Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boy dies on Disney ride

CNN reports today:
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A 12-year-old boy died on a roller coaster at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. ...

Disney boasts of the ride on its Web site, "Zoom from 0-60 mph with the force of a supersonic F-14, take in high-speed loops and turns synchronized to a specially recorded Aerosmith soundtrack and zip through Tinseltown in the biggest, loudest limo you've ever seen."

One month ago, another child died on the Disney ride "Mission Space" at the Epcot Center.
Guess where my 9-year-old daughter is today: DisneyWorld! My ex-wife shipped her off to Florida on a plane by herself on Monday. I'll get her back on Monday, if she is still alive.

My ex-wife filed lots of court papers on how I was supposedly doing dangerous things with the kids. If she does it again, I think that I will introduce evidence that Disney rides are more dangerous than anything that I have done with the kids.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My appellate record

The family court clerk just sent me a bill for $44.40 for my ex-wife's additions to the appellate record. The clerk said he got permission from the appellate court to do the addition without renumbering all the other pages.

The clerk also said that some transcripts were being added to the record, but that I am on my own to privately buy copies from the reporters.

The whole process is ridiculous. It may still be a few months before the appeals court hears the case.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Alec Baldwin Defamed

Glenn Sacks writes:
Earlier this week the Associated Press wrote a story about the custody battle which made headlines in hundreds of newspapers. Some examples included:

"Judge Orders Alec Baldwin To Face Psychological Examination," "Alec Baldwin To Undergo Psychiatrical Evaluation," "Alec Baldwin Must Undergo Evaluation," "Judge wants psychologist to assess Alec Baldwin,"

Also, my favorite--"Putting the Looney back in the Looney left."

All of these imply that Baldwin is the violent headcase Basinger pretends he is as part of her attempts to alienate Baldwin's daughter from him.

In journalism we say "nobody reads the retractions." Several days after the original story, the Associated Press published the following "clarification":

"In a June 10 story, The Associated Press reported that a judge wants a psychologist to evaluate actor Alec Baldwin to determine whether he is fit to see his 10-year-old daughter more often as part of an ongoing custody battle with former wife Kim Basinger.

"The story should have said Baldwin requested an evaluation as part of his request to change the conditions of the child custody order, and that a judge said an evaluator also needs to spend time with his ex-wife and child as part of the process."

In other words, Baldwin's not being dragged off to a shrink by order of concerned judges, but instead is being evaluated (along with Basinger) as part of a normal request for a custody modification. Oops...
Perhaps the clarification also should have said that family court judges commonly want a psychological evaluation of any father who wants to see his kids.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fathers day essays

Here is a NY Times fathers day essay:
Like most divorced fathers, I'm caught in exactly the kind of nightmarish situation that experts on stress say to avoid — a great deal of responsibility, but very little power. I'm the major source of support for my children; my financial obligations are set by the state, and my wages automatically garnished. (If I lost my job tomorrow, and couldn't keep up with my payments, a warrant for my arrest would be issued within two months.) But my influence over how my daughters are being raised is limited, sometimes by decisions their mother makes that I have no input into, and sometimes by their allegiance to her when she and I are at odds. ...

Since 1998, the federal government has provided matching funds based on a percentage of money the states collect in child support — a powerful financial incentive for states to mandate and maximize support payments. As a result, parents are discouraged from negotiating a settlement ...
He describes some divorced dad problems well, but he has a peculiar faith in mediation. The problems need more structural solutions.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

TV custody dispute

Dateline NBC just had a TV show about a bitter child custody dispute. The dad was reduced to supervised visitation, but the mom spent years making various abuse allegations. The biggest piece of evidence was some bedwetting. No one at the court believed the mom, except for one expert who convinced the mom to kidnap the daughter and take her overseas. The show presented both sides of the dispute.

I thought that the mom, Peggy Farmer, seemed crazy. The daughter appeared to have been coached to badmouth the dad, as she refused to say his name and could not look anyone in the eye when making accusations.

The show ended up with a child psychiatrist named Roy Lubit saying:
I'd like to see a significantly restructured system where, instead of two warring parties, the child and their interests were more front and centered. ... Well, one possibility is to have a jury, let's say of three child professionals -- social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists -- who decide what the visitation and custody should be when there is a custody battle.
The idea is kooky. It is like saying that a murder trial should use a jury of chiropractors.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Celebrity custody battle

AP news:
LOS ANGELES -- A judge wants a psychologist to evaluate Alec Baldwin to determine whether he is fit to see his 10-year-old daughter more often as part of an ongoing custody battle with former wife Kim Basinger. ...

Baldwin, 48, countered in court documents that the 52-year-old Basinger "has a pathological need" to turn their daughter against him. He also sought a psychological evaluation and parenting classes for Basinger.
The family courts handle these cases extremely poorly, I hope that publicity shows how bad the courts are.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Recalling the clerk's transcript

The superior court clerk called me to tell me that she is revising the official record for my appeal, and that she wants my copy back! She said that my ex-wife insisted that some documents be added, and that she cannot just add a new volume because the appellate court like everything in chronological order. She seemed to be worried that I might use a document with the wrong page numbers.

She also said that the changes would not be too expensive, so I guess that she is going to bill me for them.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Child-molesting teacher gets custody

Houston Chronicle reports:
The mother of a 3-year-old girl fathered with a 13-year-old student will retain custody of the child although the father will get visitation.

After two days of testimony, state District Judge Doug Warne ordered Lisa Zuniga Duran, 30, to continue caring for the child as the primary parent although the girl's father, Andrew Gallardo, 17, of Edmond, Okla., will be allowed to see the child. ...

Duran was pregnant when she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault of a child in January 2003. She admitted to having a sexual relationship with Gallardo while he was a student and she was a teacher's aide at Victory Academy in Pasadena.

``I know the judge agonized over it but how does a registered sex offender get custody?'' said Butch Bradt, Gallardo's attorney. ``If she (Duran) were a man, he would not get custody.'' ...

Gallardo, who will turn 18 next month, was ordered to pay Duran $50 a month in child support. ...

Duran received deferred adjudication, which requires her to complete 10 years' probation to avoid having a criminal record.
This is crazy. The victim of statutory rape has to pay child support. The rapist gets the child, and will get a chance to get her criminal record expunged.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Watching crooked lawyers

A reader says that the court has to make sure that attorney fees are really paid to outside paid attorneys, or else crooked lawyers would file a lot of frivolous lawsuits for which there is some hope of getting attorney fees. If courts make sure that attorney fees are paid to outside lawyers and at least two lawyers are in on a scam, then there is some chance that one of them will backstab the other.

I don't believe that the judge (Comm. Joseph) in my case has any interest in catching crooked lawyers. I caught my ex-wife's lawyer, Miss Jennifer J. Gray, lying under oath in order to defraud me out of some attorney fees, and the judge would not even let me have my constitutional right to confront the witnesses against me. His answer was just to pay her $10,000, no questions asked.