My ex-wife were in court this morning before Judge Heather D. Morse. As usually, she strung us along from 8:30 until nearly noon when everyone else was gone, and then rushed us saying that the clerk and bailiff have to break for lunch.
We sat thru about 10 tedious cases. In one, the problem was that the two sons fight a lot. According to the mom, at a recent fight, "the father handled it by putting his hands on his children." She said that he should have just called 911 and not touched their sons. Apparently she got this view from a court-ordered anger-management class that she had to take. The sons were previously taken away from her, and she was given twice a week visits. Now they have been taken away from him, and he has twice a week visits. The judge refused to do anything because there are pending criminal charges against the dad for intervening in the fight. The mom wanted the dad to take the anger-management class that she had to take.
The judge told the dad to "be like a duck". She explained that ducks are calm above water, and kick below water. I didn't get it. I really did not see anything wrong with the dad physically breaking a fight between his sons. It is crazy to call 911 just because kids are fighting.
Three separate cases had kids in the courtroom. This surprised me. Commissioner Irwin Joseph always kicked the kids out, and said that they do not belong. Judge Morse was not comfortable with it either, but apparently there is a new state policy that teenaged kids are supposed to be told that they have a right to appear in court proceedings that affect them. Judge Morse stopped short of telling the kids that they were wrong to come to court, but she obviously did not approve of the kids learning how capriously the court plays with their lives.
One dad complained that his wife had adopted an unstable and immoral lifestyle, and was now pregnant with another man's child. Judge Morse lectured him that California has no-fault divorce, and such matters would not be considered by the court for any purpose.
My motion was for increased custody and visitation. For the last year, we had been operating under recommendations from Kenneth B. Perlmutter, but those had now expired. Judge Morse said that she was only listening to me because Perlmutter had said that my kids love me and want a relationship with me. But she conceded that Perlmutter was biased against me, and that no more testimony from him would be accepted by the court.
Perlmutter usually testifies in the Santa Clara and San Mateo courts, but he could have some trouble next time there also. A hostile lawyer could ask him whether his opinion has ever been dismissed by a court for reasons of incompetence or bias. He could try to deny it, but that lawyer could easily get the proof from me.
Judge Morse ended up saying that she would have Family Court Services interview our kids and the supervisor out of court, and write a report to her. I asked whether I would get a copy of that report. Judge Morse said not, because that would be confidential. When I asked how I was going to be able to participate in our next hearing next month, she mumbled something about how maybe I would get to see a written report, but the important part might be done orally so that no record would be kept. Sigh.
Meanwhile, my ex-wife has a motion pending to make her sole custody permanent at that hearing next month.