SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Justice Department says it is reviewing a claim that the office responsible for determining guardianship of minors in Utah is racially biased.
An attorney for a black father says the state gave guardianship of his 5-year-old son to the child's white grandmother even though the man claims he took steps to properly raise the child after the boy's mother died of cancer in July 2008.
Court documents show Laurie and Gervacio Ramirez were awarded permanent custody of the child based on a guardianship provision in the late mother's will.
Salt Lake City attorney Danny Quintana claims this was done without an evidentiary hearing. He represents the father, 51-year-old Daniel C. Goings.
An attorney representing the grandparents didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday. The state declined comment.