Update: "Psychological Grandmother"
POSTED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 6:03pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 4:01pm
ALAMOGORDO, NM - A U.S. Supreme Court ruling could reverse an Alamogordo court decision regarding a strange custody battle.
Rosa Caje was ordered by an Alamogordo family court to let a woman named Mary Bruer visit her daughter Olivia. Bruer has no blood relation to Olivia, but Olivia and Caje once lived with Bruer for a few months. Because of that, a court named Bruer the "psychological grandmother" of the child. When Caje decided it was in her child's best interest to stop the visits Bruer took her to court and was granted full custody of Olivia. Wednesday Caje was arrested for refusing to hand her daughter over to Bruer.
Thursday Richard Araiza, one of our viewers, came forward to say he went through a similar custody fight and won. Now he wants to help Caje.
"She has the right to choose where her children go, who they see, whether or not they visit. It's the mothers right," he said.
Araiza is not a lawyer but he told us about Troxel v. Granville, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on 3rd party visitation rights to children. It's the case he used to win his custody fight. In the case a widow named Tommie Granville was taken to court by her in-laws under a Washington state statue that allowed courts to grant visitation rights to non-parents. The U.S. Supreme Court found that statute unconstitutional.
"The application of the Washington statute to Granville and her family violated her fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of her children," Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said at the time of the ruling.
"The judge ultimately decided in my favor because it was the law of the land, it is the law of the land, it's Supreme Court," Araiza said.
He now hopes Caje's lawyers can use the law to turn over Olivia's custody judgement which, based on Troxel v. Granville, appears to be unconstitutional.
Caje is still locked up in the Otero county jail on a five thousand dollar bond. we're told the custody hearing is set for may 13th.