Saturday, January 05, 2008

Judge issues protective order

Yesterday's hearing ended with a spirited discussion of the confidentiality of the evidence against me. Comm. Irwin H. Joseph said that he was going to issue a protective order forbidding me from disseminating some of the evidence against me. Until I see the actual order, I have to be a little cautious about what I say on this blog.

The hearing was a public hearing, and there were friends of mine and my ex-wife present. The CPS social worker, Sally Mitchell, testified against me, and her written report was entered into the record as Exhibit A. She orally summarized the evidence in her written report. All of this was done without me having any say in the matter.

The confidentiality issue arose because I wanted to have a witness testify in my defense, in order to rebut some of the testimony of the CPS social worker against me. My witness was sworn in, and took the witness stand. But then judge found out that I had let the witness see the CPS report. The judge then launched into an attack on me, and claimed that there was no specific statute that authorizes my witness to see the report. Since my witness was somehow contaminated by seeing the evidence against me, the judge refused to let her testify, and dismissed her from the court.

I protested vigorously, as the judge effectively foreclosed any possibility of me using an expert witness to rebut the government expert witness against me. I cited the rules of evidence that specifically allow me to have rebuttal expert witnesses, but the judge said that he was not subject to any rules of evidence.

The judge even went so far as to claim that it would be unlawful for me to show a copy of my CPS report to my own lawyer. That would violate confientiality provisions to protect my children the judge said. He denied that he was blocking my ablility to get legal advice, because he said that I could ask a lawyer for legal advice about the CPS report without actually showing him the report. I mentioned that we had discussed the meat of the report in open court anyway. He said that was only because I had brought a motion to the court. I pointed out that my ex-wife had brought the motion. Then he said that it was still my fault because I had chosen to contest the charges against me. I said that I had given a copy of the report to my mom, and I was incredulous that anyone might think that there was anything wrong with that. He said that I ought to urge her to shred her copy.

I really could not make any sense out of the judge's legal argument. I'll have to wait for his written order, and try to make sense out of that. If I still cannot make sense out of it, I suppose that I could hire a lawyer to explain it to me. That is, I can do that unless his order also protects his own order from being shown to lawyer.


Anonymous said...

Was the CPS report read into evidence in open court ? If so, it does not have confidential status, since the report is now on the public record. How can the judge then exclude your expert witness on the grounds you showed him a confidential report ? Makes no sense to me !

George said...

It makes no sense to me either. I had considered posting the entire CPS report on this blog, as I don't see how there is anything confidential about it. Maybe I will still do that, if I can somehow make sure that the judge is wrong.