Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NY cases cannot be held in secret

The New York Times reports:
For years, straphangers who got caught for minor infractions — like drinking beer or sleeping on a subway car — have found themselves before the Transit Adjudication Bureau, a little-known judicial body that handles thousands of cases stemming from criminal acts on the city’s subways and buses.

Now the bureau is facing its own rap: violating the Constitution.

Since the 1980s, members of the public could be barred from attending bureau hearings at the request of the defendant, a policy intended to provide more privacy and to reduce absenteeism.

But that practice was ruled a violation of the First Amendment by Judge Richard J. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in an opinion issued last week and announced on Monday. The New York Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy in a lawsuit filed after members of the organization were not allowed entry to several hearings. ...

The adjudication bureau handles about 20,000 cases a year for minor infractions like littering, smoking, gambling or riding between cars, all of which carry a maximum fine of $100. ...

But in his opinion, Judge Sullivan determined that concerns about personal privacy, or a potential chilling effect on respondents, did not meet the threshold to close the proceedings.
So why isn't family court testimony open to the public?

It is open in Alaska:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sarah Palin's oldest daughter appears to have lost her bid to keep a bitter legal dispute with her 1-year-old son's father confidential.

An Alaska judge last week denied Bristol Palin's request to keep the legal proceedings of her custody dispute with Levi Johnston closed.

My ex-wife got my kids by making false accusations against me in a secret motion to Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph. Then she persuaded a witness to testify against me, and asked Cmr. Joseph to seal the testimony. He has ordered me not to post Sally Mitchell's false allegations.

Cmr. Joseph did authorize me to say that setting the alarm clock for 7:00 am on school mornings was typical of the charges against me. Now he has sent us out for another evaluation, and he has already ordered the report sealed.

I just don't understand why the public in New York has a constitutional right to know who has been littering in the subway, but the public in Santa Cruz has no right to know why the kids are being court-ordered to grow up without fathers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sarah Palin's granddaughter

You can find some documents on the child custody fight between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston here. Palin is demanding sole custody and making a bunch of ridiculous accusations. For example:
Sarah Palin's daughter hints in court documents that Levi Johnston, the father of her son, may have issues with marijuana use.

Bristol Palin's petition in a heated custody battle over 1-year-old Tripp refers to statements Johnston allegedly made on Twitter about seeking "weed."

Johnston has denied the allegation, claiming he doesn't even have a Twitter account.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Middle schoolers fail at math

My local Si Valley newspaper has two articles today on the importance of math education in middle school.
A section B1 article said:
Valley eighth-graders who attended a four-week summer class aimed at preparing them for algebra improved in math proficiency by 20 percent, the class's sponsor has reported.

Organizers are so pleased with the results that they hope to expand the Stepping Up to Algebra program from 400 students last summer to 750 next summer. That would provide a badly needed boost to education, as a tight budget squeeze is expected to cut summer school programs in districts throughout the county. ...

The foundation and others have focused on math and science education, particularly algebra, for several reasons.

One is to better prepare students to join the high-tech workforce.

But another is more basic. The greatest single predictor of college success is whether a student has become proficient in Algebra II. And to enroll in that high school course, a student needs to pass Algebra I, normally part of the eighth-grade curriculum.
An op-ed said:
Thirteen-year-old Kayla Savage was failing math. Like many of her classmates in middle school, she hated the subject. Stuck in a large seventh-grade class with a teacher who had little time to offer individual help, Kayla was lost among rational numbers and polynomials.

Her frustration led to a phobia of math, an all-too-common affliction that often starts in middle school and threatens to derail students' future math studies in high school and chances for college.

Kayla is like thousands of students across America who struggle with math. The struggle in California is borne out by this grim U.S. Education Department statistic: Students in California rank 40th in eighth-grade math, a critical year in math learning that sets the path for math success in high school and beyond.
I had a CPS worker, Sally Mitchell, tell me that it was child abuse to teach math to a girl. And Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph took my kids away (in part) because I had entered my daughter in a math contest that was above her grade level. He made a big point of it in his judgment.

The daughter's school barely teaches math at all. All of the teachers hate math. They can't hire any men to teach, because all men are suspected child abusers. The female teachers are good at certain aspects of teaching, but not math.

We have a lot of Chinese and Indian families in Si Valley. If the schools are bad at math, then they teach their kids after hours or have them tutored. They are not content to just have their kids learn pattycake at school.

I still don't see how Cmr. Joseph or anyone can object to the math contest. The contest was sponsored by the County and open to all students. All except my daughters, I guess.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

CPS seizes toddler in hospital

My local newspaper reports:
SANTA CRUZ -- The 28-year-old father of a toddler who ingested methamphetamine was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of felony child endangerment. ...

The child's mother, who lives at the apartment, took the toddler to Dominican Hospital late Monday after noticing the boy was acting out of character. Hospital officials notified police about 11 p.m. that they had a child who had tested positive for methamphetamine.

The toddler was taken into custody by Child Protective Services and kept in the hospital overnight. He has fully recovered from ingesting an unknown amount of the drug, Clark said.

Police said the child's mother was home when Ochoa visited, but asked him to leave after she realized he was under the influence. They have not identified her and have determined she has no criminal liability in the incident, Clark said.

It's unclear how the child came across the drug, though police believe it was unintentional, he said. ...

Child Protective Services will complete its own report with information from police before it is decided whether the child can return to his mother, Clark said.
It is a bad sign when a toddler tests positive for meth, but I am trying to figure out how this system works, and I have some questions.

How did the cops determine that the mom had no criminal liability? Maybe she was framing her ex. She could have given the toddler a trace amount of meth, knowing that it would be harmless, and then took the kid to the hospital knowing that the kid would be tested, and her ex would be blamed for the meth.

If the cops decided that the meth exposure was an accident, then why is CPS still holding the kid? The mom, who is supposedly completely innocent, cannot even get her kid back. It appears that CPS suspects her of some wrongdoing, even tho the cops do not.

If both parents are suspected of wrongdoing, then why is the dad named in the article, and not the mom?

Here are my tentative conclusions.

It is really easy for a mom to frame a dad, because the dad always gets blamed if anything goes wrong.

Think twice before taking your kid to the emergency room, because CPS may seize your kid even if it was a unintentional accident caused by someone else.

CPS has some dark motives here. My guess is that CPS is going to tell the mom that she can have the kid back if she gets a restraining order against the dad or tries to terminate his parental rights or gets into the welfare system. Whatever CPS does, you can be sure that it will cause harm to this poor toddler for many years to come.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Using Facebook in divorce court

This is from a UK divorce site:
I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 percent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook. The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.”
I am not sure what to make of this. Do they have rules over in the UK about with whom you can have your inappropriate sex chats?

I have not noticed any Facebook sex chat evidence being introduced in my local California family court. Is this really going on? Or is this one of last American freedoms that have not yet been subject to family court interference? Is it safe to have an inappropriate Facebook sex chat?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Commissioner-psychologist conference call

I just had a 30-minute conference call with Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph, the psychologist he is appointing to do an evaluation, and my ex-wife. Cmr. Joseph treated it as a regular court session and said that he had a court reporter on a speaker phone.

The purpose of the call was to clarify the evaluation order. The psychologist had several questions. The order says that the psychologist has very broad authority to do whatever he pleases, and most of the questions consisted of asking whether he really has the authority to do things the way he likes to do them. Cmr. Joseph kept saying that he is trusting the professional to use his discretion to do what is best.

For example, the psychologist questioned whether he was required to do psychological testing, considering that testing was previously done. Cmr. Joseph instructed him to call the psychologist who did the previous tests, and come to a joint conclusion about whether additional testing is necessary.

The psychologist asked what to do with his report when he was finished writing it. This question baffled me. The guy has written 100s of reports. How could there be any doubt about this? Cmr. Joseph said to send copies to the court and to the parents. What other possibility could he have been considering? Has he ever done anything else with his reports?

Cmr. Joseph did say that he was issuing a protective order on teh (not yet written) report. We can only show it to our lawyers. I guess he said that to pacify the psychologist.

Cmr. Joseph asked us to waive all privileges. When I asked about the scope of waiver, he said that he meant all possible waivers, including a confession that I might have made to my priest. I thought that it was odd to hear him make such an anti-Christian comment on Christmas Eve. When I objected to waiving an attorney-client privilege, he said that no one is asking me to waive an attorney-client privilege. I also think that it is odd how lawyers have been brainwashed to think that the attorney-client privilege is more important than anything else. My ex-wife and I agreed to waive the privileges, assuming that the psychologist gives written notice about whom he wants to contact.

Now I wait for the psychologist to mail me his contract and his instructions.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dad loses to vindictive judge and shrink

Here another angry dad site:
My name is Dan Brewington and I have put this website together to help bring awareness to the problems with the family court system. On August 18, 2009, I lost all parenting time with my 3 and 5 year old daughters without warning. Prior to August 18, 2009, my children had not been away from either parent for more than four days. There were no allegations of abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, adultery, or neglect. ...

In the August 18, 2009 Final Decree, Judge James D Humphrey wrote, “Because of the potential danger to the children, Husband must remove all postings created by him from the internet concerning the children before any unsupervised visitation may commence and or/continue.”
It appears that his custody evaluation was not so bad, and it said worse things about his ex-wife. But it was sloppy, and he asked to see the case file. Then the psychologist accused him of being “potentially dangerous”. The only real danger was to their reputations, because his web site documents what they did it court. In short, they are vindictively punishing his kids because he was embarrassing to them.

I admire this guy for having the guts to expose his story on his web site. Most parents get shamed into keeping quiet. But this is the internet age, and more and more of these stories are going online, despite efforts to stifle them. These are not isolated stories. The public is going to learn more and more about the illegal, immoral, unjust, sloppy, vindictive, malicious, corrupt, and cruel practices of the family court.

Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph keeps claiming that he does not read this blog. His last order said:
The Court reaffirms its position that father's right to his blog cannot be interfered with. The undersigned does not read father's blog.
I don't know why he said this, as there was no motion before his about my blog. The psychologist cannot figure out his order either, and there is supposed to be a conference call on Thursday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Your right to confront witnesses

The NY Times reports:
But the appeals court reconsidered the case after a decision in June from the United States Supreme Court that prohibited prosecutors from introducing crime lab reports without testimony from the analysts who prepared them.

The appeals court reversed Ms. Lopez’s conviction, saying prosecutors had violated her constitutional right to confront witnesses against her by failing to put the analyst who prepared the blood-alcohol report on the stand.

But now, in an unusual move, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Jan. 11 in a new case that raises questions about how lower courts may carry out its six-month-old precedent. Many state attorneys general and prosecutors are hoping the court will overrule its decision in the earlier case, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, before it can take root, saying it is a costly, disruptive and dangerous misstep.
Costly, disruptive, and dangerous? This is one of our most basic American rights, and I am surprised that anyone questions it.

The Bill of Rights says that you have a right to confront the witnesses against you. The Sixth Amendment reads:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
If someone can be sent to prison purely based on an anonymous report and no testimony, then how can the accused possibly defend himself?

I am sure that the family court judges, commissioners, and govt social workers would love to abolish this right. Their lives would be easier if they could do their dirty work in backroom deals and anonymous reports.

The family court relies heavily on so-called expert reports, and they are often filled with completely bogus assertions and reasoning. Sometimes they are grossly misleading for what the don't say. The biggest thing keeping the system honest at all is that the so-called experts are subject to testifying under oath, and having to answer questions from the accused.

Some court psychologists are scared about having to testify, and they do everything that they can to avoid it. Some even do evaluations on parents and try to prevent the parents from even reading the reports they write. But as California law currently stands, any report is considered hearsay unless the author testifies in court, and the parties to the case have the right to have their own rebuttal witnesses.

Your constitutional rights are hanging on the thread of a 5-4 vote at the US Supreme Court.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

TV show on dads trying to get sons back

ABC TV 20/20 had a show last night about two American fathers who sons were illegally put in Italian orphanages.
Narrator: How do you make sense of all this?
Dad: It's outrageous. I mean -- I have no idea what would possess people to put so much effort into damaging a child's relationship with a parent. ...

Narrator: What do you tell yourself to deal with this emotionally?
Dad: I have a little game that I play with myself. I wake up in the morning, and I say,
is today the day that I give up? The answer has been the same every day. Not today.
In one case the mom had abandoned the boy, and in the other the mom was a criminal fugitive who had been declared unfit.

The show gives the impression that American court would never be as bad as the Italian courts. I think that there are American stories that are just as bad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pitiful research on psych. abuse

You would think that if the psychological profession is training people to make judgment on what is or is not actionable abuse, then they would have some scientific research to back it up. But they don't.

Here is an academic paper (pdf) on psychological abuse of kids.

First the authors look for a definition. They reject a definition in terms of harm to a child because:
It poses a serious problem for research, however, because children may suffer immediate psychological pain from verbal attacks by parents but not display any lasting social or psychological problems.
So they settle on this definition:
Psychological aggression is a communication intended to cause the child to experience psychological pain. The communicative act may be active or passive or verbal or nonverbal.
In other words, they choose a definition that is so broad that it includes all sorts of harmless actions.

The first requirement of a scientific definition is to show that it can be applied consistently. But when they looked at studies using this definition, they found incidence rates varying from 25% to 94%.

So even the experts doing the academic studies cannot agree on what this definition means.

After a bunch of meaningless charts and tables, the authors start getting opinionated:
An alternative hypothesis is based on the theory that any act of psychological aggression against a child, regardless of whether the aggression is a purely expressive emotional outburst or is a means of correcting or controlling misbehavior, puts the child at increased risk for mental disabilities. Consequently, the rate of social and psychological problems will start to increase from the beginning of the psychological aggression distribution. If this hypothesis is supported, it means that any psychological aggression is abusive. If so, the results of this research would mean that close to 100% of American parents, by their own report, psychologically abuse their children, some starting in infancy.

In the absence of research showing that each increase in the amount of psychological aggression is associated with an increased probability of child behavior problems, there may not be many who regard any psychological aggression as abuse.
They are admitting that there is no evidence that psychological aggression is harmful, but they want to hypothesize that every single act of psychological aggression contributes to mental disabilities.

The hypothesis is absurd, and they have no evidence for it.
Regardless of whether occasional instances of psychological aggression damage the child, any act of psychological aggression against a child is an unacceptable mode of human relationships and provides a poor role model for the child. Parents should never use psychological aggression as a means to correct or control misbehavior.
Got that? No parent should ever say or do anything that ever causes a child psychological pain.

The anti-spanking folks are goofy enough, but this paper goes way beyond that. Their rule would seem to prohibit all forms of punishment and discipline. They would even forbid silence, if a flattering comment could be made.

Here is the sleight-of-hand they use to pretend that science supports their nutty ideas. First they claim that there are studies showing a correlation:
Similarly, psychological aggression by parents has been shown to be associated with higher rates of delinquency and psychological problems.
Then they argue that correlation implies causality:
Thus, avoiding discipline techniques that involve psychological as well as physical aggression increases the probability of the child being well behaved and well adjusted, rather than resulting in ‘‘kids running wild.’’
But this is a logical fallacy. There is a correlation between delinquency and punishment in kids, in the sense that there is some overlap between the more delinquent kids and the more punished ones. Is the delinquency causing the punishment or the punishment causing the delinquency? The authors seem to be leaping to the conclusion that the punishment is causing the delinquency. Correlations does not imply causality.

This type of fallacy is common in child-rearing research. Here is how it can go wrong. Suppose American white, black, and asian families are being studied. The black and asian parents spank the most, while the asian kids are the best behaved and the black kids are the worst behaved. If the study sample includes just white and black families, then spanking and bad behavior will be correlated. The black families will have more of both. So if the study authors fallaciously assume that correlation implies causality, then they will conclude that spanking causes bad behavior.

But now suppose that the study includes only white and asian families, with no blacks. Then it will look like spanking is correlated with good behavior, and the study will reach the opposite conclusion.

Because of problems like this, studies on parenting practices tend to be worthless. Furthermore, they tend to be done by over-opinionated childless do-gooders who just want to confirm their prejudices about how everybody else should be rearing their kids.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

School evicts kid for Jesus sketch

A Boston Mass. newspaper reports:
City officials sharply disputed yesterday widely distributed reports that a local elementary school suspended a second-grader and required the boy to undergo a psychological evaluation for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross. ...

“The report is totally inaccurate,’’ Julie Hackett, superintendent of the Taunton public schools, said in an interview in her office yesterday. ...

She said the drawing was seen as a potential cry for help when the student identified himself, rather than Jesus, on the cross, which prompted the teacher to alert the school’s principal and staff psychologist. As a result, the boy underwent a psychological evaluation.

She declined to comment on the results of the evaluation or whether the teacher had reason to believe that the student was crying out for help. The boy’s father showed reporters a report indicating his son was not a threat to himself or others and could return to school.

“In this case, as in any other case involving the well-being of a student, the administration acted in accordance with the School Department’s well-established protocol,’’ she said in a statement. “This protocol is centered upon the student’s care, well-being, and educational success. The protocol includes a review of the student’s records.’’
So there is some dispute about whether the stick figure on a cross was supposed to be Jesus, but the public school stands its decision to order a psychological evaluation based on the doodling of a 9-year-old boy.

The school's justification is that it was following protocol. The protocol ought to be changed. Until it is, you should realize that your local school could do this to your kid at any time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Family court judge forbids church

Sometimes I think that there is no limit to the extent that family court judges are willing to intervene in people's lives. If there is one area that is supposed to be off-limits for a judge, it is choosing a religion. The First Amendment forbids it. But someone needs to tell this judge:
Wife Says Taking Daughter To Christian Service Will Confuse Child

CHICAGO (CBS) - A father has been hit with an unusual restraining order: Keep his daughter away from any religion that is not Jewish. After the girl's parents split up, the father went to a Catholic church and had the girl baptized, CBS station WBBM-TV reports.

Joseph Reyes, 35, had his daughter baptized and sent his ex-wife a picture of the ceremony. ...

Reyes' divorce attorney, Joel Brodsky, said when he first saw the petition for a temporary restraining order against his client, he couldn't believe what he was reading.

"I almost fell off my chair," he said. "I thought maybe we were in Afghanistan and this was the Taliban. This is America. We have a First Amendment right of freedom of religion."

The restraining order asks the judge to bar Joseph from taking his daughter to church. According to the petition, failure to restrain him will "continue to the emotional detriment of the child."

Rebecca and her attorneys declined to go on camera but they did release the following statement: "We stand by our petition. We feel the judge will do whatever is best for the child."
I saw this story on Fox News. Their experts are usually all in favor of meddlesome judges, but this time they agreed that this Chicago judge was way out of bound. A judge should never decide between a church and a synagogue.

People sometimes argue that family court judges have to rule on any dispute brought before them. The argument goes that if the parents disagree, then the judge has to determine the Best Interest Of The Child (BIOTCh). But cases like this show the foolishness of such thinking. It is neither legal nor desirable for a judge to decide which religion is in the BIOTCH.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cmr Joseph's lame defense

I wrote this in a motion before Judge Salazar:
Commissioner Joseph is prejudiced
I believe that Cmr. Joseph should not preside over the hearing that I am requesting. First, he is not the family court judge. Second, I am seeking to enforce the outcome of the 2005 child custody trial under Judge Kelly, and Cmr. Joseph had nothing to do with that. Third, he is prejudiced against me.

To give just one example of Cmr. Joseph’s prejudice, last year he got someone on his staff to report to him about my website after the California Judges Association advised him not to look himself. Then he wrote an out-of-court letter to [my ex-wife] suggesting that she bring a motion to hold me in contempt of court, and he presided over the contempt trial himself over my objections. A judge should not be doing his own investigations and instigating complaints, and he certainly should not have been presiding over a case that he actively instigated.

More seriously, Cmr. Joseph has refused to let my kids see me because of his own inability to appoint an EC 730 witness.
Here was Cmr. Joseph's response last week:
17. The court has reviewed the claims of prejudice brought by father. If father believes he is unable to receive fair hearing in this court by this judicial officer, he should prepare, file and serve a proper pleading under CCP 170 et seq. The assertions at page 5 of the pleading filed for hearing December 21, 2009 are inaccurate and untrue.
You would think that if the assertions were really "inaccurate and untrue", he would be able to say what was not true. He did not. All that stuff is documented on the court file. I don't see how he can deny it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

German human rights violation

Apparently my case would be a human rights violation in Europe. The BBC reports:
The German government says it will reform its custody laws after the European Court of Human Rights said a German man had suffered discrimination.

The Strasbourg court ruled that German courts were wrong to reject the unmarried father's plea to have joint custody of his daughter, 14.

Under current German law, single fathers can only get joint custody if the mother gives her consent.

Germany's justice minister says the custody law now needs changing.
Too bad I cannot appeal my case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New motions are banned

One of Cmr. Josephs actions on Thursday was to ban me from making any more motions to see my kids. His order said:
4. Until completion of the Psychological Evaluation and receipt of report therefrom, neither party shall file any Motion or OSC for Modification of Custody and Visitation absent changed circumstances. Mere passage of time is not considered a changed circumstance. Any violation of this paragraph may result in sanctions as an abuse of the court process.
For two years, he has refused to appoint a psychologist to do an evaluation, and now he says that I cannot make any motions until the evaluation is completed!

I have never heard of anything like this. We had a custody trial, and the only permanent order was for joint custody. One day Cmr. Joseph sends the cops to my house to seize my kids. He issues temporary orders pending an evaluation. But he refuses to order the evaluation. And now he says that it is an "abuse of the court process" to ask the court to let me see my kids.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Commissioner clarifies his order

My ex-wife were back in court today before Cmr. Joseph in a special court session just for us. She was about ten minutes late.

Cmr. Joseph said that he read all the papers, except for my ex-wife's lengthy exhibits, and he still claims to have an inability to appoint a psychologist to evaluate us. He wanted us to go back to a psychologist that we had previously agreed on. He ordered that no more motions be made until the evaluation is done. If we do not agree on an evaluator soon, then he will ask each of us to nominate a list of psychologists, and he will appoint an expert to choose from our combined lists.

This makes no sense to me. The evaluator is just a court-appointed witness under the law. So why can't the court just appoint someone? He is willing to send the cops to seize my kids without my permission, so why does he need our permission to select a witness?

He issued a couple of pages of clarifications, which don't really clarify anything in my opinion. I hope the psychologists finds them helpful, so we can have the evaluation. More on this later.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

CPS gag order struck down

A Nebraska appeals court just struck down a gag order against parents who were forbidden to talk about their son. The court said:
No witness testified that further disclosure posed imminent physical or emotional harm or danger to T.T. of any magnitude. The record clearly supports the conclusion that if T.T.’s parents make further public disclosure about him, his past difficulties, or his treatment, T.T. will likely be angry and embarrassed, plus reconciliation with his family will be more difficult. On the other hand, we remember that the evidence shows he is “over it” with respect to the Wall Street Journal article. And, as said in The Pentagon Papers, a prior restraint on speech cannot be predicated on “surmise or conjecture that untoward consequence may result.” Moreover, while we do not know exactly what was disclosed in the Wall Street Journal article, it is a permissible inference that at least some of the information restricted by the gag order is already in the public domain. Thus, this factor reduces the effectiveness of the gag order, as well as undercuts any claim that the danger of harm is imminent....
It is funny to see the court complain that it did not know what was in the Wall Street Journal article. You can just read that article online here.

The point here is the state agency was trying to cover up its own failure to provide appropriate mental health services, so it asked a judge to issue a gag order against the parents. The judge issued the gag order, but the appeals court said that it violated First Amendment rights, by analogy to the Pentagon Papers case.

My ex-wife, Julie Travers, has sought and obtained two gag orders from Commissioner Irwin Joseph against me. One concerns reports on her psychological disorders, and the other concerns her abuse of her kids. I don't see how these orders can be constitutional. They serve no purpose except to cover up the bad decisions of the family court.

Update: A reader says that the last paragraph is confusing because the gag order would have had the obvious purpose of preventing embarrassment for my ex-wife. Furthermore, the reports could not have been that bad for her, he says, because she ended up winning custody.

Yes, my ex-wife presumably sought the gag order to protect herself, not the court. But Cmr. Joseph did not make any such findings similar to what the above court decision said would be required for such a gag order. I think that he was just trying to shelter himself from criticism.

The suppressed reports do not say that I am any crazier or abusive than she is. By themselves, I don't think that they prove much of anything. However, I think that my ex-wife is concerned that any reasonable person who viewed the totality of the evidence would conclude that she is the crazy and abusive one. And I do not think that the court should have issued its gag order, because it makes it harder for me to demonstrate my innocence and the bad policies of the court.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Corrupt child abuse prosecution

Ever wonder what happens to bad prosecutors who get caught? A reader reports the story of an overzealous child abuse prosecutor who aggressively promoted child abuse cases, got caught doctoring evidence, and was run out of town. So she got a new career as the mistress of a US Senator!
Melodee Hanes has worked for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) since 2003. In 2008, Baucus' wife Wanda moved out and Melodee, who was then married to Thomas Bennett, moved in. In 2009, Baucus nominated Melodee as one of 3 candidates to be U.S. Attorney for Montana. Melodee withdrew her candidacy for U.S. Attorney after she was "presented with other opportunities" - namely, a good job in the main U.S. Justice Dept, where she is directs policy for OJJDP. Max and Melodee are now both divorced and living in a DC house that Baucus bought last summer.

Baucus says Melodee got the USDOJ job "solely on her merit." Here is Melodee's legal background. Must be read to be believed.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ex-wife asks for court guidance

My ex-wife has filed a motion to "clarify" Cmr. Joseph's evaluation order so that I will be evaluated, and not her or our kids. I just got her reply brief. It starts:
George will not make a motion to the Court to request a change in the Appointment Order, but is nonetheless requesting changes be made in other paperwork submitted to the Court (e.g., letters to the Court, OSCs, Opposition Briefs)
No, I am not requesting any changes. She is stalling by asking for changes, and complains that I am not also filing motions asking for changes!
Attached is George's current OSC brief to be heard before Judge Salizar on December 21, 2009.
Yes, I am asking the judge to force my ex-wife to follow court orders, and let me see my kids.
George's description of the case's history therein is just one example of how George describes our case to evaluators.
She is referring to my court papers! No, my court papers were not given to any evaluators.
George represents to evaluators that the purpose behind the Appointment Order is to investigate the allegations made to CPS by the children and third parties, and not to do an evaluation based on the findings of the trial Court and CPS.
No, I have never told any evaluator the purpose behind the order.
George presents the Court's ruling to evaluators as a temporary finding, pending a further investigation.
No, I have never given the Court's ruling to any evaluator, or given any such explanation.
For example, in the attached OSC, George writes, "Cmr. Joseph made a ruling that the kids were not to be exposed to emotional abuse, but he did not make a permanent custody change. He appointed Elizabeth Lee to do an evaluation under Evidence Code se. 730."
Yes, I did say that in court papers, and it is the truth.
It is my belief that the Court did not intend a "re-do" of the January 11, 2008 trial. I believe that the Court made the findings of January 11, 2008 that were intended to be accepted and respected during the evaluation requested in the Appointment Order. I respectfully request the Court's guidance on how to proceed.
Her belief is that she had a crooked deal with the crooked authorities. But then the psychologist who was supposed to seal the deal backed out. Some deals are just too crooked, I guess.

Now Cmr. Joseph has been removed from the family court, and my ex-wife doesn't know what to do. She managed to get a motion back into his court, but she doesn't know what to ask. So she just asks for the "Court's guidance" on how to continue preventing our kids from seeing their dad.

She rambles on for five more pages. She asks for a checkbox to be checked, even tho she previously objected. She accuses me of various lies, without saying what was false. She complains that the evaluator might not understand that she is supposed to get custody, and I am supposed to be sent to forced psychotherapy. She wants Cmr. Joseph to tell the new psychologist about the deal, and revise the order so that the evaluation will be rigged in her favor.

Her brief ends with this:
Based on the content of George's court filings and his behavior, it is disturbingly clear that George is at the least, in denial of his current situation. He has been harassing me with his court filings, incessant emails and false overtures of "I have done everything in my power to make the evaluation happen". I work full time and I am very busy with a family. He has caused me much time and money in having to respond to his court filings. Hopefully, the Court can give us some guidance as to how to proceed.
She would not have to spend so much time on court filings and on taking care of the kids if she would only follow the court orders.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Elkins comment deadline

The California Elkins Family Law Task Force says:
The comment period will continue through December 4, 2009, 5:00 p.m. Comments are welcome and encouraged. Public comment on the draft recommendations is vitally important and will help to improve and refine the final work product of the Task Force.
So you have until Friday to submit your comments. I submitted the comments I posted here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tiger Woods - DV victim

The Tiger Woods story is still in the news. He claims that he drove into a fire plug and tree at 2:30 am, and is refusing to be interviewed by the police. He issued this confusing statement, and dropped out of upcoming golf tournaments.
TMZ reports:
Sources tell TMZ the Florida Highway Patrol is now focusing on obtaining a search warrant -- allowing them to seize medical records from the hospital that treated Tiger Woods -- in an attempt to determine if the wounds Woods sustained are consistent with a car accident or domestic violence.

We're told authorities believe they can show probable cause a crime was committed, a necessary step in obtaining a warrant.
It appears that his wife Elin injured him in the face with a golf club over adultery reports in the National Enquirer, and they set up the phony accident to cover it up.

I don't know the facts here, but everyone should understand how the law in this situation has been changed by feminists.

Tiger Woods can commit adultery all he wants, and there are no legal consequences. Elin can get a no-fault divorce at any time, whether there is adultery or not.

If you get hospital emergency room treatment for injuries to the head, such as stitches to the face, you will be quizzed about domestic violence. Unless you have a convincing story about a car accident or something like that, the hospital will report you to the cops.

If the cops suspect domestic violence, then they are trained to file charges whether anyone makes a complaint or not. Even if both Tiger and Elin swear that no crime occurred, she could be charged with felony domestic violence. It is feminist ideology that the police, physicians, and other authorities should actively intervene in marriages to bust them up if there is any evidence of violence. Tiger says:
I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.
I personally agree that they do deserve some privacy, but feminist law does not permit it. He will have to prove that his wife did not hit him, or his family could face criminal consequences. That's the law. Think about that the next time you goto the emergency room with an injury.

Update: Woods has been cited for careless driving, and the domestic violence matter is being dropped. He makes about $100 million a year in golf winnings and endorsements, so he and his wife are clamming up to protect their revenue stream. Without the money and the lawyers, they probably would have ended up with an ugly domestic violence charge. Such a charge can result even if there was no domestic violence, because there does not need to be an accuser and the cops and DA rely on circumstantial evidence.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Solving paternity fraud

The Glenn Sacks' blog NY Times Sunday Magazine article on paternity fraud that I commented on below.

As I see it, a simple change in the state law would solve nearly all the problems. When a new mother fills out a birth certification and she is asked to name the father, there should be a checkbox asking whether she is certain. Here are the possible consequences.

Are you sure? __ Yes __ No

If she checks that she is certain, then the man is presumed to be the father. But if a DNA test ever proves otherwise, then the mother is guilty of perjury, and she must accept the financial responsibilities for her lie. In particular, she can never collect child support.

If she checks that she is not certain, then no man can be required to pay child support unless a DNA test proves him to be the father.

If she refuses to name a father at all, then she should be charged with a form of child neglect. Every child has a right to a father, and she is denying her child a basic human right. If she is just trying to shut the father out of the child's life, then perhaps she ought to give up the child for adoption. At the very least, she should be barred from collecting welfare money to rear the child.

In the vast majority of cases, the mother is certain about who the father is, and my proposal would have no change on existing law. In the sort of troublesome cases mentioned in the magazine article above, it should completely eliminate the problem of some family court ordering some non-father to pay child support because of some silly argument such as a missed deadline or the Best Interest Of The Child (BIOTCh).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crooked judge avoids lawsuit

I have commented below about how judges are immune from lawsuits, no matter how crooked.

Now the crooked Penn. juvenile judge has receieved an immunity ruling:
Egregious conduct is immune to assure that honest mistakes will be immune. Subjecting judges [to lawsuits] ... would destroy public confidence in the judiciary.
Public confidence? Judges like Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph and this Penn. judge have no public confidence. They have abused their authority by acting vindictively and maliciously against innocent children, for their own personal profit. They are the worst scum in our society. And they cannot be sued for it no matter how strong the proof of their misbehavior.

France to ban psychological violence

The AFP news agency reports:
PARIS — France is to pass a law banning "psychological violence within the couple" and study the idea of tagging violent partners to prevent them stalking their victims, the government said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced the measures in a speech to mark the United Nations' tenth International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, promising legislation in the first half of nest year.

"It's an important step forward: the creation of this offence will allow us to deal with the most insidious situations, situations that leave no visible scars, but which leave their victims torn up inside," he said.

"And we are going to experiment with electronic surveillance measures on the Spanish model to monitor the effectiveness of restraining orders against a violent spouse," he added.
I think I see where this is heading. In a few years, all French men will be required to wear electronic bracelets that detect the sound of a male voice yelling, and automatically call 911. It will be a crime to yell at your wife or mistress in a loud voice.

When voice recognition technology gets better, the bracelets will be able to detect insults and demeaning remarks, such as "your butt is getting too fat". Instead of calling 911, it will automatically inject a tranquilizer into the man's bloodstream.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Needing witnesses for a hearing

I have filed a motion asking the court for a hearing in my case. Here is what I said about witnesses:
The court has failed to appoint an EC 730 witness
I am not responsible for court's failure to appoint an EC 730 witness. The court appointed Ms. Lee, and she wrote a letter to the court saying that she was “unable” to do it. The court did not appoint a replacement, even after repeated motions to the court.

I have tried repeatedly to find a replacement psychologist who would be satisfactory to the court and Julie, without success. As recently as Nov. 12, 2009, I presented the court with several names of psychologists who were willing to do the evaluation as written, but Julie would not cooperate and the court refused to order it.

The court is apparently within its powers to appoint an EC 730 witness to testify at an upcoming trial. Or the court can decide not to appoint a witness to testify. But my right to a trial is in no way affected by the court’s decision whether or not to appoint its own witness.

I am willing to cooperate with any witness that the court chooses to appoint, but the court has not appointed anyone. I have done everything in my power to facilitate such an appointment, but the court has repeatedly refused to make an appointment.

Request for my own expert witnesses
I request permission for my own expert witnesses to testify in my behalf, and in rebuttal to any of Julie’s witnesses or any court-appointed witness. To allow my experts to testify fully, they need access to transcripts, reports, and child interviews.

It is arguable that my experts might need permission to see court transcripts and reports because of WIC 827 and FC 3111. I previously lost an expert witness because of WIC 827, and I would like to avoid that problem. FC 3111 becomes effective in Jan. 2010 and I don’t know how the “unwarranted disclosure” clause will be interpreted, so I would like to get permission in advance.

In case there is testimony about the feelings and wishes of the children, I would like an opportunity for my experts to interview them. Because I do not have any current access to them, I would need a court order.
It seems obvious to me that I should be able to have witnesses at my hearing, but Cmr. Joseph did not permit me last time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Commissioner Joseph is prejudiced

I submitted this to the court:
Commissioner Joseph is prejudiced
I believe that Cmr. Joseph should not preside over the hearing that I am requesting. First, he is not the family court judge. Second, I am seeking to enforce the outcome of the 2005 child custody trial under Judge Kelly, and Cmr. Joseph had nothing to do with that. Third, he is prejudiced against me.

To give just one example of Cmr. Joseph’s prejudice, last year he got someone on his staff to report to him about my website after the California Judges Association advised him not to look himself. Then he wrote an out-of-court letter to Julie suggesting that she bring a motion to hold me in contempt of court, and he presided over the contempt trial himself over my objections. A judge should not be doing his own investigations and instigating complaints, and he certainly should not have been presiding over a case that he actively instigated.

More seriously, Cmr. Joseph has refused to let my kids see me because of his own inability to appoint an EC 730 witness.
I could have listed many other examples of Cmr. Joseph's prejudice.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Only final judicial determination

The court just informed me that my ex-wife's motion to avoid evaluation will be heard before Cmr. Irwin H. Joseph on Dec. 10. She claims that it would be burdensome to her to be psychologically evaluated again, and she sees no need for it since the kids live with her. I doubt that Cmr. Joseph will accept that silly argument.

Meanwhile, I have a separate motion to enforce existing custody orders. It includes:
The 2005 order was the only final judicial determination
There has only been one final judicial determination of child custody in this case, and that was Judge Kelly’s 2005 trial ruling. For that trial, the court did two court-ordered psychologist evaluations (by Melissa Berrenge and Bret Johnson), addressed hundreds of pages of filings from Julie, heard many hours of testimony from live witness, and made a ruling. The ruling was not appealed or challenged. For roughly two years (all of 2006 and nearly all of 2007), Julie and I shared 50-50 joint child custody without any complaints to the court.

This case has already been to the Sixth District on appeal, and that court said this:
Here, the issue involves a child custody dispute in family court, and is governed by the standard articulated by the California Supreme Court in In re Marriage of Brown and Yana (2006) 37 Cal.4th 947: “Once the trial court has entered a final or permanent custody order reflecting that a particular custodial arrangement is in the best interest of the child, the paramount need for continuity and stability in custody arrangements — and the harm that may result from disruption of established patterns of care and emotional bonds with the primary caretaker — weigh heavily in favor of maintaining that custody arrangement. …”
While the Sixth District did not grant me the relief that I requested, it did accept that there had been a final and permanent custody order after the 2005 trial. Such an order has great legal significance, as explained by the California Supreme Court.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Paternity fraud stories

Today's NY Times Magazine has a long article on paternity fraud:
Once a man has been deemed a father, either because of marriage or because he has acknowledged paternity (by agreeing to be on the birth certificate, say, or paying child support), most state courts say he cannot then abandon that child — no matter what a DNA test subsequently reveals. In Pennsylvania and many other states, the only way a nonbiological father can rebut his legal status as father is if he can prove he was tricked into the role — a showing of fraud — and can demonstrate that upon learning the truth, he immediately stopped acting as the child’s father. In 2003, a Pennsylvania appellate court bluntly applauded William Doran — who had been by all accounts a loving father to his 11-year-old son — for cutting off ties with the boy once DNA showed they were not related. The judges found that Doran had been tricked by his former wife into believing he was the father of their son, and he was allowed to abandon all paternal obligations.
So if you get tricked in Penn., you have to cut ties as soon as you find out, or else you may end up paying child support to both the biological mother and the biological father.

The article makes this more complicated than it is. We need better laws recognizing DNA tests.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Asking for a trial

I filed another motion against my ex-wife. I guess I have to keep doing this until she complies with the court orders. My motion starts:
Points and Authorities in support of OSC for custody and visitation

This brief supports enforcing a 2005 joint custody order. In case there is substantial dispute, I request a hearing with live witnesses.

AngryMom filed for divorce in Oct. 2003. We signed a Marital Settlement Agreement for 50-50 joint custody of our two girls. AngryMom filed a motion for sole legal and physical custody in June 2004 which resulted in a full custody trial in March 2005. Judge Kelly ruled in favor of 50-50 joint legal and physical custody, pending some further assurances. The ruling became effective at the end of the year, after some more evaluations. Our girls are now aged 12 and 10.

In Nov. 2007 AngryMom initiated an action that resulted in temporary orders. There is no allegation of domestic violence, drug abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, child neglect, harm to the children, or anything actionable under the juvenile code. In Jan. 2008, Cmr. Joseph ruled that resetting the alarm clock was “an indicative event, a representative event.” He appointed an EC 730 witness for a future hearing.
Separately, my ex-wife has a motion to aviod being evaluated.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wiper inventor fought Big Auto and bitter ex-wife

Someone points out a movie distortion:
Remember "Flash of Genius," the movie where the wife left the inventor and I praised Hollywood's resistance to feminist ideology in making the film? I researched the facts thoroughly and thought I had a full understanding of it all. I knew the movie still was overly complimentary to the wife who left, but I was stunned by seeing a fact that that was concealed in the movie, concealed in the Wikipedia gossip, and hidden in the all the press accounts but one. Far from standing by her ex-husband during the trial, as portrayed in the movie and in all but one accounts, the ex-wife was having her husband thrown in jail for failure to pay a mere $700 in alimony (and failing to vacate a house)!!!! Moreover, he served 35 days in jail, beginning the same month that the jury rendered its $10 million verdict. He may have even been in jail with the jury returned a verdict; he was absent from his own patent trial at the end. See: Wash. Post article.
He was previously impressed by this movie's adherence to the facts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Free-Range Kids at Costco

I just found this on a mom's blog:
I have just finished reading Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry, by Lenore Skenazy. It was written by the mom who allowed her nine-year-old to ride the subway solo in New York. Apparently, she's been dubbed "America's Worst Mom." ...

Skenazy describes a friend of hers who was in line at Costco. The woman in front of her forgot something and asked the author's friend if she wouldn't mind watching her baby for a sec, who was in the shopping cart, while she ran to get the item. The woman "came back two minutes later, thanked Melissa, and that was that. One mom helping another."

But that's not what Melissa saw. She saw a wildly irresponsible woman entrusting her precious little boy to a total stranger who could have easily turned out to be a psycho killer buying bulk paper towels and Goldfish crackers --- John Wayne Gacy in a dress.
No, my ex-wife is not named Melissa. But my ex-wife did once file a similar complaint against me in court for letting my kids out of my sight at Costco.

You can view a recent Skenazy lecture at Yale here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wasted day in court

Judge Salazar court was another waste of time. The court was packed at 8:30 am, and he had about 40 cases. He did not get to mine until 10:00.

He pretty much refused to actually decide anything. My ex-wife claimed that there was a dispute about the order for a psychological evaluation, and she wanted to change it. I said that there was no genuine dispute because I had psychologists who were willing to do the evaluation as written, and my ex-wife and I had said that we agree to cooperate with the evaluation as written. But Judge Salazar said that as long as my ex-wife claims that there is a dispute, he won't decide anything, and referred us off to see Commissioner Joseph next month.

The judge did not decide much in other cases either. Mostly he told couples to work things out by themselves. In some cases, the parties seemed to have not even discussed the issue or given each other the relevant documents. Sometimes he would tell the parties to go discuss the matter in the hallway. He told them that they are supposed to "meet and confer" on the issues before coming to court.

One man was brought in chains and an orange jumpsuit. He got arrested for missing a court appearance. He said that he was homeless, and dependent on others to get him to court. Others lost their motions because they did not show up.

Some complaints were silly. There was one mom whose child support would have terminated because the daughter turned 18 and finished high school. But the mom had her attend an extra year of high school, and wanted child support until graduation. The child support does terminate at graduation, but she wanted a full month when the daughter was in school for a fractional month. The judge ended up calculated a pro-rated amount for them.

The most pathetic case was a mexican man who could barely pay his child support. Judge Salazar blamed him because "he decided to have two more kids". Huhh? The worst part was that his ex-wife complained that he owed $18k in back child support, and had no hope of paying it. The judge tried to explain to him that even tho his child support was being automatically withheld from his paycheck, his ex-wife claims that the withholding did not match his legal obligations. It did not matter if the withholding was wrong or if the court had estimated his income incorrectly or if he has no money or if the ex-wife is late making her demands or the documents are unavailable or any of those things. Unless he can produce documents from 2002 to prove that he had paid the money, he would be ordered to pay it again. The dad command of English was limited, and he did not appear to understand.

Meanwhile, the ex-wife said that she only works ten hours a week. When asked why she doesn't work more, she said that she could easily work more, but she doesn't need to because she is getting plenty of child support to live on. But again, the judge had to explain to the man that the fact that the ex-wife suing him for money she never needed makes no difference. He still has to pay. The man said that neither he nor his employer has records from 2002 to prove what was paid.

I don't know how the judge can stand to explain such blatantly unfair laws every day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lawsuits against judges

I have written below about the crooked Penn. juvenile judges.

The WSJ reports:
People who believe they have been wronged by a judge can ask the judge to reconsider, appeal to a higher court or, if they suspect judicial wrongdoing, ask a bar association to investigate.

But one thing people can't generally do is sue. The rationale behind the notion -- called absolute judicial immunity -- is straightforward: Judges shouldn't have to defend themselves in court whenever they issue a ruling that makes someone unhappy.

But a set of civil lawsuits filed against two former Pennsylvania judges is testing the doctrine of judicial immunity. ...

Lawyers for one group of plaintiffs, for example, say that Judge Ciavarella decided that a 15-year-old with no prior record committed a third-degree misdemeanor when she created a MySpace page that mocked her high-school assistant principal. After the girl admitted to the act, without a lawyer present, she was led out of the courtroom in shackles and held in a treatment facility for a month. ...

According to Arthur Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, judicial immunity doesn't protect judges from suits stemming from administrative decisions made while off the bench, like hiring and firing decisions. But immunity generally does extend to all judicial decisions in which the judge has proper jurisdiction, he says, even if a decision is made with "corrupt or malicious intent."
I am afraid that this doctrine is likely to remain. Judges like these crooked Penn. judges and Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph can rule with corrupt or malicious intent, and be sheltered from lawsuits.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Her crazy arguments to stall the evaluation

My ex-wife's last minute court filing was a gigantic ad hominem attack on me, with her own gripes about having to respond to me. This paragraph is typical:
This is the third OSC that George has filed against me within a year’s time. All three are based upon and filled almost entirely with misrepresentations of events, which can be easily fact-checked through transcripts, court orders, and documented emails. With every OSC that George has filed, I have been forced to spend many hours amassing the legal documents and communications that show George to be misrepresenting the case’s history. I have spent about 56 hours alone answering George’s October 2009 OSC.
56 hours?! I believe it. Her filing was about 200 pages, and was obviously a lot of work. But it served no purpose except to stall and delay the court-ordered evaluation. She could have spent that 56 hours doing the evaluation.

Her main argument is that it is all my fault somehow:
George’s accusations that it is I who is refusing to cooperate with the evaluation ordered by the court is absurd. Especially since it is I who has been contacting, engaging, and working with psychologists to try to get a child custody evaluator appointed, a psychological evaluation performed, and the ordered recommendations made. (See Section II, list of psychologists contacted below.) In contrast, it is George who has been sabotaging these efforts through various intimidation tactics and his communication of misleading information. Just as George submits deliberately misleading information to the Court with such boldness as to make one think that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, so too does he communicate his off-base and restructured version of reality to any potential evaluator.
The proof of my uncooperativeness is supposedly contained in emails. In particular, I tried to persuade one evaluator to accept the case even tho he had some minor quibbles with the wording of the court order. I wrote:
Ken, I agree with you. The order is flawed. I have repeatedly complained about it in the family court, and the appeal court. I got nowhere. I don’t even know who made up the form, or if Cmr. Joseph understands it, or if he has any authority to fix it. He certainly does not have any desire to fix it, and I doubt that the current family court judge does either. The form is used by the Santa Cruz court, and the local psychologists do not complain about it.
My ex-wife also quotes this email from me, as if it also incriminates me somehow:
Ken, you seem to be puzzled about the purpose and scope of the evaluation. The California court rules require that the order specify the purpose and scope of the evaluation. You can read it yourself here:…I have argued, in the family and appeal courts, that the order is deficient in this respect. I lost. The position of the court is that the ‘purpose and scope’ are specified in the order, and that no additional clarification will be given… I can give you my opinion, and Julie can give you hers, but our opinions will not help and there will be no court clarification. You need to look at that order, and decide whether or not you can help us. If you can, then we are ready to start the evaluation. If not, then we will look for someone else. We have asked 50 psychologists already. I don’t expect this case to make any sense to you. I think that you will find that the case is a lot simpler than it appears, once you learn some basic facts. But you may never figure out the court’s purpose to your satisfaction, no matter how many emails or documents you read. You just have to decide whether to accept this task, and hope that you make sense out of it later.
I don't even see what point she was trying to make. I was just trying to persuade the psychologist to accept the order as written, and to do the evaluation. In other words, I am just trying to comply with the court. She was the one who was telling the psychologist that the order was mistaken and that she was bringing a motion to the court to change it.

She is free to bring a motion to the court to change the order, but it was just obstructionist of her to tell the psychologist that we had a disagreement about the order's interpretation, and telling him that the court is likely to issue some sort of clarifying order.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Judge rules in favor of my motion

I just got out of family court zoo. There were 44 motions to be heard from 8:30 to 10:00. Obviously Judge Salazar had no time to address the merits of anything.

One case was a couple that did not even live in the county anymore, and the dad wanted a change of venue. He had not seen his kids in a year and a half, and is not being allowed to until he gets the jurisdiction transferred to where they live. The mom had a lawyer who told the judge that Cmr. Joseph had previously blocked the change of venue, visitation, and everything else until the dad completed the required 360 hours of community service and the 26 hours of anger management counseling. Judge Salazar said that he did not understand the objection, because the dad has already done all that stuff and documented it to the court. The lawyer then argued that it was not Cmr. Joseph's intention to let the dad have the venue change or visitation even the requirements were completed, and he might have ordered an additional 26 hours of counseling. The judge seemed to think that the lawyer's argument was ridiculous, and appeared ready to rule in favor of the dad.

It seems to me that Cmr. Joseph was violating Calif FC 3190(e) by making such an order, but no one raised that issue.

At this point the dad spoke up, and said that he did an extra 36 hours of counseling in anticipation of such an argument, and he had documents to prove it! Wow, he must have realized that Cmr. Joseph was out to screw him. Then the lawyer argued that the documents might be forged, and asked for two weeks to verify the documents. The judge scheduled another hearing in two weeks. I don't know what county they live in, but it seemed ridiculous to me to require them to come back to court.

Another couple had a visitation dispute. The mom had sole custody, and visitation by the dad was at her discretion. She was not letting him have any. She argued that she should not let him have any visitation because of his recent arrest.

His story was that they had a four-year-old restraining order that forbade non-consensual contact. She wrote him a letter saying that they had an important matter to discuss. He called her, and then she made a police complaint and had him arrested. The authorities decided not to prosecute. She did not dispute any of this, but had rambling and incoherent complaints.

He also claimed that he got a favorable ruling for non-supervised visitation on Sept. 30, but the minutes don't show up. The judge said that he needed more documentation on that. It seems to me that he could have just asked the mom, under oath, what happened on Sept. 30, and acted accordingly. If the documents later proved that she was lying, then she could be penalized.

Actually, if I were the judge, I would have awarded custody to the dad on the spot. She was obviously a lying vindictive bitch. In my opinion, a mom should always be willing to take a phone call from the father of their child. Telemarketers, pollsters, political campaign workers, and everyone else are allowed to call her, but not their child's father? That is just so sick and twisted that I would say that any parent who makes such a police complaint ought to be considered presumptively unfit.

Another case had lawyers for both parties, with a stipulated child support agreement for $172 per month. I was wondering how much the parents burned on legal fees to come to that agree. My guess is $10,000. They were not even done, as they all had to come back to court for something else that I didn't understand. They all would have been much better off with no family court, no child support, and no lawyers.

The weirdest case was a lesbian couple. Each woman was about 40 years old and represented by a lawyer. One woman was on paid maternity leave from a job that paid $6k per month, and was demanding child support. The other woman's lawyer said that the parentage of both of them was in doubt, and that the other woman may not have legal standing as a parent to make the claim. The first woman's lawyer said that the birth was within the marriage, and therefore they are both legally parents under California also. She also said that the child support money is needed now, and cannot wait for parentage determination.

I couldn't quite figure out what was going on. Obviously the second woman is not a biological parent, and does not want an 18 year financial for some child with which she has no relationship or attachment. But how can there be doubt about the first woman's parentage? My guess is that she had a test-tube baby with donated eggs and sperm.

The judge told them to come back on Dec. 2 for child support orders, and on Feb. 23, 2010 (9:30 am, Watsonville court D) for a two hour trial on the parentage. If you ever wanted to drop in on a bizarre family court trial, that might be a good one. It should be open to the public.

If you attend the trial, then please tell me what you then think about same-sex marriage. I see nothing good coming out of this.

After several other boring cases, our case was called. My ex-wife had swamped the court with about 200 pages of paperwork just before the hearing. There was no evidence that the judge read any of it. I only got it by email late last night. The judge complained that our case is in the sixth volume of paperwork, and he does not understand what can be done.

I started to say something, and Judge Salazar immediately interrupted me and told me that he did not want to hear me complain about what happened in the past. I said that I was not doing that, and I was not there to complain about my ex-wife or past orders or anything else. My only point was that I have found four psychologists who are willing to do the evaluation order as written, and all I wanted was to get the evaluation done somehow.

The judge asked my ex-wife her position, but she kept launching into rambling monologues about how I have misrepresented things to psychologists in the past.

The judge asked a few questions about the problems getting an evaluation done, and about why the psychologists don't seem to understand what is supposed to be done. He said that he does not understand the order either, so he would not be able to clarify it.

Eventually the judge asked my ex-wife to pick one of the four psychologists to do the evaluation as written. She didn't exactly pick one, but said that three of the four were totally unacceptable. The fourth was not her preference, but not as bad as the other three. So the judge told us to ask him, and come back to court on Thursday and he will issue the order for that psychologist. If that psychologist turns out to be unavailable, then I guess that we will repeat the exercise with the other three psychologist.

This is a ruling in my favor. The judge is getting impatient with my ex-wife's lame excuses. There are many difficulties ahead, but at least it appears that the judge is going to make her cooperate with the evaluation as written.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Ex-wife blames me in court filing

My ex-wife just filed this with the family court, for the hearing tomorrow:
Status Conference Statement

Currently, Dr. [name omitted], a qualified psychologist practicing in [Silicon Valley] has agreed to be appointed as the child custody evaluator for our case. I have also agreed to her appointment. George has not agreed to her appointment. After being appointed, she wishes to receive some clarification from the Court regarding the Appointment Order.

It is apparent that George has no intention of ever participating in an evaluation. Instead, he is systematically trying to create a scenario in which he claims that I am the one who is "not cooperating". He is then using this fabricated scenario to file OSC after OSC against me, while hoping that the Court just ignores the case history and awards George 50/50 custody of our children without him ever having to follow Court orders or get an evaluation.

George is wasting not only the Court's and my time and resources, but the psychologists who we contact who think that George is seriously interested in undergoing an evaluation. At this point, I consider George's court actions full of deliberate misrepresentations, his daily bombardment of emails, and his blogsite postings to be harassment.
My ex-wife is doing the misrepresenting. Here are the facts.

This psychologist called me last week and told me that she was refusing to the evaluation as ordered, because her lawyer advised her not to.

I have found four forensic psychologists who are willing to do the evaluation as ordered, and my ex-wife has refused to cooperate with any of them. She is the one who is not obeying court orders.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Shrink says order cannot be done

I have been trying to find a psychologist who is willing to do a court-ordered evaluation, and who also is acceptable to my ex-wife. So far she has rejected everyone whom I have found.

Another psychologist just rejected us. I thought that she was going to be willing to do it. But she said that she consulted a lawyer who said that the court order violates ethical rules in two ways. Therefore she is refusing to do the order as written.

I think that she is wrong about those rules, and I challenged her to show me the rules. She seemed to be referring to these AFCC standards, but I don't see the problem. She promised to send the rule to me. (I will be surprised if she does.)

In spite of these problems, she did have a proposal. She suggested that she get appointed by the court to carry out the invalid order, and then she would make her own motion to the court to change the order to something more to her liking. I was flabbergasted that a forensic psychologist would suggest anything so silly. Her suggestion is illegal and unworkable for several reasons. My ex-wife and I are not going to hire her to do a job that she says is invalid and unethical. And she even got a lawyer's advice before proposing this!

I tried to explain to her that the Santa Cruz family court uses a boilerplate form, that it is acceptable to other psychologists, that I have no control over the order, and that five attempts to clarify the order have already been denied. But she seemed incapable of addressing anything I said, and could only respond in platitudes like "whatever I do will be in the best interests of the child". Sigh.

No matter whose side you take, something is seriously wrong if the Santa Cruz family court is routinely making court orders to psychologists, and those psychologists are getting legal opinions that the orders are invalid. A court order for an evaluation should not be directly contrary to what the psychologist thinks is her professional ethics.

I am scheduled to appear in family court on Monday morning. I have notified my ex-wife that I will be telling the court that I have found four psychologists to do the evaluation, and she has refused all of them, without any good reason. Her position seems to be that she does not want to be evaluated, and she has made a separate motion to the court for that purpose.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lying mom arranges kidnapping

News stories often tell tales of a mom accusing the dad of abuse, and complaining
that the authorities won't listen to her. Feminist organizations say that a woman
would never lie about such a thing, and that the authorities should believe the mom.

Usually we cannot tell whom to believe. The mom says that she is speaking up to
protect the safety of her child. The dad says that it is a bogus charge to win
a child custody dispute. The authorities usually side with the mom.

Here is an outrageous Florida story about crazy and reckless women making false accusations:
CHIPLEY, Fla. (AP) — A baby missing for five days was found alive in a box under her baby sitter's bed, and authorities said Thursday they plan to charge the sitter, her husband and the child's mother.

Investigators who searched Susan Elizabeth Baker's home near this rural Panhandle town found 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick tucked under a bed surrounded by items meant to hide her, Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said. The baby, who was taken to a hospital but appeared healthy, was placed in protective custody. ...

Authorities say the mother of a missing Florida 7-month-old secretly turned her over to her baby sitter in the middle of the night.

Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said Thursday that infant Shannon Dedrick was found alive in a box under baby sitter Susan Elizabeth Baker's bed. Investigators have been searching for her since her parents reported her missing Saturday.

Haddock says Baker asked mom Chrystina Lynn Mercer on Friday if she could have custody of Shannon. He says Mercer brought the infant to Baker's house early Saturday, about 10 hours before she was reported missing.

Haddock says Mercer and Baker each face several charges.
The kidnapper, Baker, is some sort of relative. She even had the nerve to make her own accusations:
Baker said Tuesday in a Panama City News Herald interview she "loved that child" and tried to have the state intervene with the family. Baker also supplied an e-mail she sent to Gov. Charlie Crist pleading that someone help Shannon, whom she said was being abused by her parents.

It appeared she is the same Susan Baker implicated in a 1987 missing-child case in Beaufort, S.C. That child, then-3-year-old Paul Baker, never has been found, according to the News-Herald.
Let me summarize. The mom arranges for a relative to kidnap the baby, and then make public abuse accusations. The kidnapper herself has an outrageous history of child abuse, kidnapping, and murder, according to this AP story:
Susan Baker was involved in another missing child case in South Carolina more than two decades ago. She told authorities her stepson, 3-year-old Paul Leonard Baker, disappeared from the family's Beaufort, S.C., home on March 5, 1987, while she napped.

A massive manhunt turned up nothing. She and her husband, James Baker, were extradited to South Carolina in 2000 and charged with assault and battery in Paul's disappearance, according to police reports provided by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. But a grand jury never indicted them and the child was never found.

Susan Baker did serve prison time after authorities investigating her stepson's disappearance discovered a 6-year-old girl in the Baker home had been badly beaten. Susan Baker was sentenced to 10 years in prison but the sentence was suspended after 80 days. Authorities could not say how she was related to the girl.
Just think about the women in this story, the next time you hear about some dad being accused of abuse. Do not assume that the mom is just being safe and protective. Crimes like this are almost always committed by women, not men.

Susan Baker was caught twice before. In both cases, she probably got favorable treatment because of a presumption that a woman would never harm a child.

So far the dad has not been able to get his baby back, because she was placed in protective custody. He is lucky the authorities cracked this case, or else he would probably be in jail now. My guess is that he will get his baby back after attending six months of parenting classes and counseling. I think that he should have already gotten her back, since he is a victim and is not accused of doing anything wrong.

Update: A comment below tells more than you want to know about this case.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bringing justice to them all

A Penn. newspaper reports this follow-up on a story that got a lot of publicity a few months ago:
Thousands of cases are overturned, thanks to a family that refused to give up.

WHITE HAVEN – Laurene Transue thought the teenagers were kidding.

Her 15-year-old daughter, Hillary, had been charged with harassment for creating a fake MySpace page that mocked an assistant principal at her school. ...

On April 17, 2007 Hillary appeared before Luzerne County Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella. Following a hearing that lasted less than three minutes, she was shackled and led out of the courtroom to await transport to Camp Adams, a residential juvenile treatment facility near Jim Thorpe. ...

That “something” was a court challenge that on Thursday led the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overturn the convictions of an estimated 6,500 juveniles who appeared before Ciavarella from 2003 to 2008.

The court based its ruling on allegations that Ciavarella and former judge Michael Conahan accepted millions of dollars from the owner and builder of two juvenile centers the county utilized. The court also found Ciavarella had repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of juveniles.

The decision means all convictions within that time frame will be vacated and the records of the juveniles expunged, or erased. Prosecutors also were barred from retrying any juveniles other than those that remain incarcerated or owe restitution or fines. ...

The hearing lasted only a few minutes. Ciavarella never asked Hillary if she wanted an attorney or explained the ramifications and possible penalties she faced by admitting to the offense.

“They handcuffed her before she was out of the courtroom. I didn’t even get to say goodbye,” Laurene Transue said. “I was hysterical. They had to carry me out of the courtroom. I couldn’t fathom that a 15-year-old was going to jail.”

Hillary was immediately transported to Camp Adams. She was given a single, two-minute phone call that night. ...

The Supreme Court initially declined to hear the case. It reconsidered after federal authorities filed corruption charges in January against Ciavarella and Conahan. The men initially pleaded guilty, but later withdrew their pleas and are awaiting trial.
The judges withdrew their guilty pleas?! They might skate after all this?

These judges got famous as the worst judges in the USA, but I don't think that Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph is any better. He is the Santa Cruz juvenile delinquency court judge.

The kid in the story got a three-minute hearing. My kids did not even get that before Cmr. Joseph. They were forcibly taken out of their homes by cops on orders from Cmr. Joseph. There was no contested hearing. There was no allegation that any crime had been committed. There was no allegation that anyone had been harmed or that any harm was likely.

Like those Penn. judges, Cmr. Joseph earns his fat paycheck by falsely punishing people. Not only did he personally profit from his action against me and my kids, he did it maliciously and vindictively.

Cmr. Joseph said that we could have a trial, but not until a court-appointed psychologist does an evaluation. Then he refused to appoint a psychologist.

He said that I could use the CPS report for my appeal, and then held me in contempt of court for using the CPS report for my appeal.

If there were any justice, Cmr. Joseph would be in prison along with those Penn. judges.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fathers do not mother, they father

The NY Times has a surprisingly pro-father article:
Having a father help with the child-rearing is important. Having a mother back him is more important.

“The study emphasizes the importance of couples’ figuring parenting out together and accepting the different ways of parenting,” Dr. Kline Pruett said.

Fathers tend to do things differently, Dr. Kyle Pruett said, but not in ways that are worse for the children. Fathers do not mother, they father.

Dr. Kyle Pruett added: “Dads tend to discipline differently, use humor more and use play differently. Fathers want to show kids what’s going on outside their mother’s arms, to get their kids ready for the outside world.” To that end, he said, they tend to encourage risk-taking and problem-solving.

The study was financed by the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention, which is looking for ways to involve fathers more at the state’s many family resource centers. Experts say improving the way fathers are treated in many settings, public and private, is an important public health goal.
Its health blog also says:
When it comes to raising children, most of the focus is on mothers. But a growing body of research shows that fathers play an essential, if often undervalued, role in a child’s development, as Laurie Tarkan explores in today’s Science Times.
I am not too sure about this research, but it is good to see the NY Times sticking up for fathers.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Diversity in parenting is a good thing

A reader writes that he lost custody to his ex-wife because of differences in child-rearing approaches, in part. She was more religious than he was, among other things.

I have heard similar arguments being given in favor of sole custody, as if they were self-evident.

In fact the research says the opposite. In most families, the parents have different approaches. The difference may be a little or a lot. Maybe one parent is the disciplinarian, and the other is not. Maybe one parent is more religious. Maybe one parent emphasizes academics while the other emphasizes sports. Maybe one is ambitious and the other is not. Maybe one is more nurturing than the other. These differences tend to give the child a better and more balanced upbringing, and are not usually harmful.

Maybe the parents belong to different religions. Bill and Hillary Clinton attended different churches, but Chelsea did not seem to suffer from it.

Yes, the kids may get some mixed signals, but kids get mixed signals anyway. They are exposed to teachers, babysitters, other kids, and other parents with other views and practices. Again, such diversity can be a good thing.

In an extreme case, a child might attend Sunday School one week with one parent, and attend a Jewish synagogue the next. That sounds wacky and harmful, but it is not. People like to believe that their religion is superior to the others, and maybe it is, but there is no proof that a child suffers from being exposed to a second religion. It is no worse than the millions of parents who change their religious views, and become more religious or less religious, and teach their kids accordingly.

It is none of the court's business to even inquire into these childrearing approaches.

I do think that it is bad for one parent to directly undermine what the other parent is doing. But even in that case, the court's ability to help is limited. However bad it may be for one parent to undermine the other parent, it is usually much worse for the court to undermine the parents.

The family court bases a lot of its actions on a lot of principles that have no scientific basis, and are completely false. I say that the court should have to express the basis for what it does. If the judge is picking a religion, then he is acting unconstitutionally, as well as being unwise and unsound.

Abolishing unscientific testimony

I talked to California Assemblymember Jim Beall Jr., author of AB 612. The purpose of the bill is to eliminate unscientific testimony about alienation theory from the family court.

The bill is in response to claims that child abusing dads routinely win custody in family court because they slyly convince the judge that the mom has brainwashed the kid into suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS has not yet been listed as a recognized disorder by the psychology authorities, so a law against unscientific evidence should prevent this argument. Or so he says.

Beall seems to have been sincerely sucked into the idea that he can protect kids this way, but he is misguided.

First, there are no child-abusing dads who win sole custody. That is a myth. If there were really any proof of child abuse, then the dad would not get the kid. End of story.

Second, the court rules of evidence already say that expert testimony must be backed up by generally accepted science. Of course the family court judges ignore that, but they could ignore his new rule as well.

Third, he wants to write into law a statement that alienation theory is unscientific. So what happens when the psychologist do add PAS to their list of official disorders? Then we will have a silly California saying that something is not generally accepted when it is generally accepted. My guess is that the psychologists will just call it something else to evade the law.

Fourth, the whole approach is contrary to basic notions of innocence until proven guilty. If the dad is really guilty of something, then they should be figuring out ways to prove him guilty, not making rules to prevent him from making arguments in his defense.

Beall has encountered resistance in the legislature, and his bill was amended over his objections. I doubt that it will pass.

I suggested to him that just amend his bill to require all the family court evaluations to provide generally accepted scientific justifications for all their opinions. That would address some of the objections, and cut out some other bogus arguments as well. He had no response.

Reforming family court is going to be difficult.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Texas law allows parental sex education

AP reports:
DALLAS — A 1970s-era Texas law that allows parents to show "harmful material" to their children has come under fire after a prosecutor said he couldn't file charges ...

"Our hands are tied. It's not our fault. I have to follow the law," [County DA] Farren said Thursday. "The mother of the victims in this case was less than happy with this decision, which I understand. ..."

The law apparently was meant to protect the privacy of parents who wanted to teach children about sex education, ...

The girls' mother, Crystal Buckner, wants her ex-husband to be jailed. She said she was stunned to hear from prosecutors and police that nothing can be done. ...

"I want people to know about this. I want parents to be mad and say, 'No!"' she said. "I understand in the '70s everybody wanted the government to stay out of their homes. I don't want to stop parents from having that right to teach sex education, but there's a big difference and there's a line you should not cross when teaching."
So there is a Texas law that says that parents can teach their kids sex education as they see fit, and there is a bitter ex-wife who is trying to put her ex-husband in jail based on a her opinion that the law ought to be changed so as to draw some line on what can be taught, and to jail parents who cross the line. I say that Texas has a good law, and the govt should not meddle in such private matters.

If you read the whole article, assume that her allegations are true, and imagine the worst, then you will probably disapprove. But consider the ramifications of a change in the law. I know parents who disapprove of school sex ed classes. Some parents let their kids listen to sexually explicit rap music, and some don't. Some tightly control TV watching and some don't. Some like nude beaches and some say girls should always wear veils. I just don't think that the govt should be micromanaging these decisions, and certainly not when it is all driven by a vindictive ex-wife, as in this case.

The ex-wife sounds a little crazy to me. I think that there is something seriously wrong with a woman who would carry on a crusade like this. In my opinion, she is the one who crossed a line here by going to the police with a minor complaint about his parenting style.

If they pass a law to criminalize "insensitive father showing inappropriate video to his minor child", then I hope they also criminalize "crazy bitch making reckless and destructive accusation".