Thursday, August 04, 2005

Arguing about the judge's order

Masculiste asks (in his comment to the message below) why we are interpreting transcripts when the judge's order is binding.

In this county, the judges usually do not bother writing up their own orders. Usually he asks the winning lawyer to write it up for the judge's signature. In my case, my wife has a lawyer and I do not, so my wife's lawyer seems to think that it is always her responsibility to write up the orders whether she wins or loses.

In my experience, Ms. Gray always uses the opportunity to sneak clauses (that were not ordered) into her proposals. Other lawyers in town play similar games. Sometimes the judge receives two diametrically opposed proposals, and he has to decide which to sign. I would think that the judges would be annoyed at such slimy tactics, but maybe they don't want to admit that they are too lazy or busy to write up their own orders.

The result of all this nonsense that it can take months to get a written order from the judge. We are still waiting for the order that should have resulted from the March 25 hearing. My kids are currently being punished because I (supposedly) did not follow the letter of the March 25 order, but there is no written order and the transcripts are subject to interpretation.

I intend to mail the following letter later today:
Dear Commissioner Joseph:

I just got (in my Aug. 3 mail; the envelope was postmarked Aug. 2) a copy of Ms. Jennifer J. Gray’s letter dated July 25, 2005. She asked you to sign her proposed Findings and Order After Hearing (FOAH) for the March 25, 2005 hearing.

The problem is that her proposed FOAH does not match what Judge Kelly said. For example, it starts, "The Court adopts Dr. Johnson’s recommendations." I have just reviewed the 128-page transcript, and Judge Kelly did not say that. Judge Kelly’s order was quite a bit different from the recommendations in several very significant respects. Not a single one of the 22 recommendations was literally adopted by Judge Kelly. Ms. Gray implies that the transcript supports her position, but she cannot provide any quote to prove it.

Ms. Gray’s proposed FOAH says that I am to participate in counseling "at least two times per week". Neither Dr. Johnson nor Judge Kelly said that, of course.

I have provided my own proposed FOAH which I believe matches what Judge Kelly actually said much more closely. Ms. Gray has not pointed to any inaccuracy in my proposed FOAH.

[George the Angry Dad]
This whole exercise is silly because the order will be obsolete by the time it is signed. Ms. Gray is persisting because she wants to burn up some legal fees, or she wants a paper trail showing that she won a motion or that I didn't follow a court order or something, I don't know.

The most amazing thing to me is that Ms. Gray is accustomed to getting away with such sloppy lawyering. She just boldly sticks to her erroneous proposed order, and tells the judge to go get a transcript from the court reporter if he wants to know what really happened. (The current judge was not the judge at the hearing in dispute.) I would think that if a lawyer is going to claim that she is right and I am wrong, then she would quote the transcript to support her position and point to the errors in mine. She has not. I really doubt that the judge is going to go get some transcript on his own.

I am also amazed that Ms. Gray has the nerve to devote about half of her letter to procedural formalities. And then she only mails me a copy of the letter a week and a half after the date on the letter!

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