FLORIDA: Belligerent Judge Seeks the Circumcision of a 4 Year Old

Recent News Articles:

1 comment:

  1. Joseph, a more direct way for people to donate is through the Chase's Guardians page. This is the fundraiser that is being administered by Doctors Opposing Circumcision. http://chasesguardians.org/wp/

    For me, it makes a lot of sense that mother and child found protection at a Domestic Violence Shelter. Circumcision on a child is an act of violence.