Florida Judge To Hear Elian Gonzalez Case

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:07 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - In what is being seen as a victory for his Miami relatives and the Miami Cuban exile community, Circuit Judge Rose Rodriguez said on Monday that she will listen to arguments filed by attorneys on behalf of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez. She also issued a temporary protective order that will allow his Miami-based relatives to fight for him.

Rodriguez set a hearing for March 6th. The petition was filed on behalf of Elian's great uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez. Attempts to reach Rodriguez for further comment by CNSNews.com were unsuccessful.

Attorneys for the family filed a petition on Friday in hopes of preventing Elian from being returned by the US to Cuba.

Last week, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ruled that Elian should be returned to his father in Cuba by this Friday, January 14th. President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno endorsed that ruling.

Meanwhile, House Government Reform and Operations committee chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) issued a subpoena on Friday in an effort to delay Elian's departure. The subpoena requires Elian to testify before that committee next month. Burton, however, said on Monday he would abide by any court ruling on the matter.

Elian was found Thanksgiving Day clinging to a raft off the Florida coast after the boat carrying Cuban escapees capsized. His mother and stepfather drowned in traveling from Cuba in that escape attempt.