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Monday, January 16, 2012

N.H. Due Process News

State Representative Paul Ingrebretson brings back integreity to the Redress of Greivance Committee as shown in two recent moves on his part:

1) He has finally addressed State Representative Horrigan’s actions in his blog against petitioners that are bringing their complaints to the committee's attention.

2) HOUSE BILL415AN ACT relative to access to abuse and neglect investigation records pending a child custody dispute. for full text.

SPONSORS: Rep. Ingbretson, Graf 5
COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law
1. Department of Health and Human Services; Access to Case Records. Amend RSA 170-G:8-a, II(a)(2) to read as follows:

(2) The parent of the child named in the case record, as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XXI; provided that, the case record and any third party records in the possession of the department shall be provided to the parent if, in a proceeding under RSA 461-A, the parent’s access to his or her children has been restricted or limited as the result of an investigation of abuse or neglect under RSA 169-C.
The word out on this bill is that the Child and Family Law Committee recommended killing this bill 12-1; guaranteeing that a parent accused of wrong doing before the Family Courts would not in all cases have access to all evidence for and against them, including third party evidence in the possession of state agencies; evidence based on the subjective, frequently abusive, and arbitrarily applied "best interests of the child" as determined by an often untrained inexperienced overzealous Child Protection worker.

HB 415 was brought in by Representative Ingrebretson last year because, several cases brought to his attention showed parents had been denied access to the evidence against them.
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Witnesses from the Division of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) are reported to have told the Child and Family Law Committee that all a parent had to do was go to court and the court would decide whether or not it was in the best interests of the child to have the evidence release.  Actually records show that while parents while denied in a majority of cases; it is also well documented as reviewed by this Advocate; that the Judge in fact released the records but that without enforcement DCYF stilled refused to release them and did so without penalty.

Thankfully, a significant majority of the N.H. House or Representatives clearly believe that parent’s have a right to “due process” as defined in these cases as:
"An orderly proceeding wherein a person is served with notice, actual or constructive, and has an opportunity to be heard and to enforce and protect his rights before a court having power to hear and determine the case. Kazubowski v. Kazubowski, 45 Ill.2d 405, 259, N.E.2d 282, 290." Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, page 500.

"Due Process of law implies the right of the person affected thereby to be present before the tribunal which pronounces judgment upon the question of life, liberty, or property, in its most comprehensive sense; to be heard, by testimony or otherwise, and to have the right of controverting, by proof, every material fact which bears on the question of right in the matter involved. If any question of fact or liability be conclusively presumed against him, this is not due process of law." Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, page 500.

US Constit. Amend. V. (5)
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amend. XIV. (14)

Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Obviously, the Child and Family Law Committee is out of sync when it comes to individual rights. This needed legislation passed the house overturning the committee and has been sent on for review by the Constitutional Law and Statutory Review Committee.

Now all we have to do is get Children their constitutional rights, and have the court’s open to the public to ensure their accountability; because obviously DCYF has their own hold over the committee of their Name, and is not acting in the best interest of the child or family.  

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