School of Law News
Child Advocacy Institute's US Supreme Court amicus brief named Brief of the Week
San Diego (March 1, 2011) – An amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in Camreta v. Greene prepared by the Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI) at the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law has been named Brief of the Week by The National Law Journal, the nation’s leading weekly publication for the legal profession.
Two decades after the U.S. Supreme Court began to consider the emotionally and legally difficult arena of child protection investigations and the potential liability of those who conduct them, the latest case to come before the court has triggered numerous amicus brief filings from states, civil liberties groups, child care advocates, prosecutors, educational institutions as well as family and domestic violence organizations. The vast number of briefs voice concern for children who may be sexual abuse victims, but many differ on the role that the Fourth Amendment should play in abuse investigations.
USD School of Law’s Price Professor of Public Interest Law Robert C. Fellmeth, who is the founder and director of the school’s Children's Advocacy Institute, filed his amicus brief in support of neither party, but it is clear that he believes caseworkers need flexibility to pursue those investigations where they have a reasonable suspicion that abuse has occurred.
"We have all sorts of checks and balances in the system when someone has taken a child without basis from the home or where the state has intervened inappropriately or excessively," he said. "But if a CPS (Child Protective Services) worker does not remove a child who is being raped or tortured every night, there is no safeguard."
About Robert C. Fellmeth
Professor Robert C. Fellmeth joined the USD School of Law faculty in 1977 after a career in public interest law. From 1968 to 1973, he was an attorney with the Center for the Study of Responsive Law in Washington, D.C., and was one of the original "Nader's Raiders." He then served as a deputy district attorney for San Diego County and an assistant U.S. attorney for the Department of Justice in San Diego. In 1980, he founded USD's Center for Public Interest Law, and in 1989, he founded the Children's Advocacy Institute. He teaches and writes in the areas of children's rights and regulatory, antitrust and consumer law. Among his 14 books are California White Collar Crime (Michie) (with T. Papageorge) and Child Rights and Remedies (Clarity Press). He is the former California State Bar discipline monitor and chairs the board of the Public Citizen Foundation in Washington, D.C. Professor Fellmeth also chairs the Maternal and Child Health Access Foundation, serves on the Boards of the National Association of Counsel for Children and First Star, and is counsel to the Board of Voices for America's Children.
About the Children’s Advocacy Institute
The Children's Advocacy Institute (CAI) is an academic, research and advocacy center dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of California's children. Through its academic program, CAI trains law students to be effective child advocates, providing unique clinical opportunities through the Child Advocacy Clinic. Through its research and advocacy component, CAI represents children in the California legislature, in the courts, before administrative agencies and through public education programs. CAI's goal is to ensure that children's interests are effectively represented whenever and wherever government makes policy and budget decisions that affect them.
About the University of San Diego School of Law
The University of San Diego School of Law is a center of academic excellence focused on preparing its students for legal practice in the new century. One of the most selective law schools in the country, the School of Law's nationally recognized faculty create a demanding, yet welcoming environment that emphasizes individualized education. USD law school graduates consistently score higher than the state average on the California Bar Exam and go on to practice law throughout the country and abroad, forming an influential network of alumni. USD School of Law is one of only 81 law schools in the country to have a chapter of The Order of the Coif, the most distinguished rank of American law schools. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.
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