DO NOT SIGN THIS PETITION UNLESS YOU ARE AN OHIO RESIDENT AND VOTER!
Currently, in the State of Ohio, there is no law that prevents a temporary custodian in a Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse case from leaving the State with a child and withholding their location from the court and other parties in the case. This leaves many parents without hope, and in many cases deprives the Family Court of the Originating State of the jurisdiction to make an effective ruling.
Therefore, WE THE UNDERSIGNED, electors of the State of Ohio, petition the Ohio Attorney General to Certify the below Statute and file it with the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State as a proposed Law!:
Section 2151.9012 | Removal of Child from State without prior leave of Court while Dependency, Neglect, or Abuse Case Still Open in Court Shall Constitute Parental Kidnapping.
(A) Except as provided in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly relocate the residency or domicile of a minor child without prior leave of a court of competent jurisdiction, that has been adjudged to be an Abused Child as defined under Chapter 2151.031 of the Revised Code, Neglected Child as defined under Chapter 2151.03 of the Revised Code, or Dependent Child as defined under Chapter 2151.04 of the Revised Code to any other State while a Dependency, Neglect or Abuse case is still open in the Juvenile Court and the parties are subject to a case plan for a Reunification of the Child to the Parent or prior to a Permanency Hearing being adjudicated;
(B) The Juvenile Court shall notify all parties of the provisions and expectations of division (A) of this section of the Revised Code in its order finding the Child to be an Abused, Neglected, or Dependent Child;
(C) Except as provided in any other Section of the Revised Code, failure of the Court to comply with division (B) of this Section of the Revised Code shall not be a defense for any person who violates division (A) of this Section of the Revised Code;
(D) (1)The Clerk of Courts of all Counties of Ohio shall provide access to appropriate records in its custody to the prosecutor's office and law enforcement agencies to determine whether a permanency order has been issued;
(2)Any Clerk and/or Deputy Clerk of Court who fails or refuses to provide access as required by division (D)(1) of this section of the Revised Code shall be guilty of contempt and serve a definite term of imprisonment in the County Jail up to thirty (30) days for the first offense, up to sixty (60) days for the second offense, and up to ninety (90) days for the third and subsequent offense;
(E) (1)When a complaint has been filed in Court alleging that a Child's residency and domicile has been removed from the State and relocated to another State in violation of division (A) of this section, the Court shall hold a full hearing not later than fourteen (14) calendar days from the date the complaint was filed stamped by the Clerk of Courts. If the Court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the Child's residence and domicile have been removed to another State without prior leave of Court, the Court shall immediately refer the case to the local prosecutor's office for criminal prosecution. The complainant shall not be required to locate the offender as a pre-requisite to filing their complaint and shall only be required to provide the last known address of the offender;
(2)Upon verification that a child's residency has been removed from the State, in violation of division (A) of this section of the Revised Code, and the new address of the offender is unknown, the Ohio Amber Alert Coordinator shall activate the Ohio AMBER Alert and request multistate activation in any State the offender and Child is reasonably suspected to reside;
(3) A party to an open Dependency, Neglect, or Abuse case in the Juvenile Court where there is a case plan for a Reunification of the Child to the Parent or prior to a Permanency Hearing being adjudicated who desires to file a complaint against an offender for violation of division (A) of this section of the Revised Code shall first report the incident to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services prior to filing their complaint as an original action in the Juvenile Court with all costs, including but not limited court costs, processing and service fees being charged to the offender if the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child's residence has been removed from the State;
(F) The provisions of division (E) of this section of the Revised Code shall not deprive the Court of the ability to find the offender in contempt if the complainant so moves the Court for contempt sanctions against the offender;
(G) The Secretary of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services shall promulgate Administrative Regulations according to the Administrative Regulations Act necessary to effectuate this section of the Revised Code;
(H)(1) Whoever violates this section is guilty of parental kidnapping. Except as otherwise provided in division (I) and division (J) of this section, parental kidnapping is a Felony in the First Degree;
(2) Notwithstanding the definite or indefinite sentence provided for a felony of the first degree in section 2929.14 of the Revised Code, the offender shall be sentenced as follows:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in division (H)(2)(b) of this Section of the Revised Code, the offender shall be sentenced pursuant to that section to an indefinite prison term consisting of a minimum term of fifteen years and a maximum term of life imprisonment;
(b) If the offender returns the Child to the State in a safe place unharmed, the offender shall be sentenced pursuant to that section to a indefinite term consisting of a minimum term of ten years and a maximum term of life imprisonment;
(I) Any person who aides, abets, entices, conceals, hides, or otherwise assists another in committing a violation of division (A) of this Section of the Revised Code shall be guilty of a Felony in the Second Degree;
(J)(1)Whosoever having reached the age of majority as defined by section 3109.01 of the Revised Code, with the physical and mental capacity to do so, who has personal knowledge of anyone who violates division (A) of this Section of the Revised Code shall immediately report the violation to their local law enforcement agency or local law enforcement emergency dispatch;
(2)Except as otherwise provided in division (J)(1) of this section of the Revised Code, no privilege heretofore or hereafter established shall grant upon anyone a defense for failing or refusing to report the violation of division (A)(1) of this section as required by division (J)(1) of this section of the Revised Code;
(3)Anyone having personal knowledge of a violation of division (A) of this Section of the Revised Code who has an obligation to report as determined by division (J)(1) of this section of the Revised Code who fails and refuses to immediately do so shall be guilty of a Felony in the Fourth Degree and sentenced according to that section;
(K) (1)The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services shall begin a thorough investigation of the allegations within 24 hours from the time the complainant makes a report to them and shall notify the Department of Child Protective Services of any State the Child is reasonably believed to reside of the violation within 24 hours from the date and time of receipt of an Entered Stamped copy of the Court's findings that the child's residency has been removed from the State in violation of division (A) of this Section of the Revised Code, and submit to the Court a verified affidavit with supporting documentation that notification has been complied to within the timeframe proscribed by this division of this section of the Revised Code;
(2)The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services shall provide to the Court a certified copy of its investigation and findings prior to the Court's hearing as designated in division (E)(1) of this section of the Revised Code and the failure or refusal to do so shall be contempt;
(3) The failure or refusal of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services or any of its employees, elected or appointed officials to conduct an investigation on the basis of the complainant's gender, sex, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, familial status, marriage status, financial status, national origin, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, race or anything else protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 heretofore or thereafter enacted by Congress, the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, or any other United States Code, or State law enacted by the Ohio General Assembly or under authority of the Constitution of Ohio, shall waive sovereign immunity for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and all parties subject to and involved in the appropriate grievance and appeals process, and the grieving party shall have the right to seek legal remedy and damages against those parties involved and their agencies in any court of competent jurisdiction and venue as prescribed by State or Federal law;
(L) Returning the Child to the State shall not grant upon the offender an immunity of any kind;
(M) This Statute shall be known as "Wyatt's Law."
[End of Proposed Law]
IN WITNESS THEREOF, we THE UNDERSIGNED Citizens of the State of Ohio, hereinafter affix our signatures hereunto:
SPECIAL NOTE!: Please ONLY sign this petition if you are an Ohio Voter and make sure you list your City and State! This information will be used to verify you are actually an Ohio Voter, and if it cannot be verified, then their office will not count your signature. You MUST use your legal name!