U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court to Hear Army Sergeant's Bid for the Return of His Daughter


In an unusual summertime cert grant, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a U.S. Army’s sergeant’s bid for the return of his 5-year-old daughter, who is living in Scotland with his ex-wife.

At issue is whether an appeal becomes moot when a child returns to his or her home country in a case involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, SCOTUSblog reports.

A federal judge had ruled in October 2011 that Eris Chafin should return to Scotland with her mother, Lynne Chafin, after the woman visited Alabama in an unsuccessful effort to reunite with her husband, U.S. Army Sgt. Jeff Chafin, Reuters reports. The couple had married when Jeff Chafin was stationed in Germany. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Jeff Chafin’s appeal, saying the case was moot because Eris Chafin was already in Scotland.

Jeff Chafin told Fox4kc.com that he was “crying like a baby, jumping up and down for joy” when the Supreme Court granted cert last week. He said he visited Scotland more than three weeks ago, and his daughter wanted to come home with him. “She got in my suitcase and said, ‘Daddy, if I zip this suitcase up, I can go home with you,’ ” Jeff Chafin said.

The Supreme Court has not yet filled its December hearing schedule and could issue more cert grants Aug. 31, SCOTUSblog says. The case is Chafin v. Chafin.

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