Sunday, June 07, 2009

Attempt to seal a legal brief

Tomorrow we appear in court before the new judge. The big issue is custody and visitation of our two kids, but my ex-wife is also strangely trying to get an order to seal three reports that have been on the public record. One is a 2004 report from a gay shrink who said that I was unorthodox, one was a 2005 report from a psychologist I call Dr. Inkblot, and the third is a Jan. 2007 legal brief from a local lawyer named Jim Ritchey.

The Ritchey brief was not sworn or under oath. It was just a legal argument from some bozo who really did not even know very much about the case. I show the pertinent parts below, altho I may have to remove it if it is sealed tomorrow. I just changed the names and omitted some detail about the visitation. (He spelled our last name three different ways in the original.)
1. On November 21, 2007, this court appointed JAMES M. RITCHEY counsel for the minor children, ... This statement is submitted to the court with copies via email ... The hearing set for January 4, 2008, at 1:30 p.m. is regarding custody and visitation. I will not be available for court on January 4, 2008, because my wife and I are returning our two grandchildren to their parents at Lake Tahoe on January 3, 2008.

2. I have met with both parents and the minor children. In addition, I have had numerous telephone calls and email ... George AngryDad also has a website at on which he makes regular comments.

3. My recommendation is that the current order for supervised visitation continue until Mary and Jennie and their parents have participated in some form of reunification counseling. ...

5. In my meetings with the children, they are extremely apprehensive of any visitation with their father that is not supervised. While they want to have regular and on-going contact with their father, they are fearful of his obsessive-compulsive demeanor, pressure, and his unpredictability.

7. AngryMom is extremely concerned about parameters for visitation and insistent upon formal, supervised visitation until there has been some type of counseling for George AngryDad and the children, so that her and the children's concerns have been addressed.
The Jan. 2008 trial lasted three days. Mr. Ritchey skipped the first day in order to vacation in Tahoe, as he explains above. He showed up for the start of the second day, but Cmr. Irwin H. Joseph dismissed him after about ten minutes. Mr. Ritchey did not appear to know what was going on, and was not prepared to participate in the trial. He also failed to show up for the third day, or for any subsequent hearing.

My kids were 10 and 8 years old at the time. They obviously did not really say that they were fearful of my obsessive-compulsive demeanor. No 10-year-old girl talks that way, unless she has been coached to say that.

Note that his only recommendation is for current court orders to continue. Since this report, the San Jose Mercury News published a series of articles on court-appointed lawyers for children, and found that they take the side of CPS in every single case. In no case did such a lawyer actually investigate the facts and stick up for the kid.

I really don't see the argument for any of this being sealed. Mr. Ritchey was just parroting what he had been told and collecting some easy money. There is nothing secret here. The trial was held in open court, and there is much more info on the public record.

Mr. Ritchey is a lawyer himself, of course, and he could have requested that his report be kept confidential. He never did. He obviously knew about this blog, because he mentioned it above. He had to assume that I would comment on this blog about his report. If he had a problem with that, he should have said something. He did not.

The report is mainly embarrassing to Mr. Ritchey himself. He appears to be just corruptly going along with Cmr. Joseph's orders without investigating the interests of his clients. And it appears that Cmr. Joseph dismissed him for incompetence. Maybe my ex-wife has made some sort of deal with him in order to help him protect his reputation.

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