Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reply to censor request

I sent this response to the court:
AngryMom has brought a motion to seal reports from Bret Johnson, Bruce Bess, and James Ritchey.

The reports are not confidential
It was AngryMom who requested these reports, and used them in open court against me. She never asked that these be sealed, nor did anyone contend that they are confidential. They were never marked confidential. The Johnson report is almost five years old, and no one ever said anything about it being confidential. The Bess report is confusingly titled “confidential psychological assessment report”, but the first sentence says that it is a “non-confidential psychological assessment”. The orders for these reports said nothing about confidentiality. The Ritchey report is just a legal brief, and is no more confidential than the pleadings or any other legal documents in this case.

AngryMom argues that she assumed that Mr. Ritchey submitted his report to the court in confidentiality. But Mr. Ritchey is a lawyer who was acting in his capacity as a court-appointed lawyer, and presumably knows how to file a brief under seal if he thought that it was appropriate. He did not. Likewise, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bess were court-appointed, and were presumably following court instructions. They never said that their reports ought to be sealed.

AngryMom gives no reason
She does not give any reason for confidentiality, except that she assumes that the court likes it that way. My guess is that she wants to tell everyone in town that I am a crazy child abuser, and she does not want anyone to see the evidence that would contradict the stories she tells about me. She also appears to be trying to interfere with my appeal. These are not legitimate reasons for sealing records.

Fact-finding is required under Rule 2.550
Sealing records is governed by Rule 2.550, which requires express fact-finding that:
(1) There exists an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record;
(2) The overriding interest supports sealing the record;
(3) A substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed;
(4) The proposed sealing is narrowly tailored; and
(5) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest.

No evidence for any of these has been presented. AngryMom has not even identified an overriding interest. This court cannot seal a report unless these conditions are met and I am given an opportunity to address any factual allegations in these five areas.

I have a free speech right to defend myself
AngryMom’s real target appears to be my blog, where I have described actions that have taken place in open court. I contend that the accusations against me were unfounded, and that I have a right to publicly argue for my innocence. I have First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The web site at issue has the sole purpose of petitioning the government for redress of my grievances. And I have a common law right to openly rebut any evidence that is publicly presented against me in court.

My kids have been taken away from me, and given to AngryMom full-time, and yet these court-ordered reports do not support what the court has done. They do not say that 50-50 custody would be unsatisfactory, or that I have ever committed any single act of abuse, or that there is any physical abuse, sexual abuse, or child neglect. They do not say that I am associated with alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, psychological disorder, or other character defect. They do not say that AngryMom is any better parent than I am, or that the kids have been harmed in any way, or that the kids have any behavior problems that are attributable to me.

Both in court and out of court, AngryMom wishes to portray me as a crazy child abuser, and to portray our kids as abused victims who had to be separated from me because of expert court opinion. Sealing these reports would only serve to permit AngryMom to spread her false and malicious story, and to cover up the truth underlying what this court has done.
The court will hear the motion on June 8.

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