Saturday, January 30, 2010

National child abuse study

The US Dept of HHS has just published its 4th annual study of child abuse and neglect. Here is the pdf. It defines:
Emotional abuse. In the NIS definitions, this category includes close confinement, verbal or emotional assaults, threats of sexual abuse (without contact) and threats of other maltreatment, terrorizing, administering unprescribed substances, and other or nonspecific abuse. Close confinement refers to tying, binding, and other inappropriate confinement or physical restriction. Verbal or emotional assault involves systematic patterns of belittling, denigrating, scapegoating, or other nonphysical forms of overtly rejecting treatment. Emotional abuse also includes all varieties of abusive, exploitative, or overtly punitive behaviors where actual physical contact did not occur (such as intentional withholding of food, shelter, sleep, or other necessities, or excessive responsibilities or excessive demands for income-producing work by a child). For the more extreme forms of tying and binding, Harm Standard guidelines permit “inferred harm.” That is, they permit assuming that serious emotional injury occurred in the absence of explicit symptoms, which allows the child to qualify as emotionally abused under the Harm Standard. However, for all other forms of emotional maltreatment, the Harm Standard requires direct or circumstantial evidence of moderate injury or impairment.
My ex-wife accused me of emotional abuse. Neither she nor any witness ever even alleged any of the harms in the above paragraph. Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph refused to accept any definition of emotional abuse, or that any specific evidence of abuse needs to be demonstrated. But he sent the cops to seize my kids on an ex-parte motion anyway.

Now I am getting a court-ordered evaluation by a psychologist. I am hoping that he follows the generally accepted information in the field. That is what expert witnesses are supposed to do.

Here is how harms are rated:
Serious harm. As noted above, NIS defines an injury or impairment as serious when it involves a life-threatening condition, represents a long-term impairment of physical, mental, or emotional capacities, or requires professional treatment aimed at preventing such long-term impairment. Examples of serious injuries/impairments include: loss of consciousness, stopping breathing, broken bones, schooling loss that required special education services, chronic and debilitating drug/alcohol abuse, diagnosed cases of failure to thrive, third-degree burns or extensive second-degree burns, and so forth.30 Serious harm from Harm Standard maltreatment occurred to 6.6 children per 1,000 in 2005–2006, representing 487,900 children, or over one-third (39%) of all children who were countable under the Harm Standard.

Moderate harm. Moderate injuries or impairments are those that persisted in observable form (including pain or impairment) for at least 48 hours (e.g., bruises, depression or emotional distress not serious enough to require professional treatment). Moderate harm occurred to 9.4 children per 1,000 (or 694,700 children) in 2005–2006, and these accounted for over one-half (55%) of all children countable under the Harm Standard.
In California, emotional harm has to be serious in order to be actionable.

The study has a lot of statistics, but most of them are too coarse to be useful. It finds, for example, that CPS findings of emotional neglect of toddlers has gone way up among low socioeconomic groups. It is harder to tell whether there is any good justification for this increase. It is possible that this is just the easiest way for meddlesome social workers to intervene when they don't approve of some child-rearing practice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby with cigarette

This UK story sounds like a joke from The Onion. It is not. The cigarette is not lit. It is just a picture that some 18-year-old mom thought would be cute.
A photograph of a baby with a cigarette in his mouth was posted online, prompting a police investigation, it has been revealed.

A concerned internet user contacted the authorities after they saw a picture of a baby boy with an unlit cigarette in his mouth on the social networking site Facebook, an Essex Police spokesman said.

Officers visited the child's home in Westcliff, near Southend in Essex, but found there were "no immediate concerns" for the baby's welfare.

The spokesman said: "Police received the information in the early hours of Saturday about a picture of a baby with a cigarette in its mouth on Facebook.
The Fox News O'Reilly Factor legal experts were of the opinion that if this happened in the USA, CPS should take action against the parents. Unfortunately, they said that our laws are not strong enough for a criminal prosecution of the mom, because there is no evidence of any harm or danger to the child. But they said that CPS could interrogate and harass them with home visits for as long as is necessary to make the point that the mom's action was intolerable.

This is idiotic. Do I need to explain why? If you told me that there were cops monitoring Facebook for inappropriate symbolism, then I would say that you were paranoid. I doubt that even Communist China does that. You would think that public officials have better things to do than to chase down goofy pictures on Facebook.

Here is the Fox News dialog, from yesterday evening:
O'Reilly: Let's deal with what we have. Unlit cigarette in the mouth of an infant. In the United States, this warrants what?

Lis Wiehl: No criminal charges. It would warrant followup by social services. Absolutely. Once social services has been contacted and you are on the sheet with them, then they should, they have a duty to come by unfettered, any time.

O'Reilly: ... For an extended period, a year, or what?

Lis Wiehl: As long as they want.
This is all for a Facebook picture. This is crazy. I am amazed that anyone would be willing to go on TV justifying such a silly overreaction.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

45 pounds of paper

I am trying to comply with my court-ordered psychological evaluation. The court said:
13. Neither party will transmit any written materials to the selected Professional without being requested to do so by the Professional.
After getting the go ahead, I sent about 100 pages of court documents. My ex-wife sent 45 pounds of documents!

It appears to be the complete court file, more or less. What a waste. It mostly consists of false accusations from my ex-wife, and useless legal maneuvering. The court sometimes seems unable to make a decision, and sometimes rushing into bad decisions. I estimate that about 99% of it was completely unnecessary, but for incompetence of the court.

Monday, January 25, 2010

DA tells attorneys to boycott judge

The San Jose Mercury News has been covering efforts by local prosecutors to cover up videotapes that exonerate defendants in child sexual abuse cases. Now it reports:
In an extremely rare rebuke of a sitting judge, Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr instructed her staff Friday to stop bringing all criminal cases before Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan, who recently angered prosecutors by finding that a trial prosecutor committed numerous acts of misconduct, including giving false testimony.

Carr took the unprecedented step of publicly confirming her "blanket challenge," or boycott of Bryan, in a news release, saying her decision was based on a "number" of unspecified rulings over the past several years, not any single embarrassing ruling. ...

Earlier this month, Bryan ordered the release of Augustin Uribe, who had been sentenced to 38 years to life on child molestation charges after finding Deputy District Attorney Troy Benson had woven what she called "a tangled web of deceit," including testifying falsely.

Carr's decision to boycott Bryan means that any time a criminal case is assigned to Bryan's courtroom, prosecutors will invoke their right to issue a peremptory challenge and get the case assigned to another judge.
Wow. I did not know prosecutors could do that. They withhold exculpatory evidence, put innocent
men in prison on bogus sex abuse charges, and testify falsely. So what happens when a judge holds them accountable for what they have done? They just boycott the judge!

I draw a couple of conclusions from this. First, the prosecutors never admit that they made a mistake. Even when a videotape is discovered that proves that a man was wrongly convicted, they fight hard to keep the guy in prison.

Second, the big majority of the judges are gutless stooges who are unwilling to stand up to the prosecutors. A boycott of one particular judge would not do any good if other judges were willing to crack down on falsified evidence.

Third, the DA does not seem to be all worried about adverse publicity in prosecuting innocent men charged with child sex abuse. The Santa Clara DA must have anticipated that this decision would generate in front page story in the newspaper, and did it anyway. My guess is that the DA decided that the publicity would cause some people to blame the judge for being soft on child abusers. She may figure that the average person will see it as just some technical legal or personality dispute.

The issue isn't that complicated. The DA office had a longstanding policy of seizing the kids, doing videotaped interviews of the kids, charging an adult with a crime, and not letting the adult see the videotape, even when it was evidence of his innocence.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bristol Palin demands kid and money

AP reports from Alaska:
Sarah Palin's oldest daughter, Bristol, is seeking child support from the young man who fathered her 1-year-old son.

Documents filed Thursday in Superior Court in Palmer show Bristol Palin is seeking $1,750 a month from 19-year-old Levi Johnston, her former fiance. Their son, Tripp, was born in December 2008.

Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein said Alaska law makes clear that a parent of a child is obligated to provide support.

"It is unfortunate Bristol has to seek court intervention in this regard," Van Flein said.

The details regarding child support come at the same time Bristol is seeking full custody of the baby. She filed a petition for sole custody in early November.

Johnston at the very least wants joint custody, said Rex Butler, Johnston's lawyer.
It is outrageous that Palin is asking for child support. This is just a form of welfare fraud, in my opinion. She is driving a $60k car and living with her wealthy parents, and does not need the money. What she needs is a father for her son. And that she is

Levi is seeking joint custody, and Bristol refuses. There is no reason to think that he is unfit. No more than she is unfit, anyway.

Many of the worst ills in our society are caused by single moms like Bristol Palin who do not let fathers even visit their children.

TMZ has his story:
Levi Johnston is baffled at Bristol Palin's demand for child support, because he's offered her money in the past but she hasn't taken it -- this, according to Levi's lawyer.

Attorney Rex Butler tells TMZ, Levi has told Bristol on several occasions he wanted her to come to his house to pick up checks for Tripp's support. Butler says Levi also told her "it would be nice" if she brought Tripp along when she picked up the checks, because Levi wanted to spend time with his son. Butler says on each occasion Bristol was a no-show.

Butler says Bristol is partly to blame for the fact that she hasn't gotten the support she wants. Butler tells TMZ on one occasion Levi was prepared to hand over $3,000 ... but Bristol never showed.
I hate to say this, but the law favors Bristol in this situation. The more she mistreats her son by depriving him of a father, the more she is entitled to welfare and child support. Levi has to pay regardless of how much Bristol violates court orders and punishes her child for her own selfish profit. That is how the system works.

I am surprised that Sarah Palin is going along with this. She made millions from her book deal, and has a political image to worry about. I thought that she was in favor of policies that support self-sufficiency and parental rights. And yet she supports Bristol in her effort to cut a boy off from her father just in order to dishonestly collect a few thousand dollars in undeserved benefits.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Italian fathers movement

I got a message from an angry dad in Italy, with his web site.

I usually assume that people in other countries could not be so stupid as to give family courts so much power to separate fathers from their children. But I have no idea. Perhaps there are meddling judges doing harm everywhere.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recommending counseling

A reader and fellow angry dad writes:
The custody evaluator in my case recommended that I seek cognitive behavioral therapy as it relates to parenting. The evaluation made no mention of parental deficits. I still haven't been able to find anyone who can figure out what "cognitive behavioral therapy as it relates to parenting" is.
I got a similar recommendation from one of my evaluations. The judge just blindly ordered it. I objected, and the judge could not explain it.

In my opinion, a recommendation for counseling is usually an admission of incompetence. You see it in letters to Dear Abby and other advice columnists. When she knows how to answer a question, she answers it. Or she gives bad advice based on her own prejudices. But when she does not know what to say, she recommends counseling.

If you press these people, they might say that counseling is good for everyone. But that is plainly not true, or we would have laws requiring everyone to get counseling. We don't. The psychology textbooks say that counseling is not good for everyone.

Whoever gave the above recommendation is just an incompetent bozo who knows a few buzzwords. The judges who listen to these bozos are even worse.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trial by ordeal

An economist has posted a defensen of the medieval practice of trial by ordeal:
“For 400 years the most sophisticated persons in Europe decided difficult criminal cases by asking the defendant to thrust his arm into a cauldron of boiling water and fish out a ring. If his arm was unharmed, he was exonerated. If not, he was convicted.”

According to Leeson, this is less crazy than it sounds: As long as defendants believe (superstitiously) that ordeals yield accurate verdicts, guilty defendants always confess to avoid the ordeal. At the same time innocent defendants always opt for the ordeal—and are always acquitted, provided the priests cheat by (for example) substituting tepid for boiling water, or “sprinkling” a few gallons of cold holy water over the cauldron, or liberally redefining what counts as “unharmed”.
If the family court used this procedure to determine child custody, would we have a better system or a worse system?

I am going to have to think about that. Maybe that what's we already have -- the modern equivalent of trial by ordeal.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Science project prompts school evacuation

The San Diego California newspaper reports:
SAN DIEGO — Students were evacuated from Millennial Tech Magnet Middle School in the Chollas View neighborhood Friday afternoon after an 11-year-old student brought a personal science project that he had been making at home to school, authorities said.

Maurice Luque, spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said the student had been making the device in his home garage. A vice principal saw the student showing it to other students at school about 11:40 a.m. Friday and was concerned that it might be harmful, and San Diego police were notified.

The school, which has about 440 students in grades 6 to 8 and emphasizes technology skills, was initially put on lockdown while authorities responded.

Luque said the project was made of an empty half-liter Gatorade bottle with some wires and other electrical components attached. There was no substance inside.

When police and the Metro Arson Strike Team responded, they also found electrical components in the student's backpack, Luque said. After talking to the student, it was decided about 1 p.m. to evacuate the school as a precaution while the item was examined. Students were escorted to a nearby playing field, and parents were called and told they could come pick up their children.

A MAST robot took pictures of the device and X-rays were evaluated. About 3 p.m., the device was determined to be harmless, Luque said.

Luque said the project was intended to be a type of motion-detector device.

Both the student and his parents were "very cooperative" with authorities, Luque said. He said fire officials also went to the student's home and checked the garage to make sure items there were neither harmful nor explosive.

"There was nothing hazardous at the house," Luque said.

The student will not be prosecuted, but authorities were recommending that he and his parents get counseling, the spokesman said. ...

Luque said both the student and his parents were extremely upset.
Recommending counseling?! The kid did a very innocent and ordinary science project. Lunatic school authorities went beserk. The kid and his family gets upset. So do the authorities apologize? No, they recommend counseling!

When I hear "authorities recommended counseling", I just assume that the authorities made a disasterous sequence of mistakes, and they are trying to make someone else the scapegoat.

The authorities probably told the parents that if they get the counseling, then there will be no criminal prosecution, no kid kicked out of school, no bill for emergency services, no CPS investigation, and no one put on the TSA no-fly list. The parents will probably play it safe and get the counseling. Because the bigger the govt screwup, the more the bureaucrats will cover their tracks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Child abuse villains still at large

Dorothy Rabinowitz writes in the WSJ:
The accusations against the Amiraults might well rank as the most astounding ever to be credited in an American courtroom, but for the fact that roughly the same charges were brought by eager prosecutors chasing a similar headline—making cases all across the country in the 1980s. Those which the Amiraults' prosecutors brought had nevertheless, unforgettable features: so much testimony, so madly preposterous, and so solemnly put forth by the state. The testimony had been extracted from children, cajoled and led by tireless interrogators.
She exposed these bogus prosecutions more than anyone, and wrote a 2003 book about them.

You would think that the careers of the malicious prosecutors in the day care sex abuse hysteria would have been ruined, but they were not. One of the prosecutors was Martha Coakley, and this Tuesday she is on the ballot in Mass. to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate. It is a tight race, and Pres. Barack Obama is campaigning for her.

If you are thinking that the Junk Justice judges, commissioners, and enablers will get their comeuppance some day, forget it. The more lives they ruin, the more praise they will get.

Update: Another blog calls Coakley a particularly loathsome creature.

Update: Coakley was heavily favored a month ago, but she has now lost. I realize that the main campaign issues were health care and other issues. Coakley is still the state attorney general.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Local court hears lesbian paternity dispute

I previously blogged about a weird case in the local court that I watched while waiting for my case to come up. I could not figure out why two lesbians were getting a trial to resolve a paternity dispute. Now the case has gotten a newspaper story, and the mom has an angry mom site. The story says:
In a case that could have far-reaching implications for gay rights, a Santa Cruz woman is seeking to maintain joint custody of 10-month-old twins that she and her former partner, the biological mother of the children, had agreed to raise.

As court battles over the rights of non-biological gay parents garner national attention, the Santa Cruz case contains a complicated wrinkle: The biological mother is now involved in a romantic relationship with the sperm donor, who has joined her in seeking full custody of the boys.

"It's the first case I'm aware of where a lesbian couple in a committed relationship has brought a child into the world, then after breaking up, the biological mother has tried to sub in the biological father," said Deborah Wald, a family law attorney who, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, represents the non-biological mother.

"If they won, we would consider it a very dangerous precedent for lesbian couples having children with the assistance of known sperm donors," Wald said.

The biological parents, Maggie Quale and Shawn Wallace, who now live together, say they should be allowed to fully parent their twins, Max and Levi, without a court order allowing even partial custody to Quale's former partner, Kim T. Smith. They say the civil lawsuit filed by Smith, who declined to comment, has put them in the painful position of asserting their rights while still appearing to support the growing effort to protect the rights of gay parents.

"The last thing we want is more stress and conflict," said Quale, a 33-year-old public relations specialist, who is bisexual. "We know there are a lot of people who aren't going to understand. Shouldn't this only be about what best for these babies?"
I am afraid that Quale is about to get a painful education about how the court determines what is "best".

No, a lesbian couple did not bring this child into the world.

I still don't see how Smith got her name on the birth certificate, when he is not biologically related to the twins, was not married to the mom, was not a domestic partner to the mom, and did not adopt the twins. It must be a consequence of some liberal change to the law that I never heard about.

The family court is not equipped to deal with disputes like this. It is just crazy to expect some judge to decide what is in the best interest of the kids. There is a reason why we have marriage and adoption laws. There used to be, anyway.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Boy reports mom as drug dealer

Oklahoma news:
An 11-year-old boy is being praised by Lawton police after he called 911 to report his mom and her boyfriend were dealing drugs from their home. ...

"911, what's your emergency?" said a 911 emergency dispatch operator.

"I live here with my mom and her boyfriend, and her boyfriend sells marijuana," the 11-year-old told the 911 operator.

Lawton police called the boy's actions courageous. The call led police to the house where they found the boy with his 1-year-old brother along with a quarter pound of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.

Police said the drugs all belonged to the boy's mother, 33-year-old Jennifer Lynn Patterson, and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Michael Dewayne French. ...

Patterson and French were both charged with felony counts of drug possession with intent to distribute.
Courageous? To call 911 to betray his own mom? Where is the dad?

My guess here is that mom has already used false accusations and restraining orders to cut the dad out of the boy's life, and to get more child support/welfare. The boy learned to betray his family at a very early age. Then he got sent to public school, where he was taught that 911 operators and other govt agents are greater authorities than parents. Then the mom shacked up with a no-good drug-dealer, and no one objected to that. The dad was driven out, and anyone else would have been accused of being discriminatory.

I live in a county full of dope smokers, so I don't think that the cops would bother with a couple having only a quarter pound of marijuana. But the schools, cops, and others would encourage kids to betray their parents.

This is the decline of the USA, in my opinion. In another generation, no one will think that there is even anything wrong with this story.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bogus accusation against Tiger Woods

AP reports:
A Florida lawmaker has called for an investigation into who phoned a hot line with a bogus claim that Tiger Woods' children were being abused.

The anonymous accusation last month was quickly rejected by Florida officials. But Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms wants officials, if possible, to prosecute the person.

A Department of Children and Families spokesman said Monday that a false report is difficult to prove unless the person confesses, but it result in civil or criminal penalties.
If the lawmaker really wants to do something about it, then maybe she should propose a law to limit these anonymous reports.

It is likely that the report was from someone who does not even know the Woods family, but was just piling on with accusations based on rumors following news reports.

CPS should be required to ignore the call unless the caller can give some specifics, with names, dates, places, etc. If the specifics turn out to be false, then the caller could be prosecuted just like anyone who makes a false police report. It is not that complicated. Apparently no one in Florida gets prosecuted for a false CPS report.

I happened to see the Steve Wilkos Show yesterday. It is a horrible show, and I do not recommend it. Yesterday it was about a wife who used an anonymous CPS call to make a false accusation against her husband, in order to get some sort of jealous revenge. Nobody ever suggested that she get prosecuted, even tho the audience thought that she was pretty horrible. If Wilkos and the audience could figure out that she was lying with just a few questions, you would think that the authorities could also figure it out.

My ex-wife is a lawyer, and she knows that she will never be prosecuted for the false, malicious, and anonymous accusations that she made against me to CPS.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Starting an evaluation

I finally have an appointment to start the psychological evaluation ordered by Commissioner Joseph. I assume that my ex-wife has also.

I've been getting advice from my friends on how to behave. One said that I should say that I am happy with the visitation being supervised.

Others agreed, and said that I should appear as agreeable as possible. They said that the psychologist has so much power over me that I cannot risk alienating him in any way. I should just act grateful for whatever he recommends. Anything else will be quoted and used against me in his report. He will cite it as a sign of emotional instability and a lack of the nurturing qualities needed to be a good parent. One friend, who has extensive experience with the family court, suggested that the psychologist may even invent a phony accusation of a borderline personality disorder, just to punish me for having the nerve to express opinions of my own. They all agreed that I should not say anything critical about Cmr. Joseph, as that would indicate that I have a bad attitude or that I am not sufficiently deferential to authority.

I don't know whether this is good advice or not, but it is useless to me. I have already expressed my opinions in court papers and on this blog. The psychologist will get the court papers and he knows about the blog. If my ex-wife thinks that I said something that will cause the psychologist to have a negative opinion of me, then she will point it out to him. For better or worse, the psychologist will know my true opinions, and I cannot hide them even if I wanted to.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary

Stephen Baskerville has a new article on crime and feminism:
Aggressive feminist lobbying in the legislatures and courts since the 1970s redefined rape to make it indistinguishable from consensual sex. Over time, a woman no longer had to prove that she was forced to have non-consensual sex, but a man had to prove that sex was consensual (or prove that no sex had, in fact, happened). Non-consent was gradually eliminated as a definition, and consent became simply a mitigating factor for the defense. By 1989, the Washington State Supreme Court openly shifted the burden of proving consent to the defendant when it argued that the removal of legislative language requiring non-consent for rape “evidences legislative intent to shift the burden of proof on the issue to the defense” and approved this blatantly unconstitutional presumption of guilt. The result, write Weiss and Young, was not “to jail more violent rapists — lack of consent is easy enough for the state to prove in those cases — but to make it easier to send someone to jail for failing to get an explicit nod of consent from an apparently willing partner before engaging in sex.” ...

In the infamous Duke University lacrosse case, prosecutor Michael Nifong suppressed exculpating evidence and prosecuted men he knew to be innocent, according to Taylor and Johnson.
Most discussions of the Duke lacrosse incident blame the prosecutor, but I blame the judge much more. The boys had iron-clad proofs of innocense -- ATM receipts across town, negative DNA tests, and failure of the accuser to identify them or tell a consistent story -- and yet the judge still denied a motion to dismiss the charges.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Santa Cruz meeting

SCORE is meeting this Saturday, after not having met for a couple of months. It is a small group of people in Santa Cruz county who are working to improve things for those who have to deal with the local family court.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

France criminalizes nagging

I mentioned before that France was going to ban psychological violence. In case you thought that I was joking, a UK newspaper reports:
Shouting at your wife may get you a criminal record in France

Married couples in France could end up with criminal records for insulting each other during arguments.
Under a new law, France is to become the first country in the world to ban 'psychological violence' within marriage.
The law would apply to cohabiting couples and to both men and women.

It would cover men who shout at their wives and women who hurl abuse at their husbands - although it was not clear last night if nagging would be viewed as breaking the law. ...

Many believe the offence will be impossible to prove. Psychologist Anne Giraud said: 'Squabbling couples will allege all kinds of things about each other, but often it will be a case of one person's word against the other.'

Sociologist Pierre Bonnet said: 'The next step will be to make rudeness a criminal offence. The police and courts will be over-stretched trying to deal with numerous cases.'
The world has gone mad. How is it that there are people who think that it is a good idea to have the govt regulate how husbands and wives talk to each other?

There are too many things wrong with this for me to list. It makes me think that feminists and shrinks are out to destroy civilization as we know it.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Man wrongly docked $40G

The NY Post reports:
A Brooklyn father is hoping for a rebate of more than $40,000 he has overpaid in child support since 2003, according to court papers.

Francois Jadotte contends that the city kept garnisheeing his wages -- at the rate of $121 per week -- even after his daughter turned 21.
So he was still being forced to pay child support for a daughter who turned 21 in 2003? That makes her 28 years old this year.

I object to calling this "child support". None of this money went to support a child. She wasn't even a child. And she did not get any of the money. It was just a tax that went into the city bank account.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Restraining orders may be found unconstitutional in New Jersey

The NJ supreme court is hearing Crespo v Crespo, regarding the standard of proof required for domestic violence restraining orders. This could be a big case, if the high court agrees with the trial court judge that these orders are granted unconstitutionally. See comments by Glenn Sacks and RADAR. The question is whether the orders which restrict a man's liberty should require clear and convincing evidence, or just a preponderance of the evidence.

Oral argument is set for Noon EST on Wednesday, Jan. 6, and should be webcast on the NJ court site. That is 9am California time.

The appeals court ruled in favor of granting the restraining orders in dubious cases, based on this reasoning:
The Legislature obviously viewed the victims' interests as highly important and of far greater weight than defendants' interests, when it declared in the Act that:
It is therefore, the intent of the Legislature to assure the victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from abuse the law can provide.
In light of these unmistakable expressions of public policy, we recognize that the strong societal interest in protecting persons victimized by domestic violence greatly favors utilization of the preponderance standard.
The argument is illogical. The legislature has a goal of punishing murderers, but it does not achieve that goal by putting non-murderers in jail. No one is a victim of domestic violence before the law unless the domestic violence has been proved.

Update: Here is a report on the case.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Why I name names

A reader argues:
You are declaiming in ignorance. Family law proceedings ARE public, so are the files. However the public's right to know IS balanced against other rights.

The children in family proceedings have rights that they are ill equipped to defend. Chief among these in your case "George" are medical/mental facts, history, and diagnosis of your young children. That is why the court may seal certain evidentiary material.
The family court may seal records under Calif. Rule 2.550, provided that the conditions there are satisfied. I have no quarrel with that. But the court did not seal any records in my case under that rule.

In my case, the children were well-equipped to protect their privacy rights. Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph appointed a lawyer, James Ritchey to represent those interests. I paid his bills, at $200 per hour.

The records in question do not say that my kids have any medical or mental problem, or that they have had any unfavorable diagnosis. The records say that the kids are healthy, happy, and doing well.

The records were approved for release by CPS agent Sally Mitchell, her boss, her boss's boss, Ritchey, County Counsel Shannon M. Sullivan, and Cmr. Joseph. Only after Ms. Mitchell gave contradictory testimony and Cmr. Joseph said that he was not relying on her, the records did he order that her testimony and records were to be sealed. He never argued that there was any need to protect the kids under Rule 2.550. He just sealed them because they were personally embarrassing to him and to CPS.

Yes, I do use a pseudonym for myself, but not for those who, openly and publicly, make false, malicious, and vindictive accusations against me in court. They have told everyone in town that my kids are abused kids. Public access to the records would show the opposite. I am defending my kids' rights when I post evidence that they were not abused.

I would have much preferred it if my case were not public. It was my ex-wife who went public with this stuff, not me. I am just defending myself and my kids.