A court official was asked to remove a Detroit child from her home, but turned down the state’s request because he believed there was no immediate danger. This was just weeks before she was fatally stabbed.
Richard Smart, a referee in the family division of Wayne County Circuit Court said:
“They’re in no more danger today than they were yesterday. And no one came to court yesterday to ask for the children to be removed.”
Smart was of course referring to Tameria Greene and her four siblings. On Sunday eight-year-old Tameria was fatally stabbed at home. 26-year-old Semeria Greene, her mother, has been charged with the murder.
Responding to a 911 call, Detroit police found Tameria Greene unresponsive early Sunday morning on the floor of the apartment. According to CBS News, the girl had been stabbed in the chest and was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.
The detailed petition given to Smart alleged that Tameria had been bitten by her mother in several places. The agency reported evidence of serious abuse. He warned her that the Department of Human Services could return with an emergency petition in an attempt to remove the children.
Smart had said:
“I think it would be injurious to the children to have them snatched in the middle of the night, which is, of course, their ability to do so.”
Says the Huffington Post, Smart told the department that it could appeal his decision, but the state turned it down. Instead, the removal request was moved to a January trial. Agency spokesman David Akerly said of appeals:
“It’s generally not done. It’s not successful. The referee had signed off on this. It’s highly unlikely you’re going to get that changed or overturned. It’s just not the norm.”
The department has defended its work on the case. Officials disclosed Friday that the court had been closed on November 15 when caseworkers first tried to file the petition. It was then rejected because of minor errors before finally being accepted on November 21, two days before the hearing.
Director Maura Corrigan said:
“We will continue to investigate our own involvement with this case in its entirety, by way of a comprehensive review by our Office of Family Advocate.”
The mother, Semeria Greene, is being held without bond. She faces life in prison without parole if convicted of felony murder.