If you have requested a pending administrative appeal from your placement on the Georgia Child Abuse Registry, you need to familiarize yourself with the Steiner case pending before the Georgia Supreme Court.
The basic facts of Steiner are as follows:
In January 2017, DFACS sent a letter to Steiner informing him his name was being entered into the Georgia Child Abuse Registry based on its determination that he had committed child abuse. Steiner filed a written constitutional challenge and argued it before the Administrative Law Judge. The judge denied the constitutional challenge. Following a second hearing, the judge found that DFACS had substantiated a case of alleged sexual abuse against Steiner, concluding that “the facts of this case show that Petitioner dry humped K.S., a…minor child, two times.” Steiner appealed to the Lamar County Superior Court, which reversed the Administrative Law Judge’s findings and ordered that Steiner’s name be stricken from the Registry. The trial court judge ruled that DFACS had failed to prove an act of child abuse by a preponderance of the evidence, the Registry had violated Steiner’s due process rights by providing insufficient notice, and the Registry was unconstitutional under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and parallel provisions of the Georgia Constitution. DFACS now appeals to the Georgia Supreme Court.
The answer to this questions is very simple: ask for a stay or continuance of your case based upon Steiner. There is no reason why you would go forward with a registry hearing (unless the Judge refuses the stay or continuance) while Steiner is pending. Here is a sample motion for stay or continuance of a Child Abuse Registry hearing:
MOTION FOR STAY OR CONTINUANCE
Come Now, the Petitioners in the above-styled case, by and through the undersigned counsel of record, and move this Honorable Court to stay or continue their cases until the Georgia Supreme Court renders its opinion in Georgia Department of Human Services v. Steiner, Case No. S18A0281. Steiner was orally argued on February 12, 2018. The issues raised in Steiner, if decided in favor of the appellee, will be dispositive of the Petitioners cases here.
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