Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Social Media and the Sean Goldman Kidnapping and Custody Case

Jeff Rossen of NBC News has been providing real time Twitter updates for the Sean Goldman kidnapping and custody case. For those who have not heard about this case I would like to provide a brief synopsis. David Goldman, a New Jersey resident married a Brazilian, Bruna Bianchi in New Jersey in 1999. They had a son, Sean Goldman, born in New Jersey in 2000. On June 16, 2004, Ms. Bianchi and Sean left to visit her family in Brazil on a planned vacation. After arriving in Brazil, Ms. Bianchi called her husband to tell him that their marriage was over, their son Sean would not be returning to the United States, and that her husband must sign over legal custody if he ever wanted to see his son again.

David Goldman refused to relinguish his legal rights and started the legal fight to bring his son home. International law has been clearly on Mr. Goldman's side from the begining. However, Ms. Bianchi remarried a politically connected Brazilian attorney who just happens to specialize in international family law. Ms. Bianchi and her family have used every possible legal maneuver to keep Mr. Goldman from being reunited with his son. During this time, Mr. Goldman has had little contact with his son.

About a year and a half ago, Ms. Bianchi died while giving birth. Despite this tragedy, her family continued the legal fight and refused to return Sean to his father. Due to the power of traditional media, social media, and excellent public relations, the Obama administration along with several U.S. Senators and Congressmen have gotten involved with the case to strongly urge Brazil to follow international law which requires Sean to be returned to his father.

The Chief Justice of Brazil yesterday tweeted his decision to return Sean to his father and according to a report earlier today, Mr. Goldman's late wife's family will not appeal the Chief Justice's decision. Therefore, Mr. Goldman and his son could be reunited later today.

The use of social media is exploding and changing the way our entire society communicates. Even though the U.S. legal system is usually slow to adapt to change it will eventually have to embrace social media.

Copyright 2009 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.