Legal contempt for the law

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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To the editor:

Contempt, when applied to the law, is such a strong word, perhaps stronger than when we apply it to everyday life. In law, it is usually used toward those who disobey or disrespect the law, but can it be used toward the makers and enforcers of the law? An example from my life may suggest that it can.

Please note: more than complaining, I am rather hoping to inform and inspire anyone to research the Code of Virginia. Whether it helps you or someone else, it is well worth it. Copies of the code are available at a public library, the law library and online. They are there for you.

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Three years ago, I filed complaints against three health care professionals. I disagreed with the decisions of the boards. Somehow thinking I could not appeal their decisions, I decided to research the code and discovered that I indeed could appeal their decisions. Per the code, a petitioner need only be aggrieved and claim the illegality of the board’s decision. Both apply to my situation.

I also learned that immunity from prosecution or disciplinary action is not automatic or absolute. Immunity is conditional and can be waived for one or more reasons. They include acting with gross negligence, willful misconduct, malicious intent and possibly bad faith. You should review the code to see which may apply to your situation.

I found another item of interest. Chapter 54.1-2915(A)(12) indicates that violations of a professional’s code of ethics may result in disciplinary action, including revocation of one’s professional certificate or license. Also, as this item is listed among other actionable behaviors which to me seem illegal, then it might be possible the professional’s violation of ethics may be illegal. You should review the code and other regulations governing their profession and the national agency Code of Ethics governing their profession.

As to legal contempt of the law, it seems I have experienced roadblock after roadblock to prevent me from exercising my right to appeal. This includes delaying my divorce, which has been on file for nearly 14 months. As part of that, it seems like the issue of my permanent address has been decided without me being heard so that I can defend my claim to that address.

To me, it seems like the parties involved do not care what the Code of Virginia says. Observations over the last several months may suggest they will go to whatever lengths necessary to keep us from knowing and then exercising all of our rights. Is there a milder, more appropriate word to describe these actions other than contempt? I was never good at vocabulary and distinguishing the finer nuances between words. Maybe you know of one. Anyway, I hope you will take time to research the code.

Kevin Snashall