Palm Beach News

Heather Hironimus Drops Circumcision Fight in Court

Heather Hironimus, the 31-year-old mother who is being held in Broward jail and fighting to prevent her four-year-old son from being circumcised, has ended her fight in federal court.

On Wednesday morning, a group supporting Hironimus' cause posted the news on their Facebook page.

This morning, Thomas Hunker filed a Withdrawal of Motion and Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of the federal case. We do...

Posted by Chase's Guardians on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It appears that Hironimus' attorney, Thomas Hunker, did indeed file a Withdrawal of Motion and Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of the federal case Wednesday, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Hironimus voluntarily asked for the case to be dismissed, meaning the fight over whether or not her son will be circumcised will no longer be fought over in court, the report says.

According to the report, Hironimus, who is still locked up the in Broward County Jail, felt that any chance of winning the case was hopeless, and decided to drop the federal lawsuit.

Hironimus and her son had vanished following a months-long dispute with the boy's father, Dennis Nebus, over whether the child should be circumcised. Prior to the couple's separation, they had agreed that Nebus would pay for and schedule the child's circumcision. But over time, Hironimus changed her mind and has been arguing that there is no medical reason for her son to be circumcised.

Hironimus and the child went missing since their last scheduled doctor's visit on February 19. Nebus testified at a hearing in March that he visited the home of the mother to take the boy for his prearranged visiting time and found no one home. The car was also gone, and when he tried calling Hironimus, he said the phone was turned off.

In March, Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen of the 15th judicial district in Palm Beach County had ordered Hironimus to appear in court and to bring the child with her or face contempt-of-court charges. When Hironimus and her child remained in hiding, Gillen ordered a warrant for her arrest.

Last week, Hironimus was found and arrested and has been in jail ever since, where she is being held on an interference with custody charge. The charge is considered a third-degree felony, and is punishable by up to five years in state prison if convicted.

During the March hearing, Gillen also ordered Hironimus to pay Nebus' attorney fees, and called her fleeing with the boy without letting the father know where they were "reprehensible."

"It's unfortunate that due to the mother's actions, the child has been placed in this position — the light of too much scrutiny for a little boy," Gillen said. "I blame the mother for this. She has willfully denied a court order and has provided the father with no information of their son's whereabouts. Leaving the father to wonder where his son is is reprehensible."

In April, Hironimus filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming circumcising her son would violate the boy's constitutional rights. Gillen and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw are named in the suit.

Hironimus' attorney, Thomas Hunker, had filed a motion for a restraining order against Nebus, saying that circumcision “will permanently and irreversibly mutilate” their son. Hunker also argued that the procedure carries many risks, including “permanent brain damage or death." 

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra withheld from ruling on the case but did order Nebus to not have the child undergo circumcision without ten days' notice to the court.