Although the transcript for the show-cause hearing in the case of A'anya Cantley is a public record, we had a heckuva time getting it from, you know, the courthouse.
While Child Protective Services policy forbids the agency from directly handing out public records, CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin said she would be able to read portions of the transcript over the phone.
So, even though public records were withheld in a case where a Family Court judge returned a burned and battered 20-month old to her mom and boyfriend, we felt the public still might be interested. We typed feverishly as Olguin read snippets.
Questions from Myrna Slack-Wilson — the children's appointed attorney — to CPS caseworker Julia Ceaser...
Myrna Slack-Wilson: "With respect to you removing the children from mom, what is the danger that the child would have in mom's custody?"
CPS: "Because it's unknown how the child received the injuries to her [thumb]."
Wilson: "So if it's unknown, then you don't have anything against mom, is that correct?"
CPS: "It could be the mom."
Wilson: "Objection, non-responsive...Do you have anything specific [evidence] against mom?"
CPS: "No. Nothing specific."
Questions from CPS's attorney, Sumter Frazier, to Ceaser:
Frazier: "Where was the mother at the time of the inury [boiling water burns], do you know?"
CPS: "The mother was not home."
Frazier: "OK. She was left with the boyfriend, is that correct?"
CPS: "That's correct."
Frazier: "OK, now do you have concerns about physical abuse, and if so, tell the court what."
CPS: "Yes, physical abuse on the child, being disciplined."
Frazier: "In other words the beltloops on the back, the bruises?"
CPS: "The belt loops on the back."
Frazier: "Do you feel like it would be dangerous if the child were returned to the mother and [boyfriend] at the present time?"
CPS: "That's correct."
Judge Jim York to A'anya's mother, Keeshauner Cantley
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York: "CPS will have custody, but placement is with the mother by order of the court and services will be provided....They have custody — you have possession....in no event is Carl Robinson to be present at any time.... And you're to cooperate with CPS."
York: "Fully and completely, alright?"
Wilson: "Thank you, your honor."
Just over a month later, A'anya was dead.
Read Craig Malisow's breaking coverage of this story here.