Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fishy signature

My ex-wife's motions to seal the testimony on appeal has 22 pages of junk. I would post it if it were shorter. There is no substance to any of it, except to argue that the appellate court should seal the CPS testimony because the trial court did. But the trial court never actually sealed the testimony, so she argues that it should have been sealed. And she never explains why, except to respect the intent of Commissioner Irwin Joseph who supposedly wanted the testimony sealed and neglected to do it.

Anyway, I am wondering whether she even signed her court papers herself. Look at the above signature on her sworn declaration. Doesn't it look a little bit fishy? Have you ever heard of anyone misspelling her own name?

Forget about her last name. That is just the name of her current husband, and she may not be used to it yet. But she has had that first name all of her life. She has always been able to spell it correctly as long as I've known her. The paper was supposedly signed on July 17 and filed with the court this week, so there was no hurry to sign it. Why is her name misspelled?

A reader responds:
i'm so very sorry about the ordeal you're being put through, i continue to wish you the best.

of all the inexplicable occurrences that you've described, this one sort of stands out a little more. i wish that i could explain to you exactly why. maybe, it's not much stranger than many of the others, but, here's my best "guess".

george, she's lawyer. we're laypersons, of course. this is a sworn declaration, that may have broader legal implications than other b.s.,previously submitted. maybe there's some sort of greater accountability, or repercussions to this particular document. she's an "officer of the court". there's a different set of standards of conduct and expectations placed on her to behave in greater accordance to the laws.

as one helpless dad to another, i'm going to go out on a big limb here. i suppose that, if, i were to want to prove, in the future, that i actually did not sign something myself, i might misspell my own first name to demonstrate how implausible it could be that it was MY signature, vs. not.

i could be so very wrong. even if i was right, or partially right, i wouldn't know what a person should do about it. it just seems to me, that out of the various, "fishy" things you've cited, this one stands out as "extra fishy".

as always, i appreciate the effort you exert to help your kids,other kids, and their families. i continue to pray for you and hope matters improve.
I really don't know. I do not believe that she can gain anything by disavowing the signature.

Response to lawyer request

I just sent this letter:
Dear Mr. Ritchey:

I received your letter asking me to remove some material from the web. Before I can address your request, I need some questions answered.

Are you claiming to represent my kids as their attorney? In what capacity? Under whose authority? Did you write the letter in behalf of my kids? Or are you acting in behalf of Julie or someone else? Do you have some personal interest in this matter?

I had thought that you were dismissed from the case at the beginning of the Jan. 9 hearing. You failed to show up for subsequent hearings. Even when you happened to be present in the courtroom on another matter, you did not make an official appearance in the case.

You were not present during the testimony in question. That testimony was on Jan. 4, and you decided to go on a family trip to Lake Tahoe instead. You were not present during subsequent court discussions about its confidentiality. As far as I know, you have no authorization to access the testimony and you do not even know whether the subject matter is confidential or not.

Please clarify your role in this case.
Then I just got another letter from some Sacramento lawyer named Barry Broad. He doesn't like my web site either.

I wonder why these jokers bother with snail mail. They would get a much faster response if they just sent me email or called me on the phone. They are obviously not in any hurry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Demands that evidence be sealed

My ex-wife just filed two motions to the appeals court to seal the testimony of the CPS social sorker Sally Mitchell. She testified in open court at our child custody trial in January, and the case is currently under appeal. This is the first time that my ex-wife has expressed any interest in sealing the testimony.

I also just got this letter from James M. Ritchey:
It has been brought to my attention that you have posted on the web portions of a court transcript which had been ordered sealed by the court and which are confidential. California Government Code Section 69954(d) also provides that this information cannot be posted.

Please immediately remove that material. The improperly posted information is not beneficial to you or to your children. I assume that you posted this information innocently and did not know that it was improper.

Respectfully submitted,

Attorney at Law

cc: Santa Cruz County Superior Court
Shannon M. Sullivan, Assistant Santa Cruz County Counsel
Susan Leland, Court Reporter
Janice Scott, Court Reporter
Julie Travers
Mr. Ritchey had been a court-appointed lawyer for my kids. I had thought that he was dismissed for incompetence six months ago, but he appears to be looking to cause trouble again.

I will answer them as soon as I can. In the mean time, I'll just point out that none of the testimony is really confidential. It was given in open court. Nobody said anything about it being confidential at the time. It is only being suppressed in order to cover up the weakness of the case against me.

I have written about the CPS investigation previously on this blog. Here is the summary of testimony that I am filing with the court:
There is a list of unverified allegations from unidentified reporting party. Sally Mitchell’s investigation consisted of three interviews of the kids at school. She could not find any single act that she regarded as abuse. She collected an assortment of kid stories about doing homework and household chores. Only one thing had any adult confirmation (but that was refuted by a letter from the school principal). The worst thing I ever did, according to her, was to reset the alarm clock for 7:00 am. Her report said that the alarm clock setting made the kids late for school, but she admitted in oral testimony that the kids had never been late for school. The only other notable bad thing, that she alleged that I did, was to run over a dog. (But the dog owner testified that it never happened.) She disapproves of the “sum total” of my parenting style, but did not say that it was actionable in court. She did not say that I need counseling or that the kids should not be with me. She did not make a child custody recommendation to the court.
Confidentiality of the testimony serves mainly to protect Ms. Mitchell and Commissioner Irwin Joseph from having their bogus procedures exposed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NJ restraining orders are unconstitutional

David R. Usher writes:
In June, New Jersey trial court judge Francis B. Schultz did his judicial homework and found portions of the New Jersey domestic violence laws are unconstitutional. Attorney David Heleniak, who is also a board member of the True Equality Network, represented the husband in this ground-breaking decision.

In Crespo v. Crespo Judge Schultz applied the Matthews-Eldridge balancing test to properly assess the standard of review required for these cases (trial court judges rarely do this on the notion that only high courts need weigh fundamental elements of due process). He found that since restraining orders impact constitutionally protected parental rights, the highest evidentiary standard of “clear and convincing evidence” applies when determining if restraining orders are issued.

In his decision, Schultz also rejected a common practice of state legislatures who often improperly dictate evidentiary standards and due-process provisions to the courts. It is long held that the standard of review and procedural matters are exclusively the venue of the courts.
The judge has a good point. US Supreme Court decisions like Santosky v Kramer (1982) have ruled that clear and convincing evidence is required before taking away parental rights.

I have a similar argument in my appeal. Comm. Irwin Joseph took away my kids, and he explicitly said that he was basing his decision on the "preponderance of the evidence". This is one example of how he has violated my constitutional rights.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Police director sues for critical bloggers' names

A reader sent this Tennessee story:
Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and the city of Memphis have filed a lawsuit to learn who operates a blog harshly critical of Godwin and his department.

The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0, a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership at 201 Poplar.

"In what could be a landmark case of privacy and the 1st Amendment," the anonymous bloggers write on the site, "Godwin has illegally used his position and the City of Memphis as a ram to ruin the Constitution of the United States.
Americans have a free speech right to anonymously criticize the government, of course.

This blog is not that sort of anonymous blog. Everyone in the local family court knows exactly who I am. What I say here about my case is pretty much the same as what I say in open court. There are just a few differences. One difference is that when I am in court, I try to stick to comments that are relevant to the particular issue in dispute. On this blog, I make more general comments about what I think is wrong with the system.

Another difference is that I am a little more blunt here on the blog. For example, I will refer to the local family court judge as "Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph" in court papers, but here I might also mention that he is commonly known in town as "Junk Justice Joseph". Even still, I try to always use his title of "Commissioner", or the abbreviation "Comm.". He once gave me a big lecture in court on how titles are very important to him, and on how offended he was that I once omitted someone's title in one of my court filings. He made me promise to use titles in the future, and he said that he was not going to tolerate such disrespect. It seemed rather petty to me, but I did not want any unnecessary fights with the guy, so I always use his title.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

British family court secrecy

A reader writes:
The secrecy issue has become a major public issue in Britain.

After a series of articles in the Times of London about secret rulings in family courts, Britain's senior family judge has condemned these practices and will issue new guidelines requiring more openness in local family courts.
Most courts hate secrecy, and prefer to have proceedings open to the public.

Kid gets lawyer for name change

A UK paper reports:
A nine-year-old girl whose parents named her Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was put into court guardianship in New Zealand so that her name could be changed.

A family court judge, Rob Murfitt, gave the order after hearing that the child was embarrassed about her name and had refused to reveal it to friends. "She told people her name was K because she feared being mocked and teased," the child's lawyer, Colleen MacLeod, told the court.

The judge criticised parents who give their offspring bizarre names, saying it exposed children to ridicule among their peers. ...

The girl, who had been at the centre of a custody battle, has since changed her name, but it was not revealed in order to protect her privacy.

Brian Clarke, the registrar general of births, deaths and marriages, said New Zealand law did not allow names that would cause offense to a reasonable person. He said officials were usually successful in dissuading parents from giving their children embarrassing names.
It seems to me that she could have just told her friends that her name was Talula, and leave it at that. Nobody cares about middle names. There must be more to this story. I think that a family court judge is using a child custody dispute to poke his nose where it does not belong. If the registrar said that Talula was a legal name at birth, then the family court judge should not be second-guessing it nine years later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Federal courts uphold parental rights

The was another major federal court decision today on parental rights. Frazier v Winn was an appeal to a Florida law regarding saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school. The court said that the parents have the final say, and cited "the fundamental constitutional right of parents to control the upbringing of their minor children".

There is a long line of such cases. For links to some of them, see Professor Eugene Volokh's blog.

I mention this because every time the family court takes a kid away from a parent without the required due process, it is violating federal constitutional law. Even in the FLDS YFZ Ranch case in Texas, where a lot of people disapprove of the polygamist culture, the kids had to be returned to the parents when the ACLU and others pointed out that it was illegal to seize the kids.

Yes, I believe that my kids were taken in violation of my fundamental constitutional rights. I may have to file a lawsuit in federal court to enforce those rights.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Request to see my file

I just sent this to Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph:
Dear Comm. Joseph:

I tried to inspect my court file, but the clerk informed me that you issued some sort of secret order preventing me from seeing the entire file. The file has two manila envelopes marked confidential, and the clerk said that not even the parties to the case can see what is in envelopes. She even said that she is not allowed to tell me what is inside them.

To the best of my knowledge, the file should not have any documents that are withheld from me.

I am asking for permission to see and copy the contents of the envelopes in my court file. I have an appeal pending, and the information may have a bearing on my appeal.

cc: Presiding Judge Robert Atack, 701 Ocean St Rm 110, Santa Cruz CA 95060
I really don't know how he gets away with issuing secret orders like this. The court file is supposed to be open to the parties in the case, at the very least. I sent a copy to the presiding judge, because he should know about these orders.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Britney to Pay K-Fed $20,000

People mag reports:
Britney Spears's custody settlement with her ex Kevin Federline, in which he retained sole custody of the couple's two sons, came at a price.

A source close to the singer confirms she'll now pay Federline $20,000 a month in child support, an increase from $15,000.

Federline's lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, also demanded and received $250,000 for his work on the case, the source adds.
That is, the lawyer got the $250k from Britney, not K-Fed. The case shows some of the craziness of the family court.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Complaining about a commissioner

A reader asks how to complain about Commissioner Irwin Joseph.

I believe that his supervisor is the Santa Cruz presiding judge. This year, that judge is Robert Atack. You can write to him at the Santa Cruz Main Courthouse, 701 Ocean St Rm 110, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

I don't know whether Judge Atack ever does anything about irresponsible employees under his watch. He was first appointed in 1987 by Gov. Deukmejian, and he has to run for reelection in 2010. Maybe if enough people complain, he might start to worry about getting reelected.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Complaining about the commissioner

I sent a complaint to Santa Cruz presiding judge Robert Atack about Commissioner Irwin Joseph. As I understand it, Atack is directly responsible for Comm. Joseph's performance on the job. Commissioners are not real judges, and someone has to hold them accountable for what they do.

I wonder if Judge Atack even knows how bad the situation is in Comm. Joseph's family court. Anyone who spends any time in Comm. Joseph's court can see that he is unfit for the job. But I don't think that Judge Atack supervises him closely enough.

Now that I have written to Judge Atack, he should be aware of some of the problems. I hope he takes some action.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bitter ex-wife objects to son using terms of respect

Yesterday's Dear Abby has this letter:
DEAR ABBY: I have a close friend who is divorced with one son. What is your opinion of a father who insists his 11-year-old son -- and since he was even younger -- respond to his father with, "Yes, sir"? If the son responds with, "Yes, Dad," "Yes," "Yeah, Dad," etc., the father responds with "WHAT did you say?" until the son responds with "Yes, sir."

The father has been deemed a narcissist by three court-appointed psychiatrists. He is a control freak, and I feel this is mental abuse to the son. What are your thoughts? -- APPALLED IN GLENDALE, OHIO
This letter was obviously written by the ex-wife. No one else would be so petty and spiteful. She has harassed him by requesting repeated psychiatric reports, and yet her biggest complaint is that he teaches his son to say, "yes sir".

As Dear Abby says, many people consider "yes sir" to be good manners. It is disgusting to see a bitter ex-wife try to stop a father from teaching manners to the son. If I were the judge in the case, I would dismiss her complaint if it included something so silly as a gripe about "yes sir".

Friday, July 11, 2008

British family court has similar problems

The London Times newspaper reports:
I wrote on Monday about the many desperate parents who have app-roached me after losing their children to social services. One thing that they all have in common is shock at how quickly the system seems to decide against them, and at how doggedly it sticks to that view despite all evidence to the contrary. Some parents find that minor issues are magnified until the conclusions reached are out of all proportion. The opposite also seems to hold true: some children come to terrible harm because the system systematically underestimates the risk to them.

Why does this happen? Eileen Munro, a reader in social policy at the London School of Economics and the author of Effective Child Protection, says that “child protection work inevitably involves uncertainty, ambiguity and fallibility”. She believes that it is human nature to form a view based on first impressions, and stick to it. “This has a devastating impact in child protection work,” she says, “in that professionals hold on to their beliefs about a family despite new evidence that challenges them. It can be equally harmful whether they are over or underestimating the degree of the risk to the child. They may continue to believe parents are doing well, even though there are successive reports of the child's being distressed or injured. Innocent parents wrongly judged abusive can face the frightening experience of being unable to shake the professionals' conviction, however much counter-evidence they produce.”

The risk of groupthink makes it all the more important that decisions are transparent and open to review. ...

There are several types of allegation that are almost impossible for parents to disprove. One is “emotional abuse”. You can see why the category exists. Ill-treatment comes in many forms, not all of which leave visible scars. But in that nebulous phrase lurks the potential for injustice. In the past ten years there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of parents or carers accused of “emotional abuse”. It now accounts for 21 per cent of all children registered as needing protection, up from 14 per cent in 1997. Yet the term has no strict definition in British law.
The next day, a different reporter wrote:
Britain faces an investigation by Europe into secrecy in family courts, amid growing political pressure to overhaul the system.

The Council of Europe has stepped in after allegations that gagging laws designed to protect the rights of children are allowing miscarriages of justice and children to be removed unnecessarily from their parents.

The Times has been running a series of articles this week about the consequences of the system that keeps reporters and the public out of many family court hearings and obstructs people from seeing evidence against them or obtaining copies of judgments. Opponents of the system say that judges can be too ready to side with social workers and experts who want a child removed but whose evidence is rarely made public.
Wow, it sounds as if the UK has the same problems that we have in California. At least the Brits have a newspaper that is wising up to the situation.

California law has a definition for "emotional abuse", but Comm. Irwin "Junk Justice" Joseph paid no attention to it. That is one of my complaints on appeal.

Celebrity adultery busts marriages

Celebrity divorces are in the news, with Alex Rodriguez and Christie Brinkley.

I am a little appalled at how many people think that the parent who commits adultery should lose the kids. Under California law, adultery is not a crime, and has no legal consequences. Having sexual relations with whomever you want is a civil liberty, regardless of marital status. Child custody is supposed to be based on the best interest of the child (BIOTCH), not on the personal morals of the parents.

I am not trying to justify adultery here. I am just describing the way the law works. There used to be laws against adultery. California has two BIOTCH exceptions already -- drug abuse and domestic violence -- so maybe there ought to be another for adultery. Or maybe one for internet porn, or for hanging out with a wacky rock star. I am just saying that the family court should follow the provisions of the law. If there is a public consensus that the govt should take kids away from adulturers or internet porn addicts, then pass a law to that effect. Otherwise, internet porn is just another goofy activity that is none of anyone's business.

Brinkley's case seems to have been determined by her hiring a pair of private detectives who spent a year spying on her husband Peter Cook, and on child custody evaluator:
Tuesday a court-appointed psychiatrist said Brinkley should be granted custody. Dr. Stephen Herman said Cook deserved liberal access to the children, but added that both parents were in need of counseling to deal with their personal issues.

Herman said that the model needs to examine her taste in men and that Cook is a narcissist with a bottomless ego.
I think that Herman is way out of line here. Both parents sound a little wacky to me, but their personal issues are their own business. Unless the parents have some psychiatric disorder that is harming the kids, Herman's opinions should be disregarded. He is just an over-opinionated phony.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Issues presented on appeal

My court appeal presents the following issues:
Did the lower court abuse its discretion in ordering a radical custody change?
Is there substantial evidence that I am a child abuser?
Is it reversible error to deny me an opportunity to present a rebuttal witness?
Should the standard of proof be “clear and convincing evidence”, when the family court action is essentially the same as a juvenile dependency court action?
Are there changed circumstances sufficient for the court to revisit the 2005 custody trial outcome and to micromanage the upbringing of our children?
Did the lower court adequately justify a deviation from child support guidelines?
Can the court restrain me from publishing the allegations against me?
I also complain about my constitutional rights being violated, and not getting a real judge.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Filing the appeal brief

I hand delivered it to the appellate court clerk in San Jose. You never know when the clerk is going to reject the brief for some silly technical reason.

I gave her my five copies, and she inspected them. They have to use 13-point font, have 1.5-inch margins, and be bound. If stapled, there must be tape covering the staples. There must be a proof of service that copies were sent to the California Supreme Court, the Santa Cruz Superior Court, and to the other angry party to the case.

In my case, her main first problem was that her computer said that I was not scheduled to file the brief yet. Because a court reporter had screwed up a transcript, I was entitled to wait until it was corrected, plus 30 days. I told her that I wanted the correction, but I did not want to wait for it. She consulted her supervisor, and decided that I would be permitted to file today.

Then she inspected my briefs. Her main quibble was that I did not have the proof of service bound in with the rest of the brief. I submitted it as a separate document. The clerk consulted her supervisor, and decided that it was okay. So she date stamped the briefs, and put them away. Julie, I think you now have 30 days to file your opposition brief.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Waiting on sloppy court reporters

I saw the list of excuses that the court reporter gave for being a couple of months late with the transcripts. She claimed that she was busy doing other cases that were more important than mine, and that her computer was in the repair shop for a couple of weeks. She also complained about getting mugged, going on vacation, and moving her office to Watsonville.

These excuses seem pretty lame to me. She should lighten her workload if she cannot keep up with demand for transcripts. Her delays resulted in me not seeing my kids for two additional months.

Independently, the appeals court just said that I could ask for a 15-day delay because another court reporter botched up her transcript. She retired and moved to Washington State where she does not seem to have email. I think that it might take more that 15 days for her to get her act together, so I am not going to wait.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Why hearsay is wrong

A reader writes:
If the parenting school believed that I had a court order to attend its classes, then what is wrong with the school filing a report with the court?
There are several things wrong with it. To understand them, you need to understand the rules of evidence that the court uses.

There is no law against lying outside of court. There is a law against lying in sworn testimony. So the court requires sworn testimony, and ignores out of court statements as just hearsay.

The court sometimes accepts a written statement, but only if the following conditions are met:
The author restricts himself to first-hand knowledge. He cannot just repeat the hearsay of others.

The author writes under oath, and under penalty of perjury. There has to be some way of holding him accountable for what he says.

The author make himself available for cross-examination. People have rights to face their accusers in court, and to flesh out exactly what the allegations are.
Now look at the email from Jodi Harvey below. I never met her, and she has no first-hand knowledge of what she is saying. She could be lying to promote her business, and there would be nothing illegal about it. She is apparently relying on an unidentified "staff member" who interviewed me. If it turned out to be all a big lie, she would just say that it was a misunderstanding. It is worse than hearsay; it is hearsay about hearsay, and a real court would never accept it.

A real school sends its report cards to its students. Others can only see the report card if the student authorizes it. If the student is under age, then the parents can also see the report card. That's all. A school has no business sending secret reports without permission.

If the school thought that I was under court order to attend, and it was denying me admission, then it should have given me and me alone a rejection letter. If I wanted to explain the matter to the court, then I could submit my explanation along with the letter. There is no need or utility in having the school send a letter to the court.

What Ms. Harvey is really doing, of course, is to try to secure more court-ordered paying customers. She personally was making a lot of money from referrals under the direction of Ms. Berrenge, and wanted to keep that money flow coming. Ms. Harvey is essentially saying, "We didn't like George because he asked too many questions. But please keep ordering others to pay us money!"

Ms. Harvey is running a crooked business. She makes money because of a slimy and dishonest relationship with the local family court. Stay away from her, if you can.

Bad as she is, I think that what Ms. Berrenge did was worse. Ms. Berrenge was in a position of responsibility with the court, and she abused that role in order to secretly put malicious evidence against me in the court file. She is no longer working for the court, and I'd like to say that the court is better off without her, but she has been replaced by someone worse. I'll write more about her replacement later.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Parenting class sends malicious letter

Three years ago I was sent to a parenting class at Simply Your Best, a local outfit that gets its business from the court. I wrote about it here in 2005.

As I explained then, they told me that they had a policy of sending reports to the court. If I expressed an opinion that was contrary to the school philosophy, such as saying that spanking was acceptable under certain circumstances, then they would send a bad report to the court. The school rejected me at the end of the intake interview. Comm. Joseph said that I "flunked" the class.

What I did not know at the time was that the school sent a secret report against me to the court! I just discovered this email in the court file:
From: Jodi Harvey []
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 2:50 PM


Our staff had a very uncomfortable interaction with a potential client named George AngryDad who came in with 2 little girls around ages 5 and 7 or so.

The intake conversation started to get weird when our intake staff member gave him our intake assessment which collects information from clients.

He didn't want any reports sent to the court because he said he was afraid that things he said would be used against him.

Our staff member said an example of something we might include in the reports of a negative example would be that the client utilizes spanking as a discipline technique. He said, "What's wrong with spanking." and he cited research that supports spanking, ...

Our staff was very uncomfortable and she asked him to leave as he stayed over an hour. She told him that we were not a good match and he was denied admittance to the program and referred to the parenting center and he wrote down the name of the class text. ...

We've only rejected 3 people in 5 years.

Just an FYI...

Jodi Harvey
Simply Your Best
Yes, we were not a good match. I was following court instructions, and they were creeps who were backstabbing clients.

I include the real names of Jodi Harvey and Melissa Berrenge because they were using their names to secretly sabotage my court case. If they act against me and my kids in court, then they should be willing to stand behind what they say and do.

I was never admitted to the Simply Your Best class. I never signed the form authorizing them to send reports to the court. They just did it anyway, and did not even tell me. They should know that courts operate based on admissible evidence, and that all parties have to see the evidence before it is presented to the court. There is no place for letters like this.

Melissa Berrenge is a psychologist who worked for the court at the time. She should certainly know how improper it is for her to put such an email into my court file. It is unsworn. It is hearsay from an identified "staff member". It was not sent to me. I had no opportunity to rebut it. And yet she did it anyway.

The email also reveals what a treacherous and dishonest outfit Simply Your Best is. They wanted to punish me for citing some research that runs counter to their prejudices. Spanking is a legal and acceptable disciplinary technique, and they have no business trying to forbid it. They certainly should not be punishing parents who merely express an opinion about the published research. Their classes consist of discussion groups in which all participants are encouraged to tell about their parenting experiences. And they should not be writing secret reports to the court.

A real court would not accept email letters like this. It violates basic principles of fairness and rules of evidence.

If you are unfortunate enough to have to take a class from Simply Your Best, watch your back. They are slimeballs of the worst kind, and they will maliciously try to ruin your life if they can. Do not attempt to have an honest discussion with them. Just tell them what they want to hear, and hope you get good reports.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Kids to be allowed in court

The San Jose newspaper reports:
SACRAMENTO - The state Legislature Monday gave final approval to a proposed law that would increase the chances that children who are suspected victims of abuse or neglect will be present at court hearings to decide their fate.

The legislation, which received unanimous approval by the state Assembly, now will go to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has 12 days to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.

The measure was pushed by Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, after the Mercury News series "Broken Families, Broken Courts" in February identified as one significant problem of dependency courts statewide the fact that children routinely were absent from hearings at which their fate was decided. The problem was later highlighted in a report on dependency court by a blue-ribbon commission appointed by state Chief Justice Ronald George.

The Assembly voted 76-0 for the bill after Jones said in a speech on the floor that the "genesis" for the legislation was the Mercury News series, which focused on cases such as that of Zairon Frazier of Alameda County.

The legislation, AB 3051, would require judges, referees and commissioners to postpone dependency court hearings if a child age 10 and older is not present and has not been properly notified or given an opportunity to attend. At the hearings, judges or their substitutes - referees or commissioners - consider allegations of abuse or neglect by parents, and decide the fates of children temporarily placed in foster care.

Jones cited Frazier's case as he said: "Unfortunately, children over the age of 10 throughout the state of California are deprived of the opportunity to be heard in the courts making decisions about their future." He added, "This bill simply says they should be given a chance to be heard, they should be allowed to testify."
Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph has a policy of never allowing kids in court. My kids were not allowed in court. A unanimous vote of the California legislature says that he is doing the wrong thing.

Rosse letter not in the file

One thing that I did not find in the court file was the letter from Will Rosse. He was the part-time school psychologist who participated in the CPS investigation of my kids. I thought that he was particularly irresponsible and cruel to my kids, and I commented on what he did on this blog.

Rosse took it upon himself to try to intervene in my divorce case, and wrote a secret letter to the judge. I never saw a copy of the letter. Apparently he was annoyed that I described what he did on my blog, and wanted the court to do something about it. Comm. Joseph should have refused to accept the letter, but he read it and said that he was putting it in the file. It is not in the file.

I do think that it is really wrong for the court to work this way. If Rosse had some legitimate concerns about my kids, then he should tell me his concerns. He has not. Instead he secretly tells CPS and the court something -- I don't even know what -- and then he hopes that I will not find out.

The court is a public process. We had a public trial. If Rosse really had something important to say to the court, then he could have testified and answered questions at the trial. Or if he had something to tell me, he could have told me. But there is no way that he should be sending secret letters to the court, and no way Comm. Joseph should be accepting them. The system is too corrupt.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Commissioner Joseph keeps secret files

One of the common complaints about Santa Cruz family court is the way Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph makes decisions based on one-sided evidence. He will often accept a letter from one side of the case, and make a ruling based on it, without the other party even seeing the letter.

He even has the official court files organized to distinguish between the legitimate and illegitimate evidence. Each file has a right-hand-side that has proper filings, and a left-hand-side that has inadmissible junk that that should never have been accepted.

I believe that someone is currently filing a formal complaint against Comm. Joseph for this practice.

I have just learned that Junk Justice Joseph has recently adopted a worse policy. Now the court files often have a manila envelope in them that is marked "confidential". He has instructed the clerks that not even the parties to the case are allowed to look in the secret envelope, or even know what is in it!

This is really wrong. There is no way a court should be keeping files of secret evidence that is not even available to the parties in the case. Only a crooked judge would do something like that. Junk Justice Joseph should be fired immediately for maintaining secret evidence against litigants in his courtroom. The American justice system is based on both sides of a court case having all the evidence.