An appeal of Hans Benjamin Singer's contempt-of-court conviction has been launched at the U.S. Supreme Court, although it hadn't yet arrived Wednesday morning.
In February, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene ruled the 15-year-old son of Vickie and the late John Singer was in civil contempt of court for not testifying about family members. The grand jury wanted to get information about incidents during the Singer-Swapp family's 13-day armed standoff with law officers at their home in Marion, Summit County, and the shoot-out that ended the siege in which Corrections Lt. Fred House was killed.Claiming a right not to testify against family members, Singer refused to talk. Greene found him in contempt, and the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, resulting in the youth's separation from his family for several weeks.
Steven Kuhnhausen, Singer's lawyer, said he sent to Washington nine copies of a request for the court to consider the case. He also served notice on federal prosecutors in Salt Lake City.
The government has 30 days to file a response. The court then accepts or rejects the request to study the matter.
"Justice Anthony Kennedy (he court's most recent appointee) wrote a very strong dissent in one of the key cases on this issue," he said. That may mean that the court is willing to consider the controversy.
"I think it's an important issue because I think it cuts to the heart of all family relationships," Kuhnhausen added. "I think a family needs to be built on trust.
"I think that when the government is able to force children to inform on their parents, as was done in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, that you see a deterioration of the family unit."