The Importance of a Time Line in Government
Most people feel intimidated
at the prospect of writing things down on paper. They are even less inclined when state agencies are coming after
Fortunately, you don't have to
be a college graduate in English grammar to write a time line.
The hardest part of putting a time line together is grabbing
a pen and starting one. SO START ONE RIGHT NOW! What do you
have to lose?
In our experience, time lines are
extremely important. They can:
Assist you and others in
remembering important names, dates, and other details.
Build your own confidence in
the justness of your own cause.
Help you become more of a
partner in your defense rather than a helpless observer and
Improve your ability to
succinctly and powerfully explain your case to people who
may be able to assist you.
By time line, we simply mean
listing each event in the order that it occurred. What
happened first, then second, then third, and so forth? Each
event should consist of:
A date and time (write down
your best estimate if you are not certain and note that it
is an estimate);
A description of what
Any witnesses, documentation,
or recording that can verify all or part of what you have
Events include any actions and
conversations you, or someone relevant to your case, have with
any state agent. State agents include, but are not limited to:
Events also include any actions
and conversations that are possibly relevant that you, or
someone relevant to your case, have with other persons. This
includes, but is not limited to:
Their full name (ask for
employee I.D. numbers if they refuse);
Any promises these agents
Any actions they took;
Any threats they made; and
Offensive or demeaning
language they used.
Within each item in your
time line, list the names of people who could verify all or
part of what you have written (hint: witnesses are generally a
very positive thing to have on your side!).
Keep this time line up to date.
As soon as you have another encounter, quickly update it, so
that it is fresh in your mind.
Keep several copies of your
time line and any supporting documentation or recordings in
safe places. Safe places likely do NOT include your residence,
as state employees have been known to break into residences or
order police searches to terrorize and seize any items they
can to cover their tracks. You do not have to let anyone know
you have even compiled a time line if you do not want to.
YOU CAN DO THIS! GRAB A PEN
AND START WRITING!
Important Note on Recording Devices: Small tape
recording devices are inexpensive, easily concealed, and can
be a wonderful aid in capturing abusive behavior. In our
opinion, citizens who are being attacked should keep a
recording device on hand at all times and use it in any
interaction with government officials. According to Utah
statute, as long as you are a participant in the conversation,
or someone else who is participating in the conversation has
given you prior consent to record it, your recording is legal.
additional information and Utah statutory restrictions.
The Utah attorney general has also
given state agencies the green light to record their phone
and other conversations with you (and they probably arenít
going to share it with you unless it harms you). Therefore, in
our opinion, unless YOU record it, YOU LOSE!
Additional Information: If you are being attacked
by the Utah Department of Child and Family "Services" (DCFS)
or some other agency targeting your children, please also
refer to our
Family Survival Information brochure. For more
information on dealing with government, see the
Training section of
our Citizen Library.
Accountability Utah is not comprised of attorneys and does not
give legal advice. Our information, either verbal or written,
is for educational purposes only.
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
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