Attorneys Meet in Jenny’s Case

Date: 
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
News Source: 
Author: 
Andy Fox
Citation: 

Andy Fox, Attorneys Meet in Jenny’s Case, Wavy.com, December 5, 2012, available at http://www.wavy.com/news/local/hampton/attorneys-meet-in-jennys-case

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - Wednesday, attorneys involved with the legal guardianship of Hampton resident Jenny Hatch met to try and find a middle ground. 

WAVY.com has reported on Jenny extensively. She is a fully-functioning 28-year-old woman with Down Syndrome.

Jenny has expressed many times she wants to live with Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris, her friends who took her in when no one else would after she got hit by a car.

Talbert and Morris own a thrift store where Jenny worked before being forced to live in a group home.

She remains in the group home, where she has vehemently explained she does not want to live.

The implications of Jenny's case are gaining statewide attention. The State of Virginia was recently sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for putting too many people like Jenny into group homes, instead of single family homes like Morris and Talbert's.

Wednesday, lawyers met at the Hampton/Newport News Community Services Board to find a middle ground.

Jenny's attorney Robert Brown would not comment on the details of the private meeting.

"I found it positive finding out about their perspective positions not really articulated to this point," Brown said. "I know where they are coming from... and they know where I am coming from."

Lloyd Clemmons, the lawyer for the group home Jenny was initially appointed to was in the meeting. Clemmons and the Jewish Family Service now want out of Jenny's case.

In a motion to withdraw, they note their involvement with this case has presented, "Enormous challenges to Jewish Family Service... interfered with... ability to serve its other clients... the legal fees... the constant phone calls and emails stemming from a 'Justice for Jenny' campaign and Facebook page."

The coverage by WAVY-TV 10 is noted several times. 

"I believe with the media being so heavily involved in this, they wanted to get out of it because of that," says Brown.

In the meeting Wednesday, court-appointed guardian attorney Clara Swanson, who is supposed to protect Jenny's interest in court, sat with Jenny's mother Julia Ross.

Ross is taking Jenny to court trying to stop her from living with Talbert and Kelly, who have called Ross selfish for her actions against Jenny.

Talbert and Kelly are no longer able to visit with Jenny at the request of the Jewish Family Service.

Additionally, Brown has asked to be replaced by a legal specialist in this kind of case. Brown will also ask for a change of venue to move the case to Hampton since that's where Jenny was living when the guardianship battle began.

WAVY.com will continue to follow Jenny's legal battle.