A custody lawyer in Florida is suing the state of Florida after a judge denied him custody of his child because of a genetic condition that would have made him ineligible for a state welfare benefit.
In an affidavit filed in Broward County Circuit Court on Wednesday, a lawyer for the plaintiff, Michael Jackson, said that the child was born with Down syndrome, which makes it difficult for the child to develop physical and mental development and that the mother’s condition “could potentially cause physical harm” to the child.
Jackson, a former NFL player, said in the affidavit that the judge denied his claim for custody because he said he had “no legal authority” to give the child custody of the children.
“It was never my intention to harm anyone with Down Syndrome,” Jackson wrote.
“I was simply doing my job.”
Jackson’s attorney, Jonathan Marshall, argued that the court had a “moral obligation” to recognize the rights of people with Down’s syndrome to receive custody of their children, including a judge.
Marshall said in a statement that he has been “shocked and saddened by the state’s decision.”
The court in July ruled that the father of a boy born with the genetic condition should be granted visitation with the children, even though he has no legal authority to do so.