MURDERER'S RIGHTS TERMINATED IN CRIMINAL TRIAL, THEN GIVEN BACK IN THE CUSTODY TRIAL. AND JUSTICE FOR ALL! A Judge in Lehigh County Pennsylvania terminated a mans parental rights in the criminal trial for murdering his childs mother,then in the custody trial the judge and social worker decided it would be in the best interest of the child to be able to communicate with the man that killed her mother. This is the only case we can find in Pennylvania (or anywhere) where a person convicted of first degree pre-meditated murder with no chance of parole was allowed any communication with their children. This is a man who researched information on the Internet how to strike fatal blows to a body by stabbing, stangulation and hitting to cause death one afternoon,then uses this information the next afternoon to kill his wife with their 1 year old child in the next room. This is the same man who feels he should have rights to his child. This is not a loving, caring father. This is a a man with a criminal mindset before the murder even occured! he made a dilberate choice choice to murder his child's mother while this very child was in the next room hearing her mother beg, scream and plead for her life. Continual begging for him to stop, this by his own admission to the police and he did not stop! He did not think of his child then. Why give him rights now Prevent murderer parents from contacting children By Heidi Markow February 8, 2008 On Nov. 13, 2002, Kimberlee Godshall Carl lost her life at the hands of her husband, Joel Carl, while their 1-year-old daughter was in her crib in the next room. The family has come together to provide a safe, loving, nurturing, healing home to this innocent child, but I believe that the stability offered in their protective arms has been shattered by a court ruling. The criminal father was given rights to communicate with this little girl through a psychologist. I believe it was proved that Carl constructively pre-meditated the murder and therefore decided to abandon his little girl, which should have terminated his rights. The most disturbing part of the court documents I have read is how Lehigh County courts have handled Joel Carl's parental rights under state law, which I believe clearly says Carl may have no custody, partial custody or visitation. However, Lehigh County Judge Edward Reibman said, ''I would rather leave it in the hands of the child's therapist as to whether you (Carl) should have any contact and what the nature of what that would be.'' When it came to the custody part, the judge and the child psychologist agreed that the man convicted of first-degree murder -- who was sent to jail with no chance of parole -- should be allowed to communicate with this innocent little girl through the therapist. How could it possibly be in this child's best interests to have contact with the man who killed her mother How could a judge and a professional therapist not see that such contact would or could do more harm than good If this criminal could abuse and then murder her mother while she was in the next room, what stability and support could he offer this child Isn't it a fact that when a mother is abused, her children also suffer Why is it that a criminal should be allowed to have influence on the child It's not by accident that children and adults who perpetrate these violent crimes are from depleted home environments. Research shows that children who are systematically subjected to abuse and deprived of loving care develop neuro-chemical vulnerabilities. The act of being violated gives these vulnerable young people a street-ready repertoire of violence; they know how to kick because they have been kicked, they know how to abuse because they have been abused, they know how to torment and humiliate because they have experienced the same. The absence of a compassionate, intervening, protective adult sends the child a perverse message: human life, initially their own, is not sacred or worth cherishing. In the eyes of these children, the people who perpetrate violence against them are powerful. If we don't challenge the judicial system, then there will be no change, and victims will continue to get victimized. Years go by, but the pain remains. Criminals will keep appealing and judges may make bad calls. We, as a community, need to take a stand and say it's not all right. Families are busy grieving while putting their trust in the system allegedly designed to protect them and their rights. This little girl is now 6; how many more years does this family have to wait until justice is served How many more drawings or notes, and quite possibly phone calls, does she have to receive before someone acts in the best interests of this innocent child More counseling can occur and more money will be spent, but this child will still never again feel her mother's loving touch. She knows only the confusion of getting cards and letters from the man that took her mother's loving touch from her. This is what happens when we trust in our judicial system and don't challenge it. Is this ''justice for all'' I call it irresponsible and reprehensible. There is hope that this situation will change. State Senate Bill 414, which we call ''Kimberlee's Law,'' was introduced last year and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Its chief sponsors include Sens. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh County, Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, and Rob Wonderling, R-Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks and Montgomery counties. Rep. Doug Reichley, R-Emmaus, plans to introduce a companion bill in the state House. The measure would change state law relating to child custody to say ''No court shall award custody, partial custody or visitation or allow contact or communication'' by a parent who was convicted of first-degree murder of the other parent unless the child is old enough to consent. You can help by visiting http://www.beginningover.org and signing the petition for Kimberlee's Law. Heidi Markow of Williams Township is the founder of the Beginning Over Foundation, which raises awareness about domestic and partner violence. PLEASE HELP PASS KIMBERLEE'S LAW SENATE BILL #414 In November 2002, Kimberlee Jill Godshall was brutally murdered by her husband at the age of 22 while her 1 year old daughter was in the next room. The perpetrator was sentenced to life without parole. The social worker and Judge in the case thought it would be in the childs best interest to let the criminal write letters and draw pictures to this little girl. In court documents it states that the convicted felon could write letters, draw pictures,and the word ETC...., the word ETC. means that in the future the courts may allow more direct contact. This is another loophole that our judicial system uses to allow criminals more rights then the victims and their families. The judge in this case had the authority to terminate ALL parental rights, which he did in the criminal trial,but chose to leave it in the hands of M.L.B. the social worker of Bethlehem PA. Please help save this little girl. This is very confusing to her because her aunt and uncle are to be mother and father, ruled by the judge. Why confuse her with these drawings and writings which could do more damage then good. Kimberlee is not able to be here because of this man so why should the perpetrator have any rights. Kimberlee is not able to enjoy her beautiful little girl who she could not wait to have, Kimberlee loved her so much. We all miss Kimberlee so much, every second of every day, we pray for a little peace and justice. My family believes that we need to fight to have these rights taken away from the man who murdered Kimberlee and any other criminal that has done the same act. WHAT ARE WE ASKING FOR NO CONTACT, NO COMMUNICATION, WRITTEN OR VERBAL! FOR ANYONE CONVICTED OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER OF THE OTHER PARENT. We believe that it would be in the best interest of the child that all parental rights are terminated when one parent murders the other through and act of domestic violence. We take children out of the homes where abuse is prevelant, so why would any judge allow a violent offender to have ANY contact with an innocent child. We need to speak out and let our Government know that we are paying attention and that we are watching the decisions they are making. Kimberlee's Law would take away any contact with the perpetrator, we are talking about taking away 100 percent of their rights not 99 percent! Imagine being 1 years old and having your mother murdered in the next room, and then the Court system making the decision for you! in this case giving the violent criminal rights to draw pictures to his daughter. We ask you, will this do more good then HARM Let's put the best interest of the child FIRST! Let's let the loving family that is raising this child as mother and father give her the normal life that she deserves, not a life that if forced onto her by our judicial system. Today let's show the system how it is failing! WHAT IS KIMBERLEE'S LAW (SENATE BILL #414) Right now it's a dream a hopeful change in the legal system that will one day be accepted into law. No court should award custody, partial custody or visitation to or allow contact or communication by a parent being convicted of murder of the first degree. Of all the roles one plays in life, that of being a parent is perhaps the most important. The role requires a huge commitment of time and emotional support. However, when a parent is unable to meet a child's basic needs due to murder, neglect or abuse, the best interests of the child may necessitate the revocation or termination of the parent's right to custody of the child upon finding a parent to be unfit, we believe that the parents parental rights should be terminated. The new statute would require that the incarceration be for a substantial portion of the child's life, as in this case the incarceration is life. Furthermore, we believe the court should deem the parent to be either a violent criminal, a habitual felony offender, a sexual predator, or to have been convicted of a sexual battery constituting a capital, life, or first degree felony or a substantially similar offense. Additionally, the court must determine by clear and convincing evidence that it would be harmful to the child for the parent-child relationship to continue, in this case, the brutal murder of her mother would be reason for parental termination. felony conviction of the parent(s) for a crime of violence against the child or other family member, or a conviction for any felony when the term of conviction is such a length as to have a negative impact on the child and the only available provision of care for the child is foster care. Child's Best Interests Pennsylvania should consider a child's best interests in termination proceedings. Pennsylvania should consider general language mandating that the child's health and safety be paramount in all proceedings, and will also consider specific factors that must be considered, such as the child's age; the physical, mental, emotional and moral well-being; cultural and attachment issues; as well as the child's reasonable preferences. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights The parent-child relationship is a fundamental right of all persons. As a result, the burden of proof necessary to terminate parental rights is quite high. Parental rights may only be terminated involuntarily if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that one of the following apply: Unfit Parents. A parent that is unfit may have parental rights terminated if it can be shown that the parent has demonstrated a consistent pattern of specific conduct before the child or of specific conditions directly relating to the parent and child relationship which renders that parent unable, for the reasonably foreseeable future, to care appropriately for the ongoing physical, mental, or emotional needs of the child. Significantly , there is also a presumption that a parent is unfit if the his/her parental rights were terminated to another child in the past. Conviction of Crimes. A parent's conviction of certain crimes may also form a basis for the termination of that parent's rights. When making a termination decision, the court is to rely on the evidence at hand and on past history, and to a great extent upon the projected permanency of the parent's inability to care for his or her child.