The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari review in M.L. v. Department of Children and Families

The United States Supreme Court has denied certiorari in M.L. v. Department of
Children and Families. The high court declined to review the Fourth District’s ruling that
M.L. had waited too long to assert his rights. In his petition, the putative father argued
that his due process rights had been violated by application of the Florida paternity
statutes and the case law interpreting them. He was joined in that argument by
Florida’s Children First, The National Center on Adoption and Permanency, The North
American Council on Adoptable Children, The Children’s Law Center of Minnesota,
Kansas Appleseed, The Youth Law Center, Advocates for Children and Youth, and
Attorney Richard F. Joyce as amici curiae. The amicus brief argued for due process
rights not only for “a natural father who is actively seeking to prove his fitness to have a
relationship with his child” but for “all parents” as well, suggesting biological parents
must have notice and an opportunity to be heard regardless of the relationship they
have with their children or the steps they have taken to establish the relationship with
their child. The Guardian ad Litem Program filed the sole response, arguing that
heightened due process requirements for putative fathers was neither constitutionally
required nor in the best interests of children-J.L. in particular. The high court’s rejection
of the petitioner’s writ and the argument from the amici paved the way for his adoption.
M.L. v. Dep’t of Children & Fams., 227 So. 3d 142, 146 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017), certiorari
denied, 2017 WL 6271691, U.S.Fla., Dec. 11, 2017


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