Archive for the ‘civil liberties’ Category

Every grown-up should get chance to make own decisions

August 21, 2013

Aging baby boomers, look out, because the case I am going to talk about might have an impact on your life one day, too.

This is a case about freedom, personal decisions and whether someone who is deemed less bright than Einstein has the right to make those personal decisions themselves.

All of us who have been parents understand to some degree the lawsuit involving guardianship decided last week by Circuit Court Judge David F. Pugh in Newport News, Va.  We think we know what is best for our children — even when they aren’t children anymore.

Maybe you have even experienced the same dilemma with an aging parent.  You are concerned for their safety, their well-being, and you know what is best for them.

Jenny Hatch is 29.  When she was in a bicycle accident, her friends Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris, who came to know Jenny when they hired her to work in their thrift store,  took her in.  The three formed a sort of family.

But Jenny’s mother and stepfather, Julia and Richard Ross, weren’t happy with the arrangement.  Believing they knew what was best for Jenny, they sought legal guardianship so they could make decisions for her.

If Jenny didn’t have a disability, no court would have taken such an idea seriously.  But she does have a disability — and that made all the difference.

Jenny Hatch has Down syndrome.  She is described as vibrant, loving and, let’s not forget, 29 years old.

Her parents believe she should live in a group home and managed to place her in several of them over the past year while the case was pending.

Each time, she ran away, back to her friends Talbert and Morris, who wanted her to live with them, and with whom she wanted to live.

The case, which took a year to resolve and attracted disability-rights leaders from around the country, brings the issue of guardianship front and center, where we all should be taking a good, hard look.

Having legal guardianship over someone means that you make decisions for them.  You decide where they will live, if and where they can work, what they will eat and with whom they will associate.

These are the decisions we make for children, because we believe they are not yet able to make these decisions for themselves.

Indeed, that was Jenny Hatch’s lament regarding the group homes where the Rosses wanted her to live: She was treated like a child.

Full Article and Source:
Every grown-up should get chance to make own decisions

See Also:
Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

Advertisements

Jenny Hatch in her new life

August 11, 2013

Jenny Hatch in her new life
Jenny Hatch in her new life

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – WAVY.com brings you an update on Jenny Hatch, a 29-year-old Newport News woman with Down Syndrome, who won a custody battle last week.

For the last year, Jenny’s been engaged in a lengthy court battle against her mother who wants her to live in a group home. Jenny wants to live with her friends Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris, who want to take her in.
On Friday, WAVY.com was there when Newport News Judge Pugh gave Jenny the right to live where she wants to. Morris and Talbert were granted temporary guardianship of Jenny, but after a year, she can make her own decisions.
“It feels awesome,” said Morris at home with Jenny on Wednesday. “Our family is complete.”

WAVY’s Andy Fox caught up with Jenny at home with her friends Wednesday and then shadowed her on her first day back at work at the Villiage Thrift Store after court proceedings ended.

It’s when you ask Jenny about her thrift store family that she gets emotional.

I’m so happy. I am so happy…,” Jenny said Wednesday through emotional sobs. “Thanks for being here…I am finally home.”

Full Article and Source:
Jenny Hatch in her new life

See Also:
Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

August 8, 2013

The guardianship system in this country raises serious concerns. That’s why the guardianship trial of Jenny Hatch, a vibrant and active 29-year-old in a battle over who controls her life, struck such a chord. Jenny spoke for many other people with disabilities when she said clearly in her trial: “I don’t need guardianship. I don’t want it.”

On Friday a judge in Virginia denied guardianship to the parents of Jenny Hatch. Hatch will instead be able to live with her friends, couple Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert, as she had requested. This is a victory, but it should never have come to this.

If anyone else had been placed in an isolated location, against her will, with her cell phone and computer taken away, and not allowed to leave the building without permission, as Hatch was, she would either be able to lodge a charge of kidnapping, or be a prisoner convicted of a crime.

But, because Hatch is a person with a disability – and only because of that – it is completely legal, even though she has done nothing wrong.

Guardianship can, and often does, deprive a person of the ability to choose where she lives, who she sees, when she gets up in the morning, what she eats for breakfast, whether and where she works and whether she is allowed the right to vote.

Guardianship is typically created under two circumstances:

  • When adults – often seniors – develop a disability, especially one that affects the ability to manage finances or make complex decisions, their spouse or child is often encouraged to become their guardian.
  • And, when a child with developmental disabilities reaches 18, her parents are often encouraged to become the child’s guardian – ostensibly so that they can continue to participate in medical and educational decisions for the child.

In both circumstances, other less restrictive options are available.

Full Article and Source:
Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

See Also:
Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner