Jenny’s Court Battle Begins

Date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
News Source: 
Author: 
Andy Fox
Citation: 

Andy Fox, Jenny’s Court Battle Begins, Wavy.com, May 1, 2013, available at http://www.wavy.com/news/local/newport-news/jenny-hatch-goes-to-court (last visited Oct. 7, 2013)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - A bike accident left 29-year-old Jenny Hatch with nowhere to go, when her employers took her in. Now, they are in a legal battle to keep Jenny living where she wants to be.

Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris want to help Jenny by letting her live with them, but Jenny's mother has fought to keep the fully functioning young woman with Down Syndrome inside group homes.

Wednesday, Jenny's case was brought to court, where it will be determined whether she is her own guardian and decide where she wants to live. There were plenty of witnesses, as well as detailed testimony into Jenny, her capabilities and what's in her best interest.

Jenny showed up to court with Talbert and Morris.

In court, Jenny's case manager told Judge David Pugh when Jenny was homeless with nowhere to go, Jenny's own mother did not want to take her in.

When asked why she didn't take her own daughter in, Julia Ross had no comment, but seemed more concerned about reporter Andy Fox's fractured toe.

"I am so sorry about your foot," she said. 

Richard Ross, Jenny's step-father, said he had no comment. Additionally, he erroneously told Talbert and Morris they would lose Medicaid if they let Jenny live with them.

A Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board supervisor testified in court that is not true. 

Jenny can keep the valuable waiver and live with Jim and Kelly.

"Jenny needed long term medical care, had we known [she could stay here, and still have the medical benefits], we wouldn't be here today," Morris said. 

Talbert and Morris had Jenny leave their home, because they thought they would keep their benefits.

"To be honest with you...I just want to go back to Jim and Kelly's," Jenny said after court Wednesday.

Dawn Drier, a woman Jenny has never met, showed up to court to support her.

"It's her time. She's a grown woman. She had her civil liberties stripped... it is time she is happy. Justice for Jenny is justice for her," Drier said.

Jenny remains in a group home, and is working at Eggleston Services five days a week.