By: Markus Risinger and Deborah Lee The Arizona Court of Appeals recently [...]
By: Gregg R. Woodnick I have been practicing law for over 20 [...]
Arizona Department of Child Safety’s (DCS) director, Mike Faust, has issued a handful statements on the COVID-19 pandemic. As recently as April 10, 2020, DCS was not allowing in-person visitation to occur between a parent and their child in DCS custody.
Since COVID-19 forced schools to close, reports of child abuse in Arizona have decreased by about twenty-five percent (25%). At first, this seems like one of the few silver linings of the pandemic (outside of Tiger King and attending business meetings without having to wear pants). However, after 20 years of litigating child abuse and neglect cases, I don’t believe this statistic is cause for celebration.
Imagine you are a juror in a case involving infant abuse. The treating physician testifies that, when the infant arrived in the hospital, she was covered with large bruises. The doctor then states, “The family was awkward, and the father was visibly irritated.” The family also offered no explanation for the infant’s condition. After accurately informing you that accidental bruising is exceedingly rare in infants, the doctor concludes the infant’s bruising is consistent with trauma caused by a severe beating. He adds: “I see this sort of thing every day, and it’s heartbreaking.”