Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ortega v. Sacramento County Dep't of HHS (Cal. Ct. App. - April 1, 2008)

Justice Sims tellingly begins this opinion with the line: "This tragic case will make you sad." A line that I liked.

But, personally, I thought it might be even more accurate to add: "and, perhaps even more significantly, angry." Since that was my definite reaction.

Not that I'd be angry at Justice Sims, since I think he rightly affirms the grant of summary judgment to the defendants. But even though I'm persuaded that that's what the law requires -- let's hear those cheers for the discretionary function exception, shall we? -- I'm not particularly pleased by that fact. Nor am I happy that an 11-year old daughter gets returned to a PCP-abusing father after a stunningly inadequate investigation by CPS that fails to review the required CPS file and thus remains ignorant of the father's long history of serious drug use, violence, and child abuse. The direct result of which is that CPS returns the daughter to the abusive father and, four days later, the father stabs her in the heart and lungs.

I wish I could say that was an April Fool's joke. But it's not. It's reality. And it bites.