Parents sue City of Waltham for illegally seizing their children
May 02, 2023
Waltham, Mass.; May 02, 2023: Today, Joshua Sabey and Sarah Perkins filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Waltham and the public officers who seized their children in the middle of the night without a legal search warrant.
“The government cannot show up under the cover of night and take your children without a warrant or a reasonable belief a child is in imminent danger,” said Joshua Thompson, senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “Parents should be able to sleep without wondering if the government is going to take their kids in violation of constitutional guarantees.”
When Sarah brought their three-month-old son Cal to the emergency room for a fever, doctors discovered an older, healed fracture on one of Cal’s ribs. Hospital staff notified the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), which opened a child abuse investigation.
Three days later, around 1 a.m., DCF workers and Waltham police officers showed up at Josh and Sarah’s home without a warrant, which is required by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The police threatened to break down the door if they didn’t turn over Cal and his three-year-old brother Clarence to be taken to a foster home. Josh and Sarah complied, and after a heart-wrenching four months, the government restored their full parental rights and cleared them of any wrongdoing.
Now, Josh and Sarah are fighting back with a federal lawsuit against the city, the agency and the public officers who unlawfully seized their children, so that no other family has to endure the same unnecessary, unlawful trauma.
The case is Joshua Sabey, et al. v. City of Waltham, Massachusetts, et al. Josh and Sarah are represented free of charge by Pacific Legal Foundation.
Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.