Jan 31

Washington State “Charlie and Braden Powell Act”

Jan. 31, 2013
A bill called the Charlie-Braden Act barring custody to murder suspects will be heard by the Senate Law and Justice committee in Olympia Friday, in a public hearing. <http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/LAW/Pages/default.aspx>  The bill is named in honor of Charlie and Braden Powell, (Susan Cox Powell’s Sons) who were killed by their father in a murder-suicide in 2012.  Charlie and Braden’s Grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox are among those expected to testify.

Senate Bill 5162<http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5162&year=2013>, prime-sponsored by Sen. Pam Roach, would prohibit child custody awards from being granted to suspects in murder investigations.    State Sen. Pam Roach (360) 786-7660

“To me, this really seems like common sense. If the police suspect that you killed someone, you shouldn’t be granted custody,” said Roach, R-Auburn. “It’s beyond unfortunate that this is a law that needs to exist.”  Expected to testify at the hearing are Chuck and Judy Cox, the grandparents of Charlie and Braden. The two have been outspoken about changes to the law that could prevent a similar occurrence.

For more information contact Jami Herring at (360) 786-7399 or jami.herring@leg.wa.govmailto:jami.herring@leg.wa.gov.

We invite all those interested to attend the hearing which begins at 8:00am.  We are grateful that Senator Roach has introduced this bill.  We fully support Senator Roach and the other sponsor’s efforts to give the courts the laws and tools needed to protect children.  We believe that this law will also act as a deterrent by preventing a spouse who may have used violence from benefiting from those acts, while increasing the safety of surviving children, and indirectly encouraging the full cooperation of a surviving spouse with police efforts.


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    • Debbie Caldwell on February 1, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I would like to see the wording to include “person of interest” as well. Being Charlie and Braden were allowed to be murdered by a man with the label “person of interest” rather than suspect. I don’t know if that is possible. I might be blocked somehow by the Constitution. Just a thought.

      • admin on February 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      We feel it should say that when one parent is seriously injured, Killed or is missing, the surviving parent must cooperate with those investigating the injury, death or disappearance. If the surviving parent refuses to cooperate with the investigation, the children should be removed to insure their safety. This would remove the incentive for gaining custody through domestic violence. The surviving parents rights are preserved because in order to remove the children the organization investigating would have to provide evidence to the court that the surviving parent is not coopeerating. The remedy for the surviving parent would be to cooperate with the investigation. But this is a start.

    • Glenda on February 3, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I agree with Debbie!! If they only use the word “suspect” it does NOT include those who are POI’s, or those who do not cooperate with investigating law enforcement. Let’s find out how to get the wording altered, if possible. Maybe call or write to Senator Roach, since she is the prime-sponsor of the bill.

      • admin on February 4, 2013 at 10:28 am

      I understand that concern, however when I considered the future impact (even leaving only the word “suspect” in) I realized that if this law had been in force, that it is very possible that West Valley City would have decided to name Josh Powell a “suspect” and proceed with his prosecution to allow use of this law to protect Charlie and Braden. So I see it as not perfect but a tool, that will impact the decisions made by law enforcement and prosecutors in the future. But I agree “suspect” is too limiting.

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