Fast-Tracked Termination: What is Happening in Arizona

By Woodnick Law  Once a child is born, its parents are endowed with a “fundamental right to parent.” This means that like other fundamental rights (e.g. right to privacy, right to marry), there is a higher scrutiny placed on any attempts to interfere with that right and the presumption is that the right will remain […]

Racial Disparity in Arizona DCS Investigations Receives National Attention

By Woodnick Law, PLLC Conscious or unconscious, racial bias affects all aspects of life. The caseworkers and child welfare investigators (OCWIs) that make up the Department of Child Safety (DCS) are not immune from these biases. A recent article from ProPublica, which has received national attention, addresses how these biases have culminated in a disproportionate […]

Bypass: The Future of Abortion Access for One of the Most Vulnerable Populations

By Gregg Woodnick, Mysti Rainwater, LPC, Sheena Chiang, and Isabel Ranney Gregg Woodnick: I was in the earlier stages of my legal career when I represented minors seeking an abortion through the judicial bypass statute. My job was to meet these young women briefly prior to their appearance before the judge in the small room […]

A Position of Trust III: When Members of the Clergy Fail to Report Child Abuse

By Gregg Woodnick and Isabel Ranney The conversation between an individual and a member of the Clergy during a spiritual confession is sacrosanct. It is a time when the person confessing should feel that they can speak freely, without fear of reprisal. This act of confession is so valued that Arizona law permits members of […]

A Position of Trust II: Teachers Facing Prosecution for Failure to Report Child Abuse

By Gregg Woodnick and Isabel Ranney When mandatory reporters fail to report suspected child abuse, they are complicit in letting the abuse continue. Educators, in particular, have such a unique and consistent level of interaction with children that makes them a reliable source of child abuse/neglect reports. Due to this, nearly all states, including Arizona, lists […]

A Position of Trust: Teachers Accused of Sexual Misconduct with Students

By Sabra Barnett and Isabel Ranney  Due to their close proximity to students, teachers and school personnel are often the first line of defense when it comes to identifying signs of child abuse and they are often blamed for failing to detect abuse sooner. Teachers are expected to act as detectives – to notice and […]

The Importance of Pre-Charge/Pre-Indictment Counsel

By Sabra Barnett Prior to working in private practice, I was an Assistant Federal Public defender. In this role, I received cases long after charges had been filed. Meaning, the opportunity for many of my clients to avoid being charged had long since passed. Grand Jurys had convened, statements were recorded, and the case had […]

Is it Me or is Everyone Talking About Parental Alienation?

By Gregg Woodnick and Isabel Ranney Things do not just “trend” in fashion or TikTok. They happen in courtrooms too. In the 1980s, the era of unlocking repressed memory had people suddenly remembering childhood traumas at a scientifically unsupportable rate, and with significant consequences. In the 1990s, guided imagery led to even more “recollections” of memories, […]

Understanding the Basics of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)/Abusive Head Trauma (AHT)

By Markus Risinger and Isabel Ranney Markus Risinger joined Woodnick Law as a law clerk in 2012. Markus graduated cum laude from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  Isabel Ranney is a law student at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Associate Editor for the Law […]