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Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
April 26, 2005
Introduced by Reps. Leach, Hinson, Cobb-Hunter, E.H. Pitts, Ceips and Mahaffey
S. Printed 4/26/05--H.
Read the first time January 11, 2005.
TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-1695, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO PERSONS FROM WHOM CONSENT OR RELINQUISHMENT FOR ADOPTION IS REQUIRED, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CONSENT OR RELINQUISHMENT IS NOT REQUIRED IF THE CHILD WHO IS THE SUBJECT OF THE ADOPTION PROCEEDING WAS CONCEIVED AS A RESULT OF CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT OR INCEST; AND TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-1572, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS A GROUND FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS IF THE CHILD WAS CONCEIVED AS A RESULT OF CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT OR INCEST.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as "Autumn's Law".
SECTION 2. Section 20-7-1695(A) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 653 of 1988, is further amended to read:
"(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20-7-1690, consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption is not required of the following persons:
(1) a parent whose rights with reference to the adoptee have been terminated pursuant to Subarticle 3, Article 11, Chapter 7 of Title 20;
(2) a parent whom the family court finds to be mentally incapable of giving consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption and whom the court finds to be unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the adoptee and whose capacity is unlikely to be restored for a reasonable period of time, and, in the court's judgment, it would be detrimental to the adoptee to delay adoption. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for an incompetent parent for whom there has been no prior appointment and shall appoint independent counsel for an incompetent parent who is indigent. However, upon good cause shown, the court may waive the requirement for the appointment of independent counsel for an incompetent and indigent parent
(3) the biological parent of a child conceived as a result of that parent's criminal sexual conduct or incest as found by a court of competent jurisdiction unless, with respect to a conviction for criminal sexual conduct, the sentencing court made a specific finding on the record that the conviction resulted from consensual sexual conduct where the victim was younger than the actor as contained in Section 16-3-655(3)."
SECTION 3. Section 20-7-1572 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 104 of 1999, is further amended by adding an appropriately numbered item to read:
"( ) conception of a child as a result of the criminal sexual conduct of a biological parent, as found by a court of competent jurisdiction, is grounds for terminating the rights of that biological parent unless the sentencing court made a specific finding on the record that the conviction resulted from consensual sexual conduct where the victim was younger than the actor as contained in Section 16-3-655(3)."
SECTION 4. Subarticle 3, Article 11, Chapter 7, Title 20 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 20-7-1573. (A) Notwithstanding Section 20-7-1572, if a person is convicted of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to violating Section 16-3-655 or any similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction, that person's parental rights to any child conceived as a result of the conduct underlying the conviction or pleas are automatically terminated upon conviction or entry of a plea unless the sentencing court made a specific finding on the record that the conviction resulted from consensual sexual conduct where the victim was younger than the actor as contained in Section 16-3-655(3).
(B) If subsection (A) applies to automatically terminate the convicted parent's rights, the victim of the criminal sexual conduct is not required to follow the procedures set forth in this subarticle to formally terminate the convicted biological parent's rights.
(C) A certified copy of a sentencing sheet or a judgment of conviction reflecting the conviction or plea described in subsection (A) serves as an Order terminating parental rights pursuant to Section 20-7-1574 and has the same effect as that specified in Section 20-7-1576.
(D) If the biological parent's conviction is reversed on appeal, the parent may petition the family court to restore his parental rights, subject to the following:
(1) The decision whether to restore the biological parent's rights must be made pursuant to Section 20-7-1572, including a finding whether maintaining the termination is in the best interest of the child.
(2) In adjudicating the petition and determining the best interests of the child, the family court may:
(a) make findings independent of the reversed conviction regarding whether the biological parent is guilty of violating subsection (1) or (2) of Section 16-3-655; if the court renders such a finding, the court shall enter an order pursuant to Sections 20-7-1574 and 20-7-1576 affirming termination of the parent's rights; and
(b) consider the basis on which the conviction was overturned."
SECTION 5. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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