Death row inmate denied right to sue for visitation of son

In Morris County, and throughout the U.S., when people are convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail, they often lose certain rights, at least for the period of their incarceration. While, for the most part, parents who are jailed retain their parental rights, there are some situations in which those rights too may be suspended.

According to reports, a family law judge in New York recently ruled that a man on death row does not have the right to seek visitation of his son. The inmate fathered a child with a former female prison guard while he was in prison awaiting death by lethal injection. The pair reportedly entered into an inappropriate relationship in March of 2012, which resulted in the birth of their child. After the relationship soured, however, the woman refused to allow him to see the boy. The man took legal action in an effort to obtain court ordered visitation with his son.

The judge’s ruling was reportedly based largely on the fact that the child was conceived during the man’s incarceration. Because of the man’s legal standing, the judge ruled that he was “civilly dead” and thus did not have the right to file a lawsuit in this case. It was not reported whether or not he plans to appeal the ruling.

Although this is a somewhat unusual case, all family legal issues can be complicated. Whether you are involved in a child custody dispute, or you are preparing to separate or divorce your partner, it may be of benefit to obtain legal representation. An attorney can look out for your interests and ensure your rights are upheld, as well as answer any questions that you may have.

Source: The New York Post, “Cop-killer Ronell Wilson ‘civilly dead,’ has no right to see son”, Selim Algar, Oct. 4, 2013