On March 25, my wife had a parade of her friends testifying against me. I testified for several hours, with no lawyer, while her lawyer grilled me on every possible unsafe practice.
Here is what Judge Thomas E. Kelly said towards the end of the hearing.
THE COURT: Let me just this is my turn, okay. I can understand, in your position, how you might feel think the world is safer than it is, but I will tell you sitting in this chair it's my 20th year now it's chilling what comes through these courts and it's from parents that have a certain naivety that the world is a better place than it truly is and it's fraught with danger. And I can say these risks, these folks that are the predators come to where the kids are. But that's only part of the issue is the people out there that can do harm to your children. Also, kids themselves have very limited life experience.The "freeway incident" was when my car once broke down on the highway, and I pulled over to the shoulder to use the emergency phone. The judge seemed concerned that another car might have recklessly gone off the highway and hit me, the kids, or my parked car.
This freeway incident is pretty chilling and some of the other behaviors here is really not having an appropriate appreciation of how children may be perceiving the event or how other people may be perceiving the event. The kids run up and down the aisle of an airplane, that's not really a safety issue perhaps, but it is a parenting issue. Again, it's focussed on for you it's great. You got them out of your next to you and they can be playing and relieving energy and give you some peace, but for the other people out there they don't want to see these kids going up and down the aisle of an airplane. They want to sit, listen to music, relax, not have this traffic back and forth. Again and it's a matter of focus where you're coming from. And this is a parenting issue. It's not really always a safety issue but it's a parenting issue and this is what these classes will help you with.
You both are very bright. You have a lot you can bring to these kids and I think I want to see it go in a positive direction and not spend the next decade or so in court, which a lot of folks do. If you were to sit here and watch what comes through these courts it's frightening the way that people are at war.
It was really bizarre for the judge to complain about the kids being in the aisle of the airplane. The hearing was supposed to be about safety and risk. I merely explained that I kept the kids buckled in whenever the seat belt light was on. Nobody said anything about whether other passengers were annoyed. That was all in the judge's head. He probably figured that if he was on an airplane and he was trying to sit, relax, and listen to music, then he might be annoyed by a kid who is out of his seat.
The judge's job was to determine "the best interest of the child". It is not his job to determine the best interest of the passengers on an airplane. Even if I happen to be a very obnoxious person who alienates and annoys people whereever I go, it is not the concern of the judge unless there is some demonstration that the kids are somehow harmed by it. No harm to the kids has ever even been alleged in my case, and certainly not proven.