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Legislative Action & Your FEEDBACK

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From: Webmaster (kids-right) (
Date: Thu May 30 2002 - 16:40:07 EDT

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Good People & People of Faith,

This message contains notes on the following:
1. Legislative Action - Current status by State.
2. Father's Day Plans - group is growing.
3. Contributions - help with travel expenses
4. Your FEEDBACK - Rights & Trial by jury.

1. Legislative Action - Current status by State.
The area of the site devoted to Federal Legislative action has been
revised to include current information by State.  We are trying to
track all our contact attempts and the response by the members. If you
or your group have had any contact with a Member of Congress on these
issues, please let us know and we would be happy to post the
information. http://www.AKidsRight.Org/legislative.htm

Right now asking your Member of Congress -- to take a public position
on calling for Congressional Hearings to investigate the need for
reform -- seems to be a good question.  We haven't gotten a firm
answer yet from any of them.

Again, this is in preparation of having parent's willing to sacrifice
and demonstrate outside THEIR local offices, in THEIR state.  Then we
will see the publicity and public attention on the issue. Then we will
see meetings with Members of Congress instead of just staff
members. After almost 100 years of segregation, no one would have
thought Congress would pass a Civil Rights Act -- but it happened
after good people showed their willingness to sacrifice for their
dignity and what they believed
in. http://www.AKidsRight.Org/p_martin.htm

2. Father's Day Plans - group is growing.
Right now we have about 5 people ready to make the trip, three Moms
and two Dads.  We plan on visiting offices from West Virginia, New
York, Massachusetts, and Ohio at present.  If you want to participate,
check http://www.AKidsRight.Org/dad2002

3. Contributions - help with travel expenses

As you can imagine, it costs money to drive to DC and potentially
spend a night at a hotel.  If anyone can help with a contribution,
we would all be very thankful.

4. Your FEEDBACK - Rights & Trial by jury.

--- Daniel Lee - - Who defines your "rights?"
> As you know family law is created in the states, and at the same
> time what happens at the federal level can greatly influence what
> happens below.  Instead of going the direct route to rewrite state
> law, you chose to work at the federal level, which is going to take
> much longer to acheive tangible results.  But it is critical this
> level is addressed, so below are some tips for you.
> Start focusing on elections.  Yesterday a state senator and
> candidate for congress visited me in my home.  That's right, she
> came to me.  I'll be working on her campaign, and she has a good
> chance of being elected.  If that happens, I won't be meeting with
> her assistant's assistant for 10 minutes, I'll be meeting with her.
> And she'll know the issues already.  When she came over a
> grandmother was there who said she had spent $300,000 so far to
> cover her son's legal bills in a routine divorce case.  And a father
> was there who said he had visitation with his son suspended at a
> hearing where the OTHER PARENT was accused of domestic violence.
> That was 18 months ago, and still NO visitation is allowed.  The dad
> is a reserve deputy sheriff, and there were no accusations against
> him.

> Once you get the ear of a congressperson or senator, the only
> federal legislation regarding family law you can propose are those
> related to creating financial incentives for a state to do
> something, or not do it.  You cannot write laws to directly force
> them to do something related to parenting.

> The example you used about each state having its own criminal code,
> and yet they all comport with certain protective concepts, relates
> to constituional law.  That is how, and is the only way, you can
> directly affect state family law from the federal level, by amending
> the United States Constitution.  This is something that must be
> done, and as it is a decade or so process, there is plenty of time
> to discuss what it will consist of.
> The idea of having a jury trial prior to state intervention in a
> parent-child relationship sounds good.  In divorce and paternity
> cases where there are two right holders (parent v. parent) a
> different approach is needed.  After doing a constitutional analysis
> of the problem, it appears the solution is to alternate primary
> custody between them.  That probably also needs to be written into
> the constitutional amendment.

> The problems in family law can be solved at the state level either
> by amending a stautute, or making a constitutional challenge up to a
> state supreme court.  It can also be done by taking a case from a
> state supreme court, to the U.S. Supreme Court.  A father in Ohio
> has done just that, and at this moment has his case docketed with
> the USSC (they almost certainly will decline to hear it at this
> time).

> But even though these paths are where reform will come directly
> from, there still must be a properly done amendment to the
> U.S. Constitution.  Just like there are entire organizations, some
> financed by billionaires, with the sole goal of disarming Americans,
> so there will always be orgainzations such as the American Bar
> Association, NOW, and even the United Nations, which want to control
> children.  As such, inviolate and explicit protections must be made
> in our highest document, which is the United States Constitution.

----- below in response to question about aren't civil rights federal?
> If you recall we run into this same problem everytime, I don't know
> the definition of "civil rights".
> We have rights guaranteed by the federal constitution, and state
> constitutions provide equal or greater protections.  The right to
> marry and have children are examples of this.  If anyone tried to
> block you from doing this, you would be able to raise a defense in a
> state level trial court, then if needed progress upwards through a
> middle state appellate court, state supreme court, then the USSC.
> When you say "civil rights" do you mean legislation which says that
> you can have something?  For example, the "right" to not have women
> in your workplace give you elevator eyes (sexual harrassment)?
> If so, that is a completely different class of "right" than one from
> constitutional law.  Also, in the case of parents, it can't be done
> at the federal level, because they don't do family law, which I am
> sure they tell you everytime they communicate to you.
> The paths to reform are amending state constitutions and statutes,
> and amending the U.S. Constitution.  If you intend to try to pass
> federal legislation to grant parental rights to parents, you are
> following an incorrect legal path.

> Daniel Lee
> CBI President
> ACFC Associate Director

--- From Doug Heffley - - History of "jury trial"

> The Minnenapolis Star and Tribune in a news paper article appearing
> in it's November 30, 1984 edition, entitled: "What judges don't tell
> the juries" stated:

> "At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the jury's role as
> a defense against political oppression was unquestioned.  In
> American jurisprudence.  This nation survived until 1850's, when
> prosecutions under the Fugitive Slave Act were largely unsuccessful
> because juries refused to convict."

> "Then judges began to erode the institution of the free juries,
> leading to the absurd compromise that the current state of the law.
> While our courts uniformly state juries have the power to return a
> verdict of not guilty whatever the facts, they routinely tell the
> jurors the opposite."

> "Further, the courts will not allow the defendants or their counsel
> to inform the jurors of their true power.  A lawyer who
> made. . . Hamilton's argument would face professional disipline and
> charges of contempt of court."

> "By what logic should juries have the power to acquit a defendant
> but no right to know about the power?  The court decisions that have
> suppressed the notion of jury nulification cannot resolve this
> paradox."

> "More than logic has suffered.  As originally conceived, juries were
> to be kind of a safety valve, a way to soften the bureaucratic
> rigidity of the judicial system by introducing the common sense of
> the community.  If they are to function effectively as the
> 'conscience of the community,' jurors must be told that they have
> the power and the right to say no to a prosecution in order to
> achieve a greater good.  To cut jurors off from this information is
> to undermine one of our most important institutions."

> "Perhaps the community should educate itself.  Then citizens called
> for jury duty could teach the judges a needed lesson in civics."

>    Lack of Jury Trial
>  Most states no longer allow jury trials for traffic tickets or for
> domestic or family law.  When one reads the Constitution one may ask
> "how is that possible without violating the Constitution ? ".  I
> came across this explanation in Illinois Family Law and I am sure
> other states that do not allow jury trials offer a similar
> explanation.

> "E. [11.41] Lack of Jury Trial Neither the former Act nor the revised
> Act makes any provision for the right to a jury trial by either
> party.  The Constitution secures the right to jury trial only in
> those courts exercising common law jurisdiction with respect to
> matters wherein the right existed at common law.  The Constitutional
> guarantee of trial by jury cannot be invoked in special or statutory
> proceedings unknown to common law.  The Illinois courts have denied
> the right to a jury trial in a proceeding for the detention of a
> feeble-minded person (People v. Niesman, 356 Ill. 322, 190 N.E. 668
> (1934)), in a suit to establish liability of relatives for the
> support of the poor (People v. Hill, 163 Ill. 186, 46 N.E. 796
> (1896)), and in adoption proceedings (Houston v. Brackett, 38
> Ill. App.2d 463, 187 N.E.2d 545 (2d Dist. 1963)).  It is therefore
> clear that neither party to a proceeding brought under the Illinois
> Reciprocal Act is entitled to a trial by jury."
> Clearly there is a difference between common law courts where a
> citizen has rights and a proceeding (not a trial) in which a
> "Special or Statutory" jurisdiction has been invoked.  The Right to
> a jury trial by ones peers has been a part of Saxon History since
> the Magna Carta.  So what purpose does special or statutory
> jurisdiction serve ?  Certainly it has not served JUSTICE.

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