The Parent Trap: Rebalancing Parallel Enforcement Between Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement
At the intersection of family and criminal law, the logic of parallel enforcement enables the state, in the form of child protective services and law enforcement, to investigate and seek sanctions for the same underlying conduct in family court and the criminal justice system, respectively. But while that abstract rationale justifies the dual-enforcement regime, there is a different reality on the ground, where the systems frequently borrow from each other, collectively strengthening them. In the context of poverty-related neglect cases, this level of state intervention is often misplaced. At the same time, the government may find its hands tied in far more serious cases of child abuse, in which the nonoffending caregiver may exercise a veto over the prosecution by refusing to cooperate. This Comment rejects certain stereotypes about these caregivers—often mothers—and instead identifies the understandable lack of clarity with respect to the family and criminal systems as a barrier to justice. The Comment uses New York law and procedure as a case study for exploring and disentangling the two systems. First, it proposes reducing the use of criminal sanctions in the neglect context. Second, it suggests the use of formal agreements that clarify the roles of the child protective and criminal systems as a way to gain the cooperation of nonoffending caregivers in the criminal prosecution of child abuse. Finally, it demonstrates how these proposals comply with existing law and may be scaled up across the United States. By rebalancing the enforcement dynamic, the state can more effectively protect child welfare and support family unity.
Expungement relief was introduced in the mid-twentieth century to reward and incentivize rehabilitation for arrestees and ex-offenders and to protect their privacy. Recently, many states have broadened their expungement remedies, and those remedies remain useful given the negative effects of public criminal records on reentry. But recent scholarship has suggested an “uptake gap,” meaning many who are eligible never obtain relief. Despite broadening eligibility, petitioners face substantial obstacles to filing, pre-hearing hurdles, waiting periods, and difficult standards of review without the assistance of counsel. And even when expungement is granted, the recipients are basically left on their own to guarantee the efficacy of the remedy. Some of these attributes of expungement were originally conceived as features, designed to ensure only the most rehabilitated received relief, allowing the state to continue to pursue public safety objectives with public criminal records. But the cold reality of expungement procedure leaves many petitioners facing insurmountable obstacles that amplify the effects of the punishment originally imposed.
After paying for sex, the man was not charged with prostitution or solicitation: in fact, he was not charged at all. On the contrary, police paid him a total of $180 for the time he spent receiving oral stimulation and engaging in sexual intercourse with the female employees. The man discussed the sexual encounters with police, who laughed and joked with him on multiple occasions about the acts.