This article appeared in the Fall 2009 CLINIC NEWS.
Clinical Law Student Mitch Brown ’09 and Urban Legal Clinic (ULC) Professor Jack Feinstein recently were recognized by the New Jersey Chapter of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for their exceptional work reuniting a mother and her young son. During the summer of 2007, T.B., the mother of a seven-year-old boy, allowed her son to visit his father in Colorado based upon the father’s promise to return the child at the end of the summer. When the end of summer arrived, the father refused to return the child, but said he would do so at the end of the following summer, in August 2008. The child never was returned to T.B.’s care.
For the year the child resided in Colorado, the mother spoke to him daily. However, after the summer of 2008, the father changed his telephone numbers and T.B. lost all contact with her son. She then traveled to the Colorado address she had for the father to find her son, but the father had vacated the residence and she had no idea where to find them.
|The New Jersey Chapter of NCMEC honored Mitch Brown ’09 and Clinical Professor Jack Feinstein for their success in reuniting a mother with her young son.|
Appearing pro se, T.B. obtained a court order in New Jersey mandating the father to return her son. Eventually she obtained a warrant in New Jersey for the father’s arrest. Since the orders could not be enforced without knowing the father’s whereabouts, T.B. found herself at a dead end. She then came to the ULC for help.
Mitch traced the whereabouts of the father through a detective agency and found an address for him in Elizabeth, NJ, where he was listed as living with his sister. Mitch persuaded the Elizabeth police to go to the sister’s house to enforce the warrant and court order. Unfortunately, the police did not find the father, and the sister claimed she did not know where he was. After the police left the sister’s house, T.B. received a telephone call from the father stating that she would never find him.
Mitch called the detective agency again and had them perform motor vehicle and mail forwarding searches, which resulted in the location of a new Denver, CO address for the father. He then contacted the local Colorado school district and succeeded in confirming the boy’s attendance at a particular school there. Working with the NCMEC, Mitch contacted a leading matrimonial law firm in Denver and convinced one of the partners to represent T.B. pro bono. Mitch then arranged transportation for the client to travel round-trip to Colorado and for her son to return to New Jersey. The next day, T.B. was reunited with her son, with whom she had had no contact in more than one year. Shortly thereafter, they returned to New Jersey together.