Charges dismissed against ill Detroit mother

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Charges were dismissed Wednesday against Maryanne Godboldo, the Detroit mother involved in a five-year court battle stemming from criminal charges leveled against her for refusing to give her disabled daughter anti-psychotic drugs.

Judge Ronald Giles of the 36th District Court dismissed the charges against Godboldo, who has been ill. Supporters say she has been unresponsive since suffering an aneurysm several months ago.

“This is bittersweet,” said Godboldo’s attorney, Byron Pitts, Wednesday. He said the prosecutor’s office agreed to drop the charges against Godboldo due to her “severe medical emergency,” adding it was a “shame” that it took her illness for the charges to be dropped.

Pitts said the case against Godboldo were politically motivated.

“Politics kept this case going,” said Pitts. “This was a travesty and a disaster.”

Godboldo has become the symbol of what advocates consider a parent’s right to refuse prescription medication and other medical treatment they deem unsafe or unnecessary for the child.

“The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the charges today because it has been determined that Ms. Godboldo is not expected to gain competency to stand trial,” said Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Last year, the Michigan Supreme Court dealt a blow to Godboldo and her lawyers in their efforts to have charges dropped against her.

In a ruling last May, the court denied a motion to hear an appeal of a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals in January 2016 to uphold criminal charges against Godboldo, who was arrested after police tried to remove her 13-year-old daughter with special needs from their west-side home in March 2011. Godboldo said she was trying to protect her child from being administered medication, namely Risperdal, that she felt had harmful side effects, her attorneys said.

Godboldo was charged with illegally resisting and assaulting police by allegedly firing a shot at officers. She has become an international figure for parents’ rights not to be forced to medicate their children.

The case was sent back to the lower court and was before Giles, who dismissed the charges Wednesday.

Giles had tossed out the charges previously as well as a Wayne Circuit Court judge. Both judges had ruled the case had no merit. Godboldo never has gone to trial in the matter.

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