Saturday, April 30, 2011

Psychologist wanted me to lie

I knew that I was in trouble with Kenneth B. Perlmutter, the court-appointed psychology evaluator, when he asked me:
Will you promise to never discuss the court case with them again?
The context for this was that he interviewed my kids, and they told him that their mom said that I was a child abuser, and that the court would not let me see them. Furthermore, they said that I never do anything for them, and that I don't try to see them.

I told Perlmutter that it was wrong to allow my kids to believe such false and destructive things. I was paying child support, I was seeing them as much as I could, and the allegations of child abuse are entirely unfounded. Only my ex-wife was preventing me from seeing my kids.

Perlmutter agreed that the court had completely screwed up my case. He did not dispute that I was telling them the truth, and that the truth was beneficial to my kids. But he said that the sort of people who work for the court do not like parents telling kids anything that might reflect badly on the court. Therefore, he was going to punish me for telling my kids the truth.

All of this is on the court record, in transcripts of his testimony. I could not say stuff like this if it were not true.

So when Ken Perlmutter asked me to promise to never tell my kids the truth, I knew that I was a dead duck. There is just no reasoning with a scumbag like him.

I checked books on psychology, on child custody evaluations, and on child rearing. The conventional wisdom is that it is harmful for a child to believe that she has been abandoned by her dad, that her dad is an abuser, and that she is an abused child. It is especially harmful if these allegations are all false, and if they are malicious lies told by the mom. When asked, under oath, Perlmutter did not dispute that these were malicious lies told by the mom. He admitted, under oath, that there is no known harm in me telling them the truth that I had not abandoned them, and that I had done what was best for them.

Perlmutter ended up recommending that my visitation be supervised. He testified that there was no danger of abuse, but that there was a danger that the kids would learn that I was not the bad guy that my ex-wife has falsely portrayed me to be.

Now Perlmutter complains to the court that I have criticized him on this blog. I am just describing what he did. If he had done a decent job, then he would not mind standing behind his testimony. He is an evil and malicious crook, and he should be ashamed for how he makes his living.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Evaluator confidentiality restriction

I checked the confidentiality clause imposed by the court-appointed psychologist, Kenneth B. Perlmutter, doing an evaluation:
5. CONFIDENTIALITY. You understand that essentially there is no confidentiality in this matter other than the inappropriate disclosure of information to other parties not involved in this matter. I will be free to discuss what we discuss with any person involved in this matter. I will issue a final report which will only be released to your attorney or the Court (if so requested).
He says that there is no confidentiality because his report goes on the court record.

He said that he believes very strongly that the parents should not get copies of his report. He only gives copies to the lawyers. When he can get away with it, he just sends a copy to the court, and not to the lawyers. In my case, he had to send a copy to me, because I am not represented by a lawyer.

I do believe that no honest psychologist would try to keep the parent from reading the report, and no honest lawyer would either. Psychologists are trained to give feedback to their patients, not to badmouth them behind their backs. The evaluators should not be saying anything to the court unless they are willing to say it to the faces of the parents.
You understand that once the evaluation is released we will have no substantive contact (unless specifically agreed to by the attorneys) and that all contact at that time shall be through your attorney.
Again, no psychologist with any integrity would impose a condition like this. Perlmutter wrote recommendations that do not make any sense, but we have had to live under them. There can be no excuse for him to refuse to explain himself, except that he wants to avoid responsibility for the mess that he has made.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Asking for a refund

I just sent this letter, by US mail and by email.
Kenneth B. Perlmutter
467 Hamilton Av Ste 21, Palo Alto CA 94301
California Psychologist Lic. No. PSY7053.
April 25, 2011

Dear Ken:

I received your April 21 letter where you admit that your neutrality and objectivity had been compromised in June 2010, and where you refuse to do the evaluation update that you promised to the court.

Let me remind you of the facts our case. We had 6 months of discussions in 2009 when you learned all about our case, including our 6 years of litigation and my blog. I paid $27,900 to you for your evaluation, report, and testimony. Your report should have recommended a course of action for resolving our conflict. It did not.

Your work only inflamed our troubles. You were dishonest with my kids, the court, and me. You violated the norms for psychologists, for child custody evaluators, and for court expert witnesses. You failed to address the most important issues of our case. You wrote the order that wrongfully denied me joint legal custody of my kids. You maliciously refused to correct your errors even when they were demonstrated to you. You testified against me in Dec. 2010 even though you now admit that you were biased at the time. You cost me thousands of dollars in additional expenses to pay witnesses who testified that you were wrong.

In the end, you only made a non-constructive recommendation for 6-9 months, and said that we would have to come back to you for an update after that. Now you refuse to even do that. All of your work has become worthless, as I will probably have to hire another psychologist to redo it.

I therefore demand that you refund the $27,900 to me immediately. Simply put, you did not do the job that you were paid to do.

Sincerely, ...
I do think that Ken Perlmutter is a crook for doing what he did.

When I first met him, I just thought that he was an incompetent idiot. He had the hardest time understanding the simplest things. I often had to explain matters to him 3 or 4 times.

He claimed to not understand Commissioner Irwin Joseph's order appointing him. I must have explained that to him about ten times. I also told him that Cmr. Joseph was too stupid to understand it either. Every time we asked Cmr. Joseph for a clarification, he just said that he checked some boxes on a court form, and it was up to the psychologist to figure out what it meant. Permutter demanded to talk to Joseph directly. In reality, of course, Perlmutter just wanted to get some signals on how much to screw me.

If Perlmutter has a shred of integrity, he will refund my money. I doubt it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bill to open dependency courts

The San Jose newspaper reports:
A Democratic state legislator who vowed to better protect California's 58,000 foster children by opening up the secretive dependency courts governing their lives now faces opposition ... in recent years the number of states with open courts has grown to 19, buoying the hopes of many influential juvenile court judges that California would join the movement toward accountability.

The nationwide move away from secrecy in foster care is an effort to promote more accountability of the decisions made after children are removed from parents deemed abusive or neglectful. In California, the strict confidentiality of the dependency courts has allowed their dysfunction to remain hidden. A 2008 Mercury News investigation revealed deluged judges and court-appointed lawyers failing to meet even basic standards of adequate representation for children and parents, despite the high stakes. Dependency court rulings can permanently terminate parental rights and dictate whether children will move in with relatives or be consigned to a set of revolving foster homes and institutions.
Normally I might say that the problems of some kids are not the concerns of the general public. Except that there are some truly evil people in positions of authority with the juvenile courts and CPS, and public oversight is a necessity.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Filed a new motion

I had to file a new motion for increased child custody and visitation. The court decision said that I could not file a new motion until I get an update from Ken Perlmutter, but Judge Morse admitted in court that I would not be able to get court paperwork for him to do his update until I file a new motion for custody. So I filed a motion (or technically, an Order to Show Cause, OSC) saying this:
Points and Authorities in support of OSC for custody and visitation

This brief supports more favorable child custody and visitation for our two kids, for reasons stated in the July 2010 OSC and subsequent trial. An April 2011 decision denied relief and continued temporary orders, but did not address the current situation or make any permanent orders. The Court explained on April 19, 2011 that it needed updated information, and instructed me to file this OSC so that it could issue an appropriate order to a psychologist for some of that information. I also ask that [another psychologist] or someone else of my choice be authorized to interview our kids. He is a licensed psychologist and child custody evaluator, and he testified at the trial. The Court also approved this OSC for shortened time.
The clerk scheduled this for May 23. I wrote this before I learned that Perlmutter was flaking out. Of course I want the more favorable child custody and visitation, regardless of whether Perlmutter expresses an opinion or not.

In my opinion, the judge has an obligation to decide herself what to do with my case, instead of passing the buck to Perlmutter or someone else. She agreed to the motion on the assumption that Perlmutter would do her work for her, but the issue is not going away, and it is ultimately the responsibility of the court, not some crooked psychologist who can evade his duties.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shrink flakes out

I just got this letter from Ken Perlmutter:
Dear Judge Morse,

I received your Order After Hearing filed 4/7/11 in the above-named matter.

I understand you may consider appointing me to do an "Updated Child Custody Evaluation" at some point in the future. I want to let you know now that I would not do an Update for this family. Subsequent to my deposition in June 2010 I did read George's web blog: http://angrydad. and I did read comments he posted about me on Yelp. Based on this I cannot guarantee my neutrality and objectivity and thus it would not be appropriate for me to accept further assignments in this matter.

Therefore at this time and in the future I will not be able to serve in any capacity for this family.

Kenneth B. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
He is lying, of course. The reason he is bailing out is that someone is writing a book on the corruption of the family court, and Perlmutter is an example.

I am surprised that Perlmutter would refuse his duties in this way. We paid him $26,000 to do a court-ordered evaluation. He took the money, and wrote a report, but he only made a temporary recommendation for the next 6 months, and said that we would have to pay him additional money for an update for him to say what to do after that.

He testified on the public record against me seeing my kids, and I contested it, of course.

In Ken Perlmutter's testimony, he admitted that he was incompetent to read the legal papers in our case, that he was incompetent to apply any psychology knowledge, that he had no expertise to support his recommendations, and that his recommendations were insane. He testified that I was just as good a parent as my ex-wife, but the court had botched the case and all he was going to do was to support the mistakes that the court had already made.

I quoted his testimony on this blog. I criticized it for the same reasons that I criticized it in court. He said that he had testified in contested court cases about 100 times, so I would not expect that he would be so squeamish about his own testimony being quoted. I would expect him to be used to parents being unhappy with his recommendations.

This letter shows Perlmutter to be an irresponsible crook. He took $26K to do a job, and he is refusing to finish it. He does not dispute anything I said. His only excuse is that he wants to be able to trash me, without any rebuttal from me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Judge pretends to be a shrink

Here is the bizarre end to Judge Heather Morse's decision:
Whether as a result of a narcissistic personality disorder that could benefit from individual therapy (which George distrusts), or from a medical perspective of a biological disorder such as Asperger's Syndrome where individuals with genius I.Q.'s can have difficulties with social relationships, the court finds that the parties' time and money could be better spent to improve the parental relationships while there is still time to do so.
I pointed out to the judge that I have been evaluated ten times for the court, and every single one of them said that I do not have any psychological disorders. Her response was that "a lot of psychologists don't know how to test for Asperger's."

Assuming Judge Morse is correct, why does she keep farming cases out to incompetent psychologists who know less about psychology than she does?

But she is not correct. If she knew anything about these disorders, then she would know that the symptoms do not match the complaints against me at all. She probably just remembers hearing these buzzwords at some judge seminar, and that is all she knows. Or maybe she is dropping a hint to the next evaluator. I don't know. But if the court is going to use these idiotic psychologists for their useless evaluations, then it ought to rely on them for their actual expertise. As it is, I have a judge who want to do the psychology, and a psychologist who wants to do the judging.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Relationship on their terms

Here is another paragraph from Judge Morse's decision:
As Dr. Perlmutter testified, this is a sad case where despite the difficulties, George's daughters have a resilient love for their father and still wish to have a relationship with him, but on their terms and not his. They hope he can change.
My kids were 12 and 10 at the time of Ken Perlmutter's $28k evaluation. He said that I was as good a parent as my ex-wife. But apparently I cannot see my kids because they want to dictate the terms of the relationship.

Perlmutter never found anything wrong with my child-rearing practices. His biggest complaint was that I do not always do what my kids want.

I have read a bunch of child-rearing books. None of them say that a parent should let an 12 or 10-year-old child control the terms of the relationship with the parent. Perlmutter is completely clueless about child-rearing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Physically incapable

Judge Heather Morse's decision against me said:
During our days of hearing, Roger did not appear to be mean-spirited, but rather physically incapable of perceiving why he was being prevented from having unsupervised time with his children.
Am I that stupid? Have I suffered serious brain damage? What does this mean?

I did earn a Ph.D. from the University of California, so I ought to be smart enough to understand a simple court order.

In court, Judge Morse denied that she said that I was too stupid to understand the situation. She seemed surprised when I quoted the above sentence. I guess she didn't say that I was mentally incapable; she said that I was physically incapable. Weird.

In a sense, she is right that I am incapable of understanding what this court has done, or what my ex-wife has done. Just as there are certain horrible crimes that I will never understand, I will never understand why the family court separates good parents from their kids. No reasonable person would do these things.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Judgment day

My ex-wife and I were in court today, to get a decision on the evaluation that was done a year ago. The judge said that she was expecting us a couple of weeks ago, and when we did not show up, she wrote a decision and mailed it to us. The decision upholds the temporary orders that were issued last year. Those orders were for only six months, and they have long since expired, so I did not get the point.

So I asked what I am supposed to do now. She said that I could file a motion to modify the custody/visitation. I thought that was why we had a trial. We have five days of very expensive witnesses, and none of it seems to have made any difference at all.

I guess I will prepare a new motion this week. Based on what the judge said today, she will farm it out to the psychologist again. This could continue until my kids are 18. I will post more details later.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Welcome to Debtors' Prison, 2011 Edition

When I first heard that dads were being jailed because of child support debts, I was surprised because I thought that the debtors prison was a medieval concept that no modern nation would use. I thought that it was surely outlawed by our Constitution or Declaration of Independence or something like that.

Now the WSJ reports:
Some lawmakers, judges and regulators are trying to rein in the U.S. debt-collection industry's use of arrest warrants to recoup money owed by borrowers who are behind on credit-card payments, auto loans and other bills.

More than a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who can't or won't pay to be jailed. Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties with a total population of 13.6 million people, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal of filings in those counties. Nationwide figures aren't known because many courts don't keep track of warrants by alleged offense. In interviews, 20 judges across the nation said the number of borrowers threatened with arrest in their courtrooms has surged since the financial crisis began.

The backlash is a reaction to sloppy, incomplete or even false documentation that can result in borrowers having no idea before being locked up that they were sued to collect an outstanding debt. The debt-collection industry says such errors are extremely rare, adding that warrants usually are sought only after all other efforts to persuade borrowers to pay have failed.
I realize that borrowed money keeps our economy humming, but no one went to prison from General Motors, AIG, Fannie Mae, or Lehman Brothers. Failure to pay a debt should not be a crime. It is a byproduct of a foolish lender as much as anything else.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

CPS tries to force drugs

A reader sends this story:
Authorities have determined there is no emergency need for a 13-year-old girl to be on medication, after the girl's mother was accused of medically neglecting her by not giving her a psychotropic drug.

The girl has been in state custody since Child Protective Services workers showed up to take her, prompting an hours-long standoff between her mother and police.
There are more details here.

It is extremely rare that there is some medical necessity to give a psychotropic drug to a child. It is rarer still that the parental judgment must be overridden. I have never even heard of such a case. You would think that CPS would not act unless it was sure. But in this case, they arrested the mom without any determination that the drug was needed.

I have no idea what will happen in this case, except that CPS will not admit that it made a mistake.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Justice requires a good breakfast

The WSJ reports:
If you have to face a judge, try for first thing in the morning or right after lunch. A new study suggests that is when judges are most lenient.

Seeking to test the idea that justice depends on "what the judge ate for breakfast," researchers studied 1,112 rulings by Israeli judges who were presiding over boards deciding whether to grant parole to prisoners.

"We find that the likelihood of a favorable ruling is greater at the very beginning of the work day or after a food break than later in the sequence of cases," the researchers report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They found that at the beginning of a court session, about 65% of the rulings tended to be in favor of the prisoner, but the chance of a favorable ruling declined to near zero by the end of the session. After a break for a meal, favorable rulings for the prisoners jumped back up to about 65%, and then began declining again. ...

When people are making a lot of decisions in a row, they look for ways to simplify the process when they get mentally tired, he said, and the easiest thing is to maintain the status quo—that is, leave the prisoner in jail.
My next court appearance is schedule right before lunch. Maybe I should try to get is rescheduled for after lunch.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mom charged for leaving teen alone

A suburban New York city newspaper reports:
A village woman is accused of taking the "Home Alone" scenario to a new extreme, leaving her 13-year-old daughter behind during her weeklong trip to Taiwan.

Police charged the single mom, Winifred Chaffee, with misdemeanor child endangerment, despite her claim that she left her girl with plenty of cash, credit cards and prepared meals.

"If you want to leave your 13-year-old home for like an hour or two to go to dinner or shop, that's acceptable, depending on how mature the kid is," Croton police Sgt. John Nikotopoulos said. "We obviously felt this was not right and made the arrest." ...

The sergeant said he knows of no "hard standard" for when, and how long, it is OK to leave a child home alone, but he said this would fail to meet practically any standard.

Chaffee's defense lawyer, Casey Raskob, said she had been out of work and received a business contract that sent her to Taiwan. He said she contacted the girl's school, asking for permission to take the child with her on the trip, but that "the school said no."

"She's a single mom," he said. "This poor lady doesn't deserve exposure for this."

The girl did attend school while her mother was away, and the two are back home together now.
How is this a crime? The mom did not violate any standards, and no danger or harm resulted. The girl even attended school. The Home Alone boy was only about 8 years old. There is a big difference between 8 and 13.

The mom should be asking the dad for permission, not the school. The school just wants the attendance money.

One comment said:
This is why we need governmental spot checks in every home on a weekly basis, especially with homes with children. There are criminals everywhere, we are not safe. A child should NEVER be left alone for an hour, let alone a week, this is why we all need to keep a close eye on our neighbors and report them to the authorities. When you see something, you NEED to say something.
This is ridiculous. The typical 13-year-old has a cell phone, and is safer than ever.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

TV show on foreign kidnapping

NBC Dateline had a one-hour TV special on this story a couple of days ago:
Michael McCarty was in a custody battle with his ex-wife when she kidnapped their kindergarten-age son to Italy. And even though McCarty has full custody in the U.S. and the mother has been declared unfit, his son is still in Italy four years later — and McCarty is still enduring an agonizing wait in a seemingly eternal legal limbo.

In 2007, Liam McCarty was taken by his mother, Manuela Antonelli, to her native Italy — an unauthorized trip that flew in the face of her custody agreement with ex-husband Michael. Two years later, she was deemed an unfit parent by Italian courts and Liam was placed in an orphanage. A year after that, Antonelli kidnapped Liam again, and when Italian officials recovered the boy three months later, he was placed in foster care with his Italian uncle.

But even though McCarty has full legal custody of Liam, now 9, in the United States, Child Services in Italy will still not give him his son.
The program was vary favorable to the dad, and did not really explain what made the mom unfit. My guess is that she was completely unreasonable, and would not obey court orders. Possibly a little crazy also, because the psychologist had turned against her. I got the impression that if the court had decided on joint custody early, and stuck to that, then both parents could have lived with that.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Framing Innocence

C-SPAN2 Book-TV just had a lecture by Lynn Powell on her 2010 book, Framing Innocence: A Mother's Photographs, a Prosecutor's Zeal, and a Small Town's Response. She tells this story:
In 1999 Cynthia Stewart, a mother, respected member of the community, and amateur photographer, was arrested and accused of child pornography, based on snapshots she took of her daughter in the shower. The fact that she had no intention of publishing or distributing the photos -— and had no prior record for this kind of activity -— did not dissuade the aggressive prosecutor. Powell, who lived in the same community and had a passing acquaintance with Stewart, chronicles in month-by-month detail Stewart’s battles to prove her innocence, and keep custody of her daughter. The story that unfolds is a fascinating cautionary tale of a criminal justice system both intent on finding criminals where none may exist and weighted against the poor and the powerless. Especially terrifying is the evidence Powell reveals that other moms, many single mothers, many in middle or lower incomes, have been similarly charged, and, in some cases, convicted for similarly innocent family photos. Powell is a facile writer, and her closeness to the material adds a subjective element to the story that makes it more immediate and compelling.
The only thing that saved her was that her community stood up for her.

The one negative review on Amazon says that the author and mother were naive about
how the criminal justice system works. I think that anyone is naive who does not recognize the evil in these CPS prosecutors.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Parents win lawsuit against police

The San Jose Mercury News reports:
San Jose ordered to pay $3.2M in child seizure suit

In the largest recent judgment against San Jose police, a federal jury on Friday awarded a family $3.25 million after siding with the parents, who accused officers of stealing their young children and placing them in protective custody.

The award came two days after a U.S. District Court jury in San Jose ruled that detective William Hoyt and Sgt. Craig Blank violated the constitutional rights of Tracy Watson, Renee Stalker and their children after the officers entered their home without a warrant in 2005 and seized the children, who were kept from their parents for more than a year.

"It's the most horrific thing (that) no parent should ever have to go through, no child should ever have to go through," Watson, 49, a marketer who now lives in Napa, said Friday. The "police charging into your house, stealing your kids."

At the time, police had become alarmed by the strange sexual behavior exhibited by the family's 8-year-old daughter, and the father's lack of cooperation during their abuse investigation. But the family argued the girl had never told investigators she had been molested, and there was no evidence of abuse.
This sounds like my case, in that the cops seized my daughters from our home, my girls made no allegation of molestation or anything else irregular, and the govt investigators found no evidence of abuse. My case was different in that I had cooperated fully with investigators, and the cops had a warrant from Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph. Cmr. Joseph issued an order without even seeing the CPS report that said that no instance of abuse had been found, and that there was nothing unusual about the kids' behavior.

The bigger scandal is that it took 1.5 years for these parents to get their daughter back, and it has taken me over 3 years so far to get my daughters back. These authorities are evil. There is no milder word that is appropriate.

I have been waiting a year for a decision from the current judge, Judge Heather Morse. No one has even presented any allegation of abuse in her court, and yet she keeps stalling. I don't know how these people sleep at night, when they are carrying out such destructive policies.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Judges misunderstand expert evidence

This article, as quoted here, shows that judges have a lot of trouble with basic concepts behind expert testimony:
However, many of the judges surveyed lacked the scientific literacy seemingly necessitated by Daubert... Although most judges agreed that a distinction could be made between “scientific” and “technical or otherwise specialized” knowledge, the ability to apply the Daubert guidelines appeared to have little bearing on whether specific types of expert evidence were designated as “science” or “nonscience.” Moreover, judges’ “bench philosophy of science” seemed to reflect the rhetoric, rather than the substance, of Daubert...
(Sophia I. Gatowski, Shirley A. Dobbin, James T. Richardson, Gerald P. Ginsburg, Mara L. Merlino, Veronica Dahir. Asking the Gatekeepers: A National Survey of Judges on Judging Expert Evidence in a Post-Daubert World Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 25, No. 5 (Oct., 2001), pp. 433–458)
According to the article, only about 5% of judges understand the basic legal issues that are necessary to judge the admissibility of expert evidence. I guess that the concepts are not taught in law school, or in the seminars for new judges.

Friday, April 01, 2011

CPS critic extinguished

Georgia state senator Nancy Schaefer was the leading critic of CPS. I quoted her here in Sept. 2008. About a year ago she and her husband died of gunshot wounds. The deaths were ruled as murder-suicide by the husband.

I still don't know what to make of it. This story casts doubt on whether it was a suicide. CPS does not go around murdering its enemies, as far as I know. I do not believe that she committed suicide. Maybe she was murdered by her husband, who then killed himself.

CPS is a menace. Who is going to speak out against CPS now?