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Ruling on Utah Birth Father’s Rights in Adoption Case Expected Soon

Andrea Smardon

A ruling is expected shortly in the case of Jake Strickland - a Utah father who has been trying for almost two years to gain custody of his child.  Strickland’s son Jack was put up for adoption by the child’s mother.  2nd District Judge David Hamilton held a hearing in the case Wednesday, and said he would deliver a ruling soon.  

Jake Strickland told KUER he wants an answer.

“It feels like it’s dragging on and on and right now, I don’t see an end to it,” said Strickland, “but as long as I have to keep fighting I will.”

Strickland’s lawyer Wesley Hutchins said they are hoping Judge David Hamilton will rule in their favor – that Strickland wasn’t provided a meaningful opportunity to assert his rights as a father when the child’s mother put the baby up for adoption.  But if Strickland loses, they plan to appeal.  Hutchins said the ultimate goal is to force the legislature to change Utah adoption law to better protect the rights of biological fathers. 

“We have to have laws in this state that protect the interest of all parties that are affected by adoptions,” said Hutchins, “That’s our goal.”

Hutchins said no matter how the judge rules, there is likely to be an appeal.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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