Father In Full Nazi Uniform Seeks Access to His Son

Barrister In August of 2010 I wrote about a couple in Trenton, New Jersey, Heath and Deborah Campbell, who chose Nazi-inspired names for their three children: Adolph Hitler Campbell, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, and Honszlynn Hinler Campbell. Weird? Yes. Damaging? Very likely. Newsworthy? You bet!

The national media found their story when a major chain grocery store refused to embellish little Adolph’s chocolate birthday cake with his legal name. Apparently, the couple found a Wal-Mart in a neighboring community that accepted the assignment.

The case then came to the attention of child protection authorities in New Jersey who obtained custody of the children and placed them in foster care. The burning question was “Could the State remove the children because of their unusual names?”.

The Family Court determined that there was no evidence of abuse or neglect, however, the State appealed the matter to a higher court who stayed the Family Court order and kept the children in foster care until the appellate court could hear and decide the case.

The appeal court found that the children’s parents were not fit to have custody of the children, however, the court did not mention the oddity of the children’s names. Instead, the court focused on the unspecified but significant physical and psychological challenges the couple faced and their lack of insight as to their difficulties.

The evidence also showed that both parents had been abused themselves and could barely read or write. The naming of their children was indicative of their problems.

The update to this story is that the Campbell’s separated and their three children were adopted. A fourth child, Heinrich Hons, was seized by child protection authorities shortly after his birth.

This week Mr. Campbell showed up at a court hearing in full Nazi regalia seeking to gain access to his now two-year-old son, Heinrich Hons, who he has not seen since the child was 16 hours old.

Mr. Campbell insists that despite his political views and his glorification of Adolph Hitler, he is a loving parent who ought to have a relationship with his young son. It will be interesting to see if he is successful. The question is does his freedom of expression take precedence over any risk he may pose to his son’s best interests?

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

3 thoughts on “Father In Full Nazi Uniform Seeks Access to His Son

  1. This is a very unusual case that could be seen in an entirely different light if we were to compare the Doukabour trials of infamous BC history to it. Unfortunately, although
    society does always approve of someone’s political views or spiritual views and although we may feel it is damaging to the children to name them after Nazi leaders we cannot deny them their fundamental right of freedom of expression as a result. I prefer to see that the naming of the children after Nazi’s as a huge red flag to social services that there was something seriously wrong and to find what other issues were obviously going to be present in this particular situation. Obviously the father is psychologically damaged if he shows up in a Nazi uniform in court. However, this needs to be assessed by a court ordered psychiatrist to determine if he is a fit parent and not based on his political views. What if he showed up in drag, are we going to deny access based on this?
    Outward appearances and political views are not reasons in themselves but only indicators of the mental state of the person within and for this reason a psych assessment would no doubt find that there are some issues.

  2. JM I agree with your analysis. What is interesting is that at the trial level, where the evidence is heard, the court refused to take the children away from their parents. It was at the appeal level they lost custody. Generally, an appeal court is unwilling to overturn the facts described by the trial court. Perhaps in this case, new evidence was submitted on appeal that persuaded the appeal court that the Campbell’s were unfit as parents.

    There is also no indication whether the Campbell’s had a lawyer to defend their position. If they walked in without counsel, they were like sheep to the slaughter.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  3. Freedom of expression is a “right” that is bestowed by the US government as agreed upon by the people, but pales when contrasted to the obligation to insure that children are not only cared for but protected until they become old enough to fend for themselves.

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