Stanley V. Illinois

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  • Topic: Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, United States Constitution, Due process
  • Pages : 2 (524 words )
  • Download(s) : 269
  • Published : May 12, 2001
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Stanley v. Illinois
92 S.Ct. 1208 (1972)

Nature of Case: The plaintiff is Peter Stanley. He said that his rights to equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment have been violated. He believes that the Illinois law that makes children of unwed father's wards of the state upon death of the mother violated his rights.

Facts: Joan and Peter Stanley lived intermittently together for 18 years, in which they had 3 children. When Joan Stanley died, Stanley's children were declared wards of the state and placed with court appointed guardians after a dependency hearing by the State of Illinois. Stanley claimed that he had never been shown to be an unfit parent. He believed that since married fathers and unwed mothers could not be deprived of their children without proving this, neither should he. The Illinois Supreme Court accepted the fact that Peter Stanley's unfitness had not been proven but rejected that he was deprived of his rights under the 14th amendment.

Issue: Did the State of Illinois violate the Equal Protection Clause when it denied Peter Stanley a hearing on his fitness to keep his children?

Holding: Yes, a hearing is guaranteed by equal protection under the law, for both married fathers and unwed mothers & unwed fathers.

Rule: 1. Justice White, speaking for the majority believes that the decision in this case is similar to Bell v. Burson, in which held that the state could not deprive a person of there drivers license pertaining to a speeding violation without a hearing. He stated: "The states interest in caring for Stanley's children is de minimis if Stanley is shown to be a fit father. It insists on presuming rather than proving Stanley's unfitness solely because it is more convenient to presume than to prove. 2. They concluded that all Illinois parents are constitutionally entitled to a hearing on their fitness before their children are removed from their custody. Denying such a hearing to Stanley and those like...
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