"Seeking parental consent is simply not a safe or viable option when the suspected abuser is a parent. Obtaining a warrant based on speculations and hearsay -- without interviewing the child -- may be impossible or inadvisable because development of probable cause often depends upon the victim who may be the sole witness to the suspected crime."
The Obama administration filed a brief in support of Camreta, asking the court to vacate the lower court decision finding that the warrant or consent was necessary.
"That requirement," writes Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, "threatens to eliminate an essential tool for the detection and prevention of child abuse." Twenty-seven states have filed a petition on behalf of Camreta, saying that the lower court decision will hamper the states' ability to investigate child abuse allegations "effectively and sensitively."
But lawyers for Sarah Greene say that the government's interest in detecting child abuse should be balanced against an interest in obtaining accurate results from investigations, minimizing the trauma to children and keeping families together.
"To a nine-year-old girl, being confined behind closed doors for two hours with two male strangers, one of whom is armed, while being grilled repeatedly about intimate details of her relationship with her father, without explanation of the reason for the interrogation or when it will end, is a severe intrusion on her liberty, whether it happens at school or elsewhere."