By: Markus Risinger and Deborah Lee The Arizona Court of Appeals recently [...]
Rumors & Mandatory Reporting: Zamora reminds us the reasonableness standard is opaque warranting caution when dealing with any allegation of abuse
Brittany Zamora has garnered nationwide attention for her nefarious sexual relationship with her 13-year-old student. Zamora recently pleaded guilty to several sexual abuse charges and is now facing a lengthy prison sentence. However, a lesser known civil suit also surfaced, claiming Zamora’s school district knew about the abuse months before the parents discovered it and did nothing to intervene. Given a failure to report child abuse constitutes a class 6 felony under Arizona law, we ought to be curious whether the district’s officials could be criminally liable, too.
Something that has confounded me since day one of practicing law in Phoenix, and all throughout the state of Arizona, is that DCS case managers frequently tell parents they are investigating for child abuse or neglect that they do not need a lawyer. Sure, the early stages of their investigation may not involve the Juvenile Court or the DCS lawyer (Arizona Attorney General’s Office), but it does involve the parents’ constitutionally protected, fundamental right to parent their children.
I frequently get calls from parents who have come home to find a DCS note on their door. It is usually a business card from a DCS investigator requesting that the parent contact them immediately.