Ferguson v. City of Charleston Essay Example
Ferguson v. City of Charleston Essay Example

Ferguson v. City of Charleston Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1047 words)
  • Published: October 7, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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From 1988 to 1989, there was a rise in the usage of cocaine among pregnant individuals.

a pattern that caused harm to the fetus and indicated child abuse was occurring at an alarming rate at the Charleston public infirmary, which is operated by the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The staff members at MUSC willingly assisted the city of Charleston in taking legal action against women who tested positive for cocaine during pregnancy. Afterwards,

Charleston Solicitor Charles Codon assembled a task force which included members from MUSC, the police, the County Substance Abuse Commission, and the Department of Social Services.

Later on, a policy called "POLICY M-7" was implemented to address the management of drug abuse during pregnancy. This policy included several provisions such as procedures for identifying and testing pregnant patients suspected of drug use, guidelines for obtaining and testing patients'


urine samples, educational and treatment referral resources for patients who tested positive, police procedures and criteria for apprehending patients with positive test results, and legal actions against drug offenses or child neglect.

The petitioners, ten mothers who tested positive for cocaine and were arrested while receiving obstetrical care at MUSC, argued that "POLICY M-7" was invalid. They claimed that the policy did not make any changes in prenatal care for mothers who tested positive, nor did it require any specific intervention for their babies. Additionally, they alleged that the warrantless and nonconsensual drug tests conducted for criminal investigation purposes violated their constitutional rights. The respondents responded to these allegations.

Although there was an argument that the applicants gave their consent and the drug trials had a separate purpose from law enforcement, the District Court agreed wit

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the applicants. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this decision on appeal but justified the searches under the "special needs" doctrine.

Petitioners brought a case before the Supreme Court regarding the effectiveness of hunts. The authorities conducted drug tests in order to catch and prosecute individuals who tested positive for cocaine. Both the police and prosecuting officers actively assisted in carrying out this policy, possibly with an additional intention of enrolling mothers who tested positive into substance abuse treatment programs. In this particular situation, the Supreme Court ruled that conducting law enforcement-related drug tests by MUSC without obtaining consent from the patient is considered unreasonable searches, which aligns with the broader principle that nonconsensual warrantless searches are unconstitutional.

The use of searches that violate the Fourth Amendment cannot be justified by the alleged involvement of the city in using criminal charges to discourage pregnant women from using cocaine. These searches were deemed unreasonable because the court assumed that the drug tests were conducted without the mothers' consent. Additionally, as a state hospital, MUSC was involved in this matter.

The staff members of MUSC are experts in their field and the urine trials they conduct are protected searches under the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, it is the responsibility of MUSC employees to notify their patients about their constitutional rights and obtain a waiver of these rights when collecting evidence to implicate them. Moreover, "POLICY M-7" primarily aimed at gathering evidence for law enforcement purposes to compel patients into substance abuse treatment. Considering this purpose and the involvement of law enforcement officials, this case does not fall within the "special needs" doctrine that permits suspicionless searches unrelated to law enforcement.


classification of a child as a "neglected child" under N.Y. Family Ct was discussed by the New York Court of Appeals. They had to consider three questions related to this classification, including whether witnessing domestic maltreatment against a parent by a child accompanied by their parent or legally responsible individual would be included.

Act § 1012 (degree Fahrenheit) 2) Can the emotional harm experienced by a child who witnessed domestic violence be severe enough to be considered an immediate threat or danger to the child's well-being and justify removal? 3) To ensure that "removal is necessary" (N.Y. Family Ct. Act §§ 1022. 1024.

The question of whether the child's observation of maltreatment is sufficient for removal (N.Y. Family Ct. Act §§ 1028. 1052 (B) (I) (A)) is intertwined with the consideration of what is in the best interests of the child (1027). It may be necessary to assess further evidence in order to make a determination.

According to the tribunal, simply witnessing domestic violence against a parent does not qualify as enough proof to label a child as neglected. Instead, the petitioner must fulfill three specific criteria with more compelling evidence. These criteria include: a) demonstrating that the child is in danger of physical, emotional, or mental harm; b) substantiating that the respondent parent has neglected to appropriately supervise or take care of the child; and c) establishing a direct link between the harm experienced by the child and the parent's failure to offer sufficient care.

The tribunal's findings indicate that exposing a child to domestic violence may not necessarily have negative consequences for their well-being or life. Hence, removing the child from this environment should not be automatically

justified as it could potentially do more harm than good. The decision to intervene should rely on factual evidence demonstrating an immediate danger. Substantial evidence of ongoing and severe abuse, with a high probability of recurrence, directly endangers the child's well-being or life.

The removal of the child was never intended to be hidden, as shown by both the language of the law and its legislative background. The court needs to carefully evaluate the possible harm caused by taking away the child versus the risk of significant harm, and decide which action is best for the child. Moreover, instead of solely relying on removal, alternative approaches to address the immediate danger to the child should also be taken into account.

The issue at hand pertains to a temporary restraining order. In relation to the third inquiry, the court declared that merely asserting that the child observed domestic violence is insufficient grounds for separation. To justify separation, concrete factual discoveries must be presented, such as demonstrating how it would affect the child and exhibiting efforts made to avoid or eradicate the necessity for separation.

When determining if a child's emotional well-being is at risk and connecting the respondent's inability or unwillingness to provide basic care to any resulting harm, expert testimony is commonly used.

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