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IMPORTANT CASE LAW 
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Declaratory relief for battered mom of abused kids

Coverage by the :  Judge blasts Orleans police in multistate custody case

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
CIVIL ACTION  NO. 02-1175-REK

SARAH FITZPATRICK MANDEL,   Plaintiff 
v. 
TOWN OF ORLEANS, AND MELISSA NOVOTNY, AND KENNETH GREEN, CHIEF OF POLICE; AND OTHER AS YET UNNAMED OFFICERS OF THE ORLEANS POLICE DEPARTMENT; INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS CHIEF OF POLICE AND POLICE OFFICERS OF THE TOWN OF  ORLEANS,  
     Defendants

This court (Keeton, J.) , in a civil rights suit filed against a town and its police department, after a preliminary injunction hearing that stretched over 11 non-consecutive days found that a Massachusetts mom against whom police had taken various actions in service of her Maryland prosecutor husband's custody award (after a trial which the Maryland court refused to continue despite its allowance of her lawyer's Motion to Withdraw the day of trial and earlier refusal to continue the trial because her essential expert witness (Dr. Eli Newberger) was unable to appear) had been denied her parental rights and her due process rights to a fair hearing by the police involvement in her arrest on a civil writ they knew about October 29 causing her not to appear in federal court October 30 (her son was with her and was delivered to her abuser husband several hours after her arrest), by their agreeing to work with her husband to effect his civil order, charging her with kidnaping and listing the children in the NCIC database.  In addition to the above-mentioned declaratory relief, the Court also declared that it has jurisdiction over her lawsuit, even though it "may involve custody and other domestic relations issues", because "she is not asking this Court to alter or invalidate any divorce, alimony or custody decree" under Ankenbrandt v. Richards 504 U.S. 689 (1992).  The Court found Town of Orleans police officers misled other police departments, U.S. and Canadian customs officials by not informing them of the abuse allegations against the father and the fact that custody of the children was in dispute.  "Although the Orleans police took these actions, they did not afford Plaintiff a fair hearing before or promptly after taking such actions and depriving Plaintiff of her children and assisting in bringing about felony criminal charges against Plaintiff.  The Orleans Police did not promptly give Plaintiff an opportunity to be heard on the numerous accusations and charges made against her, and instead relied on Marc Mandel's information, despite Plaintiff's earlier interactions with Orleans Police in which Plaintiff had expressed credible concerns regarding child abuse by Marc Mandel".

In addition to the declaratory relief, the Court extended an order it entered October 30 which prohibited the Defendants and anyone acting in aid and concert with them from removing from Massachusetts the Plaintiff, each of the children, and Marc Mandel, their father.  The order issued after and included "probable cause to believe that constitutionally protected rights of the Plaintiff and each of the two children are imperiled by actions of the Defendants and other officials in various branches of the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its subdivisions."

The decision is attached in a PDF format. The case is Mandel v. Town of Orleans et al, United States District Court of Massachusetts #02-11795REK.  Her custody and restraining order requests are currently pending before the Massachusetts state Supreme Judicial Court, and she has criminal matters for the same alleged kidnaping pending in the Massachusetts District Court and the Superior Court in Barnstable County.   Sarah never went underground, instead, she went to Court.  The only Court to hear her has found "compelling evidence that these children have been harmed by their father". 


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