Detroit mother wins in criminal, custody cases

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2011 6:02 PM
Detroit mother wins in criminal, custody cases

A Detroit mother won two legal victories Monday in cases involving the custody of her teenage daughter and criminal charges stemming from a standoff with police over the girl's medical care.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill upheld a lower court ruling that there was not enough evidence to charge Maryanne Godboldo with resisting arrest and shooting a gun off inside her house. And Wayne County Juvenile Court Judge Lynne Pierce closed a custody case against Godboldo.

The Michigan Department of Human Services had removed Godboldo's daughter, Ariana, from their home earlier this year after Godboldo took the girl off Risperdal, a medication used to contain aggression and treat autism. Ariana was 13 at the time.

State officials had maintained that Ariana was at risk without the proper medication. Human Services spokesman Dave Akerly said Monday that officials were "assessing the basis" for Pierce's decision.

When police went to the home on March 24 to remove the girl, Godboldo refused to allow them inside. Police surrounded the house after officers said a gunshot was fired inside. Godboldo remained inside about 12 hours before surrendering.

She spent five days in jail and was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, resisting and obstructing police, shooting inside a building and having a firearm during a felony.

A Detroit district court judge threw out the charges in August, saying the order to remove the child was not valid. That ruling was upheld Monday by Bill, who said there was not enough evidence to charge Godboldo.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office said it would appeal Bill's ruling.

Godboldo's attorney said it's time for state and county officials to let go.

"This is outrageous," Byron Pitts said. "This stems from a system that is running roughshod over parents' rights and kidnapping children.

"This is a mother who two different courts have found there was not enough evidence going forward against her."

After Godboldo's arrest, her daughter was placed in a state psychiatric facility before being released to the care of Godboldo's sister. In September, Pierce ordered Ariana returned to her mother's care.

Godboldo has said her daughter had medical troubles before a doctor suggested giving her Risperdal more than a year ago.

She lost her right leg below the knee as an infant and wears a prosthesis. Godboldo claims she also developed encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, before entering 6th grade.