Thursday, July 13, 2000

Ohio Supreme Court gets Justin case

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Aug. 22 in the two-state custody battle over 3-year-old Justin, who was born to Covington, Ky., parents and now lives with a Girard, Ohio, couple wanting to adopt him.

        Attorneys will focus on whether Ohio or Kentucky should handle the case.

        An Ohio Probate Court judge already has ruled that Ohio should have jurisdiction, siding in favor of Rich and Cheryl Asente of Ohio.

        Ohio's 11th District Court of Appeals reversed that decision after the biological parents, Regina Moore and Jerry Dorning, filed an appeal. In Kentucky, oral arguments are set for Aug. 2 before the Court of Appeals in Louisville.

        Appellate judges will debate Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe's 1999 ruling that Justin should be returned to Ms. Moore and Mr. Dorning. Judge Summe has said they did not make an informed decision when they let Justin go live with the Asentes.

        Attorneys on both sides already have said they might take the case to the federal court system if it cannot be resolved in Kentucky and Ohio.


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