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Illinois Supreme Court Gives Custody of Baby Richard to Biological Father

January 25, 1995

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ For the second time, the Illinois Supreme Court gave custody of Baby Richard to his biological father Wednesday, taking the child from the adoptive parents who have raised him all of his 3 1/2 years.

Last summer, the justices invalidated the adoption by the suburban Chicago couple in a ruling that caused a public uproar.

Gov. Jim Edgar characterized the court as smug and arrogant, and the Legislature passed a law to allow the courts to consider a child’s best interests when an adoption fails.

The ruling Wednesday came just hours after the biological father asked the court to ignore the new law and award him custody of the child he has never seen.

Exactly how the boy was to be given to his father, Otakar Kirchner, was not spelled out by the order.

During a hearing Wednesday morning, an attorney for the adoptive parents, identified only as John and Jane Doe, asked the court to consider the best interest of the child in awarding custody.

But Loren Heinemann, the attorney for Otakar Kirchner, argued that the new law does not apply. He said Kirchner had never given up his paternal rights and he began fighting for his son before the boy was 2 months old.

Richard was put up for adoption by his mother, Daniela Janikova, who believed Kirchner had abandoned her.

Kirchner was in his native Czechoslovakia at the time of Richard’s birth and when he returned to this country was led to believe the boy had died. The couple have since married.

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