By The Vanguard Staff
AUSTIN, TX – An amicus brief was filed this week by criminal justice leaders in the Court of Appeals for the Third District of Texas at Austin in Jane Doe v. Greg Abbott, supporting efforts to “block the State of Texas from prosecuting and criminalizing parents who seek gender-affirming care for their transgender children.”
The group of 100 criminal justice leaders from around the country are “Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s directive to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate, and potentially prosecute, these parents for child abuse – and to involve medical professionals, others who care for children and even members of the general public in this mandate – will result in grave harm to already vulnerable young people.”
The brief adds “these divisive and deeply troubling policies erode public trust in the integrity of the justice system, and thereby inhibit the ability of law enforcement to keep communities safe.”
“It is unthinkable that any elected official would use limited resources to go after trans children and the families and medical professionals who love and care for them,” said Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution, the organizer of the brief, and a former federal prosecutor.
“All trans people should be able to live as their most authentic selves without the government attacking and even criminalizing their very existence. If allowed to move forward, this cruel directive will tear apart families and put children at risk for no reason other than to sow division and distract from the very real issues facing this state and our nation. This pointless and unnecessary use of resources will undermine trust in the rule of law, which is essential to promoting public safety,” Krinsky noted.
“Our criminal legal system should not be weaponized to target families who seek medically approved and often life-saving healthcare for their children. This will only erode trust in government and undermine faith in the rule of law,” said former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, a signatory to the brief.
The amicus brief argues, “Appellants have interjected the government into the personal healthcare decisions of some of the state’s most vulnerable youth, punishing parents who follow the medical guidance of qualified professionals in seeking care for their children.
“Appellants’ policies and the resulting investigations have no basis in public health and will inevitably lead to children not getting life-sustaining medical care. And if these policies are ultimately allowed to stand, the public will lose confidence that the law exists to safeguard society, and trust in legal authorities and government agencies will necessarily suffer.”
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, a former judge, said, “As an elected prosecutor, I have been entrusted by my community to promote justice and public safety, so I will not stand by while the governor of my state attacks parents simply for loving and supporting their children. Our government should be invested in building trust with the people we serve. Attacking an already vulnerable population will only threaten trust in government and make us all less safe.”
“When people see the government wield its power to cruelly and unnecessarily target parents for loving their children, they are unlikely to trust law enforcement to protect them and act in their best interest, which only makes it harder for law enforcement and prosecutors to keep communities safe,” said Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), N.C. Sheriff Garry L. McFadden, another signatory to the brief.
Signatories include Texas District and County Attorneys John Creuzot (Dallas County), Delia Garza (Travis County Attorney), José Garza (Travis County DA), Joe Gonzales (Bexar County), Mark Gonzalez (Nueces County), Christian D. Menefee (Harris County) and Brian Middleton (Fort Bend County); Attorneys General Leevin Camacho (Guam), Keith Ellison (Minnesota), Kathy Jennings (Delaware), Karl A. Racine (District of Columbia) and Kwame Raoul (Illinois); current law enforcement leaders including Chief Abdul D. Pridgen (San Leandro, Calif.) and Sheriffs Jerry L. Clayton (Washtenaw County, Mich.), Kristin Graziano (Charleston County, S.C.), Garry L. McFadden (Mecklenburg County, N.C.), Charmaine McGuffey (Hamilton County, Ohio) and Steven Tompkins (Suffolk County, Mass.); former Police Chiefs Richard Biehl, RaShall Brackney, Joseph Brann, Jim Bueermann, Brendan Cox, Norm Stamper, Darrel Stephens and Scott Thomson; former U.S. Attorneys Barbara McQuade and Joyce Vance; and former judges Nancy Gertner (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts), Howard Matz (U.S. District Court, Central District of California) and William Royal Furgeson, Jr. (U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas), among others.
The amicus brief was prepared with the assistance and representation of R. Alan York and Omar J. Alaniz from Reed Smith LLP and Martha L. Fitzgerald, Amalia Y. Sax-Bolder and Craig M. Finger from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP.