http://www.ohio.com/news/90794674.htmlTeenaged parents, locked in a dispute over removing their infant daughter from life support, might learn this week whether a judge will intercede.
The father, John Jones, 17, sat across a courtroom table from the baby's mother, Deja Ruiz, 18, but the two barely made eye contact during a hearing Tuesday in Summit County Probate Court.
Jones is seeking a court injunction barring Ruiz from removing their 6-month-old daughter, Jada from life-support machines.
Jones appeared in court in handcuffs and escorted by sheriff's deputies. He is accused of inflicting injuries that have left his daughter with severe brain damage from shaken baby syndrome and fractures to her legs and arms.
Jada is unable to breathe on her own and is being treated at Akron Children's Hospital.
Attorneys for Jones and Ruiz contend it is the parents who should decide. Neither, however, has legal custody.
Jada, her twin sister and an older brother are in the temporary custody of Children Services. A plan is in the works to return the children to Ruiz, but that could take up to two years.
Jones is the father of all three children.
An attorney for Children Services told Spicer that the agency had no position on the life-support dispute. Akron attorney Nancy Flower, a court-appointed guardian for Jada, offered no opinion on the jurisdiction issue.
Akron police say Jones called 911 the morning of March 19 when he found the girl unresponsive. He was inside the family's Springdale Drive home with Jada, her twin, Jzmine, and their 2-year-old brother, Ty'shaun.
Ruiz was attending classes.
Prosecutors are trying to have Jones tried as an adult. Teodosio has scheduled hearings on that issue for May and June.
Ruiz said in an interview last week that doctors told family members if Jada is removed from life support, the infant's brain is so severely damaged, she would die.
Hawkins said the potential murder charges, which prosecutors could pursue if the child dies, play no role in Jones' life-support stance. The abuse case, she said, remains under investigation and other suspects are being considered.
http://www.ohio.com/news/top_stories/90331589.htmlRuiz and Jones had dated for three years, but were never married. The twin girls were born four months premature, according to police reports.
Jones, who was holding the infant when Akron officers arrived, told detectives that when he went to change Jada's diaper, the infant was unresponsive. She has been hospitalized ever since.
Officials say the girl is brain damaged from shaken baby syndrome and also has multiple fractures to her legs and arms.
Jzmine also had fractures to her legs. She has recovered, officials said.
That article also goes into a similar case and rulings from 2004.
http://www.fox8.com/news/wjw-news-ak...,4704136.storyPamella Hawkins, representing Jones, told the judge they do not support removal of Jada from life support. Attorneys for the mother say they support the removal of life support. A representative of the Summit County Prosecutor's Office told the court they could not take a position, as did a representative of Children Services.
Hawkins argues Summit County Juvenile Court, and not Judge Spicer, has exclusive jurisdiction in this case because Jones is currently charged as a juvenile. Judge Spicer says the juvenile court has told him they do not have jurisdiction. Despite her client being charged with felonious assault and felony child endangering, Hawkins said how the injuries occurred remains under investigation.
Children Services has filed for temporary custody of Jada and the couple's two other children. Hawkins told the jury that means it could be as long as two years before the process can return custody to either of the parents.
She said there is nothing in the juvenile court's language that speaks to the issue of the removal of life support.
Hawkins referred to the Aiden Stein case as a benchmark for such cases. However, because the father in this case is a juvenile, she said there are differences. Attorneys for the mother argued that because the child has not yet been legally determined to be an abused or neglected child, the juvenile court does not have jurisdiction.
Another major difference in this and the Stein case is that in the Stein case there were two parents who agreed. In this case, the parents disagree. Jones and Ruiz are also not married.
Attorneys for the mother say although the case deals with the decision to ultimately remove the child from life support, "the crux of the case is the health care of this child." Children services, she argued, is authorized and, in fact, mandated to provide health care for the child.
Jones' mother stood to tell the court she supports the decision to keep Jada on life support.
Nancy Flower, the attorney appointed by the juvenile court to represent Jada, also stood to tell the court that she had no position regarding the jurisdiction of the case.
A relative of Deja told the court she believes the doctors, and not the court, should make the decision.
What a mess! With a shell of a poor child in the middle...