Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family courts violate First Amendment

Law prof and blogger Eugene Volokh writes:
In December, a New York appellate court held that Daniel should be allowed supervised visitation after his parole expires this summer. But the court also upheld, in the name of “the best interest of the children”, the trial court’s order that Daniel not discuss with the children “any issues pertaining to his religion”. ...

In fact, a wide range of parental speech has been prohibited by family courts, all in the name of the child’s supposed best interests. One parent was enjoined from making any racial slurs in a child’s presence. Another parent whose ex was a lesbian was ordered to “make sure that there is nothing in the religious upbringing or teaching that the minor child is exposed to that can be considered homophobic”. A different court barred a father from taking his children to “any social, religious or educational functions sponsored by or which otherwise promote homosexual lifestyle”.
He lists some outrageous examples of free speech violations, but my own court case is even more outrageous than any of them.

Commissioner Irwin Joseph held me in contempt of court for quoting testimony that was given against me in open court.

Psychologist Kenneth Perlmutter recommended that I be reduced to two hours of supervised visitation per month with my kids because of the possibility that I might tell them that I was falsely accused of abuse. He agreed that the accusations were unfounded, but argued that my kids might find that information upsetting.

Cmr. Joseph ordered Perlmutter's recommendations without any due process. I would quote the sections in Perlmutter's report, but Cmr. Joseph has ordered me not to show it to anyone, not even my own lawyer.

There is no way to reconcile these free speech abridgments with the US Supreme Court precedents. Sooner or later, all these orders will be found unconstitutional.

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