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What My Readers Are Searching For

Author’s Note:

From time to time, I check my site stats to see what my readers are interested in finding in my blog. Lucky for me, I can track search engine results that lead to my site, count how many hits each article receives, and see how many people are looking for the same information. This helps me to decide what to post on my blog. It also paints a picture of how many Americans are looking for help and how many are turning up empty-handed in the information department.

The many thanks that I receive via my Comments section is astounding, especially given the fact that I never intended for this site to be noticed at all. The reality is that I have had such turmoil in my personal life that I needed a place to keep all my information — for my own reference. The blog platform serves that purpose well. It also appears that this blog is much appreciated by my growing body of readers as I share my own experiences with the world.

I am disturbed to find out how many folks are searching for gun silencer information, ATF and gun law information, child support enforcement and “Deadbeat Dad” laws, information for child protective services and youth suicide, mental health issues, employment laws, and general legal information that can be found on public platforms. People want more information about certain public officials, and they are curious to find news articles that may pertain to their own particular needs and circumstances. This gives me a chance to post articles, information and reports that have been sitting in my computer files for literally over a decade, to post updated reference materials as new laws are passed, and to motivate and help others to help themselves.

I receive many personal emails from people who desperately need help, and I answer all of them. It appears that sharing my stories and public information on this blog has picked up momentum as my readers not only return but are referring others who continue to receive RSS feeds and updates via email subscriptions. Others have offered to “sponsor” or to contribute to the success of this site — but even though I need the money, I feel that I cannot get paid for contributing to society before I humbly leave this earth. Payment comes in the form of the gratitude  that I receive for offering free information that literally is already on the web or can be found in journals, publications of every sort, and official court files and law libraries. I hope this platform will eventually extend to be more relevant for more states as I expand my content to respond to my readers’ needs.

I wish to thank my readers today for encouraging me to write about my own life, for the love and support that you have demonstrated, and for your continued comments and referrals.

If there is any information that you are searching for, but cannot locate on my site, please let me know. It will give me an incentive to post material that I may already have on hand, or else to do some research and respond to your question as best I can. Remember that I am not an attorney; I cannot give you legal advice, but I can provide the laws for you to read or else refer my readers to references that may be appropriate in your own case.

In closing, I want to remind my readers that making and owning unregistered gun silencers/suppressors is illegal. However, I was curious to find out how one could access the information on the world wide web, how easy it is to actually construct such a weapon, and to see how many ‘hits’ I would get on this topic. In this case, ‘curiosity killed the cat’, as I feel a moral responsibility to delete the post. However, I keep my comments to alert people to the illegality of making such a device.

As for the other controversial material, read on  — and be sure to leave a comment. Curious people want to know. And, it is our Constitutional right to express ourselves. So, express on! (but leave out the **** words or you’ll be censored and routed to my Spam folder automatically). Keep it mean, but keep it clean, I always say.

Best personal regards,

Charley

All Time Search Terms for all days ending 2011-07-23 (Summarized)

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(purchase commitments) prater company has been having difficulty obtaining key raw materials for its manufacturing process. the company therefore signed a long-term no cancelable purchase commitment with its largest supplier of this raw material on november 30, 2011, at an agreed price of $400,000. at december 31, 2011, the raw material inventory at cost or market, whichever is lower.
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Keep in mind we don’t count your own visits.

This report from 2011-07-23, 12:16:01 UTC-4.:

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U.S.Department of Justice: Red Lake Felon Indicted For Possessing Two Firearms — So Why Does Frederick County Maryland Law Enforcement Refuse to Charge Domestic Violence Felon with Nine Counts of Illegal Possession on Mandatory Gun Law? Victim Cries, “Conspiracy!”

Author’s Note:

My ex-husband is a 50-something-year-old domestic violence felon in constructive possession of a nine-millimeter pistol, two  .22 caliper rifles and at least three boxes ammunition for the period of at least October 14, 2010 through April 22, 2011. The Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with a Maryland State Police’s “ATF Liason”, removed the weapons but did not file criminal charges on what is a mandatory sentence of five years per count.  In fact, no arrests were made and they “do not plan to prosecute because the case is not big enough”. Additionally, this convicted felon is allegedly in possession of a shotgun and a homemade silencer, adding another two mandatory five-year counts each. Additionally, the .45 caliper that our son used at his father’s residence to commit suicide on October 14, 2010 should be included in the indictment, don’t you think?

This felon’s prior criminal record includes: (1) Possession of 2-lbs of marijuana with intent to distribute; (2) Assault & Battery with serious injury; (3) Indictment for statutory rape of a 14-year-old, he was additionally extradicted for kidnapping a minor across state lines and contributing to the delinquency of a minor (he plead to a lesser conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor) — and on a side note, he totaled our family car in the process; (4) Felony Domestic Violence Assault which carried a three-year sentence; and (5) various contempt charges and protection orders for kidnapping his children and not paying Court-ordered child support and alimony, amongst other things.

As other aggravating criminal factors of March 2009, this Deadbeat Dad owed me approximately $130,000 (that’s one-hundred thirty-thousand dollars) and I could not get the State to prosecute or even take administrative support enforcement. It is reported that this man is still not a U.S. Citizen after coming to America more than 45 years ago. Today he owes me over $50,000 in unpaid support and he still has his passport…and I’m going for a criminal indictment on criminal nonsupport…

I have received no cooperation from the Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police, or even the ATF in filing an information or indictment on the mandatory gun law. In fact, they now ignore my phone calls and refuse to release any of the public information to which I am entitled, like “which of the guns did they retrieve?” and “what happened to the shotgun I saw in the home that is still unaccounted for” and “did you get the homemade silencer?” and “why are you releasing the guns to a domestic violence felon?” — especially since now “the case is closed” before it was even opened!

Let us explore WHY I am so outraged, why the “local law enforcement” that the State’s Prosecutor sent me to file a criminal complaint refuses to file a complaint, and why the State’s Attorney or any other law enforcement agent disregarded and continues to disregard public safety.

The Mayor, Governor, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, the Senator, and all of America is about to learn about this case in detail. I am crying “CONSPIRACY” loud and clear. If you are having trouble getting an information filed by your State’s Prosecutor, I want to hear your story.

Meanwhile, here’s a case where some felon was indicted for possessing only two firearms. What is wrong with this picture?

Comments anybody? Please?

*  *  *

U.S.Department of Justice, United States Attorney District of Minnesota

B.Todd Jones, United  States Attorney

For Immediate Release: Red Lake Felon Indicted For Possessing Two Firearms

December 8, 2010

Contact:          Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations, (612) 664-5611,  jeanne.cooney@usdoj.gov

*  *  *

A 24-year-old felon from Red Lake was indicted today in federal court in St. Paul for allegedly possessing a .24 caliber rifle and a nine-millimeter pistol in July of 2010. The indictment charges Fabian Wayne English with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The indictment alleges that on July 21, 2010, English possessed a .24 caliber rifle, and that on July 22, 2010, he possessed a nine-millimeter pistol. Because he is a felon, English is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm or ammunition at any time. English’s prior felonies include a 2006 conviction in the District of Minnesota for assault resulting in serious bodily injury and a 2010 conviction in Becker County for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

If convicted, English faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison on each count. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Red Lake Tribal Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Dees.

Note, this case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, an initiative launched by the U.S. Justice Department in 2001 to promote a multi-jurisdictional, comprehensive approach to reducing gun crime in America. PSN provides resources to strengthen law enforcement and crime prevention partnerships that are working to make our streets and communities safer.

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This is the cached copy of http://www.atf.gov/press/releases/2010/12/120810-stp-red-lake-felon-indicted.html.

ATF Online – Firearms – Programs – Violent Crime Impact Teams (VCIT)

Violent Crime Impact Teams (VCIT)

In June 2004, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced the deployment of VCITs in 15 cities. As the lead Federal law enforcement agency in the fight against violent firearms crime, ATF was charged with coordinating the program. The VCIT concept, designed and implemented in collaboration with the Deputy Attorney General, sought to extend recent reductions in the rate of overall violent crime to select areas exhibiting significant numbers of homicides. The foundation of the VCITprogram was the identification, targeting, disruption, arrest and prosecution of the “worst of the worst” criminals responsible for violent crime in targeted hot spots. Fundamental to this effort was the use of innovative technologies, analytical investigative resources, and an integrated Federal, State, and local law enforcement strategy.

Goals and Objectives of the Violent Crime Impact Teams

The goal of the VCIT program is the reduction of homicides and other firearms-related violence through the identification, investigation, and arrest of those responsible for violent crime. The long-term measure of the VCIT’s success is the mitigation of localized crime without displacement of the violence to neighboring communities.

From the violent street gang activity in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to home invasion crews in Tampa, Florida, the VCITs adapt to address the violent crime problems within the cities they serve, while operating within a programmatic framework that seeks to achieve national goals. In 13 of 15 cities, gangs and their members were linked to increases in violent crime. As a result, localized VCIT tactics became anti-gang strategies in varying degrees.

The VCIT strategy dictates applying technology to identify hot spots and to target, investigate and arrest violent offenders. ATF’s National Tracing Center, Crime Gun Analysis Branch, Regional Crime Gun Centers (RCGC), and other technologies, such as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and geographic information systems, are used to pinpoint localized crime problems and to identify the “worst of the worst” criminals. Integrating intelligence from local law enforcement agencies with information produced through new technologies is fundamental to successfully combating violent firearms crime in these neighborhoods.

Through lessons learned from past collaborative efforts, ATF recognized that Federal, State, and local law enforcement efforts to combat violent crime and gang-related problems could be effectively multiplied through an influx of federal resources and experience. Specifically, partnerships developed with community leaders help generate previously untapped resources that can be directed to counter violent crime. As a result, ATF has partnered with social service agencies, nonprofit community assistance agencies, faith-based groups, schools, and private businesses to promote a comprehensive and coordinated community action plan to advance the goals of gang suppression, intervention, and prevention. ATF continues its effort to broadcast success stories to the community through local media. An effective media campaign, publicizing the arrest and severe penalties received by individuals who commit crimes of violence proved to be a strong and convincing deterrent to offenders contemplating future crimes.

VCIT employs traditional means to proactively develop criminal cases. Team members utilize undercover techniques and informants in their work to identify, investigate and seek prosecution against gang members, illicit gun possessors, and firearms traffickers. VCITs obtain Federal and/or State search and arrest warrants in an effort to remove gang members and other violent offenders from the community. Assistant United States Attorneys assigned to the task forces facilitate the timely and efficient handling of Federal court proceedings for offenders referred for prosecution, in concert with counterparts at local District Attorneys’ offices.

Team members review and screen each police report that documents firearms-related violence committed within their VCIT’s areas of operation, leading to Federal prosecutions of gang members and other violent offenders for firearms violations. When Federal prosecution is not warranted, offenders are, at a minimum, interviewed about their sources of firearms. VCITs work along with gang, robbery, and narcotics units operating in targeted areas.VCIT members are active within targeted hot spots during peak hours of violence and respond immediately following the occurrence of firearms-related crimes.

When responding to firearms-related crime scenes, including homicides, VCIT members assist the local police by investigating all firearms-related leads and ensuring firearms evidence is traced, and when possible, ballistically imaged and queried through NIBIN. In addition, ATF-trained explosives detection canines and canine handlers are made available to VCITs to aid in the recovery of firearms and ballistic evidence from crime scenes and search warrant locations.

VCIT Cities

  1. Alabama: Birmingham
  2. Arizona: Mesa, Tucson
  3. California: Fresno, Los Angeles, San Bernardino
  4. Connecticut: Hartford
  5. Florida: Miami, Orlando, Tampa
  6. Georgia: Atlanta
  7. Louisiana: Baton Rouge, New Orleans
  8. Maryland: Baltimore
  9. Minnesota: Minneapolis
  10. Mississippi: Jackson
  11. Nevada: Las Vegas
  12. New Jersey: Camden
  13. New Mexico: Albuquerque
  14. North Carolina: Greensboro
  15. Ohio: Columbus
  16. Oklahoma: Tulsa
  17. Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
  18. Puerto Rico: San Juan
  19. Tennessee: Nashville
  20. Texas: Houston, Laredo
  21. Virginia: Richmond
  22. Wisconsin: Milwaukee

Homicides with Firearms

Statistical Pilot Performance Assessment
City 2003 Jun-Nov 2004 Jun-Nov % Change
Totals 576 480 -17%
Albuquerque 4 2 -50%
Baltimore 91 128 41%
Chattanooga 6 2 -67%
Columbus 32 26 -19%
Greensboro 13 3 -77%
Las Vegas 62 51 -18%
Los Angeles 72 77 7%
Miami 36 22 -39%
Pittsburgh 33 13 -61%
Philadelphia 12 3 -75%
Richmond 51 38 -25%
Tampa 19 9 -53%
Tucson 24 18 -25%
Tulsa 29 12 -59%
Washington DC & Virginia 92 76 -17%

Note 1: Las Vegas and Philadelphia compare the time period July through December, since the program was initiated in July, 2004.

Note 2: This data is preliminary and is subject to change.

Note 3: Where available, data represents statistics for the target areas within the city identified and not a citywide or metropolitan statistical area.

Courtesy of: ATF Online – Firearms – Programs – Violent Crime Impact Teams (VCIT).

ATF Online – Training – Firearms – Training for Law Enforcement

Courtesy of: ATF Online – Training – Firearms – Training for Law Enforcement.

Project Safe Neighborhoods Enforcement Training

PSN 3-Day Program

Program Description: This three-day, intensive course on illegal firearms interdiction is a collaborative effort among the U.S. Department of Justice, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National District Attorney’s Association, the National Crime Prevention Council and ATF. The goal of this training is to improve the level of crime gun interdiction and prosecution through a multi-disciplinary approach that emphasizes team building among the course participants: Assistant U.S. Attorneys; state and local prosecutors; state and local police officers and sheriffs; and ATF special agents. The course is based upon ATF’s Firearms Trafficking Techniques Course and incorporates elements from IACP Firearms Investigation and Interdiction Technical Assistance Program. The course focuses the resources of each partner on initiating, perfecting and prosecuting cases involving firearms traffickers and armed violent offenders. The course is specifically designed to support Project Safe Neighborhoods and is intended for maximum impact in a single city or community.

The training is actually three separate courses in one, providing a totally integrated training package from arrest to courtroom, from patrol officers to agency heads.

(Course ID FRMS-CS-0019) Track 1 (Executive Breakout Session) One Day approximately 20 participants – The executive breakout session is designed for agency decision makers. Past attendees have included the U.S. Attorney for the host district; senior state and local prosecutors; ATF Special Agents in Charge and Assistant Special Agents in Charge; Police Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs; and Sheriffs and Under Sheriffs. The Executive Track offers three hours of class on the first two mornings, followed by breakout sessions facilitated by the National Crime Prevention Council. In these sessions, senior law enforcement will candidly discuss their region’s crime gun problems; how to partner more effectively to combat violent crime; and problems and barriers to progress. They also will develop action plans and recommendations for implementing the Project Safe Neighborhoods strategy in their community. At the conclusion of the course they will report back to the main class on their results.

The main track is designed for line prosecutors and investigators. Assistant U.S. Attorneys, district attorneys, police, sheriff’s deputies, and ATF special agents all train together. Topics include firearms trafficking; enforcement strategies; characteristics of armed gunmen; firearms identification; firearms tracing and crime gun analysis; state and Federal firearms law; presenting cases to prosecutors; prosecution strategy; designing dynamic partnerships and getting started. Whether you are a new prosecutor or an experienced law enforcement officer, the course material is ideal for anyone who is involved in putting violent armed criminals, and the illegal gun traffickers who arm them, behind bars. All speakers are leading experts in their field and internationally recognized.

(Course ID FRMS-CS-0020) Track 2 (Enforcement Training Main Track) – “ Two days – approximately 80 participants – The main track is designed for line prosecutors and investigators. Assistant U.S. Attorneys, district attorneys, police, sheriff’s deputies, and ATF special agents all train together. Topics include firearms trafficking; enforcement strategies; characteristics of armed gunmen; firearms identification; firearms tracing and crime gun analysis; state and Federal firearms law; presenting cases to prosecutors; prosecution strategy; designing dynamic partnerships and getting started. Whether you are a new prosecutor or an experienced law enforcement officer, the course material is ideal for anyone who is involved in putting violent armed criminals, and the illegal gun traffickers who arm them, behind bars. All speakers are internationally recognized, leading experts in their field.

(Course ID FRMS-CS-0018) Track 3 (Street Enforcement) – “ One day – more than 100 participants per day – Specifically designed for uniform patrol officers, this one-day course will provide police and sheriff’s deputies with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to support the PSN program in their area and enhance their margin of safety on the street. This highly interactive course contains two 4-hour blocks of instruction:

  1. Characteristics of Armed Gunmen – The difference between the charges of carrying a concealed weapon and homicide is about two seconds – the time it takes to draw and shoot an illegally carried weapon. This 4-hour course, designed for state and local police officers in support of the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII), provides officers with skills and abilities needed to recover crime guns from the street prior to their use in additional crimes of violence. The course includes detailed instruction on identifying characteristics of persons who carry concealed firearms; legal issues concerning stop and frisk; and articulating probable cause for searches. Recover more crime guns and increase your personal margin of safety while on the street.
  2. Firearms Identification and Tracing Techniques – “ This 4-hour course is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to accurately identify firearms based upon markings and firearm characteristics. It will teach officers everything they need to know to identify a firearm as a piece of evidence for court or provide unique identifying information so the weapon can be traced. During the course students will have the opportunity to identify numerous firearms from technically accurate line drawings to test the development of their skills. Topics covered include firearms nomenclature, Federal firearms marking requirements, caliber designations, commonly misidentified firearms, proof marks, firearms trafficking schemes, firearms trace procedures, the benefits of comprehensive crime gun tracing, and an overview of the YCGII program.
Course Dates
From To Location
TBA TBA TBA

Contact: Special Agent Tim Carroll (Project Safe Neighborhoods Training Program Manager) at (202) 648-8332.


Project Safe Neighborhoods Site Support

(Course ID 1 Day Course FRMS-CS-0016)

(Course ID 2 Day Course FRMS-CS-0017)

ATF’s Office of Training and Professional Development can work with your office, in conjunction with the ATF Field Division in your area, to custom design training that contains blocks of instruction from any of the classes listed above. Classes can be designed for law enforcement officers, prosecutors or a combination of both groups. The curriculum varies by site and is tailored to the needs of the jurisdiction requesting the training. Core materials frequently contain, but are not limited to:

  • Firearms Trafficking — Where do crime guns come from?
  • Firearms Tracing and On Line LEAD
  • Characteristics of Armed Gunmen
  • Firearms Identification and Tracing Procedures
  • Federal Firearms Laws
Course Dates
From To Location
TBA TBA TBA

Contact: Special Agent Tim Carroll (Project Safe Neighborhoods Training Program Manager) at (202) 648-8332.

POLICE OFFICER’S GUIDE to Recovered Firearms

ATF MISSION: FIREARMS SAFETY
  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded (even if you think it is not).
  • Keep fingers off trigger.
  • Always keep firearms pointed in a safe direction.
  • No evidence is worth losing a life over.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a principal law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice dedicated to preventing terrorism, reducing violent crime, and protecting our Nation. The men and women of ATF perform the dual responsibilities of enforcing Federal criminal laws and regulating the firearms and explosives industries. We are committed to working directly, and through partnerships, to investigate and reduce crime involving firearms and explosives, acts of arson, and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products.

CONTACT ATF: For more information or assistance, contact your local ATF office or call 1-800-ATF-GUNS.

POLICE OFFICER’S GUIDE to Recovered Firearms (Revised December 2009) 

TIPS FOR FIREARMS QUERIES USING MOBILE NCIC TERMINALS

  • Query firearm serial number in NCIC.
  • Use caution in identifying letters and numbers.  For example, be careful distinguishing between “5” and “S,” “Z” and “2,” etc.
  • Following a “hit,” be sure to compare serial number, model, caliber, and miscellaneous field.
  • The “Make” (MAK) field may contain Make, Brand, Model, or Trademark.
  • Be aware, the serial number match is important.  Discrepancies with MAK and/or MOD do not rule out a match if the serial numbers are the same.

HOW TO REQUEST A FIREARMS TRACE

A Firearms Trace Report can reveal:

  • The original firearm PURCHASER, including the address and identification they used at place of purchase;
  • The original FIREARM RETAILER, including their city and state;
  • The TIME PERIOD between the original purchase and the recovery by law enforcement;PATTERNS in purchase locations, purchasers, recovery locations, and other information that may be vital to an investigation or prosecution; and,
  • OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES that have purchasers, possessors, firearms retailers and/or firearm recovery locations in common with yours. Firearms trace request forms can be obtained at the ATF website http://www.ATF.gov. You can also request access to ATF’s web-based electronic firearms tracing program – eTrace.  Through eTrace you can electronically submit traces, receive results, and analyze your agency’s aggregate firearms trace data.Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 10 ATF Publication 3312.12.

PERSONS PROHIBITED BY FEDERAL LAW FROM POSSESSING FIREARMS

  • Persons convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison;
  • Fugitives from justice;
  • Users of illegal drugs or persons addicted to illegal drugs;
  • Persons adjudicated mentally ill or incompetent and persons committed to a mental institution;
  • Persons dishonorably discharged from military;
  • Illegal aliens and non-immigrant aliens;
  • Persons who have renounced US citizenship;
  • Persons under a qualifying order of protection; and,
  • Persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

QUESTIONS TO ASK UNLAWFUL FIREARMS POSSESSORS

Ask:

  1. About their specific crime and their role in it.
  2. About drug use past and present.
  3. When and where did they get the gun?
  4. How much did they pay for the gun?
  5. Did they load the gun themselves?
  6. Is there more ammunition, not with the gun?
  7. Who else knows they have a gun(s)?
  8. Do they have other guns?
  9. Can they get more guns?  From what source?
  10. Is that source violent and armed?
  11. Who else gets guns from that source?
  12. Did they, or does their source try to remove markings from guns?
  13. Which markings and how?
  14. If stolen, when and where was the gun stolen?
  15. Have they stolen firearms from other locations?

Revised December 2009, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF Publication 3312.12

ATF: Penalties and Sanctions

CHAPTER 15.  PENALTIES AND SANCTIONS

Section 15.1  NFA.

15.1.1  Criminal.  The acts prohibited by the NFA and prosecutable as Federal offenses are listed in 26 U.S.C. 5861(a) through (l).  As provided by 26 U.S.C. 5871, any person who commits an offense shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 10 years or fined.  Although the fine specified in the statute is an amount not exceeding $10,000, an amendment to Federal law provides for a fine of not more than $250,000 in the case of an individual or $500,000 in the case of an organization.

15.1.2  Forfeiture.  Any firearm involved in any violation of the NFA is subject to seizure and forfeiture.

15.1.3  Assessment of NFA tax.  ATF may assess tax liabilities under the NFA, including penalties and interest, as provided by the Internal Revenue Code.

Section 15.2  GCA.

15.2.1  Criminal.  The criminal penalties for violations of the GCA are provided for in 18 U.S.C. § 924. The criminal penalties in the GCA include both felonies and misdemeanors.  For misdemeanors, the fines would be not more than $100,000 for individuals or $200,000 in the case of organizations.  The criminal provisions of the NFA are found in 26 U.S.C. § 5871.  As in the case of NFA offenses, fines for violation of the felony provisions would be not more than $250,000 in the case of an individual or $500,000 in the case of an organization.

15.2.2  Forfeiture.  The GCA also provides for the forfeiture of firearms and ammunition involved in certain violations of the GCA and other violations of the criminal laws of the United States in 18 U.S.C. 924(d).

15.2.3  License denial or revocation.  ATF may issue a notice of denial of an application for a Federal firearms license where it determines that the applicant fails to meet the licensing requirements of 18 U.S.C. 923(d).

It may also issue a notice of revocation of a license when it determines that an FFL has willfully violated the GCA or its implementing regulations.

For the applicable procedures, see ATF’s regulations in 27 CFR Part 478, Subpart E.  Note that the courts have held that a person’s conduct was  “willful” where the evidence showed that the FFL knew of his legal obligation and disregarded or was plainly indifferent to that obligation. [18 U.S.C. 3571(b) and (c); 26 U.S.C. 5872; 27 CFR 479.191; 27 CFR 478.47, 478.71; 18 U.S.C. 923(e); 27 CFR 478.73; Bryan V. United States, 524 U.S. 184 (1998) [note: this is criminal case, not civil license revocation.]


Introducing Me!

Welcome  to my Blog!

I wear many different hats and I have many names — my birth name, my given name, and  a married name or two. I have nicknames, pet names, business names, and pen names.  A lucky few call me “Mom” and “Nana.” So many personalities, moods, responsibilities, and interests — all wrapped up in little ol’ me.

Names are a description of a person but don’t necessarily describe who the person really is as a complete package. That’s why I started this blog — to share  the true essence of me.

So, just call me Charley.

I invite you into my space to share a few different facets of me – from the intimate to the naked truths of my reality.

Share a moment and get to know me.

Revel in my stories. Explore my poetry. Peak into my dream world.

From the tears of my most bitter disappointments to the belly laughs of life’s delights, I celebrate my life for what it is … and for the potential my soulful life has yet to realize.

And so, I give you a glimpse of my world – mind…soul… spirit… and little bit of, well — me!

Enjoy!

D.C. firefighters’ $47 million overtime bill roils city budget – The Washington Post

via D.C. firefighters’ $47 million overtime bill roils city budget – The Washington Post.

USAO Press Release – Felon Who Fired Shots Over I-5 Freeway Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Illegal Gun Possession

April 2, 2010

RICHARD FLOYD BLAKE, 32, a transient living in a wooded area in north Seattle, was sentenced yesterday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

BLAKE was responsible for the gunfire on August 28, 2009, that shut down Interstate 5 in both directions around 9:30 in the evening. BLAKE was apprehended in the woods near North Seattle Community College after a two and a half hour stand-off with police. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said BLAKE showed extreme indifference to the incredible danger he posed to the surrounding neighborhood and motorists on the freeway.According to the plea agreement, on the evening of August 28, 2009, multiple people called 9-1-1 reporting the sound of gunfire over the freeway near North Seattle Community College. Some callers reported seeing tracer rounds crossing over the freeway about five feet above the cars. Responding officers determined the gunfire was coming from a wooded area between the college and the I-5 freeway. The freeway was shut down, and the King County helicopter and a Washington State Patrol plane were able to spot two men hiding in the woods.

SWAT officers attempted to take both men into custody – one surrendered immediately, but BLAKE ran into the woods and attempted to hide from officers. After a two and a half hour stand-off, officers moved in and arrested BLAKE. Under the language of the plea agreement, BLAKE claims the other man arrested in the woods fired the majority of the shots. However, all the evidence gathered in the case points to BLAKE as the shooter, and Judge Zilly rejected BLAKE’s claims at sentencing.

A search of the woods revealed two backpacks containing various weapons and camping material including: a box of shotgun shells, the book Anarchist Cookbook, a United States Army Special Forces medical manual, a sheathed fixed-bladed knife, miscellaneous camping supplies, as well as printed pictures of different assault rifles, advertisements for gun parts, and two receipts – one for a rifle stock and another for a rifle barrel, both of which were in BLAKE’s name. In the second larger backpack officers recovered a Norinco (North China Industries), model MAK90, 7.62 caliber semi-automatic rifle (an AK-47 derivative), other miscellaneous gun parts, two sleeping bags and a tent. A further search of the woods turned up 18 shell casings for the large caliber ammunition.

BLAKE was convicted in 2002 of Robbery in King County, Washington. In that case BLAKE robbed a mini-mart clerk at gunpoint. Because of that conviction he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

In asking for a sentence above BLAKE’s guidelines range, Special Assistant United States Attorney Andy Colasurdo notes the inherent danger in BLAKE’s actions saying, his decision evidenced an extreme indifference to human life. Each and every bullet fired from that weapon endangered the lives of every single person traveling along that portion of Interstate 5 that night, not to mention all the citizens located in the densely populated residential neighborhood on the east side of the interstate.

BLAKE was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Unveiled in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSNis a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level — in this case, in King County– has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Colasurdo. Mr. Colasurdo is a Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute firearms cases in federal court.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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USAO Press Release – Felon Who Fired Shots Over I-5 Freeway Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Illegal Gun Possession

NATURALIZED CITIZENS BEWARE: Aggravated Felonies and Deportation

A primary purpose of U.S. immigration laws is to control the number and type of non-citizens who can be in the country. Among other things, these laws outline conduct that can disqualify non-citizens from getting permission to enter or remain in the U.S.
A key mechanism for enforcing the law against non-citizens already in the country is through their deportation. Under the law, one way such actions are justified is when the individual involved has been found to have committed various crimes. This report focuses on what are called “aggravated felonies” — a single part of these laws.
The subject of aggravated felonies is important because it is little understood outside a small community of immigration lawyers, judges and scholars, and yet affects the lives of tens of thousand of non-citizens who have entered the country legally. In addition, partly because of their complexity, aggravated felony matters have been the subject of much federal court litigation.

The Big Picture

Congress creates immigration law and policy through statutes. The primary immigration laws are contained in a statute known as the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Much of the enforcement of immigration laws is handled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), work that the Immigration and Naturalization Service used to perform until passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which took effect in 2003. The Department of Justice administers the adjudication of the immigration laws, through a special group of immigration judges.

For most of its history, the US has maintained immigration laws to control which non-citizens are allowed to be in the US, for what reasons, for how long, and who can become US citizens. The Alien Act of 1798, known as the Alien and Sedition Laws, empowered the President to expel any alien, or non-citizen, he deemed dangerous. A general immigration law passed in 1882 called for the exclusion of “idiots, lunatics, convicts, and persons likely to become public charges.” The 1882 law also banned Chinese immigrants. A 1917 law established a literacy requirement for admission to the country.

In 1952 the McCarran-Walter Act established the basic structure of today’s immigration law, setting up deportation procedures, creating a quota system based on nationality, as well as detailed exclusions based on political grounds. Other major changes of the immigration laws have occurred in 1965, 1980, 1986, 1988, 1990, and 1996. Congress is again seriously debating major immigration revisions.

A bedrock rule of our immigration laws is that they do not apply to US citizens whether they became citizens by virtue of being born here, born elsewhere to US citizen parents, or through the process of naturalization. Regardless of the manner of obtaining citizenship, citizens are not subject to deportation and other restrictions of our immigration laws.

This of course means that all non-citizens who are in the country or who seek such immigration benefits as work and tourist visas are subject to these laws. Violations entail the possibility of not being able to come to the US or being forcedto leave through a deportation process.

Non-citizens are subject to deportation regardless of:

  1. their immigration status
  2. how long they have lived in the US or had any legal immigration status
  3. the existence of immediate family members who are US citizens
  4. the strength of their ties to the community.

The impacts of deportation can be severe, depending on the person and their circumstances. For those who are lawful permanent residents (green card holders), it can mean being forced off the path to citizenship. For persons who have lived in the US a long time, it can mean being uprooted from families and established communities. For most, deportation can result in long-term banishment from the US.

Overview of the Law

The immigration statute lists a number of types of activities that can make one “deportable”. The primary ones relate to immigration violations, national security and terrorism activities, and criminal violations.

Instead of listing specific crimes that would make one deportable, Congress set out broad categories of criminal offenses that could make one subject to deportation. These include crimes of “moral turpitude”, controlled substances and so-called “aggravated felonies.” For instance, a non-citizen who has entered the country legally but who has a conviction under “any law relating to a controlled substance” is subject to deportation.

Some of the broad categories are not straightforward and often require detailed analysis to determine whether a person has run afoul of the deportation laws. A second problem is that certain key terms such as “moral turpitude,” though generally referring to crimes involving dishonesty, immorality, or violence, are not defined in the law. As a result, the question of which criminal convictions involve an act of moral turpitude have been determined by court decisions. Analysis of these crimes is additionally complex because US law generally requires that they have been committed within five years of coming to the US and involve a potential sentence of at least one year.

Aggravated Felonies

Congress first created the concept of aggravated felony in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 as part of a broader effort to combat narcotics trafficking. The three specific crimes listed in the original 1988 Act were, in fact, every bit as severe as the term indicates: murder, drug trafficking, and illegal trafficking in firearms and destructive devices. Those crimes were incorporated into the immigration statute.

Since then, subsequent legislation has expanded the definition of aggravated felony several times. Despite the aggravated felony label, many of these crimes have been interpreted by federal courts to include misdemeanors, even though misdemeanors are generally meant to encompass less serious or dangerous acts than crimes traditionally designated as felonies. In December, 2005, the U.S. House passed a bill that, if it were to become law, would expand the reach of the statute even further.

With the rapid expansion of crimes which can be considered “aggravated felonies,” the list of applicable crimes now includes both various criminal categories as well as specific crimes. The designation of some crimes as aggravated felonies depends on the length of sentence imposed or amount of money involved. Examples of listed aggravated felonies include:

  1. a crime of violence for which the term of imprisonment is at least 1 year;
  2. a theft offense (including receipt of stolen property) or burglary offense for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year;
  3. illicit trafficking in drugs, firearms, destructive devices, or explosive materials;
  4. an offense that involves fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victim or victims exceeds $10,000;
  5. offenses related to alien smuggling (though some exceptions apply); and
  6. murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor.

It is also an aggravated felony to attempt or conspire to commit an aggravated felony. While the above examples of aggravated felonies would seem to be severe offenses for which deportation is an appropriate punishment, in practice fairness is not always clear cut. A good example of this concerns Carlos Pacheco who entered the US with a green card as a 6-year old child. In 2000 a federal appeals court agreed that he was an aggravated felon based on his misdemeanor conviction in Rhode Island for stealing some Tylenol and cigarettes. In doing so, the court expressed its own “‘misgivings’ that Congress, in its zeal to deter deportable non-citizens from re-entering this country”, equated misdemeanors with felonies. In this case, the immigration consequences were much more severe than the criminal consequences.

Challenges to Aggravated Felonies

In recent years, the federal courts have heard many appeals from non-citizens challenging the government’s decisions classifying their crimes as aggravated felonies. Even while upholding many individual aggravated felony rulings, the courts have from time-to-time directly criticized the arbitrary nature of the law upon which these rulings were based. One such problem area, for example, involves the provision that authorizes the government to use certain misdemeanor charges when determining that an individual was eligible for treatment as an aggravated felon.

In 2001, a federal appeals court agreed with DHS that due to a conviction for a misdemeanor shoplifting crime, Alexander Christopher met the legal definition of an aggravated felon. The court ruled that the fact that his sentence was suspended was “irrelevant” but noted that Congress, in expanding the reach of aggravated felony provisions of the law, was “breaking the time-honored line between felonies and misdemeanors.”

In 1999, a federal court upheld an aggravated felony designation for Winston Graham for the misdemeanor crime of petty larceny. The panel of judges said its hands were tied under the federal statute, calling it a “carelessly-drafted piece of legislation.”

While non-citizens deemed to be aggravated felons frequently have one or more criminal convictions, those who appeal their cases are seeking to have their crimes categorized as a lower category of deportable offense. This would enable them, for the most part, to avoid some of the harsh legal consequences that aggravated felonies entail. Many of these appeals revolve around the subjective nature of whether an aggravated felony has been committed plus the circumstances surrounding the crime. For instance:

1. The terms for categories of crimes are open to interpretation. There usually is little ambiguity that someone convicted of murder is guilty of a “crime of violence,” but in many other situations, the designation is far less clear. Judges across the country, for instance, have disagreed as to whether those pleading to a drunk driving charge are guilty of a crime of violence. Such a distinction may be critical when it comes to determining whether someone is an aggravated felon.

2. Aside from the crime itself, other elements of crimes can be subjective. Whether a crime is an aggravated felony may depend, not just on the crime itself, but also on the length of the actual sentence and (for theft and fraud cases), the dollar value involved. We have seen that misdemeanors, usually meant to signify a less serious crime than a felony, can be considered aggravated felonies in certain situations.

3. Another complicating factor is that most offending immigrants are prosecuted under state laws while many of the aggravated felony provisions are defined in terms of federal criminal statutes. Required elements at the state level often do not parallel those at the federal level. The U.S. Supreme Court is now considering a case where a person was convicted as a felon for violating a state law against possession of drugs. But because this would only be considered a misdemeanor under federal law, there is disagreement as to which law should prevail.

4. Finally, there are disagreements among the 12 federal circuit courts on many of these issues. These inconsistent approaches to interpreting what crimes are – and are not – aggravated felonies is what motivated the Supreme Court to step into this complicated area of the law.

Impacts of Aggravated Felonies

As mentioned, aggravated felony decisions tend to be heavily litigated in part because of legal consequences of aggravated felonies. These consequences tend to be more severe on the life and rights of these non-citizens than if their conduct was considered deportable on other grounds. These consequences include:

1. Ineligible to stop deportation. Many other deportable offenses allow a non-citizen to be able to apply for “waivers”, or exceptions, to deportation. But no exceptions are available to aggravated felons.

2. Unable to apply for other legal immigration status. Many persons with other violations, including some criminal violations that make them deportable, remain eligible to apply for asylum, lawful permanent residence (green card), and other routes to legal status spelled out in the INA if they meet other qualifications. Aggravated felons are disqualified from almost every provision of the law that would enable them to legalize their status or to retain existing legal status, such as a green card.

3. Guaranteed to be detained. Aggravated felons, in addition to several other types of non-citizens, fall within the INA’s “mandatory detention” provisions. This means that most will be detained until DHS is able to effect their deportation.

4. Less access to immigration court. For the most part, non-citizens can only be deported after an Immigration Judge conducts a hearing and signs an “order of removal (deportation)”. However, the INA allows DHS to deport aggravated felons who are not green card holders “administratively”, that is, within the agency without having to take the case before an Immigration Judge.

5. Less access to federal appeals courts. Aggravated felons are among a group of deportable non-citizens who have fewer legal rights to request a federal judge hear their case on appeal.

6. Permanent ejection from the US. Most non-citizens who are deported from the US are not eligible to apply to return legally to the country for a period of from five to 20 years depending on their circumstances. But aggravated felons are permanently disqualified from ever returning to the US for any reason.

Report date: June 9, 2006

Office of Child Support Enforcement’s Best Practices: Identifying and Acting Against Property and Assets of Self-Employed and Unemployed Individuals

This Author’s Comment:
I include this information specifically because it relates to child support enforcement cases dating back to the early 1990’s. This is important because many of the same methods of child support enforcement were supposed to be available administratively for my case and others like mine around the same time period, but the Offices of the Frederick County Maryland’s State Attorney’s Office of Child Support Enforcement (in collaboration with the Department of Social Services) has refused to help me enforce judgments against the self-employed Deadbeat Dad since 1997. Perhaps they should hire people like the ones quoted in this publication from the Office of Child Support Enforcement!
Happy reading…
*     *     *     *     *
Publications Archive and a Historical Document

In 1991, Virginia implemented a program targeted at individuals who are self-employed or employed “unofficially.” The program is called SAFE (Seize Assets for Enforcement) and has been very successful The strategy was two-fold:

  • to actually seize and sell assets for delinquent child support; and
  • through publicity, to motivate many non-payors to make payments.

For the fiscal year 1992-93, over $394,000 was collected through May 15, 1993.  This represents monies collected through actual sheriff’s sales, as well as lump sum payments and wage withholdings obtained as a direct result of letters of intent and referrals to the sheriff’s offices. The process involves sending an Intent Notice to obligors who are delinquent in the amount of at least $1000.  This notice advises them of the State’s intent to seize and sell at public auction their personal property to satisfy past-due child support and directs them to contact DSS within ten days to make payment arrangements. Many contacts are received subsequent to the mailing of the notices.

In addition, a tape match is periodically run with the Department of Motor Vehicles and Game and Inland Fisheries for vehicle and boat ownership information. Of course, many clients also provide leads, such as an obligor’s owning valuable antiques or an expensive sound system.

Contact Julie G. Cooper, Assistant Director, Program Operations at (804) 692-1944.

The Connecticut Parent Locator and Capias Unit uses the resources of the Departments of Labor and Revenue Services in locating self-employed obligors’ sources of income. The state child support agency just entered into an agreement with the State Department of Revenue Services to provide access to obligor’s tax returns.  Additionally, the agency and local magistrates use computers to match obligors with state lottery winnings, motor vehicle registrations, mortgages, etc.

Contact Paul Burns, Supervisor, State Parent Locator & Capias Unit at (203) 566-7075.

A portion of the obligors in Alaska are self-employed fishermen who hold state issued permits to allow them to fish within Alaska waters. Each fishing boat must have a permit holder on board while fishing and only permit holders may sell to processors.

The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) computer matches the obligor database with the State Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission’s database of permit holders and a mass order for income withholding is produced. The mass order is:

  • served on all processors, brokers and individuals authorized to purchase fish from permit holders;
  • valid for 13 months; and
  • is replaced annually.

It contains the name, permit number and arrears of each obligor. Purchasers of fish are required to withhold 50 percent of the sale, not to exceed the arrearage, from the proceeds going to the permit holder.  State law holds an employer (processor/buyer) responsible for the entire child support debt if they fail to withhold from the fishing proceeds.

Processors and fishermen are encouraged to work with the case officers to ensure payment of child support. Alaska has over 400 fishermen owing more than $10 million in arrears.  This is the fourth year of the mass withholding program and collections increased over 200 percent from 1990 to 1993, from $190,000 to $598,000. This is the only effective method to collect on these cases in an industry that is primarily a cash business.

Contact Carroll Schmidt, Enforcement Manager, at (907) 263-6900.

The Circuit Court of Escambia County, Florida has implemented the “Pay or Appear” Program, designed to encourage obligors to make timely child support payments. It is aimed specifically at NCPs who: are self-employed; quit jobs when faced with income deduction or change jobs frequently; or who make lump sum payments of arrears to avoid court appearances.

The defendant is issued a “Pay or Appear” Order to pay weekly by a set date. If payments are not received by that date, the defendant must appear before a hearing officer (HO) the following day to show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt. The defendant is also required to conduct a job search every time he is unemployed or unable to make the required payments. If the HO does not feel adequate reason has been provided for failure to pay, the case is heard by a Circuit judge that morning.  If the defendant fails to appear for the hearing, an arrest order is issued.

As of July, 1993, 183 NCPs were involved in the program.  Of these, 88 (48 percent) were paying regularly. Between December 1992 and July 1993, 53 arrest orders were issued, 18 NCPs were arrested, nine of whom paid immediately, nine who were incarcerated.  During that period, eight NCPs were incarcerated directly from the courtroom. All paid immediately.

Contact Walter Steigleman, Contract Attorney, at (904) 244-5678.

Arizona utilizes several types of actions to enforce child support orders of self-employed obligors. These include:

  • Order of Assignment, which has been surprisingly effective in the collection of current child support and arrears, even though the obligor is self-employed;
  • In-office stipulated judgment and order, in which the obligor voluntarily comes to the office to stipulate to a money judgment on the arrears. The judgment is recorded with the County Recorders and attaches to the obligor’s property. Obligors often pay off these judgments, especially when they desire to refinance property at the current interest rates [Charley’s Note: So tell me why Walter Santana has refinanced his properties repeatedly?];
  • Civil contempt, in which the obligor is required to appear before the court for a determination of whether he/she is in contempt of court. These actions are especially effective when the self-employed obligor holds a professional license.  Arizona statutes allow the child support agency to refer the nonpaying obligor to his/her professional licensing board.
  • If the obligor continues to Criminal complaints, several of which have been filed against self-employed obligors based on continuous avoidance of the duty to pay.
  • Credit bureau reports, motor vehicle ownership and past wage histories have been used in these cases to provide proof of the ability to pay.  Generally, the publicity generated by these cases encourages other self-employed obligors to meet their obligations.

Contact Kim D. Gillespie, Dep’t of Economic Security, Phoenix at (602) 274-7646.

In Oregon, the family support division’s first approach to the self-employed obligor is to do a judgment debtor examination (JDE). A review of the past three years tax returns, business records and invoices can produce a great deal of information. Bank garnishments of business and personal bank accounts may be the next step.

Garnishments can also be sent to prospective contractors (individuals for whom bids are in to do jobs, repeat accounts, etc.). The JDE may be continued on a monthly basis with the obligor to report in with business and financial statements and a payment at each visit.

 

If these procedures do not bring results, the division initiates a contempt of court proceeding. Oregon sentences vary but can include probation for several months with terms and conditions to be a monthly payment of current plus a specified amount toward arrears, to be paid during the monthly report date.  Generally, a sentence includes possible incarceration which is executed when failure to comply occurs.  Failure to cooperate and comply results in probation violation action.

Contact Carol Anne McFarland, Deputy District Attorney, Oregon City, (503) 655-8469.

In any case where income withholding is ineffective due to the obligor’s method of obtaining income, the court shall order the obligor to identify a child support deposit account owned solely by the obligor, or to establish an account, in a financial institution located in Minnesota for the purpose of depositing court-ordered child support payments. The court shall order the obligor to execute an agreement with the appropriate public authority authorizing transfers from the obligor’s child support deposit account payable to an account of the public authority responsible for child support enforcement and to disclose to the court all deposit accounts owned by the obligor in whole or in part in any financial institution.

The court may order the obligor to disclose to the court the opening or closing of any deposit account owned in whole or in part by the obligor within 30 days of doing so and to execute an agreement with the appropriate public authority authorizing transfers from any deposit account owned in whole or in part by the obligor to the obligor’s child support deposit account if necessary to satisfy court-ordered child support payments. The court may order a financial institution to disclose to the court the account  number and any other account identification information regarding accounts owned in whole or in part by the obligor. An obligor, who fails to comply with this section, fails to deposit funds in at least one deposit account sufficient to pay court-ordered child support, or stops payment or revokes authorization of any transfer is subject to contempt of court.

 

Cite: 518.611, subd.2a.

Contact Jim Olsen, Minnesota Department of Human Services at (612) 296-2538.

In determining income of self-employed individuals, Colorado uses the Schedule C form normally filed with the individual’s personal tax returns. A review of this Schedule will give an indication of the individual’s personal income for purposes of child support evaluation. Line 31 “Net profit (or loss)” represents the income from personal business. This line is carried forward to the form 1040 personal tax return with any other sources of income an individual may have.  The amount on line 31 is really the amount of income one should begin with as the individual’s income, rather than an amount the person may give as his or her “salary or draw” from the business.  The amount on line 31 is the individual’s income for tax and social security purposes. Even so, there are some possible variations of this amount that should be considered when evaluating income for child support calculation.

These exceptions and variations are listed with the corresponding line number from the Schedule C for reference. The Colorado Child Support Guideline (CCSG) specifically excludes “the accelerated component of depreciation” and investment tax credits”.

The CCSG also requires that “expenses … should be counted as income if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses.” The last requirement is somewhat less objective.  The Colorado Modification Project compiled a list of some expense items on the Profit or Loss from Businesses, Schedule C tax return, which might fall into the area of “reducing personal living expenses,” and thus should be reviewed more closely.

Contact Vikki Schwartz-Williams, Policy Studies, Inc., at (303) 863-0900.

Tax returns of self-employed persons often show a gross income reduced to minimal levels by business deductions. On the other hand, persons who apply for loans never underreport their income or deflate the value of assetsIf anything, income is accurately reported, and all assets are disclosed and their value exaggerated. Subpoenaed mortgage applications from institutions to which self-employed obligors have made application are a gold mine, because they often disclose secreted assets and are a fertile ground for contradicting tax returns, for proving income, adducing testimony about assets, and for impeachment.

From the Delaware Deputy Attorneys General’s Conference. Contact Pete Feliceangeli at (302) 577-2760.

It is often useful to subpoena information on bank loans for homes, farms, automobiles, boats, etc. As previously stated, the income reported for loan applications is often higher than the income alleged for support orders, so even the threat of subpoenaing information can be helpful. Obligors do not want their banker to know that they are behind in their arrears, or that they may have a child support order that they did not report.  This threat may force an obligor to come to the child support agency and make arrangement to fulfill his or her obligation.

Contact Thomas Malier, Corporation Counsel, State of Wisconsin at (715) 524-3181.

1. Review all property settlement documents from divorce cases to discover whether any important assets were transferred to the obligor.

2. Run credit bureau checks on all supposedly unemployed obligors.  Cull out those that reveal significant bank loans, car loans, mortgages, etc.

3. Run a credit bureau check on the obligor’s new spouse if nothing is revealed under the obligor’s name but the obligor appears affluent.

From the Maryland Prosecutors Seminar, May 1993. Contact Amy Bernstein Robertson, Special Counsel, Prince George’s County at (301) 952-4823.

Income may be available in checking and savings accounts, inheritances and trusts, interest and dividend income, individual retirement accounts, rental income, royalties, life insurance  benefits, scholarships and grants, sales of  property, gambling winnings, prizes, lottery, awards, cash in registers, and property held by the business.

Oregon child support agencies use the Oregon wage guide to see what the average pay would be for a particular occupation. Banks, credit unions, county records, subpoenas for bookkeeping records, tax records, till taps on registers, and most importantly, the CP are all excellent resources for obtaining the asset information.

Contact Christine Nelson at (503) 776-6043.

In Wisconsin, the best source to locate information about self-employed obligors is tax records, which may be obtained through the state department of revenue. On a limited basis, the Bureau of Child Support is permitted to examine tax records to obtain income information. The bureau must submit the obligor’s name and social security number via IRS Project 1099 for a check of wages and unearned income. The drawback is that there is no way to determine if the information has been correctly reported.

The agency also has direct access to the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations files to determine if the obligor is receiving unemployment benefits, how much the grant is and where the check is sent. The agency can also determine if the obligor is employed, by whom and what his or her reported quarterly earnings.

Contact Mary L. Southwick, Director, Bureau of Child Support at (608) 266-9909.

In Adams County, Washington, the first paternity, support and reimbursement for expenses (i.e., retroactive support) action was recently litigated wherein the obligor was currently receiving workers’ compensation time-loss payments. Time-loss payments are for earnings lost because of an injury. The CP was non-assistance and the retroactive support was solely for the CP.  The back support amount requested exceeded $11,000. The claims manager testified at trial that it was more likely that the claimant would be determined to either be employable or need vocational training. Based on the claimant’s injury, medical record of treatment and surgeries, a cash settlement would be awarded. The court granted the request for retroactive support and ordered the Department of Labor and Industries to notify the Adams County Prosecutor’s Office of Support Enforcement when the obligor’s workers’ compensation claim was resolved.

In another paternity and retroactive support case in which the claim was already resolved but the settlement was still pending, the judge ordered the retroactive support amount requested, and  specified that this amount should be paid from the pending award. An interagency lien between Labor and Industries and the Office of Support Enforcement was entered on the pending award.

Contact Cecilia K. Cervantes, Deputy Prosecutor, Adams County at (509) 488-2064

In a recent case in Illinois, the appellate court approved the use of the guidelines for allocating a workers’ compensation settlement. In 1987 an obligor received a net award of over $108,000.  The obligee filed a petition asking the court to allocate part of the worker’s compensation settlement for current child support. The trial court held that since the obligor had converted his right to receive periodic payments to receive a lump sum payment, the settlement was “income” and subject to apportionment for child support. The trial court ordered him to pay a percentage of the net award for current child support. He appealed the issue of whether the settlement was “income” subject to child support award. The appellate court affirmed the decision and held that the lump sum settlement was income under the child support guidelines.

Cite: In re: Marriage of Dodds, 222 Ill. App. 3d 99, 583 N.E.2d 608 (2nd Dist. 1991), cert. den., 591 N.E.2d 20 (1992).

Contact Aprille Cooke McKay, Assistant State’s Attorney, Kane County at (708) 232-3500.

Upon learning that an obligor was to receive a large settlement from a worker’s compensation claim, the Petersburg, Virginia child support office initiated an Order to Withhold and Deliver.  A check for $12,600 was sent promptly.  Every penny went to the family.

Contact Victor Taylor, Enforcement Specialist, at (804) 862-6134

Benefits available through Title II of the Social Security Act (not SSI) inuring to child support obligors are specifically listed as being subject to attachment. Such benefits include, but are not limited to, disability income (SSDI), retirement income and widows’ benefits (including lump sums).

To attach benefits, one may serve, by certified or registered mail, the garnishment or income withholding order on the office manager at any Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) district or branch office regardless of the location of the support debtor.

Although up to 65 percent of the periodic benefit is subject to attachment, one should exercise discretion when attaching Title II benefits. The Title II benefit is, in many cases, the only income the obligor may have. Often, a separate benefit will be paid directly to the child by the Social Security Administration. Some states will allow the obligor a credit on current support owed for these payments. In such cases, collection activity is primarily focused on arrearage collection and nominal monthly attachments of $30 to $50 may be appropriate.

A useful case is Mariche v. Mariche, 243 Kan. 397, 758 P.2d 746 (1988), which supports the position that Social Security disability benefits paid in a lump sum and deposited in a bank account are subject to garnishment and the percentage limitations of the consumer credit protection act do not apply to limit the amount attachable.

Cites:
  • Authority for attachment of income inuring to support obligors from the U.S. Government: 42 U.S.C. 659, further explained at 5 C.F.R. 581.103, which lists types of income subject to  attachment;
  • Periodic benefits, as defined in section 428(h)(93) of Title 42 of the United States Code, Title II of the Social Security Act (not SSI) specifically listed as being subject to attachment: 5 C.F.R. 581.103(c)(1); and
  • Service of garnishment or income withholding process on DHHS district or branch office: 5 C.F.R. 581, Appendix A.

Contact Audrey B. Magana, Court Trustee, Geary County, Kansas at (913) 762-5348

If the obligor is a partner in a business, the partnership’s assets are not directly available for satisfaction of the judgment or order, usually not even the obligor’s share or interest in the assets, until that interest is segregated as money that can be distributed to the partner as “profits.” A fairly elaborate procedure must be followed to get at the support obligor’s interest in the partnership.

In California, partnership asset attachment is done pursuant to a noticed motion for a charging order. Each of the partners must be served with the notice of motion which enables each partner to protect his or her own interests and creates a lien on the support obligor’s interest in the partnership.  The effect of a charging order will be to transfer the interest of the support obligor to a receiver.

The court can then direct the receiver to do a variety of things to satisfy the support obligation, including receive funds or assets which would otherwise have been distributed to the support obligor by the partnership, and sell the interest of the support obligor in the partnership. At any time before the foreclosure sale of the support obligor’s partnership interest, the partnership may redeem that interest.

If the business of the self-employed support obligor is in corporate form, then a number of steps can be taken.  Many may be taken concurrently.  A wage garnishment order should be served on the corporation.

In California, the effect of serving the garnishment on the corporation is to create a lien on the corporation’s assets to the extent that the corporation does not comply with the garnishment. In the likely event of non-compliance with the wage garnishment, an independent action against the corporation to foreclose the lien created by service of the garnishment should be commenced within a few months after serving the garnishment, if not sooner.  The lien on the corporation’s assets expires after one year, but the amount of the lien is determined by the amount of earnings which the corporation should have withheld but did not withhold. Depending on the amount of arrearage and the earnings level of the support obligor, you may want to file quickly or you may want to let the amount of the lien grow.

In California, one should seek a turnover order from the court directing the support obligor to turn his share certificates over to the levying officer, who can then be instructed to sell them at an execution sale. At the same time as application for a turnover order, a restraining order should be sought from the court directing the corporation not to transfer its assets other than in the ordinary course of business, nor to transfer funds to the support obligor other than by payment of earnings paid in compliance with the previously served wages/garnishment.

The object is to try to preserve the assets of the corporation whose shares are to be sold in the execution sale, and prevent conversion or fraudulent conveyances. In most cases it is appropriate to seek an ex parte temporary restraining order to add to the support obligee’s protection until a hearing can be held on the request for a turnover order and other relief.

One may seek an order appointing a receiver to administer the assets and revenues of the corporation and may wish to join the corporation as a joint obligor. Since the joinder of a support obligor’s private or closely held corporation is often necessary to the enforcement of a support judgment, the court has the power to join the corporation and make appropriate orders in aid of execution.

One may want to file a fraudulent conveyance action against the corporation, naming the support obligor and the corporation as well as any other persons who participate in the process of using the corporation to shield the assets of the support obligor. Conspiracy and other tort counts are often appropriate.

Contacts: Dennis A. Cohen, Center for Enforcement of Family Support, Los Angeles at (310) 399-6776, AND Keith M. Clemens, Court Commissioner, L.A. Superior Court at (213) 974-5598.

In Washington, when the agency determines that an obligor is unemployed, it sends a withholding order immediately, regardless of whether the obligor has begun to receive compensation.

The agency will also try to determine where an obligor has his or her bank accounts or where he or she has applied for loans (usually by requesting a credit check) and then place a lien or withholding order on those assets.

Contact Bob Withrow at (206) 586-3318

In California, if an obligor’s proprietorship is a retail-type business, one effective remedy is a till tap. To carry out a till tap, the levying officer comes into the business and literally cleans out the cash register.  The till tap not only collects money owed to the judgment creditor, it tends to bring the seriousness of the support obligation to the attention of the support obligor in a dramatic fashion.

A related process is to have the levying officer install a keeper who collects and opens the mail and takes the checks payable to the business. A keeper can be installed for a limited period (e.g., 8 hours or 24 hours) or indefinitely.  Instructions can be given that if the judgment is not satisfied after a specified time period (typically three days), the keeper is to take the inventory and/or equipment of the business into his possession and sell it at auction to satisfy the support judgment.

To levy on an account receivable or other general intangible, one needs to know the name and address of the account debtor. The levying officer then serves a copy of the writ of execution and a notice of levy on the account debtor.

Contacts: Dennis A. Cohen, Center for Enforcement of Family Support, Los Angeles at (310) 399-6776; Keith M. Clemens, Court Commissioner, L.A. Superior Court at (213) 974-5598.

A useful way to intercept money from self-employed obligors in Washington is by going through their safety deposit boxes at their banks.  If there is reason to believe that the obligor has some jewelry or important papers that might lead in the right direction, a subpoena to the bank will open the box.  It costs the office $150 to open and replace the key.

Contact Paul C. Stevens, Support Enforcement Officer at (206) 696-6391

The February 1993 edition of the Child Support Report features several articles on review and adjustment topics. They include a discussion of the federal regulation effective October 13, 1993; information on how to identify assets, including those of self-employed parents; research findings; recent court cases concerning “change in circumstances” related to State guidelines and a reading list on order adjustment.

Copies are available from OCSE’s National Training Center at (202) 401-9383.


Actions Against Property, Assets, Etc.

In Connecticut, the Department of Revenue uses a list of lottery annuitant winners to search for obligors owing child support. For all cases with a match, the process is used to place liens on the winnings.  Each quarter, an updated list of lottery annuitant (million dollar) winners is matched against the files of obligors owing child support.  The State currently has six such liens in place, and collected $14,000 during State FY 1992.

Contact Maria Giaconia at (203) 566-1830

Since the Florida lottery began in 1988, prize winners of $600 or more have been checked against the names of parents who owe child support. Matches are verified and delinquencies are certified.  The winner is advised of the certification and that the prize will be forwarded to the State comptroller for processing.  The comptroller pays the winner any balance beyond the child support owed.  After complying with administrative hearing requirements (s)he forwards the prize or certified portion to the Child Support Enforcement Program. In State fiscal year 1992, lottery intercept collections totaled $157,638. (PA: $84,768; Non PA: $72,871).

Contact Reeta Das at (904) 922-9582

Effective July 1991, Vermont legislation enables the IV-D agency to intercept lottery winnings.  The IV-D agency manually matches a computer listing of delinquent payers against the lottery agency’s winners listing.  In the two years the Lottery Intercept has been in effect, over $30,000 been collected.

Cite: 15 VSA 792.

Contact Tom Rotella at (802) 241-2938

A 1992 California law authorized a program to test the effectiveness of the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) in collecting delinquent child support payments in the same manner that the FTB collects delinquent personal income taxes. The FTB, the California Department of Social Services (DSS) and six county district attorneys are cooperating in designing, testing, and implementing the program.  The counties will refer child support cases that are at least 30 days in arrears to the FTB for collection. FTB collection actions such as attachment, execution, and assignment will be used. Thus far, progress has been good.  The DSS and FTB have signed an interagency agreement defining roles and responsibilities.  Recently the FTB completed a test run of 1,100 cases.  Total collections resulting from that test has reached $250,000. (See  California Pilots Enforcement Using Tax Authority” in the Child Support Report, April 1993.)

Contact Royce Briggs at (916) 657-2038

In Washington, the Child Support Enforcement Program has collected over $1.8 million through property seizures or threat of seizure. Of that total, over $1.6 million was derived from a combination of liens and warning letters.  In 54 cases where liens and earnings did not prompt payment, over $252,000 was collected by selling seized property (e.g. cars, boats, motorcycles). It has become more apparent that the true collection potential of the program is not in the seizure and sale of individual assets, but in the combined of a vehicle lien and a warning letter. In 1992, the state filed 1002 liens; the previous year they had filed 219 liens. Using a lien and a Certificate of Title, the child support agency becomes listed as the legal owner (secondary, if a primary legal owner with a vested financial interest is indicated).

The Department of Licensing issues a cancellation of title letter to both the responsible parent and the primary lienholder if one is listed.  This letter lets the interested parties know that the Office of Support Enforcement now has an interest in the asset. (See “Seize and Sell in Washington” in the Child Support Report, August 1991.)

Contact David Orr at (206) 586-3283

The Child Support Enforcement Division unit in Escambia County, Alabama garnished a NCP’s Individual Retirement Account worth over $16,000, which was used to apply to both AFDC and non-ADC arrears. Alabama’s State Parent Locator Service had discovered that the NCP had an IRA life insurance benefit in a local bank.  This came from a 1099 search request to the IRS.

Several steps were necessary to garnish this account:

  • In Alabama, it is necessary to reduce arrearages to judgment before depriving the NCP of property so a judgment for over $25,000 was filed against him in Circuit Court;
  • A district attorney’s subpoena was issued to the bank;
  • A Circuit Court Judge signed a judgment directing the bank to send the court the sum they presently held to satisfy a portion of the plaintiff’s judgment; and
  • The sheriff served the order and notice on the garnishee, while the NCP was notified by regular mail at his last known address.  Neither the bank nor the NCP attempted to establish any defenses.

Contact Mike Godwin, District Attorney, Escambia County at (205) 867-0239

*In Pima County, Arizona, money raised by selling cars and other property helps pay child support to CPs. Initially, the Office of Child Support Services goes to court and obtains a money judgment for child support arrears.  Then a writ of execution is issued for the Sheriff’s Department to seize the property.  A vehicle worth $1,500 or less is exempt from seizure, but, if the parent owns more than one vehicle, the second can be taken no matter what the value.

Other exempt items include homes worth $100,000 or less, televisios, stereos, refrigerators and most furniture, although things like satellite dishes and VCRs have been taken.  A vehicle is easy to seize and sell.  The department evaluates how much the seized items will likely yield, deducting the cost of the sale to determine whether a forced sale is worthwhile. Selling someone’s car for child support payment is a last resort measure.  Usually, after an obligor’s property is seized, the obligor pays the arrearage and gets the property back by borrowing money or taking a second mortgage on the house. The idea is to let parents know that the State is serious about child support enforcement.

Contact Gayle Eskay, Pima County at (602) 622-7000

*The child support agency discovered that an obligor owned a house in Manatee County, Florida, free and clear of any mortgage. After the agency recorded a certified copy of the judgment and obtained a lien on the property, the obligor ran to the office and made an agreement to pay off the judgment.  After he failed to follow through with the agreement, the agency filed an execution and instructions for levy against his property with the sheriff’s department. After proper notice, the sheriff sold the property for $31,000. The judgment was paid off, including interest. The balance from the sale was paid to the registry of the court because the sheriff was unable to locate the obligor. Finally, the agency filed a motion and was granted a continuing writ of garnishment to pay both an arrearage that had accrued since the judgment and future child support.

Contact Barbara J. Ingram, Director, Child Support Enforcement Division, Manatee County at (813) 749-7160 ext 4356

In New Jersey, liens are automatically placed against any real or personal property and assets of the delinquent obligor to secure child support arrears beginning on  the date the payment is due and unpaid, and thus becoming a judgment by operation of law. The judgments are automatically referred to the Clerk of the Superior Court for docketing.  All liens are filed centrally in the Superior Court Clerk’s Office in Trenton which makes the information accessible for title searchers and real estate attorneys throughout the State.

Once a judgment is identified, the county probation division enforcing the case certifies the final payoff figure (which may include post-judgment interest if requested by the custodial parent (CP) in non-AFDC cases or a county welfare agency in AFDC cases) and processes the payment. Once the judgment has been satisfied, the county probation division requests a warrant of satisfaction certifying that the judgment has been satisfied from either the CP or the county welfare agency.  Any payments received on a judgment are not disbursed until the warrant is signed and filed with the probation division.

If an obligor is unable to pay the full amount of the arrears, the CP has the option of accepting partial payment and releasing the lien on the specific property being sold or refinanced. However, any unpaid amount would remain due and owing and serve as a lien against any additional real property the obligor may own.  If the obligor refuses to pay the debt, the property sale or refinance transaction is usually terminated because of the NCP’s inability to get title insurance and the unlikelihood of a lending issuing a mortgage on a property that is encumbered by a child support lien.

In the first three quarters of FY 1993, 438 warrants of satisfaction were processed and a total of $873,665 collected through this process with only minimal staff increases. This method provides a way to collect an arrearage in one lump sum instead of waiting years for installment payments.  The accrued interest also restores the value of the money that has been lost over the years. (See “New Jersey Judiciary Automates Child Support Judgments” in the Child Support Report, June 1993.)

Contact Eileen Coughlin at (609) 588-2385.

*In Virginia, an obligor attempted to refinance his home and found a lien filed by the Department of Child Support Enforcement.  He contacted the child support agency, a child support worker ascertained the correct arrearage and arranged for the obligor to come to the district office to pay the debt of almost $8,500, which he did.  He is currently paying his support through wage withholding.

Contact Carolyn Davis, District Manager, Fairfax Office at (703) 934-0025

*   As a condition of a lien release (i.e., for real property sale) in Maryland, an attorney may demand that security be posted for a certain number of monthly child support payments before agreeing to the release. It may be necessary to first make a formal motion for the posting of a bond/security if the obligor refuses to do this voluntarily (usually, they agree because they are in a hurry to close the new real estate deal).  From the Maryland Prosecutors’ Seminar, May 1993.

Contact Amy Bernstein Robertson, Special Counsel, Prince George’s County at (301) 952-4823

*   In 1991, the New Jersey Child Support Office learned of a pending suit against US Steel in which 2,400 plaintiffs would be awarded from $800 to $1,800 each, based on the corporation’s alleged discrimination against minority applicants.  320 delinquent obligors were found, owing $2.5 million in arrears.  New Jersey collected $1.2 million from 197 of them. Child support workers secured a list of the plaintiffs’ names, addresses and social security numbers to match against a list of delinquent obligors.  The federal court judge cited the injustice of  plaintiffs receiving monetary awards while refusing to support their own children.

Contact Eileen Coughlin at (609) 588-2385

*   Recent legislation in Kentucky provides that a father’s obligation to support is not necessarily terminated by his death. The amount of support may be modified, revoked, or commuted to a payment, to the extent just and appropriate in the circumstances.

Contact Steve Veno at (502) 564-2285 ext 404

*   In Maryland, a good standard procedure when notified of a possible inheritance is to get as much information about the decedent and estate as possible. With a name, date of death and location, the local Register of Wills can be contacted to determine if anything has been filed.

Call the probate office or family of the deceased to verify the obligor’s amount of inheritance and the date the estate will be distributed. Contact the obligor for an assignment. If the obligor refuses and is not in compliance with the support order, file a Petition to Cite for Contempt and obtain the assignment in court. If the obligor is in compliance, file a Petition to Reduce Arrears to Judgment. (Check your jurisdiction, in many localities payments become money judgments by operation of law as they come due and you can avoid this last step.)  The judgment acts as a lien against the inheritance.

Contact Amy Bernstein Robertson, Special Counsel, Prince George’s County at (301) 952-4823

*   In Florida, an obligor, who had never paid child support for his five children, was the sole beneficiary of a $4 million spendthrift trust administered by Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. The division learned about the trust and filed a petition for enforcement. As a result, the division obtained a judgment for the arrears of $97,600.  The court ordered $200 per month current support; $1,000 per month on the arrearages, and an order for income deduction. The income deduction order of $1,200 was forwarded to New York with an interstate wage-withholding request.  Pursuant to New York law, an additional 50 percent of the Florida order amount could be garnished.  New York served the order on Chase Manhattan, the trustee, and Manatee County now receives monthly payments of $1,800.

Contact Karl A. Youngs, Program Attorney, Manatee County at (813) 749-7160 ext 4356

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Collecting Your Past Due Child Support: What Your Attorney Won’t Tell You

Author’s Post

Since I started this blog, I have been bombarded with emails and comments about how to collect unpaid child support. This article will tell you everything your attorney will not tell you, either because they are greedy or because they simply don’t know. You’re saying, “Isn’t that what I am paying them for?”

Humph… You’re paying them to drag it out in court for as long as they can so they can collect money from you until they drop your case when you can’t pay THEM — because YOU ARE NOT GETTING YOUR CHILD SUPPORT — and you and your kids are starving and being evicted from your home. I’m not exaggerating here.

In 2010, the Deadbeat Dad in my life owed my over $145,000 in unpaid child support, alimony and medical costs. Going into May 2015, he still owes me over $7,000. I’m not finished with him yet. The arrears date back to 1997. That is 21 years in collecting, but you have to admit, my progress is substantial and I can see the end of the rainbow. Still, the interest on the unpaid principle continues to accrue at the rate of 10% simple interest.

Since I started this blog, I have helped desperate mothers to collect nearly $750,000 (yes — that is seven-hundred fifty thousand dollars) in child support. I have NEVER charged a penny for my assistance, and I have made friends from all over the United States (and a few in other countries). As you might guess, crooked attorneys do not like me very much; but I have referred moms to the good ones, and they like me just fine.

Since this isn’t a popularity contest for me, I don’t mind one bit telling you…

Things Your Attorney Will Not Tell You

  1. The Court will give your Deadbeat Dad all the time in the world and every chance in the world to pay. As long as the Deadbeat is “paying” a minimum “good effort payment,” they will not cite him for Contempt.
  2. If the Court DOES cite him for Contempt, he has 90 days to pay as little as a few hundred dollars by a set date to stay out of jail.
  3. A Court Order is enforceable by law.
    • The Judge will NOT enforce his own order.
    • You need to go before a Magistrate (or Constable, depending on your jurisdiction) to enforce the Order. You can find out where to locate the Magistrate either at the courthouse or at your local law enforcement agency.
    • You can draft your Complaint and attach it to the form(s) before presenting it to him/her. They might make you fill out the form anyway, so if you aren’t sure how much time it will take you, I would suggest that you drop by and pick up the form and fill it out before you go before the Magistrate.
    • Some will set an appointment time with you, other places will hear you the same day.
    • It is an informal hearing, but just the same, dress appropriately (casual business wear is okay, but stay away from revealing clothing. If you are in a summer dress, for example, make sure it’s not too short, and cover your bare arms with a sweater or jacket).
    • Stay calm and collected. If you are before a Magistrate, that person will already presume and understand that you are upset. You can’t hold back tears, but you must refrain from raising your voice, using foul or derogatory language, and/or acting like a lunatic. I know, it’s not easy. Just take a lot of deep breaths, and do yourself (and your kids) a favor and remain sane.
    • Speaking of kids, don’t bring them before the Magistrate. They don’t have babysitters there. If it is IMPOSSIBLE to arrange for a caretaker, then do what you must.
  4. Failure to Pay Child Support is a form of child abandonment, which is a CRIME. You can locate the specific law for your jurisdiction online (or you can write to me and I will help you out on this).
  5. The Magistrate, if in agreement with your Complaint, will issue a Warrant of Arrest to either the Sheriff or the local law enforcement (depending on your jurisdiction). Arrest is imminent. While the Deadbeat Dad might get out on bail, he might enjoy a night (or two) in jail mulling over his situation before he is seen by the Magistrate and released on his own recognizance. If he doesn’t make bail, he wallows in his own misery until his Hearing.
  6. Once again before the Judge, he is more apt to arrange a payment schedule to get his arrears current by a set date.
  7. At the hearing, you have the right and opportunity to be heard by the Court (even if your case is with Child Support Enforcement). Tell the Court how poor you and your children are, how hard you are working to keep your car, your home and your children fed and provided with adequate medical care. Don’t hold back any of the facts, and while it is certainly okay to cry, DO NOT yell or act like a crazy woman. The Court doesn’t like that.
  8. Some judges have to pay — or in the past had to pay — child support… and they do not like it… They always give the Deadbeat Dad a thousand and one opportunities to pay — while you and your children live in poverty. Even female judges are callous when it comes to ignoring the needs of the custodial parent and her starving children.
  9. Once before the Court, you can ask for jail time — especially if you have been before the Court repeatedly on Contempt hearings. Tell them the dates of each of these hearings and what the judge ordered at that time. Don’t think they will remember your case; their caseload is insane and all they want to do is get through the day.
  10. In line with asking for jail time, you might suggest that the Deadbeat Dad be put either on Work Release or Home Detention. You should also request that the Court orders the Deadbeat Dad to be put on actual Probation where he has to appear in person to have a drug and alcohol test each time, to maintain employment, and to appear before the Court in 90 days.
  11. Get your child support, alimony, and medical costs REDUCED TO a Child Support Money Judgment NOW! Request a hearing before the court and request that the arrears be reduced to Judgment. You will have to write a Request for Hearing — Set Child Support Arrears to Judgement. Some courts will provide forms for you to fill out. It usually takes between 30 and 90 days to be granted your hearing date. Once you have been heard and the Court reduces the money the Deadbeat Dad owes in arrears, the Clerk will enter the Judgment. However, take the written judgment (they will send a copy in the mail or you can ask them for a copy at the courthouse a week or so after your hearing) to the Civil Court Clerk and for $15, she will enter the judgment into your civil case as well as in District Court. Your judgment begins to collect simple interest at the rate of between 10% and 12% depending on your state and jurisdiction. This does NOT stop the child support order.
  12. The judgment automatically constitutes a money lien against all assets and property (if any) that belongs to the noncustodial parent. You can have them transferred (for $15) to any jurisdiction (state and/or county) where that person lives and/or works (or might hold assets).

WARNING:

If you get a case in court on your own, Child Support Enforcement might drop your case. Don’t worry! They aren’t doing crap for you at this point anyway or we wouldn’t be having this discussion! Once you have your arrears set to a money judgment, you can pay the $25 to CSEA and have your case reinstated. They can then begin to attempt collection efforts once again. Remember that the $25 costs to collect your money judgment are collectable against the noncustodial parent — and so is the $15 fee that you pay to the clerk to Enter your Money Judgment (and any other court costs, as well). For all the stuff you CANNOT do on your own — and that your attorney cannot do, either — see what only CSEA has the administrative authority to do here.

What is this doesn’t work?

If you still have an attorney and you have paid him to collect child support — and he drops your case because you can’t pay him any more — REPORT HIM TO YOUR STATE BAR ASSOCIATION. This is called an Attorney Grievance case. And by the way, if you don’t pay your attorney, he will take you to court and get a Money Judgment against you. He will clean out your bank account if you’re not careful. Be aware that nobody can lien child support, medical insurance judgments, or alimony (in full), not even your attorney.

If the judge who handles your case fails to enforce his own Court Order, REPORT HIM TO THE JUDICIAL DISABILITY COMMITTEE.

Let’s face it: The Courts don’t enforce their own orders, Attorneys don’t give a shit, and you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. You’re not asking for a miracle: You are demanding that the Deadbeat Dad in your life takes responsibility for his children.

I just want to remind you that men don’t like being ratted on by their ex, even if they are in the wrong. If you fear for your safety because of retaliation, you might as well get a Protective Order while you’re at it. Remember that it’s only a piece of paper and it won’t be very effective if he is serious about harming you (and/or your children). But, it will document your fears, especially if the Deadbeat Dad in your life is a domestic violence felon like in my case. And keep your kids close, too, because if he doesn’t want to go to jail or pay you child support, he might decide to snatch those children away from you.

All that having been said, I still say, “Go get that child support, Woman!”

Good luck, and if you need any help or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I answer ALL email inquiries — and my service is FREE!

For other Articles in The Just Call Me Charley Blog that might be of interest to you, go here, and here, and here!

Please know that all emails are confidential and that your case will never be discussed in this forum. Your welfare and safety is my paramount concern.

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Sheriffs deputy indicted on sex charges – Archive – Frederick News-Post

Abuse of 14-year-old student alleged

Kate Leckie News-Post Staff | Posted May 21, 2011

A Frederick County grand jury on Friday indicted a sheriff’s deputy on four criminal charges stemming from a sexual relationship he is alleged to have had with a 14-year-old girl at Walkersville High School, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said.

At the time of his arrest, Deputy Sam A. Bowman was assigned to the high school as its school resource officer.

Initially facing charges of sex abuse of a minor and a fourth-degree sex offense, the indictment returned Friday adds two more counts of fourth-degree sex offense for acts alleged to have occurred with the ninth-grade student between March 9 and March 15, Smith said.

Richard Bricken, Bowman’s defense attorney, could not be reached for comment Friday.

As is customary in criminal cases involving members of local law enforcement, Smith called in a special prosecutor from an outside county to handle the case against Bowman, 46, of New Market.

Donna S. Fenton, deputy chief of the family violence division of the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, presented the case Friday to the grand jury, Smith said.

The indictment eliminates the need for a preliminary hearing that had been set for June 1 in District Court. The case has been forwarded to Frederick County Circuit Court. No trial date has been set.

In charging documents, an investigator wrote that Bowman had frequent contact with the girl at school and he drove her home three times.

He had sexual contact with the teen in his police patrol car and in her residence, according to the documents.

Released from the Frederick County Adult Detention Center after posting $75,000 bail, Bowman was suspended without pay as a result of his arrest, authorities said.

He joined the sheriff’s office in August 2010 after retiring with the rank of corporal from the Frederick Police Department.

During questioning about his relationship with the girl, Bowman denied any sexual contact, documents state. He told investigators he had gone into the girl’s bedroom because he suspected she was inhaling paint fumes and wanted to check the room for evidence.

via Sheriffs deputy indicted on sex charges – Archive – Frederick News-Post.

USAO Press Release – Riverdale Felon Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Gun and Drug Offenses

February 25, 2010

Greenbelt, Maryland — U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Jamal Siddq Rickenbacker, age 29, of Riverdale, Maryland, today to 14 years in prison followed by four years of supervised release for distributing crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a gun. Judge Titus enhanced Rickenbacker’s sentence upon finding that Rickenbacker is an armed career criminal based on three previous convictions for drug offenses. Judge Titus also ordered Rickenbacker to forfeit four guns seized from his residence after his arrest.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Baltimore Field Division; Chief Roberto L. Hylton of the Prince George’s County Police Department; and Colonel Terrence Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

According to his guilty plea, on August 15, 2008, ATF agents observed Rickenbacker provide another individual with 6.64 grams of crack in exchange for $280. When ATF agents and other law enforcement officers attempted to arrest Rickenbacker, he tried to flee by driving his car in reverse into an unmarked car occupied by Maryland State Police. Rickenbacker was removed from his vehicle and officers recovered the $280. Prince George’s County Police detectives subsequently searched Rickenbacker’s residence and seized an additional 12.53 grams of cocaine, 46.5 grams of marijuana, two digital scales with cocaine residue and a razor blade; a loaded .380 caliber handgun; a loaded 9mm caliber handgun; a .45 caliber revolver which was previously reported as stolen; a loaded 12 gauge shotgun; 512 rounds of ammunition; and two high capacity magazines for a MAC-type machine pistol.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf, who prosecuted the case.

###

via USAO Press Release – Riverdale Felon Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Gun and Drug Offenses.

USAO Press Release – Convicted Felon Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Firearm Violation

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA — OLIN DEREK GRANT, age 44, a resident of New Orleans, was sentenced today in federal court by U. S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey to fifteen (15) years in prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In addition, GRANT was ordered to serve five (5) years of supervised release during which time he will be under federal supervision and risk additional imprisonment should he violated any terms of the release.

According to the court documents, GRANT pled guilty on April 29, 2010 admitting that on September 1, 2009, he was in possession of a .500 S&W Magnum caliber revolver when he was arrested by New Orleans Police Officers. GRANT also admitted that he has previous conviction in Jefferson Parish for manslaughter, burglary of an inhabited dwelling and attempted simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, and distribution of cocaine.

This investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the New Orleans Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher Cox of the Violent Crime Unit.

###

via USAO Press Release – Convicted Felon Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Firearm Violation.

USAO Press Release – Convicted Felon Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Gun Possession

USAO Press Release – Convicted Felon Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Gun Possession.

CONVICTED FELON SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR GUN POSSESSION

AUGUSTA, GA — KEVIN RODRICK GREENE, 39, of Grovetown, Georgia, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge J. Randal Hall to serve 8 years in federal prison on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, Guns in the hands of convicted felons pose a very real danger to the community. This defendant had prior felony and other violent act convictions and still was arrested with drugs and a handgun. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting Americans from dangerous career criminals. Mr. Tarver noted that the case was prosecuted as part of the District’s Project Ceasefire initiative, a program devoted to reducing gun violence by prosecuting those found in possession of firearms who cannot legally possess them.

The evidence at Greene’s guilty plea and sentencing hearings revealed that in September 2009, Greene, who had prior convictions for aggravated assault, family violence and other offenses, was found possessing a handgun with an obliterated serial number while he attempted to sell methamphetamine in the parking lot of a business on Walton Way Extension.

Tarver commended the investigative work of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which led to this federal prosecution.

The United States was represented in this case by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Greenwood. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney, James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

###

USAO Press Release: Tacoma Felon Gets Ten Year Prison Term for Gun Possession

BERNARD GLENN, aka BK Boo, 34, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. GLENN was convicted in February 2010, following a two day jury trial. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton told GLENN, thus far in your life you haven’t seen any reason to change your lifestyle. … You represent a danger to the community.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, in May 2008, members of the South Sound Gang Task Force were watching for a different felon at a Tacoma area night club. The officers tracked the other felon’s vehicle to the parking lot, and were watching it. The other felon had warrants out for his arrest. GLENN left the nightclub and got into the driver’s seat of the vehicle belonging to the other felon. Initially thinking GLENN was the vehicle’s owner, officers moved in and ordered GLENN from the car. When GLENN was taken into custody, he had a loaded 9mm pistol in his waistband. GLENN was prohibited from possessing a gun because of these prior convictions: cocaine possession, California, 1997; selling cocaine, California, 1997; possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, Pierce County, Washington, 2000; custodial assault, Thurston County, Washington, 2002; felon in possession of a firearm, California, 2003, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, Pierce County, Washington, 2005. The other felon was arrested as he exited the bar, about two minutes after GLENN was removed from the vehicle.

GLENN’s lengthy criminal history prompted prosecutors to originally ask that he be considered an Armed Career Criminal (ACC), which mandates additional prison time. However, review of the California convictions determined they did not qualify GLENN for the ACC status.

In asking for the ten year sentence, the maximum allowed, Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber argued that GLENN has earned the lengthy punishment. GLENN  is a multiple convicted cocaine dealer who was hanging out with another convicted drug dealer while again armed with a loaded gun. Besides this not being the first time the defendant has been convicted of possessing a firearm as a felon, it becomes all the more clear that Glenn has not learned the lessons meant to be taught by his numerous previous trips to prison when you consider that he assaulted prison guards during one of his more recent terms of incarceration,  Mr. Gruber wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the South Sound Gang Task Force made up of agents and officers of the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC), the Washington State Patrol (WSP), the Tacoma Police Department, and the Lakewood Police Department. Additional assistance was provided by the Tacoma Police Gang Unit.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jerry Costello. Mr. Costello is a Deputy Pierce County Prosecutor who was specially designated to prosecute gun cases in federal court.

###

USAO Press Release – Convicted Felon Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Gun Possession

U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney, Southern District of Georgia
http://www.justice.gov/usao/gas

For Immediate Release

July 2, 2010

Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney

Contact: James D. Durham, First Assistant United States Attorney (912) 201-2547

CONVICTED FELON SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR GUN POSSESSION

AUGUSTA, GA — KEVIN RODRICK GREENE, 39, of Grovetown, Georgia, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge J. Randal Hall to serve 8 years in federal prison on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, Guns in the hands of convicted felons pose a very real danger to the community. This defendant had prior felony and other violent act convictions and still was arrested with drugs and a handgun. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting Americans from dangerous career criminals. Mr. Tarver noted that the case was prosecuted as part of the District’s Project Ceasefire initiative, a program devoted to reducing gun violence by prosecuting those found in possession of firearms who cannot legally possess them.

The evidence at Greene’s guilty plea and sentencing hearings revealed that in September 2009, Greene, who had prior convictions for aggravated assault, family violence and other offenses, was found possessing a handgun with an obliterated serial number while he attempted to sell methamphetamine in the parking lot of a business on Walton Way Extension.

Tarver commended the investigative work of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which led to this federal prosecution.

The United States was represented in this case by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Greenwood. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney, James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

###

via USAO Press Release – Convicted Felon Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Gun Possession.

U.S. Department of Justice: Defendant With Lengthy Criminal History Faces Significant Prison Term

This is the cached copy of http://www.atf.gov/press/releases/2010/11/110410-sea-spanaway-felon-convicted-on-drugs-firearms.html.

U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney, Western District of Washington

For Immediate Release

November 4, 2010

Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney

Contact: Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer
(206) 553-4110, Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov

Spanaway Felon Convicted of Drug and Gun Crimes

Defendant With Lengthy Criminal History Faces Significant Prison Term

BERNARD CURTIS DAVIS, 29, of Spanaway, Washington, was convicted this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for being a felon in possession of a firearm, for being a felon in possession of ammunition, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The jury deliberated about eight hours following a three day jury trial. DAVIS was indicted as an armed career criminal and faces 15 years to life in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on January 28, 2011.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, in March 2009, Pierce County Sheriff’s detectives were investigating a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store in Spanaway. The victim was able to provide a license plate number for the suspects. The car was registered to BERNARD CURTIS DAVIS. DAVIS was on probation from the Washington State Department of Corrections. DAVIS had six prior felony convictions in Pierce County, Washington: Robbery (2001); Burglary (2001); Assault (2006); Robbery (2006); Unlawful possession of a firearm (2006); Possession of Marijuana with intent to deliver (2008). Law enforcement went to the home where DAVIS was living. In DAVIS’ room and a storage room officers found twelve baggies of marijuana and a scale, a rifle and ammunition. DAVIS was arrested at the residence.

DAVIS was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Unveiled in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level — in this case, in Pierce County — has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mike Dion, Jerrod Patterson and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jerry Costello. Mr. Costello is a Deputy Pierce County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute gun crimes in federal court.

http://www.justice.gov/usao/waw

Child Support Guidelines in Maryland: Recent Legislative History (2010)

2010

Because the child support guidelines have not been updated since 1988, Chairman Brian Frosh and Delegate Jeffrey Waldstreicher cross-filed a bill update the guidelines to modernize the child support payment rates to reflect the costs of raising a child in 2010. Maryland lawmakers passed the legislation that updated the Maryland child support guidelines for the first time in over twenty years . The new adjusted guidelines will go into effect October 1, 2010 and will only apply to new child support cases (i.e. establishments) or motions to modify child support after that date. The guidelines cap has been raised to $15,000 combined earnings per month, rather than the current $10,000. Most significantly, the new guidelines will adjust to the current increased cost of raising a child.

In addition, House Bill 1466 – Law 469 – Family Investment Program – Temporary Cash Assistance – Assignment of Support became effective July 1, 2009. This law repeals a provision that required Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) applicants and recipients to assign tothe State the right to receive child support accrued prior to receiving TCA. The bill specifies that the applicant or recipient must assign to the State all right, title,and interest in support only for the period that the family receives TCA.

 2009

On behalf of the Department of Human Resources (DHR), the Chair of the Judiciary Committee sponsored House Bill 401- Child Support Guidelines Revision. The Child Support Advisory Committee recommendations were reflected in the proposed legislation. The bill:

  • Revised the current guidelines to reflect more recent estimates of child-rearing costs;
  • Expanded the current schedule to include awards for incomes up to $30,000/month and adjusted the self-support reserve, which is the amount of money a low-income non-custodial parent needs to live on, from the 1988 federal poverty level of $481/month to the 2008 level of $867/month;
  • Altered the definition of “actual income” to address those parents who have additional children living with them;
  • Authorized the court to consider all income and assets of each parent in determining whether to deviate from the guidelines and altered the definition of “extraordinary medical expenses” to reflect the current, average out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred annually on behalf of a child.

Outcome: The House Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing and the bill subsequently received an unfavorable vote.

2008

Senate Bill 70 – Law 508 – Family Law – Child Support Enforcement – Medical Support for Children became effective October 1, 2008.

The law requires that health coverage must be ordered if available at a reasonable cost and accessible to the children. In the absence of health insurance, CSEA must petition for cash medical support.

The bill defines “reasonable cost” for health insurance or cash medical support as not exceeding five percent of the parent’s actual income.

The bill defines “accessible” to the child as 30 miles or 30 minutes from the child’s residence.

 2002

House Bill 284 was introduced by then Delegate Sharon Grosfeld. HB 284 proposed revising the schedule of basic child support obligations used to calculate the amount of a child support award under child support guidelines. It raised the maximum combined adjusted income to $20,000 per month to allow for equitable formulation of support amounts for high income parents. It also included an adjustment of the monthly income for the self-support reserve to $850 for low-income non-custodial parents.

Outcome: After hours of debate and numerous amendments offered, HB 284 received an unfavorable report from the Judiciary Committee.

 2001

HB 822 and SB 380 were sponsored by then Delegate Sharon Grosfeld and then Senator Walter Baker. The proposed legislation was based on recommendations from the child support guidelines committee. The bills included the following provisions:

  • Updated the schedule of child support obligations to provide for support obligations that reflect current economic data regarding the cost of raising children;
  • Increased the self-support reserve to reflect the current poverty level of the non-custodial parent;
  • Raised the maximum combined adjusted income to $20,000 per month to allow for equitable formulation of support amounts for high-income parents;
  • Standardized the way the court must deal with intact second families;
  • Standardized the way the court must deal with income received by the non-custodial parent and the child from Social Security (SSA) benefits;
  • Reduced the amount of time the child must be in the care of the non-custodial parent to qualify for a “shared custody” arrangement.

Outcome Both bills received unfavorable reports in the House Judiciary Committee and the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

 1989

The child support guidelines schedule legislation, which was based on 1970’s economic data, became law. The Maryland child support guidelines are based on the income shares model, which was developed under the Child Support Guidelines Project funded by the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement and administered by the National Center for State Courts. The guidelines have not been updated since the original 1988 legislation.

Outcome: The legislation required that on or before January 1, 1993, and at least every four years after that date, the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) must review the child support guidelines to ensure the determination of appropriate child support awards and to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.

 Child Support Legislation History


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Frederick County MD – Official Website News Flash: 04/09/15 Sheriff’s Office presented a Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Award

Posted on: April 9, 2015

04/09/15 Sheriff’s Office presented a Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Award
FCSO Awarded Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Award

On 03/30/15, Sheriff Charles A. Jenkins was presented an award from an official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, located on Marcie’s Choice Lane in Frederick.

The award plaque reads:

“In sincere appreciation to Sheriff Charles A. Jenkins, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and its Designated Immigration Officers assigned to the 287(g) Program for their outstanding contributions to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations 287(g) Program and for receiving no deficiencies during their Office of Professional Responsibility inspection. You serve as a valued partner in ensuring community safety and furthering national security.”

The Department of Homeland Security 287(g) program “allows state and local law enforcement entities to enter into a partnership with ICE, under a joint Memorandum of Agreement, in order to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.” The Office of Professional Responsibility inspection was conducted March 24 – 27, 2014. The inspectors reviewed all aspects of the 287(g) program, to ensure compliance with all applicable standards and priorities dictated by Federal Immigration Law and Mandates to include interviewing personnel, detainees and sampling data entries for data quality.

via Frederick County MD – Official Website.

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Immigration Enforcement: Delegation of Immigration Authority Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act | ICE

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security, enforces federal immigration laws as part of its homeland security mission. ICE works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in this mission.

The 287(g) program, one of ICE’s top partnership initiatives, allows a state and local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE, under a joint Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).  The state or local entity receives delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.

Complaint Process

Complaints regarding the 287(g) program will be accepted from any source to include law enforcement agencies (LEAs), participating LEA personnel, inmates, and the public. To report a 287(g) complaint please contact one of the following Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components:

Telephonically to the DHS Office of the Inspector General (DHS OIG). Toll free number 1-800-323-8603; or Telephonically to the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) at the Joint Intake Center (JIC) in Washington, D.C. Toll-free number 1-877-246-8253, or email Joint.Intake@dhs.gov; or
Via mail as follows:

Department of Homeland Security
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Office of Professional Responsibility
P.O. Box 14475
Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C.  20044

A copy of the complaint will be forwarded to the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) Review and Compliance.

via Delegation of Immigration Authority Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act | ICE.

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Criminal Alien Program | ICE

Immigration Enforcement
Criminal Alien Program
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Overview

Key Initiatives

ICE places a high priority on combating illegal immigration, including targeting illegal aliens with criminal records who pose a threat to public safety.

The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) provides ICE-wide direction and support in the biometric and biographic identification, arrest, and removal of priority aliens who are incarcerated within federal, state, and local prisons and jails, as well as at-large criminal aliens that have circumvented identification. It is incumbent upon ICE to ensure that all efforts are made to investigate, arrest, and remove individuals from the United States that ICE deems priorities by processing the alien expeditiously and securing a final order of removal for an incarcerated alien before the alien is released to ICE custody. The identification and processing of incarcerated criminal aliens, before release from jails and prisons, decreases or eliminates the time spent in ICE custody and reduces the overall cost to the Federal Government.

Additionally integral to the effective execution of this program is the aggressive prosecution of criminal offenders identified by ERO officers during the course of their duties. ERO, in conjunction with the Offices of the United States Attorneys, actively pursues criminal prosecutions upon the discovery of offenses of the nation’s criminal code and immigration laws. This further enhances public safety and provides a significant deterrent to recidivism.

via Criminal Alien Program | ICE.

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ICE: Rapid REPAT

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Among ICE’s responsibilities is the identification and removal of criminal aliens from the United States.

The ICE Rapid REPAT (Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer) program is designed to expedite the identification and removal of criminal aliens process by allowing selected criminal aliens incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails to accept early release in exchange for voluntarily returning to their country of origin.

Background

In November 2007, ICE began meeting with state executive agencies to discuss the concept of ICE Rapid REPAT as part of the ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) initiative. The concept, implemented in Georgia and Rhode Island, is modeled after two programs in the states of New York and Arizona that capitalize on ICE’s ability to more effectively identify and ultimately remove criminal aliens from the United States while still preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system. ICE field offices recently began to reach out to state agencies to present ICE ACCESS partnership opportunities, including ICE Rapid REPAT, where appropriate.

Key Elements

In states where Rapid REPAT is implemented, certain aliens who are incarcerated in state prison and who have been convicted of non-violent offenses may receive early conditional release if they have a final order of removal and agree not to return to the United States.

Eligible aliens agree to waive appeal rights associated with their state conviction(s) and must have final removal orders.
If aliens re-enter the United States, state statutes must provide for revocation of parole and confinement for the remainder of the alien’s original sentence. Additionally, aliens may be prosecuted under federal statutes that provide for up to 20 years in prison for illegally reentering the United States.

Benefits

ICE Rapid REPAT is another law enforcement tool that ensures that all criminal aliens serving a time in prison are identified and processed for removal prior to their release. The identification and processing of incarcerated criminal aliens prior to release reduces the burden on the taxpayer and ensures that criminal aliens are promptly removed from the U.S. upon completion of their criminal sentence. This program allows ICE to more effectively identify and quickly remove criminal aliens from the United States. ICE Rapid REPAT also allows ICE and participating states to reduce costs associated with detention space.

via Rapid REPAT | ICE.

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ICE removes El Salvadoran man implicated in murder, several robberies | ICE

ENFORCEMENT AND REMOVAL
04/08/2015

ICE removes El Salvadoran man implicated in murder, several robberies

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – A 38-year-old man wanted in El Salvador on murder and aggravated theft charges was removed April 8 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers in Baltimore.

Enmanuel Tejada Santos, of El Salvador, was allegedly involved in the June 15, 2000, murder of two individuals. According to El Salvadoran authorities, Santos and a group of men allegedly assaulted a vehicle transporting goods that had arrived from the United States. Santos and his accomplices allegedly shot three of the four men traveling together. Two of the men perished, one was injured, and one escaped.

Santos was also allegedly involved in several local bank robberies. The first robbery occurred Nov. 13, 2000, when he and a group of men armed with M-16s and AK-47s allegedly robbed Banco Salvadoreno, a local bank in El Salvador. They allegedly stole the equivalent of more than $11,400 in U.S. currency.

Several months later, on January 26, 2001, 11 men, including Santos, armed again with high-powered weapons, robbed a different bank, Unibanco S.A., and the bank’s security officers. According to police reports, Santos and his accomplices allegedly waited for each employee to arrive at their workplace. They then tied up the employees and ordered the bank’s manager to empty the safe. Santos and his accomplices escaped with approximately $70,006 in U.S. currency, as well as weapons belonging to the security staff.

Santos entered the United States unlawfully at an unknown place and unknown time. He was convicted in Montgomery Country, Maryland, for numerous crimes including attempted second-degree murder, armed robbery, first-degree assault and carjacking.

“Santos’ removal is indicative of ERO’s resolve to identifying and arresting those who pose the greatest threat to our community,” said ERO Baltimore Field Office Director Dorothy Herrera-Niles. “His criminal record – both in the United States and in El Salvador – reveals he is a menace to society.”

Santos is the latest removal to El Salvador as part of ERO’s Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Initiative. The SAFE Initiative is geared toward the identification of foreign fugitives who are wanted abroad and removable under US immigration law.

In just three years, through the SAFE Initiative, ERO has removed 530 criminal fugitives to El Salvador. Those removed as part of the SAFE Initiative have been deemed ineligible to remain in the United States and were all wanted by the Policia Nacional Civil (PNC), El Salvador’s national police.

SAFE aligns with ERO’s public safety priorities and eliminates the need for formal extradition requests.

In fiscal year 2014, ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States. In addition to convicted criminals, the agency’s enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants – individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2014, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities.

via ICE removes El Salvadoran man implicated in murder, several robberies | ICE.

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Secure Communities | ICE

Immigration Enforcement
Secure Communities

The highest priority of any law enforcement agency is to protect the communities it serves. When it comes to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focuses its limited resources on those who have been arrested for breaking criminal laws.

ICE prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators.

Secure Communities is a simple and common sense way to carry out ICE’s priorities. It uses an already-existing federal information-sharing partnership between ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that helps to identify criminal aliens without imposing new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. For decades, local jurisdictions have shared the fingerprints of individuals who are arrested or booked into custody with the FBI to see if they have a criminal record. Under Secure Communities, the FBI automatically sends the fingerprints to DHS to check against its immigration databases. If these checks reveal that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction, ICE takes enforcement action – prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history, and other factors – as well as those who have repeatedly violated immigration laws.

Secure Communities imposes no new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. The federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate.

Only federal DHS officers make immigration enforcement decisions, and they do so only after an individual is arrested for a criminal violation of local, state, or federal law, separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.

The Basics

More than 283,000 convicted criminal aliens have been removed as a result of Secure Communities interoperability, by which the FBI automatically sends fingerprints of anyone arrested or booked by police for a state or local criminal offense to DHS to check against its immigration and enforcement records so that ICE can determine whether that person is a criminal alien or falls under ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.

Since its inception in 2008 with 14 jurisdictions, Secure Communities has expanded to all 3,181 jurisdictions within 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five (5) U.S. Territories. Full implementation was completed on January 22, 2013.

How Does Secure Communities Work?

ICE receives annual appropriations from Congress sufficient to remove a limited number of the more than 10 million individuals estimated to be in the U.S. who lack lawful status or are removable because of a criminal conviction. Given this reality, ICE must set sensible priorities.

Under the Obama administration, ICE has set clear and common-sense priorities for immigration enforcement focused on identifying and removing those aliens with criminal convictions. In addition to criminal aliens, ICE focuses on recent illegal entrants, repeat violators who game the immigration system, those who fail to appear at immigration hearings, and fugitives who have already been ordered removed by an immigration judge.

These priorities have led to significant results. In fiscal year 2013, ICE’s prioritized, targeted enforcement resulted in the removal of more than 368,000 aliens, of which 98 percent fell into one of ICE’s stated civil immigration enforcement priorities.

via Secure Communities | ICE.

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ICE: Secure Communities — Get the Facts

Immigration Enforcement
Secure Communities: Get the Facts
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FACT: ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes efforts to identify and remove criminal aliens and others who pose a potential threat to public safety.

Under this administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has prioritized the removal of aliens who are in the country illegally who have also broken criminal laws.

One important tool that ICE relies upon to advance this priority is Secure Communities, which uses an already-existing federal information-sharing partnership to identify and remove aliens who pose a threat to public safety. Through Aug. 31, 2012, more than 166,000 immigrants convicted of crimes, were removed from the United States after identification through Secure Communities. Of the more than 166,000, more than 61,000 immigrants were convicted of aggravated felony (level 1) offenses, including murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children.

The National Sheriffs’ Association and Major County Sheriffs’ Association have issued formal statements in support of Secure Communities.

FACT: Under Secure Communities, state and local law enforcement officers continue enforcing their state or local law in the same manner in which they always have.

Under Secure Communities, state and local law enforcement officers are not deputized, do not enforce immigration law, and are not tasked with any additional responsibilities. In fact, state and local law enforcement officers are asked to enforce the law in exactly the same manner as they did before the federal information partnership used by Secure Communities was activated in their jurisdiction. With Secure Communities, only federal officers make immigration enforcement decisions, and they do so only after a completely independent decision by state and local law enforcement to arrest an individual for a criminal violation of state law separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.

FACT: Secure Communities was designed to reduce the potential for racial profiling.

Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of every single individual arrested and booked into custody, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, are checked against immigration records – reducing the risk of discrimination or racial profiling. ICE and the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) are implementing additional procedures to monitor state and local conduct and protect the program from potential abuses. These safeguards include strengthening protections for victims of abuse or other crimes; a formal complaint process for those who feel they have been the targets of ethnic discrimination; an investigative process involving CRCL with referral to the Department of Justice; and analysis by a statistician to identify any data irregularities that could indicate misconduct in particular jurisdictions so that we can immediately initiate corrective actions.

FACT: Secure Communities is working to protect witnesses and victims of crimes.

As the federal law enforcement agency charged with enforcing U.S. immigration laws, ICE works closely with local law enforcement agencies to ensure victims and witnesses of crimes we deal with are properly identified. The vast majority of jurisdictions do not arrest victims or witnesses at the scene of a domestic altercation. At the direction of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, ICE, in consultation with CRCL, has issued a policy addressing possible scenarios where a victim or witness may be identified in Secure Communities, to ensure appropriate discretion is exercised.

FACT: State and local jurisdictions cannot opt out of Secure Communities.

Unfortunately, some of ICE’s past public statements led to confusion about whether state and local jurisdictions can opt out of the program.

Secure Communities imposes no new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. When state and local authorities arrest and book someone into jail for a criminal offense, they routinely submit fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI then automatically shares these fingerprints with ICE to check against immigration databases. If the fingerprint check reveals that an individual is not a U.S. citizen, or is removable from the United States because of their criminal history, ICE takes appropriate enforcement action – prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history and other factors.

The federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate. Only federal officers make immigration decisions, and they do so only after an individual is arrested for a criminal violation of state law, separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.

A jurisdiction may choose not to receive the identifications that result from processing the fingerprints through DHS’s biometric system that are provided to the local ICE field office. In the past, this option has been mischaracterized as a mechanism for a jurisdiction to opt out of the program. In fact, a jurisdiction’s decision not to receive this information directly does not affect whether the local ICE field office in that jurisdiction will or will not take enforcement action based on those results.

via Secure Communities: Get the Facts | ICE.

ICE: Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens

Purpose: This memorandum outlines the civil immigration enforcement priorities of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as they relate to the apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens. These priorities shall apply across all ICE programs and shall inform enforcement activity, detention decisions, budget requests and execution, and strategic planning.

A. Priorities for the apprehension. detention. and removal of aliens

In addition to our important criminal investigative responsibilities, ICE is charged with enforcing the nation’s civil immigration laws. This is a critical mission and one with direct significance for our national security, public safety, and the integrity of our border and immigration controls. ICE, however, only has resources to remove approximately 400,000 aliens per year, less than 4 percent of the estimated illegal alien population in the United States.

In light of the large number of administrative violations the agency is charged with addressing and the limited enforcement resources the agency has available, ICE must prioritize the usc of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal resources to ensure that the removals the agency does conduct promote the agency’ s highest enforcement priorities, namely national security, public safety, and border security. To that end, the following shall constitute ICE’s civil enforcement priorities, with the first being the highest priority and the second and third constituting equal, but lower, priorities.

Priority l. Aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety The removal of aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety shall be ICE’s highest immigration enlorcement priority. These aliens include, but are not limited to:

• aliens engaged in or suspected of terrorism or espionage, or who otherwise pose a danger to national security;

 • aliens convicted of crimes, with a particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders;

• aliens not younger than 16 years of age who participated in organized criminal gangs;

• aliens subject to outstanding criminal warrants; and

• aliens who otherwise pose a serious risk to public safety.

For purposes of prioritizing the removal of aliens convicted of crimes, ICE personnel should refer to the following new offense levels defined by the Secure Communities Program, with Level l and Level 2 offenders receiving principal attention. These new Secure Communities levels are given in rank order and shall replace the existing Secure Communities levels of offenses.2

Level I offenders: aliens convicted of “aggravated felonies,” as defined in § 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act 3 or two or more crimes each punishable by more than one year, commonly referred to as “felonies”;

Level 2 offenders: aliens convicted of any felony or three or more crimes each punishable by less than one year, commonly referred to as “misdemeanors”; and

Level 3 offenders: aliens convicted of crimes punishable by less than one year.

Priority 2. Recent illegal entrants In order to maintain control at the border and at ports of entry, and to avoid a return to the prior practice commonly and historically referred to as “catch and release,” the removal of aliens who have recently violated immigration controls at the border, at ports of entry, or through the knowing abuse of the visa and visa waiver programs shall be a priority.

Priority 3. Aliens who are fugitives or otherwise obstruct immigration controls In order to ensure the integrity of the removal and immigration adjudication processes, the removal of aliens who are subject to a final order of removal and abscond, fail to depart, or intentionally obstruct immigration controls, shall be a priority. These aliens include fugitive aliens. This provision is not intended to be read broadly, and officers, agents, and attorneys should rely on this provision only when serious and articulable public safety issues exist.

The new levels should be used immediately for purposes of enforcement operations. DRO will work with Secure Communities and the Office of the Chief Information Officer to revise the related computer coding by October I, 2010.

 As the definition of “aggravated felony” includes serious, violent offenses and less serious, non-violent offenses, agents, officers, and attorneys should focus particular attention on the most serious of the aggravated felonies when prioritizing among level one offenses. Some misdemeanors are relatively minor and do not warrant the same degree of focus as others. ICE agents and officers should exercise particular discretion when dealing with minor traffic offenses such as driving without a license. Some fugitives may fall into both this priority and priority I.

  • fugitive aliens who pose a danger to national security;
  • fugitives aliens convicted of violent crimes or who otherwise pose a threat to the community
  • fugitive aliens with criminal convictions other than a violent crime;
  • fugitive aliens who have not been convicted of a crime;
  • aliens who reenter the country illegally after removal, in descending priority as follows: o previously removed aliens who pose a danger to national security;
  • previously removed aliens convicted of violent crimes or who otherwise pose a threat to the community;
  • previously removed aliens with criminal convictions other than a violent crime;
  • previously removed aliens who have not been convicted of a crime; and
  • aliens who obtain admission or status by visa, identification, or immigration benefit fraud.

B. The guidance to the National Fugitive Operations Program: Priorities, Goals and Expectations, issued on December 8, 2009, remains in effect and shall continue to apply for all purposes, including how Fugitive Operation Teams allocate resources among fugitive aliens, previously removed aliens, and criminal aliens.

Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to prohibit or discourage the apprehension, detention, or removal ofother aliens unlawfully in the United States. ICE special agents, officers, and attorneys may pursue the removal of any alien unlawfully in the United States, although attention to these aliens should not displace or disrupt the resources needed to remove aliens who are a higher priority. Resources should be committed primarily to advancing the priorities set forth above in order to best protect national security and public safety and to secure the border.

C. Detention.  As a general rule, ICE detention resources should be used to support the enforcement priorities noted above or for aliens subject to mandatory detention by law. Absent extraordinary circumstances or the requirements of mandatory detention, field office directors should not expend detention resources on aliens who are known to be suffering from serious physical or mental illness, or who are disabled, elderly, pregnant. or nursing, or demonstrate that they are primary caretakers of children or an infirm person, or whose detention is otherwise not in the public interest.

To detain aliens in those categories who are not subject to mandatory detention, ICE officers or special agents must obtain approval from the field office director. ICE officers and special agents should proceed cautiously when encountering aliens who may have engaged in fraud in an attempt to enter but present themselves without delay to the authorities and indicate a fear of persecution or torture. See Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, art. 31, opened/or signature July 28, 1951, 19 U.S.T. 6259, 189 U.N.T.S. 137.

In such instances, officers and agents should contact their local Office of the Chief Counsel. Civil Immigration Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens within the above categories and is subject to mandatory detention, field office directors are encouraged to contact their local Office of Chief Counsel for guidance.

D. Prosecutorial discretion. The rapidly increasing number of criminal aliens who may come to ICE’s attention heightens the need for ICE employees to exercise sound judgment and discretion consistent with these priorities when conducting enforcement operations, making detention decisions, making decisions about release on supervision pursuant to the Alternatives to Detention Program, and litigating cases. Particular care should be given when dealing with lawful permanent residents, juveniles, and the immediate family members of U.S. citizens. Additional guidance on prosecutorial discretion is forthcoming. In the meantime, ICE officers and attorneys should continue to be guided by the November 17,2000 prosecutorial discretion memorandum from then-INS Commissioner Doris Meissner; the October 24,2005 Memorandum from Principal Legal Advisor William Howard; and the November 7,2007 Memorandum from then Assistant Secretary Julie Myers.

E. Implementation. ICE personnel shall follow the priorities set forth in this memorandum immediately. Further, ICE programs shall develop appropriate measures and methods for recording and evaluating their effectiveness in implementing the priorities. As this may require updates to data tracking systems and methods, ICE will ensure that reporting capabilities for these priorities allow for such reporting as soon as practicable, but not later than October 1, 2010.

F. No Private Right Statement. These guidelines and priorities are not intended to, do not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter. This statement was added to ICE Policy 10072.1, “Civil Immigration Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens” on February 7,2011. The policy contained in this memorandum has not been altered or changed.

Read more…

IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT: Secure Communities — Get the Facts (ERO)

Immigration Enforcement
Secure Communities: Get the Facts
ERO

FACT: ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes efforts to identify and remove criminal aliens and others who pose a potential threat to public safety.

Under this administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has prioritized the removal of aliens who are in the country illegally who have also broken criminal laws.

One important tool that ICE relies upon to advance this priority is Secure Communities, which uses an already-existing federal information-sharing partnership to identify and remove aliens who pose a threat to public safety. Through Aug. 31, 2012, more than 166,000 immigrants convicted of crimes, were removed from the United States after identification through Secure Communities. Of the more than 166,000, more than 61,000 immigrants were convicted of aggravated felony (level 1) offenses, including murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children.

The National Sheriffs’ Association and Major County Sheriffs’ Association have issued formal statements in support of Secure Communities.

FACT: Under Secure Communities, state and local law enforcement officers continue enforcing their state or local law in the same manner in which they always have.

Under Secure Communities, state and local law enforcement officers are not deputized, do not enforce immigration law, and are not tasked with any additional responsibilities. In fact, state and local law enforcement officers are asked to enforce the law in exactly the same manner as they did before the federal information partnership used by Secure Communities was activated in their jurisdiction. With Secure Communities, only federal officers make immigration enforcement decisions, and they do so only after a completely independent decision by state and local law enforcement to arrest an individual for a criminal violation of state law separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.

FACT: Secure Communities was designed to reduce the potential for racial profiling.
Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of every single individual arrested and booked into custody, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, are checked against immigration records – reducing the risk of discrimination or racial profiling. ICE and the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) are implementing additional procedures to monitor state and local conduct and protect the program from potential abuses. These safeguards include strengthening protections for victims of abuse or other crimes; a formal complaint process for those who feel they have been the targets of ethnic discrimination; an investigative process involving CRCL with referral to the Department of Justice; and analysis by a statistician to identify any data irregularities that could indicate misconduct in particular jurisdictions so that we can immediately initiate corrective actions.

FACT: Secure Communities is working to protect witnesses and victims of crimes.
As the federal law enforcement agency charged with enforcing U.S. immigration laws, ICE works closely with local law enforcement agencies to ensure victims and witnesses of crimes we deal with are properly identified. The vast majority of jurisdictions do not arrest victims or witnesses at the scene of a domestic altercation. At the direction of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, ICE, in consultation with CRCL, has issued a policy addressing possible scenarios where a victim or witness may be identified in Secure Communities, to ensure appropriate discretion is exercised.

FACT: State and local jurisdictions cannot opt out of Secure Communities.
Unfortunately, some of ICE’s past public statements led to confusion about whether state and local jurisdictions can opt out of the program.

Secure Communities imposes no new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. When state and local authorities arrest and book someone into jail for a criminal offense, they routinely submit fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI then automatically shares these fingerprints with ICE to check against immigration databases. If the fingerprint check reveals that an individual is not a U.S. citizen, or is removable from the United States because of their criminal history, ICE takes appropriate enforcement action – prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history and other factors.

The federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate. Only federal officers make immigration decisions, and they do so only after an individual is arrested for a criminal violation of state law, separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.

A jurisdiction may choose not to receive the identifications that result from processing the fingerprints through DHS’s biometric system that are provided to the local ICE field office. In the past, this option has been mischaracterized as a mechanism for a jurisdiction to opt out of the program. In fact, a jurisdiction’s decision not to receive this information directly does not affect whether the local ICE field office in that jurisdiction will or will not take enforcement action based on those results.

via Secure Communities: Get the Facts | ICE.

Maryland State’s Attorney Charlie Smith’s Website

About Charlie
The State’s Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of all criminal and serious motor vehicle cases in Frederick County, Maryland. The State’s Attorney’s Office is divided into four divisions: Circuit Court, District Court, Juvenile, and Child Support. We have specialized units in the areas of Drug Enforcement, Violent Crimes, Gangs, Elder Abuse, Family Violence, and Vehicular Manslaughter. As a career prosecutor at the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, I have consistently fought for lengthy sentences for child molesters, gang members and those committing serious acts of violence with guns. To them my message has been clear… STAY OUT OF FREDERICK!

As your State’s Attorney, I pledge to:

Continue to aggressively seek out, find, and prosecute those preying on our children.
Continue to work to curtail gang violence.
Continue to fight for lengthy sentences for those committing serious acts of violence with guns.
As a citizen who is raising his family here, I feel strongly about maintaining the quality of life in Frederick County and Frederick City.
Your State’s Attorney,
Charlie Smith

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Married to Desiree Marie Smith.  Occupation: Special Agent, FBI
4 children: Mattie, Hank,Delaney,Carson
Born in Baltimore City.  1 of 5 five children of Charles and Norma Smith
My hobbies include fishing, cooking, golf, triathlon, and home improvement.  I also enjoy church missions, and coaching my children’s sports.
PROFESSIONAL HISTORY

Elected State’s Attorney:  Office of the State’s Attorney for Frederick County, Maryland
President, Maryland State’s Attorneys Association
Chair, Technology Committee, MSAA
Past Vice President, Legislative Committee, MSAA<
Past Vice President, Training Committee, MSAA
Past Vice President, Scholarships Committee, MSAA
Former Deputy State’s Attorney, Frederick County Maryland
Former Chief, Child Abuse/Sex Offense Division, Frederick County Maryland
Former Assistant State’s Attorney, Baltimore City, Maryland
COMMUNITY SERVICE

Past President, Board of Directors, Frederick Rescue Mission Inc.
Board, Child Advocacy Center
Board of Directors, Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Frederick County
Rotary Club of Carroll Creek (1999-2009)
Football/Lacrosse Coach, Middletown Valley Athletic Association
EDUCATION

Eastern Vocational-Technical High School, Baltimore, MD
Salisbury State College, Football, 1982-84
University of Maryland, College Park, Bachelor of Science in Finance, 1986
University of Baltimore School of Law,Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, 1990.
Heuisler High Honors, Class Standing   11/186
TEACHING

Adjunct Faculty Member, National Advocacy Center (National College of District Attorneys) in Columbia, South Carolina where I taught the courses Trial Advocacy,  Advanced Trial Advocacy, Cross Examination and Juror Selection to prosecutors from all over the nation.
Participate as a Moot Court Judge for local high school trial advocacy teams.
Annual Lecturer to the Frederick Police Department and Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Academies

via About Charlie.

 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Secretary Napolitano’s Memorandum Concerning the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion for Certain Removable Individuals Who Entered the United States as a Child

MEMORANDUM FOR: All Employees

SUBJECT: Secretary Napolitano’s Memorandum Concerning the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion for Certain Removable Individuals Who Entered the United States as a Child

DATE: June 15, 2012

Today the Secretary of Homeland Security issued the attached memorandum concerning the exercise of prosecutorial discretion for certain removable individuals who entered the United States as a child.

Effective immediately, ICE agents and officers are instructed to exercise prosecutorial discretion in a manner that aligns with the Secretary’s memorandum. The memorandum states that, with respect to individuals who meet the criteria outlined below, ICE agents and officers should immediately exercise their discretion, on an individual basis, in order to prevent these low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed fiom the United States.

An individual is covered by the Secretary’s memorandum if:

  • the individual­  came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • is not above the age of thirty;
  • has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  • is currently in school, has graduated from high school,
  • has obtained a general education development certificate,
  • or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses; and
  • does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

ICE has also been directed to apply the Secretary’s policy, on a case by case basis, to individuals whose cases are pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and can demonstrate that they meet the above noted criteria.

To better facilitate this process, ICE has been further directed to implement a process within sixty days that allows individuals whose  cases are pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review to request a review of their cases through the ICE Public Advocate. Additional guidance on the Secretary’s memorandum will be issued as soon as possible. In the meantime, if ICE personnel have questions about the exercise of prosecutorial discretion described in the Secretary’s memorandum, they should contact their supervisor or local chief counsel’s office.

Disclaimer: As there is no right to the favorable exercise of discretion by the agency, nothing in this memorandum should be construed to prohibit the apprehension, detention, or removal of any alien unlawfully in the United States or to limit the legal authority of DHS or any of its personnel to enforce federal immigration law.

Similarly, this memorandum, which may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice, is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter.

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) | ICE

Immigration Authority Delegation Program – 287(g)
Law Enforcement Support Center

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)
ERO

DACA Statement

Update: On February 16, 2015, a federal district court temporarily enjoined the government from proceeding forward on the Secretary’s policy of DAPA and expanded DACA. The injunction does not affect the existing 2012 DACA initiative. For more information, please see Secretary Johnson’s statement.

On November 20, 2014, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued new policies which allow certain aliens who arrived in the United States on or before January 1, 2010 to apply for deferred action, a form of prosecutorial discretion under which aliens are not removed from the United States and that authorizes them to seek permission to work lawfully in the United States. The Secretary’s policies apply to certain individuals who came to the United States as children under the age of 16 of who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident children.

Does this process apply to me if I am currently in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order?

This process is open to any individual who can demonstrate he or she meets the guidelines for consideration, including those who are in removal proceedings, with a final order, or with a voluntary departure order. All deferred action decisions will be made by USCIS.

If you are currently in immigration detention

If you are currently in immigration detention and believe you meet the guidelines for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), you must:

Identify yourself to your case officer explaining you believe you are DACA/DAPA eligible. Your case officer will review your case along with the local Office of the Chief Counsel. If you appear to meet the DACA/DAPA requirements, you may be released on an alternative form of supervision to allow you to pursue your case with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If your case officer is unavailable, you can contact the ICE Detention Reporting and Information Line at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday); or submit an email to ERO.INFO@ice.dhs.gov and the appropriate action will be taken in a timely manner.
If you are not in immigration detention

If you are not in immigration detention and want to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must submit your request to USCIS – not ICE – pursuant to these procedures established by USCIS.

via Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) | ICE.

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Enforcement and Removal Operations | ICE

Enforcement and Removal Operations
Overview
Leadership
Related ICE Offices and Programs

Mission

To identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts. Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) upholds America’s immigration laws at, within and beyond our borders through efficient enforcement and removal operations.

ERO enforces the nation’s immigration laws in a fair and effective manner. It identifies and apprehends removable aliens, detains these individuals when necessary and removes illegal aliens from the United States.

ERO prioritizes the apprehension, arrest and removal of convicted criminals, those who pose a threat to national security, fugitives and recent border entrants. Individuals seeking asylum also work with ERO.

ERO transports removable aliens from point to point, manages aliens in custody or in an alternative to detention program, provides access to legal resources and representatives of advocacy groups and removes individuals from the United States who have been ordered to be deported.

FY 2014 ICE Immigration Removals

In addition to its criminal investigative responsibilities, ICE shares responsibility for enforcing the nation’s civil immigration laws with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). ICE’s role in the immigration enforcement system is focused on two primary missions: (1) the identification and apprehension of criminal aliens and other removable individuals located in the United States; and (2) the detention and removal of those individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S., as well as those apprehended by CBP officers and agents patrolling our nation’s borders.

In executing these responsibilities, ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. This report provides an overview of ICE Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 civil immigration enforcement and removal operations. See FY 2014 ICE Immigration Removals Statistics

via Enforcement and Removal Operations | ICE.

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Secure Communities Briefings for Local and State Law Enforcement | ICE

Secure Communities Briefings for Local and State Law Enforcement
ERO
Overview

Supporting Documents
Concerns about the civil rights and civil liberties of individuals in communities where there is significant immigration enforcement activity are not unique to Secure Communities. The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are creating a series of training/awareness briefings designed primarily for use by front line state and local law enforcement agency personnel during daily muster/roll call briefings. The videos and other tools will address eight categories of civil rights and civil liberties issues and topics of importance.

Project Goals:

To provide actionable information to state and local law enforcement about the civil rights and civil liberties issues that may arise when ICE begins using a federal information sharing capability through Secure Communities in their jurisdictions to increase the transparency of the Department’s active commitment to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of all persons affected by DHS activities and programs.

This series of training/briefing materials is designed to be presented at daily briefings, as well as through in-service training. Each module contains a short video, downloadable job aids designed for line officers, and material for law enforcement leadership, such as planning tools and web-based resources. The modules are designed to be presented as a series, but any combination may be used to suit the needs of your jurisdiction.

The materials are designed for two distinct audiences – front line officers and law enforcement leadership (listed as Commander’s Packets).

These videos are the result of a collaborative effort of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Introduction to Secure Communities: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know
How to Respond to an Immigration Detainer
Consular Notification: Your Role When Detaining Foreign Nationals
Unlawful Retaliation by Private Actors
Community Outreach: Explaining Secure Communities to Your Community
Assisting Certain Crime Victims and Witnesses: Immigration Enforcement Consequences and Protections
Speaking Their Language: Working with Individuals with Limited English Proficiency
Avoiding Racial Profiling

via Secure Communities Briefings for Local and State Law Enforcement | ICE.

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3 additional Missouri counties to benefit from ICE program to enhance identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime | ICE

SECURE COMMUNITIES
07/06/2011

3 additional Missouri counties to benefit from ICE program to enhance identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Wednesday began using a federal information-sharing capability as part of the Secure Communities program in Callaway, Jefferson and Johnson counties to help federal immigration officials identify criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails by running their fingerprints against federal immigration databases when they are booked into the system.

Secure Communities enhances public safety by enabling ICE to identify and remove criminal aliens more efficiently and effectively from the United States,” said Secure Communities Acting Assistant Director Marc Rapp. “As we expand ICE’s use of biometric information sharing nationwide, we are helping to keep communities safe and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

With the expansion of the use of biometric information sharing to these three counties, ICE is using this capability in 46 Missouri jurisdictions. Across the country, ICE is using this capability in 1,422 jurisdictions in 43 states and one U.S. territory. As a result of ICE’s use of this enhanced information-sharing capability, which began in October 2008, ICE has removed more than 82,000 criminal aliens – more than 29,000 of whom were convicted of felonies such as murder, rape, kidnapping and the sexual abuse of children. ICE continues to work with its law enforcement partners across the country to responsibly and effectively implement this federal information sharing capability and plans to reach complete nationwide deployment by 2013.

Prior to the implementation of Secure Communities, fingerprints taken of individuals charged with a crime and booked into state or local custody were checked for criminal history information against the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal history records. Once it is activated in a jurisdiction, the fingerprints that jurisdiction submits to DOJ’s biometric system to check for criminal history records are also automatically sent to DHS’ biometric system to check against its immigration law enforcement records. When a match is discovered, ICE evaluates the specific case to determine the individual’s immigration status and takes appropriate enforcement action. ICE prioritizes removing criminal aliens convicted of the most serious crimes such as major drug offenses, murder, rape and kidnapping. ICE also gives high priority to other threats to public safety, such as aliens with known gang affiliations, drunk driving arrests, or fugitives, or those who frequently try to game the immigration system.

The biometric systems are maintained by DHS’s US-VISIT program and the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS).

“US-VISIT is proud to support ICE by providing comprehensive, reliable information to assist in the smart and effective enforcement of our immigration laws,” said US-VISIT Director Robert Mocny. “By enhancing the interoperability of DHS’s and the FBI’s biometric systems, we are helping federal, state and local government better protect our communities and our nation.”

“Under this federal information-sharing initiative, ICE will be utilizing FBI system enhancements that allow improved information sharing at the state and local law enforcement level based on positive identification of incarcerated criminal aliens,” said Daniel D. Roberts, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. “Additionally, ICE and the FBI are working together to take advantage of the strong relationships already forged between the FBI and state and local law enforcement necessary to assist ICE in achieving its goals.”

For more information about Secure Communities, visit http://www.ice.gov/secure-communities.

via 3 additional Missouri counties to benefit from ICE program to enhance identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime | ICE.

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ICE removes Portuguese national wanted for domestic violence | ICE

ENFORCEMENT AND REMOVAL
04/02/2015
ICE removes Portuguese national wanted for domestic violence

BOSTON – A 58-year-old man wanted in his home country of Portugal was removed April 2 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Estacio Da Ponte Talaia was administratively arrested in Detroit Feb. 25. ERO officers working in concert with liaisons in Interpol discovered that Talaia was wanted in Portugal. According to Police in Portugal, Talaia is the subject of an arrest warrant issued on or about Nov. 16, 2012 from the Court of Ponta Delgada, Portugal, for a domestic violence conviction.

“We are committed to tracking down international fugitives who have sought to use the United States as a safe haven,” said ERO Boston Field Office Director Sean Gallagher. “Despite having what appeared to be a clean record in the United States, Talaia was actually a wanted man. This is yet another example of how our officers continue to track down wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

ERO coordinates the removal of criminals, foreign fugitives and others ordered deported. Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO assistant attachés for repatriation have assisted with the removal of 720 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. Last year alone, ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States, 98 percent of whom met one or more of ICE’s immigration enforcement priorities.

Through its International Operations, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has 64 operational attaché offices in 46 countries around the world. HSI special agents work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies through a robust network of specialized, vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units. Additionally, HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.

Both HSI and ERO personnel work on issues of mutual interest with host governments.

via ICE removes Portuguese national wanted for domestic violence | ICE.

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ICE removes former El Salvador defense minister | ICE

ENFORCEMENT AND REMOVAL
04/08/2015
ICE removes former El Salvador defense minister

WASHINGTON — A former minister of defense of El Salvador was removed from the United States by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Wednesday, after the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed his appeal and upheld an immigration judge’s decision finding him removable for his role in the commission of human rights violations during the Civil War in El Salvador. The 1980-1992 war resulted in the death of more than 70,000 civilians.

In a published decision March 11, the BIA dismissed the appeal of Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, 77, the former director of the National Guard (1979-1983) and Minister of Defense (1983-1989) of El Salvador. The BIA decision upheld the August 2012 immigration judge’s decision finding Vides Casanova removable for having “committed, ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated” in acts of torture and extrajudicial killing.

The BIA decision held that the totality of the record supported the conclusion that Vides Casanova’s actions “fall within the definition of assisting or otherwise participating” in extrajudicial killing and torture, under the theory of command responsibility. This case was brought under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which added provisions relating to aliens who have committed, ordered, incited or otherwise participated in acts of torture or extrajudicial killings.

The decision specifically recognizes two Salvadoran torture survivors who testified in proceedings, as well as seven victims of extrajudicial killing, including four American churchwomen killed in December 1980 and two Americans and their Salvadoran colleague killed in January 1981.

“As this case makes clear, ICE is committed to ensuring that the United States does not become a safe haven for human rights abusers. We will work to bring perpetrators of such acts to justice and preserve the sanctity of the immigration system for legitimate refugees,” said Thomas Homan, executive associate director of ICE ERO.

Vides Casanova was arrested in Florida March 25, and removed from the U.S. by ERO officers via an ICE Air Operations charter aircraft Wednesday, traveling from Alexandria, Louisiana, to San Salvador, El Salvador.

This case was litigated by ICE’s Orlando Office of the Chief Counsel with the support of the Human Rights Law Section and the Immigration Law and Practice Division.

Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 296 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 740 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations has more than 140 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,800 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from 97 different countries.

Over the last four years, ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center has issued more than 67,000 lookouts for individuals from more than 111 countries and stopped 161 human rights violators or war crime suspects from entering the United States.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also email HRV.ICE@ice.dhs.gov or complete ICE’s online tip form. ICE’s tip line is staffed around the clock, and tips may be provided anonymously.

via ICE removes former El Salvador defense minister | ICE.

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Criminal Alien Program | ICE

Immigration Enforcement
Criminal Alien Program
ERO Overview

Key Initiatives
IDENT/IAFIS Interoperability

Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT)/Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) interoperability is a biometric screening process that is consistent and efficient in the identification of criminal and other priority aliens. ICE leveraged an already-existing Federal information-sharing partnership between US-VISIT and the FBI that helps to identify criminal aliens at arrest or book-in without imposing new or additional workload on state and local law enforcement agencies. It has been fully deployed in all state and local jurisdictions, as well as Federal agencies, to include the DOD. Full deployment of IDENT/IAFIS interoperability has led to an increase in the number of criminal and other priority aliens identified and arrested.

When state and local law enforcement arrest and book someone into a jail facility for a violation of a state criminal offense, they will generally fingerprint the person. The fingerprints are electronically submitted to the state’s fingerprint database, and are then forwarded to the FBI. Provided that the person had been previously encountered and fingerprinted by an immigration official, a “match” will register at which time ICE is notified and an ICE officer determines the person’s immigration and criminal status to establish the appropriate immigration enforcement action, if any. If the person has not previously been fingerprinted by an immigration official, there will be “no match.” In all cases, an ICE or 287(g) designated immigration officer will need to interview the individual to determine the appropriate enforcement action.

Violent Criminal Alien Section

VCAS screens recidivist criminal aliens encountered through ERO’s enforcement efforts and local law enforcement to seek criminal prosecution to mitigate the risk of future recidivism and enhance the integrity of the U.S. immigration system. Integral to success in this effort is the collaboration with the Offices of the United States Attorneys to prosecute the charged criminal offenders.

Joint Criminal Alien Removal Taskforces

Joint Criminal Alien Removal Taskforces (JCART) identifies, investigates and arrests at-large criminal aliens with, but not limited to, convictions for drug trafficking offenses, crimes of violence and sex offenses. JCART will also identify and target aliens involved in human trafficking, smuggling and transnational organized crime for increased information collection. In addition to working with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, JCART partners with other law enforcement entities, such as probation and parole offices, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Prisons and local law enforcement agencies to conduct special operations.

Detention Enforcement and Processing Offenders by Remote Technology

Approximately 27 percent of inmates in Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) custody are non-U.S. citizens. ERO created the Detention Enforcement and Processing Offenders by Remote Technology (DEPORT) Center in Chicago to process this population through CAP. ERO officers and agents assigned to the DEPORT Center conduct interviews of BOP inmates nationwide using video teleconference equipment. Through the combined effort of the DEPORT Center and local ERO resources, criminal aliens from all federal detention facilities are taken into ERO custody upon completion of their sentences.

Rapid Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer

The Rapid REPAT program offers selected criminal aliens incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails the opportunity to accept early release in exchange for voluntarily returning to their country of origin. Aliens who have been convicted of non-violent offenses may receive early conditional release if they have a final order of removal and agree not to return to the United States. Eligible aliens must agree to waive appeal rights associated with their state convictions. If aliens re-enter the country following removal under the Rapid REPAT program, state statutes may provide for revocation of parole and incarceration for the remainder of the alien’s original sentence. Additionally, aliens illegally re-entering may face additional federal charges and penalties. Rapid REPAT also helps participating states reduce the costs associated with detention.

via Criminal Alien Program | ICE.

ICE: Secretary Napolitano’s Memorandum Concerning the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion for Certain Removable Individuals Who Entered the United States as a Child

 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

MEMORANDUM FOR: All Employees

SUBJECT: Secretary Napolitano’s Memorandum Concerning the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion for Certain Removable Individuals Who Entered the United States as a Child

DATE: June 15, 20 12

Today the Secretary of Homeland Security issued the attached memorandum concerning the exercise of prosecutorial discretion for certain removable individuals who entered the United States as a child.

Effective immediately, ICE agents and officers are instructed to exercise prosecutorial discretion in a manner that aligns with the Secretary’s memorandum. The memorandum states that, with respect to individuals who meet the criteria outlined below, ICE agents and officers should immediately exercise their discretion, on an individual basis, in order to prevent these low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed fiom the United States.

An individual is covered by the Secretary’s memorandum if:

  • the individual­  came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • is not above the age of thirty;
  • has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  • is currently in school, has graduated from high school,
  • has obtained a general education development certificate,
  • or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses; and
  • does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

ICE has also been directed to apply the Secretary’s policy, on a case by case basis, to individuals whose cases are pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and can demonstrate that they meet the above noted criteria.

To better facilitate this process, ICE has been further directed to implement a process within sixty days that allows individuals whose  cases are pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review to request a review of their cases through the ICE Public Advocate. Additional guidance on the Secretary’s memorandum will be issued as soon as possible. In the meantime, if ICE personnel have questions about the exercise of prosecutorial discretion described in the Secretary’s memorandum, they should contact their supervisor or local chief counsel’s office.

Disclaimer: As there is no right to the favorable exercise of discretion by the agency, nothing in this memorandum should be construed to prohibit the apprehension, detention, or removal of any alien unlawfully in the United States or to limit the legal authority of DHS or any of its personnel to enforce federal immigration law.

Similarly, this memorandum, which may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice, is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter.

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Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) | ICE

Leadership Offices
Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)

Overview

Leadership

The ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) upholds the agency’s standards for integrity and professionalism. As a key part of that responsibility, OPR investigates allegations of misconduct involving employees of ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

OPR investigates misconduct allegations based upon the following criteria:

  • Allegations that, if true, would constitute violations of state or federal criminal law; or
    Allegations of misconduct that, if true, would jeopardize or undermine the agency’s ability to perform its mission.
  • In cases of potential misconduct, OPR prepares reports of its investigations for possible judicial or management action. OPR also provides independent reviews of ICE programs and offices, adjudicates ICE background investigations and issues security clearances for all prospective and current ICE employees and contract staff.
  • Finally, OPR oversees ICE detention functions, ensuring that facilities adhere to the agency’s detention standards. In the event of a detainee’s death, OPR investigates the circumstances of that death.

Mission

OPR is responsible for upholding DHS standards for integrity and professionalism by impartially investigating allegations of employee misconduct.

In addition, OPR inspects and reviews ICE offices, operations and processes in an effort to provide executive management with an independent review of the agency’s organizational health. OPR oversees the agency’s detention functions to ensure compliance with ICE detention standards.

via Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) | ICE.

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Violent crime keeps county prosecutor busy heading into second term – Archive – Frederick News-Post

Author’s Note:

Okay, Folks! This is the guy who was too busy running for his next term in office to even attempt to get an indictment on a convicted domestic violence felon in possession of firearms and ammunition in Frederick County, Maryland. And he wasn’t alone: Count Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, a State Trooper and “ATF Liason” and a Detective from the Sheriff’s Office in on the conspiracy. He even went so far as to allow him to keep them in his possession from October 2010 through June 2011 before “letting him go.” The man’s crime crime carries a mandated prison sentence of seven years per offense for each weapon and ammunition found in his possession. There is no statute of limitations for this crime. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…


Violent crime keeps county prosecutor busy heading into second term. Charlie Smith says gangs, troubled youth are factors in rise in cases.

Kate Leckie News-Post Staff | Posted Jan 2, 2011

In four years, he has sent six defendants to prison for murder on sentences that range from 30 years to life plus 20 years, including a 66-year-old Frederick man found guilty of first-degree murder for killing his estranged wife.

On Monday, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith will raise his right hand during a brief ceremony in Circuit Courtroom 1 and promise to continue to protect the lives and well-being of Frederick County residents during a second term in office.

He reflected on that responsibility — and the recent trends in crime — as he prepares to begin that term.

So far, one murder case, involving the Nov. 28 death of an infant in Brunswick, is headed to trial in 2011.

Smith concedes the county is fortunate that number is not higher.

“We have been getting stabbings, shootings and robberies, and they seem to be occurring on an almost-daily basis,” Smith said.

A Frederick store owner remains hospitalized in serious condition more than a month after he was shot in the chest Nov. 27 during an attempted armed robbery at the International Market on West Patrick Street.

One of three robbers who entered the store shot Miguel Benitez, 51, as he struggled to keep them out of the cash register, police said.

“Despite a big increase in gun crimes, including robberies, we have not seen a consequent rise in murders,” Smith said. “But the number of serious violent crimes that are occurring is much more than we were seeing five years ago.”

One reason for the increase in serious crime can be attributed to population growth. But Smith believes a bigger part of the problem is a surge in gang activity and the fact that more youths and young adults, ages 16 to 24, are committing violent crime.

Another trend that cannot be ignored: Hispanic people are more frequently becoming victims of crime.

“We have to wonder whether they are targeted because they would be less likely to cooperate or come forward” if their residency status is in doubt, Smith said.

Two of Smith’s prosecutors, Ed Lulie and Jason S. Shoemaker, meet regularly with local police and community leaders in an effort to combat gangs and crime.

“We want to be proactive,” Smith said. “While we want to prosecute offenders and put them in jail, we also want to prevent crime from happening in the first place.”

Since Frederick County launched its Exile program in April 2009, about a dozen people have been prosecuted federally for gun crimes, Lulie said.

Project Exile is a coordinated effort by local, state and federal agencies to fight violent crime, especially gun crimes involving repeat offenders.

While Smith and his prosecutors have taken a number of serious cases to trial during his first term — including murders, attempted murders, rapes, first-degree assaults and child sex offenses — the majority of defendants accept plea agreements as their trial dates approach.

Because there’s no way of knowing what a jury will decide, Smith said it would be foolish not to allow a defendant to accept a plea offer if it involves a maximum or near-maximum sentence.

“We’ve been very successful in our prosecutions,” Smith said. “We have a great track record, and defendants see that. Police do a great job by giving us all we need to prosecute our cases.”

Smith’s first term included a variety of cases that drew crowds into courtrooms to watch: a solicitation of murder, a middle school teacher convicted of sending bomb threats to pupils and a woman found hoarding hundreds of live and dead cats.

Four years ago, Smith admitted to a slight case of nerves as he and his staff of prosecutors took the oath before a courtroom packed with family, friends and members of the legal and law enforcement communities.

Now well-ensconced in his job, Smith decided against having a formal gathering on Monday involving formal invitations and a speech.

“This time, no invitations went out,” Smith said from his office on the second floor of the courthouse Tuesday as he replied to e-mails about upcoming cases.

“We’re going to go up to the courtroom, raise our right hands and be sworn in. Fifteen minutes later, we’ll be back at work.”

via Violent crime keeps county prosecutor busy heading into second term – Archive – Frederick News-Post.

Quote

About Charlie

About Charlie

The State’s Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of all criminal and serious motor vehicle cases in Frederick County, Maryland. The State’s Attorney’s Office is divided into four divisions: Circuit Court, District Court, Juvenile, and Child Support. We have specialized units in the areas of Drug Enforcement, Violent Crimes, Gangs, Elder Abuse, Family Violence, and Vehicular Manslaughter. As a career prosecutor at the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, I have consistently fought for lengthy sentences for child molesters, gang members and those committing serious acts of violence with guns. To them my message has been clear… STAY OUT OF FREDERICK!

As your State’s Attorney, I pledge to:

  • Continue to aggressively seek out, find, and prosecute those preying on our children.
  • Continue to work to curtail gang violence.
  • Continue to fight for lengthy sentences for those committing serious acts of violence with guns.

As a citizen who is raising his family here, I feel strongly about maintaining the quality of life in Frederick County and Frederick City.
Your State’s Attorney,
Charlie Smith

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Married to Desiree Marie Smith.  Occupation: Special Agent, FBI

Born in Baltimore City.  1 of 5 five children of Charles and Norma Smith

My hobbies include fishing, cooking, golf, triathlon, and home improvement.  I also enjoy church missions, and coaching my children’s sports.

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY

Elected State’s Attorney:  Office of the State’s Attorney for Frederick County, Maryland
President, Maryland State’s Attorneys Association
Chair, Technology Committee, MSAA
Past Vice President, Legislative Committee, MSAA<
Past Vice President, Training Committee, MSAA
Past Vice President, Scholarships Committee, MSAA
Former Deputy State’s Attorney, Frederick County Maryland
Former Chief, Child Abuse/Sex Offense Division, Frederick County Maryland
Former Assistant State’s Attorney, Baltimore City, Maryland

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Past President, Board of Directors, Frederick Rescue Mission Inc.
Board, Child Advocacy Center
Board of Directors, Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Frederick County
Rotary Club of Carroll Creek (1999-2009)
Football/Lacrosse Coach, Middletown Valley Athletic Association

EDUCATION

Eastern Vocational-Technical High School, Baltimore, MD
Salisbury State College, Football, 1982-84
University of Maryland, College Park, Bachelor of Science in Finance, 1986
University of Baltimore School of Law,Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, 1990.
Heuisler High Honors, Class Standing   11/186

TEACHING

Adjunct Faculty Member, National Advocacy Center (National College of District Attorneys) in Columbia, South Carolina where I taught the courses Trial Advocacy,  Advanced Trial Advocacy, Cross Examination and Juror Selection to prosecutors from all over the nation.

Participate as a Moot Court Judge for local high school trial advocacy teams.

Annual Lecturer to the Frederick Police Department and Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Academies

via About Charlie.

Man Arrested and Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearm – Your4State.com

via Man Arrested and Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearm – Your4State.com.

FREDERICK, Md. – Frederick Police officers arrested a man for illegal possession of a weapon.

They say they pulled a driver over, and identified him as Mark Bandurski, 55, of Frederick.

Officers asked for consent to search his vehicle for weapons and drugs, and Bandurski consented.

While searching Bandurski’s vehicile, officers say they found a loaded flare gun that had been modified to shoot .22 caliber bullets within reach of the driver’s seat. They also found drugs in the car.

He was arrested and charged with having a handgun, having a handgun in a vehicle, illegal possession of a registered firearm, firearm possession with a felony conviction, illegal possession of ammunition, and possession of clonazepam.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The More You Know… About Sociopaths and You!

Author’s Note:

Most of us know a sociopath… I know that I certainly do! I admit that while the particular sociopath from my past may not be a mass murderer, he is responsible for the destruction of life on many levels. What I have experienced is that his web of lies, deception and influence on others — including myself — until I personally investigated his falsehoods and exposed his fabrications — and violent abuse…

If you know a sociopath, grab your getaway bag, your kids, and your courage… then run away as fast as you can and never look back! Save yourself so that you may be able to help save others.

This is a great article, one worth sharing. I’d love to hear your comments!

Frederick attorney among four arrested in prostitution sting – Herald-Mail

Frederick attorney among four arrested in prostitution sting – Herald-Mail.

Frederick attorney among four arrested in prostitution sting

Roger Charles Simmons was charged with one count of solicitation of prostitution

June 06, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
 MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Frederick, Md., attorney who was among four men arrested in a prostitution sting in February will have the opportunity to have the misdemeanor charge filed against him dismissed.

Roger Charles Simmons, 65, was charged with one count of solicitation of prostitution after police said he responded to an Internet adult escort advertisement, according to court documents.

The charge will be dismissed in six months if Simmons is not charged with any jailable offenses in that time, according to a resolution that Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christine Riley presented Wednesday morning to Magistrate Jim Humphrey.

The investigating officer in the case was not at Wednesday’s hearing, but Riley said she was told by defense attorney Kate B. Harding that the officer was aware of the proposed agreement.

“The People’s Sheriff” Charles A. “Chuck” Jenkins Stands for Right to Firearms Ownership: Safeguards Domestic Violence Felon in Possession of Firearms from Arrest and Prosecution

Author’s Note:

When a Frederick County, Maryland Sheriff publicly states:

“As Sheriff, I have been determined to in my efforts to safeguard your rights, in particular your right to firearms ownership and self-protection.”

and

“The role of the Sheriff is to enforce the law and protect the lives, homes, and businesses of our citizens as effectively as possible. That’s what I stand for.”

while running for a third four-year term as a law enforcement figure, one must figure:

“So, THAT’S why you protected an El Salvador national, not a U.S. citizen even, from MANDATORY GUN LAWS?”

Read all about how he protected a convicted domestic felon in possession of guns and ammunition here!

This man belongs in jail, not in public office!

Read more…

Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act [DPPA] Law — Legal Definition

Author’s Note:

Check out what good ole Bill Clinton did for the American public! The problem is that too many State prosecutors sit on their asses and ignore the law, probably because their budget does not allow for Deadbeat Dad law enforcement. What actually happens to the government funds that are supposed to go to your local child support enforcement? Hummm…

Even though Bill’s law is an amendment to the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, it addresses interstate cases only and doesn’t address what a person can do to get a deadbeat parent to pay within the state.

Another loophole to allow deadbeat dads off the gaff?

What if the Deadbeat Dad owes over $90,000 in child support and another $45,000 in alimony, such as in my case? What happens when a parent attempts to get Child Support Enforcement, local law enforcement AND the State’s Attorney to prosecute a Deadbeat Dad who is not within the legal definition of the DPPA because nobody has crossed state lines of the jurisdiction of where the case originated? What? No funding?

I am still waiting, after repeated attempts to get the State to enforce the child support and alimony orders, per statute, since 1997. While a hearing is pending a Court order to “Set Payment to Arrears”, I do not consider this justice when State statues define the slacker in my life as a felonious, well, deadbeat dad who owes considerably more than the $2,5000 in child support threshold set by statute — which has remained unpaid since, well, 1997. All the while, this man is amassing new homes, luxury items, and traveling to exotic locations … and laughing all the way to the bank. 

Read how I garnished over 16 bank accounts and collected a small portion of the arrears, how a deadbeat dad’s refusal to pay causes serious repercussions in our now-adult children (one who shot himself in the head on purpose), and how this angry mother is raising public awareness of how the State and local enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to justice…again, and again, and again…with serious consequences to not only my family but the community as a whole.

Let’s explore the law together in upcoming articles in The Just Call Me Charley Blog where I’ll get down and dirty… Stay tuned! 

If you are a parent attempting to collect past due child support and/or alimony, I want to hear from you! Please post a comment below. 

Author’s Update:

I successfully collected over 95 percent of the support since I last posted this article. The only monies that remain are mandatory interest and costs for enforcing the judgment. I hope my readers will send me their updates, as well. To date, not including my own judgments, I have helped Pro se litigants worldwide to collect over $750,000 (that’s 3/4 of a million dollars) in unpaid support over two years. As always, I do not require even one penny for directing readers to their local, state and federal collections guidelines, statutes, and codes —  or for holding their hand throughout the process. In helping the children caught in the middle of parental feuds, I apparently have muffled some feathers along the way. However, in the best interest of children everywhere, I applaud the fortitude of my readers. And, by the way, it is not only Dads who owe child support. There are some Moms who were Court Ordered to pay support and tried to move out of state to avoid payment, as well. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act applies to “parents” — not just men…

*  *  *

Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act [DPPA] Law & Legal Definition

Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act is a Federal statute that makes it a felony for parents to cross state lines with the intention of getting out of child support payments. It also provides strict guidelines for the punishment of these so-called deadbeat parents. The term “deadbeat parents” refers to parents who have failed to pay the required child support payments.

The Act provides felony penalties if :

1. a person travels across state lines intending to evade a child-support obligation that is over $5,000 or that has remained unpaid longer than one year, or

2. a person willfully fails to pay support for a child living in a different state if that obligation is greater than $10,000 or if it remains unpaid for more than two years.

In addition to these punishments, a parent found to be in violation of his or her legal obligation to support his or her children will be placed on probation. Violation of the probation terms will result in additional jail time. The specific terms of deadbeat probation include:

  • The parent must financially support his or her children, as per their legal obligation.
  • The parent must pursue employment in order to continue making the support payments. If the parent is unemployed, he or she will perform community service.
  • The parent will appear at all necessary court functions, specifically child support hearings.

The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1998, as an amendment to the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992.

via Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act [DPPA] Law & Legal Definition.

Oh, There’s More!

U.S. Code› Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 11A › § 228

18 U.S. Code § 228 – Failure to pay legal child support obligations

Current through Pub. L. 113-185. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

 (a) Offense.— Any person who—

(1) willfully fails to pay a support obligation with respect to a child who resides in another State, if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 1 year, or is greater than $5,000;

(2) travels in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent to evade a support obligation, if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 1 year, or is greater than $5,000; or

(3) willfully fails to pay a support obligation with respect to a child who resides in another State, if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 2 years, or is greater than $10,000;

shall be punished as provided in subsection (c).

(b) Presumption.— The existence of a support obligation that was in effect for the time period charged in the indictment or information creates a rebuttable presumption that the obligor has the ability to pay the support obligation for that time period.

(c) Punishment.— The punishment for an offense under this section is—

(1) in the case of a first offense under subsection (a)(1), a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both; and

(2) in the case of an offense under paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection (a), or a second or subsequent offense under subsection (a)(1), a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or both.

(d) Mandatory Restitution.— Upon a conviction under this section, the court shall order restitution under section3663A in an amount equal to the total unpaid support obligation as it exists at the time of sentencing.

(e) Venue.— With respect to an offense under this section, an action may be inquired of and prosecuted in a district court of the United States for—

(1) the district in which the child who is the subject of the support obligation involved resided during a period during which a person described in subsection (a) (referred to in this subsection as an “obliger”) failed to meet that support obligation;

(2) the district in which the obliger resided during a period described in paragraph (1); or

(3) any other district with jurisdiction otherwise provided for by law.

 (f) Definitions.— As used in this section—

(1) the term “Indian tribe” has the meaning given that term in section 102 of the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a);

(2) the term “State” includes any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States; and

(3) the term “support obligation” means any amount determined under a court order or an order of an administrative process pursuant to the law of a State or of an Indian tribe to be due from a person for the support and maintenance of a child or of a child and the parent with whom the child is living.

 Source

(Added Pub. L. 102–521, § 2(a), Oct. 25, 1992, 106 Stat. 3403; amended Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 607(l), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3512Pub. L. 105–187, § 2, June 24, 1998, 112 Stat. 618.)

 Amendments

1998—Pub. L. 105–187 reenacted section catchline without change and amended text generally. Prior to amendment, section consisted of subsecs. (a) to (d) relating to a description of the offense, punishment for an offense, restitution upon conviction of an offense, and definitions of terms used in this section.

1996—Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 104–294 inserted “commonwealth,” before “possession or territory of the United States”.

Short Title of 1998 Amendment

Pub. L. 105–187, § 1,June 24, 1998, 112 Stat. 618, provided that: “This Act [amending this section] may be cited as the ‘Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998’.”

Short Title

Pub. L. 102–521, § 1,Oct. 25, 1992, 106 Stat. 3403, provided that: “This Act [enacting this section and sections3796cc to 3796cc–6 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, amending section 3563 of this title and section 3797 of Title 42, and enacting provisions set out as a note under section 12301 of Title 42] may be cited as the ‘Child Support Recovery Act of 1992’.”

Charley’s Breaking Story: The National Sheriffs’ Association Offers Free Domestic Violence Training for Law Enforcement — But One Maryland Sheriff, His Staff, and a State’s Prosecutor Remain Ignorant of Gun Laws!

Author’s Note:

This is my personal story. Names and locations are withheld at this time.

But keep an eye on the media as this story unfolds in the public eye. Be sure you tell everyone that you heard it straight from the source first.

*  *  *

One day last October, I called a Maryland Sheriff’s Office and spoke with a detective about my public safety concerns regarding a woman and her four-year-old child living with a convicted domestic violence felon whom I knew for a fact was illegally in possession of firearms and ammunition in his home.

The convicted domestic violence felon is known as my former husband (herein referred to as my “ex”). He is the father of my son, who begrudgingly lived and worked with his father. His father owns and operates a landscape construction company specializing in the installation of master pools complete with high-end residential and commercial landscape and hardscape packages. We started the family business in 1987, and it is now in full swing and affords my ex to purchase multiple homes to include rental properties, luxury vehicles, and extended vacations throughout each year, amongst other things. Father was proud and boastful of our son’s performance on the job, and clients and work associates adored his easy-going personality, ingenious problem-solving ability, and excellent work ethic. 

My son planned to move out with his girlfriend (who had become a mainstay at the house from what I understand) and he already had started plans to own and operate a computer consulting partnership with his best friend. My son made his plans in secret from his father; he said that he knew his father would unduly continue to pressure him to take over the family business. Additionally, my son openly expressed his resentment over his living situation in a multitude of levels. His father knew nothing of his discontentment, his intention to quit his job and never take over the “family” business, or of his plans to start his own business and go to Tech school. His father outwardly and vehemently hated his son’s girlfriend, and my son outwardly and vehemently hated his father’s “stripper-baby-momma.” … Well, those were his words, and they are, well, true nonetheless…

Back to the story.

I knew for a fact that the guns were in my ex’s exclusive use and possession because my son told me that he owned the guns and kept them at his father’s house — with his father’s full knowledge and consent. He even “shot birds on the farm” when Dad was home. His father in all likelihood shot the guns himself as a father-son recreation, shared in secret from Mom because of the illegality of it.

“Just don’t tell your mom.”

It was a secret that was engineered to draw in a youth of 23 years, making a special bond between father and son.

“I’m of age. I’m not mentally challenged. I’m not a felon. It is my constitutional right to own guns. Just because Dad isn’t allowed to own a gun doesn’t mean that I can’t.”

My son lived in an attic bedroom rent-free or for other nominal considerations, but there was no exclusive use and possession of the room as there was no formal rental agreement, according to my son. Being the exclusive owner of the property, his father has every right to enter onto the premises known as my son’s room; and as such, being the sole owner of the property, his father also owned a copy of the key or could change the lock at will if he lost his key; and as such, he could even remove the door to gain access to the room, with no cause, if he so wished, because the son essentially had no legal right to enjoy full privacy and use of the quarters.

My son stated that he kept the door locked because [his “bratty” four-year-old half sister] “got into everything” and “they let her do anything she wanted.”  I immediately ‘schooled’ my son on federal and State gun laws; I was concerned that my son could be implicated in an accessory charge if anything at all happened to the four-year-old — or anyone else …

“If your father gets a hold of a gun during one of his rages, anything is possible. Please do not make me report this. Get the guns out of the house. Immediately.”

I advised my now-wiser son to go to the online Federal Firearms Reference Guide and to call me with questions or if he wanted to talk to me about it. I made sure that he was aware that his father was putting him in a very, very bad situation. I informed him that with this gun law, “ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.” I even offered to take the guns until he moved into his own place; however, I was in the process of moving out of state over the next month, and time was of the essence.

Upset at the prospect that his father would intentionally put him in harms way, my son was more adamant than ever to find a place and get out as soon as possible. But he ran into some financial snags that in the end point back to his father’s evils. My son was between a rock and a hard place and a heated dispute with his girlfriend was the deciding factor on exactly when he would make his final desperate “move” to escape his painful situation.

Unfortunately for my son and for all of us who loved him, my son found “a way out” that solved all his problems in one swift act.

His father blamed my son’s girlfriend because “she admitted to playing with a sex toy which upset him, just before she decided to go home.” The Father made certain that the investigator included that fact, of all things, in my son’s suicide report. I find it absurd that any competent person would believe that a 23-year-old healthy man (who was with only his third girlfriend ever — including his kindergarten sweetheart) would be so upset that his girlfriend was playing with herself — and that he would blow his brains out over a dildo. According to his girlfriend, “he had no problem in that department,” so there is far more than the forced confession that my ex coerced out of this poor 20-year-old as she stood in shock over her beloved’s dead body as the father and his “wife” attempted to breathe life into my son who would never rise again. I can imagine how she felt at that moment because I know “that wild look” that overcomes my ex’s eyes and contorts his steriod-ballooned face. Yes, my son confessed a number of reasons before he died as to why his father’s temper is so bad…and he seemed to want everyone on the planet to know about it.

“I love my dad, Mom, because he’s taught me a lot of things about business.”

My son stopped and took a long breath.

“But what he’s taught me the most is how NOT to be a man.”

“I don’t know WHY he won’t pay you the money he owes you. He’s rich. Go get the money, Mom. You know how to find it. Promise me that you will go get the money.”

He wanted to be so sure that his girlfriend’s mother knew that he was NOT like his father that he called me five minutes later to make me promise that I would be sure that her mother KNEW that. It was very important to him, and he sounded quite adamant and mortified at the prospect of being told that he ‘was just like his father.’

His words, his tone, his desperation rings loud and clear in my memory just as if he told me these things today. A mother does not forget these things, especially her son’s last conversations; especially the look in her son’s eyes the last time she saw him; especially the finality of it all.

I blame his father and I am abhorred that he would use such demeaning and degrading accusations (to both his own son and his girlfriend) in order to point the blame away from himself for the illegal weapons possession. Laws in other states might find him guilty of [involuntary] manslaughter for his part in the illegal weapons possession. But Maryland law enforcement and one State’s prosecutor in particular, do not seem to find any connections because they refuse to enforce the very gun laws they pledged to uphold.

I personally saw the guns and ammunition after my my son committed suicide using his own .45 caliper handgun last October, just two days after the fact and while my son was still lying cold on the coroner’s slab. I wanted to see my son’s room to try to make sense of the absurdity of the death, and by some grace of God, my ex allowed me for the first time in over 15 years into his home. (He was terrified that I would “see all his stuff” especially since at one time he owed me over $140,000 in unpaid child support and alimony before I garnished some bank accounts. Believe me, I wasn’t much impressed; it appeared that he was trying to decorate and relive his life with me, which would be sad in any other situation, especially since my decorating style changed years ago. This is scary on so many levels.)

I am sure to this day he regrets allowing me into the house, no matter the circumstance, especially since I received what I believe was a death threat this past Easter Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the Easter beating in 1996 which freed me from the grip of this violent man, and this is verified by the Fire Marshall’s Report.

_______________________

And I am sure that exposing the truth will result in my eventual grisly death. (Keep reading. You’ll get to a few prime examples.) At this point, I have lived the fear for so long that it has been replaced first by numbness then by courage. My father told me before he died,

“Having courage is doing something that you’re afraid to do, but you do it anyway.”

My father was a B-17 belly-gunner in the Army Air Core, serving proudly — and courageously — in World War II. I think I had a true mentor who reminds me even 10 years after his death to remain as stubborn as the day I was born, to see this through, and to make sure that people are held accountable. My son loved him and admired him above any other man in his life, including his own father. He told me so. 

There is a bigger picture here than my personal story. How many like scenarios will follow? How many other felons will escape punishment because Maryland has a track record for being the last to uphold Federal guidelines? How many other mothers will grieve for their children, lost to convicted domestic violence felons? I, for one, will do my part as a proud American, even if I must die for the love of my children. It is because I love my children and my children’s children, I must protect them with all that I am.

_______________________

The .45 remained in police custody until the suicide investigation was closed. One day I discovered that the Sheriff’s office was

 “ready to release the gun to family, or else melt it down, or else register the gun for the use of the Department, or else sell it.”

I demanded that the Sheriff’s office retain the weapon as evidence for what I believed would be an ensuing criminal proceeding. More on that later.

While the detective who took point on my son’s suicide seemed to listen intently and with much compassion to my story, I was instructed,

“Contact the State’s Attorney’s Office because [that office] originally prosecuted [him] on the domestic violence charges.”

That made sense to me, since this is a violation of the man’s felony conviction which terms implicitly MANDATES that he shall never own or possess firearms or ammunition.

So, I made the call to the State’s Attorney’s Office in the form of a written complaint. I also included in my complaint the fact that I wanted to file a criminal nonsupport complaint against this man whose outstanding judgements for child support and alimony exceed $50,000 and have remained unpaid since 1997. The SA directed me to the child support enforcement agency. But he ignored my gun complaint and many follow up emails.

I finally demanded:

“What do you intend to do about the felony gun complaint?

The State’s Attorney finally wrote me back, flatly indicating that he “got hundreds of emails every day.” In a subsequent email, he curtly stated:

“If you believed that a crime is being committed, contact your local law enforcement agency.”

It took about two weeks to get back to Square One. State’s Attorney obviously was disinterested in some unrepresented woman making a serious gun law complaint. But, I did as he said after I wrote him back to thank him for “pointing me in the right direction.

Since the Sheriff’s office initially pointed me to the State’s Attorney, I called the State Police and then the City Police … both directed me back to you know where — Square One: The Office of the Sheriff.

It is now late-January and three months after my initial complaint.

This time, I demanded to speak directly with the Sheriff, who listened to my complaint. He did not seem very interested in hearing it, either. I nevertheless decided to trust that the Sheriff would do his job and immediately (1) get a warrant, (2) go and retrieve the firearms and ammunition that I personally saw at my ex’s house —  after my son committed suicide at that same location, (3) make the arrest and confisgate the evidence, and (4) let the prosecutor ‘have a go at him’ on mandatory Black Letter gun law.

The Sheriff is also mandated to file a complaint of child abuse or neglect with Child Protective Services, but “they didn’t want to do that pending a search and arrest warrant” — which, by the way, never happened. They preferred to allow public citizens remain in danger rather than “endanger their law enforcement staff.” They seemed to have a difficult time figuring out ‘how to get a warrant that would stick”

Since October 16, 2010, I had personal first-hand eye-witness knowledge that at least three guns and ammunition remained unsecured and illegally on the premises after my son’s death. If we don’t count the fact that I believe a shotgun and silencer remain in this man’s possession, then add 10 days for a total of over 209 days — or 6 months and 27 days — as of the date of this posting… this is fast becoming a public epidemic nationwide, by the way…

FURTHER, I discovered by the investigator’s own admission that he later asked this convicted felon “if he wanted the .45 caliper handgun back!” No! I’m not kidding!

But, that is not the only story line here or even the point of this post. It is important, I think, that you know the background before I finally make my point. At least it will add some drama to the already sordid account….

After several months of making my formal complaint, I called the Sheriff to ask what was taking him so long. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s had already passed; Valentine’s Day was fast approaching and Easter (the 15th anniversary of my final physical beating) was right around the corner. I was very concerned that not only were the holidays a prime time for domestic violence, and that my (surviving) children visit their father (along with my grandchildren). I know that his temper flares and that they would be endangered. I was concerned for my ex’s live-in baby momma because more than likely she would receive much of the brunt of his anger, behind closed doors, in private, the way he likes it to keep his public “appearance” pristinely false. If you have met or meet him in the future, you would like this man if you did not know his sordid criminal history. He is the ultimate con artist when it comes to getting people to like him so that he can later take advantage of them as a means to his own end. Getting back to my subsequent conversation with the Sheriff. I was taken aback by the absurd remark that he, a peace officer voted in my his public, made to me:

“If that woman wants to leave, she can get out.”

I was livid.

“I cannot believe what I just heard you say! I cannot believe that you will not take this seriously, Sheriff.”

“I do take this seriously. But there is nothing holding this woman back from leaving…”

I interrupted him before he could do even more damage to his own public reputation and his office in general.

“I was told by this man, when I was married to him,” I told the Sheriff, “a variety of threats that kept me from leaving many times. Additionally, when I did leave on several occasions, with the kids in tote, this man literally tracked me down and found me at a hotel, despite the fact that I told the night clerk on duty that I was attempting to escape from a domestic violence situation. My ex pounded on the door and when I opened it, he grabbed me by the hair and literally dragged me out the door and back home. The kids were terrified…”

The heat was building on my cheeks and my heart pounded out of my chest as I relived the horror of the situation.

“That woman and child are potential in danger! And so are my children and grandchildlren .”

[Think of the potential a rubberband has: just laying on the table, it is inert. But sling it like a slingshot and you have the potential to blind someone. Potential is a very real safety concern.]

“That man threatened me in sick ways:

He told me many times — verbatim — 

“If you ever cheat on me or try to leave me again, I will string you up to a tree and skin you alive. You know they do that in [a Central American country]. Then I’ll gut you like a pig. And while your guts are on the ground, I’ll kill the kids in front of you. When you’re finally dead, I’ll throw you through the limb shredder and mulch our clients’ beds with you. They will never find you.”

I continued redressing the Sheriff:

“And then there was the one where he threatened me, “If you ever cross me again, I’ll dig a 25-foot pit at the bottom land [we lived on a farm] and bury you alive. They will never find you.”

I insisted to the Sheriff,

“I believed him. He used to wait until I fell asleep, and then he’d wake me up screaming my name as he repeatedly punched me in the head for some ‘thing’ he falsely accused me of doing. I learned to sleep lightly with ‘one ear open’ at all times, not because I had small children, but because I had small children who I felt needed protection from this man.”

The Sheriff tried to assure me “that this woman was not in danger” and that “she had options if she wanted to leave.” How in the hell did the Sheriff know that this woman ‘was not in danger’ and ‘could leave if she wanted to leave — and take her five-year-old with her?

I recalled “the final beating” that put me in the hospital for almost two weeks and which required that I spend over a month at a house for battered women with my children. The oldest, who didn’t care for the “institutional” environment stayed with friends. I was black and blue from head to toe (except where my husband sat on my chest as he pummeled my head alternately like a punching bag). The nurses at the hospital cried when they saw me and they could not bring themselves to care for me; my personal physician cried when he saw me. I was ruled out for a fractured skull but sustained two separate concussions, a dislocated jaw, a few cracked ribs, and I was deafened in my right ear. I only have about 10% hearing from that ear today. I literally looked like I was hit by a Mac truck for over three full months after Easter Sunday 1996. The judge wanted to send this man away for 20 years…

I believe that my ex would have succeeded in his threat that ‘he WAS going to kill me’ [because I was seeking a divorce and he further falsely accused me of having an affair with my doctor]. If the Deputy did not arrive when he did, I believe that I would not be telling my story today. Living in a rural area, it took 45 minutes for the cops to come. The deputy kicked in the door and pulled this man[iac] off me. I told him that my husband was trying to kill me, that he told me that he was going to kill me, and that I wanted him arrested. The police report he filed was for felony battery; it should have been assault and battery and attempted murder. The cops just don’t get it.

But therein lies the irony. The cop who filed what I believe was an insufficient report for the crime that was committed against me, lost his ex-wife and children to a murder-suicide several years ago during a domestic violence rampage in my former hometown, the town where I was almost killed by my then-husband. My heart goes out to him, as despite the inadequacy of his domestic violence training that I credit to the times and not his willingness to actively seek the education, he was devoted to patrolling my home and ensuring my safety during the months that followed my “release” from the battered women’s shelter. He became a dear friend to me and my family, and I cannot fathom his loss. My children went to school with his children. The chill of domestic violence rings loud and clear in the county where I now attempt to find justice using “local law enforcement” and a State’s Prosecutor who are disinterested because I am flatly informed that my “case is not big enough.”

However, this was the best day of my life. Really. After being mentally, emotionally and physically abused from 1981 through 1996, the State NOW would have to mandatorily arrest and prosecute this man and ensure the safety of my children and me. I made it out alive, after so many attempts to get away from this psycho, and now my hands were tied insofar as prosecution goes. He was going to jail, no doubt about it.

Part II

The point of this story is not to tell you about my own domestic violence story; it is not about the woman and child who I feel still remains in harm’s way because a long gun and silencer are still unaccounted for by law enforcement, even though the woman and child have been directly in harm’s way for over six long and agonizing months as I tried to keep a lid on this story until the case was closed. We are going on month seven, and remember that I believe another gun as well as an illegal silencer/suppressor that my son reportedly made are still unaccounted for.

This is a story about how “the good old boy’s network” must be reformed through mandatory training and education on domestic violence. This Sheriff had been in office (voted in by the public) since at least the day I was nearly beaten to death. Perhaps he did not recall that my case was voted (by the deputies in his office) as the second worse domestic violence case in the history of his jurisdiction; I was the second recipient of their emergency cell phone program; the deputies came and installed a security system in my home; they furnished me with a panic button that I wore around my neck; they patrolled my house between four and six times daily, 24 hours a day.

Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Maryland State Delegate Sue Hecht, through the battered women network, asked me to go with them to speak before legislation regarding the Violence Against Women Act. The law was enacted after the legislators became very emotional with my address, but I cannot receive much credit just for showing up. I was only one amongst many who spoke that day, but I could barely stand unassisted as I stood battered and bruised to tell my story. I remember that a few of the legislators wiped a tear or two from their faces as I told them my story as they witnessed the damage first hand that this man inflicted upon me with his bare hands — and at that, my story had only just begun.

Since that time, I have been a domestic violence advocate and have helped many women — and men — out of terrible domestic violence and family law situations. Since 1996, I have been stalked, harassed and caused to be falsely arrested in a witness intimidation attempt by the man who tried to kill me, and who I believe is responsible for my son’s death after deciding that kidnapping the children was the best way out of paying child support.

I am no longer afraid of the man who tried to beat me to death in 1996 because fear has been overcome by the rage of my son’s senseless suicide. This steriod-pumped man, once pointed a loaded gun at my head after pushing this pregnant woman into a bathtub ranting,

I should just blow your f*cking head off!.”

Just read all about felony gun charges on this website, read the articles I’ve posted so far, and let me know what you think.

Do you think this convicted domestic felon, caught with at least six counts of illegal possession of firearms, should be left to endanger society indefinitely without paying his debt to society?

Well, the Sheriff and his team seem to believe so. And apparently, so does a State’s Attorney who blindly turned away from his responsibilities without so much as a care in the world.

I’m crying “conspiracy” loud and clear.

There have been no charges filed — yet. I am not finished — yet.

The sheriff’s lady detective and her Sheriff decided to close the case unilaterally, despite mandatory gun laws, and even asked this man “what he wanted to do with the guns” once again.

I understand that the “ATF liaison” as they called him, never even read my complaint, my emails, and he did not even know my name! Once given the case that “some vindictive woman insisted on opening”, he went over to this felon’s house within the week — with no search warrant, no arrest warrant, and no intention of arresting a convicted felon in illegal possession of at least six counts of firearm-related criminal charges.

I was later told by him that “the case was not juicy enough.”

I am now faced with exposing this story with the full force of “Mother’s nature.”

In any event, it appears to me and many others (to include other Sheriff’s who are painfully aware of this story) that this particular Sheriff needs some domestic violence training, which by the way, is offered for free via Domestic Violence Trainings – National Sheriffs’ Association. … That is, if he decides to stay in office after this hits the major media circuit. Here’s what they offer:

Rural Law Enforcement Training:  “Domestic Violence Intervention and Investigation”

To date, NSA has held approximately 62 trainings nationwide and approximately 2,600 individuals have successfully completed the training. This two-day, 16-hour training is open to members of law enforcement, criminal justice, advocacy agencies, and other community organizations involved with domestic violence prevention and awareness. Expert law enforcement, prosecutors and advocates team-teach the five main components of this training: liability, the dynamics of domestic violence, investigation and interviewing, prosecuting domestic violence cases, and solutions and resource development. During this training geared to address the specific needs of small towns and rural areas, training participants will learn how to:

  • Use new interviewing, evidence gathering, and probable cause determination techniques in domestic violence cases
  • Conduct more effective investigations to hold offenders accountable and therefore prevent future abuse
  • Enhance the safety of victims of domestic violence and of responding officers
  • Decrease the risk of lawsuits against law enforcement agencies
  • Apply federal and state laws pertaining to domestic violence
  • Enforce protection orders
  • Describe evidence-based investigation and prosecution
  • Describe the dynamics of domestic violence
  • Identify counseling, shelter, and legal resources for the victim
  • Identify law enforcement’s role in a coordinated community response to domestic violence crimes.

Depending on state regulations, individuals who complete this training will receive 16 hours of POST certification. This training is tuition-free. Participants are responsible for their transportation, lodging, and meals.

Domestic Violence Training for Rural Communications Professionals (Dispatchers/Call Takers)

This one- and-a-half-day, 12-hour training is for dispatchers, call takers, and other emergency services telecommunication professionals and their supervisors. To date, NSA has held approximately 18 trainings (including pilots) nationwide and approximately 450 call takers have successfully completed the training. Expert law enforcement, prosecutors and advocates team-teach contemporary concepts of domestic violence intervention and investigation. During this training geared to address the specific needs of small towns and rural areas, training participants will learn how to:

  • Conduct effective responses to domestic violence 9-1-1 calls
  • Use new interviewing, evidence gathering, and probable cause determination techniques in domestic violence cases
  • Enhance the safety of victims of domestic violence and of officers responding to domestic violence calls
  • Apply federal and state laws pertaining to domestic violence
  • Identify liability issues for dispatchers/call takers
  • Describe the dynamics of domestic violence
  • Identify the impact of domestic violence on society.

Depending on state regulations, individuals who complete this training will receive 12 hours of POST certification. This training is tuition-free. Participants are responsible for their transportation, lodging, and meals.

Domestic Violence Training Locations

NSA is selecting training sites for the Rural Law Enforcement Training: Domestic Violence Intervention and Investigation and for the Domestic Violence Training for Rural Communications Professionals (Dispatchers/Call Takers). Law enforcement agencies or other organizations interested in hosting a training should contact Tim Woods at 703.838.5317.

If you are in a domestic violence situation, I urge you to find help NOW. Domestic violence offenders typically, left unchecked, will progressively become more violent with each and every incident. And they won’t stop unless and until they are stopped for good.

If your Sheriff responds in such a manner as the one I dealt with, tell their public about it. Hold them accountable. The training is free; there is no excuse for deliberately ignoring a dangerous situation of allowing a domestic violence felon in possession of weapons and ammunition to go unchecked for six months, endangering innocent lives, and allowing a felon to go free after breaking Black Letter gun laws which, in the end, resulted in my son’s death on October 14, 2010.

*  *  *

I urge you to comment, to raise your voice and let your opinion be heard loud and clear.

If you are in a domestic violence situation, there are resources available on this blog site that can help you find your way to safety. Domestic violence ruins lives and in many cases is deadly. Do not ignore a situation that will not simply ‘go away’. Protect yourself and your children today.

Who thinks it might be time for this Sheriff to retire since he refuses to hold public safety above his own lack of interest for a very real cry for help from the “local law enforcement” that the State’s prosecutor directed me to contact… AND THAT’S YET ANOTHER STORY LINE ALTOGETHER!

Stay tuned because spilling my guts takes on an entirely different meaning than what my ex threatened me with so many times before.

(Don’t worry, blog posts will continue for a few months as I have them scheduled to run in lieu of my anticipated absence.)

Meaning of Marriage Vows – Forsaking All Others

Author’s Note:

Bea Northcott is Executive Director of Marriage Investors. This is the eighth and last of a series of “Family Foundations” articles which explore the meaning of the words in wedding vows and how couples can use them daily to give meaning to their marriages.

The series of articles on the meaning of the marriage vows has been expanded and published into a book – Promising Words: The Meaning of the Marriage Vows. (317) 308-9889 | Marriage Investors, 1876 Northwood Plaza #201, Franklin, IN 46131 | Copyright 2008  Meaning of Marriage Vows – Part 8 | Marriage Investors.

Please leave your comments. I am interested to know what you think about this article!

Meaning of Marriage Vows – Part 8

Important Vow to Keep: Forsaking all others

Shortly after I started this series of articles on the meaning of marriage vows, someone asked if there would be an article about “forsaking all others.” This was well before Tiger Woods became the poster boy for marital infidelity. Unfortunately, much of what I’ve read about Woods’ infidelity has been about the effect it will have on his and golf’s fortunes rather than on what it means to marriages.

The phrase “forsaking all others” is not technically part of the marriage vows but is included in the Declaration of Consent from the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church published in 1549. The marriage ceremony outlined in the Book of Common Prayer is the basis for most weddings in the United States.

The Declaration of Consent occurs prior to the actual vows. The officiant asks: “Will you have this man/woman to be your husband/wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor and keep him/her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him/her as long as you both shall live?”

According to “An exposition of the Book of Common Prayer and administration of the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (1807)” by Andrew Fowler the reason for the inclusion of “forsaking all others” is added “to prevent those three mischievous and fatal destroyers of marriage, adultery, polygamy and divorce.”

Usually, the first thought in the mind of a person whose spouse has committed adultery is usually such anger at the shattering of trust that they immediately decide to end the marriage. But such marriages can survive and even get stronger. The Smart Marriages website (www.smartmarriages.com) has a number of resources on surviving infidelity.

The word forsake means “to renounce or turn away from entirely” and “abandon.” It is the act of sacrificing or surrendering a possession, right or privilege.

While the historical context of “forsaking” includes adultery, infidelity does not always equal adultery. There are many other ways a spouse can be unfaithful.

A common, modern definition of infidelity includes anything that interferes with the marital relationship and becomes dangerous to the marriage.

This means not letting in-laws, parents, siblings, or society intrude into the marriage.

This can include excesses in work, hobbies, television, computers, video games, or an emotional relationship with another person (of either gender) that does not include adultery, but does intrude into the marital relationship.

Intrusions into a marriage can also include children. A few months ago, I was talking with an engaged Franklin College student who had taken a class on relationships. She said the most important thing she learned was that nurturing the marriage relationship was even more important than being a parent. “Eventually children will grow up and move away, but the husband and wife will stay together forever,” she said.

As I was researching this column, I was surprised to find that few examples on internet wedding sites included the Declaration of Consent in the order of wedding ceremonies. In fact, one woman posted the question: “Where is the part about forsaking all others?”

There is a lot of confusion, misinformation and contradictions about wedding ceremonies on the internet, just as there are with many other topics. One website confused the Declaration of Consent with the giving away of the bride.

Another site included examples of several different types of marriage ceremonies. Only the “religious” ceremony included the Declaration of Consent. The “civil” ceremony replaced “forsaking all others”with “the intention of being faithful in marriage.”

Unfortunately, intent is significantly different from a vow to remain faithful.

One introduction to the wedding ceremony I read says very clearly: “I call to your attention the seriousness of the decision which you have made and the covenant you are about to declare before God. Be very clear that your marriage is dependent upon your willingness to be faithful to each other and faithful to your understanding of God’s will for your marriage. Unfaithfulness in either is a betrayal of your covenant. Constant and continuous obedience to your vow will result in a marriage which will be blessed, a home which will be a place of peace, and a relationship in which you both grow in love.”

HB 241: Criminal Law – Restrictions Against Use and Possession of Firearms (2011 Session)

HB 241
Department of Legislative Services
Maryland General Assembly
2011 Session
FISCAL AND POLICY NOTE

Revised
House Bill 241
(Delegate Anderson, et al.) (By Request – Baltimore City Administration)
Judiciary
Judicial Proceedings
Criminal Law – Restrictions Against Use and Possession of Firearms
This bill expands prohibitions and restrictions against the use and possession of firearms.

Fiscal Summary

State Effect: Potential minimal increase in general fund revenues and expenditures due to the bill’s expanded prohibitions and restrictions.

Local Effect: Potential minimal increase in local revenues due to the bill’s expanded prohibitions and restrictions.

Small Business Effect: None.

Analysis

Bill Summary

The bill establishes a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years for possession of a regulated firearm by a person previously convicted of certain crimes of violence or drug-related crimes. The bill removes “false prescription” and certain penalty provisions as predicate crimes.

If, at the time of the commission of the offense, a period of more than five years has elapsed since the person completed serving the sentence for the most recent conviction, including all imprisonment, mandatory supervision, probation, and parole: (1) the imposition of the mandatory minimum sentence is within the discretion of the court; and (2) the mandatory minimum sentence may not be imposed unless the State’s Attorney notifies the person in writing at least 30 days before trial of the State’s intention to seek the mandatory minimum sentence.

The bill also prohibits the possession of a rifle or a shotgun if a person was previously convicted of a crime of violence or drug-related felony. A violator is guilty of a felony and subject to a maximum sentence of 15 years. Each violation must be considered a separate offense.

The bill also expands the current misdemeanor prohibition against the use of a handgun or concealable antique firearm in the commission of a crime of violence or felony to apply to any “firearm,” without regard to its capability of being concealed.
Firearm is defined as (1) a weapon that expels, is designed to expel, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; or (2) the frame or receiver of such a weapon. Firearm includes an antique firearm, handgun, rifle, shotgun, short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, starter gun, or any other firearm, whether loaded or unloaded.

Current Law

Title 5 of the Public Safety Article regulates firearms and handguns in the State. A regulated firearm is any handgun or any of the 45 assault weapons (or copies) identified in that article. Among other restrictions, a person may not possess a regulated firearm in the State if the person was convicted of a crime of violence or a violation of specified controlled dangerous substances offenses.

A violator is guilty of a felony and subject to a nonsuspendable, nonparolable mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Each violation of this prohibition is a separate offense. Under a separate prohibition relating to knowing participation in a violation of this title, a violator is subject to maximum penalties of five years imprisonment and/or a fine of $10,000. Each violation of this prohibition is also a separate offense.

The term “rifle” means a weapon that is: (1) designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder; and (2) designed or redesigned, and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.

The term “shotgun” means a weapon that is: (1) designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder; and (2) designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore one or more projectiles for each pull of the trigger.

A person may not use an “antique firearm” capable of being concealed on the person or any handgun in the commission of a crime of violence or any felony, whether the antique firearm or handgun is operable or inoperable at the time of the crime.

A violator is guilty of a misdemeanor and, in addition to any other penalty imposed for the crime of violence or felony, subject to a minimum nonparolable sentence of 5 years and a maximum sentence of 20 years. For each subsequent violation, the sentence must be consecutive to and not concurrent with any other sentence imposed for the crime of violence or felony.

Antique firearm means: (1) a firearm, including a firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar ignition system, manufactured before 1899; or (2) a replica of such a firearm that is not designed or redesigned to use rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition that is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

Handgun means a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person. Handgun includes a short-barreled shotgun and a short-barreled rifle. Handgun does not include a shotgun, rifle, or antique firearm.

Background

The two separate statutory sentencing provisions applicable to Title 5 of the Public Safety Article (as cited above) have been interpreted by the courts as mandating a five-year sentence, no more and no less, for illegal possession of a firearm by a person convicted of disqualifying crimes of violence or drug crimes. A review of the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines database indicates that there were 118 convictions in Maryland circuit courts for illegal possession of a firearm after a conviction for crime of violence or drug felony in fiscal 2010.

This bill brings State law closer to federal law, under 18 U.S.C. Section 922, which prohibits the possession of any firearm or ammunition by a person convicted in any court, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

The sentencing guidelines database also indicates there were 278 convictions for use of a handgun in a crime of violence or felony in fiscal 2010. The Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy does not have access to additional data to estimate the impact of expanding the definition to include the use of “any firearm” in the commission of a crime of violence. Most of the intake for the Division of Correction (DOC) in any given year is for felony convictions, including crimes of violence.

State Revenues: General fund revenues may increase as a result of the bill’s expanded prohibitions from additional cases heard in the District Court. It is assumed that any increased caseload for the District Court resulting from this bill can be handled with existing budgeted resources.

State Expenditures: The extent to which this bill’s changes may increase firearm prosecutions and DOC’s annual intake is unknown for two reasons: (1) prosecutors have wide discretion to actually bring charges for specific statutory offenses; and (2) actual prosecutions by the U.S. Attorney in federal court for gun cases, sending convicted persons to federal prisons, may significantly reduce State and local costs associated with such offenses.

In any case, general fund expenditures may increase minimally as a result of the bill’s expanded application of an existing prohibition which results in an increase of maximum incarceration penalties applicable to violations; and potential violations from the new prohibitions established by the bill. The number of people affected by the bill’s provisions is expected to be minimal.

Persons serving a sentence longer than 18 months are incarcerated in DOC facilities. Currently, the average total cost per inmate, including overhead, is estimated at $2,920 per month. This bill alone, however, should not create the need for additional beds, personnel, or facilities. Excluding overhead, the average cost of housing a new DOC inmate (including variable medical care and variable operating costs) is about $390 per month. Excluding all medical care, the average variable costs total $170 per month.

Local Revenues: Revenues may increase minimally as a result of the bill’s expanded prohibition from cases heard in the circuit courts. It is assumed that any increased caseload for the circuit courts resulting from this bill can be handled with existing budgeted resources.

Additional Information

Prior Introductions: None.

Cross File: HB 240 (Senator Jones-Rodwell)(By Request – Baltimore City Administration) – Judicial Proceedings.

Information Source(s): Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and St. Mary’s counties; Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy; Judiciary (Administrative Office of the Courts); Department of State Police; Office of the Public Defender; Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Department of Legislative Services

Fiscal Note History

First Reader – February 8, 2011
Revised – House Third Reader – March 25, 2011
ggc/hlb

Analysis by: Guy G. Cherry
Direct Inquiries to:
(410) 946-5510
(301) 970-5510

Illinois Guide for Parents in Juvenile Neglect Cases

Author’s Note:
I include these guidelines as part of my research on a case study for an interstate adoption gone bad. More on that later. Meanwhile, this is for my readers in Illinois with questions about what happens in Juvenile Neglect and Abuse cases. I would say, happy reading; unfortunately, this is not the case.

 


 

Guide for Parents

Juvenile Court: Abuse and Neglect Proceedings

ILLINOIS STATE BAR ASSOCIATION , Child Law Section Council

(Copyright © Illinois State Bar Association, 2008)

 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

  1. When Your Child is in Foster Care—Introduction
  2. How A Foster Child’s Case Comes to Juvenile Court – Chart
  3. Your Rights as the Parent of a Child in Foster Care
  4. Important Facts for Fathers
  5. Your Responsibilities When Your Child is in Foster Care
  6. Your Child’s Foster Parents and You
  7. Visitation
  8. Child Protection Case Timeline in Illinois – (See Below Chart)
  9. Who Works at Juvenile Court?
  10. Things You Should Know About Types of Court Hearings and What to Expect
  11. Important Names, Phone Numbers, Dates and Addresses
  12. Your Attorney, Address, and Phone Number
  13. Your Caseworker, Agency, Address and Phone Number
  14. Juvenile Court Address
  15. The Judge Hearing Your Case
  16. Your Courtroom/Calendar
  17. Date Your Child Was Taken Into Care or the Date Your Case Was Opened
  18. Next Court Date and Time
  19. Next Administrative Case Review Date and Time
  20. Next Parent-Child Visit Time
  21. Next Meeting with Caseworker

When Your Child Is In Foster Care

Introduction

If your child has been removed from your care, you may be feeling scared, powerless and angry. Often, once a child has been removed from the care of his or her parents, it is a long and difficult process to get that child returned home. The biggest priority for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the judge, State’s Attorney and Guardian ad Litem is to protect your child, do what is best for your child, and if possible, reunite your family. In some cases, once a child has been removed from his or her home, it is not likely that the child will ever be returned.

One of the most beneficial things you can do right now for yourself and your child is to be cooperative and honest with DCFS and the court. This may be hard to do, especially at first, when you are trying to adjust to this situation. Another priority is to advocate for yourself and for your child. Let your caseworker, your lawyer, and the court know what your child’s needs are and what you need. If it is important to you to be reunited with your child, let the people involved in your case know that you are going to try your hardest to do whatever it takes to have your child returned to your home.

The law requires that DCFS make reasonable efforts to help you get your child back and that your and your child’s case be resolved within a certain period of time. You have a limited time to engage in and complete the services that are required of you.

You have an opportunity now to receive support and help, to make positive changes in your life. In order for your child to be returned to your care, you must change the conditions that caused your child to be placed in foster care. It is best to do what the judge, the caseworker, and the Service Plan tell you to do. If these requests do not make sense to you, talk to your lawyer.

In order to provide you with assistance, support and services, DCFS needs to know where you live and how to contact you. It is important for you to keep in contact with your caseworker. Tell your caseworker if you are going to move, and try to notify her or him before you move.

This booklet is intended to provide parents with general information and advice about the child welfare system, DCFS and the Juvenile Court. It does not constitute legal advice. The information in this booklet is only intended to serve as an overview and does not cover all situations or facets of the law governing child welfare and foster care in Illinois. Legal advice is dependent on the unique circumstances of one’s case and should only be provided by a competent lawyer who represents you.
 

HOW A FOSTER CHILD’S CASE COMES TO JUVENILE COURT

Child Appears Abused, Neglected, or Dependent

  1. Physical Abuse: A parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare inflicts, causes or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical injury, creates a substantial risk of physical injury, and/or commits acts of torture.
  2. Sexual Abuse: A parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare sexually exploits, molests, penetrates, or transmits diseases to a child.
  3. Neglect: A parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare deprives or fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, or needed medical treatment. Additionally it is considered neglectful to permit the child to be in an injurious environment or to give birth to an infant who has been exposed to a controlled substance.
  4. Dependence: A child who is without a parent or guardian; who is without proper care because of either a physical and/or mental disability or the death of his parent or custodian; who is without proper medical care through no fault of the parent; or a child who has a parent who for good cause wishes to be relieved of all parental rights and responsibilities.

POLICE OFFICER takes protective custody of child who appears abused, neglected, or dependent;

OBSERVER/MANDATED REPORTER calls DCFS hotline: 800-25-ABUSE to report suspected abuse or neglect;

PHYSICIAN takes protective custody of child who appears abused or neglected.

    • DCFS HOTLINE. Information is transmitted to the local Child Protection Unit.

Child Protection Investigator (CPI)

  • Investigates within 24 hours – sooner if imminent harm;
  • Takes temporary protective custody (PC) of any child who seems to be at imminent risk of harm.

State’s Attorney Office

  • Reviews facts of the investigation;
  • If probable cause is found, files a petition for Adjudication of Wardship with Juvenile Court. The allegations of abuse, neglect or dependency must meet the criteria for juvenile court involvement and there should be enough evidence present to prove abuse, neglect, or dependency.

[This sets the following into action]:

Juvenile Court. The Temporary Custody Hearing is scheduled to be held within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, of when the child comes into temporary protective custody (PC), or after service of summons to the parents.


 Your Rights as the Parent of a Child in Foster Care:

  • You have the right to ask the lawyers, caseworkers and the judge questions.
  • You have the right to a lawyer. If you do not have the money to hire a lawyer, the judge will appoint one for you. Write down your lawyer’s name and telephone number.
  • Regarding the home in which your child is placed, if you know of a relative (including godparents) who would be appropriate to care for your child, tell your caseworker. If the worker refuses to place the child with a relative, ask your lawyer if you can challenge the placement decision.
  • You have the right to and should make every effort to participate in court hearings.
  • You have the right to a visit with your child within 14 days of when DCFS takes Protective Custody. Your initial visit will be supervised. If visitation does not occur, contact your caseworker and lawyer.
  • Through your lawyer, you have a right to testify in court, bring in your own witnesses, and have your lawyer question the people who testify against you. If at any time you do not understand what is happening, or think there is a problem, tell your lawyer.
  • You have the right to be provided with services that will help you with your case.
  • If you are in jail or prison, it is likely that the facility in which you are housed offers services that will be helpful to you, such as parenting classes, high school or community college-level classes, substance abuse treatment and counseling. If you participate in and successfully complete services while in prison or jail, you should get credit for having completed them.
  • You have the right to appeal some of the judge’s decisions. Make sure you contact your lawyer if you want to file an appeal.
  • You have the right to copies of the judge’s orders regarding your case.
  • You have the right to understand and get help with what you need to do in order to get your child home with you. Your caseworker has a responsibility to work with you and to assist you in making the necessary changes to get your child home.

Important Facts for Fathers

In general, you are presumed to be the legal and biological father of a child if you and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other, and the child is born or conceived during such a marriage. You are also presumed to be the father if you and the mother signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, or if a court previously entered a court or administrative order declaring you to be the father, or if a court previously entered a court or administrative order declaring you to be the father, or if your name is on the child’s birth certificate.

If there is a question regarding who the father of your child is, ask the court for a paternity test based on DNA.

If you were not married to the mother of your child when your child was conceived or born, you are not your child’s legal father unless:

  1. a court or an administrative law judge has determined that you are the child’s father and made a finding of paternity; or
  2. you and the mother signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.

Your Responsibilities When Your Child is in Foster Care

VISIT your child as often as possible, at least once a week if allowed by the court. Let your caseworker and attorney know you want to visit your child as often as possible.

WORK with your caseworker to create your Service Plan and to change the conditions that caused your child to be placed in foster care.

DO everything required by the Service Plan. Be sure that you have a clear understanding of what the plan specifically requires from you and how it will help you. If you encounter problems in getting access to services, be sure to notify your caseworker and your lawyer.

KEEP a record of your participation in services. Talk to your lawyer about what this means. Failure to cooperate in services can result in the termination of your parental rights.

GO to EVERY court hearing and administrative case review. Listen carefully, write down important information, and follow the judge’s orders. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer when something is not clear. If you cannot attend a court date, call your lawyer to let him/her know.

RECORD the names of people involved in your case—the names and phone numbers of your attorney and caseworker, phone calls and appointments you have made, dates you visited your child, and any services you have completed in order to show the court that you have participated in services.

NOTIFY your lawyer and caseworker of any changes in your address and phone number.

Your Child’s Foster Parents and You

Ideally, your child will be placed with a relative who is familiar to you and your child. DCFS is required to consider relatives for possible placement before placing your child in a traditional foster home.

It is helpful to your child if you and your child’s foster parents get along well. In some cases, children can be returned home more quickly because parents and foster parents work together.

Ask your caseworker to arrange for you to meet your child’s foster parents.

You can let your child’s foster parents know that you want to stay involved with your child and ask for their ideas about how they can help and how you can help them.

You may also tell your child’s foster parents that you would like to talk to your child on the phone during the week. Perhaps certain days and times each week can be established for the call or calls. If such times are arranged, it is VERY IMPORTANT for you to follow through and engage in the contact on schedule.

Visitation

While your child is in the care of DCFS, visits with your child should be a top priority for you. Your caseworker is responsible for developing a visitation plan for you to have visits with your child.

Request that visits with your child be scheduled at times/ days when you are able to participate. For example, if you have a job on weekdays from 9 – 5, you can request that visits be scheduled outside of your work hours.

If the visits are scheduled at a time when you are not available, be sure to let your worker know and explain the reasons why it is hard for you. Similarly, if the visits are set to occur in a location that is very difficult for you to get to, let your caseworker know. If the worker is not responsive, contact your attorney right away. Visitation plans also provide a plan for brothers and sisters who are in foster care to visit one another if they are placed in different homes. As long as the Service Plan goal is return home, most parents have a legal right to visits.

Visits can occur in your home unless your caseworker has decided it is not safe for your child to visit you there. Ask your caseworker to plan the visits either at your home, at the home of a relative or friend, or at a place in your neighborhood that your child likes to visit. Depending on where your visits take place, you may want to take things with you to share with your child, such as nutritional snacks, games, toys, books, or art activities.

Be sure that you understand from your caseworker how he/she arranges visits. Typically, a parent will request a visit, and then will have to call their caseworker again the day before the visit to confirm it. You do not have to wait for your caseworker or your children to mention visitation. If you have any difficult setting up visits, call your lawyer right away.

Your worker may observe your visits with your child. In the future, the worker may testify how you interacted with your child during the visits. At the end of the visit and outside of the presence of your child, ask the worker how you did and for suggestions as to how the next visit might go even better.

The court may require visits between parents and children to be supervised. If you have supervised visits, someone else must be present with you when you and your child visit. This person could be an approved relative, a caseworker or another employee of DCFS or the private agency that has your case.

Your first visit is to occur within 14 days of Protective Custody and your initial visit will be supervised. If visitation does not occur, contact your caseworker and lawyer.

As you participate in and complete the services identified in the Service Plan, and make progress, the court usually will allow you to have longer and/or more frequent visits with your child. Generally, the court allows a parent to have supervised visits, then allows unsupervised daytime visits, and finally unsupervised overnight or weekend visits. The pace at which the court increases visits depends on the reason the child was removed from the home, the progress the parent is making in correcting the conditions that caused the child to be placed in foster care, the child’s needs, and the parent’s behavior during the visits.

Regular visits with your child are very important. They help your child to feel close to you, even if he/she is living someplace else. They also help you to know that you are still a part of your child’s life. They make your child’s return home easier.

Remember that the purpose of your visits is for you to spend productive time with your child. Discussions with your caseworker should take place before, after, or on another day –not during your visits with your child.

Tell your caseworker that you want to be involved in your child’s life. This might include taking your child to buy some new school clothes, or to an appointment with a doctor or dentist. You can also ask to be told about sports, plays, and other activities your child is in. Tell your caseworker you want to go to these events, especially if your child wants you there. Ask your child’s foster parents or the caseworker to send school papers, report cards, and art work to visits so you can see them. That way you can keep up with your child’s development and interests.

During visits, keep them as positive an experience for your child as possible. Do not make critical or negative statements about the child’s current foster parent or caseworker in their presence. If you have concerns or complaints about something, talk to the caseworker or your lawyer about them when your child is not present.

When you visit with your child, be sure not to make any promises that you cannot keep.

If a visitation plan is made but you are not able to visit your child on a specific date, your child will likely be very disappointed. If you aren’t able to get to a visit with your child, notify the caseworker as soon as possible. Ask that you have phone contact with your child so you can at least talk to him or her instead.

If you repeatedly miss visitation dates without excuse or explanation, the State may seek to have your parental rights terminated. If the judge determines that you are not showing an interest in your child or are not fit to care for him/her, your rights as a parent will be terminated.


Child Protection Case Timeline in Illinois

Step-By-Step Guide

 DAY 1: Protective Custody (PC): Emergency removal of child from the home by DCFS to protect the child’s safety.

Within 48 Hours of the Child’s Removal from the Home (Excluding weekends & holidays)

  • Temporary Custody (TC) Hearing. The court decides if there is probable cause, urgent and immediate necessity, and if the “best interest of the minor” requires the court to place the child in the custody of DCFS.
  • Extended Temporary Custody Hearing. A meeting is held among parents, attorneys, and caseworkers, to discuss alternatives to removal, services, visitation, and placement.

If no, the child goes home, the petition is dismissed, and the court case is closed.

Within 55 Days of Temporary Custody: Court Family Conference (Cook County only)Parents, caseworkers, attorneys, and the judge discuss the case plan, the parents’ progress to date, how the children are doing, and what must be done before the child can be returned home.

Within 90-120 Days of Temporary Custody: Adjudicatory Hearing (Trial). The Court decides whether the child was abused, neglected, or dependent.  If no, the child goes home and the court case is closed.

Within 120-150 Days of Temporary Custody: Dispositional Hearing (Dispo). The Court decides whether the child can safely be returned home with or without further supervision by the court.

  • If the court finds that the child can safely be returned home without supervision, the child goes home and the case is closed. This is rare.
  • If yes, the Child is made a ward of the court and is returned home under Court Order:

Generally, Court supervision is required and an Order of Protection (OP) is entered. Progress Reports are made to the court as necessary, until the case is closed. If the requirements of the OP are violated, the child could be removed from the home.

If no, the Child is made a ward of the court and is placed under DCFS Guardianship:

Child remains in foster care. 12 months after TC, the first permanency hearing is held before the judge. There are permanency hearings every 6 months from then on, until the case is closed.

 The DCFS Hotline (800-25-ABUSE; TDD: 800-358-5117 for the hearing impaired): The DCFS Hotline is available to take reports of abuse or neglect 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, from anyone with relevant information.


The job of the DCFS Hotline worker is to:

  1. Talk with the caller to get as much information as possible about the allegation, the alleged victim/s, and the alleged perpetrator, and
  2. Determine whether the harm, as described by the caller, is considered to be abuse, neglect, or dependency under the law and DCFS guidelines.

If the Hotline intake worker feels the caller’s information meets these criteria, the worker will take the report and transmit it immediately to the local Child Protection Investigation Unit.

Caller Confidentiality: The identity of all callers to the DCFS Hotline is confidential and will not be released to the person(s) who are investigated as a result of a report unless a court or administrative order is issued to release the caller’s name. Anonymous caller’s reports will also be taken, if the criteria for taking the report are met.

Child Protection Investigation: The local Child Protection Investigator responds to the reports faxed by the DCFS Hotline by investigating the caller’s allegations.

  1. Unfounded Report. Evidence of abuse or neglect, he/she will show the allegations as unfounded in his/her report. If an investigator finds no credible evidence of abuse or neglect, he/she will show the allegations as indicated in his/her report.
  2. Indicated Report. If an investigator finds credible evidence of abuse or neglect, he/she will show the allegation as indicated in his/her report.

Leaving a Child in the Home: After investigating the allegations, the Child Protection Investigator may decide not to remove the child from the parent’s home if they are not in immediate danger:

  1. No Court Monitoring: The family voluntarily accepts DCFS services. These are called “intact cases.” Families who need help may receive services from DCFS. DCFS opens an intact family case and works with the family. Intact family cases may not be screened into Juvenile Court by the caseworker unless there is a need for additional monitoring or court intervention.
  2. Court Monitoring: It appears that a Court Order of Protection would enable the child to remain with the parents. The Child Protection Investigator presents the case to the State’s Attorney to determine whether the facts of the case support asking the judge to issue an Order of Protection. A Court Order of Protection lists the services in which the parents and family must participate, and the actions the parents need to take or not take for the child to remain at home. The judge, after hearing the facts, may either issue the Order of Protection as requested, may order the child to be taken into temporary custody (TC), or may dismiss the case entirely if the facts of the case do not support keeping the case open (this is unusual). Even if the judge closes the court case, DCFS may decide to keep the child welfare care case open to help the child and family.

Removing a Child from the Home: A DCFS Investigator will assess the safety of the child using a risk assessment protocol (Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol/CERAP) to help him/her make a decision about whether or not the child is in immediate danger. The Child Protection Investigator is authorized to take the child into temporary protective custody (PC) if there appears to be urgent and immediate necessity to remove him or her from home for the child’s own protection. In this case, a Temporary Custody Hearing (or a Shelter Care Hearing) must be scheduled in Juvenile Court within 48 hours (excluding weekends and court holidays) of the child being taken into protective custody. Police officers and physicians may also take children into protective custody if they believe the child is in immediate danger. After taking custody, they call the DCFS Child Abuse Hotline.

Who Works at Juvenile Court?

The Judge: The judge listens to all the evidence presented by the lawyers in court and makes decisions based on that evidence. The judge decides what is legally right and necessary to protect your child.

Assistant State’s Attorney (ASA): The Assistant State’s Attorney, or prosecutor, brings the case involving your child to the court. This begins with a petition, which is a legal document telling how your child has been harmed or is in danger. The Assistant State’s Attorney also presents evidence to the court about the danger to your child.

Parents’ Attorney: Your attorney, or lawyer, represents your interests and rights regarding your child. You may hire your own lawyer. If you do not have the money to hire a lawyer, the judge will appoint a lawyer to represent you. This lawyer may be from the Public Defender’s office or from a private practice. You can ask your lawyer to explain anything to you that you do not understand. Be sure to write down your lawyer’s name and telephone number before you leave court, and to provide your lawyer with your address and phone number. Let your lawyer know whenever your contact information changes.

Assistant Public Guardian or Guardian Ad Litem (GAL): Every child will have a lawyer appointed by the court to represent that child. If your case is in Cook County, this will be a lawyer from the Office of the Public Guardian. This lawyer is also known as the Guardian ad Litem or GAL. His or her duty is to represent your child in court and to protect your child’s best interests.

DCFS Attorney: The DCFS Regional Counsel is employed by DCFS to represent the interests of the Department. They work closely with caseworkers and other personnel in the courtroom.

Caseworkers: Caseworkers (or case managers) can be either from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or from a private agency. Caseworkers work with families and children. Their job is to see that children are kept safe, and that the parents have a chance to fix the problems that brought the family to the attention of DCFS and the Court.

Caseworkers come to court to tell the judge and attorneys about the services they think you and your children need. The caseworkers will talk about what you are doing to help your family and what the caseworker has done to help you. They will inform you of your Administrative Case Review dates (with DCFS) during which your Service Plan and Service Goals will be reviewed. Caseworkers also recommend where your child should live and make a plan for you and your child to visit. Be sure to talk to your caseworker often.  Court Coordinator/Courtroom Clerk: The Court Coordinator calls the cases and gives the court dates.

Court Reporter: The Court Reporter types a word-for-word record of what is said in court.

Court Interpreters: A Court Interpreter translates all the questions and testimony in court into the language used by the individuals involved in the court hearing. In many counties court interpreters have to be requested in advance so they can attend the specific court hearing.

DCFS Court Facilitators (in Cook County only): DCFS Court Facilitators are experienced social workers who are assigned to some of the abuse and neglect courtrooms in Cook County.  They ensure that caseworkers are present in court, take notes on cases that are called, and provide assistance and support to DCFS Regional Counsels, caseworkers and the judge.

Sheriff’s Deputy: The Sheriff’s Deputy monitors the courtroom to assure the safety of everyone present.

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA): CASA workers are trained volunteers who are sometimes appointed by judges.  This can occur at any time in a case. CASA workers cooperate with everyone in the case to protect the child’s best interests.


Things You Should Know About Types of Court Hearings and What to Expect

The court will set a goal (sometimes referred to as ‘permanency goal’ or ‘court set goal’) for your case, and re-determine it at various points as your case progresses. The goal will show you and your child the direction in which the case is moving.  The court set goal will also determine what services will be provided to you. If the goal is not for your child to return to live with you, DCFS will no longer offer you services to get your child back.

The judge will conduct the first permanency hearing within 12 months of the date that your child was put into temporary custody (TC). After that, a judge will conduct a permanency planning hearing on your case every six months. The judge will do two things at permanency hearings:

  • Set a permanency goal; the goal set by the judge is not hat will happen on that day, but it is the goal that those involved in the case will be working toward in the near future.
  • Decide whether you and your child are receiving the correct services.

Temporary Custody Hearing: At the Temporary Custody (TC) Hearing, also known as the Shelter Care Hearing, the judge decides if a child can live safely with a parent, or if it is necessary for a child to be removed from the home for awhile. The judge’s decision will be based on what is necessary for the safety of the child. At the Temporary Custody Hearing the judge will decide one of three things:

  1. The judge may decide that there is no reason to believe that the child is unsafe at home. The judge will allow the child to go home with you and there is no need for you to come back to court, or;
  2. The judge may decide that although there is a problem, that the child will be safe at home if you agree to certain rules. In this case, the judge will issue an Order of Protection. This is a court order that lists certain rules that must be followed for the child to remain safe with the parent, or;
  3. If the judge believes you cannot protect your child or your child is not safe living with you, the judge will “take temporary custody” – that is, remove your child from your care and have him/her live with someone else for a while. When your child is removed from your care, custody is usually given to DCFS and the judge names the DCFS Guardianship Administrator as the child’s temporary custodian. The judge will actually say the name of the person who is the Guardianship Administrator for DCFS. That person will not be in court. No children actually live with the Guardianship Administrator. DCFS will place the child with an available family or agency that can care for the child. DCFS will try to have a child live with a relative, (including godparent) whenever possible. Be sure to tell your caseworker if you (or the child’s other parent) have relatives who you believe could take good care of your child. If you have a relative who could take good care of your child, try to bring him/her to court with you.

Status Hearing: The status hearing happens after the Temporary Custody Hearing and before the trial. At this hearing, the court makes sure that both parents know about the trial date, and the caseworker gives a written report about you and your family to the judge. This report is called a social investigation.

The Court Family Conference: For cases in Cook County, a Court Family Conference will be held approximately 55 days after the Temporary Custody Hearing. The date for this conference will be set by the judge at the end of the Temporary Custody Hearing. This conference is ‘off the record’—no court reporter will be there—and it is considered to be a fairly informal process. The Court Family Conference is held to help you understand what the court expects of you and helps you to learn about what must be done before your child may return to live with you and your court case can be closed. The conference also helps the court to learn about you and your child. In addition, the Court Family Conference is a good time for you to make sure everyone is aware of your child’s particular needs.  For example, if your child has asthma, make sure that everyone is aware of it. The Court Family Conference will be attended by you, your lawyer, your caseworker, the judge, and the other lawyers working on the case. Everyone will talk frankly about the problems that caused your child’s case to come into this court, and what progress you have made in solving these problems. If you like, you can have a friend or relative attend the Conference with you.

Adjudication (Trial): The trial is also called Adjudication or the Adjudicatory Hearing. It happens about three months after the Temporary Custody Hearing. This is when the judge listens to evidence about your case to decide if your child was abused, neglected, or dependent at the time the case first came into court. At this hearing the court can only receive information about the reasons that the case came into court in the first place. The judge cannot hear anything at this time about efforts that you have made to correct problems since the case came into court. Witnesses will tell what they know about the facts of the case involving your child.

Your lawyer can ask questions of witnesses. Your lawyer also can have you and any other persons you wish tell the court what you know about the facts of the case. After all the witnesses have been heard, the judge will decide if your child is abused, neglected, or dependent. If the judge decides that your child is not abused, neglected or dependent, the judge will return your child home. If the judge decides your child is abused, neglected, or dependent, the judge will set a date for a Dispositional Hearing (Dispo). The Dispositional Hearing may occur on the same day as the trial, but usually it is held later in order for the judge and all of the attorneys to get a report about you and your children, your progress in services, and your needs for additional services.

Dispositional Hearing (Dispo.): At the Dispositional Hearing, your caseworker tells the judge about your progress. He/she also tells the judge about your child’s needs. The Dispositional Hearing will happen within about 30 days after the trial, unless the lawyers and the judge agree to a later date for a good reason.

The judge must decide if each parent is unwilling, unable, or unfit to care for his or her child at this time. The judge must also decide if it is in your child’s best interests to stay in foster care or to return home to you. If the judge decides your child should stay in foster care for now, the judge will name someone as the child’s guardian. That does not mean that your child will have to move. The Guardianship Administrator is a DCFS official, not someone with whom your child will live. At the end of the Dispositional Hearing, the judge will set the next court date.

At this point, it is important for you to have worked with your caseworker to make the needed changes so that you can safely care for your child. In order for your child to be returned to you, you must show you can protect and care for your child.  The court may also consider your visitation history with your child, as well as assessments by the agency of your visits with your child.

Motion for Return Home: Once a child has been taken into temporary custody and placed in foster care, the child can only return home to live with his/her parents with permission from the court. You may ask the court to consider returning your child to you as soon as you are able to prove to the court that you can provide adequate care and a safe home for your child.  This can occur at any time. Generally, it does not happen before the Dispositional Hearing, but it is possible. From the time your child is removed from your custody, you can and should be working toward having your child returned to you.

In order for the court to consider a child’s return home, a court hearing must be held to determine whether the conditions leading to the child’s removal from the home have been corrected.  This hearing requires that witnesses tell the court about your situation. Your caseworker might tell the court what you have done to correct the problems and why it is in your child’s best interest to return home. Usually before returning home, a child has progressively longer unsupervised visits with his/her parents, including overnight and weekend visits at home. Once a child is returned home, the family will have to report to the court and follow the rules ordered by the court for a period of time.

When you believe you have done everything that was required in order to have your child /children returned home, talk to:

  1. YOUR CASEWORKER: to find out whether your caseworker agrees that you have done everything required and can support you in court to have your child/children returned home.
  2. YOUR LAWYER: to find out what letters, certificates, or other documents your lawyer you to get and when he/she plans to file a motion for the court to hear evidence about your child/children returning home. 

Remember that this can be a very slow process. Everyone, including you, needs to feel certain that return home is not only best for your child/children, but that your child/children will be safe at home.

Permanency Hearing: As mentioned above, if your child has not been returned to your care within one year, a court hearing will be held to decide on a permanency goal for your child.

Possible permanency goals are: Return Home: Being able to safely return to the parent/s is almost always the preferred permanency option for any foster child. Children are returned home by the juvenile court when the parent/s have corrected the conditions that led to the child being removed. DCFS must provide services for at least six months following the return home to help stabilize the family.

Variations on the goal of return home: The minor will be in short term care with a goal to be returned home within a year, where progress of the parent/s is substantial, giving particular consideration to the age and individual needs of the child.

  • The child will be returned home by a specified date within five months.
  • The child will be in short term care with a goal to be returned home within a year, where progress of the parent/s is substantial, giving particular consideration to the age and individual needs of the child.
  • The child will be in short term care with a goal to return home pending a status hearing. When the court finds that a parent has not made reasonable efforts or reasonable progress to date, the court shall identify what actions the parent and DCFS must take in order to justify a finding of no reasonable efforts or reasonable progress and will set a status hearing to be held no sooner than 9 months and no later than 11 months from the date of adjudication, at which time the parent’s progress will again be reviewed.

Substitute Care Pending Court Determination on Termination of Parental Rights: The court is being asked to determine if it is appropriate to free your child for adoption by terminating your parental rights.

Substitute Care Pending Independence: A minor over the age of 15 may be in substitute care pending independence. This means that your child will live somewhere other than home, such as a foster home or group home, until he or she is able to live independently.

Adoption: If a child is unable to return to the parent/s, adoption should be considered as the next best permanency option. Adoption gives a child a lifelong family relationship. Adoptive parents are the legal parents of a child, with the same rights and responsibilities as if the child had been born to them.

Private (Subsidized) Guardianship: Permanent legal guardians, unlike adoptive parents, are not the child’s legal parents. The court appoints legal guardians so that they have legal authority to provide day-to-day care for the child, and make important decisions in the child’s life without DCFS being involved in the care, supervision, or custody of the child. Guardianship lasts until the child is 18 years old. Usually, as a parent, you have the continued right to visits/contact with your child when the child has a legal guardian. You also have the ability, in the future, to petition the court to have the guardianship vacated (dismissed) and custody returned to you. To succeed in this, you would need to convince the Court that you are fit, willing and able to care for your child, and that it’s in your child’s best interests to be returned to your custody.

Home Environment Not Appropriate: The minor will be in specialized/institutional care because he/she cannot be provided for in a home environment (either your home or a traditional foster or relative home) due to developmental disabilities, medical complexities, mental illness or because he/she is a danger to themselves or others and the goals of return home and adoption have been ruled out. This goal is only given to a few children in very special circumstances.

Termination of Parental Rights Hearing: If your parental rights are terminated, the legal relationship between you and your child will end. When both parents’ rights have been terminated, a child is available for adoption. Under certain conditions, the Assistant State’s Attorney can begin court action to terminate your parental rights. This cannot happen in secret or be a surprise to you and your attorney. Keep in mind that you have to keep in touch with your caseworker and lawyer. Your caseworker will tell you if things are not going well and termination of parental rights is being considered in your case. Your parental rights can be terminated by the state without your agreement in Juvenile Court. If you are opposed to your parental rights being terminated, a lawyer will represent you in an effort to keep the state from terminating your parental rights. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the judge will appoint one to represent you. If you agree that it is best for you to no longer parent your child, you should consider consenting to your child’s adoption or private guardianship.

In a termination hearing the court must decide two things:

  1. Whether the parents are unfit (the ‘fitness hearing’): There are many reasons that the court can find you to be an unfit parent and terminate your parental rights; it does not mean that you are a bad person. For example, you can be found unfit because 9 months have passed since your trial and although you have been offered help, you have not done the things required by your Service Plan. You can be found unfit as defined by legal expectations because you have not shown enough interest in your child over the past year. If the court finds that you are unfit to parent your child, then the court will determine if it is in the best interest of your child to terminate your parental rights.
  2. Whether it is in the child’s/children’s best interest to terminate parental rights (the ‘best interest hearing’): If the court finds at the fitness hearing that you are unfit as a parent, the court will also hear evidence whether it is in the best interests of your child for your rights to be terminated. In most cases where a parent has been found to be unfit, the court will also agree that it is in the child’s best interests for your rights to be terminated. In other cases, however, you may be able to show that it is not in the best interest of your child. For example, you may be able to provide strong evidence to the court that you have a close, loving and positive relationship with your child.

If the court terminates your parental rights, your child will be free for adoption. The legal relationship between you and your child will end, and you will no longer be entitled to make any decisions about your child or, in general, to visit your child.  DCFS will be responsible for your child, and can determine where your child will live and who will be permitted to adopt your child.

Parent’s Consent to Adoption: Generally speaking, at any time that you feel that it would be best for your child to be adopted by someone else and you would like to be a part of making that plan for your child, if your child is in a pre-adoptive home and DCFS is in agreement, it is your right to do so. You may consent to the adoption of your child in one of two ways:

  1. Specific Consent to Adoption: You may consent to your child’s adoption by the person caring for your child if that person is approved by DCFS and certain other criteria are satisfied. A Specific Consent, sometimes referred to as a Directed Consent, is valid only for the named adoptive parents to adopt your child. After you sign a Specific Consent, you cannot revoke it or change your mind. The only current exception to this is if more than 1 year goes by after you sign the Consent, but no Petition for Adoption has been filed in court yet.
  2. Final and Irrevocable Surrender for Purposes of Adoption. A SURRENDER FOR ADOPTION IS FINAL AND IRREVOCABLE. It acts to terminate your parental rights. After you sign a surrender for adoption, you cannot revoke it or change your mind. A surrender gives DCFS the responsibility of deciding who should adopt your child.

If you are considering consenting to adoption via Specific Consent to Adoption or a Final and Irrevocable Surrender, talk to your lawyer first. You may also wish to consult with others who provide you with support. For example, you might find it helpful to talk to family members, your minister or another responsible person who knows you well.

Consenting to the adoption of your child is a very important, serious, and personal decision, and should only be made when you are sure that it is the right one for your child. You must consider how a stable and permanent home can best be provided for your child. You should make this decision only after consultation with your lawyer and careful thought.


Before making the decision to consent to the adoption of your children, you should consider:

Who will the adoptive parents be? A child can have only one set of legal parents. If your child is adopted by the relative or foster parent now caring for him/her, you will no longer have any rights as a parent of that child. The law cannot cancel the fact that you are the birth parent of your child, but the law does say that the adoptive parent becomes the legal parent. All the rights that you have as a parent are given to the adoptive parent, and the adoptive parent will make all decisions about the child.

  1. When you consent to the adoption, you sign a final and irrevocable consent to adoption by specified person/s OR a final and irrevocable surrender to adoption. Once you sign the consent or surrender you cannot change your mind about the adoption. The consent cannot be undone, cancelled or taken back, unless you can prove in Court that you were forced to sign it or were lied to by the agency, the adoptive to prove. In some cases, it may be possible to have a year goes by after you sign it and your child still is not adopted—talk to your lawyer about this if you have questions.
  2. Your relationship with your child after adoption. You and your child will always share the special relationship of biological parent and child, but after adoption you and your child will have no legal right to stay in contact or to visit with each other. Nevertheless, your child will probably have many questions about you, your family, and him/herself that only you can answer. Access to personal and family history may become important for medical reasons. Your child may just need to know how you are doing and that you still care. You too may want to see your child as he/she grows up. It might also be possible for you and the adopting parents to work out an agreement before the adoption occurs that allows you and your child to visit, to talk on the telephone, write letters, or exchange pictures. However, such agreements are not legally enforceable. This means that even if the adoptive parents agree to let you visit your child or to send you pictures, there is no way to make them do it if they choose not to do so after the adoption.

 This informational pamphlet was produced for the public by the Illinois State Bar Association.

 [Note]: The author of this blog has reformatted the pamphlet. However, all the informational content provided herein remains unchanged.
Acknowledgement: The ISBA wishes to acknowledge that the chart was adapted from the
 Foster Family Handbook, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, © 2003.
 
 http://www.illinoislawyerfinder.com/sites/default/files/pamphlets/booklets/Guide%20for%20Parents%20in%20Juvenile%20Neglect%20Cases.pdf

 

Attachments for Access Rules Implementation Committee Interim Report – Child Abuse and Neglect

ATTACHMENT 1

May 26, 2005

The District Court of Maryland in Frederick County and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office have refused to release charging documents of one of two men who were arrested recently in Brunswick for allegedly sexually abusing a minor.

Charging documents, which provide facts to support the criminal charges, were available to the public before new state court access rules took effect Oct. 1, 2004. Now records of certain cases, such as those that involve sexually abusing a child, are off limits.

The Gazette last week several times asked the District Court for access to charging documents of one of two men charged with a sex offense against a child in Brunswick.

  • Wilber Stone, 58, of K Street, was arrested May 11 in his home and charged with third-degree sex offense, sex abuse of a minor and child pornography of filming and a sex act, according to Brunswick Chief of Police Don Rough.
  • George Lee Harris, 42, who was living at the Green Country Inn, was arrested at the hotel and charged with second-degree sex offense, sex abuse of a minor and perverted practice.

Harris’ charging documents were available to the public and The Gazette wrote about that crime on May 19, but because of the new rules, Stone’s documents are blocked. Officials who would not provide the documents said they were labeled as “confidential” in their computer files; they said they could not access the material.

Access rules adopted last fall by the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court, require the District Court to keep some records as off-limits to the public for a variety of reasons. According to a section of the 36-page rules titled “Required Denial of Inspection,” a court commissioner shall deny inspection of “a case record concerning child abuse or neglect.”

“It’s difficult to say whether [the rules] are constitutional,” said attorney Alice Neff Lucan of the Maryland, Delaware-D.C. Press Association, of which The Gazette is a member. The tradition in criminal courts is that records in courts and proceedings are open.”

Lucan said other newspapers in Maryland, such as The Star Democrat on the Eastern Shore, have encountered similar resistance from courts refusing to provide documents. She said the court’s distribution of charging documents has been inconsistent since the rules took effect.

Frederick County District Court clerks are still uncertain exactly why the court closed the documents, but Frederick County Clerk Carrie Dillard said the decisions are based on the offense, which in Stone’s case is child sex abuse.

Dillard said that Harris’ case likely also should have been blocked because it, too, involves the abuse of a child.

“Unfortunately, you should not have gotten the charging statement on Harris,” Dillard told The Gazette.

The District Court Monday was reviewing the case to determine whether Harris’ charging documents had been issued by mistake.

Dillard said all legal parties, including the State’s Attorney’s Office, are required to block from public inspection documents that are classified as “confidential” by the District Court, which determines the classification on a case by-case basis. But the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office is not certain it must follow the court’s lead.

When The Gazette turned to the prosecutor’s office last week to obtain Stone’s documents, State’s Attorney Scott Rolle said he reviewed the new rules and suspects the State’s Attorney’s office is not bound by them.

Rolle was originally willing to provide the documents. “In my mind, it’s a public document,” Rolle said Friday. But when he learned Monday that Judge W. Milnor Roberts denied The Gazette’s request to release the documents, he too declined to provide the statements. It is unclear whether the State’s Attorney’s Office is bound by the Roberts’ denial of The Gazette’s request or whether his decisions equated to an order to seal the case, which would prevent any legal party from providing the documents to the public.

Rolle reviewed the case, and could not identify a reason why Stone’s charging documents were off limits while other similar cases, such as Harris’ documents, were open to outside inspection.

“[Stone’s case] looked like a routine sex offense,” said Rolle, who “believes in the public’s right to know” and was baffled by Robert’s ruling. “They’re charging documents, not investigative documents.”

He said it is the first time the State’s Attorney’s office has encountered the dilemma of whether or not it is permitted to provide the “confidential” documents to the public.

Stone’s case was the first Rolle denied to the media because of the new rules.

Copyright © 2005 The Gazette – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

*****

 

ATTACHMENT 2

 

May 27, 2005

Clerks Restrict Access To Records:

Staff Writers Say Rules Shield Juvenile Cases

by C. Benjamin Ford and Rebecca McClay

The Maryland Court of Appeals’ new rules on public access to court records are causing confusion in several counties as to what documents court clerks should keep secret. The rules were intended to shield only those cases involving child abuse or neglect, said Sally Rankin, court information officer for the state judicial system in Annapolis and a member of the public access rules implementation committee.

But court officials cited the new rules as justification to block public access to charging documents in Montgomery and Frederick counties in cases where other crimes besides child abuse were charged.

The new rules went into effect on Oct. 1, 2004 after four years of study, committee meetings and public hearings. They require court officials to block access to “any action or proceeding [or] case record concerning child abuse or neglect.”

The implementation committee has determined that clerks should follow a strict definition of child abuse, which means a case record should be blocked automatically only if it involves abuse committed by a guardian of the child, Rankin said. The committee made the decision May 18 in a 6-3 vote.

The committee is expected to review its final report on June 7 and present it to Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell for approval. However, clerks in Frederick and Montgomery counties have interpreted the rules broadly to block access to charging documents of any suspect accused of a sex crime involving a child.

On Wednesday, Montgomery County clerks blocked Gazette reporters from reviewing charging documents on a Rockville attorney arrested last Friday on charges of third-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property, indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. The man is accused of attempted sexual assault of a 10-year-old crossing guard on the street outside Fallsmead Elementary School in Rockville.

Montgomery County District Court Clerk Jeffrey Ward said a court commissioner blocked access to that case. But he said he intends to block such cases under his own interpretation of the rules.

“If it’s a rape and a child is 8 years old, I’m going to block it,” Ward said. “We consider it child abuse. Sally can come down here and yell at me.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Rankin said.

In Frederick County, court clerks refused to release charging documents on one man charged with sexually abusing a minor in Brunswick but released the charging documents on a second man. Frederick County Clerk Carrie Dillard later said that was a mistake.

“Unfortunately, you should not have gotten the charging statement on [him],” Dillard told The Gazette.

Rankin declined to discuss the specific cases but said she hoped the implementation committee’s work would clear up the confusion.

“I’m sorry that happened, but that’s a good real-life example of what is occurring in the field,” she said, adding that The Gazette’s article about the Frederick County cases prompted much e-mail discussion among the committee.

“The sooner we do [finish the report], the better, because of the situations that have occurred,” she said.

Most court documents are open to the public.

“There’s so many arguments from the perspective of making court proceedings public,” she said. “… The judiciary relies on the public’s trust and confidence. That’s maintained through transparency.”

Attorney Alice Neff Lucan of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, of which The Gazette is a member, said other court clerks have denied access as well.

“It’s difficult to say whether [the rules] are constitutional,” she said.

John C. Griep, news editor of the The Star Democrat in Easton, said his reporters tried to find out about two separate child abuse cases this spring only to be stymied by the new rules.

“The state and the general public have a strong interest in the protection of children from abuse,” Griep said. “… For the court to restrict public knowledge of what happens in these cases is a detriment to the efforts to prevent child abuse.”

Staff Writer Noelle Barton contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2005 The Gazette – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Privacy Statement

*****

ATTACHMENT 3

Judge Opens Records for Alleged Child Abuse Case

By PATRICK RUCKER

Examiner Staff Writer

A Montgomery County District Court judge agreed Thursday to grant The Examiner previously sealed court records of an alleged child abuse case at a local private school. The county had denied the paper’s multiple requests to see the records as part of its reporting of the allegations. The records will be made available today following a ruling by District Court Administrative Judge Cornelius J. Vaughey.

Welcoming the decision, Examiner Editor in Chief John Wilpers said the paper “is a strong proponent of keeping as many records open as possible so our readers can make informed decisions on governmental actions.”

UPDATED: 7:58 pm EDT July 14, 2005

Calling the county’s attempt to withhold the records “a slippery slope,” Wilpers said he hoped the decision “sends a message that court records must be available to the public.”

On June 13, Montgomery County police arrested Shedrick Adrian Young, a physical education teacher at the Chelsea School in Silver Spring, on charges he assaulted a 17-year-old student in March. Police were unable to explain whether the school promptly reported the alleged incident and The Examiner looked for answers in court documents.

Court officials withheld the documents, claiming the records were sealed under a state privacy ruling. Officials did not comment on the ruling Thursday.

The Examiner filed a suit late Wednesday challenging the rule and the paper prevailed Thursday.

Attorneys for the case welcomed the decision but expressed regret that the state rule remains in place.

“I don’t think that we should have to apply to see the record in a criminal case,” said Alice Lucan, who represented The Examiner in the case. “What if someone in the school community wanted to see this record?”

prucker@dcexaminer.com

*****

 

ATTACHMENT 4

New Court Rule Bars Public From Reviewing Files:

WBAL-TV Seeks Clarification of Rule’s Intent

POSTED: 7:02 pm EDT July 14, 2005

BALTIMORE — Confusion within Maryland courts over a new rule concerning cases involving children has led to legal challenges.

Jayne Miller Reports: WBAL-TV Asks Court For Rule Clarification

WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller reported the new rule took effect last October, but the real effect has surfaced more recently as court clerks realize the rule’s full definition.

Legal counsel for WBAL-TV took the first step Thursday to challenging the rule following court refusal to News I-Team inquiries to review two criminal files. Miller reported the case against Denise Lechner in Baltimore County has remained a very public matter. Authorities accused her in March in the child abuse death of her 3-year-old son, Roy Jr. (Full Story).

In the weeks following official investigations, social services authorities publicly disclosed their handling of the case, resulting in a grand jury indictment against Lechner. Under former court rules, the county courthouse would maintain Lechner’s court file as public record because the defendant is an adult.

However, court officials refused Wednesday 11 News’ requests to review the file, citing the new court rule. Miller said reporters in other parts of the state have encountered similar problems. The rule, in part, reads:

 “… the custodian shall deny inspection of, in any action or proceeding, a case record concerning child abuse or neglect.”

Miller said the strict interpretation of the rule can bar the public from accessing criminal court files about any defendant charged or convicted of crimes that include child abuse, whether physical or sexual.

While the state’s sex offender registry remains open to the public, the court files of individual sex offenders, if the victim is under 18, may be sealed.

In Annapolis, officials with the state’s highest court acknowledge the new rule has caused confusion among court clerks, and a review of the rule is now under way.

The lawyer representing WBAL-TV is first seeking to clarify the intent of the new rule. On Thursday, she sent a letter to the administrative judge in Baltimore County.

by TheWBALChannel.com.

Federal Guidance to States: Certification; Programs; and Single and Interstate Procedures (With References and Exhibits)

Federal Guidance to States: Certification; Progarams; and Single and Interstate Procedures (With References and Exhibits)

Access Rules Implementation Committee Interim Report – Child Abuse and Neglect

Author’s Note:

Many folks have dropped me an email or posted questions regarding Gaining Access to Files in Child Abuse and Neglect cases. This article helps to clarify those inquiries. While this information  for the state of Maryland and is somewhat dated, I suspect that most, if not all, states follow similar guidelines when it comes to protecting the privacy of a minor. For current Rules on this matter, you may follow the links provided in the article.

Please drop me a line if you have any specific questions that I can either answer or research for you. Simply make a comment in contact format the end of the below article, and I will respond as soon as I can.

*****

 

July 11, 2005

Background

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell appointed a representative group of judges, court staff, and data managers to prepare the Judiciary for the implementation of the new court rules on access to court records effective October 1, 2004. The committee held its first meeting on June 9, 2004.  The full committee has convened 11 times over the past 12 months.

The committee invited Judge Alan M. Wilner to a recent meeting to assist the committee in its deliberations.  His insight helped clarify issues that had been the subject of lengthy discussion. This committee has provided guidance to judges and court personnel through educational materials such as charts on access to the four types of records as defined by the new rules, and a list of frequently asked questions.

Issue

The application of Rule 16-1006(c) about the exemption from disclosure of records concerning child abuse or neglect has prompted questions from court clerks about what records are covered.  Subsequently, there is a lack of uniformity in interpretation that has been reported by the media (articles are attached) and clerks have been placed in a difficult position.

The committee recognized that cases originating from social service or law enforcement agencies are clearly covered by this Rule.  Questions arose about how to treat records containing allegations of child abuse and neglect in civil cases, e.g., divorce/custody actions.  Also, cases involving sexual offense of a minor were not being shielded.  The co-chairs asked David Durfee, the committee’s legal consultant, to prepare an analysis of the construction of Rule 16-1006(c).

This analysis (attached) did not deal with criminal matters, though. The committee considered that if the exemption was applied broadly, it would cover any domestic case where an allegation of child abuse and/or neglect was entered, including custody disputes.  It would likely exempt from disclosure cases involving domestic violence (allegations of mental abuse of a child are not uncommon).  Also, peace orders and almost any pleading could be exempt from disclosure.  At the same time, the committee recognized that defendants could be charged with multiple offenses, placing a burden on the clerks to sort out the charges to determine whether the case should be exempt from disclosure.

After much discussion, committee members were not certain what the Court intended in Rule 16-1006(c) so have been unable to provide guidance to clerks in its application.  The committee recognizes that its function is not to interpret the rules but to provide guidance to court personnel in the implementation of the rules.  Although there is no longer commentary on Rule 16-1006 (c), the committee considered that commentary in deciding what interpretation to apply.

All committee members agreed that it would be beneficial to have clarity regarding the intent, meaning and scope of this rule. The committee considered two different interpretations:

  1. In a vote of 6 to 3, the committee decided to adopt Mr. Durfee’s analysis (attached) and to ask that the comment from the “Wilner report” be restored, or that clarifying language be added to the effect that exempt from disclosure are records concerning child abuse and neglect “originating from social service or law enforcement agencies.”  Consequently, crimes under Criminal Law §3-601 would be covered but not offenses such as sexual offense in the second degree where the victim is a minor.
  2. The other interpretation the committee considered was that the Court did intend to broaden the scope of the exemption so that minor victims of sex crimes and other forms of abuse and neglect would be protected from further embarrassment or stigma, regardless of forum or relationship of the perpetrator to the victim.  The minority view is enclosed.

Recommendations:

Inspection of civil and criminal case records in paper and electronic form in accordance with Rule 16-1006(c) should be governed by the statutory definition of child abuse and neglect. Cases not meeting that definition are open to inspection, except when a motion or order to shield has been filed pursuant to Rule 16-1009. It would be helpful to restore the comment from the Wilner report, or to add clarifying language to the effect that exempt from disclosure are records concerning child abuse and neglect “originating from social service or law enforcement agencies.”

In the meantime, the committee will advise the clerks to apply the statutory definitions of child abuse and neglect in civil and criminal cases to determine whether inspection of the record should be denied.  Access to electronic records follows this interpretation as well.

Attachments

In pertinent part, Rule 16-1006, merely provides, “…Except as otherwise provided by law, the Rules in this Chapter, or court order, the custodian shall deny inspection of…(c) In any action or proceeding, a case record concerning child abuse or neglect

See also Rule 16-1001. Definitions,  (c) “Case Record”

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Rule, “case record” means:

(A) a document, information, or other thing that is collected, received, or maintained by a court in connection with one or more specific judicial actions or proceedings;

(B) a copy of a marriage license issued and maintained by the court, including, after the license is issued, the application for the license;

(C) a miscellaneous record filed with the clerk of the court pursuant to law that is not a notice record.

(2) “Case record” does not include a document or information described in subsection (a)(3) of this Rule [(a)(3) defines “Administrative record”).

COMAR (MD ADC) 07.02.07.02 (2005) (Definitions) provides

(7) “Child abuse” means one or more of the following by a parent, caretaker, or household or family member:

(a) Physical injury, not necessarily visible, or mental injury of a child, under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed; or (b) Sexual abuse of a child, regardless of whether the child has physical injuries.

(8) “Child neglect” means one or more of the following by a parent or caretaker: (a) A failure to provide proper care and attention to a child, including leaving a child unattended, under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or placed at substantial risk of harm; or (b) Mental injury or a substantial risk of mental injury of a child that is caused by the failure to provide proper care and attention to a child…

MD Code, Family Law, § 5-701, provides…

(b) “Abuse” means:

(1) the physical or mental injury of a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member, under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed; or

(2) sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not…

(q) “Mental injury” means the observable, identifiable, and substantial  impairment of a child’s mental or psychological ability to function…

(r) “Neglect” means the leaving of a child unattended or other failure to give proper care and attention to a child by …

Minority View

A reading of Rule 16-1006 (c)1 does not expressly set forth the basis for the Committee’s interpretation of the rule; nor is there any comment applicable to Rule 16-1006 (c) that explains, provides the basis for, or supports the Committee’s interpretation of the Rule. There is no guidance for judges, attorneys, clerks of the various courts and members of the public specified anywhere in the rule or the comments thereto, all of whom should be provided clarity regarding the intent, meaning and scope of this important rule—-if the intent, meaning and scope is to be something other that the plain meaning of the current wording of the rule. It is respectfully submitted that the Committee is not implementing the rule as written, but rather appears to be rewriting the rule of the Court.

Child abuse and neglect are words and phrases used extensively in Maryland law. See COMAR (MD ADC) 07.02.07.02 (2005).

MD Code, Family Law, § 5-701

MD Code, any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of the child under circumstances that indicate:

(1) that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or placed at substantial risk of harm; or

(2) mental injury to the child or a substantial risk of mental injury…

(w) (1) “Sexual abuse” means any act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member.

(2) “Sexual abuse” includes:

(i) incest, rape, or sexual offense in any degree;

(ii) sodomy; and

(iii) unnatural or perverted sexual practices…

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 3-602, provides…

(4)(i) “Sexual abuse” means an act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a minor, whether physical injuries are sustained or not.

(ii) “Sexual abuse” includes:

1. incest;

2. rape;

3. sexual offense in any degree;

4. sodomy; and

5. unnatural or perverted sexual practices…

Visit the following websites to view the Petition for Protection from Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Vulnerable Adult Abuse and Petition for Peace Order forms respectively:

Criminal Law, §3-602 and, see also MD Code, Criminal Procedure, §11-303 that applies to the testimony of minors in cases of “abuse of a child” under Title 5, Subtitle 7 of the Family Law Article or §3-601 or §3-602 of the Criminal Law Article.

In the case of  Wildermuth v. State, 310 Md. 496, 516-520, 530 A.2d. 275 (1987), the court concluded that compelling government interests, in both protecting minor victims of sex crimes from further embarrassment and obtaining reliable testimony from a child in sexual abuse trials, is sufficient to justify  denial of defendant’s ordinary right to have the witness see him during trial, so long as statutory requirement of specific finding by trial court, that testimony by a child in open court would result in “serious emotional distress such that the child cannot reasonably communicate” is met, and other elements of reliability exist.

It is a frequent, if not daily, occurrence in District Court practice that a parent or guardian will file either type of petition “on behalf of” (obo) a minor child alleging child neglect or child abuse—be it physical, sexual, or mental.

While such petitions do not originate from action taken by local social services agencies, law enforcement agencies that investigate suspected child abuse or neglect, or, from other agencies that are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of records or reports of child abuse or neglect, such agencies frequently, and many times improperly, refer such litigants to the District  Court rather than pursue such matters in civil court.

Visit the following website: http://www.courtaccess.org/modelpolicy/18Oct2002FinalReport.pdf for the final report on model Guidelines for Public Access to Court Records.

Circuit [Juvenile] Courts as CINA cases. As CINA cases, such matters would not be subject to public disclosure. More importantly, such petitions clearly represent case records “concerning child abuse or neglect”. In fact many, if not most, such petitions exclusively concern “…child abuse or neglect…

It is of interest to note that the National Center for State Courts Model Guidelines for Public Access to Court Records, by Section 4.60 at page 45, provided for the protection of such information as follows:

Section 4.60 – Court Records Excluded From Public Access. The following information in a court record is not accessible to the public:

(a) Information that is not  to be accessible to the public pursuant to federal law;

(b) Information that is not to be accessible to the public pursuant to state law, court rule [in the context of this matter, MD 16-1000 (c)] or case law as follows:

A member of the public may request the court to allow access to information excluded under this provision as provided for in section 4.70(b) [See the current MD 16-1009].

In the comments to the above section of the Model Access Policy, the following categories or types of information to which public access could be considered for restriction:

(1) Information that may not be accessible to the public pursuant to state law, whether in a statute or rule of court, generally falls into two categories. First are case types where the entire court record is generally not publicly accessible. Examples include: ƒ

  • Juvenile dependency (abuse and neglect) proceedings…

(2) Second are documents, parts of the court  record, or pieces of information (as opposed to the whole case file) for which there may be a sufficient interest to prohibit public access. Examples include:

  • ƒ Name, address, telephone number, e-mail, or places of employment of a victim, particularly in a sexual assault case, stalking or domestic violence case;
  • ƒ Name, address or telephone number of witnesses (other than law enforcement personnel) in criminal  or domestic violence protective order cases…
  • ƒ Child custody evaluations in family law or juvenile dependency (abuse and neglect) actions…

Additional categories of information to which a state or individual court might also consider restricting general public access include:

  • ƒ Names and addresses of children in a juvenile dependency proceeding;
  • ƒ Names and addresses of children  in a dissolution, guardianship, domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, or protective order proceeding…
  • ƒ Photographs depicting violence, death, or children subjected to abuse;
  • ƒ Certain exhibits in trials such as photographs depicting violence, death, children subjected to abuse or depictions of medical information…

Given the present reading of the rule, it is difficult to understand how an action, be it civil or criminal in nature, involving a sexual act with a minor would not be protected from disclosure under Rule 16-1006 (c). The Court is urged not to narrowly interpret the scope of Rule 16-1006.

(c). The Court has been offered yet another opportunity to protect minor victims of sex crimes and other forms of abuse and neglect, regardless of forum or relationship of the perpetrator to the victim, from further embarrassment and stigma associated with the current strain of salacious voyeurism clearly evident in our society. If a “compelling government interest” is found sufficient to alter a criminal defendant’s constitutional trial rights, surely an equally compelling interest can be found to support the broadened intent, meaning and scope expressed by the plain meaning of the current wording of Rule 16-1006 (c). The Court is respectfully urged not to adopt the narrow interpretation of the Rule approved by the majority vote of the Access Rules Implementation Committee.

Unfortunately, at the committee’s last meeting, we did not have a chance to ask Judge Wilner for his construction of the subsection.

Administrative Office of the Courts

Legal Affairs Department

Memorandum

To: Sally Rankin

From: David Durfee

Subject:   Rule 16-1006(c): case records of child abuse or neglect

Date:    April 20, 2005

You have asked me for my construction of Rule 16-1006(c) of the new Court Access rules. That provision makes confidential, except as otherwise provided by law, court rule, or court order, the following category of documents:

(c) In any action or proceeding, a case record concerning child abuse or neglect.

It is my view that despite the broadness of the language, it is only meant to cover case records concerning child abuse or neglect that originate from local social services agencies or law enforcement agencies which investigate suspected child abuse or neglect, which are then filed in court.  This would also include any other agency that has the responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of a record or report of child abuse or neglect.    See  76  Opinions of the Attorney General 220 (1991)(school system’s internal investigation into child abuse or neglect also subject to confidentiality); 82 Opinions of the Attorney General 72 (1997) (law enforcement records).  See also, Opinions of the Attorney General (2004) (independent juvenile justice monitor must maintain privacy of information  in its reports by not identifying or disclosing information that invades the privacy of a child, the child’s family, the individual who reported the abuse, or the individual who reported the suspected abuse to the authorities).

In the final Attorney General’s opinion, one issue was whether the disclosure restrictions imposed by Article 88A, §  6(b), depend upon which agency is the source of particular information. DJS’s independent monitor, in assessing a DJS response to allegations of child abuse and neglect,  The Independent Monitor relies on information and reports from a variety of agencies and other sources, in addition to its own staff. The Attorney General concluded:

The applicability of Article 88A, §  6(b), to the investigative findings of agencies other than a department of social services has been discussed in several prior opinions of the Attorney General. Those opinions indicate that the statute must be construed to protect the privacy of the persons involved in an abuse or neglect.

In this memorandum I refer to the “Wilner Committee Report” which is shorthand for the “Recommendations to the Court of Appeals Court Committee Designated to Develop Rules Regarding Public Access to Court Records.”  The recommendations were submitted on November 17, 2003, and contained invaluable guidance on the meaning of and the reasons for each of the access rules.

Sometimes the text of those recommendations did not make it into the new rules, but they nonetheless bear close attention because that text was before the Court of Appeals  when it considered the rules.

An incident, regardless of whether information about the incident was reported by personnel of the local department of social services or other agency investigators.

Opinions of the Attorney General 220, 231- 32 (1991) (information gathered by school systems, in response to allegations of child abuse by school personnel, is subject to confidentiality requirements of Article 88A, §  6(b)); 82 Opinions of the Attorney General 72 (1997) ( Article 88A, §  6(b), proscriptions are applicable to law enforcement records). The Independent Monitor has the same obligation to maintain the confidentiality of protected information under Article 88A, §  6(b), as does DJS, a local department of social services, or a law enforcement agency that provided information to the Independent Monitor.

The confidentiality requirements associated with child abuse investigations are based on the nature  of the information, not the agency that conducted the investigation. The same  guidelines set out above apply to all information arising from a child abuse or neglect investigation, regardless of the original source of the information.

In order for the confidentiality restrictions to apply, then, the information must stem from (1) agency and (2) be from an investigation that the agency is responsible by law for performing of suspected child abuse or neglect.

To extend the confidentiality provisions beyond those boundaries would be to place requirements on parties in divorce actions or petitioners in domestic violence actions where no such requirements exist.  Thus, Rule 16-1006(c) does not apply to domestic actions where the allegation of child abuse or neglect originates from the pleadings, or attachments of the parties.

Child abuse or neglect may be an issue in several types of proceedings  where the evidence would not necessarily originate from a social services agency or other unit of government governed by the confidentiality requirements in the law: e.g., custody or visitation proceedings, see Family Law (“FL”) §§9-101 and 9-101.1, domestic violence cases, see FL §§ 4-504 et seq., and child abuse (and child sexual abuse),  see Criminal Law (“CL”) §§ 3-601 et seq.      

To  the extent that the allegations have not gone through the investigative process by an agency responsible for performing such an investigation, the restrictions would not apply. The best source for the intent of the new access rules is the parenthetical commentary of the “Wilner Committee Report.”

Regarding the meaning of Rule 16-1004(c), the Report stated:

SOURCE: Md. Code, Art. 88A, § 6 (b), 6A; Fam. Law Art. , §5-707.      Art.  88A, §6 (b) provides that, except as otherwise provided in that section, §6A, or Title 5, Subtitle 7 of the Family Law Article, all records and reports concerning child abuse or neglect are confidential, and their unauthorized disclosure is a criminal offense. The balance of §6 (b) provides for authorized disclosures by court order, order of administrative agency, or on request to certain persons and agencies.

Section 6A permits disclosures by the Secretary of Human Resources or the local director of social services. FL §5-707 requires the Social Services Administration to protect the confidentiality of records and reports of child abuse or neglect.

Whether these statutes were intended to apply to case records in court is not entirely clear. A fair argument can be made that they were intended to apply only to records in the possession of social service agencies and not to court records. These kinds of records, when filed with a court, will probably be found most often either in CINA, adoption, or guardianship proceedings or in criminal actions. If filed in a CINA, adoption, or guardianship action, they will be shielded by the exceptions pertaining to those kinds of proceedings (until admitted into evidence). If filed in other kinds of actions, the question arises whether the statutory shield should continue to apply. This is a policy issue for the Court. If the court  concludes that there should be no blanket exception for these records once they become case records, it should, in some way, make clear that the statutes do not apply, in order to protect custodians from the criminal sanctions in Art. 88A for disclosing the records.

The leap taken by the Court in Rule 16-1004(c) was in stating that the confidentiality protections of Article 88A and the Family Law Article applied to  court records as well as agency records.  However, in discussing “these kinds of records,” the Wilner report was only referring to records originally in the custody and control of a social services agency, or a like agency, that have  confidentiality requirements with respect to the records.    The Court was not also carving out a new exception from disclosure  for material in cases, such as divorce cases, that have been open to the public traditionally where there has not been a backdrop of confidentiality.

Finally, I have to admit ignorance on the procedures that are followed with respect to the filing of case records by social services agencies, etc., that contain protected information on child abuse and neglect.   It does seem to me, however, that an agency with information that it believes should be shielded should be familiar with the provisions of Rule 16-1010 and inform the custodian whenever it believes that the records are protected under Rule 16-1006(c).   This is one more area where there may need to be some education on the new access rules.

Public is denied access to some court records.

by Rebecca McClay

Staff Writer

Embroiled in Controversy, ATF Has Long Been Leaderless and Hamstrung – ProPublica

Author’s Note:

I wish that I had caught this story when it was published, but I was too busy trying to get my own felon in possession of firearms indicted. Please read Embroiled in Controversy, ATF Has Long Been Leaderless and Hamstrung by Marian Wang, which was published on ProPublica’s Blog on July 5, 2011.

Then read my story, Charley’s Breaking Story: The National Sheriffs’ Association Offers Free Domestic Violence Training for Law Enforcement — But One Maryland Sheriff, His Staff, and a State’s Prosecutor Remain Ignorant of Gun Laws!(Published May 10, 2011). Note that I have many UPDATES for my story — and still no arrest and no indictment on a felon who continues to be in the possession of a homemade silencer and a shotgun, (or else he illegally transferred them by now) and the cops don’t give a shit. In fact, it definitely smells like a sewage plant in Frederick County, Maryland and the cops are waist-deep in it. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m definitely going to make a public stink of it.

If you are an attorney versed in Maryland criminal law, I want to hear from you!

A good reading. Please leave your comments below.

*   *   *

As criticism grows over an anti-smuggling operation that backfired, the federal agency that ran the surveillance program—the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—is facing serious questions about its leadership.

Tasked with regulating the gun industry and cracking down on gun crime, the ATF has been accused of allowing suspected gun smugglers to purchase weapons. The strategy, agency whistleblowers explained, was to track the weapons in order to identify ringleaders and dismantle drug rings. (The whistleblower accounts were first reported by CBS and iWatch.) But as ATF-tracked weapons have turned up in Mexican police raids and been linked to the deaths of U.S. Border Patrol agents, congressional criticism has reached a fever pitch.

Given this, it’s worth reviewing what we know about the ATF, which has long been a target of the gun industry and had its powers limited by Congress. In a piece this week, the New York Times listed a few such limitations:

The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, for instance, banned the A.T.F. from conducting more than one unannounced inspection of a gun dealer per year, and made it tougher for the agency to revoke the licenses of dealers who break the law.

Congress has blocked the bureau from keeping a centralized computer database of gun transactions. Advocates say a database would make it easier to trace weapons, reducing the need for complex surveillance operations like Fast and Furious.

“They’re left with literally trying to physically follow these guns out of the gun shop,” said Dennis Henigan, vice president of the The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Police query the agency’s antiquated tracing system when crimes have occurred and guns have been recovered. Identifying information is passed along to ATF specialists, according to a thorough investigation last year by the Washington Post. The specialists typically follow the distribution chain from the manufacturer through shippers to find the gun seller and ultimately the name of the first buyer. The process can take weeks.

As we’ve noted, the agency hasn’t had a leader for years. Congress moved five years ago to require Senate confirmation for the post, and no nominee has passed muster since, according to the Times. (The agency’s current acting director, Kenneth Melson, has for weeks resisted calls for his resignation.)

The Post has noted that the agency has about 2,500 agents—the same number it had nearly four decades ago.

A report last year by the agency’s inspector general faulted the ATF [PDF] for focusing too much on low-level buyers at the expense of higher-level traffickers.

“ATF’s focus remains largely on inspections of gun dealers and investigations of straw purchasers, rather than on higher-level traffickers, smugglers, and the ultimate recipients of the trafficked guns,” the report said. “Some ATF managers discourage field personnel from conducting the types of complex conspiracy investigations that target higher-level members of trafficking rings.”

Now it seems the agency is being accused of botching a program intended to shift the focus to higher-level traffickers. The inspector general’s office is investigating the controversial anti-trafficking program. Prominent Republican lawmakers have leveled their criticism at the Justice Department, which oversees ATF. Meanwhile, some Democrats have argued that the problems show that gun laws need to be strengthened.

The family of one slain border patrol agent has said that while the program was “ill-conceived and reckless,” the focus should remain on prosecuting gun smugglers and not ATF or DOJ officials, the Hill reported today.

A National Rifle Association spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that it’s increased enforcement that’s needed—not more legislation. Yet the NRA voiced opposition last year to an Obama administration nominee to head the ATF. As the Post has noted, the group has lobbied successfully for legislation to keep gun tracing records secret, to ban the ATF from requiring dealers to conduct gun inventories and to block any move to make gun-ownership records accessible in the form of a national registry.

Inform our investigations: Do you have information or expertise relevant to this story? Help us and journalists around the country by sharing your stories and experiences.

via Embroiled in Controversy, ATF Has Long Been Leaderless and Hamstrung – ProPublica.

CDC – National Violent Death Reporting System

An argument. The loss of a job. Alcohol and drug abuse. For thousands of Americans each year, personal crises, relationship problems, or emotional distress can contribute to homicide and suicide. Violence takes its toll on individuals, families, and communities throughout the United States. No one is immune to violence. It affects people across the lifespan—from infants to the elderly.

Tragically, more than 32,000 people die by suicide in the United States each year. Homicide claims another 18,000 people in this country annually.  We know these numbers can be lowered. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is committed to preventing violent deaths in the United States.  While we don’t have all the answers, the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) can help provide communities with a clearer understanding of violent deaths so we can prevent them.

In 2002, CDC received funding to create NVDRS. It is a state-based surveillance system that collects facts from different sources about the same incident.   The information—from death certificates, police reports, and coroner or medical examiner reports—is pooled into a useable, anonymous database.   As NVDRS data become available, state and local violence prevention practitioners use it to guide their prevention programs, policies, and practices.

Before CDC established NVDRS, frontline investigators, including homicide detectives, coroners, crime lab investigators and medical examiners, collected valuable information about violent deaths. But they did not combine the information into one comprehensive reporting system that provided the complete picture.  Instead, data remained in pieces, across a variety of different systems.

To stop these violent deaths, we must first understand all the facts. Linking information about the “who, when, where and how” from data on violent deaths will provide insights about “why” they occurred.  To answer the questions surrounding violent deaths, NVDRS:

  1. links records to describe in detail the circumstances that may contribute to a violent death;
  2. identifies violent deaths occurring in the same incident to help describe the circumstances of multiple homicides or homicide–suicides;
  3. provides timely preliminary information on violent deaths; and
  4. better characterizes the relationship of the victim to the suspect.

Today NVDRS operates in 18 states, pulling together data on violent deaths (including child maltreatment fatalities, intimate partner homicides, other homicides, suicides, and legal intervention deaths), unintentional firearm injury deaths, and deaths of undetermined intent.   NVDRS data help to:

  1. inform decision makers and program planners about the magnitude, trends, and characteristics of violent deaths so that appropriate prevention efforts can be identified and put into place.
  2. facilitate the evaluation of state-based prevention programs and strategies.

Moving forward, NVDRS states will continue to make better use of data currently being collected by health, law enforcement, and coroner/medical examiners. With continued expansion, CDC’s NVDRS will increase knowledge about where the problem of violent death exists, the groups who are most at risk, and trends over time.  This system can provide a foundation upon which to build many activities and processes necessary for successful violence prevention.

via CDC – National Violent Death Reporting System.

Youth Violence

Author’s Note:

As Americans, were are only too aware of the bullying that occurs in our schools, our neighborhoods and even in our homes. Fathers bully their children. Mothers bully their children. Parents bully one another. We watch our children bully one another as they develop under violent role models — and grow into our future convicts of every sort and variety. And violence in the media certainly does not help to form positive impressions on youngsters as they watch thousands of violent acts on television each and every week of their lives.

Here is some information that I’m kicking off my blog section on Youth Violence. My heart feels sick as I read these articles and realize that I could have done so much more to prevent having children with a father who was violent since I met him at age 15 — I should have never married a violent man. But this is something my mother never taught me. Hopefully, it is not too late to learn from my experiences as I teach my grandchildren and my children that violent teens typically grow up to be violent husbands and violent fathers. Not always. But mostly.

I pass along this information to all the parents out there who are looking for information, support and answers to their questions and problems.

I look forward to hearing some of my readers’ stories. Please leave your comments below!

General Information

Featured Resources 

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
    4770 Buford Hwy, NE
    MS F-63
    Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    24 Hours/Every Day
  • cdcinfo@cdc.gov

Add this to your website!

File Formats Help:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day – cdcinfo@cdc.gov

Department of Human Resources – INTERSTATE CHILD SUPPORT CASE PROCESSING

INTERSTATE CASE PROCESSING

Federal Parent Locator Service


What is the FPLS?

The FPLS is a national location system operated by OCSE, to assist States in locating non-custodial parents, putative fathers, and custodial parties for the establishment of paternity and child support obligations, as well as the enforcement and modification of orders for child support, custody and visitation. It also identifies support orders or support cases involving the same parties in different States. Developed in cooperation with the States, employers, Federal agencies, and the judiciary, the FPLS was expanded by welfare reform to include two databases:

The National Directory of New Hires (NDNH): a central repository of employment, unemployment insurance, and wage data from State Directories of New Hires, State Employment Security Agencies, and Federal agencies. The NDNH has been operational since October 1, 1997.

The Federal Case Registry (FCR): a national database that contains information on individuals in child support cases and child support orders. The FCR has been operational since October 1, 1998.

Additionally, the FPLS also has access to external locate sources such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration, (SSA), Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


How does the FPLS support the States’ IV-D child support programs?

The FPLS works in three ways to support State IV-D child support programs:

First, the FPLS performs automatic locate functions. Using a process known as proactive matching, the FPLS compares data from the NDNH to data in the FCR. As soon as the FPLS finds that a non-custodial parent or custodial party in the FCR has a job or is claiming unemployment insurance benefits or if new quarterly wage information is available, it automatically notifies any State with a related child support case, so the State child support agency can take immediate action to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order. The FPLS also automatically performs an internal search that identifies all States that have a common interest in an individual in a child support action.

Second, at the request of a State child support agency’s Parent Locator Service, the FPLS will search various Federal agency databases (referred to as external locate sources) – such as the IRS or SSA-in an attempt to locate non-custodial parents and/or their assets, for the purpose of establishing or enforcing a child support order.

Third, the FPLS can be used in certain circumstances to help enforce child custody and visitation orders, and to assist in cases of parental kidnapping.


Who may request information from the FPLS?

In child support cases, authorization to request information from the FPLS is limited to State IV-D agencies or agents/attorneys that represent those agencies to collect child and spousal support; certain courts or agents of the court; and, with limitations, State agencies that administer child welfare or foster care programs. In parental kidnapping, child custody, or visitation cases, certain agents and attorneys of the State or the court may request information from the FPLS. All requests for information from the FPLS must go through a State Parent Locator Service.


As a custodial party or non-custodial parent, may I request information from the FPLS?

Individuals may not make direct requests to the FPLS for information. You may be able to use the FPLS to help locate the other parent, without applying for full child support services, by working with the State or local child support agency. Any request to the FPLS for information must go through a State Parent Locator Service. In addition, in issues of parental kidnapping, custody or visitation, all requests must first go through the court.


Is the information in the databases secure?

Federal law requires all States to protect the confidential information maintained by State IV-D agencies. At the Federal level, the Secretary of the DHHS has established and implemented safeguards for the FPLS that:

  • Ensure the security, accuracy, and completeness of information.
  • Restrict access to confidential information to authorized persons for authorized purposes.
  • Require States to implement policies and procedures to ensure the integrity, accuracy, and completeness of data in their automated systems, and to prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of information related to the establishment or enforcement of child support.
  • All partners in the child support community recognize that ensuring the security of FPLS data is vital to the success of child support programs, and for protecting the privacy of American citizens.

Department of Human Resources.

RULES OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES CHILD SUPPORT DIVISION: Liens for Child Support

October, 2005 (Revised) 1

RULES OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES CHILD SUPPORT DIVISION

CHAPTER 1240-2-5

LIENS FOR CHILD SUPPORT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1240-2-5-.01 Purpose and Scope 1240-2-5-.08 Exemptions From Sale/Enumeration of Exemptions

1240-2-5-.02 Definitions 1240-2-5-.09 Procedures for Sale of Property

1240-2-5-.03 Liens for Child Support Arrearages 1240-2-5-.10 Effect of Final Order/Conveyance of Title

1240-2-5-.04 Full Faith and Credit to Liens of Other State Child  1240-2-5-.11 Authority Over Seized or Sold Property  Support Agencies 1240-2-5-.12 Release of Lien

1240-2-5-.05 Lien Priorities 1240-2-5-.13 Due Process Procedures

1240-2-5-.06 Enforcement of Liens by Administrative Seizure or 1240-2-5-.14 Non-Interference with Department’s Actions  Sale Order 1240-2-5-.15 Liability for Fees and Costs

1240-2-5-.07 Rebuttable Presumption Regarding Ownership 1240-2-5-.16 Child Support Lien Notice Form and Instructions

1240-2-5-.01 PURPOSE AND SCOPE. 

(1) Section 368 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation (Welfare Reform) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) codified at 42 United States Code Annotated 666(a)(4) requires that all states have laws in effect that cause liens to arise by operation of law against all real and personal property owned by a child support obligor who has overdue support payments, and 42 United States Code Annotated §654a(g) and (h) and §666(c)(1)(G) require that automated systems be utilized in the process of enforcing those liens.

(2) Federal law at 42 USC §666 (c)(1)(G) requires that where there is a support arrearage, the states have in effect provisions to satisfy both current support obligations and arrearages by allowing the State to intercept or seize from State or local agencies or any other person or entity holding any assets of an obligor including periodic or lump-sum payments such as, but not limited to, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, and other  benefits, and judgments, settlements and lottery winnings, by attaching and seizing assets of the obligor held in financial institutions, by attaching public and private retirement funds, by imposing liens on the property of an obligor by operation of law and by enforcing the liens against child support obligors by the sale of property and distribution of the proceeds.

(3) Tennessee Code Annotated,  §36-5-901(b)(1) and (3)  permit the Department to file notices of a lien arising under paragraphs (1) and (2) on the real and personal property in the appropriate place for the filing of such liens or security interests in the property of a child support obligor, and allows for the filing of such liens by automated processes where feasible.

(4) The purpose of this Chapter is to establish procedures for the establishment of liens in favor of the Department of Human Services for the collection of current support and overdue support pursuant to the Title IV-D child support program and to establish procedures for the enforcement of those liens.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-912; 36-5-1001 et seq.; 45-19-101; 71-1-132; 42 USC §§

654a (a), (g) and (h), and 666(c)(1)(G).  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.02 DEFINITIONS. 

For purposes of this Chapter the following terms shall have the following meanings: LIENS FOR CHILD SUPPORT  CHAPTER 1240-2-5

(1) “Administrative action” means procedures undertaken by the Department or its contractors by administrative order pursuant to law or regulations.

(2) “Arrears” or “Arrearage” means any occasion on which the full amount of support ordered for or on behalf of a minor child, or for a spouse or former spouse of the obligor with whom the child is living to the extent the spousal support would be included for the purposes of 42 USC 654A(4), is not paid by the due date which causes the support to become “in arrears” as defined in T.C.A. §36-5-101(a)(5), unless an income assignment is in effect and the payer of income is paying pursuant to subsection § 36-5-101(g).

(a) Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 36-5-101(a)(5) defines “in arrears” as the circumstances existing when the full amount of child support is not paid by the date upon which the ordered support is due. The unpaid amount at that time is “in arrears, and shall become a judgment for the unpaid amounts.

(b) Arrears or arrearage may also be known as and referred to in these rules as “overdue” support or “past-due” support.

(c) Arrears shall include the totals of all amounts of support that are not paid and that remain unpaid by the obligor at the time a lien is perfected, or which become due as arrears subsequent to the perfection of the lien.

(3) “Child support” or “support” for purposes of this Chapter means a judgment, decree, or order, whether temporary, final or subject to modification issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, for the support and maintenance of a child, including a child who has attained the age of majority under the law of the state which issued the order, and shall include the support of a parent with whom the child is living, and which, judgment, decree or order provides for monetary support, health care, arrearages, or reimbursement, and which may include related costs and fees, interest, penalties, income withholding, attorneys fees and other relief.

(4) “Current support obligation” means the amount of support due each month pursuant to a judicial or administrative order.

(5) “Department” means the Tennessee Department of Human Services, or its contractors who provide child support services to the Department in the courts of Tennessee, or by way of administrative processes and accompanying due process procedures, as part of the Department’s responsibilities under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The Department is the single state child support agency pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 USC 651 et seq.

(6) “Final Order” means for purposes of this Chapter, an order, whether administrative or judicial, for seizure or sale of an obligor’s property shall be final when the obligor either fails to appeal the order in a timely way as provided by this Chapter or when the administrative or judicial remedies provided by this Chapter or by Tennessee Code Annotated, §§ 36-5-901 et seq. and §§ 36-5-1001 et seq. have been exhausted.

(7) “Financial institution” means for purposes of this Chapter:

(a) A depository institution, as defined in Section 3(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 USC §1813(c) );

(b) An institution-affiliated party, as defined in Section 3(u) of such Act (12 USC §1813 (u)); LIENS FOR CHILD SUPPORT  CHAPTER 1240-2-5

(c) Any Federal credit union or State credit union as defined in Section 101 of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 USC §1752), including for the purposes of this Chapter an institution-affiliated party of such a credit union, as defined in Section 206 of such Act (12 USC §1786);

(d) Any benefit association, insurance company, safe deposit company, money-market mutual fund, securities broker/dealer or similar entity authorized to conduct business in this State.

(8) “Levy” means the imposition of a claim of the Department upon the property of the obligor and shall include an administrative order issued by the Department for seizure or encumbrance of any assets or property of the obligor.

(9) “Lien” means a claim or charge on property for payment of a debt, obligation or duty, and in particular, the duty of child support.

(10) “Lien obligation” means that once a lien has been perfected by automated means or by notice of lien or by other methods, the amount of the lien will reflect the amount due by an obligor on the date of seizure, or if by automated means, the amount shown on the TACSLR lien screen.

(11) “Obligee” means the person or  agency to which a duty of child or spousal support is owed by an obligor.

(12) “Obligor” means the person who owes a duty of support to a child or the child’s parent or caretaker.

(13) (a) “Overdue support” means for purposes of this Chapter, any occasion on which the full amount of ordered support for or on behalf of a minor child, or for a spouse or former spouse of the obligor with whom the child is living to the extent spousal support would be included for the purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 654(4), is not paid by the due date for arrears as defined in § 36-5-101(a)(5) unless an income assignment is in effect and the payer of income is paying pursuant to § 36-5-101(g).

(b) “Overdue support” shall include all amounts of support that are in arrears as defined in § 36-5-101(a)(5) and 1240-2-5-.02(b) and that remain unpaid by the obligor at the time the lien is perfected or which become due as arrears subsequent to the perfection of the lien.

(c) The term “overdue support” may be used interchangeably with “arrears” or “past due support as described in 1240-2-5-.02(b).

(14) “Past-due” support shall have the same meaning as “arrears” or “overdue support” as defined in 1240-2-5-.02(b).

(15) “Qualified domestic relations order” means a domestic relations order, as defined in 29 USC §1056(d), which creates or recognizes the existence of an alternate payee’s right, or assigns to an alternate payee the right, to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect  to a participant under a pension plan and which meets the requirements of 29 USC §1056(d).

(16) “Register” or “Register of Deeds” means the  county official whose office is responsible for the recording of documents and other information relative to real property transactions, liens on property, and other documents as required by law.

(17) “Secretary of State’s Division of Business Services” means the Division of the Department of State which, among other responsibilities, files and maintains records of financing statements on secured transactions under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), as well as amendments, releases, assignments, continuations and terminations, and maintains information about, and copies of, filed documents.

(18) “TACSLR” means the Tennessee Automated Child Support Lien Registry which is to be established and operated in the future by the Department of Human Services containing data and functions through an internet based application for the recording by that application, or, if determined appropriate, in the offices of the Registers of Deeds, the Office of the Secretary of State, and other appropriate locations, of any information to establish and perfect liens on the real and personal property of support obligors.

(19) “TCSES” means the Tennessee Child Support Enforcement System operated by the Department of Human Services containing data and functions for the recording of child or spousal support data and for collection, distribution, and disbursement of child and spousal support payments.

(20) (a) “Title IV-D” means Title IV-D of the Social Security Act codified at 42 United States Code Annotated § 651 et seq. Title IV-D establishes the joint Federal/State child support enforcement program in effect in all States and Territories of the United States.

(b) The Department of Human Services is the Title IV-D support enforcement agency for the State ofTennesseeand through that program provides legal services for establishment, modification and enforcement in Title IV-D support cases.

(c) Title IV-D support cases include both the obligations which are owed to the State of Tennessee through the assignment of rights of Families First or Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), also “welfare” recipients, and services provided to obligees who are not, or may never have been recipients of Families First or AFDC, and who have applied for support services through the Department or its contractors.

(d) In addition, the Department is required by Federal regulations to provide services through the offer of Title IV-D services to obligors who seek modifications of their support obligation or who may seek establishment of paternity.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-912; 36-5-1001; 71-1-132; 29 USC §1056(d); 42 USC §§654a (a), (g) and (h); 659(i), and 666(c)(1)(G) and (c)(3).  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.03 LIENS FOR CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES. 

(1) Scope of the Lien. 

(a) In any case of child or spousal support enforced by the Department or its contractors under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act in which arrears are owed by an obligor who resides or owns property in this state, a lien shall arise by operation of law against all real and personal property, tangible or intangible, then owned or subsequently acquired by the obligor against whom the lien arises for the amounts of overdue support owed and the amount of penalties, costs or fees as provided in this Chapter.

(b) The personal or real property, tangible or intangible, of the obligor that is subjected to the lien required by this part shall include all existing property at the time of the lien’s perfection, or acquired thereafter, even if a prior order for overdue support or arrears only specifies a certain amount of overdue support or arrears that was owed by the obligor at the time of such order.

(c) The notice of lien required to be filed or recorded under this Chapter and T.C.A. §36-5-901(b), or any renewal of the lien, shall be effective until the duty of child or spousal support is completely paid.

(2) The Department may file its notice of lien, which shall be effective and perfected upon filing against all real and personal property of the child support obligor:

(a) Directly with the person or entity holding the assets of the obligor;

1. The receipt of such notice by that person or entity shall be adequate notice of the Department’s lien upon the obligor’s assets of any kind which are held by the person or entity or which may come into that person’s or entity’s possession or control.

2. Subject to the priorities of 1240-2-5-.05, or the subordination of these liens to orders or judgments pursuant to T.C.A. §36-5-905(c)(1)(A) and (c)(1)(B), and subject to any exemptions allowed by T.C.A. §36-5-906, payment or transfer to the obligor or other persons or entities of the funds, property,  or other assets of any kind which are encumbered by the lien subsequent to the receipt of such notice, the person or entity receiving such notice shall be liable to the Department for any assets transferred after notice of the lien to the extent of the overdue support, penalties, costs or fees as allowed by this chapter or by law, up to the value of the transferred assets, in an action in the appropriate court of the county in which the order of support is being enforced.

3. The Department may choose, in its sole  discretion, to enforce the overdue obligation against either the obligor, the transferee, or both; or

(b) Through exclusive use the establishment of an internet application maintained by the Department on the Department of Human Services’ Tennessee Child Support Enforcement System (TSCES) system, or in combination with other methods provided by this Chapter or by law; or

(c) With the register of deeds office in the appropriate county by any means provided by existing law; or

(d) By means of a computer terminal arrangement in the office of the register of deeds, or other state or local office where information regarding the existence of a lien on real or personal property is maintained; or

(e) By any combination of the above, or by any other means provided by law for the filing and perfecting of liens.

(3) The notice, or other evidence of  the lien, shall show the existence, amount and date of the lien or security interest involving an obligor for persons researching the title to real or personal property or who may be seeking the status of any security interests or liens affecting any real or personal property possessed or controlled by, or titled to, an obligor.

(4) When necessary to perfect the lien with third parties when perfection has not occurred by automated means or where the notice or order of seizure, encumbrance or sale is inappropriate, the Department may use the Notice of Lien form  issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Support Enforcement on April 4, 2001 in Action Transmittal 01-06, or any subsequently modified forms, for the filing of notice of any administratively issued liens pursuant to this Chapter. Rule 1240-2-5-.16 contains the Notice of Lien.  Modification of any existing Federal forms shall not invalidate any form used pursuant to these rules.

(5) Nothing herein shall require the Department to file a notice of lien for the seizure of, encumbrance, or

levy on an obligor’s assets held by a state or local agency, by a court or administrative tribunal, by a lottery, by a financial institution or by a public or private retirement fund pursuant to T.C.A. §36-5-904(a)(1)-(3) and Rule 1240-2-5-.03(2)(a)-(e), or to obtain any income withholding from any employer or other payer of income as otherwise permitted under Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 36, Chapter 5, Part 5.

(6) Nothing herein shall limit the Department’s authority to file or enforce its liens for support by any method otherwise provided by law for the establishment or enforcement of liens.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901(a)(1); 36-5-904; 36-5-912; 36-5-1001; 45-19-101; 50-6-223; 71-1-132; 29

USC §1056(d), 42 USC §§ 654a (a), (g) and (h); 659(i) and 666(c)(1)(G) and (c)(3);U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child  Support Enforcement, Action Transmittal, 01-06, April 4, 2001.

Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.04 FULL FAITH AND CREDIT TO LIENS OF OTHER STATE CHILD SUPPORT 

AGENCIES. 

(1) Full faith and credit shall be accorded to liens arising in any other State or territory for cases of child or spousal support enforced by the Title IV-D child support enforcement agency of the other State or territory as a result of the circumstances described in T.C.A. §36-5-901(a) for all overdue support, as defined in the other State or territory, when that other State or territory agency or other entity complies with the Federal or Tennessee procedural rules relative to the recording or filing of liens that arise within this State.

(2) The Department of Human Services may enforce the liens arising pursuant to this section by any means available for enforcement of its liens.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§ 4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq., 36-5-902; 36-5-912; 36-5-1001; 71-1-132, 42 USC.§§ 654a (a), (g) and (h); 659(i), and 666(c)(1)(G) and (c)(3).  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.05 LIEN PRIORITIES. 

The lien of the Department for child support arrearages shall be superior to all liens and security interests created under Tennessee law except:

(1) County and municipal ad valorem taxes and special assessments upon real estate by county and municipal governments;

(2) Deeds of trust which are recorded prior to the recordation of notice of the Department’s lien;

(3) Security interests created pursuant to Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, compiled in Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 47, Chapter 9, which require filing for perfection and which are properly filed prior to recordation of the notice of the Department’s lien;

(4) Security interests perfected under the Uniform Commercial Code without filing, as provided in Title 47, Chapter 9 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, which are properly perfected prior to recordation of the notice of the Department’s lien;

(5) The lien or security interest of a financial institution against an obligor’s interest in a deposit account at that institution for any indebtedness to the institution, including but not limited to, that institution’s security interest in accounts pledged for loans, its rights under the Uniform Commercial Code or by contract to charge back uncollected deposits, revoke settlements or take other action against said account, its right to recover overdrafts and fees, and its right of offset for mature indebtedness;

(6) Other security interests in deposit accounts at a financial institution when such interests are reflected in the records of that financial institution prior to the receipt of an administrative order of seizure;

(7) Other liens recorded prior to the recordation of the Department’s lien, or concerning which a judicial proceeding was initiated prior to recordation of the Department’s lien.

(8) Vendors’ liens on real estate provided for in Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 66, Chapter 10 which are recorded prior to the recordation of notice of the Department’s lien;

(9) The tax liens of the Department of Revenue filed pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 67 prior to the Department’s child support lien;

(10) Any deed of trust or any security interest perfected under the Uniform Commercial Code prior to the filing of the notice of Department’s child support lien, irrespective of when such child support lien arises. “Filing” for purposes of this subparagraph shall mean that the Department has recorded its notice of lien pursuant to the provisions of Rule 1240-2-5-.03 by filing a document to record its notice of lien in the appropriate office for such recordation or that it has effectively recorded its lien pursuant to the automated recordation method permitted by T.C.A. §36-5-901(b)(3) or other provisions of the law;

(11) A lien on a motor vehicle unless such lien is physically noted on the certificate of title of such motor vehicle; and

(12) Any possessory lien including, but not limited to mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 66, Chapter 11, Part 1; artisans’ liens pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 66, Chapter 14, Part 1; or garagekeepers’ and towing firm liens pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 66, Chapter 19, Part 1.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901(c) and (d); 36-5-912; 36-5-1001; 71-1-132; 42 USC.§§654a (a), (g) and (h); 659(i), and 666(c)(1)(G) and (c)(3).  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.06 ENFORCEMENT OF LIENS BY ADMINISTRATIVE SEIZURE OR SALE ORDER. 

(1) In cases where there is an arrearage of child or spousal support in a Title IV-D child support case or in which a lien arises pursuant to T.C.A. §36-5-901, the Department may, without further order of a court, secure the assets of the obligor to satisfy the current obligation and the arrearage by:

(a) Intercepting or seizing periodic or lump-sum payments or benefits due the obligor:

1. From a state or local agency;

2. From judgments of any judicial or administrative tribunal, settlements approved by any judicial or administrative tribunal, and lottery winnings;

(b) Attaching or seizing assets of the obligor or the assets in which the obligor has an interest that are in the possession of any other person or entity, or that are held in any financial institution as defined in 1240-2-5-.02;

(c) Attaching public and private retirement funds; and

(d) Imposing liens in accordance with this Chapter and §36-5-901 et seq. and, in appropriate cases by forcing the sale of the obligor’s legal or equitable interest in the property and distributing the proceeds of such sale.

(2) Enforcement of Lien

(a) The Department may enforce the provisions of Rule 1240-2-5-.03 and T.C.A. §36-5-901 et seq. by issuance of an administrative order to any person or entity directing the seizure, encumbrance or sale of any assets of an obligor.

(b) The order shall direct the person or entity to hold or encumber, subject to any due process procedures provided to the obligor, all assets of any kind of the obligor who is subject to the order, pending the outcome of the administrative due process procedures provided by this Chapter.

(c) The order shall be based upon and issued pursuant to an existing judicial or administrative order, which has previously established support under which an arrearage, due to overdue support, as defined in T.C.A. §36-5-901, has occurred.

(3) The administrative order for seizure or sale of assets may be issued upon determination by the Department, as shown by records of the support obligation, that arrears involving the obligor’s support obligations exist.

(4) Notice to the Obligor.

(a) There shall be no requirement of advance judicial or administrative notice or hearing prior to the seizure or encumbrance of the obligor’s property by administrative order, but the Department will not permit the final disposition of any property seized or encumbered under the lien enforcement procedures until the exhaustion of administrative and judicial remedies as provided in this Chapter at 1240-2-5-.13.

(b) Process and Form of Notice . 

1. A notice to the obligor against whom the administrative order for seizure or sale of assets is directed shall be sent by mail to the last address of record possessed by the Department as shown on TCSES.

2. The notice shall be sent within five (5) days of the issuance of the administrative seizure order.

3. The notice shall inform the obligor of the fact that the obligor’s assets have been the subject of an administrative order and that they have been seized or are subject to sale and are being held, may be conveyed to the Department or may be sold, subject to the right to an administrative hearing to contest the seizure or sale of such assets.

4. The notice shall specify the sum demanded and shall contain, in the case of personal property, an account of the property actually seized and, in the case of real property, a description with reasonable certainty of the  property seized. In the case of assets in a financial institution, it shall be sufficient to notify the obligor of the seizure of any assets of the obligor that may be held by any institution to which the order is directed.

(5) All administrative orders for seizure or sale shall be subject to and subordinate to:

(a) Any order or automatic stay by the United States Bankruptcy Court affecting an asset of the obligor;

(b) An attachment or execution under any judicial process in effect at the time of the administrative

seizure order, pending modification of such court’s orders;

(c) A priority under Rule 1240-2-5-.05; or

(d) A claim for reasonable attorneys fees, subject to the limitations on such fees by the rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court, whether evidenced by a court order, a statutory provision, or a contract.

(6) An administrative order for the seizure of pension and retirement funds shall comply with the provisions for a qualified domestic relations order pursuant to 29 USC §1056(d), if applicable.

(7) If the assets of the obligor are known by the person or entity which received such administrative order to be subject to any orders of the United States Bankruptcy Court, or to any attachment, execution or existing lien, that person or entity shall notify the Department at the address contained in the order within ten (10) days after receipt of the administrative order. With respect to deposit accounts of the obligor, the depository financial institution shall inform the Department of the unencumbered balances of such accounts.

(8) Method of Issuance of Administrative Order of Seizure or Sale. 

(a) Form of Issuance and Effectiveness. 

1. The order may be issued, and shall be effective, if issued to the holder of property or to the person or entity in possession of, or obligated with respect to property, or rights to, property of the obligor.

2. The order may be issued electronically or magnetically, or manually by a paper document approved by the Department.

3. The administrative order of seizure may also be issued, and shall be effective, if issued to the holder of the property of the obligor or to the person or entity in possession of, or obligated with respect to property or rights to, property of the obligor, if the order is transmitted electronically or magnetically by use of any computer data match process that is based upon any information available to the Department showing that the person whose property is to be seized or encumbered is a child support obligor owing overdue support as defined in this Chapter.

4. The order shall be based upon any information showing to the Department or its contractors or other agents that the person whose property is to be seized is an obligor owing overdue support as defined in this Chapter.

(b) Seizure Orders for Less Than the Full Amount. 

1. When an administrative order is issued by the Department pursuant to any provisions of law or regulations or pursuant to agreements entered pursuant to T.C.A. §45-19-101(a) or (b) directing the encumbrance, escrow, seizure or surrender of assets of an obligor consisting of a demand deposit account, or an account accessible by a check or negotiable order of withdrawal for the purpose of satisfying a lien for past-due child support, the Department may direct that  only a portion of such accounts, up to the amount necessary to satisfy the existing lien for past-due child support, be encumbered, escrowed, seized or surrendered.

2. If less than the whole amount of the account is sought, the Department’s order shall direct the financial institution to withhold a specific percentage or a specific dollar amount of those types of accounts.

(9) To satisfy overdue support, an order of seizure or sale may be issued to the obligor if the obligor is in physical possession of property sought to be sold, and the order shall direct that the obligor hold property subject to the provisions of this Chapter.

(10) Duty of Recipient of Administrative Order of Seizure.

(a) Upon receipt of the administrative order  of seizure, whether  received electronically, magnetically or otherwise, the person or entity which has possession of the assets of the obligor shall immediately seize, hold, and encumber such assets, as directed by the Department, pending further direction from the Department as to the disposition of the assets or pending any further orders of any court of competent jurisdiction.

(b) The person or entity must secure in an escrow account for such purpose, or by such other reasonable means, such assets of the obligor in its possession, and must take any other steps deemed reasonable to preserve any real or personal property.

(c) Upon receipt of directions from the Department that all due  process procedures have been completed or were waived in any manner, and  subject to the provisions of paragraph (5) and subject to the priority for the Department’s liens as described in Rule 1240-2-5-.05, the person or entity to whom or to which the order was directed shall pay or deliver to the Department, pursuant to its direction, the assets of the obligor that are held or that come into the possession or control of the person or entity and that are necessary to comply  with the terms of the Department’s administrative order.

(11) Sale of property that has been seized from an obligor in physical or constructive possession of the property may proceed following exhaustion of administrative or judicial processes provided in this Chapter, applicable provisions of T.C.A. §36-5-1001 et seq. and the procedures for sale provided by these rules.

(12) Pursuant to T.C.A. §36-5-905(g), all persons  or entities complying with  any administrative order issued pursuant to this section shall be absolutely immune from any liability, civil or criminal, for compliance with the terms of such order or attempted compliance in good faith with such order.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-912; 45-19-101; 42 USC §654a(h), and 42 USC §666(a)(14),

(17)(C). Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.07 REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION REGARDING OWNERSHIP. 

(1) There shall be a rebuttable presumption concerning property which is subject to the provisions of this Chapter, except where otherwise clearly noted by the evidence of title or otherwise, or where legal ownership of property is otherwise clearly stated, that at least one-half of all real or tangible personal property that is titled to or in the possession of the obligor is owned by the obligor who is subject to the lien provisions of this Chapter.

(2) All jointly held accounts in any financial institution shall be rebuttably presumed to be available in whole to the obligor.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901et seq.; 36-5-903, and 36-5-912.  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.08 EXEMPTIONS FROM SALE/ENUMERATION OF EXEMPTIONS. 

(1) There shall be exempt from sale of personal property subject to lien pursuant to this Chapter:

(a) Wearing apparel and school books. Such items of wearing apparel and such school books as are necessary for the obligor or for members of the obligor’s family and the family bible or other book containing the family’s religious beliefs;

(b) Fuels, Provisions, Furniture, And Personal Effects. If the obligor is the head of the family, so much of the fuel, provisions, furniture, and personal effects in the obligor’s household, and of the arms for personal use, livestock, and poultry of the obligor, as does not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) in value; and,

(c) Books And Tools Of A Trade, Business, Or Profession. So many of the books and tools necessary for the trade, business or profession of the obligor as do not exceed in the aggregate two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in value.

(2) Appraisal.

(a) The agent of the Department seizing property  of the type described in paragraph (1) shall appraise and set aside to the owner the amount of such property declared to be exempt.

(b) If the obligor objects at the time of the seizure to the valuation fixed by the agent making the seizure, the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s  agent shall summon three (3) disinterested individuals who shall make the valuation. These individuals shall consist of any persons aged eighteen (18) years of age and above deemed by the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s agent to have sufficient ability to understand the reasons  for the valuation and to possess objectivity in the process who are not related to the person and who are not otherwise employed or under contract with the Department or related to an employee or contractor of the Department, and who have demonstrated some experience in the valuation of property.

(3) No Other Property Exempt. No property or rights to property shall be exempt from levy or seizure other than the property specifically made exempt by paragraph (1).

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-906, and 36-5-912.  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.09 PROCEDURES FOR SALE OF PROPERTY. 

(1) Property Located in the State of Tennessee.

The procedures in this Chapter will be utilized for the sale of real or personal tangible property located within the State of Tennessee which has been subject to an administrative seizure and sale order issued by the Department of Human Services after such order has become final.

(a) The Department of Human Services may utilize the same methods and rules for the seizure and sale of property as are established by the Department of Revenue pursuant to the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 67, Chapter 1, Part 14 for the collection of taxes and those rules adopted by the Tennessee Department of Revenue to the extent that the rights and duties set forth therein are consistent with the provisions of state and federal laws administering the child support program established  pursuant to Title IV-D of the  Social Security Act.  All references therein to taxes and taxpayers and collection of taxes shall be interpreted by the Department of Human Services in applying those procedures to relate to the collection of child support and payment of such collections to the state and/or to the obligee of the child support obligation.

(b) The Department of Human Services may contract with the Department of Revenue or any other state agency or private contractor to provide services related to the seizure or disposition of property subject to the liens established by Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 36, Chapter 1, Part 9, or this Chapter.

(2) Property Located in a State Other ThanTennessee.

If an administrative seizure and sale order of the Department of Human Services pertains to real or personal tangible property located in a state other thanTennessee, the laws of that other state will apply to the seizure and sale of that property.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202, 36-5-901 et seq., 36-5-905, 36-5-912, and 36-5-1006.   Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.  Amendment filed August 17, 2005; effective October 31, 2005.

1240-2-5-.10 EFFECT OF FINAL ORDER/CONVEYANCE OF TITLE. 

(1) A final order of seizure or a sale of the obligor’s property pursuant to this Chapter shall be effective to convey and vest title of all assets subject to the order in the Department or in the purchaser that are not inferior to any interest described in 1240-2-5-.05 or subject to the provisions of 1240-2-5-.06(5).

(2) Following the expiration of time for any appeals of the final order of seizure or sale, the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s agent may convey title to personal property by a final order of disposition of assets or by executing a certificate of title or may execute a quitclaim deed conveying title to real property to the purchaser. The purchaser shall be responsible for all costs of recording title to the property conveyed by the Commissioner.

(3) Until real estate is sold, the Commissioner or his or her delegate may, in the exercise of his or her discretion and if such action is deemed to be in the best interest of the Department or the obligee, lease such property to the obligor or any other person considered to be an acceptable lessee by the Commissioner or his or her delegate.

(4) In cases where real estate has or may become the property of the Department in payment of or security for a support obligation and such obligation shall have been paid, together with any interest, penalties and costs thereon, to the Department at any time from the date of the acquisition of such real estate to the date of sale of such to another person, the Commissioner or his or her delegate may release by deed, or otherwise convey, such real estate to the obligor from whom it was taken, or to his or her heirs or other legal representatives.

(5) The Commissioner or his or her delegate shall account for the proceeds of all sales or leases, or releases of the property and for all expenses connected with the maintenance, sale, lease or release of the property, and the net proceeds shall be paid over by the Commissioner or the delegate and distributed as required by law and by the support orders of the court.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901et seq., 36-5-905(f), and 36-5-912.  Administrative History:  Original rule

filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.11 AUTHORITY OVER SEIZED OR SOLD PROPERTY. 

(1) The Commissioner or the Commissioner’s agent shall have charge of all real estate or personal property which is or shall become the property of the Department by seizure or judgment under any provision of this Chapter or any other Title of the Tennessee Code Annotated, or which has been or shall be assigned, set off, or conveyed by purchase or otherwise to the Department in payment of child support obligations, debts or penalties arising thereunder, or which has been or shall be vested in the Department by mortgage or other security for the payment for such obligations and of all trusts created for the use of the Department in payment of such obligations, debts or penalties due the Department.

(2) Any assets of the obligor which are vested in the Department may be used as required or permitted under State and Federal law or regulations relative  to the distribution and disbursement of support payments collected by a Title IV-D agency, to pay to the obligee for prior child support, medical support or spousal obligations which have remained unpaid or to repay the State of Tennessee or the Federal government for any cash assistance payments made on behalf of a child or the child’s caretaker. Any amount collected on behalf of another State or Territory shall be paid by the Department to that State or Territory’s child support receipting unit.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-908, and 36-5-912. Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.12 RELEASE OF LIEN. 

(1) At any time after the child support obligation has been paid, the person holding title to the property on which the lien is placed may request the Department to release the lien. If the Department does not release the lien within sixty (60) days of the request, it shall be liable for court costs in any action to remove the lien if the obligor is the prevailing party.

(2) The Department may cause the issuance of releases of liens by:

(a) Filing the release with the register of deeds or any other appropriate state or local office as provided under any method authorized pursuant to law;

(b) Recording the release of the lien by electronic means as provided by T.C.A. §36-5-907 on the same internet application as the Department utilizes pursuant to T.C.A. § 36-5-901 for the establishment of liens; or

(c) Provision by the Department of copies of the release of liens to any person or entity requesting a release for filing or recording of the release by that person or entity or to release. The copies of the release may be conveyed by facsimile transmission, and may be in such form as Department may prescribe. If a facsimile transmission is utilized pursuant to this paragraph, it shall be supplemented by a copy of suitable quality if the facsimile’s quality is not adequate for purposes of recording by the Register of Deeds or other appropriate official.  The obligor is responsible for all costs to have the release filed if necessary.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-907, and 36-5-912.  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.13 DUE PROCESS PROCEDURES. 

(1) Administrative Review of the Notice of Lien.

(a) Once a lien has been imposed by the Department of Human Services on real or personal property of the obligor, wherever located, pursuant to the requirements of Rule 1240-2-5-.13, a party may administratively appeal the criteria in subparagraphs (3)(a) – (c) below, related to the underlying child support obligation and propriety of the lien, at such time as the existence of the lien has actually prevented or is preventing a transaction related to the real or personal property, such as a transfer or sale of the property, referred to herein as an “adverse action.”

(b) The party seeking administrative review of the propriety of the lien shall file a written request for administrative review with the Department within fifteen (15) calendar days of the notice of the adverse action referenced in subparagraph (a) above

(c) Notwithstanding the location of the real or personal property subject to the lien, all administrative reviews pursuant to this paragraph will be conducted by the Tennessee Department of Human Services according to the requirements ofTennesseelaw.

(2) Administrative Review of Order and/or Notice of Seizure andSaleof Assets.

(a) Administrative seizure, levy, or sale of real or personal property will be effected according to the laws of the State in which the real or personal property is located.

(b) Administrative review of the propriety of the seizure, levy, or sale of real or personal property will be conducted according to the laws of the State in which the real or personal property is located.

(c) Property Located Within the State ofTennessee.

1. The person seeking administrative review of the Department’s administrative order of seizure, or levy, or sale upon the person’s assets located in the State of Tennessee shall file a written request with the office of the Department indicated in the notice given in Rule 1240-2-5-.06(4) within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date of the notice of seizure or sale.

2. Any person or entity who or which is  owner of a joint account in any financial institution, or whose or which property interest has been seized due to the presumption of joint ownership as provided in T.C.A. § 36-5-903, shall have standing to appeal any order or notice of seizure or sale of assets pursuant to this Chapter.

(d) Notwithstanding the requirements of subparagraphs (b) above, administrative review of issues related to the underlying child support obligation on which the seizure, levy, or sale is based will be conducted by the Department pursuant to the laws of the State ofTennessee.

(3) Administrative Review Conducted in the State ofTennessee.

(a) The issues available for administrative review under this Rule shall be limited to:

1. Whether the identities of the persons or entities involved are correct;

2. Whether there is a mistake of fact involving the action by the Department;

3. Whether the amount of the obligation is correct;

4. The extent of the obligor’s interest in the assets; and

5. Whether good cause exists not to seize, sell, levy upon, distribute or otherwise dispose of all or a part of such assets.

(b) Upon review pursuant to the criteria of subparagraph (a), the hearing officer may direct that there is a mistake as to the identity or interest of the person whose assets have been seized or levied upon and dismiss the order, or may direct that all or only a portion of the assets be disposed of, or that there be some other order for the disposition of the assets of the obligor in order to satisfy the support arrearage.

(c) The Department’s hearing officer or the reviewing court may grant any relief of a preliminary or temporary nature relative to the obligor’s assets, as may be appropriate under the circumstances, pending the entry of the final order.

(d) The hearing officer may not forgive any support arrearages upon review of any administrative order.

(e) Use of Court and TCSES Records at Hearings.

1. The record of support, as certified by the clerk of the court, or as shown by the Department’s child support computer system (TCSES) shall be admissible in the hearing without further foundation testimony, and shall constitute a rebuttable presumption as to the amount of support which is in arrears and which is owed by the obligor in any review pursuant to this Chapter.

2. The hearing officer shall have no authority to rule the information submitted pursuant to this paragraph is not sufficient for proof of the arrears unless clear evidence is presented by the obligor to overcome the rebuttable presumption established by the clerk’s or the Department’s records.

(f) Use of Affidavits.

1. If submitted to the opposing party ten (10) days prior to the administrative hearing, the affidavit of a keeper or custodian of any other records, including, but not limited to, the records of any financial institution or the Department of Human Services or any other government or private entity, concerning any matter before the hearing officer, shall be admitted by the hearing officer unless an objection to its admission is submitted five (5) days prior to the hearing.

2. If an objection to the admission of the affidavit is filed and is upheld by the hearing officer, the hearing officer shall continue the case to permit the production of records or the taking of any further testimony, which may be necessary to resolve the issues.

(g) In order to expedite the review of these matters, the hearing officer shall have discretion to take testimony of any party or witness by telephone or video or by other electronic technology, and documents may, in the hearing officer’s discretion, be submitted by facsimile transmission or by any other electronic technology.

(h) Judicial review of the Department’s administrative decision shall be conducted according to the provisions of T.C.A. §36-5-1003.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 24-7-121; 36-5-901 et seq., 36-5-905(c); 36-5-912; 36-5-1001 et seq., and 36-5-

1001(a)(1)(E).  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.  Repeal and new rule filed August 17, 2005; effective October 31, 2005.

1240-2-5-.14 NON-INTERFERENCE WITH DEPARTMENT’S ACTIONS. 

(1) No person or entity who has been served with an administrative order, administrative subpoena, or request for information or records shall take any measures to defeat the administrative action of the Department during the pendency of the review of such action by the administrative hearing officer or by the reviewing court.

(2) The Department or its contractor may seek injunctive relief to prevent any actions which would defeat its administrative actions.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202; 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-1004, and 36-5-1006.  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.15 LIABILITY FOR FEES AND COSTS. 

The individual or entity to whom or to which the administrative order is issued pursuant to this Chapter and which is enforced by the reviewing court shall be liable for all costs of the court  proceedings, and shall be liable to the Department for the cost of any private or contract or government attorney representing the state and for the time of any of its Title IV-D state office staff or contractor staff utilized in litigating the administrative lien, administrative seizure order, administrative order, administrative subpoena or request.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202, 36-5-901 et seq.; 36-5-1005, and 36-5-1006.  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.

1240-2-5-.16 CHILD SUPPORT LIEN NOTICE AND INSTRUCTIONS. 

(1) Description.

(a) The Department or its contractors in the Title IV-D program may use the form in paragraph (2) as necessary to give notice of the existence of the lien in intrastate cases, or, in interstate cases as provided by Federal law.  Following the form are instructions for its use.

(b) Forms reproduced for actual transmission to affected persons or entities may also contain highlighting or shading of areas of the forms for easier reading and emphasis of the contents or may contain state logos. Spaces for information indicated on the forms shall be utilized only to the extent applicable in the particular case.

(2) Form.

STATE OFTENNESSEE

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

Fax

Type Name here

Address

City, State Zip

NOTICE OF LIEN

OBLIGOR:

OBLIGEE:

IV-D CASE #:

This lien results from a child support order, entered on __ / __ / __ by __________ in____________ County,TN, Tribunal Number ____________.

As of __ / __ / __, the obligor owes unpaid support in the amount of $ _____.  This judgment may be subject to interest.

Prospective amounts of child support, not paid when due, are judgments that are added to the lien amount.

This lien attaches to all non-exempt real and/or personal property of the above-named obligor which is located or existing within the State/county of filing, including any property specifically described below.

Specific description of property:

All aspects of this lien, including its priority and enforcement, are governed by the law of the State where the property is located.  An obligor must follow the laws and procedures of the State where the property is located or recorded.  An obligor may also contact the entity sending the lien.  This lien remains in effect until released or withdrawn by the obligee or in accordance with the laws of the State where the property is located.

Note to Lien Recorder:  Please provide the sender with a copy of the filed lien, containing the recording

information, at the address provided above.

Check either “A” or “B” below. The option that does not apply may be omitted from the form.  If “B” is checked, the form must be notarized.

A. [ ]  Submitted by a IV-D agency/office on behalf of the named obligee

As an authorized agent of a State or Tribal, or subdivision of a State or Tribal, agency responsible for implementing the child support enforcement program set forth in Title IV,  Part D, of the Federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651 et seq.), I have authority to file this child support lien in any State, orU.S.

Territory.  For additional information regarding this lien, including the pay-off amount, please contact the authorized agency and reference its case number, both listed above.

______________________

Date

_____________________________

Authorized Agent

___________________________________________________________________

Print name, e-mail address, phone and fax number

B. [ ]  Submitted by an obligee or a private (non-IV-D) attorney or entity on behalf of  an obligee.

I am:

[  ] the obligee of the above referenced order [or]

[  ] an attorney or entity representing the above named obligee.

I certify, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in this notice is true and accurate and that this lien is submitted in accordance with the laws of the State of Tennessee.  For additional information regarding this lien, including the pay-off amount, please contact the obligee listed above.

___________________

Date

______________________________

Signature

___________________________________________________________________

Print name, e-mail address, phone and fax number

NotaryState: ___________________

County: _____________

I certify that _________________________ appeared before me and is known to me as the individual who signed the above.

Date: ___________________________

________________________________

Notary Public

My appointment expires ____________

Notice:  Respondents are not required to respond to this information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number.  The average burden for responding to this information collection is estimated at 30 minutes.  If you believe this estimate is inaccurate, or if you have ideas to reduce this burden, please provide comment to the issuing agency.

OMB Control #: 0970-0153  Expiration Date: 01/31/2008

Instructions for the Notice of Lien

Purpose of This Form: 42 USC 654(9)(E) requires all IV-D programs to use the Notice of Lien form in interstate cases. IV-D programs may also use the form to impose liens in intrastate cases. This form may also be used for non-IV-D orders by an obligee or his or her private attorney. This form may be used to assert liens on assets discovered through the Financial Institution Data Match process. Please note that the expiration date on this form is the Office of Management and Budget expiration date, not the expiration date of the lien itself.

Whose Laws Apply?:  All aspects of this lien, including its priority and enforcement, are governed by the law of the State where the property is located. Issue the lien to secure debts for past-due support upon identifying, in another State, nonexempt real or personal property belonging to the obligor. The laws and procedures of the State where the property is located or recorded determine which office or entity in that State is the appropriate one to receive the lien for filing. It is the responsibility of the agency/office or private attorney issuing the lien to file it with the appropriate entity.

Release of Lien: To release a previously-filed lien (e.g., upon receipt of full payment, or partial payment with an acceptable agreement to repay remaining balance, etc.,)  the original issuing State shall use its existing local release of lien form. A copy of the release of lien should be provided to the obligor. Identify the lien to be released by including the recording information provided by the office or entity that filed the lien (Lien Recorder). The laws and procedures of the State where the lien is filed control the release of the lien.

To complete this form:

1.  At the top of the form, place the name, address, and fax number of the recorder (i.e.,CountyAuditor, Clerk of Court, DMV, etc.) or asset holder (i.e., Financial Institution, Estate Executor, Trustee, etc.) to which you are sending the lien.

NOTE: The procedures of the State where the property is located determine which person or entity in that State is the appropriate one to receive the lien for filing.  It is the responsibility of the person/entity/agency submitting the lien to file/serve it correctly.

2. In the “OBLIGOR” field place the obligor’s full name, address, date of birth (if known) and social security number (if known).  Include known aliases or multiple social security numbers used by the obligor.

3. In the “OBLIGEE” field insert the obligee’s full name. Note that the obligee may be the individual obligee, a public IV-D agency, or a private attorney, person or entity with a proper assignment from the individual obligee.

4. In the “IV-D Case #” field, enter the number/identifier identical to the one submitted on the Federal Case Registry, which is a left-justified 15-character alphanumeric field, allowing all characters except asterisk and backslash, and with all characters in uppercase.

5. In the space following “entered on”, insert the date of entry of the order that is the basis for the lien.

6. In the space following “by”, identify the tribunal that issued the support order that is being used to determine the amount of the lien. A tribunal is a court, administrative agency, or quasi-judicial entity that has the authority to establish, enforce, and modify child support obligations.

7. In the space following “in”, identify the location (State/county) of the tribunal that issued the support order that is being used to determine the amount of the lien.

8. In the space following “tribunal number”, identify the tribunal docket,  jacket or file number of the support order that is used to determine the amount of the lien.

9. In the space following “As  of”, insert the date of the debt calculation that is used in determining the amount of the lien.

10. In the space following “amount of $”, insert the  lien amount (the amount of the past-due support obligation owed when the lien is prepared). Interest may be included in the lien amount if permitted under the law of the State where the lien is filed.

11. In the space following “Specific description of property”, identify any specific property that you want the lien to attach to. Use the legal description of real property and, when the target of the lien is personal property, always provide the most specific identifying information available, including the location of the property, if known. (For example, include the  make/model/year/appropriate registration numbers (if known), as opposed to referring to such personal property as “farm equipment”). For Financial Institutions, list the account numbers.

12. Check “A” if the lien is submitted by a IV-D agency and check “B” if the lien is submitted by an obligee or his or her private attorney.

13. Provide the date the lien is signed on the line provided above “date”.

14. If “A” is checked, the appropriate individual should sign the lien on the line above Authorized Agent”. Type or print the name of the agent signing the lien below their signature.   Include the agent’s name, e-mail address (if available) and phone and fax numbers. If “A” is checked, the form does not need to be notarized. Note that, in IV-D cases, the pay-off amount will be available only from the IV-D agency.

15. If “B” is checked, the appropriate individual should sign the lien on the line above the two check boxes and should check the appropriate box. Type or print the name of the person signing the lien below their signature. Include the person’s name, e-mail address (if available) and phone and fax numbers.

16. If “B” is checked, the signature of the party signing the lien must be notarized.

17. In the spaces following “Notary State” and “County”, insert the name of the State and County (if applicable) where the notary is commissioned.

18. Send a copy of the lien to the obligor at his/her last known address.

Authority:  T.C.A. §§4-5-202, 36-5-901 et seq., and 36-5-912; 42 U.S.C. §§ 652, 654(9)(E), and 666; and United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement Action Transmittal 01-06 (April 4, 2001) and Action Transmittal 05-04 (January 4, 2005).  Administrative History:  Original rule filed December 18, 2001; effective March 3, 2002.  Public necessity rule filed May 20, 2005; effective through November 11, 2005.  Amendments filed August 17, 2005; effective October 31, 2005.

RE-POST: USAO Press Release -FREDERICK ARMED CAREER CRIMINAL EXILED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF A GUN

Baltimore, Maryland — U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Derek Edwin Lindsey, age 38, of Frederick, Maryland, today to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a gun. Judge Bennett enhanced Lindsey’s sentence upon finding that he is an armed career criminal, based on at least three previous convictions for first degree burglary.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Baltimore Field Division; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith; and Frederick Police Chief, Colonel Kim C. Dine.

This sentence is warranted for Mr. Lindsey’s actions, and his history of criminal offenses, says ATF Special Agent in Charge Theresa Stoop. For the next fifteen years, this career criminal will now wear the title of career prisoner.

According to Lindsey’s plea agreement, on November 4, 2009, Lindsey burglarized a home in the North Crossing subdivision of Frederick, stealing items including two laptops, jewelry, and two handguns. Lindsey took the stolen items to his apartment. He disposed of one of the handguns in the apartment building’s dumpster because he believed the gun was inoperable. He placed the other stolen handgun, a Russian-made Tokarev 7.62 x 25 mm caliber pistol, along with packages of ammunition, underneath the mattress of his bed. Lindsey was arrested the next day, after law enforcement personnel witnessed him burglarizing another home in the North Crossing subdivision.

During the investigation, officials learned that Lindsey was keeping a handgun and ammunition at his residence and a search warrant was executed. Officers recovered several items Lindsey had stolen from homes in the North Crossing area, including the stolen Tokarev handgun underneath the mattress in the master bedroom, along with 18 .357 caliber hollow point bullets, six.38 caliber special wadcutter bullets, and six .357 caliber pointed bullets.

Lindsey is serving a 25 year state sentence on related charges. Judge Bennett ordered that his federal sentence be served concurrent to Lindseys state sentence.United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, Frederick Police Department and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Sujit Raman, who prosecuted the case.

via USAO Press Release –.

RULE 1: SCOPE OF RULES.

Subject to exceptions as are stated in particular rules, the Rules of Civil Procedure shall govern procedure in the circuit or chancery courts in all civil actions, whether at law or in equity, and in all other courts while exercising the civil jurisdiction of the circuit or chancery courts. These rules shall be construed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action.

The Rules of Civil Procedure shall not apply to general sessions courts except as follows:

(1) The rules shall apply to general sessions courts exercising civil jurisdiction of the circuit or chancery courts;

(2) The rules shall apply after appeal or transfer of a general sessions civil lawsuit to circuit court; and

(3) Rule of Civil Procedure 69 governing execution on judgments shall apply to civil judgments obtained in general sessions courts.

[Amended by order effective July 1, 2005.]

Advisory Commission Comments. This rule makes it clear that these Rules establish identical procedures for circuit and chancery courts and for those other courts of record which have been established by special or private acts of the General Assembly and which have jurisdiction similar to that of the circuit or chancery court, or of both. The Rules are not applicable to general sessions courts in the exercise of jurisdiction conferred by general statutes, but if a particular general sessions court exercises, under authority of a special or private act of the General Assembly, special jurisdiction similar to that of the circuit or chancery court, then these Rules do apply to that court in the exercise of that special jurisdiction.

Advisory Commission Comment [2005]. The amendment makes Rule 69 applicable to execution on judgments obtained in a general sessions court.

Advisory Commission Comment [2009]. A modified Rule 60 procedure to obtain relief from a general sessions court judgment is available by statute, T.C.A. § 16-15-727.