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May 29, 2002
Marsh v. Bellanca
Based on anonymous tip, officials enter home without consent

Filed: February 1, 2001, Riverside County.

Nature of Case: A social worker visited a member father in Riverside, California, and advised that he was investigating child neglect and abuse because the son was not registered in public school, even though it was July 20, 2000, and school was not in session. The father explained that his son was enrolled in a private school. The social worker admitted that his investigation was based on an anonymous report.

Nevertheless, the worker insisted that he needed to interview the child. The father objected, but the two uniformed officers accompanying the worker pushed their way past him and entered the house. Mr. Marsh advised the officers that they had entered against his will and that he was going to contact his attorney. The social worker inspected the child's sleeping quarters and then interviewed the child out of the presence of the father. Mr. Marsh gave the social worker the name and phone of the private school, as well as his birth date and that of his wife. The officials left, but indicated that the investigation may not be over.

Status: On May 10, 2002, the parties reached a settlement agreement.

Last Updated: May 29, 2002.