Michigan children released from detention in custody case
A Michigan judge released three siblings from juvenile detention on Friday two weeks after she sent them there for defying her order that they have lunch with their father when he was visiting from Israel, ABC affiliate WXYZ reported.
At an emergency hearing, Judge Lisa Gorcyca said the children – whose parents have been involved in a custody battle for more than four years – could leave detention and attend a camp for the rest of the summer.
She had earlier found the children, ages 9, 10 and 14, in contempt of court when they told her they did not want to meet with their father.
They live with their mother in Bloomfield Hills, a suburb of Detroit, and the judge placed them at Mandy’s Place, which houses children removed from their parents’ homes to be protected. The children were not housed with juveniles convicted of crimes or awaiting court hearings.
A court-appointed attorney for the children and the father’s attorney had petitioned the court for different conditions from the county juvenile facility, local media reported.
“We’re happy with the outcome today, the kids are out of Mandy’s Place, they are going to enjoy a camp program,” Linda Stern, an attorney for the mother, told reporters.
“Love comes with love. You can’t terrorize someone to love, you can’t force someone to love,” the mother told reporters after the hearing.
For five years the courts have been working to build a relationship between the children and their father. The mother has said she fears her ex-husband would harm the children or kidnap them, the Detroit News reported.
Attorneys for the father, and the judge, have said the mother has damaged the children and influenced them to resist therapy and efforts to reconcile them with their father, the Detroit News said.
(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Eric Beech)