[UPDATED with Promotion for Liar:] Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick Wins Supreme Court Ruling Against County Taking Her Daughters

Categories: Breaking News
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UPDATE, APRIL 26, 11:52 A.M.: You might assume--wrongly, it turns out--that lying to a juvenile court commissioner so a woman's two daughters would be taken away from her for years would cost two County of Orange social workers their jobs.

Even if you didn't believe those workers lied after the first court judgment, surely you'd see the light after the highest court in the land agreed with previous court rulings and the $4.9 million judgment in favor of Seal Beach mom Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick (pictured), right?

Wrong. One worker was even promoted and now trains other Orange County social workers.

Kimberly Edds makes that shocking revelation in the Orange County Register.

Orange County, state appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court all agreed Orange County Social Services agents Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak filed false reports and suppressed evidence that would have exonerated Fogarty-Hardwick when an order removing the girls, ages 6 and 9, and detaining them was obtained from a county commissioner in 2000.

Vreeken and Dwojak not only were never disciplined, Vreeken's supervisor Dwojak was allowed to retire with full benies intact in 2006. Vreeken was later promoted and now trains others in Social Services.

Agency director Michael Riley tells Edds he still believes neither employee fabricated their stories, suppressed evidence or did anything wrong at all. Otherwise, Riley claims, he would have fired them.

ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 20, 10:40 A.M.: The U.S. Supreme Court denied a challenge of a $4.9 million jury verdict against Orange County and two of its social services agents who lied to a juvenile court judge so two girls could be taken away from their mother.

Seal Beach's Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick, who filed suit in February 2001 alleging the defendants violated her civil rights, was separated from her daughters for six and one half years.

If Lifetime has not made a movie out of this already, it should.

Orange County Social Services agents Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak filed false reports and suppressed evidence that would have exonerated Fogarty-Hardwick when an order removing the girls, ages 6 and 9, and detaining them was obtained from a county commissioner in 2000.

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Together at last: Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick and her daughters.
The girls were then placed in Orangewood Children's Home and, later, foster care. Fogarty-Hardwick was coerced into signing a "voluntary agreement" waiving parental rights unless Social Services had reasonable evidence that the child was in danger. She was then allowed monitored visits with her daughters while they were in the county's care.

Fogarty-Hardwick's ex-husband was given custody of the children in 2002, and she was given visitation two weekends a month. When the girls became teens, Fogarty-Hardwick obtained joint custody.

However, all along she had to fight for custody in courts. She first filed suit claiming her civil rights were violated by the county and its social workers in 2002, but an Orange County Superior Court jury found against her. 

In a second suit, Fogarty-Hardwick alleged the county's policies violated her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. A civil jury voted 10-2 in 2007 that Fogarty-Hardwick's right to raise her children free of governmental interference had been violated. She was awarded more than $4.9 million in what was then one of the largest verdicts of its kind in the state and perhaps the nation.

But the county Board of Supervisors appealed in May of that year on grounds the jury verdict was unfair. In June 2010, the state appeals court in Santa Ana affirmed the jury's decision, as did the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The highest court in the land also affirmed $1.6 million in attorneys' fees for Fogarty-Hardwick's legal team from the Law Offices of Shawn A. McMillan of San Diego.

Among the County of Orange policies that violated Fogarty-Hardwick's constitutional rights were: detaining the children without making a finding of imminent danger or serious physical injury; interviewing them without a parent present; holding them without cause; fabricating evidence; and failing to train employees properly about parents' constitutional rights.

As one of the appellate justices put it last June, Orange County has a serious problem.

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25 comments
FightBack
FightBack

Gov't workers are not immune from prosecution when they commit perjury. Even prosecutors can be sued in the 9th Circuit. Your best recourse is probably to sue everyone who lied. Taking a child who is not in immediate danger away from his or her parent is unconstitutional. I would file suit seeking monetary compensation in FEDERAL court against the individuals who did this. Federal Courts don't make custody determinations but can issue restraining orders!

Sandra
Sandra

Love it.  These people think they can play God.

Jessica Anderson
Jessica Anderson

This happens all over the country.  Back in January CPS took my girl from me because my place was messy while unpacking after a move.  CPS workers had no warrant.  I politely asked them to leave.  They physically forced their way into my home.  They took my daughter.  I am physically disabled and was no match for them.  My daughter was 14 at the time.  My daughter did not know why she was taken until her bio-father mentioned all of the lies that they were claiming that she said and stuff they were claiming I admitted to.  I didn't even say the things they said I did.  Her father had been out of her life since she was a baby.  He is violent, and his visitation rights had been terminated.  The judge said she didn't care whether or not the allegations happened and that she did not care about my constitutional rights. 

My ex was considered a better parent even though he had started abusing me when I was around my daughter's age.  He is a stranger to her. 

My daughter kept telling everyone she didn't want to live with him and that she wanted to go home to me.  She is 15 now.  They were trying to coach her to agree to live with him.  They all provided a united front, constantly badmouthing me to her, telling her that I didn't care about her or want her back.  When she insisted she wanted to go home to me, they would ask her why she wants to live with a child abuser.  After my daughter found out what I'd been accused of, she told everyone she could that I had been falsely accused.

When their attempts to coach her failed (my daughter is very headstrong), they insisted that it must be because I coached her!  I cannot even get her to keep her room clean at times, so how am I able to coach her?  That kid don't listen to me.  I love her dearly, but she is very stubborn.  Well, there was absolutely no proof of their allegations, but my visitation rights were terminated anyway.  And the entire time they were working on terminating our visitation, they were lying to our faces promising that they were planning to put her back in my home and that we would spend Christmas together.  She was forced to go with her abusive father instead. 

Social workers are immune to perjury charges.  They can get into court and lie.  And they do not have to present a speck of proof to keep your children from you.

http://shenevercamehome.blogsp...

Corporatcc
Corporatcc

My twins are currently in a similar but significantly more troubling case about to be heard in the coming week. Each twin has been recently diagnosed with possible traumatic brain injuries while under the care of social services. The county refuses to address the injuries in spite of video documentation of the evidence! The Public Defender's Office and the judge are conspiring to keep the case under "county control". The local police refuse to file a case for refusal to provide medical services to each twin by both a WELL KNOWN CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, their affiliate hospital,SOCIAL SERVICES had a local doctor at an "AUTISM CENTER" who attempted to "disguise" the injuries as autism. The doctor reversed her diagnosis when confronted with actual medical reports and videos/pictures that verified the injuries to each twin. Social Services and their AFFILIATE FOSTER FAMILY AGENCY are reducing the twins contact with their parents through minimal contact and are attempting to slander the parent by "diagnosing" the mother with Munchausen's Disorder. One twin's medical chart contains evidence of this falsification of the parent's medical/psychiatric condition written in by the "conspiring" hospital when one twin was admitted to ER a secpnd time in a month with seizure like symptoms. He was brought from a "visit" with the parent when they demanded that 911 be called. The twin was given IV fluids and medication and released. Social Services and the group home DENY that the twin required any medical attention. Twin #A was later photographed and video taped in a subsequent visit when he again appeared to be suffering from central nervous system collapse. He rolled his head forward and back uncontrollably and stuck his tongue out in a sporadic manner and fixated his eyes in different directions.He had difficulty "looking up". In spite of this horribly distressing behavior, SOCIAL SERVICES, THE FOSTER FAMILY HOME, THE HOSPITAL denied the twin emergency care during an emergency EEG. The STATE OMBUDSMAN for foster care told the parent, "You are in a hospital...do something yourself...there are lots of people there...I'm sure you can tell someone if you are really concerned!".The hospital ultimately got the twin to ER and the physician hospitalized him. Mysteriously, the hospital did a "GENERAL MRI" per the autism doctor's report to the parent. All of the agencies cited above state to the parent who is attempting to investigate further with the help of a well known expert witness, "He's NORMAL...we did an mri and an eeg and nothing showed up!" The parent has consulted a family member who is a PHYSICIAN who specializes in neuroradiology and owns a radiology center at a hospital out of the area.Twin A's medical condition continues to be ignored so the parent has informed the FBI! Twin B has just been diagnosed with "cerebral dysfunction" as of yesterday by the autism doctor. The parent's cell phones and home computer have been "bugged' and functions disabled contonuously afyer tje fbi was contacted.

Looking into Shawn McMillan/Attorney'swebsite and using local counties in CA, "police department" , "social services", "fbi" "trevor" "global human trafficking" as search criteria brings up fbi investigation sites. ..You have to interpret SYMBOLISM, click and re-click on certain descriptors HIDDEN in the reports...You will then see the possibility that FOSTER CHILDREN ARE USED IN A SCAM....GLOBAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING! There are indications of ritual abuse, stem cell research, drug testing on foster children, A NAME OF ANDREA CIESLA, ANDREAS CIESLA, cloning, mind control through implantation of a "microchip" (both boys have 1/2 inch scars...one behind the left ear and the other twin has one a bit smaller than a dime on his lower back!...Both boys display wierd repetitive speech...example---"I like you, mama"for +12/14 sentences...and "Mommy, mommy,mommy...I don't want to talk to you" when the foster home has the 4 year old twins call to say "hello" and receive an opportunity to feel some emotional gratification by talking to Mom or Dad. WATCH THE NEWS for reports of child sexual abuse and Global Human Trafficking by GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES. FBI appears to be reporting underworld figures taking control of government agencies. This may explain why police,a judge, public defenders, social service workers, hospital nurses and additional social workers, 2 COUNTY psychologists and a state ombudsman would IGNORE A MOTHER'S DESPERATE PLEAS to provide appropriate medical care for her twins. It is alarming that they have been taken from their home in a police / social services CAST interview investigating nannies for sexual abuse and an attempt to "gas" the apartment while the parent was working. READ INFORMATION ON WEB...Ted Gunderson, CIA, FBI...EMAIL CORPORATEDOC@gmail for more info.

Kate Gallagher
Kate Gallagher

Remember everyone please remember that more children die at the hands of CPS than at home period. CPS...this is what you do, you kill more kids than you help.

Kate Gallagher
Kate Gallagher

These CPS workers should be dragged by a car through Orange County for everyone to see, I really hope the one that retired in 2006 has a massive heart attack. these two liars destroyed 3 lives that we know about, how many more are they going to destroy.

ocresident
ocresident

Obviously there's a lot more to this story that Deanna's not sharing in her vague interviews. Social Services didn't just happen to get involved. There was a reason for there involvement and I don't believe someone would take her children away because she questioned their authority either. There's a lot more to this story. A small snag in the case gave her the opportunity to turn it around in her favor and now all of us in O.C. have to pay for it. I feel bad for the daughters; it's sad what they had to go through. Divorce can get very ugly.

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Good for Ms Fogerty Boo on OC. Double fuckin Boo on the social workers. Triple fuckin Boo on their boos. And 4 times Boo on the clowns who let this go and dont fire those social workers now and take away their pensions.

Laura Lynn
Laura Lynn

Unfortunately, Los Angeles County continues to deny parents and children their Constitutional right to a parent child relationship in order to drum up business for such minor's counsel as Ken Sherman and William Spiller and evaluators like the promiscuous Dr. "Joe-Blo" Keenan.

Rkdalton
Rkdalton

yay and Praise the Lord... this is way too late.. long..time coming... poor Deanna... and the girls... who knows why God allowed it to go for so long.. but.. He always wins... in the end..

lindn2
lindn2

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Steven H. HIrsch
Steven H. HIrsch

Every once in a very long while, justice is served. This is one of those moments. If the county -- and the child welfare system in general -- wants to get serious about addressing what is wrong, then ask and allow those of us who have been through the meat grinder of the dependency court system and are willing to take part in reforming it to do so. It is long past time to get child protection right.

Please see the Facebook Cause "Getting Child Protection Right" and help support the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

OCLocal
OCLocal

She finally won! I have been following this story forever. Good for her. They have put her and her daughters through hell, hopefully someone else will not have to endure what she had to go through.

Bodkind
Bodkind

Beautiful photo of three very happy ladies.... God Bless You.

alarmerk
alarmerk

@FightBack What do u mean by federal courts can issue restraining orders? My email is alarmerk@yahoo

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood

 Give McMillan a call. This sounds like an interesting situation. You can look him up on Google.

Mustanglcy
Mustanglcy

interesting that the link says the post was removed by court order. What do you make of that?

Sociawelfare
Sociawelfare

OC Resident, get informed would you?? A small snagg in her case?? really?? Children are dying because of the incompetence that exists. The corruption, the tyranny, conflict of interests, dirty tricks, jaded-toxic culture, the games, the financial incentives, and the lack of accountability has resulted in systematic failure and therefore an inability to properly assess cases which leaves children in need of real protection unprotected.I find it appalling that there are some of us who want to still cover up the corruption that is going on in the juvenile/family law court system.

Those of us who care and have decided to fight for reform will persevere and not give up. I do encourage Ms. Fogarty to turn around and be the voice of those children and their poor families who have been silenced by these thugs/tyrants. WIth great victories come great responsability.......And the only way her victory will not be in vain is if she sees to it that what happened to her wont happen to another family! none the less, I take my hat off to Ms. Fogarty!!!!

Steven
Steven

On the issue of all of us in O.C. having to pay for it, where does responsibility for that lie? When the Fogarty-Hardwick case was in the lower court and there was a settlement offer of $500,000 on the table, who was in charge of considering the negotiation of that offer? Was it DSS’ Dr. Michael Riley? Was it County Counsel ? Was it an outside law firm? The County Executive ? The Board of Supervisors? Is there a paper trail documenting anyone's action (or inaction) with regard to consideration of that settlement offer at the time? Did anyone make even the minimum effort to exercise due diligence and get an expert opinion from a professional litigation risk management analyst on the risk of continuing to litigate the case vs. settling it? Who was minding the store? I have it on pretty good authority that the county simply proceeded to litigate this case with blinders on. So now we taxpayers are going to be out $9 Million instead of the $500,000 that could have been spent to settle this wretched case of official misconduct years ago.

Attyshawn
Attyshawn

"A small snag in the case:" Like a county policy and practice that permits social workers to lie to courts without any repercussions? Or, the fact that Marcie Vreeken decided to lie to the judge to suit her own emotional needs and ego? Or perhaps you mean Helen Dwojak's decision to "back [Marcie] up ...every step of the way." Please articulate for all of us exactly which "snag" you are referring to?

Antiquewaltz
Antiquewaltz

If you only knew the whole story. She is protecting her daughters from more trauma than they've experienced already. Yes there is more but it serves not purpose at this time to go into that. Trust me she has nothing to do with that part which started this whole thing.

Laura Lynn
Laura Lynn

My case is similar, but in LA. A corrupt judge and attorney took my kids away through family law. They left evidence that I was not served before the change of custody took place. LASC is making me work for it, but I think I will eventually be compensated like Deanna. (I would much rather have raised my children.) LA County residents will pick up the bill. Hopefully there will be some criminal indictments as well...the corrupt judicial officers should pay. Reach me at bohemian_books at yahoo dot com.

Sociawelfare
Sociawelfare

Keep fighting Laura! Let me encourage you with this quote: “Every clique is a refuge for incompetence. It fosters corruption and disloyalty; it begets cowardice, and consequently is a burden upon and a drawback to the progress of the country. Its instincts and actions are those of the pack.” Madame Chiang Kai-Shek

Let me also remind you that each step you take to fight for your rights is part of a big legacy you leave for your children. The legacy of courage, strenght and fearlessness that come from standing up to such evil. Do not give up.....no matter what happens you are still a winner!!

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