The Associated Press announced today that a federal judge in Brazil overturned Judge Rafael Pinto's June 8th decision that Sean Goldman's biological father, U.S. citizen David Goldman, should have custody of his son six days a week whenever Goldman is in Brazil. The new ruling is that Sean must remain with Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, his Brazilian stepfather, until a federal court reaches a final decision on Sean's permanent custody.
Judge Pinto had ruled on June 1st that Sean was to be returned to the United States immediately. Incredibly, that decision was suspended by a Brazilian Supreme Court justice after a petition was filed by a political party. The argument was that removing Sean from his current family environment would cause him harm. How in the world can a political party have any standing to raise an argument in a court case involving individuals? Judge Pinto was angered by the stay in the proceedings and then issued his June 8th decision.
On June 10, Brazil's Supreme Court held that the decision on Sean's fate must be made by a Brazilian federal court. There is no indication how long that will take.
David Goldman's decision not to return to Brazil, based upon the uncertainty about whether he would really get to be with Sean, now seems fortuitous because he has just been stripped of the rights Judge Pinto gave him in short order.
The United States needs to make it clear to Brazil that our government will not tolerate the wrongful retention of U.S. children by Brazil. There are at least 64 children who have been abducted to Brazil by one parent and who are wrongfully retained there. Until Brazil is convinced that its failure and refusal to return children to their habitual residence is wrong, these children may never be returned.
Economic sanctions are one way to make the point with Brazil that refusal to honor its obligations under the Hague Convention will not be tolerated. CLICK HERE to review H.R. 2702, proposed legislation that would suspend Brazil's "favored nation" status with respect to trade with the U.S. CLICK HERE to contact your state legislators and ask them to co-sponsor and support this legislation. Help www.bringseanhome.org by supporting this proposed legislation.
See also New Jersey U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, who on C-Span on June 10th discussed his amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which would ensure other nations comply with international child abduction agreements.
The AP report Boy should stay with Brazilian stepfather is found here.