Saturday, August 30, 2008

Presiding judge has unfair trial

A local newspaper reports:
Because of these alleged errors by Superior Court Judge Robert Atack, McClish’s conviction should be reversed, attorney Mark Greenberg of Oakland told the 6th District Court of Appeal in the brief filed Tuesday, Aug. 26. ...

In the appeal, Greenberg argued that “a significant portion” of the prosecution’s case depended on the testimony of three women who alleged earlier encounters with McClish that had sexual overtones but were not “sexual battery” as defined in the state Evidence Code.

McClish was not charged in any of those encounters, and the testimony was admitted to show the suspect’s “propensity” to violent sexual acts. But Greenberg contended that none of the victims testified about touching of the “intimate part of another person,” as required by the Evidence Code. ...

In addition, a fourth woman’s testimony that McClish told her he had “rape fantasies” should not have been presented to the jury because, days after the testimony, the judge ruled that the mention of fantasies had not been included in his ruling that the woman’s testimony was admissible. ...

In pretrial hearings, the judge refused to admit testimony requested by the defense that the victim had made an earlier false charge of rape, then retracted it. Evidence was also suppressed that the victim had assaulted a boyfriend, then accused him of aggravated assault instead.
Judge Atack is the presiding judge in my county, and I was thinking of filing a formal complaint with him about Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph. But it appears that Judge Atack does not believe in fair trials himself.

Michael McClish was a suspect in a scandalous murder, but the authorities could not prove it so they framed him on a rape charge and sentenced him to 18 years in prison. The supposed rape victim never reported a rape. She had a consensual affair with McClish, and even went to Disneyland with him a couple of weeks after the alleged rape.

I have no idea whether McClish is a murderer or not, but he certainly did not get a fair rape trial, and he is not a rapist. Santa Cruz courts are shockingly bad.

McClish's appeal is being heard by the same court that is hearing my appeal. The article says that his case will be decided "probably in late 2009 or early 2010." Wow, that is slow. I hope my case goes faster than that.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Commissioner advised not to view this site

I just got this letter from the local family court commissioner:
Dear Mr. AngryDad and Ms. AngryMom:

Approximately four weeks ago, I received notice from court staff that the "Angry Dad" website included postings that were previously ordered confidential and/or sealed by the court. I was told that materials from CPS were included in the postings.

The purpose of this letter is to advise that I passed that information on to County Counsel and specifically requested that I be excluded from any communications regarding this issue. They have respected my request.

I also asked for an opinion from the California Judges Association as to the efficacy of me viewing the website for the purpose of determining if a contempt had occurred. As before, I was advised not to view the site, except in one circumstance; if the issue is properly before the court in a noticed motion or OSC, the court may view the site in open court to make such a determination.

I was advised by CJA to make this disclosure to the parties.

Very truly yours,
Irwin Joseph
Bc: Judge Atack, PJ
No, County Counsel did not respect his request. I received a letter from Shannon M. Sullivan on the matter. It was dated Aug. 4, 2008, and at the end it said "cc: Santa Cruz County Superior Court". Commissioner Joseph is the only acting judge who hears family court cases in Santa Cruz County. So her letter went straight to his office.

The funniest thing about this is that Comm. Joseph has to ask the CJA for permission to view a web site. It takes four weeks to get an opinion that he should not look at the web site. Apparently he had previously asked for an opinion, and they previously told him not to look. So it took four weeks to tell him what they had already told him. Nevertheless, he has his staff look at the web site, advise him what is there, and act accordingly.

Comm. Joseph continues to amaze me with his willingness to break the rules, and to lie about it. If it is really improper for him to view the web site, then he should not be having his staff view it and report to him about it, and he should not be writing letters about what he has improperly learned.

I am tempted to notify Presiding Judge Atack about Comm. Joseph's misconduct in this matter.

Hired a shrink

I finally managed to hire a psychologist, and I just got her report. I am mailing it to my ex-wife.

She recommended a visitation plan for me, as a step towards restoring custody. I don't agree with some of the things that she said, but I have decided to comply with it in order to see my kids.

Commissioner Joseph's orders are that my ex-wife must comply with the psychologist's recommendation.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Filed opposition to support motion

I mailed my opposition paper to my ex-wife's motion to change the child support order. It is scheduled to be before Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph, altho he should really disqualify himself. My guess is that he will refuse to admit that he is prejudiced in the matter, but he will find some other excuse not to rule on it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Opposition to support motion

Here is my opposition to my ex-wife's motion begging for more money:
Opposition to AngryMom’s child support motion

This court has no jurisdiction to hear an issue under appeal
AngryMom is seeking to modify the Jan. 11, 2008 child support order. That order has been appealed to the Sixth District. Info about the appeal is on the web at If AngryMom has some disagreement with the order, then she should tell it to the court that actually has jurisdiction over the order. This court cannot act on an order while it is being reviewed by a higher court.

Comm. Joseph cannot hear this motion
If this court considers the merits of AngryMom’s motion, then Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph must disqualify himself under CCP 170.1 and 170.6. He has ruled on this very issue, and has had that ruling reversed on appeal once already. He is likely to get reversed again in the pending appeal. I should not have to get him reversed a third time on the same issue.

There is no change since the last order
AngryMom does not claim that there has been any change to the facts, laws, or circumstances since the Jan. 11, 2008 order. She got what she asked for on that date. She does not claim that the Jan. order was mistaken. Therefore, she has no cause for seeking a new order.

AngryMom's request is based on conflicting facts
AngryMom asks for an increase in child support payments based on two things: applying guideline to her having 100% custody of our kids, and and requesting a guideline deviation under FC 4057(b)(5)(B). But that section only applies to “Cases in which both parents have substantially equal time-sharing of the children". It cannot be used to modify a guideline based on one parent having sole custody.

AngryMom's motion has no merit whatsoever. It should be denied.
The crazy thing about her motion is that she is asking for extra money because she has the kids full time, AND extra money because I do not have mortgage. But if the kids are not even with me, what is the possible relevance of my housing situation? Her motion makes no sense.

A comment suggests that she might have some other justification for requesting a guideline deviation. But family courts are not supposed to deviate from guideline, unless there are some exceptional circumstances. She does not give any argument that any circumstances are exceptional, or that there is some unusual justification for extra money.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ex-wife sues for increased support payments

I just got a motion from my ex-wife to increase my child support payments, to be heard on Sept. 22.

She has scheduled several court dates this year, and then backed out. I had thought that she was going to claim back support. Instead, she is asking for an extra $1,757 per month, starting in October.

Her argument is that because she took our kids away from me and she has them full time, she has more child related expenses. Or at least I guess that is her argument, as she does not give any legal argument. She just supplied nine pages of forms and pay stubs.

She has a separate money trial scheduled for Sept. 15. I still do not know what she will be claiming then.

I think that her motion is absurd. I will file an opposition brief.

Law proposed to shelter and limit child custody evaluators

Glenn Sacks writes:
There are many competent mental health professionals who are now refusing to do child custody evaluations because they are getting sued afterwards by one of the parties. I know of a case here in California where a psychologist is having his career destroyed because an alienating mother is suing him for his custody recommendation.
He says that California is considering AB 612 to shelter the shrinks from private lawsuits. The proposed law also prohibits evaluators from using nonscientific labels.

I really don't see why child custody evaluators should be sheltered from lawsuits any more than physicians, lawyers, and others. I think that more should be done to hold these charlatans accountable for the damage they cause. The big problem is that none of these evaluators follow ethical standards. Not the ones in Santa Cruz county, anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Democrats blame fathers

Mike McCormick and Glenn Sacks write:
If the Democratic Party is interested in garnering men’s votes, one certainly would not know it from their platform. The Democratic National Committee’s "Renewing America's Promise" is bad news for American fathers.

The platform’s "Fatherhood" plank puts all blame for father absence squarely on men, and promises to "crack down" on fathers who are behind on their child support. It also promises to ratchet up draconian domestic violence laws which often victimize innocent men and separate them from their children.
It was for putting down black fathers that Jesse Jackson said that he wanted to cut Barack Obama's nuts off and called him the N-word.

Yes, there are a lot of single mothers in the black community, but why just blame the men? It is the women who are getting themselves pregnant outside of marriage, and trying to raise a kid without a man. It is the law that limits fathers from being more involved in their kids' lives. And the welfare and child support laws that pay mothers to stay singe.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Judges vow to fix dependency court

The San Jose paper's lead story today is this:
The California courts approved massive reforms on Friday to the state's troubled juvenile dependency courts that would ease the overwhelmed system and ensure fairness for those who are "literally and legally the children of the state."
The newspaper is claiming credit for pressuring these changes, but they are weak and ineffective. The newspaper if politically left-wing, and it mainly lobbied to pump more money into the pockets of govt bureaucrats. The reforms do not include fairness for the parents who really should be in charge of these kids.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Psychologists vote on aiding torture

Apparently some psychologists in the American Psychological Association have some ethical limits on what they will do. They will soon have a vote:
Last summer an attempt by APA dissidents at a Moratorium on psychologist participation in interrogations at US Detention facilities was defeated at the Convention through a combination of parliamentary maneuvering and Council vote. Proponents of change have since regrouped and adopted a variety of new tactics. One was to utilize a never-before-used provision in the APA rules allowing for a referendum to be adopted by vote of the membership.

A referendum to remove psychologists from sites in violation of international law was proposed and was signed by the requisite 1one percent of the membership.
The resolution says:
Be it resolved that psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.
I am wondering whether the psychologists are ever going to repudiate their participation in taking away the constitutional rights of parents. Child custody evaluators do that all the time, and they are doing it to innocent American citizens.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Court reporter refuses to produce transcript

The appeals court docket now reports:
Telephone conversation with: Karen at Superior Court, indicated that court reporter said that there is nothing more to report for the day requested, will get an affidavit.
The court reporter, Carol J. Jordan, will be committing perjury if she signs that affidavit. Here is twhat the minute order said for that date:
11/16/2004 - 8:30 AM DEPT. 6








Ms. Jordan turned in a transcript that started with this:
2 --- 0---
3 THE COURT: Going back to [AngryDad], [Case number], do we
4 have a date?
5 DR. BERENGE: Yes, we do, your Honor. It's
6 January 21st. Bret will be available. Dr. Johnson will be
7 available. Is that going to be at nine a.m?
8 [Proceedings unrelated to this matter are not
9 reported.]
10 THE COURT: Sorry, what?
11 THE CLERK: It's January what?
12 DR. BERENGE: 21st.
Normally, a court transcript starts with the introduction and identification of the parties, and a statement of the issues to be heard. Obviously, the above transcript is from a continuation of an earlier proceeding that morning. Ms. Jordan is refusing to provide the transcript of the earlier proceeding.

The transcript did include an explanation of why I had to pay Bret Johnson's bill:
THE COURT: I can't deal with the issue of whether or not she's capable of earning money today. Don't normally the parties share in this expense?

[Discussion between Court and Clerk held off the record.]

THE COURT: The one that asked for them to testify. Why would that be the case? Maybe the doctor is wrong. Just throwing something out logically to the staff.

THE CLERK: I'm just telling you what he normally does. You do what you want to do.

THE COURT: So it's customary that the person that requests the party

MS. GRAY: That is true.

THE COURT: Well, I'm going to follow local legal custom since I'm not here to make waives. Not big waives, Ms. Parry.

All right. So I gather, sir, you're stuck with the bill of the doctor to testify since that's the practice of this court.

THE RESPONDENT: I'm to pay because I'm the one who objected to his report?

THE COURT: You know what, Dad? Don't debate it with me.

THE RESPONDENT: No. I'm just asking for the rationale. That's all I'm asking.

THE COURT: That's evidently the rationale that I've heard, yes; and that's what is the practice of this court; and I'm just visiting, okay.

DR. BERENGE: It's not because dad objected to the report that he's paying; it's because father's requesting him to be present at the hearing.

THE COURT: Well, sure. You know, Dr. Berenge, you're not going to get any better position with me; and I just think you're just wonderful. I just want you to understand that. Of course, he wants the doctor here because he objects to the content of his report; and how can he challenge it with him absent? Really, think about it. Let's end this.

I've made the order. But there's good reason why maybe both parties should pay. See, it didn't get any better. That's all.
In other words, the custom of the local family court is to force fathers to pay for expert witnesses to testify against him. Judge Kelsay did not agree with that custom, but he ordered me to pay anyway.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

California county hides reports

I just learned that San Mateo County California (a suburb of San Jose and Silicon Valley) has a family court that requires psychologists to submit their reports directly to the court without the parents even seeing them!

That ought to be unconstitutional.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No response from lawyers

I have not received any response from the three lawyers complaining about my web site. I can only assume that they have dropped their legal objections, and conceded that it is legal to post the CPS testimony.

It is strange that James M. Ritchey refused to answer me. What kind of crooked lawyer refuses to tell a father whether or not he is representing his kids? I would not necessarily believe the liar, but he should at least tell me whether or not he is claiming to represent my kids.

The Santa Cruz County Counsel has not answered me either. I did not expect Shannon M. Sullivan and her office to cave in so easily. I guess I persuaded her that her arguments had no merit.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The lawyers are bluffing

I got three letters from lawyers demanding that I take CPS allegations off my web site. I responded to all three, but I have not heard any more yet.

A reader argues that the lawyers are bluffing. The reason is that they ended with "Cc: Santa Cruz County Superior Court". It is improper and silly to just send a complaint letter to the court. Courts act on lawsuits and motions, but not just random letters that do not even ask the court to do anything.

If they really had a cause of action, they would say so. By just threatening to send a meaningless letter to a court office that cannot legally do anything with the letter, they are essentially admitting that they will do anything substantial. They are just hoping that a non-lawyer like myself will be intimidated by a letter on legal stationary with a bunch of phony legal arguments.

If the Santa Cruz court clerks were doing their jobs properly, they would not even accept such letters. I am told that other courts reject such letters.

It will be interesting to see whether the three lawyers even bother to answer my responses. If they don't, then I will know for sure that they were making empty threats, and I can leave the CPS allegations on the web site.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

County hires same bad lawyers for kids

The San Jose Mercury News reports:
Despite documented problems in the handling of dependency court cases, state and local court officials have chosen the current lawyers to receive a new two-year contract to continue representing impoverished Santa Clara County parents and some children in foster care. ...

One critical problem has been the poor quality of lawyering for parents. Juvenile Defenders, like similar firms around the state, has often failed to prepare cases properly, has not hired investigators, experts, or social workers. Critics also say the firm has continually failed to protect the parents' right to appeal adverse rulings.

Last month, Michael Kresser, the director of a state agency that coordinates the appeals for indigent clients, wrote to court officials, urging them to reject the current lawyers, contending there was "little chance of improved representation if the same management team was left in place." The poor representation, he said, causes children to be "needlessly removed" from their homes.
The newspaper has run a series of stories exposing lousy lawyering and unfair court procedures in the local courts seizing kids. I had hoped that maybe some useful reforms would come from the exposure. Instead, they are just paying more money to the same lawyers.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Santa Cruz meeting

Tomorrow I will a meeting of the local folks who are frustrated with the Santa Cruz family court. It is Saturday, at 10:00 am at the Coffee Cat in Scotts Valley California. They meet about once a month. Maybe they'll have a web site by next month.

Response to county counsel

I looked into the laws that Santa Cruz County Counsel Shannon M. Sullivan cited, and it appears that she is just blowing smoke. None of them seem to actually prohibit me from posting the CPS testimony. Furthermore, they have no penalties, so she cannot do anything to me anyway.

I sent her a letter including this:
It may interest you to know that the Sixth Appellate District is currently considering the issue you raised. The lower court has no jurisdiction over it. You are not a party to the case, but I will post the result on my blog, You are welcome to read about it there.
I also asked her about her representation of Sally Mitchell, the CPS social worker who gave the false testimony in court. Ms. Sullivan could lose her law license if it turns out that she encouraged perjury.

My guess is that Ms. Sullivan will back off when she realizes that litigating this issue will only expose it for what it is -- an attempt by corrupt govt officials to cover up illegal behavior.

Ms. Sullivan's letter has three pages of legal huffing and puffing, but she only cites one actual case, In re Elijah S. (2005)125 Cal.App.4th 1532 (login reqd). Perhaps she thought that I would be too lazy or stupid to lookup the case. Here is what it actually decided:
In sum, we hold that under section 827, subdivision (a)(2), the juvenile court has jurisdiction and exclusive authority to order the disclosure of juvenile records pertaining to a deceased child who came within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as set out in Section 300, regardless of whether or not a juvenile dependency petition pursuant to section 332 had been filed prior to or concurrently with the filing of the request for disclosure under section 827. The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in granting the requests for disclosure made in this case, subject to its review of the relevant records in camera and their redaction of any information that might affect the rights and interests of third parties mentioned in the documents.
In order words, the parents have the right to the records held by govt agencies, and the court will order it if necessary.

Ms. Sullivan tries to use this case to show that I cannot use the records of my kids. She has it exactly backwards. I have a right to access those records, and I have a right to do anything I want with them. Her silly letter only convinces me of the legal correctness of my position.

Another law Ms. Shannon cites is 42 USC 671(a)(8). It says that state agencies have to have some confidentiality safeguards if they are getting federal subsidies for foster care. It is not even remotely related to my case. My case did not involve foster care, federal money, or anything like that.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Newspaper criticizes court

The San Jose Mercury News newspaper continues to publish stories about problems with the courts taking kids away:
"There are still too many attorneys who are routinely appointed to represent children and parents who are 'potted plants,' " Sherwood wrote the commission. Many children's attorneys never meet with their clients to gain firsthand information about their needs, wishes and circumstances. And in the case of many parent lawyers, Sherwood said, "attorneys who have repeatedly been found to have rendered ineffective assistance in the past are still routinely appointed in dependency cases."
A reader thinks that I am too harsh on court-appointed lawyer Jim Ritchey. Maybe I should just call him a potted plant!

The newspaper has another article today:
Santa Clara County's two top juvenile court judges are calling for sweeping reforms of the dependency courts far beyond what a statewide commission is considering, contending the current child welfare system designed to protect children from abuse "often does more harm than good."

Judges Patrick Tondreau and Katherine Lucero wrote to a commission studying problems in the state's dependency courts to highlight their firsthand view that removing children from their homes following allegations of abuse and neglect "is not the silver bullet we may have led ourselves to believe." Tondreau is the county's presiding juvenile court judge; Lucero, the supervising dependency court judge. ...

The judges wrote that breaking up families too often results in children adrift in foster homes, separated from siblings and failing at basic literacy.
Wow. These are the judges who run the system, and they admit that they are busting up families and doing more harm than good.

County lawyer tries to intervene

I just got a threatening letter from Shannon M. Sullivan, Asst Santa Cruz County Counsel:
The office of the County Counsel represents the Human Services Department's Family & Children's Services Division, colloquially known as CPS. ...

In sum, you have violated your children's right to privacy; your posting of the testimony of an FCS Social Worker and a copy of her Investigative Narrative on your website, is in violation of Welfare and Institutions Code sections 827 and 10850; your publication of the Social Worker's testimony and HSD/FCS' Investigative Narrative contrary to direct orders of the trial court, of which you were apprised, could very well be considered by the court as contempt.

In the strongest manner possible, on behalf of HSD/FCS and indirectly, on behalf of your children, this office demands that you remove the Social Worker testimony and Investigative Narrative from your website. Consider this also a demand that you refrain from releasing any FCS related documents to anyone who does not have a statutory right to review the documents without a court order in the future.
Haven't these folks ever heard of free speech? She seems to be saying that I need some sort of court order before I can tell my story on a website.

I have a right to tell my story. I am trying to comply with the laws and regulations as best as I can, but there must be some way for me to tell my story.

Ex-wife argues for secrecy

My ex-wife just filed a reply brief in which she argues for sealing the CPS testimony:
Appellant points out that he discovered documents in the public file of the court house that should have been unavailable to the public. Perhaps Appellant should have pointed this out to the clerk so that this situation could be rectified, instead of taking this as a sign that Appellant could freely distribute the documents without consequence.
Is it my responsibility to check up on the court? I was not the one who argued for sealing the documents. The judge did not seal them. The court reporter, clerk, and appellate did not either. My ex-wife did not. The kids lawyer did not. CPS did not. It seemed to me that none of those folks really thought that the documents were confidential.

My ex-wife goes on:
Appellant argues that the privacy rights of the minors are inconsequential in relation to the contents of the documents. Respondent respectfully points out that in this day and age, material can be easily distributed via the internet and remain available throughout the minors' lives.
Maybe she should have thought of that before flooding the court record with silly and unfounded accusations. She has been doing that for four years. She is the one who broke our out-of-court agreement, and put all her gripes on the public record.
The immediate consequences of exposing the content of these documents to the public is to inhibit the minors from speaking freely and getting help. If the minors know that this information is going to be publicized so that everyone knows about their private lives, then they may be less willing to share what is going on in their private lives.
Unfortunately, my ex-wife is teaching my kids to lie about me. If they become more reluctant to lie about their father, so much the better.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I filed the appeal reply brief

I just filed my reply brief. The way it works is that since I am the one appealing a lower court brief, and I am the one who must show that the lower court did wrong, I file the opening brief. Then the other side, my ex-wife, files an opposition brief, and I get the last word with a reply brief. The appellate court now has all the briefs it needs.

I filed it with the appellate clerk in person, just to make sure the clerk accepts it. There is usually some problem. This time she complained that the info on the front cover was out of the usual order. She checked with her supervisor, and she said that was okay.

I gave the clerk five copies of the reply brief, as that is required, and then the clerk asked which was the original. She has to stamp one copy as "original" and the other four as "copy". The brief does not need to be signed, but the original must include a proof of service and the proof of service must be signed. So I signed one of the briefs on the spot, and she stamped that one as the "original".

The clerk quizzed me about serving the other parties, but not about the fundamental catch-22 in the rules. I cannot serve the other parties with copies of the brief until I know that the clerk has accepted it, but the clerk will not accept it until I prove that the other parties have been served. So I pretty much have to lie to somebody.

I mailed copies to the California Supreme Court, the Santa Cruz Superior Court, and my ex-wife, as required. They should get it in the mail tomorrow. They can get an electronic version from the web site today.

I wish the court would just switch to electronic filing. That would completely eliminate a lot of hassle, including the crazy service rules.

The appeal court now has all the necessary paperwork to make a decision. The case is not formally submitted yet, because there is a pending motion to seal parts of the record. There is also a missing transcript that a court reporter has not done yet. I am expecting those matters to be taken care of shortly.

Once the record is finalized, and the appeal court reads our papers, then it will schedule oral arguments and make a decision. The clerk could not predict how long that would take.

Not quizzing the opposing lawyer

My ex-wife's appeal brief argues that James M. Ritchey's opinion should be given some extra weight because I did not ask him any questions in court:
Appellant argues that the Counsel appointed by the trial court did not adequately represent the minors because Appellant claims that the minors' Counsel's involvement in the case was minimal. Respondent respectfully asserts that the minors' Counsel had more than enough contact with the minors and both the Appellant and Respondent. Additionally, Appellant argues that minors' Counsel was not present at any evidentiary hearings and that minors' Counsel did not sign his report to the trial court under oath. Respondent respectfully notes that minors' Counsel was at that January 9,2008 hearing and that Appellant was given an opportunity to ask him questions.
MINOR'S COUNSEL: [Minors' Counsel] for the minors, your Honor. I didn't know what input you wanted from me, but I was here last.
THE COURT: Right. It would seem first off that [Minors' Counsel] did not have to stay around. The Court has received his report. And to the extent that either of the parents has any questions of [Minors' Counsel], I'll now give you an opportunity to ask those questions of him. And then I think I can excuse [Minors' Counsel]. I don't see any reason for him to be around for the balance of the hearing. So I does Father or Mother have any questions? First, have both of you had an opportunity to review [Minors' Counsel] report?
THE COURT: And does Father have any questions about the report or any desire to ask [Minors' Counsel] any questions at all?
THE RESPONDENT: No, I don't have any questions.
(Reporter's Transcript on Appeal, January 9, 2008, page 1756, line 9 through page 1757, line 5.) Appellant was given an opportunity to ask questions of minors' Counsel.
Here, James Ritchey is the Minors' Counsel, Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph is the Court, my ex-wife is the Petitioner, and I am the Respondent.

I had good reasons for not asking Mr. Ritchey any questions. He is a dishonest and corrupt slimeball lawyer. He knows very little about the case. He told me that he was opposed to doing any fact-finding, and that his role in the case was to help Comm. Joseph punish me as much as possible. He took his family to Lake Tahoe instead of attending the trial in which the CPS social worker testified.

I thought that in the above transcript, Comm. Joseph was dismissing Mr. Ritchey for incompetence. Comm. Joseph was worried that Mr. Ritchey would say something idiotic that might interfere with Comm. Joseph's scheme to fix the trial.

Mr. Ritchey did submit a report to the court, but it was unsworn. He refused to say anything under penalties of perjury. I had a chance to ask him some questions, but his answers would not be under oath.

Comm. Joseph was essentially saying this:
Mr. Ritchey, thanks for the report that slams the Angry Dad, as I requested. Since you do not know what is going on, and might be an embarrassment to our plan, you had better leave now. I will give the Angry Dad a chance to ask you some questions, just so I can use your report as evidence against him. But don't worry, I will not let him ask you any questions under oath, so feel free to continue to tell lies against him.
No, I was not going to ask Jim Ritchey any questions unless he is under oath. I have gotten tired of him being able to tell lies because he is not under oath.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ex-wife makes false arguments

I am writing my reply to my ex-wife's brief, and I am finding some false statements. Her brief says:
On December 6, 2007, the trial court indicated to the parties that for anyone other than the parties to view the contents of the CWS file, including the CWS narrative report, a Court order must be obtained.
This is just not true. The court said nothing about “anyone other than the parties”. To support her statement, Julie cites the Dec. 6, 2007 transcript of a discussion between the judge and me:
THE RESPONDENT: I have the report. That's probably 90 percent of the file.
THE COURT: I'm willing to report it's 5 percent of the file in terms of pages and interviews and documents.
THE RESPONDENT: Okay. I wouldn't know. The procedures you outlined for seeing the file, can I do that just with CPS or Court order?
THE COURT: If all you want to do is look at the file, not take photocopies, not remove any portion of the file, not copy it for anyone else, you can do that directly with CPS. Anything beyond looking at the file requires that you get a Court order.
But I never requested or received a court order to take photocopies or to remove a portion of the file. Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph never said that there was any restriction on the use of the report that I already had. Even if I had received a court order, he does not say whether I would be allowed to show the file to others. It seems to me that if I can get a copy for myself, then I can show the copy to others, and he never said anything to the contrary on Dec. 6, 2007.

Comm. Joseph later said on Jan. 4, 2008 that I could not even show the report to my own lawyer, and applied that legal theory to prevent me from presenting a rebuttal witness. He said that I would not be allowed to rebut the report or testimony because no one is allowed to see the report or testimony.

Comm. Joseph was just wrong about the report being 5% of the file. The file was mainly a rough draft of the report, along with some stuff like some printouts from this blog.

There is nothing secret about the report. It is posted on the internet. I have given out copies to many people who offered to comment on it. I did get some useful feedback from others about the report, and I was entirely within my rights to do that.

Lesbian child custody battles

Ned Holstein and Glenn Sacks write:
At the National Organization for Women's recent national conference, NOW declared that there is a "crisis for women and their children in the family law courts." According to NOW, fathers often "aggressively litigate against mothers" and "use family court to stalk, harass, punish and impoverish their former partners and children." But what happens in divorce and child custody matters when there's no man around to create problems?

It can be ugly. Very ugly.

There are now many publicized cases of lesbian custody disputes. While NOW blames fathers for contentious litigation, lesbian custody cases are strikingly similar to heterosexual ones. When a lesbian mother breaks up with her partner, she often tries to drive her partner out of their children's lives – just as some heterosexual mothers do.

Moreover, lesbian mothers often employ the same tactics. These include: denying visitation or access to the children; making dubious abuse claims; moving the children far away; and denigrating the breadwinning parent's bond with the children.
So it cannot be all the fault of the men.

Also, more and more, lesbians are suing sperm donors for child support.

US blogger to be tried for insulting Singapore judges

AFP reports:
A US national said Tuesday he will be tried in Singapore next month for allegedly insulting two judges who had presided over cases involving an opposition leader.

Gopalan Nair, a former Singaporean lawyer who is now a US citizen, told AFP he has not yet hired a lawyer to represent him in the trial from September 8-19.

"At this moment, I am representing myself," he said.

Nair faces two charges of insulting judges on his blog. Each charge carries a jail term of up to one year, a 5,000 Singapore dollar fine (3,676 US) or both.

In the first charge, he is accused of insulting Justice Belinda Ang, who presided over a defamation case where Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong testified against the leader of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Nair, 58, alleged that Ang was "prostituting herself during the entire proceedings by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders," a court document said.

In the second charge, Nair is alleged to have sent an e-mail to Supreme Court Justice Lai Siu Chiu in 2006 saying he has "no shame" and that judges "are selling their souls and their conscience for money," according to a court document.
I am glad I live in a country that has free speech. I have said worse things about Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph. He sold his soul a long time ago. Just go into his court, and you will see that he acts cruelly and maliciously against people that he does not like.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Husband-killer gets the 3 kids

AP report:
A lawyer for Mary Winkler says the woman convicted in the shooting death of her pastor husband in Tennessee has taken custody of her three daughters.

Rachael Putnam, an attorney for Winkler, says the former minister's wife picked the girls up Friday from the slain man's parents, Dan and Diane Winkler.

Putnam said Monday that the children will remain with Winkler permanently.

Glenn Sacks writes:
Mary Winkler--who shot her husband in the back and then refused to aid him or call 911 as he slowly bled to death for 20 minutes--walked away a free woman last year after serving a farcically brief "sentence" for her crimes.
He also has a story about the UK creating a new defense for husband-killers in court. A woman will be able to get manslaughter instead of murder if she claims to be responding to the slow burn of abuse, and she feels 'seriously wronged' by 'words and conduct'.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ex-wife files appeal opposition

I just got my ex-wife opposition brief to my appeal. I thought that I would see some actual arguments as to why should get custody of our kids. Instead, her main argument is that the family court has broad discretion under the law to do whatever it wants, and the transcripts show that the commissioner did indeed take the kids away from me. End of argument. Sigh. If anyone can ever win a custody appeal, then I should be able to win this case.

Here is an excerpt from her arguments:
Based on the 'Material Facts' above and the procedural history, Respondent contends that a witness may be denied the opportunity to testify as to documents to which the witness has no right to access, and the witness may be denied the opportunity to testify as to irrelevant matters.

Respondent respectfully submits that the trial court followed the directive of the reviewing court in re calculating child support for the time period of January of 2006 onwards.

D. May the trial court seal the CWS social worker's transcript from public disclosure?

Respondent respectfully submits that the trial court may seal the CWS social worker's transcript from public disclosure to protect the privacy rights of the minors named within the document.
If arguments like this were persuasive, then there is no need to even have an appeals court.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Letter from presiding judge

I had been told that commissioners are supervised by the presiding judge, and that I might get some relief from him. So I sent him a copy of my appeal brief. I just got this reply:
Please know that I, as Presiding Judge, have no authority to overrule or reconsider decisions made by any other judge, commissioner or pro tem judge of the court. (See Williams v. Superior Court (1939) 14 Cal 2d 656, 662-663). I am also prohibited from giving you legal advice.

Notwithstanding the review of the complaint, you may wish to act independently to review any possible avenues of legal redress in connection with the disposition of the case, in consideration of time limits associated with review of a court decision or appeal.

Very truly yours,

Presiding Judge of the Superior Court
cc: Alex Calvo, Chief Executive Officer
So I guess that he cannot do anything directly to help me. Nevertheless, he is an elected judge and he is responsible to supervising the commissioner, so I think that it was worthwhile informing him as to what a bad job the commissioner is doing.