Precede LANSING, Mich. Lawyers for 2-Year-Old Jessica Seek Supreme Court Delay
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Lawyers for a 2-year-old Michigan girl asked a second Supreme Court justice today to delay an order that she be turned over to her biological parents in Iowa by Monday.
Attorneys for Jessica DeBoer told Justice Harry A. Blackmun the girl would suffer ″unimaginable harm″ if she were sent to her birth parents, Daniel and Cara Schmidt of Blairstown, Iowa.
Blackmun was referring the matter to the full court, spokeswoman Toni House said.
On Monday, Justice John Paul Stevens refused to grant a delay to the toddler and the couple who have raised her since birth, Jan and Roberta DeBoer of Ann Arbor, Mich.
Stevens said he was not convinced the full Supreme Court would agree to hear the DeBoers’ appeal of a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that ordered the girl turned over to the Schmidts.
The DeBoers said Tuesday they would not pursue any further appeals in their two-year legal battle.
But lawyers representing Jessica decided to try again, saying Stevens did not consider her argument that Michigan appeals courts improperly refused to consider her best interests.
″Jessica’s case is about the inhumane consequences that will be inflicted on an innocent child whose welfare was never considered,″ said today’s request for an emergency order.
Blackmun has previously refused to intervene in the case.
The DeBoers took custody of the girl shortly after birth. They were never granted an adoption but kept the girl through a series of appeals.
The University of Michigan Law School’s child advocacy clinic, which represents the DeBoers, said the couple will pack the child’s belongings and tell her about the move.
″No words can adequately describe their grief and their fear for Jessica’s emotional well-being when she is forced to leave the only family she has ever known,″ the clinic said in a statement.
The Schmidts said in a statement that Stevens’ decision ″confirms our daughter’s God-given and constitutionally protected right to be raised with and by her natural family.″
″We are praying for our daughter’s safety and are anxiously awaiting the final transfer,″ they said.
Shortly after giving birth in 1991, Cara Schmidt, then unmarried, signed adoption papers for the baby. She told Daniel Schmidt a few weeks later that he was the child’s father, and the two started legal action to get her back.
The couple, since married, argued that Daniel Schmidt never signed away his parental rights.
Iowa courts gave the Schmidts custody. Michigan’s highest court ruled the DeBoers had to be abide by the ruling.