Missouri high court refuses to weigh in on adoption case

Monday, December 30, 2013

In the last legal case stemming from the May 22, 2007 raid by federal agents on the George's Inc. processing plant in Butterfield, the Missouri Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of a mother whose child adopted out of her custody while she faced charges as an illegal immigrant.

Encarnacion M. Bail Romero was one of more than 100 employees of George's who were arrested on May 22, 2007, by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), along with those from the Social Security Office of Inspector General.

Romero, a citizen of Guatemala, filed an appeal with the Missouri Supreme Court over a 2008 decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals that approved the adoption of her son by a Carthage couple, Seth and Melinda Moser.

At the time of her arrest, Romero's son, who was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen, was being cared for by other members of Romero's family. The appeals court, in its ruling, stated Romero's family members approached the Mosers to help care for the child.

The Mosers have had custody of the boy, now 7, since he was about 1 year old. Romero has sought custody since her release from jail.

The appeals court initially declared the lower-court did not have the authority to grant adoption custody. The Missouri Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in 2010.

The appeals court determined the mother's parental rights were terminated due to her failure to maintain contact with her son while she was in jail for two years. In a decision based on the mother's history as a parent, the Missouri Supreme Court refused to intervene.

No decision has been made about other legal options, said William Fleischaker, one of several attorneys who volunteered to represent Romero. Future appeals would have to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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