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Top Legislative Reforms

As shared in our Parental Rights Now! Action Packet (9/20/03).

Also available in .pdf format.

1) Restore the right to a trial by a jury of their peers for parents who are threatened with permanent separation from their children (otherwise known as termination of parental rights or "permanency").
Note: For more information, see our Issue in Focus: "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?"

2) Require that parents be proven guilty of actual, serious, and purposeful criminal behavior or unfitness that renders them permanently unable to serve as parents, before their children are permanently removed.
Note: For items 2-7 & 9, see our alert, "Utah Legislature Declares War on Your Family!"

3) Amend statutory definitions of abuse, neglect, and unfitness — currently vague and subject to broad abuses — to protect innocent parents from overzealous DCFS agents and to include the freedom to
follow one's own dictates with regard to medical treatment.

4) Require that the burden of proof be raised to the highest standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" in permanent termination cases, as is the case with Native American families living on Indian nation
reservations (Federal Indian Child Welfare Act).

5) Refuse the perverse federal incentives that are based upon the number of children DCFS removes from their families.

6) Eliminate immunity to government agencies and agents who, through omission or commission, abuse innocent families, so that these families can receive justice in the form of financial and other recompense; and

7) Eliminate secret courts and proceedings that restrict a family’s ability to expose errant judges, state prosecutors, and other government agents.

8) Eliminate the State Office of the Guardian ad Litem and restore the practice of allowing judges to, at their discretion, draw from the services of volunteer, unpaid attorneys in the area.

9) End the practice garnishing the wages of parents who have been accused, but not convicted of any crime, and provide them a competent public or private defender at no charge.

10) Require an open hearing to take place before a child is seized, allowing innocent parents the opportunity to be heard and to face their accusers. Reduce warrants to conducting investigations or interviews only, save in immediate, life-threatening cases that cannot wait for a hearing.

11) Doctors and clergy should not be forced, under threat of a Class B Misdemeanor, to report all possible abuse or neglect ("reason to believe"). They should have sufficient latitude to use their own
judgment and to be able to do what is best for the family and children.
Note: See General Shurtleff's threatening letter to Utah doctors.

12) Extend, from 72 hours to 30 days, the time required for parents to file a claim for their seized child. This time period should only commence when the parent has been informed of this requirement and provided the opportunity for free, competent legal counsel. If the parents or guardians are deceased, the next of kin must be notified before this time period commences.

13) Demand that the state legislature impeach Utah judges who attack Utah families.

14) There are legitimate arguments for different approaches to accomplishing the comprehensive judicial reform required to force judges to be accountable. We are inclined to recommend that judges
be elected in non-partisan races for two-year terms.
Note: See our article on curbing the power of Utah's tyrannical judiciary.



Note: For more information on these topics, see the Parental Rights (Due Process) section of our Issues & Alerts page, as well as our Parental Rights Task Force.

Accountability Utah recipe: Take our information and opinion, research their information and opinion (if it is available), and then examine the law and draw your own conclusions.  If you have comments or suggestions, please email us at info@accountabilityutah.org.

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