Deshaney V. Winnebago Case Analysis

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An Analysis of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services
Randy DeShaney, father of Joshua DeShaney, spent more time beating his four-year-old son than he did in prison. (Reidinger 49) Joshua’s mother, Melody DeShaney, sued the Winnebago County Department of Social Services alleging that they had deprived her son of his Fourteenth Amendment right. In order to understand the DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services Supreme Court case one must establish the history, examine the case, and explain the future impacts.
Establishing the history of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services helps one to better understand the case. In 1980, Randy and Melody DeShaney were granted a divorce, and Randy DeShaney was granted custody of their one-year-old
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Winnebago County Social Services helps one to recognize the influence it will have on future cases. Randy DeShaney was sent to jail for his actions; however, his time spent in jail was relatively short. Melody DeShaney was granted custody of Joshua, who now suffers permanent brain damage. In 1986 the number of child abuse cases reported doubled. (“The Battered Child” 7) Five years later, in Daniels v. Williams, the Court considered Joshua’s case when deciding, "to the extent that it states that mere lack of due care by a state official may 'deprive ' an individual of life, liberty, or property under the Fourteenth Amendment." (DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services) In Davidson v. Cannon, a case heard immediately after Daniels, the Court reiterated its newfound belief that "where a government official is merely negligent in causing the injury, no procedure for compensation is constitutionally required." (The Battered Child 8) The future impacts of Joshua DeShaney’s case will last a long time, and effect many future cases.
In conclusion, after contemplating the cases’ distinctive historical background, the sharply divided arguments that prompted the courts’ ruling, and the wide-reaching impact of that ruling, it is evident that this case was a turning point in American history. Despite differing opinions, the Supreme Court stuck to the Constitution in their decision that the government is not responsible for protecting children from their

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