Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Appeals court does not dismiss

My ex-wife's motion to dismiss my appeal (over money matters) was denied without comment. She had claimed that a written statement of decision from Feb. 2009 was not really final because the Commissioner might change his mind. My response was here. I guess I had a valid argument, and it was only one page! I guess this proves that a court brief does not need to be longer than a page.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

District 9

I just watched District 9, a silly new sci-fi movie about invading space aliens who get treated as refugees when they lose their secret power source.

At one point, the human authorities are trying to put the squeeze on a space alien family. The alien has the nerve to read his eviction papers, and demand the promised 24-hour notice. Usually the space aliens are intimidated by the human trigger-happy soldiers who accompany the human boss. But when that doesn't work, the human resorts to something scarier -- he threatens to report the space aliens to Child Protective Services! Then they comply.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Local courthouse cannot handle appeals

I have an appeal pending, but it is constantly getting screwed up. The county used to be entirely in Santa Cruz. About a year ago, the family court moved to Watsonville. Most of the other court functions are still in Santa Cruz, including the appeals clerk.

This seems to be hopelessly confusing to the staff. No matter how I address the envelope, any paperwork I send ends up in the wrong place. Sometimes the paperwork bounces back and forth between the two offices for as much as three weeks. Sometimes a clerk calls up and asks me what to do with the paperwork. I've had to send replacement checks because checks were lost.

I am at a loss to understand how their system could be so messed up. Am I the only one who ever appeals anything? Are all appeals this confused?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Angry dad from another state

I ran into an angry dad from another state with stories to rival mine. He said that his wife managed to get him temporarily committed to a mental hospital at the same time that she got a restraining order against him. It turned out that these actions were in conflict! How could he be a threat to her if he was in a mental hospital? The mental hospital had to release him so that he could appear in court to contest the restraining order.

He also said that the lawyers insulate the spouses from the actual action before the judge. Some lawyers here do that figuratively, but he said that the court had actually built a wall in the courtroom so that the spouses do not see the judge and the judge does not see the spouses. The lawyers try their case before the judge, with the clients behind the wall. After the hearing, the lawyers present their deal to the clients. The lawyers explain that the clients have a right to challenge the outcome, but the judge hates it when anyone does that, and will retaliate against anyone who tries.

This isn't justice. Being able to observe your own trial is a basic human right. If a Third World country did this, I would suggest notifying Amnesty International in order to pressure them into acting in a more civilized manner. No lawyer with any integrity would even go along with such a scheme. Lawyers are supposed to advocate for their client's interest, not to make decisions for the client against his will.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Exposing child support

This is Child Support Awareness Month in California. The announcement says:
Children have the right to be supported by both parents – financially, medically and emotionally. State and local child support program staff are committed to ensuring that California's children are given every opportunity to obtain these rights uniformly throughout the state. In 2008, the program collected $2.3 billion and served more than 1.8 million children.
I say that children have a right to live with both parents, and to be under the parental authority of both parents. Instead, the state welfare agencies provide financial incentives for the moms to divorce their husbands, collect welfare, and let the state fund its bureaucrats under the guise of child support reimbursement.

I don't where those figures come from, or what they mean. This 2004 page says we have 1.8 million California families collecting food stamps.

I do think that we need more child support awareness. If more people understood how the system worked, maybe it would get abolished. In particular, more people need to know that no child support money is ever required to be spent on the kids.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cruelty to a 4-year-old child

The San Jose paper reports:
Advocates of international adoption are furious over a new federal policy related to tuberculosis testing that could disrupt plans for families adopting children from China and Ethiopia.

The policy already has forced one distraught couple from Virginia, Jay Scruggs and Candace Litchford, to leave China without the daughter they had spent two weeks bonding with.

"That was a cruel thing to put a 4-year-old child through," Litchford said in a telephone interview Monday. "How is she supposed to trust us now?"
The newspaper followed this up with an editorial in favor of abolishing TB tests for such kids, even tho immigrants have caused the county to have the worst TB rate that it has ever had.

It may be sad that some couple had to postpone seeing some kid that they spent two weeks bonding with, but the kid was not a daughter. The kid was just a proposed adoptive daughter who had not been tested for TB yet.

Meanwhile, I spent ten years bonding with my two daughters. They are my real two daughters. They are US citizens, and they do not have TB. And yet they have been taken away from me. The authorities have been 1000x more cruel to my kids than to the Chinese girl. Where are the editorials about American girls losing their real dads?

Protesting dad is arrested reports:
Donald Tenn, the Sacramento father who traveled to Washington DC recently for a rally to confront President Obama on his "fathers need to step up" comments, will be in a Columbus, Ohio courtroom Monday morning on charges related to his 4 day protest on a 175' construction crane last year.
Here is what the man says:
I hear the same story from fathers in every state. I've traveled the country and have seen it myself. I challenge anyone to sit in any family courtroom, in any city, in any state, for one hour on any day of the week. They will see that the war on fathers is real.
He is right.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obama healthcare usurps parental rights

Martial arts movie star Chuck Norris writes:
Dirty secret No. 1 in Obamacare is about the government's coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development.

It's outlined in sections 440 and 1904 of the House bill (Page 838), under the heading "home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children." The programs (provided via grants to states) would educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.

The bill says that the government agents, "well-trained and competent staff," would "provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains ... modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices," and "skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development."

Are you kidding me?! With whose parental principles and values? Their own? Certain experts'? From what field and theory of childhood development? As if there are one-size-fits-all parenting techniques! Do we really believe they would contextualize and personalize every form of parenting in their education, or would they merely universally indoctrinate with their own?
These govt agents will not be "well-trained and competent", and they will not be just providing knowledge. They will have their own personal biases, and they will have ideology-based instructions to change peoples' behavior. And they will be threatening to take your kids away from parents who do not comply.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blackballing a visitation supervisor

One of the oddities about my hearing last week is that the Commissioner (Irwin Joseph) seems to be carrying out a grudge against a local Santa Cruz group called SCORE. He handed out a list of the court-approved child visitation supervisors, and implied that one of them had been dropped from the list because she once attended a SCORE meeting.

SCORE is a pretty innocuous group. As you can see from its web site, it only exists to help people deal with the family court. It is not a Men's Rights group, as it has more women than men.

There was a visitation supervisor who showed up to a meeting once. She had taken a course and been certified for the purpose, and I think that she was just advertizing her services. She wasn't getting referrals from the family court, and had to get clients somehow. The other visitation supervisors had full schedules, so it seemed to me that she was providing a reasonable and useful service by telling people that she could also do supervised visitation.

I really cannot see why anyone would see anything wrong with a visitation supervisor going to a SCORE meeting and announcing her services. And yet Cmr. Joseph appears to have blackballed her for that reason. He said that she had attended a SCORE meeting, and so I had to use one of the others.

I suppose I could call that visitation supervisor, and ask her the story. She may not even know why she has been blackballed. But I might get her into more trouble if the court finds out that she talked to the Angry Dad blogger! Yes, that would be ridiculous, but no more ridiculous than being blackballed for making an appearance at a SCORE meeting.

My guess here is that the court likes to keep a very tight level of control over psychologists and visitation supervisors, and it is very paranoid that one of them might learn something that she is not supposed to learn. I know that sounds weird, but I just cannot see an innocent explanation for Cmr. Joseph saying that a visitation supervisor is not on the approved list because she attended a SCORE meeting. What could he possibly be concerned about? Does anyone else have any info or ideas on this?