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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Court looking at judge's home visit in parental rights case

Michigan Supreme Court
Courtesy of the MI Supreme Court
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Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court is considering whether it's appropriate for a judge to see the conditions of a home before terminating someone's parental rights.

The court on Thursday told lawyers for an Otsego County couple and the state of Michigan to file briefs on that issue as well as others. The court will hear arguments in the months ahead.

Judge Michael Cooper terminated the parental rights of a couple whose daughter has a chronic kidney disease. He made the decision based partly on a personal visit to the home. He was joined by lawyers from both sides, but they weren't allowed to ask questions or explain the conditions of the mobile home.

The appeals court said the visit isn't permitted under law, but it affirmed the termination of parental rights.

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