Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Court to Brazilian Family: Child to be Relinquished to U.S. Dad by Thursday Morning

"Court orders Brazilian family to relinquish boy"

"A federal court has ordered a Brazilian family to turn over a 9-year-old boy to his U.S. father by Thursday morning.

The regional court in Rio de Janeiro issued a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing the order.

The ruling gives the family until 9 a.m. (6 a.m. ET; 1100 GMT) Thursday to relinquish the boy to his father, David Goldman.

Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, won a big legal victory late Tuesday when Brazil's chief justice upheld a lower court's ruling that ordered his son, Sean, returned to him. The boy has lived in Brazil since Goldman's ex-wife took him to her native country in 2004. Last year she died in childbirth...

Goldman's lawyers were finalizing legal documents Wednesday morning and were fully expecting that the Brazilian family would turn over Sean as ordered, said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Orna Blum, who is accompanying Goldman in Rio.

'We're hopeful that David and Sean will be reunited today,' Blum said.

There has been no word from the Brazilian family or its lawyer, however, and it is not clear if the boy is even in Rio de Janeiro.

Lawyers on both sides have said there was still a chance for the Brazilian family to appeal to Brazil's highest appeals court, though the chances of success seemed slight...

The fact that the chief justice ruled Sean should be with his father should take the steam out of any appeal from the Brazilian stepfather, himself a lawyer from a prominent family of Rio de Janeiro attorneys, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith...said law enforcement was on guard in case the Brazilian family did not transfer Sean. He said the international police agency Interpol had been notified to make sure Sean was not flown out of Brazil.

'When? When? When will Sean and I be able to go home, father and son?' Goldman asked in an interview aired Wednesday morning on the U.S. television network NBC.

Goldman, who has made more than 10 trips to Brazil in recent years, has said that until he is on a plane with his son heading to the U.S., he will not be convinced his battle is over.

Both the U.S. and Brazilian governments have said the matter clearly fell under the Hague Convention, which seeks to ensure that custody decisions are made by the courts in the country where a child originally lived — in this case, the United States...

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva...has said he would not intervene in the case, that it was purely a matter for Brazil's legal system."

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