Thursday, September 5, 2013

Appeals court: CPS workers have immunity in case of 9-year-old boy murdered by custodial father (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Outrageous. Clearly the CPS workers were corrupt, incompetent, or both. Yet they walk anyway. No consequences for sucking up to a homicidal custodial father. Got it.

The killer dad was OLIVER BRAMAN.

Child-protective services workers have immunity in 9-year-old boy's death, appeals court says

By John Agar on September 04, 2013 at 12:15 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Child-protective services workers, criticized after 9-year-old Nicholas Braman died in a murder-suicide at his father’s home, have immunity against legal claims, a federal appeals panel said.

The boy’s mother, Rebecca Jasinski of Saginaw, filed a lawsuit against state workers alleging gross negligence for their failure to properly investigate complaints and remove the boy from his abusive father’s Montcalm County home.

She also said that the defendants violated her son’s constitutional rights, and that child-protective services and state Department of Human Services failed to properly supervise workers who ignored administrative policies.

The defendants earlier sought dismissal of the complaint, arguing that CPS workers had immunity. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker refused to dismiss the case, but said the allegations would be difficult to prove.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Jonker’s decision to allow the case to proceed.

Nicholas Braman, his father, Oliver Braman and stepmother, Elaine Kaczor-Braman, died Oct. 27, 2007, after the father attached the exhaust from a truck to the dryer vent in a sealed room. The boy had also been drugged.

The lawsuit said that over a nine-year period, CPS received numerous reports alleging abuse and neglect of Nicholas and his siblings, Oliver and Tyler Braman and Rachel Jasinski.

Among them: Oliver Braman used a cattle prod to punish his boys. CPS learned of the allegations, which were confirmed by the father, after his older brothers, Olive and Tyler, ran away.

A month before the deaths, Misty Davis, an assistant prosecutor, wrote to a CPS worker: “An investigation should definitely be commenced and either a change of custody should be started or a petition filed for removal. Oliver literally 'shocked' his older boys with a cattle prod repeatedly. ... In my opinion, there is no justification for the youngest boy to remain in the care of this man."

But a CPS worker said he wasn’t at risk, and left him with his father.

Attorneys for the boy’s mother argued that the state took steps that increased the risk of harm to Nicholas: CPS investigated the cattle prod allegations, and Montcalm County prosecutors filed charges.

“Jasinski contends that as a result of both actions, Nicholas was exposed to a greater risk of harm from an increasingly angry Oliver,” the appeals panel said.

The justices said that even if Nicholas was put at greater risk, the defendants had qualified immunity that protects government officials from liability as long as their conduct does not violate laws or constitutional rights.

The appeals panel also dismissed claims that CPS workers were the “proximate cause” of the boy’s death. The proximate cause was the father, the court ruled.

A Department of Human Services report criticized workers for failing to protect Nicholas.

"Montcalm DHS should have initiated a petition for removal of Nicholas from Mr. Braman's home while a more thorough assessment of the family was conducted," the report said.