From: Connecticut DCF Wat
Sent: Sunday, April 02, 2006 4:54 PM\
Subject: [Parents Without Rights] BIG WIN FOR PARENTS - 2.6 Million Awarded in
unlawful removal of child in Sacramento, CA.
A federal jury in Sacramento returned a verdict of $2.6 million on Friday against
two detectives and the City of Stockton following a four-day trial. The eight member jury
found that the detectives and the City of Stockton violated the constitutional rights of a
then four years old, and her father when they took the child into protective custody
without a warrant.
The suit was brought by Crystal Keller and her father, Dennis Keller of Fair Oaks.
After Crystals parents separated, a court awarded them joint custody. Crystal spent
alternating weeks in each parents home.
In July, 2002, Stockton police received a complaint that Crystal was being abused
in her mothers home in Stockton. Officer Ernie Alverson responded to the complaint.
Concerned for Crystals welfare, he told the father to keep Crystal even though she
due to return to the mother. Alverson told Mr. Keller that he would be contacted by the
Stockton police department family crimes unit.
Alversons report was forwarded to Sergeant Ken Praegitzer who assigned the
case to Detective Kathryn Henderson. Two days later, Henderson with Praegitzers
approval went to Sacramento with officer Takada and removed Crystal from his daycare
placing her in protective custody just three days before her fifth birthday. It was
officer Takada threatened the day care provider with arrest if she did not turn over
In a report explaining why Crystal was removed, Detective Henderson said that
the father was in violation of the custody order by keeping Crystal when the mother was
supposed to have her. At trial, the Kellers argued that Henderson was not enforcing the
custody order when she took Crystal away from both parents and that Henderson could
have gotten an emergency protective order to change custody while the allegations
against the mother were investigated.
The jury found that Crystal was not in danger of physical abuse and that the
officers violated the Kellers rights by not getting a warrant. The jury also ruled
the City of Stockton for not having a policy to protect children from lawless seizures.
A statement from the father after the jury delivered its decision, was that it was with
from friends and American Family Rights Association that was of great help in
understanding the system.
But when all was said and done, Mr. Keller hopes that this case will set a presidence for
the use of
warrants to remove children, and to train the Police officers how, when, and why they need
to be used.
In a blistering forty five minute long final argument from David Beauvais, the Stockton
was described as being a bunch of "lawless police." Judge Karlton implied that
he would not reduce the
amount of the award, and he felt that whatever award that Dennis and Crystal received, was
fair and just.
The jury assessed punitive damages of $2 million against the detectives saying
they acted with deliberate indifference to the Kellers constitutional rights.
Soon there after, the skies opened up with rain, thunder, and lightening as Shelly Green
attorney for the
police was seen walking away in tears.
In 2004, a court awarded Dennis Keller full custody of his daughter.
For further information, you may contact David Beauvais, the Kellers attorney at