Teen Parents Battle Over Life Support for Baby Daughter

Legal Precedent Tangles Case of Baby on Life Support

Jada's case is now snarled because the courts can't decide which has jurisdiction to intervene between the fueding parents.

Leslie said a loophole was created from of a 2004 Ohio Supreme Court decision that ruled the very same probate court overstepped its boundaries when it intervened in the case of another infant, Aiden Stein, by appointing a guardian to remove the child from life support against the wishes of the boy's parents. The decision was quickly reversed and Aiden remains to this day on life support.

That left future cases, such as Jada's, open to question over which courts have the right to intervene in such cases involving a child, Leslie said.

Leslie said the probate court judge in Jada's case -- ironically, the same judge that presided over the Aiden Stein case -- is expected to make a decision on jurisdiction by the end of the week.

Only then can the rest of the legal wrangling begin, including what rights Jada's court-appointed guardian has and what rights Jones has considering he's a minor himself and the baby's mother is an adult.

"The jurisdictional issue is only the beginning," Leslie said, adding that between the custody dispute, criminal proceedings and and the life support battle, Jada's fate could hang in the balance for months, if not longer.

"It just seems to me that the court's not protecting the youngest and most innocent and most unable to stick up for their rights," she said. "It could go on for years and she could end up being like Aiden Stein."

Hawkins said she'd like to see the juvenile court settle the dispute, especially considering other legal disputes over Jada, including custody, will be handled there.

Though the county has custody of all three children, it does not have the authority to decide whether or not Jada should be removed from life support. Summit County Children's Services Executive Director John Saros said it is their belief that Jada's parents should be empowered to make that decision.

Children Showed 'Extreme' Abuse

Whether John Jones will be allowed to make decisions on behalf of his critically ill daughter has yet to be seen.

Because of his age, Hawkins said, he is unable to enter into legal contracts though he retains rights as a biological parent. Jones' legal guardian is his grandmother, but Hawkins said she has not approached her about signing legal documents pertaining to the children on her grandson's behalf.

"His mother and his grandmother are very supportive of his decision," Hawkins said, "and they believe he didn't do this."

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