Tyreek Hill’s legal situation: A lawyer’s analysis and interpretation

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Wide receiver Tyreek Hill
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Wide receiver Tyreek Hill /

Let’s take a look from a legal perspective of what is going on with Tyreek Hill, as there are so many rumors floating about.

Thus far, Arrowhead Addict has refrained from commenting on any of the allegations linked with Tyreek Hill and his family due to a lack of substance to actually report. With so much of the legal process still to play out, it felt unfair to attempt to even describe what happened—since even that was unknown. However, now that a few more details have been released, it’s important to take a look at where things stand.

Not only am I a contributor here at AA, but I am also an attorney. None of my comments should be viewed as legal advice. Instead, these comments come from my experience and knowledge. I’m not an expert here, but I do think I have some helpful insight.

First, Tyreek Hill had a couple police reports regarding potential child abuse at his home. These were reported to the Department of Human Services for investigation. The Department will conduct an investigation and then refer the case to the District Attorney to determine if charges should be filed. Oftentimes, the District Attorney will not have enough evidence to pursue charges or will choose not to for their own reasons. If charges are not filed, then there is not a criminal case. If charges are filed, then the parents of the minor child will be subject to criminal penalties.

Where Tyreek and his fiance are now is juvenile court. This would be separate from a typical criminal proceeding. Juvenile court has jurisdiction over the lives of children in two primary areas: children who are abused, abandoned, or neglected and those involving delinquency of children. Clearly we are dealing with the first of the two areas.

The typical proceedings begin with a temporary custody hearing. This hearing must happen 72 hours after a child is removed from their parents’ custody. A judge will listen to the attorney representing the state on whether or not the child is safe. If the state proves there is probable cause that the child is in danger, the court will order the continued removal of the child.

In Tyreek’s case, reports have found that his son has been removed. This is precautionary and in the best interest of the child. Oftentimes this will happen to protect the child. It is a disruptive moment in the child’s life, but it is used in order to make absolutely sure the child is safe. Tyreek’s son has been placed in foster care or potentially with other family members. This does not mean abuse happened. It also doesn’t mean abuse didn’t happen. It is simply to make certain the child remains safe.

In the state of Kansas, the next step is to have a case plan meeting within 30 days to outline all of the tasks necessary to bring the family back together. This reintegration plan is put together with the state, the Department, the parents, and the child’s attorney (called a guardian ad litem). Within 60 days of the temporary custody order, there must be an adjudication hearing. The state must prove that the child is a child in need of care as determined by the statutes. Evidence will be presented by both sides; the state will try and prove the child is in need of care while the parents will defend.

Finally, after the adjudication hearing, the court will set a disposition hearing. This will be the court working with the state, the attorneys, the parents, and the Department to determine what needs to be done to achieve reunification of the family. This case plan is determined and review hearings are set for 3-6 month intervals. The goal is to permanently reunite the child with the parents. Every 12 months, the court must conduct a permanency hearing to determine if the goal is still to reunify the child with the parents. If the parents are not making progress, the state could ask that the court terminate parental rights. This is a last resort and appears unlikely in Tyreek’s situation.

Tyreek and his fiance are probably somewhere in the adjudication stage. Likely there has been probable cause found that the child was in an unsafe environment or was not properly cared for. The parents are likely going through counseling together, working with the Department to better their parenting, and other similar tasks. When they can show successful completion, they will likely regain physical custody.

So what does this ultimately mean? Really nothing. We just don’t know enough. Courts are extremely protective of children, and they have every right to be. That’s why we don’t have a lot to go on, since disseminating the information would be harmful to Tyreek’s son. All we can do at this point is speculate, so here are a few points:

  1. Tyreek and his fiancé have not been criminally charged. Juvenile court is separate from criminal court. If criminal charges are filed, we will know about those.
  2. Just because Tyreek and his fiancé are attending these court proceedings does not necessarily mean both were involved in the incident. In juvenile cases, BOTH biological parents are required to be notified and involved in the proceedings even if they had nothing to do with what happened.hey may be completely absent and literally just a sperm donor or womb, but if they are named on the birth certificate, they are required to be notified. This also does not mean they weren’t both involved. It’s a sticky situation.
  3. We don’t know what will happen with the Chiefs. This is not a typical situation where you have criminal charges filed in a domestic abuse case. I don’t know how the Chiefs or the league will handle this. However, I believe the Chiefs will do their due diligence.

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All I can say is this: we don’t know enough about what is going on to make a determination either way. At this point, patience is required. Let’s just hope Tyreek and his fiancé are working with the state to regain physical custody of their child and to become better parents. Let’s also hope that their son is safe and cared for and that whatever is truly in the best interests of their son is what ends up happening.