Consequences of disputed age: A Legal Question
Finally, suppose the supposed minor is in fact telling the truth and eventually is able to prove it. Is CPS liable for illegally restraining him—in effect imprisoning him without cause? My guess is not, although I don't actually know.
My hypothetical raises problems in two directions. If CPS has no legal liability, that means that all it takes to imprison anyone, at least anyone young enough so that claiming he is under eighteen isn't obviously absurd, is the assent of one judge. It's easy to imagine ways in which that power could be used, in a biased or moderately corrupt legal system, to deliberately violate rights. On the other hand, given the existence of people whose age isn't easily proved and a legal system that lets the state take control over minors when their parents are judged unsuited for the task, it is hard to see how even an honest CPS can avoid ever making such mistakes.
Opinions? Anyone know the legal status of such disputes?