Monday, January 28, 2008

Bill to Protect Child Survivors of Parental Homicide

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony January 24 on a bill (H1547) that would make it easier to end the involvement in a child's life of a parent who killed the second parent. The bill provides that a conviction for murder would "create a rebuttable presumption that contact with the child and exercise of parental rights, including but not limited to care and custody of the child, by the convicted parent are not in the child’s best interests."

According to the Daily News Tribune, the committee heard from Patrick Holland, who was eight years old when his father killed his mother. His father wanted to see Patrick's school reports and otherwise stay involved in the boy's life from prison, and it took Patrick four years in court to terminate contact with him. Patrick asked legislators to ease the process for other children in his situation. According to the article,"'Kids in my situation have already been through a loss. They don’t need to go through more hardships,' Holland said. 'This law would create options and allow them to do what they want, where I was never able to.'"