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.