Jackson family at Maj. John Jackson’s promotion ceremony.
The New Jersey Superior Court in Morris County has placed a gag order on the parties involved in the state’s Division of Youth and Family Services case against Christian homeschooling parents John and Carolyn Jackson.
As reported yesterday by WND, DYFS took the five Jackson children away from their parents on April 16, 2010, citing an imminent danger to the children after the youngest, 2-year-old Chaya, was hospitalized. The parents have been fighting in court to regain custody.
According to a source who asked not to be named, the judge hearing the case, Michael Paul Wright, imposed the gag order Wednesday afternoon upon the request of DYFS.
WND called DYFS to inquire about the case early Wednesday afternoon and posted a news story on the WND website early Thursday morning.
Army Maj. John Jackson confirmed to WND today that he is under a gag order and is no longer allowed to talk to the media about the case.
“Typically, one of the parties would motion the court to impose a gag order,” said N.J. attorney William Baer. “In this case, considering the Jacksons were openly speaking to the press, it would seem plausible that the motion originated with DYFS. This case has been going on since last spring, with, to my knowledge, no imposed restrictions on communications. So, why was this gag order issued now? Was it in response to a reporter recently asking questions of DYFS regarding this case? Seems very likely to me.
“In cases involving minors, courts are inclined to defer to DYFS, which ostensibly is protecting the interests of the children. We must also keep in mind that both DYFS and the courts are essentially agents of the state.”
WND’s calls to the Morristown County Courthouse went unreturned.
Another attorney, Leigh-Ann Bellew, observed that getting information about such cases is difficult if the parties aren’t allowed to speak.
“The problem is that family court is not open to the public, for the protection of minors,” Bellew told WND.
A DYFS spokesman again declined to comment, citing confidentiality rules.
“We’re not even allowed to say if we’re involved in a case with a particular family.”
The Jacksons also spoke about the case with another news website, the Tea Party Daily News, which posted a story about the case Jan. 10.
The unnamed source described the Jacksons as a “wonderful, loving, caring family. The children are normal, happy and, except for Chaya, healthy.”
“To immediately withdraw the children from the home without any evidence of wrongdoing is devastating and frightening. If it could happen to this family, it could happen to anybody.
“There’s been no justice here,” the source added. “They’ve been deprived of their right to a speedy trial.”
The Jacksons are scheduled to present their defense to the court Monday and Tuesday, nine months after the custody battle began.