A woman recently released after being convicted of abusing her baby to the point of brain damage wants her little girl back.
It may sound unlikely, but the Department of Children's Services has apparently broken with policy and is on the side of re-unification. That led to a fiery court battle Wednesday.
When Jessica Jozens got out of jail this year she immediately went into parenting classes. She had been separated from her daughter for four years and wanted her back. That may sound touching, but this is also a woman who never took her baby to a doctor and never had her child receive a single vaccination.
And the baby was beaten so badly she has permanent brain damage.
Jozens was convicted of felony child abuse, so she sat quietly Wednesday and let DCS do the talking as Assistant District Attorney Brian Holmgren, a nationally recognized child abuse prosecutor, asked tough questions.
"What is it that allows you to walk into this courtroom and say the findings made by 12 citizens beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Jozens is guilty of these crimes permits you then to disregard that and essentially say she's not guilty, because she didn't confess?" Holmgren said.
"I just go from reading the history charts and observing Ms. Jozens. That's the only answer I can give," said DCS caseworker Diana Satcher.
Jozens' DCS team believes that Jozens did not abuse the child, rather, that her boyfriend did.
But Holmgren said that's nonsense and her felony conviction rules her out of custody for any child, much less the victim.
"By policy, the department would never put a child in a home where Ms. Jozens is residing. And yet, here, your agency is advocating placing the very victim of her crimes back in her care," Holmgren said.
Holmgren argued that this was not in the best interest of the child but that this is in the best interest of DCS saving money.
Judge Monte Watkins decided it was still too soon for Jozens to have unsupervised visits with the child. He said he would hear the case again once she is off probation, which will come in December.
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