There is another bill quickly making its way through the Colorado legislature that purports to relate to child support but actually promotes paternity fraud and slavery. HB06-1267 (PDF) sponsored by Rep. Jim Riesberg (Democrat-Weld County) in the House and by Senator Shawn Mitchell (Republican-Adams, Broomfield, Weld Counties) in the Senate.
The obvious purpose of the current bill is to correct some of the mistakes in the abomination of SB05-181 (PDF) passed in 2005 that won its sponsor, RINO state senator Steve Johnson, the North Carolina group Drop the GOP Single Biggest IDIOT On Earth award for 2005. Two thirds of the respondents to Johnson's web site gave the Colorado legislature an F for 2005
Paternity fraud will increase Already at incredible levels this bill would make the problem worse. There is no penalty for filing a false paternity claim and if a woman can get a default judgement this bill and its predecessor, SB05-181, make it virtually impossible for a man to reverse it as innocence is no defense once the order is entered under HB06-1267.
Prison populations will increase It becomes a federal felony when court-ordered child support falls $5,000 or more in arrears irregardless of whether the man is the biological father or not. Also, slaves tend to be violent. And kids with single-parent mothers end up in prison far more often than kids from two-parent homes.
If you assume that legislation with such obvious and dire outcomes would be the subject of extensive hearings and debate, you'd be wrong. I didn't hear about the hearing on this bill in the House and it sailed through that chamber. Give a Democrat or RINO something that sounds like it will help child support and away they go! Facts don't matter.
After waiting the entire afternoon, I've seldom felt so disconnected from my audience as I did testifying against this appalling legislation. It was as if I was talking rocket science, i.e., Newtonian mechanics, volumetric (triple) integrals, and Legendre polynomials (basic stuff), while the committee was having a very difficult, if not impossible time figuring out the sum of two plus two. I've posted the outline of my testimony (PDF) and I think anyone familiar with paternity fraud and child support will find the points I made elementary. However, the responsibility for failure to communicate rests with the speaker.
Therefore, before reviewing the horrors of HB06-1267 it may be useful to others trying to bring common sense and the rule of law back to child support issues to understand why, in my opinion, the disconnect occurred:
The fact that upwards of 30% of child support orders are entered against men who are not the biological father of the child(ren) they are enslaved to support was completely beyond their comprehension. They did seem to think it might happen occasionally but that it was rare.
The concept that a bill submitted to correct problems with a law passed the previous year reasonably ought to address the full range of issues with the law rather than try and attempt some cosmetic bureaucratic changes in the wording escaped them.
Despite the fact that two weeks before the hearing I had taken the time and trouble to write Shawn Mitchell a six-page letter (PDF) detailing page-by-page and line-by-line some of the problems with this bill, and at least one other citizen and EJF member has repeatedly emailed him, Mitchell, had not felt it was worth his time and effort to actually read our comments and suggestions. In fact, Sen. Mitchell, who, like most attorneys seems to have substituted arrogance for an education, stopped me during my testimony to explain how bills are marked up. 1
From Mitchell's testimony it became clear that this bill was submitted entirely at the behest of the Colorado Dept. of Human Services (DHS) division of child support enforcement (CSE). In other words there was no attempt whatsoever to try and address the multitudinous problems surrounding child support or attendant paternity fraud. The primary, if not entire purpose was to CYA CSE because of mistakes in SB05-181.
In hindsight it is clear that I faced nearly insurmountable hurdles testifying before this committee. However, I labored under the naive assumption that before sponsoring this, or any bill, Senator Mitchell had made himself familiar with the issues surrounding the need for such legislation. His testimony made it clear that the only information he had about HB06-1267 was provided by DHS CSE bureaucrats, who were present, and that he was simply acting on their behalf, not that of citizens.
Further, unethically and inexcusably, Senator Mitchell couldn't be bothered to read the extensive information provided him by citizens on the inherent problems with the bill. Representative government cannot function if the "representatives" willfully neglect to inform themselves of the concerns of the citizens they supposedly represent.
1. Gee, I wonder how I ever got listed among famous earth scientists or in Who's Who in the World and America, facts I had noted earlier in my testimony, if I can't even understand the simple system used for marking up bills in Colorado?
"That, if genetic tests are not obtained prior to a legal establishment of paternity and submitted into evidence prior to the entry of the final decree of dissolution, the genetic tests may not be allowed into evidence at a later date."
However, § 19-4-105.5 doesn't deal with divorce, but with Commencement of proceedings summons in a paternity action. Therefore, HB06-1267 will change "decree of dissolution" to "order establishing paternity." A seemingly innocuous correction unless one realizes that:
If he fails to respond within the 30 days a default paternity order will likely be entered against him and it then becomes impossible under this legislation to change the order even if he can later prove his innocence.
Since the man has no relation to the child or the mother he is held involuntarily in thrall to them by the courts under this legislation unless he can prove his innocence within a very short time. Failing that he has no future recourse.
Slavery is usually defined as a condition of control over a person against their will, enforced by violence or other forms of coercion. Slavery almost always occurs for the purpose of securing the labor of the person concerned, which is what child support comes down to in these cases. And the likelihood that a man with a paternity action against him will be enslaved appears to be nearly one in three because CRS § 19-4-105.5 applies almost exclusively to men and women who are not married.
"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
And if the slave rebels and refuses to pay then he will lose his passport, drivers and professional licenses, and face imprisonment for a federal felony when the child support arrearages reach $5,000.
The same seemingly innocuous change in wording from "decree of dissolution" to "order establishing paternity" except in CRS § 19-6-101. Note that CRS § 19-6-101(6) refers to "advisements" that are to be given the defendant. Fair warning one might think but, if you examine it a bit closer, one notes that the defendant is still presumed guilty and the burden of proving his innocence is on him whether or not he receives the notice from the court or not, or whether he is currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any of the many other lovely vacation resorts our troops are deployed to.
And if he fails to prove his innocence before the paternity order is entered, commonly by default, then he has no recourse and is enslaved until the "last or only" child reaches 19 (Section 1, p. 2, line 8).
"If a man who is alleged to be the natural father is deceased, the personal representative of his estate, if one has been appointed, shall be made a party. If a personal representative has not been appointed, the deceased man's spouse or an immediate blood relative shall be made a party. If a spouse or immediate blood relative is not known or does not exist, the court shall appoint a representative for the alleged natural father who is deceased."
I have bolded key words in the additions proposed in HB06-1267. Note that the widow or parents of any deceased man can be made a party by a mere allegation and the court shall make his widow or parents a party to the paternity action.
Obviously, it is dead soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines that this law will be used against. What better target for paternity fraud than a man killed in action in defense of his country? Especially if he is lost or buried at sea, blown to bits by artillery, his aircraft augers in and only tiny pieces remain, or he is missing in action, presumed dead and no genetic testing is possible.
What I expect to happen when HB06-1267 passes is that a coffin, full of sand, is sent home to his native state, and women in Colorado Springs, Fountain, and Security file paternity actions against his widow or parents. Note also that no penalty attaches to filing a false claim.
The widow or the fallen soldier's parents probably don't live in Colorado and would be forced to spend the survivors benefits and insurance money on attorneys and travel even if they receive timely notice of the paternity actions against their son or loved one.
More likely a default paternity order will be ordered against his estate and the widow and her children left to starve under HB06-1267 with the added injustice of an unproven claim of infidelity against the man she loved.
If you are not sickened by such injustice I suggest you look in the mirror to see if you're human. Yet the sponsor of this outrage could not even be bothered to read citizen's comments but simply added whatever DHS CSE wanted.
Another innocuous change of a single word from "shall" to "may." But here the court was previously ordered to "set the monthly support obligation based on the current minimum wage for a forty-hour workweek."
We sure don't want to tie some black-robed monster's hands in family court. And I shouldn't have to elaborate on the abuses of "imputed" income to those of you who have survived a Star Chamber hearing in a family court. So now the judge can ignore the facts, as they usually do anyway, and set child support at whatever figure they want without statutory constraint. Of course "...other information provided by the parents..." (p. 4, line 20) means whatever lies the mother wants to tell.
Our suggestion is that a genetic test as defined by CRS § 13-25-126 be completed for all parties and parentage determined by best available means before any judge could enter a child support order in any case. That would preserve a man's innocence until the facts are determined and places the burden of proof on the plaintiff, or the state, where it should be.
If you have comments or are a victim of paternity fraud you might try sending your comments to Biran Maass of Denver KCNC-TV CBS Channel 7 in Denver. He and his intern, Elissa, were looking for men in Colorado who have been falsely accused of paternity and incurred financial hardship. Call them at 303-830-6533 or email them privately at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.