AMICUS ADVOCACY PROJECT
During her career, CHILD USA CEO, Professor Marci Hamilton, has submitted dozens of amicus briefs related to child protection, religious liberty, and constitutional issues in numerous courts, and many of those child abuse information briefs are available here. The Amicus Advocacy Project continues this mission with CHILD USA’s Legal Department and partnerships with law firm pro bono departments. The Amicus Advocacy Project exists to ensure children’s civil rights are taken into account through legal advocacy.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. RENEE A. RICE v. DIOCESE OF ALTOONA-JOHNSTOWN, ET AL. in Docket No. 3 WAP 2020 in the SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
July 27, 2020
This amicus brief was written in response to Defendants’ appeal of a decision at the Pennsylvania Superior Court that found that whether Rice exercised reasonable diligence in discovering her alleged injury and its cause was a question for the jury. This amicus brief addresses research showing that children often do not recognize that they have been sexually abused until later in life, the ways effects of child sex abuse slow a victim’s ability to appreciate their injuries later in life, and examines other state courts that have applied the discovery rule in cases involving adult survivors of child sex abuse.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. DIOCESE OF LUBBOCK in Case No. 20-0127 in the SUPREME COURT OF TEXAS
April 6, 2020
In Lubbock, the Diocese of Lubbock published an online list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing a “minor,” including Respondent Jesus Guerrero. Mr. Guerrero is accused of having sexually abused an adult woman, whom the Church defines as a “minor” because of her mental capacity. The Diocese argues that their statements were privately made, and that the inquiry of whether the Diocese defamed Mr. Guerrero by applying the Church’s definition of “minor” to his situation offends First Amendment principles. This amicus brief argues that the First Amendment does not protect the Diocese’s statements, that expanding the Diocese’s ability to defame members and employees will silence victims, and that the “religious autonomy” principle touted by the Diocese is a departure from any reasonable interpretation of First Amendment protections historically given to religious entities, and that adopting a “religious autonomy” doctrine will invariably hurt children.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. DONALD J. TRUMP ET AL. v. PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL. in Case No. 19-454 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
April 6, 2020
This amicus brief was written in response to two government rules that reduce employees’ access to contraceptive insurance. Issues include whether the Government’s interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act violates the Separation of Powers and whether the Government’s new rules violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. T.M. v. ORDER OF ST. BENEDICT OF NEW JERSEY INC, ET AL. in DOCKET No. MRS-L-399-17 in the SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY, LAW DIVISION: MORRIS COUNTY
April 1, 2020
This amicus brief was written in response to Defendants’ challenge to the constitutionality of the revival provisions of N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2A:14-2a and 2b, which allow victims of child sex abuse to bring civil claims, even when their claims have previously expired. Issues include whether the revival provisions are constitutional under the United States Constitution and whether the revival provisions are constitutional under the New Jersey Constitution.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. AHMED v. WAHAN in Case No. 79491-4-1 in the COURT OF APPEALS, DIVISION I, OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
March 30, 2020
This amicus brief was written in response to a trial court ruling to modify a parenting plan involving a child with disabilities, despite the trial court’s reliance on a Guardian Ad Litem report that did not prioritize feedback from current medical personnel. Issues include whether it is in the child’s best interest to prioritize medical provider feedback in cases devoid of specially-trained Guardian Ad Litems, whether a Guardian Ad Litem should be required to consider current provider opinion as a mandate to work in the best interest of the child, and whether prioritizing expert and current medical personnel opinions is in accord with current scientific research and Washington’s compelling interest in child protection.
MOTION IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AN AMICUS BRIEF re. EDWARDO v. LOUIS A. GELINEAU, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PROVIDENCE, ET ALS. in C.A. No. PC-2019-09894 in the STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS SUPERIOR COURT
March 30, 2020
This motion was written as a response to the trial court’s inquiry about the precedent of trial courts to accept and consider amicus briefing at the trial level. In this case, Defendants challenge to the constitutionality of the revival provisions of RIGL § 9-1-51, which allow victims of child sex abuse to bring civil claims, even when their claims have previously expired. Issues include whether there is a nationwide trend to consider amicus briefing in trial courts and whether there is precedent for Rhode Island superior courts to allow amicus participation. After the court denied CHILD USA’s amicus participation in response to objections by the Defendant Diocese, the Rhode Island Attorney General decided to participate as amicus.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE SCHOOL ET AL v. DARRYL BIEL, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF KRISTEN BIEL in Case No. 19-267 and 19-348 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
March 11, 2020
In Lady of Guadalupe, a former elementary school teacher at a Catholic school was terminated after telling the school that she had cancer and would need to miss class in order to undergo chemotherapy. A second teacher sued for age discrimination in her firing. The issue before the Supreme Court is whether the First Amendment’s Religion Clause prohibits lay teachers at religious elementary schools from bringing employment discrimination claims. This amicus brief argues that civil courts can and should hear disability and age discrimination claims in accordance with neutral principles cases, in part because sex abuse cases show us that it is important to protect victims from harm, even by religious actors.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. STEVEN DOUGLAS ROCKETT v. N.S. in Case No. 19-35955 in the NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
February 21, 2020
This amicus brief was written as a response to Defendant’s argument that a conviction for an Attempt to Violate 18 USC § 2251, Sexual Exploitation of Children, does not count as a true violation for the purposes of 18 USC § 2255, the statute allowing victims of certain crimes to get a civil remedy. Issues include whether the language of the statute, its legislative history, and canons of statutory interpretation show that attempted crimes qualify as violations for purposes of the civil remedies statute, 18 USC § 2255.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re S.T. v. DIOCESE OF ROCKVILLE CENTRE ET EL. in Case No. 900007/2019 in the SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, NASSAU COUNTY
January 24, 2020
This amicus brief was written as a response to Defendant diocese’s challenge to the constitutionality of the revival provisions of the Child Victims Act in New York. Issues include whether CPLR § 214-G is constitutional under the United States Constitution and the New York Constitution. The NY Trial court declined to consider the amicus brief in response to opposition from the Diocese.
New York Supreme Court, Nassau County
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. A POLISH CASE in the SUPREME COURT OF POLAND
December 9, 2019
This amicus brief was written by Ending Clergy Abuse in support of Plaintiff in connection with the matter involving the liability of a religious organization for acts of its clergy. Issues include whether a religious organization is liable for act of its clergy across multiple countries including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. LAMPRELL v. STUCKEY in Case No. 19-577 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
November 25, 2019
This amicus brief was written on behalf of a mother after the Court of Appeals of New Mexico affirmed an interim decision by the district court to award custody of a child to the father. Issues include whether courts frequently grant ex parte removals without sufficient evidence, resulting in abusive parents receiving custody that endangers children; and whether courts routinely delay post-removal hearings long after the required period of time, resulting in significant harm to families. The final opinion is Stuckey v. Lamprell, No. A-1-CA-35538, 2018 WL 7036001 (N.M. Ct. App. Dec. 18, 2018).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. GALLAGHER v. DIOCESE OF PALM BEACH, INC. in Case No. 18-964 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
February 21, 2019
This amicus brief was written to request a United States Supreme Court ruling after a lawsuit initiated by a priest for defamation against a Catholic diocese was dismissed based on the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine. Issues include whether the Florida case should be resolved according to neutral principles of law; and whether the Florida court mistakenly relied on this Court’s ministerial jurisprudence to dismiss the lawsuit. The Florida District Court of Appeal opinion is Diocese of Palm Beach, Inc. v. Gallagher, 249 So.3d 657 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2018).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. MORROW v. FORD in Case No. 18-6409 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
November 21, 2018
This amicus brief was written to support Petitioner’s writ of habeas corpus following a murder conviction and death sentence, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel where trial counsel did not conduct an investigation into the Petitioner’s childhood. Issue includes whether child sexual abuse is an important mitigating factor and, under Strickland and its progeny, must be investigated and presented by trial lawyers, even when the victims themselves do not volunteer the evidence. The final opinion is Morrow v. Warden, 886 F.3d 1138 (11th Cir. 2018).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. MONTANA v. TIPTON in Case No. 18-444 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
November 8, 2018
This amicus brief was written in support of a Petition for Writ of Certioari where the Supreme Court of Montana concluded that the DNA provision was constitutional, but that it did not allow for the revival of previously expired claims. Issues include whether Montana’s law permits revival of expired criminal statutes of limitations when DNA evidence is present; whether DNA evidence can both convict the guilty and spare the innocent of a false conviction; and whether allowing prosecution in cases with newly-discovered DNA evidence violates the ex post facto clause. The final opinion is Tipton v. Mont. Thirteenth Jud. Dist. Ct., 421 P.3d 780 (Mont. 2018).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. IN RE: FORTIETH STATEWIDE INVESTIGATING GRAND JURY in Case Nos. 75, 77-82, 84-89, 106 WM 2018 in the SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
August 8, 2018
This amicus brief was written in response to Defendant dioceses subjected to a grand jury investigation and its argument that private attorneys who have knowledge of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report must keep all information confidential. Issues include whether the Pennsylvania Full Grand Jury Report will add to the understanding of hidden sexual abuse in the Commonwealth; whether releasing the Grand Jury Report with alleged perpetrator names protects children; and whether many important public purposes will be served by the immediate release of the full Grand Jury Report, published along with responses provided for by the PA Grand Jury Act. The final opinion is In re Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, 191 A.3d 750 (Pa. 2018).
LETTER OF AMICUS CURIAE re. IN RE JOHN DOE in Case No. 17-1005 in the SUPREME COURT OF TEXAS
May 23, 2018
This amicus letter was written to support a Petition for Writ of Mandamus where a Plaintiff’s lawsuit was barred based on the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine. Includes issue of whether a private school with a religious sounding name and/or loose religious affiliation can rely on the religious freedom provision of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to avoid a civil court’s jurisdiction even though the school touts itself as secular, promises a secular education, does not teach or ascribe to a particular religion, and the conduct at issue in the case has nothing to do with religion.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. M.A. v. THE HONORABLE JOSE PADILLA, ET. AL. in Case No. 15-1049 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
This amicus brief was written in response to Defendant’s claim that preventing him from cross-examining a child plaintiff violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause. Includes issue of whether a pro se child abuser has a rigid right to direct examination of his child victim. The final opinion is State ex. rel. Montgomery v. Padilla, 371 P.3d 642 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2016).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. SLINEY v. PREVITE in Case No. SJC-11844 in the MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
September 21, 2015
This amicus brief was written in response to Defendant’s challenge of the retroactivity of Mass. Ge. Laws. ch. 260 §§ 4C & 4C 1/2, which extended the statute of limitations of civil claims for child sex abuse to 35 years. Issues include whether Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 260, §§ 4C & 4C 1/2 expressly apply to sexual abuse related claims that occurred prior to their enactment; whether sections 4C & 4C 1/2 are constitutional under the United States Constitution; and whether sections 4C & 4C 1/2 are constitutional under the Massachusetts Constitution. The final opinion is Sliney v. Previte, 41 N.E.3d 732 (Mass. 2015).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. SEBELIUS v. HOBBY LOBBY STORES, INC. in Case No. 13-354 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
January 27, 2014
This amicus brief was written to challenge the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act where private companies sued the Secretary of Health and Human Services, claiming that the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring private employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs violated First Amendment religious freedom rights. Issues include whether RFRA violates the Separation of Powers; whether RFRA violates Article V; whether RFRA is a valid exercise of Congressional power; and whether RFRA violates the Establishment Clause. The final opinion is Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 U.S. 682 (2014).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. PAROLINE v. UNKNOWN AND U.S. in Case No. 12-8561 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
This amicus brief was written to support Plaintiff’s writ for mandamus, to receive restitution after Defendant pled guilty to possessing material involving the sexual exploitation of children. Issues include whether sexual abuse, its memorialization, distribution, and viewing are psychologically intertwined with and compound the impact of abuse for victims; whether pornography is a common element of grooming; whether child sex victims typically experience long-term harm and need lifelong care; and whether child pornography victims experience exacerbated negative effects. The final opinion is Paroline v. United States, 572 U.S. 434 (2014).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re: HOSANNA TABOR v. EEOC in Case No. 10-553 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
August 9, 2011
This amicus brief was written to support the EEOC where defendant claimed a First Amendment ministerial exception to the EEOC’s retaliation claims. Issues include whether the First Amendment is a defense to criminal or civil liability for sexual misconduct by employees; and whether the First Amendment stands for “autonomy” from the law. The final opinion is Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and Sch. v. EEOC, 565 U.S. 171 (2012).
AMICUS CURIAE STATEMENT OF INTEREST re. S.P. ET. AL. v. SCA, INC., ET. AL. in CASE No. 2009-C-6008 in LEHIGH COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
August 12, 2010
This amicus brief was written to support two plaintiffs who were minors at the time of their abuse and adults at the time of the trial, where defendants objected to the use of pseudonyms to identify the victims. Issue includes whether victims of child sex abuse may pursue litigation through the use of initials or pseudonyms, even if they are adults at the time of the litigation.
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. SHEEHAN v. OBLATES OF ST. FRANCIS de SALES, ET. AL. in CASE No. 730, 2009 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE
August 9, 2010
This amicus brief was written to support the constitutionality of the Child Victims Act, when it was constitutionality was challenged on appeal by a Catholic high school. Issues include whether Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8145 is constitutional under the United States Constitution and whether Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8145 is constitutional under the Delaware Constitution. The final opinion is Sheehan v. Oblates of St. Francisde Sales, 15 A.3d 1247 (Del. 2011).
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE re. RAMANI v. SEGELSTEIN ET. AL. in CASE No. 49341 in the SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA
December 11, 2009
This amicus brief was written to support an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nevada, encouraging the court to apply various laws to institutions, like synagogues, where an individual was sexually abused by a cantor in a synagogue. Issues include whether laws of negligent hiring, supervision and retention apply to religious entities and individuals; whether religious organizations are immune from fiduciary laws; whether volunteers may be considered agents of a principal under agency law for the purpose of imposing liability on the principal; and whether religious organizations have a constitutional right to punish crime victims for reporting crimes committed to employees or volunteers to the authorities. The final opinion is Ramani v. Chabad of S. Nev., 373 P.3d 953 (Nev. 2011).