Well, dear reader, today marks the day we’ve been anxiously waiting for … and my heart is very heavy right now. Judge Robert J. Anderson ruled Nunu Sung “Unfit.” I am heartbroken. Nunu, I’d imagine, is devastated.
This ruling does not pose an end to the parental rights hearing; it closes the door on phase one, to determine whether Nunu is “fit,” and transitions the trial to phase two: to determine what is in the “best interest” for Joshua.
As far as I can tell, there are two options available as an outcome for the “best interest” phase
(1) Terminate Nunu’s parental rights altogether
(2) Uphold Nunu’s parental rights
If the first occurs, Nunu will lose her son. The foster family will move to adopt him. If the second occurs, the court will develop a care plan for transitioning Joshua from foster care to an alternate setting until Nunu is deemed ready to assume parental responsibility. Proceedings will continue and Judge Anderson will decide on Thursday, January 19, whether to uphold or deny Nunu’s parental rights.
What I want to address is this: I believe Judge Anderson has already determined within himself the outcome of this hearing. As such, he cannot provide an objective ruling of what is in the best interest for Joshua.
As I sat in the waiting room outside Juvenile Court, I overheard members of the media confirming details of the Judge’s decision. They mentioned to one another that Judge Anderson remarked that he plans to terminate Sung’s parental rights in the next phase, and explore other options for the placement of Joshua.
While I am aware that in juvenile proceedings, once a parent is declared “Unfit” by the court it is pretty much inevitable parental rights will be terminated, my concern is for the lack of fairness (and objectivity) Judge Anderson will grant the defense team in this next phase since he has already declared his intent to terminate Nunu’s parental rights.
A viable option which must be considered by Judge Anderson in this next phase is to deem Nunu unfit, yet still uphold her parental rights. Doing so involves any combination of the following:
- piecing together a care plan of steps for Nunu to accomplish before receiving Joshua
- locating next-of-kin within Nunu’s family to raise Joshua
What I am asking of you, dear reader, is this: please take 30 seconds of your time to email Judge Robert Anderson. Ask Judge Anderson to uphold Nunu’s parental rights. Remind him of his obligation to deliberate fairly, withholding his personal bias. Judge Anderson is set to rule on Thursday, January 19. Two days from today. Time is short. Speak up now.
You may copy the simple note provided below or use your own words. Be kind.
Subject line: Uphold Nunu’s Parental Rights
18th District, Circuit Court Judge,
Honorable Judge Robert J. Anderson
I ask that you uphold Ms. Sung’s parental rights in the “best interest” phase of her trial.
Ms. Sung has demonstrated great care, sacrifice, and effort to develop and maintain a relationship with her son—a commitment she maintains even in prison by writing to him, weekly. Ms. Sung made a mistake two-and-a-half years ago, has accepted responsibility, and devoted every day of her life since to reuniting with her son, Joshua.
Ms. Sung’s consistent efforts prove she is indeed fit, and capable, to love and raise her son.
While Ms. Sung has honored the terms of her plea agreement in serving time in prison, I ask that you hold the prosecution accountable to those same terms which stipulate that no party will attempt to terminate her parental rights.
In Support of Nunu Sung,
- Daily Herald, January 17, 2012
- Daily Herald, January 14, 2012
- Daily Herald, January 11, 2012
- Background Information
- An Open Letter to Guardian ad Litem, Kathleen Anderson
- An Open Letter to the Foster Family Caring for Joshua
- A Letter to Joshua