Baltimore City Department of Social Services v. Bouknight

PETITIONER: Baltimore City Department of Social Services
RESPONDENT: Bouknight
LOCATION: Congress

DOCKET NO.: 88-1182
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: Maryland Court of Appeals

CITATION: 493 US 549 (1990)
ARGUED: Nov 07, 1989
DECIDED: Feb 20, 1990

ADVOCATES:
George E. Burns, Jr. - on behalf of the Respondent
Mitchell Y. Mirviss - on behalf of the Petitioner in No. 88-6651
Ralph S. Tyler, III - on behalf of the Petitioner in No. 88-1182

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Baltimore City Department of Social Services v. Bouknight

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 07, 1989 in Baltimore City Department of Social Services v. Bouknight

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 20, 1990 in Baltimore City Department of Social Services v. Bouknight

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 88-1182, Baltimore City Department of Social Services versus Bouknight will be announced by Justice O’Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

These cases come to this Court on writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

They concern the State’s efforts to protect the petitioner, Maurice M., a young child with a sad history of abuse and neglect, by seeking to have the respondent, Maurice’s mother, produce the child.

The respondent, entrusted with Maurice’s care subject to the conditions of a court order, asserted that the Fifth Amendment entitled her to resist the production order.

The Court of Appeals of Maryland agreed.

In the opinion filed today, we hold that respondent may not invoke the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination to resist producing Maurice.

The State demands production as part of a generally applicable regulatory regime constructed to affect the State’s public purposes which are unrelated to criminal law enforcement.

The respondent, by agreeing to care for the child pursuant to the order’s conditions, has accepted the corresponding obligation to permit the State access to the child.

We leave open the possibility that the Fifth Amendment may limit the State’s use and subsequent criminal proceedings, if any, of testimonial aspects of any act of production.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals of Maryland is reversed and the cases are remanded to that court for further proceedings not inconsistent with our opinion.

Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Brennan has joined.