COLUMBUS- State Rep. Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) hailed the passage of House Bill (HB) 122 on the House floor. The bill would provide legal protections for Guardians ad litem (GAL) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
“Guardians ad litem and Court appointed special advocates represent the most vulnerable in our community. They are mission critical participants in the Justice System,” said Rep. Miller. “Without these public servants, our children and elderly would be left without help, and our court system would find it almost impossible to function properly. Their difficult work merits the specific protections which will cover them once this bill becomes law”.
Guardians ad litem (GAL) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are advocates appointed by a judge to determine what is in the best interest of a party (usually minors or adults subject to guardianship) who do not have an attorney of their own. These individuals serve the court, but are not afforded the same protections as officers of the court. This can leave them subject to harassment, intimidation, stalking, or worse from those who disagree with their independent, court assigned assessment.
HB 122 would make it a first-degree misdemeanor for someone to abuse, threaten, or harass a guardian ad litem or a court appointed special advocate in carrying out their court mandated duties.
The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.