WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An attorney for a Florida woman who sought to make a constitutional case out of her fight to prevent her son from being circumcised withdrew his federal lawsuit Wednesday, signaling a likely end to move the fight out of state court.
Thomas Hunker voluntarily dismissed the civil rights filing two days after the case got its first hearing in federal court before a judge who openly expressed skepticism over whether he had jurisdiction to proceed.
Hunker offered no immediate explanation for apparently abandoning the federal fight over stopping the surgery on the 4-year-old boy. A phone call, text and email to him were not returned. A spokesman said he had no details.
“I guess they felt the handwriting was on the wall,” said Ira Marcus, an attorney for Dennis Nebus, the boy’s father, who has fought to have the procedure performed.
The dismissal brings no immediate resolution for the boy’s mother, Heather Hironimus, who has been jailed since her arrest Thursday, nearly three months after she fled with her son to evade the surgery. She went into hiding at a domestic violence shelter, ignoring a state judge’s warning that she risked imprisonment for defying his orders to appear in court and to allow the circumcision to proceed.
Hironimus and Nebus have been warring since her pregnancy. They were never married but share custody of their child. In a parenting agreement filed in court, the two initially agreed to the boy’s circumcision. The mother later changed her mind, giving way to the long legal battle. Circuit and appellate judges have sided with the father, but potential surgeons have backed out of doing the procedure after failing to get the mother’s consent and becoming the target of protesters.
The federal case, contending the boy’s civil rights were being infringed upon, was filed while Hironimus was missing and her legal options evaporating.
The boy is in Nebus’ custody while Hironimus remains behind bars. Marcus said his client was “ecstatic” over the federal dismissal but couldn’t comment on when the circumcision might be scheduled.