Saturday, December 31, 2011

More info on new judge

A reader sends info on the new Santa Cruz family court judge:
George, I read your recent blog updating the county court assignments, and I found this article reporting on a controversial ruling the new family court judge Jeff Almquist made on a local murder case. In May 2008, Almquist reduced the murder charges of Mateo Tiago Marquis to voluntary manslaughter; the victim's father expressed outrage over that. Eventually, Marquis pled guilty and by the end of the year was sentenced (by another judge) to 7 years. Marquis, then age 20, was arrested in June 2007 after killing a teenager from Arizona during a fight at a beach. Anyway I'm sorry for you and outraged at what the court did to you and your kids and regarding Almquist hope this info is helpful. You can also search his name in the Santa Cruz Sentinel archives ( or the regular for info on cases he's presided over.

Almquist was also a county supervisor. As supervisor he was involved in opposing a water rake hike of some sort in 2002.
I am cautiously optimistic. He has probably never been a family court judge, and may still be under the delusion that he will be able to hear the parties fairly, and follow the rule of law. Having been a local politician, he may have some sense of being accountable to the public.

Therapists revolt against psychiatry’s bible

Salon magazine
The most surprising critic of the DSM is a one-time pillar of the psychiatric establishment. Allen Frances, professor emeritus at Duke University, chaired the task force that created the DSM-4. Now he’s railing against both the process and proposed content of the new DSM in blogs on the website for Psychology Today that blast the new revision as “untested” and “unscientific.”

Psychiatric diagnoses are loose enough already, Frances told me, and that laxity has led to “epidemics of over-diagnosis in child psychiatry” causing huge numbers of children to be unnecessarily labeled with attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder and treated with medications.
The new DSM-5 will be designed for one main purpose -- facilitating drug prescriptions.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fingerprint evidence

NewScientist reports:
FINGERPRINTS were once the cornerstone of forensic identification. Now a report into a miscarriage of justice has renewed pressure on print examiners to improve their methods, while two new studies reveal the extent of their fallibility. The results could change the fingerprint profession worldwide.

The Fingerprint Inquiry was launched by the Scottish government after detective Shirley McKie was acquitted of perjury. Flawed fingerprint analysis was the only evidence against her. The report, published on 14 December, concludes that human error was to blame and voices serious concerns about how fingerprint analysts report matches. It recommends that they no longer report conclusions with 100 per cent certainty, and develop a process for analysing complex, partial or smudged prints involving at least three independent examiners who fully document their findings.

The recommendations lay bare fundamental problems which have demanded attention for decades, says Jim Fraser, a forensic scientist at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK.
Yes, fingerprint evidence is fallible. It is not 100% certain. Just like all other expert evidence.

FBI fingerprint experts have always testified that their matches are 100% certain. They are not. They are lying every time.

A basic requirement of any expert witness is to describe how often he is wrong. If he does not know how likely his opinion is to be wrong, then his opinion is worthless.

Family court psychologists and other expert witnesses are orders of magnitude worse than the fingerprint experts. The psychologists are never able to say anything about the reliability of their opinions about child custody and visitation. That alone is reason to reject their testimony.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Santa Cruz judge

Santa Cruz California announces its just assignments at the beginning of each year:
Judicial Assignments - Effective January 3, 2012


Department A: Judge Denine J. Guy

Department B: Judge Heather D. Morse
Delinquency/Truancy/Small Claims/Civil Limited

Department C: Judge Jeff Almquist
Family Law

Department D: Commissioner Stephen S. Siegel
Family Law/Domestic Violence/Family Preservation Court/Family Law Pro Per Court

Department D: Commissioner Jana Kast-Davids
Child Support
I don't know much about Almquist, but it is hard to see how he could be any worse than Morse.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Apologizing for being men

This video of men apologizing for being men circulated a few months ago. You have to see it to believe how shrinks are neutering the modern man. Here is a sample of the transcript:
A Manifesto for Conscious Men

Dear Woman:

I come to you today as a man committed to becoming more conscious in every way. I feel deep love, great respect and a growing sense of worship for the gifts of the feminine. I also feel deep sorrow about the destructive actions of the unconscious masculine in the past and present. I want to apologize to you and make amends for those actions, in order to bring forth a new era of co-creation with you. ...

I honor your intuition and your profound capacity for feeling. As men, we have often devalued feeling and intuition in favor of a view dominated by data and logic. This way of being seemed necessary to move humanity beyond superstition and animalism, but in the process we lost much of the heart of life. ...

As a conscious man I am willing to feel those hurts fully within myself and release them. I forgive you for any ways you may have acted unconsciously, as I forgive myself and my gender for our own waking sleep.
I am not sorry to be a man, and there is nothing wrong with masculine thinking. It seems to imply that only effeminate men are conscious. That is crazy. Effeminate men are the least conscious about the world.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Someone just sent me this:
Top 10 Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Psychiatrists
Lobotomy Tool Travel Set
Beautifully crafted 14 piece tuck-and-go lobotomy travel set includes all the essentials needed for a successful lobotomy on the go. It’s every psychosurgeon’s dream! Opt for a personalized monogram to make the gift even more special. Set comes in a leather case with surgical stainless tools. Anesthesia not included. Monogram extra.
There are some other such funny things on the blog, if you can laugh on Christmas about evil psychiatrists giving lobotomies.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Petty tyrant judge gets booted

Sometimes public scrutiny can finally get the better of a judge. The NY Times reports:
ATLANTA — In her courtroom in Brunswick, Ga., Judge Amanda F. Williams told lawyers to “sit down and shut up.” She once jailed a defendant for using the words “baby momma.” And she detained offenders “indefinitely” without access to lawyers, state judicial investigators say.

But on Monday, Judge Williams, the chief judge of the Superior Court of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit — a powerful, controversial figure who gained national exposure when the public radio program “This American Life” devoted an hourlong episode to her — announced that she was leaving the bench after 21 years.

Judge Williams, 64, who said she would resign on Jan. 2., faced wide-ranging misconduct accusations. She vowed not to seek another judgeship, and, as a result, those complaints will be dropped, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission said. She could still face criminal charges related to her conduct.
She probably thought that she was doing a good job for 20 years, because no one ever reprimanded her. Judges are good at rationalizing what they do. But family court judges like Irwin Joseph and Heather Morse would be run out of town if there were more public scrutiny over what they do. Well, there is a public record on what they have done, and it will follow them forever.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Corrupt forensic psychology

Criticism of forensic psychology is not new. A famous 1880 novel said this:
In the trial scene from Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky, speaking through the lips of the defense attorney, issued a stern warning to the legal profession:

Profound as psychology is, it's a knife that cuts both ways.... You can prove anything by it. I am speaking of the abuse of psychology, gentlemen.
The 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street is shown often at Christmastime every year. It is about a psychologist who gives an evaluation to Santa Claus, and then tries to get him committed to a mental hospital. The corrupt judge finds an excuse to avoid the unfavorable publicity. There is also a single mom with no faith. It is actually an excellent feel-good movie that is much better than its remakes.

Critics who take this movie too seriously have accused it of bad law and bad logic. But at the time the movie was made, it really was possible to commit a man to a mental institution based on a psychiatrist saying that he was delusional. Nowadays, there has to be evidence that the man is a serious threat to harm himself or others. So I guess that the field of forensic psychiatry has made some progress. The field has gotten worse in other ways, such as forcing dangerous psychotropic drugs.

Here are more examples of using bogus psychology for political purposes. Wikipedia explains:
In the Soviet Union, systematic political abuse of psychiatry took place. Soviet psychiatric hospitals were used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate hundreds or thousands of political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally. This method was also employed against religious prisoners and most especially against well-educated former atheists who adopted a religion. In such cases their religious faith was determined to be a form of mental illness that needed to be cured. Formerly highly classified extant documents from “Special file” of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union published after the dissolution of the Soviet Union demonstrate that the authorities of the country quite consciously used psychiatry as a tool to suppress dissent.
Kevin MacDonald argues:
A major theme of The Culture of Critique is that several Jewish-dominated intellectual movements developed theories in which ethnocentrism by Whites (and only Whites) was an indication of psychiatric disorder. This was true not only of the Frankfurt School, perhaps the main offender, but also Richard Hofstadter’s diagnosis of “status anxiety” for Whites concerned about their displacement and Erich Fromm’s analysis in terms of “sado-masochistic reaction formations” (see here, p. 195ff). All of these movements were facilitated by psychoanalysis, an infinitely plastic bit of anti-science that was able to get any desired result.

We are now seeing a trend for psychiatric diagnoses to be given to Whites who are angry about the massive invasion of non-Whites that are destroying the traditional cultures and threatening the status of the traditional populations of White countries. Anders Breivik was recently diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic for his rampage, mainly against young activists and the children of the leftist Norwegian elite he viewed as responsible for the immigration assault on Norway. This despite the fact that his operation was well-planned and despite the fact that his manifesto shows that he is quite intelligent and has read widely on the ongoing disaster of the Muslim invasion of Europe.
Apparently Norway authorities have some sort of purpose in declaring Berwick insane. My guess is that it is either to discredit his ideas or to keep him locked up without trial or both. Either way, the psychiatrist is a dishonest tool of the govt. (Berwick ought to be kept locked up for his murders, of course, but they don't need crooked psychiatrists to do it.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Economic Effects On Marriage

NPR radio is always complaining about some sort of economic hardship that the govt should be remedying, and now it is that we would have more divorces if the filing fee was lower. NPR news reports:
"I couldn't afford to get divorced. It wasn't an option because I didn't have the money," she says.

Reynolds finally saved up enough to file for divorce in 2009. The divorce came through this year. She says she's more stable now, but her experience perfectly illustrates new research that finds the bad economy has had two effects on many marriages. ...

So losing a job makes many couples unhappy, and when people find themselves out of work, it becomes harder to get divorced. Experts say there is strong historical precedent for these effects.
I don't know where NPR find people for these stories. It is ridiculous. It goes on:
"If I were able to stand on my own economic feet at this time, I would divorce him," she says. The woman told NPR she's worried her ex may be unstable; he seems depressed. "He's trying to break his thumb. [It] is his thing right now — he keeps trying to injure himself."

She also worries about her safety and that of her kids.

"There have been absolutely no threats, emotional or physical," she says. "But if he's trying to hurt himself and he's being vocal about it, you know, I'm not sure what else he'd be capable of doing if he slipped further into his depression."

'Divorce Provides A Safety Valve'

Historian Coontz says she's seen the same patterns over and over again in the last century. During the Great Depression, the divorce rate went down and domestic violence went up. In the 1970s, when states began to permit no-fault divorces, it had an immediate effect on domestic violence.
NPR finds a domestic violence story even where there are no threats of any kind. My guess is that the wife is delusional for thinking that her husband is trying to break his thumb.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Texas has counseling for over-prescribers

A Dallas News editorial says:
All eyes in the U.S. Senate committee room were fixed on the star witness as he carefully read his testimony from prepared text. Senators leaned forward, and cameras recorded the moment from all angles. Mom sat in the next chair for moral support.

Ke’onte Cook, 12, a seventh-grader from McKinney, had a story to tell that was as heartbreaking as it was uplifting.

He was invited to share his experiences as a former foster child who was kept on different regimens involving 20 mind-altering medications for more than four years, at times reaching five drugs at once, changing through a series of homes and mental hospitals. Ke’onte said he was sometimes in a falling-down stupor, irritable, with an aching stomach and no appetite. ...

The issue is a financial one, since Medicaid paid for more than $200 million in psychotropic drugs for children in Texas alone in 2008. Senators also made clear that the issue is one of child welfare, and they bored in on a new, five-state study, including Texas, showing that foster children are prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates far beyond those in the general population of Medicaid children.
This story has gotten a lot of press, including on this blog, but it turns out to be an old story:
The trend line in Texas, however, is a positive one. Even as the number of foster kids continues to climb — from 27,000 to 47,000 over the past 10 years — the rate of medicating these children has been declining. In 2003, nearly 30 percent of all foster children in Texas were on a mind-altering drug; that number fell to less than 20 percent this year. The potentially risky practice of putting kids on multiple drugs has been curtailed as well.

Credit a multi-agency network in Texas that tracks tax-paid drug prescriptions and triggers added scrutiny when a physician’s use of mind-altering medications strays from statistical bounds. That doctor may have his or her practices reviewed and may receive counseling. The state has also mapped out and circulated clear drug-use guidelines for medical professionals to consult.
So Texas recognized that this foster child drug problem was out of control in 2003, and took systematic steps to curtail it. They tracked the over-prescribing doctors and threatened to force them to get counseling!

Wow, I had no idea that a state agency could be so competent. But the system still seems corrupt to me. In 8 years, they only reduced the drug use from 30% to 20%. My guess is that they are effectively giving license to physicians to give bogus drugs to foster kids, as long as the rate stays below 20%.

Still, I am encouraged that there is at least some accountability in the Texas foster care system.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Autopsies Now Scarce At U.S. Hospitals

I believe that the problems with the family court, CPS, and other govt officials will not be fixed until those officials are held more accountable for what they do. Unfortunately the trend is in the opposite direction.

NPR radio reports:
When a loved one dies unexpectedly in the hospital, getting answers to how and why isn't as easy as it was 50 years ago.

Back then, doctors would often order a clinical autopsy. But an investigation published today by ProPublica shows that hospital autopsies have become a rarity:

"A half-century ago, an autopsy would have been routine. Autopsies, sometimes called the ultimate medical audit, were an integral part of American health care, performed on roughly half of all patients who died in hospitals. Today, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show, they are conducted on about 5 percent of such patients."

The findings are part of Post Mortem, a reporting partnership by NPR News Investigations, ProPublica and PBS Frontline, about deep flaws in the U.S. death investigation system.

Over the past year, the series has uncovered the lack of skilled forensic pathologists who can perform autopsies, wrongful convictions among child death cases, and disputes among the medical and legal communities.

Today's ProPublica report details "hospitals' powerful financial incentives to avoid autopsies" and explains that without information from these procedures, diagnostic errors are often missed. This gap not only leads to lost opportunities for improved medical treatment, but skews health care statistics.
Maybe social service screwups should be followed by live autopsies, where some sort of objective social science pathologist writes a report on what happened.

Of course medical schools train pathologists to do autopsies, and the profession is not completely corrupt. I don't know to find someone with the competence to evaluate CPS screwups. It is just an idea. Could it work?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Expanding CPS power

I am afraid that CPS is going to get more power as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State. I agree with this:
JILL FARRIS writes the following in regard to Senate Bill 1877, which would require all adults to report any suspected child abuse

Our social services system is only interested in “saving” a child when there is money to be made in the effort. Always follow the money trail. I believe that our social services system and Child Protection Services constitute one of the greatest evils unleashed on our land.

Teachers, physicians and others in authority are already required to report any suspicion of abuse resulting in many false accusations and ruined lives. After all, it’s easier to report it “just in case” than to be held liable for not reporting it if it turns out to be abuse. Remember, the psychologists, social workers and judges define abuse in any way that will cause a child to need their assistance because there is great financial gain to be had by doing so.

A friend of mine was falsely reported to CPS by a neighbor who had a drug problem and a felony record. She was interrogated by police and the CPS worker (and yes, I am not overusing the word “interrogate”) and she was spied on regularly by a woman in an unmarked van from social services. Reasonable people would consider the source of the complaint but social workers (and their ilk) are not reasonable. Studies have shown (by the NCCPR -see below) that social work attracts people with “issues” and many have a vendetta. They see abusive families behind every bush.

Are children being abused and killed? Yes, not just by their parents or step parents but by foster parents. Yes, I know there are wonderful foster parents but why are we not calling the psychologists and social workers and judges into account for the babies and children who die in foster care? There are thousands (do a search for the children who die in foster care). How hard is this to stop?

In the name of “Child Protection” we are losing our rights. Family courts do not operate under constitutional law and many states have closed courts where no outside witnesses are allowed to be present. A site I highly recommend for further information on the subject is that of the . This article addresses false reports of abuse. If you are not convinced that false reporting is a problem, do a quick web search with the word “false allegations” and be afraid…be very afraid.
The Penn State hysteria is out of control. Last Friday, NBC TV Dateline had show on
The Case of the Missing D.A.:
Disturbing news out of Penn State put a cold case back in the spotlight. A decade ago, in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, a tiny town just a few short miles away from the Penn State campus, the accusation that Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a child, first came to the attention of Ray Gricar, the local district attorney.

Then, seven years ago Gricar went missing. Investigators uncovered his laptop but the hard drive was unreadable. The question being asked now is – could there be a link between Gricar’s disappearance and the Sandusky scandal? Lester Holt reports.
The Gricar disappearance is mysterious, but the obvious explanation is that he was killed by some gangster or someone else angry about one of his prosecutions. The only connection to Sandusky is that Gricar decided that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him in 1998. I guess that they were hinting that maybe Sandusky murdered Gricar, but no one could explain how Sandusky would have anything to gain by that.

This is a witch-hunt. Sandusky will not get a fair trial. He is being demonized, and used as an excuse to expand the power of evil people who are out to destroy the American family.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Domestic violence scare statistics

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) from the US CDC has gotten a lot of publicity. It says:
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, based on a survey conducted in 2010. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story—more than 1 million women are raped in a year and over 6 million women and men are victims of stalking in a year. These findings emphasize that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are important and widespread public health problems in the United States.
These numbers keep going up, mainly because of expanding definitions. It was recently announced:
The FBI’s definition of “rape” is about to get a long-awaited update, for the first time since 1929.

The revamped description will be broader, pleasing activists who say the current definition leads to the low-balling of sexual assault cases, and also discourages victims to come forward. ...

The new definition, which will more closely match the ones that police departments around the country already use, will remove the word “forcible,” along with several other amendments.

Rape will now include sex attacks by relatives, and include non-traditional penetration.

According to the FBI’s website, the proposed new definition is “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

These changes are crucial, according to women’s rights advocates.
The CDC study defined sexual violence to include "non-contact unwanted sexual experiences" and "stalking, including the use of newer technologies such as text messages". So I guess many women have gotten unwanted suggestions or text messages. Hasn't everyone? Soon these surveys will be reporting incidence rates of 100%. But as reported before, the actual violence rates have been going down for 40 years.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

People Defend Unjust, Inept, and Corrupt Systems

The Association for Psychological Science reports:
Why do we stick up for a system or institution we live in -- a government, company, or marriage -- even when anyone else can see it is failing miserably? Why do we resist change even when the system is corrupt or unjust? A new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science, illuminates the conditions under which we're motivated to defend the status quo -- a process called "system justification." ...

When we feel we can't escape a system, we adapt. That includes feeling okay about things we might otherwise consider undesirable. ... "You'd think that when people are stuck with a system, they'd want to change it more," says Kay. But in fact, the more stuck they are, the more likely are they to explain away its shortcomings. Finally, a related phenomenon: The less control people feel over their own lives, the more they endorse systems and leaders that offer a sense of order.

The research on system justification can enlighten those who are frustrated when people don't rise up in what would seem their own best interests. Says Kay: "If you want to understand how to get social change to happen, you need to understand the conditions that make people resist change and what makes them open to acknowledging that change might be a necessity."
Yes I am frustrated that people do not rise up against the family court and its corrupt network of shrinks. So I guess I need to understand why they resist the change that I think is necessary.

In other psych news, an article claims to tell How to spot a liar in 20 seconds flat. Life would be simpler if that were really true. I think a big problem is people who think that they can spot liars when they cannot. I would like to spot them in 20 seconds.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Parents often disagree

One of the arguments against shared custody is that the parents may not agree on everything. Parents should agree on everything, they say.

I find this argument bewildering. Did all these people really grow up with parents who agreed on everything? When I quiz them, they always admit that their parents often disagreed on things, but they nevertheless argue that everyone should have parents who agree on everything.

Comedian Louis C.K. was on the NBC Tonight Show with Jay Leno Wednesday night, and he addressed this issue with some funny stories:
I had my kids this week. I share custody of my kids with my ex-wife. So I had to get them to school ... [funny story]

Me and the kids have great times together. Being a single parent is a little easier, because you don't
have to agree with the other parent. That's the hardest part of being a parent is the other parent, because you have to agree on everything. No two grown-ups ever agree on anything. Just one of them goes "Fine!". That's all that ever happens.

So, anyway, when you are a single parent, you can just say, "Let's go camping." I just said it in June, "Let's go camping." So we just put a bunch of stuff in the car, and we drove down to Maryland. That's where we went. We went to a little state park, and it was beautiful. We walked around. We borrowed marshmellows from neighboring campers. You can do that when you have kids because they are like little ambassadors.
He is right. It was much easier to do something like camping after my divorce. Disagreements often make shared parenting easier, not harder. The mom can do what she wants on her time, and the dad can do what he wants on his time.

The biggest potential disagreements are in where to live and where to attend school. Almost everything else is trivial.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Michigan mom gets kid back

I mentioned in August this story of CPS-forced drug use, and NaturalNews has this update:
The horrific saga of Maryanne Godboldo's battle with domestic terrorists in the government of her home state of Michigan appear to finally be coming to an end. The Detroit Free Press reports that two higher courts have confirmed the ruling of a lower court several months ago that Godboldo's refusal to administer the dangerous Risperdal drug to her daughter was fully legal, and that all charges and actions taken against her by the state were unwarranted.

In case you missed the story, Child Protective Services (CPS) in Michigan sent a SWAT team and tank to Godboldo's Detroit home back in April after the mother refused to keep giving her 13-year-old daughter Risperdal (risperidone), a dangerous schizophrenia drug that had been causing her daughter to experience severe adverse reactions. Godboldo's doctor had recommended that she discontinue use of the drug, but CPS felt otherwise, and decided to launch a full-scale terrorist raid on the woman's home, where they proceeded to illegally kidnap her daughter.

For months, these domestic terrorists held Godboldo's daughter, Ariana, in captivity at a CPS facility in Northville, Mich., until finally, after a long and grueling court battle, it was determined that Godboldo's choice in taking her daughter off the dangerous drug was fully legal. In fact, when she first began administering Risperdal to Ariana, it was plainly stated in the consent document she signed that Ariana was free to "stop taking it at any time".
It is rare that a court will directly order a psychotropic or other drug. The spineless bureaucrats will not take responsibility for that. Instead they will just threaten to take the kid away if the drugs are not taken. Most people are easily intimidated, when CPS threatens to put the child in foster care.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saved by a cellphone camera

Here is a story of a dad in a custody dispute who was nearly killed by his mother-in-law, and nearly framed for attempted murder. He would probably be in jail today, except for a cellphone that recorded the incident. The Smoking Gun has the
Anticipating a “confrontation” when he went to pick up his son Wednesday afternoon at his mother-in-law’s residence, a Florida man activated his iPhone’s video camera to record the handover of his three-year-old child.

As it turned out, Salvatore Miglino’s premonition proved to be accurate, as he was shot twice by Cheryl Hepner, the 66-year-old mother of Miglino’s wife (whom he is in the midst of divorcing). Miglino, 39, was shot in the shoulder and rib cage by a .22 Beretta brandished by Hepner, according to a probable cause affidavit. ...

In a 911 call after the shooting, Hepner claimed that Miglino tried to kill her. “Somebody just shot at me,” she told a police operator. She described her alleged assailant as a “son of a bitch” who was involved in a “horrible divorce” with her daughter.
The video camera just got the audio, but that was enough. Maybe all contentious child handoffs should be videorecorded.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cameras in the Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court has scheduled 5.5 hours of oral argument on the constitutionality of Obamacare, including whether the tax law can be used to force individuals to buy health insurance. Now Congress is considering forcing the court to televise the hearing:
A proposed law ordering the US Supreme Court to provide live television coverage of its public proceedings threatens to spark a constitutional showdown pitting Congress against the nation’s highest court, legal experts warned members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The experts were asked to analyze the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011, which, if passed, would require television coverage of all open sessions at the high court.
The committee hearing was broadcast on C-SPAN on Saturday, and can be viewed here.

The Senators have no sympathy for the court, since they broadcast their own proceedings on C-SPAN.

The main argument against televising was that the Supreme Court justices are in a better position to know what is in the interests of the court, and a majority of them are against video. Justice Souter once said that video clips of him in his previous position on the state court sometimes showed up on the evening news, and he always looked like a fool.

So far, Congress has not had the nerve to force cameras, but they want the Supreme Court to accept cameras voluntarily. There are state supreme courts and federal appeals courts with video cameras, and no harm has resulted.

To me, this is a simple case of judges being afraid to be held accountable for what they do. This Obamacare decision could affect us all, and we citizens have a right to see the process. The more govt officials are held accountable, the better.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

State shrink fakes her own rape

AP reports:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Authorities allege a woman was so determined to convince her husband of a need to move to a safer neighborhood that she faked being raped.

She split her own lip with a pin, scraped her knuckles with sandpaper, had her friend punch her in the face, and even wet her pants to give the appearance she had been knocked unconscious, authorities said Friday. ...

It didn’t work. Instead, the couple filed for divorce six weeks after the April 10 incident, according to court records. ...

In reality, the items were all at the home of her friend, Nicole April Snyder, authorities allege. Investigators say Martinez had Snyder punch her in the face with boxing gloves they bought for that purpose.

Martinez began crying hysterically when police arrived, according to court papers.
Wondering what kind of low-life would pull a stunt like this? Here is the best part -- she is a California prison psychologist!
Martinez, 36, a psychologist for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, reported she had come home that day to find a stranger in her kitchen, authorities said.
I am happy to say that she is not Jewish. No Jewish psychologist would do anything so stupid.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Psychologist sued for implanting memories

Here is another story about a corrupt psychologist:
US psychologist, Mark Schwartz, has been accused of carelessly hypnotizing a patient, Lisa Nasseff, 41, in order to keep her there long-term and run up a bill that eventually reached $650,000, while she was seeking treatment for anorexia at the Castlewood Treatment Centre in St Louis, Missouri.

Under hypnosis, Ms. Nasseff was led to believe she had multiple personality disorder (20 different personalities),she had been sexually abused and raped multiple times and had participated in various criminal and horrific acts of abuse. She was led into believing she had once eaten babies as part of a satanic cult.
The article calls Schwartz "careless", but that is not the right word. I am sure Schwartz knew exactly what he was doing. I could be wrong, but I think that Schwartz is a Jewish name and Nasseff is an Arab name.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Incompetence, greed, or ideology

A recurring theme on this blog is whether the enemy of the family court justice we seek is incompetence, greed, or ideology. It is all three. The question is what to emphasize. My opinion on this has shifted in the past few months.

One argument says that if judges, shrinks, and social workers were competent, and had wisdom about the BIOTCh (Best Interest Of The Child), then they would make reasonable decisions that we would all accept and appreciate. If so, then we should advocate better training for the govt officials.

Another argument is that the love of money is root of all evil. The corruption and bad decisions are fueled by financial biases. If so, we should work to cut off the money.

The third argument is that official are driven by faulty ideologies, and they will continue to do evil no matter how much training they get, and no matter how much their financial conflicts of interest are removed.

I have recently posted some of my beliefs, such as rule of law, confronting witnesses, not using psychotropic drugs for misbehaving kids, restricting experts to their expertise, and avoiding therapists. And most of all, I frequently argue that family autonomy should not be subject to some govt official's opinion of the BIOTCh.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me. Maybe even most people, I don't know. And they disagree for ideological reasons. I thought that everyone agreed that our Bill of Rights guaranteed us the right to confront witnesses against us, but this right is hanging on by a thread in the US Supreme Court.

The arguments before the supreme court this week cannot be explained by incompetence or greed. Both sides were articulate and well-reasoned. The justices are split 5-4 on the issue. It is an ideological dispute that goes to the core of what fairness and justice mean. It is not exactly a Right-Left dispute, as conservative ex-prosecutors and statist liberals have lined up in favor of rules that fail to hold govt experts fully accountable in court for their work.

I can attack incompetence and greed on this blog, and everyone agrees with me. But when I attack the ideologies that seek to destroy family relationships, then I offend some people. I have become convinced that it is necessary to attack ideology to get at the root of the problem. Because if Judge Morse were more competent, she would do more damage.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Witness case argued in supreme court

One of the corrupt practices of the family court is the way they use experts to sneak in inadmissible evidence. The court may ask a psychologist to give an opinion, and give him wide leeway in his testimony because he is an expert. But his opinion is based on a lot of hearsay and dubious allegations, and he does not necessarily apply any psychological expertise at all. It is just a crooked way for the court to turn gossip into legally-accepted facts.

The US Bill of Rights was written to forbid this sort of thing, as explained below, where a pending Supreme Court case is discussed. The NY Times reports on the oral argument:
Justice Antonin Scalia, who has led a movement to breathe new life into the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause, said that expert testimony may not be used to smuggle evidence into a criminal trial without testimony from those who created it. The clause gives a criminal defendant the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” ...

The controversy in the case concerns the material recovered from the assault. It was analyzed by Cellmark Diagnostic Laboratory in Maryland, but the lab’s report was not entered into evidence at trial and no one from that lab appeared to testify about it. But an expert witness for the prosecution was allowed to offer her opinion that the two profiles matched. ...

“We have a confrontation clause, which requires that the witnesses against the defendant appear and testify personally, and the crucial evidence here is the testing of the semen found on the swab,” he said. “That’s the crux of this evidence, and you’re telling me that this confrontation clause allows you to simply say, Well, we’re not going to bring in the person who did the test; we are simply going to say, ‘This is a reliable lab.’ ” Mr. Dreeben replied, “The confrontation clause, Justice Scalia, does not obligate the state to present a strong case.”
This seems analogous to the family court saying, "This is a reliable psychologist; do what he says." It should be obvious that only a kangaroo court would let experts testify with conclusions about inadmissible evidence.

I was amused by this paragraph:
“In Bullcoming, at least you had an expert say how the laboratory works,” Justice Kennedy said, in a tone approaching exasperation. “Here, you don’t even have that. You have less here with reference to Cellmark than you did in Bullcoming.”
Kennedy is saying that the sperm testimony did not meet the Bullcoming standard. That happened to be the name of the defendant in the previous supreme court case. I don't know how the lawyers will keep a straight face if that becomes the rulel. The briefs for the current case are here.

Power corrupts, and the psychologists are not reliable. I got a Palo Alto psychologist named Ken Perlmutter and he gave testimony that would never be admissible in a real court. He did not apply any psychological expertise at all, and just gave an incompetent opinion. I have detailed his incompetence and bias on this blog. Maybe someday the legal system will recognize that a crook like Perlmutter should never testify in court.

Update: Canada has a related issue:
The Supreme Court of Canada will attempt to balance Islamic beliefs against the bedrock elements of a fair trial on Thursday in major clash of constitutional rights.

At the centre of the case is a sexual assault complainant known as N.S., who does not want to testify against two men accused of raping her unless her face is obscured by a religious veil, or niqab.

The defendants assert that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees them the right to confront their accuser and observe her facial nuances as she testifies.
Witness have to show their faces in American courts, with rare exceptions involving children.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Driver of increasing income inequality

Nick Schulz writes in an LA Times op-ed about Occupy Wall Street:
A third dynamic widening income disparities is in some ways the most inconvenient of all: the collapse of intact families. The explosion of out-of-wedlock births and of children living outside of two-parent households has widened economic disparities of all kinds, including income.

The reason is straightforward. The role that human and social capital plays in helping a person generate income in an advanced economy has increased over the last half a century. And over that same time, the primary institution for inculcating human and social capital has badly weakened.

Social scientists routinely find that individuals raised in intact families are generally better equipped to thrive in the economy. Today's 99% is teeming with tens of millions of Americans who were not raised in a stable home environment, and their earnings potential is compromised as a result.

The problem of family breakdown doesn't lend itself to easy fixes. And its cultural roots run quite deep at this point. But it's a safe bet that in the several months they occupied Zuccotti Park and other public spaces, not one new idea was raised by Occupiers that would help arrest this driver of increasing income inequality.
It is not that hard. If we had the political will, then we would start by shutting down all the govt programs contributing to family breakdown. A good step would be to abolish CPS, the family court, and welfare programs that favor single moms.

The Occupy protesters don't go around saying that we should have more competent bankers. It is tempting to say that the banking panic of 2008 was caused by incompetent bankers who were unprepared for a housing crash. No, it was caused by structural problems that allowed bankers and others to profit from bad loans.

The Occupy folks are driven by the bigger picture. They have a conviction that there is a financial elite that is running our economy to the detriment of the other 99%. The banking system is just a tool of the elite.

I believe that the welfare system, CPS, family court, and even the public schools are just tools of the people who are breaking down our social structure.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Expert evidence requirements

The family court relies on experts in ways that would never be acceptable in a real court that followed rules of evidence. The Federal rules of evidence say:
Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;

(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and

(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.
First, the expert must be qualified. Having a PhD in psychology is not a qualification unless there is some issue in dispute where the psychologist has specialized training. For example, if the mom is accused of having a borderline personality disorder, and the psychologist is trained at making a DSM-IV diagnosis, then he would be qualified to give an opinion on that. But if he is trained to advise men on coming out of the closet and the court issue involves setting an alarm clock, then he is not qualified.

Next, the purpose of the testimony is to help the judge understand the evidence, and not to draw conclusions about the outcome of the case. So if the mom says that her manic episodes are controlled by drugs, an expert might explain the practical meaning of that.

The expert testimony should be all about how generally accepted principles and methods apply to the facts of the case. The expert should be explaining, not drawing conclusions or writing orders.

The expert does not necessarily have to determine the facts. If some key fact is under dispute, he can simply state his assumptions, and explain how his analysis would differ depending on whether his assumption is correct. Eg, an expert might say that the blood on the crime scence does not match the defendant, assuming that the samples were collected properly. The defendant is free to argue that the assumption is invalid, in which case it should be obvious how that affects the expert's opinion.

Most states have adopted the federal rule for expert evidence. California has not, and still uses and older rule. The difference is not significant to my points here. I cite the newer rule because it is more clearly written, as it has been refined several times over the last 20 years.

When you get an expert forensic report, the first things to look for are the assumptions, the principles and methods, and the explanations of how those principles and methods were applied to the facts. Everything else in the report is just inadmissible fluff.

I have yet to see a family court report that even satisfies these bare-bones requirements for admissibility as evidence. Have you? For those of you who have had the misfortune of being subjected to one of these reports, what percentage of the report contained admissible evidence?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Argument for confronting witnesses

I mentioned below that the US Supreme Court was hearing another case on the right to confront witnesses. The leader in this subject, law professor Jeffrey L. Fisher explains it:
ON Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Williams v. Illinois, the latest in a string of cases addressing whether the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause — which gives the accused in a criminal case the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him” — applies to forensic analysts who produce reports for law enforcement. In other words, should an analyst responsible for, say, a fingerprint report have to show up at trial to face questions about the report?

A logical application of the law produces an easy answer: Yes. The court has defined a “witness against” a defendant as a person who provides information to law enforcement to aid a criminal investigation. That is exactly what forensic analysts do.

Subjecting forensic analysts to cross-examination is also good policy. ...

Despite all this, the Supreme Court has been sharply divided on the issue. In similar cases in 2009 and earlier this year, in which I represented the defendants, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. accepted claims by state governments that, simply put, confrontation in this context costs too much. It is far more efficient, these justices contend, to let analysts simply mail their reports to court. Having to appear at trials pulls them away from their labs, and only occasionally proves more revealing than their written testimony. Hence, these justices maintain, “scarce state resources” are better committed elsewhere.
It is distressing that four justices could give such a ridiculous argument. They could just look the famil court to see the folly of letting experts just mail in their reports.

I reported on a local court expert with a mail-order degree who wrote a court-order requiring a psychotropic drug for a child. Such a witness would be out of business if she were held accountable with vigorous cross-examination. Someone would ask: What his your expertise on this drug? Who have you ever treated? Why does your university have an address in the Cayman Islands? How would you recognize adverse side-effects of the drug?

This current Supreme Court case is an important case. If the defendant loses, we will be on the way to having phony govt experts deciding who get punished in our society.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Angel Adams story

I have posted many times about holding CPS and other govt officials accountable for busting up families.

Here is a video of Angel Adams, who also wants to hold the social service agencies accountable. She says, "Somebody needs to held accountable, and they need to pay." The reporter says DCF, but that is the same as CPS.

Angel has 15 kids by 3 men. They were evicted from a 2-bedroom apartment. She was put in jail for contempt of court because she refused to tell the judge whether she was pregnant. The kids have been in and out of foster care. Watch the 10-minute video, and have all your prejudices confirmed.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Drugging foster kids

I posted a story about over-drugging foster kids on Nov. 22, as well as some other gripes about the local family court ordering the excessive use of psychotropic drugs for kids. This has apparently become a hot topic. Readers posted stories here, here, here, and here. Last night, ABC TV 20/20 had a show on Doctors Put Foster Children at Risk With Mind-Altering Drugs. The site says that you can watch the full episode online.

ABC said that they spent a year investigating this story.
Across America, doctors are putting foster children on powerful, mind-altering drugs at rates up to 13 times that of children in the general population. What's more, doctors are prescribing foster children drugs at doses beyond what the Food and Drug Administration has approved, sometimes in potentially dangerous combinations, according to a new report by the federal Government Accountability Office.
The show gave the impression that the problems might be solved with better shrinks or more loving foster parents. I doubt it.

I have actually looked at some of the research papers that were used to get FDA approval for some of these drugs. The evidence for their effectiveness is very thin. I would not use them for myself, or for my kids. But I would not object to parents who chose to use them to treat their kids. Parents need to have the autonomy to decide what is best. But the whole idea of courts or social service agencies forcing these drugs on kids is truly offensive. This is a conspiracy of corrupt psychiatrists and social workers who have to be doing something to justify their existence.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The new psychiatric bible

The San Fran Chronicle reports:
The "bible" of American psychiatry - a manual of mental health used around the world by doctors, consumers and insurance providers - has come under fire from a growing group of psychologists who worry that proposed revisions will feed into a culture of overdiagnosing, and overtreating, otherwise healthy people.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM, is undergoing its fifth major revision in the more than 60 years since it was first published by the American Psychiatric Association. The last update was in 1994, and the new manual is expected to be released in spring 2013.

Revisions to the DSM are often hotly debated, but after two decades of major, and frequently controversial, shifts in how mental health problems are diagnosed and treated in the United States, this latest update has become especially contentious, many mental health providers say.

Last month a group of psychologists with the Society for Humanistic Psychology posted a petition against many of the suggested DSM revisions, citing what they see as a broadening of the definition of mental health disorders, which, in turn, would lead to overtreatment with drugs. ...

Since the last diagnostic manual update, research has increasingly pointed to biological causes for a wide variety of mental health conditions and, in response, treatment has turned toward pharmacological answers, some psychologists say. Drugs are being used to solve mental health problems that aren't problems at all, they add.

In 2010, 1 in 5 American adults was using some type of mental health medication, a 22 percent increase over the past decade, according to a report released last week by Medco Health Solutions, a pharmacy-benefits management company. ...

Grief after the death of a loved one, for example, may be included under the diagnosis of major depressive disorder. That means a person's grief could be labeled a pathological disorder, and not a normal human experience, said psychologist Brent Robbins, a professor at Point Park University in Pittsburgh and an author of the petition.

"Another diagnosis, dysphoric mood dysregulation disorder, is basically temper tantrums," Robbins said. "Next thing you know, you could have 2-year-olds on psychotropic medications."
If you feel depressed after the death of a loved one, that is not a pathological condition. That is a normal human response. But more and more, people are getting psychotropic pills from non-psychiatrist physicians in order to feel better, without a diagnosis. And the psychologists and other counselors are upset because they cannot prescribe the pills. Only physicians (including psychiatrists) can.

All this talk of "biological causes" is exaggerated. People like to talk about chemical imbalances and brain mis-wiring, but these psychiatric disorders cannot be diagnosed with brain scans or blood tests or anything objective like that.

You can get the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria from Morrison's simplified version. The psychologists made him shut down his website, but the info is available on a Canadian and a Russian website. I will put my own up, if these are lost for any reason.

My guess is that the DSM-5 will invent a bunch of new excuses for prescribing pill, getting counseling, and otherwise promoting the rise of therapism.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

More on NY family courts

The NY Times published a couple of letters in response to its family court secrecy article, including:
I practiced in these courts in the mid-1980s, representing low-income clients in custody, neglect and child-support matters. Back then many Family Court judges routinely got on the bench late, court-appointed lawyers regularly failed to appear, and court officers treated with disdain the litigants who thronged the waiting areas until the late afternoon hoping that their cases would be called.

Important matters, such as child custody cases, were often adjourned multiple times; months, even years, elapsed before decisions were issued. Those who ran the Family Courts then were largely white; the people who mistakenly depended on these institutions for justice and some sensitivity were largely black or brown.

I suspect that little has changed in these Family Courts. That may be why their power structures react with fear to the opening of their doors to reporters or any other interested person. Exposing these enclaves to the light of public scrutiny is the only hope for curing their dysfunction.
Exposing will not be enough. The public must then be convinced that there is a better way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Racist rant goes viral

The UK Mirror newspaper reports:
A MUM was kept in custody for her own safety yesterday after a video allegedly showing her launching a racist rant was posted online.

Emma West, 34, appeared in court charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence. Magistrates denied her bail over fears of revenge attacks.

The clip shows a woman with a child sitting on her lap on a tram shouting at other passengers. At one point she declares they should go back to their own country, saying they’re not British because they are black.
Here is the video. She is being obnoxious, but she is not threatening the anybody. I guess there is no free speech in the UK. I never heard of anyone denied bail for a racist comment.

If she did this in the USA, she could not be prosecuted for her rant, but my guess is that someone would call CPS. She has a toddler on her lap, and someone would claim that she was endangered her child with her provocative comments. With mandatory reporting of suspicions, I am not so sure that she would be free to express her opinions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shaming single moms

Chateau Heartiste writes a blog under the slogan "where pretty lies perish". It is a crude and irreverant analysis of the human nature of male-female relationships. It is also brilliant, funny, and well-written. I don't know whether he is the last of a dying breed of neanderthals, or a prime example of a new generation of hedonists who are destroying modern civilization. Either way, he is always thought-provoking.

Currently he argues Why It’s Good To Shame Single Moms:
With all the data pointing to an entrenchment of epidemic-like proportions of single momhood in the U.S., it’s helpful to remind ourselves why this is so bad not only for the health of the nation and its posterity, but for the well-being of the children who suffer under a regime of single moms. As we are neck-deep in an era of selfishness, it’s no surprise that the scourge of single momhood leads the vanguard of cultural dissolution. At 70+% among black Americans, 50+% among Hispanics, and 30% among whites, we are heading for a future of grown-up bastard spawn bringing all their neuroses and dysfunction to bear on the social contract, which is already frayed beyond rescue.

Of course, middle-upper and upper class whites think they are immune to the tidal wave of illegitimacy, and so far they can take cold comfort in the fact that their rates are considerably lower than those of their lessers (you’ll never get them to admit they have lessers, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they *believe exactly that*.) However, strong social forces can work both up and down the class and race ladder, and it is entirely plausible that a dystopian event horizon, like widespread illegitimacy, that bellies up the lower and middle classes will eventually consume the upper classes as well, either directly by the osmosis of bad habits or indirectly by the levying of trust-destroying and community-fracturing Danegeld. ...

Boys of single moms are more likely to end up huffing paint under overpasses. Way to go, single moms.

Interestingly, the study claims girls do not suffer as much from missing fathers, but the metric used in the study was degree of delinquency, which would naturally favor girls since they are the sex less predisposed to criminal behavior, regardless of parental environment. Studies that have expanded the measured variables to include other dysfunctional behaviors find clear links between fatherlessness and sluttiness in teen girls. Mothers nurture, fathers guide. Both are required to fully form the child into a self-possessed adult.
How did we ever get to the point where single moms are praised? Our society would be much better off if single moms were shamed. Single moms are doing more damage to modern society than any other demographic group.

The most popular story on Huff Post is this:
CLEVELAND -- An Ohio third-grader who weighs more than 200 pounds has been taken from his family and placed into foster care after county social workers said his mother wasn't doing enough to control his weight.

The case is the first state officials can recall of a child being put in foster care strictly for a weight-related issue.

Lawyers for the mother say the county overreached when authorities took the boy last week. They say the medical problems he is at risk for do not yet pose an imminent danger.

A spokeswoman says the county removed the child because caseworkers saw his mother's inability to reduce his weight as medical neglect.
Saying that he was "taken from his family" is a little exaggerated. He had already been separated form his dad and was being reared by a single mom. The problem here is that there is no longer any shame in being a single mom on welfare with a fat kid.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Naming the accuser

A reader asks how I know who complained to CPS about me.

I first heard about a CPS investigation when I posted this Nov. 9, 2007 summary of a CPS agent interviewing me. A week later, the Sheriff seized my kids, based on an ex-parte motion from my ex-wife, Julie Travers.

The CPS agent, Sally Mitchell, later released a report to the public record. I posted it on the net, but later had to take it down. Some of my readers probably have copies of it. It describes a "reporting party" with a bunch of bizarre and false allegations, such as running over dogs with my car. Mitchell later implied that the reporting party had some connection to the school, but there was a false allegation about me being banned the classroom, making it unlikely that she talked to either of my kids' teachers. I had recently volunteered in their classrooms, and was obviously not banned. Mitchell notified my ex-wife of the investigation, but did not ask her for an interview.

At a later custody trial, my ex-wife testified that she called CPS with her own complaint, the day before she brought her motion to seize our kids. She implied that she did not really agree with the previous complaint, but wanted to use the opportunity to gain sole custody. She did not say what her complaint was, except that we missed one day of school.

It was a very radical step for Cmr. Irwin H. Joseph to order the sheriff to seize my kids, on the ex-parte request of a bitter ex-wife who wanted sole custody. The CPS report did not recommend any action to the court, and Mitchell admitted that she did not get any adult confirmation of any of the allegations. None of the allegations involved health or safety or any cause for immediate concern. Cmr. Joseph made it clear on Dec. 6, 2007 that his action was entirely contingent on being led to believe that a forthcoming CPS report would justify what he had done.

The only allegations that Judge Heather D. Morse recognized in her April 7, 2011 decision were (cited in this motion):
the court asked George how he thought his children might feel about experiences being adduced into evidence, such as enrolling them in a math test which was reportedly way above their abilities; and resetting their alarm clock which prevented them from being prepared for school.
My ex-wife obviously complained about me to CPS, and then made some sort of back-room deal with Mitchell. Sometimes I say that, and one of my readers accuses me of having a conspiracy theory, and not having proof of the deal. I don't know why he would doubt the deal, as the above events could not have happened without a CPS deal. But if you don't want to believe in a deal, that's fine with me, as the parties are even more culpable if there was no deal.

The above story is why I say that my ex-wife made a bogus complaint to CPS. She did take the initiative to call CPS on Nov. 15, 2011 with a complaint about me, and she used it the next day to make a motion to gain temporary sole custody of our two kids. I say that the complaint was bogus because it was not about anything that would be considered abuse or neglect under California law. Mitchell admitted, under oath, that there were no allegations that would give CPS any jurisdiction over the case. And the psychologist that Joseph appointed to investigate the allegations, Ken Perlmutter, testified under oath that there was nothing that could be considered abuse under California law or psychology standards, and that he was unable to find anything wrong with my parenting practices. Every other witness also testified that there was no abuse.

It has now been over four years that my ex-wife got temporary sole custody pending an evaluation, and our kids are still living under temporary court orders.

Part of the problem is that no one will admit that the court has made a terrible mistake. At this point, I wish that I had made some identifiable mistake. Then the court could have ordered some sort of corrective measure. As it is, none of their experts has ever been able to identify anything that I have done wrong. So Judge Morse just continues to issue temporary orders, and ignore the fact that this entire mess is completely the result of a bogus CPS complaint from Julie Travers four years ago.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Accusing the Accuser

Here is today's NY Times ethicist advice about a false report to CPS:
The Ethicist
Accusing the Accuser
Published: November 25, 2011

Someone wrote an anonymous letter to the Administration for Children’s Services stating that I had physically abused my children on various occasions in broad daylight in my neighborhood. With nothing to hide, I allowed the A.C.S. to interview my children and their caregivers, and I was cleared. Against all odds, I then found out who wrote the letter. I’m mad, but I’m reluctant to turn her in lest she face a harsh penalty. Should I pursue the case or let karma do its job? ANONYMOUS

Getting the rude surprise of a lifetime, being accused of monstrous behavior and potentially seeing your own children removed from your care, you might wonder how much retribution it’s possible to enact. Instead you ask how much forbearance it’s ethical to show. I bet the A.C.S. caseworkers don’t hear that question very often.

It’s a crime to file a false report, but prosecutors rarely go after isolated offenses. So as a practical matter it might not be worth your time to turn your accuser in. But as an ethical matter, there are good reasons for you to seek justice.

False reports don’t just terrify the accused (and their families); they further strain an already overburdened system, diverting help from children who most need it. If this woman intentionally deceived investigators just to spite you, you should report her — quick, before she does it to someone else.

But can you be sure? As Michael J. Fagan, an A.C.S. spokesman, pointed out, your accuser might have thought she was doing the right thing. Perhaps she saw something ambiguous and drew a mistaken conclusion. Perhaps she, too, hesitated to speak lest you face a harsh penalty. If you don’t know what her motivation was, and if there is a chance that your awful experience has colored your judgment about her, then let the matter drop.

A system like ours, in which we rely on one another to sound the alarm when children are in danger, is bound to produce a few false positives. If every mistaken accuser got called before a jury, who would ever speak up?
We are becoming a society of snitches were anyone can make an anonymous report and cause misery to others without any accountability. The law and CPS protect the complainer's anonymity. Even this newspaper ethicist, who recognizes the harm from a false report, ends up saying that we should tolerate false reports.

As explained below, our justice system is based on our right to confront the witnesses against us. If I were reporting genuine abuse, then I would be willing to make a police report under my name and testify in court, just like any other crime. In a real court, mistaken accusers are called before the jury just like any other witness, and that is how it has worked for 220+ years.

In my case, I eventually learned that the bogus CPS report was made by Julie Travers, but she was never held accountable for what she did.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Right to confront witnesses

The LA Times reports:
Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court's most outspoken and combative conservative, is not often described as friendly to criminals.

But in recent years, Scalia has led an unusual pro-defendant faction at the high court in reversing convictions for murder, drug dealing, wife beating and drunken driving.

Next up in early December is a Chicago rapist who claims his 6th Amendment right to confront his accusers was violated because prosecutors did not put on the witness stand a lab technician from Maryland who conducted the DNA test that sent him to prison. ...

The 6th Amendment to the Constitution says the "accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with the witnesses against him." To Scalia, this clause not only gives defendants the right to challenge actual witnesses, but also the right to bar testimony from all those "witnesses" who did not or cannot testify in court. He takes this view even if the witness is dead. ...

In June, the court went one step further. The Scalia bloc, by a 5-4 vote, overturned the drunken-driving conviction of a New Mexico man because the lab analyst who testified about his blood alcohol did not actually work on the defendant's blood sample. ...

"This is not a left-right split. This is principle versus pragmatism," said University of Michigan law professor Richard Friedman. For Scalia, "this is all about adhering to originalism," regardless of whether the results seem strange.
This is not complicated. It is a core principle of the Bill of Rights, and in the founding of our republic. The state cannot convict someone based on a bunch of affidavits. The witnesses have to testify live in court, and answer questions.

The only bad part of this rule is that gangsters sometimes murder witnesses, and thereby eliminate their testimony.

Apparently some states think that certain prosecution witnesses should not have to testify. That is wrong. If they do not testify under oath, then they are not accountable for what they do. They must also be cross-examined to force them to explain their reasoning. Otherwise we would be headed to the day when a jury is asked to find a defendant guilty just because some nameless faceless lab technician says that he is guilty. That would not be a trial.

The family court tries to get away with relying on expert reports, whenever it can. These reports often result in a change of custody, even tho the report does not really explain the evidence for and against a change. Sometimes the experts are not really witnesses to anything. They are just quacks who collected some unsworn statements and give some conclusion about what the judge should do.

Lawyers call such statements conclusory. That word is not even in my dictionary, but lawyers use it all the time. It is not to be confused with conclusive. When a witness gives conclusive evidence, then that means proof of inncence or guilt. That is, the testimony gives a conclusion to the case.

But a conclusory statement is one that tries to give some sort of conclusion without supporting evidence. In a real court, testimony is dismissed as soon as the lawyer points out that it is conclusory. The quack court shrinks write conclusory reports that no legitimate judge would accept.

The right to confront witnesses against you in a criminal case is hanging on by a thread at the US Supreme Court. Someday, civilized societies will realize that family courts need to be following rules of evidence also.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rant against local family court

One of my readers wrote this letter on what is wrong with the local family court. I don't know too much about her case, except that her grandson is being forced to take some psychotropic drug that doesn't even work. The know-nothing judges and know-nothing shrinks have no business making such a decision.

Ordering a drug might be justifiable if the child had some life-threatening condition and the parents were ignoring some medical necessity. But this child does not have an illness, the drug would not help if it did, and no physician has testified that the drug is necessary.

Here is her letter:
Superior Court of California, County of Santa Cruz
1 Second Street Watsonville, CA 95076

Case #FL 0xxxxx

Dear Judge Morse:

On October 9, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB499 into law. Now 12 year old children have the right to get vaccinated against STDs without needing the permission of their parents. Yet, in Santa Cruz County a 13 year old boy held in bondage to the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency for 5 ½ years does not have the right to refuse an unnecessary drug that makes him sick.

Dan H., an Asperger boy, was born in 1998 to a mother who not only didn't know boys, didn't know anything about Asperger Syndrome. Fortunately for Dan, his Asperger father knew about both. Unfortunately for Dan, Santa Cruz County, the Family Law Court, Judge John Salazar, and Judge Heather Morse have continuously contrived to keep the father from having any ability to protect his son.

Santa Cruz County is filled with people who lie and no one cares about that fact, nor do they make the liars prove their allegations. From Dan's mother who has lied in her many court documents, to the County Health Services doctor who, in 2006, persuaded the boy's parents to lie and say he was mentally ill in order to get him into a program which would bring the County more of the State MHSA funds. He still keeps the boy on an antipsychotic he knows makes the boy sick.

Also on the list of liars is the mother's lawyer who freely puts down his client's falsehoods, while adding his own. The father's do-nothing, question-nothing lawyer brings a colossal fraud into the picture with her colleague/friend who calls herself a `Parent Coordinator', though the Court Clerk says the County has no such program, nor is he even aware of this `PC' and her program. She lies about her credentials, one of which is from an unaccredited school. I wrote to you, Judge Morse, asking you about the Santa Cruz County's `PC' program, which this person says she worked on creating, and also about who the supposed `PCs' were. You sent me a very short note saying `The Court has looked into your concerns.' That was all. What did this mean? That you had also found the program and the `PCs' to be bogus, as I had?

Another prevaricator in the County is the psychologist used by the County in the majority of custody cases. You told the parents that if they chose this evaluator, they would have to abide by his ruling. You are the judge, yet you gave over this responsibility to an ignorant subordinate. This man who is knowledgeable about helping himself and others out of the closet, knows nothing about children, families, and Asperger Syndrome. I have lived all my life with Aspies; half my family are or were Asperger. The support group O.A.S.I.S. says the true expert on Aspergers is the person who has raised an Asperger child. Three of my four children are Asperger: I am an expert and I don't need a doctorate from a bogus, non-accredited online school based in the Cayman Islands. Being able to quote from DSM-IV doesn't make one an expert.

This evaluator's report was filled with the mother's lies. He spoke to very few people, one being the children's therapist whose lies he quotes. The evaluator seems to have great respect for the `PC' and her lies. She is allowed to file a `confidential' report. Where are his ethics or those of all the others? I was sitting in the Family Law Court waiting room when the father's and the mother's lawyers were discussing who to choose for an evaluator. One was Elizabeth Lee, the other was this man. They chose the latter. They chose him knowing what they'd get: he gives custody to the mothers and makes the fathers take parenting classes. Mothers don't have to take classes. Apparently they know everything about raising children, even if they neglect their children, drink, and have live-in alcoholic lovers. The father's lawyer was the same lawyer for the two mothers in two other cases that the evaluator handled. She defends her female clients, threatening the fathers with loss of custody. Her male client, Dan's father, she doesn't defend and tells him to do what the `PC' and the other side wants, because he `could lose custody.'

When preparing her client for his meeting with the evaluator, my son's lawyer said that the evaluator `didn't want to read much,' so she wanted him to submit only the one page questionnaire. She said that he should come in to her office so she could `help' him with it. She gave him no copy of what was submitted. The mother's lawyer, on the other hand, had her submit 175 pages! These were filled with the usual lies, beginning with the first page where he pointed out all the letters that `were written by me.'! In putting together the report for his slipshod evaluation, (he spent all of 14 ½ hours on the entire process) he made things easier on himself by copying freely the lies the mother had in the auxiliary pages to her questionnaire. As the mother's lies, the therapist's lies, the so-called `PC's' lies were all about me, shouldn't he ethically have spoken with me? Certainly he was able to. But speaking to more people would have cut into his bottom line and he would have gotten less money. The outcome of his `evaluation' was as the two lawyers wanted: custody for the mother. The evaluator gave no reasons for taking away the father's legal right to oversee the health of his son, or my right to visit with my grandchildren, nor were any reasons asked for by you, your Honor.

The mother recently had her 15 year old Asperger daughter put on Zoloft and the therapist thinks she should also be on a drug for ADHD. Having her children on drugs is exactly what all these people were aiming at. She can do whatever she wants and one of the things the County wants is that the boy should stay in the County's Mental Health Services program and keep bringing in the lucrative MHSA funds.

But worst of all in Santa Cruz County are the judges. It's one thing for worthless lawyers to not question what is said and not defend their clients. It's another for judges not to question or examine what comes before them. There is no `Best Interests of the Children' in Santa Cruz County, because the children don't matter. Lies prevail and children can be poisoned by unnecessary drugs. All of this colluding was about me because I questioned the treatment of my beloved grandson and wrote 4 letters. The First Amendment and the Constitution don't have any value in Santa Cruz County. Rather than being direct and aiming their SLAPP lawsuit against me, they punished my son who, as the mother's lawyer stated in court on Dec. 3, 2009: `I appreciate Mr. H. He's a good dad. Rebecca respects him. She relies on him. She needs him to be in her children's lives'. No one ever had the courage to speak with me, citing only the letters I wrote and all the lies the mother, et al, said about me. My son was punished because he was supposed `to control his mother and keep her from writing letters.' At least Judge John Salazar had the decency to read my letters: `I actually agree with her. She's a very good writer.'

So, why do we even need Family Law Court judges? They don't do their jobs. They fob them off on inept and unqualified subordinates. They wait for incompetent lawyers to come up with a done deal to give them, one they need only sign off on. Your Honor ignored and refused to acknowledge your responsibility to this father, his two children and their grandmother, and for what reasons?

[name omitted]

CC: Judge John Salazar
[2 local lawyers]
Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
Governor Jerry Brown
Attorney General Kamala Harris
She is right, but this letter is falling on deaf ears.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Drugging the irritable boy

A local grandmother filed this complaint against a local psychiatrist. It seems to me that the core of the problem here is that the schools will not do anything to accommodate a child with minor special needs. They want to treat the kid just like every other kid, or get the kid declared handicapped so that they can qualify for special govt programs. But once the parents acquiesce to that, they are going down the rabbit_hole. You might want to read this letter before you go there.
September 6, 2011
Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission
1300 17th Street, Suite 1000 Sacramento, CA 95811

Robert L. Brown, MD (C50186) is a psychiatrist with the Santa Cruz County Mental Health Services Agency. In 2006, he persuaded my son and his ex- wife to say that their, then, 7 year old son was mentally ill. The boy is Asperger Syndrome, a mental condition, not a mental disorder, let alone a mental illness. They did this because Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley School District make no provision for Aspergers and the Rio del Mar Elementary School did not know what to do with him. The parents were told that if they took the boy to the county he could get in the new MHSA program. They would be able to get all the help they needed and they wouldn't have to pay for it. They weren't told, until they met Robert Brown, that their son would have to be declared mentally ill. Brown persuaded them to do this.

Once he got the boy into the program, Robert Brown prescribed Risperdal. Obviously, Dr. Brown knows nothing about Aspergers. Because it's a condition, drugs, especially an antipsychotic, would have no effect. An anti-anxiety drug can help Aspies with their anxiety, but that's all. Aspies need training to deal with society, not drugs. At least half my extended family are, or were, Aspergers; none was ever on drugs. But, once the boy was on Risperdal, Robert Brown would not deviate from his prescribing. He has the mother's approval, but not the father's.

Dr. Brown has been prescribing Risperdal for this little boy for 5-1/2 years. He sees the boy 3 or four times a year to order blood tests and write a new prescription. The boy, now 13, has had significant side effects. The father reported these to Janssen (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson). The Janssen representative said that the boy had all the side effects exhibited by 10% of Risperdal users and that the `treatment should be stopped.' But Dr. Brown has ignored all these side effects and continues to prescribe this dangerous antipsychotic. He needs to keep boy on the drug and have him declared mentally ill for the boy to continue with the Santa Cruz County MHSA program. It's not just the 4 times a year Brown sees the child, the boy has been seen by a myriad of counselors, MFTs, and psychologists over the last
5-1/2 years. These latter are supposed to help the boy with his behavior, but they don't realize that the boy's behavior is all the side effects of Risperdal.

Janssen says that Risperdal is to be used `short- term' for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the `irritability' of autism. It's also to be monitored every three weeks. Dr. Brown has never done this. After 5-1/2 years this little boy has lost all his self-confidence and has become even more anxious. He has chronic sinusitis, has frequent stomach upsets and vomiting. His usual mental state is fuzzy, and frustration can make him erupt. They have kept him in Special Ed, something the experts say should not happen, as Aspies are very bright. He's lost the friends from the mainstream second grade class, and now only interacts with a kleptomaniac/compulsive eater, an autistic boy who doesn't speak, and an emotionally disturbed boy.

Santa Cruz County officials from the Mental Health Services Agency, CPS, and the Family Law Court have worked together to keep the boy in the MHSA program. The father is allowed no voice. The mother, who works for the county, is the only one allowed to speak and she denies that the boy has any side effects. She wants him quiet in his downstairs bedroom. The mother sued the father for full custody (didn't get it), but the father's lawyer, who doesn't support him in anything, told him not to fight it - `[he] could lose custody' - and had him go with a Parent Coordinator. This person with dubious credentials, a friend and colleague of the father's lawyer, sided with the mother and always against the father. She saw the boy once 3 years ago and put together a court order, signed by a judge who questioned none of it. There is no `Best Interest of the Child' in Santa Cruz County. The PC never spoke with Dr. Brown, yet said that the father must follow Dr. Brown's treatment. There was a second doctor who said that Risperdal should not be used. In the court order, the PC said that this doctor's `report' should be followed. However, the PC had told this doctor NOT to write a report, and the doctor did what she said. All the while, Robert Brown is ignoring the boy's side effects.

In addition to the unethical PC, Santa Cruz County has a couple of psychologists they use to do `Full Custody Evaluations.' One, a gay man who has spent years helping himself and others out of the closet, is, nevertheless, considered an expert on children and families. They use him over and over. His MO is to give custody to mothers (in this case, the mother drinks and has a live in alcoholic boyfriend.) But the mother wants to keep the boy on Risperdal and in the MHSA program, and the biased psychologist is in agreement with this. The fathers also have to take parenting classes, but the mothers never do. This psychologist, for no reason, gives full legal custody to the mother: she will, after all, keep drugging the boy. The father has been made impotent in matters of his child's health.

The Santa Cruz County Family Court is notorious for sitting on their hands and letting the lawyers and psychologists come up with their own plan, which the Family Court judge, unquestioningly, signs. Children have no rights to be drug free in Santa Cruz County. Not only does the boy not need the MHSA programs, his being in them denies the services to someone who really needs them. Dr. Brown is part and parcel to this waste. How many thousands of dollars have been spent on this one little boy? Dr. Brown's salary in 2009 was $205,000; very high for a county salary. He wants to protect this money, of course, and the boy is an easy patient. In addition to Dr. Brown are all the counselors, etc. And a little boy has to pay the price of this hubris. Dr. Brown has been quoted as saying that `were [he, Brown] in the private sector, [he] would not have [the boy] as a patient.' A very curious thing to say.
Risperdal was FDA approved for kids in 2006:
Risperdal has been approved since 1993 for the short-term treatment of adults with schizophrenia, and since 2003 for the short-term treatment of adults with acute manic or mixed episodes associated with extreme mood swings.

The product’s effectiveness in the symptomatic treatment of irritability associated with pediatric autistic disorders was established in two 8-week, placebo-controlled trials in 156 patients aged 5 to 16 years, 90 percent of whom were 5-12 years old. The results, which were evaluated using two assessment scales, showed that children on Risperdal achieved significantly improved scores for certain behavioral symptoms of autism compared to children on placebo. The most common side effects of the use of Risperdal included drowsiness, constipation, fatigue and weight gain.
So if you have a kid who has some annoying behavior, you can put him on this drug. It has been tested in an 8-week study.

It seems to me that since the FDA only approved it for short-term treatment in adults, and it was only tested for 8 weeks in kids, then it should have only been approved for short-term treatment in kids. And it should never be given based on a court order or against the wishes of the parents. I post below a NY Times story about how the drug is overused on kids by non-parental authorities.

Finally, I will get flack for this, but I must comment on the complicity of a gay shrink in this. Forty years ago, aspergers kids were considered normal and homosexuals were considered to have a mental disorder. It was the opinion of the psychiatry profession that gays were the ones who needed drugs to stifle their impulses and control their behavior. Even the gay psychiatrists considered themselves disordered. Now they are drugging the aspies. This whole story seems like black people dressing up in KKK white sheets and lynching Mexican-Americans.