On September 23, the city council is expected to approve paying $250,000 to settle a case that involved the taking into custody of a seven-day-old child from the baby's then-16-year-old mother in May of 2008 by "several San Diego police officers" and social workers.
The police officers removed the child from the household without obtaining a warrant and, according to a court decision, without any "reasonable or articulable evidence to suggest the infant child was in immediate danger of sustaining severe bodily injury, or that the infant had been abandoned by its mother.”
“[T]he infant was in good health” and was not in “need [of] any medical care.” There was no evidence suggesting “the child was in immediate danger of physical or sexual abuse, nor was there any indication that the physical environment posed any threat to the infant's health or safety."
After taking the baby, county social workers claimed that the mother had abandoned her child, resulting in a permanent loss of custody.
The settlement comes after a long legal battle that wound up in the hands of appellate court judges on two separate occasions. Then, in April 2013, appellate judges determined the police officers’ decision to remove the child violated the mother's Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights. The case was sent back to the trial court.
Now, more than one year later, the city is ready to settle the issue.
According to the agenda, the city council will authorize "the Mayor, or his designee to pay the sum of $225,000 from the Public Liability Fund No. 720045, in settlement of each and every claim for damages, interest, costs and fees of any type, including attorney fees, against the City of San Diego, its agents and employees..."
The council will discuss the item on Tuesday, September 23, at 10 a.m.