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.