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Letter: An open letter to Thomas O'Dea

Published 2:33 pm, Thursday, March 28, 2013
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On March 4, our elected representative who serves on the Joint Committee on Judiciary, Thomas O'Dea, cast a vote in favor of an "omnibus" bill for revisions in court operations, labeled HB6387.

HB6387, as proposed and docketed for vote in the General Assembly in April, would provide the "discretionary powers" to a Superior Court judge in Connecticut to remove a parent's custody rights during a divorce proceeding or in a post judgment proceeding, without a hearing.

At the New Canaan Advertiser's hosted coffee, attended by about 40 citizens, I brought to the attention of these "influencers" that Thomas O'Dea joined 23 other lawyers turned legislators to engage in a vote at the Joint Committee on Judiciary, to endorse this legislation in a 39-1 vote.

As a parent who had his custody rights denied by such an ex parte proceeding, every parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle or aunt of a child in the state of Connecticut should be equally concerned that Rep. O'Dea voted in favor of HB6387.

The conflicts of interest of Rep. O'Dea are considerable. Mr. O'Dea, if he voted against this legislation, would potentially compromise the interests of the family law practitioners in the State of Connecticut.

Attorney O'Dea and I spoke about CGS 51-14 mandate which requires hearings to be conducted in the legislature on the Rules of Practice, which govern the practice of law in the state of Connecticut.

Attorney O'Dea has refused to advocate for the mandated public hearings on the Practice Book Rules because the rules are proposed by the members of the judiciary themselves.

Endorsing the self-empowerment of the judiciary is embedded in HB6377 because the bill itself was drafted by the Family Commission and submitted by testimony on March 4, 2011, of Judge Barbara Quinn, the chief administrative judge in Connecticut.

I ask Mr. O'Dea to conduct an open debate with me and other disenfranchised parents at a location of his choosing to defend his endorsement of HB6377.

Michael Nowacki

New Canaan