Leo’s Law signed by governor
LANSING— State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, announced on Wednesday that Gov. Rick Snyder signed Leo’s Law which establishes new standards for removing children from their parents.
Public Act 163 of 2012 sponsored by Jones, would ensure that Michigan law meets the constitutional standards as defined by several of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. The new law has four parts:
• Standard for emergency police removals;
• Process for judicial officer review of emergency placement;
• Standards for ex parte court-ordered emergency removals; and
• Preliminary hearing pretrial placement standards.
A notorious foster care case occurred when 7-year-old Leo Ratte attended a Detroit Tigers ball game with his father in 2008. Leo was placed in foster care for three days and two nights when his father Christopher Ratte, a classics professor at the University of Michigan, inadvertently gave him a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, not knowing it was an alcoholic drink.
Leo was placed in foster care, even though physicians from Children’s Hospital found no alcohol in his blood and determined he was fine. When his mother Claire Zimmerman tried to get her child, she was denied although there were no charges against her.
“If the child is not in a safe environment, they absolutely need to be removed from their home and placed in foster care,” said Jones. “This was not the case with Leo Ratte, and a child went through a traumatic experience that could have been avoided.”