The lower court had initially granted an injunction, requested by State of Connecticut, enjoining Mr. DeMaio from reproducing in November of 1981. The state filed a petition with the court after a series of "mishaps" involving Mr. DeMaio, culminating with the splitting open of his head on an opponent's teeth during a Biddy basketball game. Because of Mr. DeMaio's pre-pubescent status at the time the injunction was granted, Joseph Lieberman Connecticut's attorney general at the time, did not immediately move for a hearing. According to papers filed with the court in March 1982, Mr. DeMaio's parents were "not especially motivated" to have the injunction lifted.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Projection received a
call in early July of 2003 that Mr. DeMaio had "somehow managed to
impregnate his wife", at which point that state went to court to have the
injunction enforced. Rosemarie DeMaio, Mr. DeMaio's mother vehemently
denied tipping off the state.
The lower court agreed with Connecticut's argument that Mr. DeMaio,
while not a violent person, was "simply not coordinated enough to be
entrusted with the care of a child." The state called several
witnesses in their case, each recounting tales of a lack of coordination so
profound Mr. DeMaio's own attorney at one point exclaimed "how in God's
name are you not dead!"
In an interview following the trial, judge Alvin W. Thompson indicated that what especially concerned him was the fact that "Mr. DeMaio apparently has no concept as to how much force is necessary for him to exert on people or objects when engaging in everyday activities." This was illustrated at a critical juncture of trial when Mrs. DeMaio took the stand and was asked about the bruises on her hands and wrists. She answered, "Jay tried to hold my hand as we were walking about the neighborhood." When the state's attorney asked if she ever chastised Mr. DeMaio, for having "retard strength" she broke down sobbing.
Today's decision by Justice Guido Calabresi of the 2nd Circuit Court
of Appeals was, according to many legal experts, surprising.
In his decision, Justice Calabresi stated that while allowing Mr. DeMaio to reproduce is "the height of stupidity", "Mrs. DeMaio's right to procreate trumps the rights of the State of Connecticut, the immutable laws of logic, and the will of God-fearing people everywhere." According to one court observe Justice Calabresi crossed himself "several times" as he read his decision.
The Court's decision was not a complete vindication for Mr. DeMaio, however.
Justice Calabresi devotes the vast majority of his 90-page decision to unusually explicit rules, limitations and restrictions involving Mr. DeMaio's contact with the baby, when born. These include requiring Mr. DeMaio to undergo extensive fine motor skill retraining before being permitted to touch the baby, and only holding the baby "while seated at a height of no more than 2.5 feet in the center of feather pillow catch basin no less than 6 feet in diameter with a minimum total pillow depth of 3 feet." The court also prohibited Mr. DeMaio from coming within 10 feet of his wife for the remainder of her pregnancy.
The cumbersome rules notwithstanding, the DeMaio's were obviously pleased with the court's decision. After falling down the steps of the courthouse, Mr. DeMaio told reporters that he and Mrs. DeMaio are "overjoyed" with their impending parenthood, and are "looking forward to proving the skeptics wrong." When asked about the basketball incident back in 1981 that precipitated the couple's saga, Mr. DeMaio replied, "the teeth were quite bucked, I mean really, they were very bucked teeth."
The teeth's owner could not be reached for comment.