Thursday, March 31, 2011

A reduction isn't a reduction because mom says so

After roughly two years, my divorce was finally finished and signed off by the judge. It wasn't fun, I didn't get the best outcome, but those are details for another day and time. The point is, the divorce was official and final. During those two years that it took to obtain a final decision, I foolishly operated on a simple assumption: we all will continue to live in the same county. Not once in the last two years did my ex ever express a desire to relocate. Not once.

Yet 34 days after the judge's signature hit our decree, the ex told me she was moving out of county. Read that again. Thirty-four days. I filed for a change in custody based on this, and the judge ordered a 730 eval. If you aren't from California, or if you just want to read up on the specifics of a 730 eval, you can find plenty of information here, here, and here. (To note, I am not affiliated with any of those sites, companies, owners, operators, bloggers, writers, attorneys, courts, etc. This is just a sampling of information on the 730 eval from a variety of sources, the last being a county court in California.)

The ex and I both met with the evaluator, separately. The evaluator contacted a few people, and, in accordance with court rules and state statute, submitted a written report to the court summarizing the findings and recommendations.

The evaluator reviewed our current custody arrangement, and reviewed the proposal of my ex for a post-move arrangement. The evaluator concluded that, because my ex stated she's not trying to reduce my time, there is no actual reduction of my time. Yet, when the schedules are put down on a calender and compared side by side, I go from 40% pre-move, to 30% post-move. This considers summer, spring break, holidays, etc. So, if my time is reduced by 25% (40% - 30% = 10%, and 10% / 40% = 1/4 , or 25%), how is this not a reduction?

Are evaluators truly unbiased? Are they actually professionals that are qualified to examine such issues? If basic math, particularly in the calculation of a custody schedule, is something that escapes an "expert", does that not point to a serious need for reform in the system and process? Is such an error not truly egregious in nature? I understand these are largely rhetorical questions. Yet such is the state of California's current child custody system, one in which fathers must fight every single detail, and one in which even those that are supposed to be unbiased show a clear bias by simply taking mothers at their word.

Sound off in the comments. Let's hear your thoughts and stories.

Restraining order struck down

A California court actually struck down a domestic restraining order. The case is In re Marriage of Mendlowitz. The woman claimed that she was being slandered by some emails, but was not really in any danger.

The news here is that any restraining order got struck down on appeal. If there were any justice, about 99% of them would be struck down. I have heard about dozens of these orders, and I have yet to see one that had any merit to it. The order is just a way for women to abuse the legal system.

The comments to the above story tell of a restraining order against someone posting academic messages about the Dead Sea Scrolls! I have heard of overheated academic debates, but it is baffling how foolish judges get suckered into thinking that some court order is going to improve an arcane academic debate.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

State was not forced into the dispute

The left-wing Media Matters attacks Glenn Beck:
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that the New Hampshire Supreme Court prevented "parents" from home schooling their children based on a case that simply resolved a dispute between two divorced parents over the best way to educate their daughter. Beck has previously demonized public schools for "indoctrinat[ing]" children and "beg[ged]" people to home-school their children. ...

"This is not state versus parent," Justice Robert Lynn said. "The state was forced into this because it's a dispute between the parents that someone had to resolve." [The Associated Press, 1/6/11, via]
Yes, it is state versus parent. The parents may disagree about schooling options, but it is simply not true that the state has to resolve the dispute or that the state was forced into it.

Family courts always rule against homeschooling parents. Either they rule that way directly, or they appoint an evaluator to give that opinion. The crooked evaluators always understand that they are expected to find made-up psychological reasons against homeschooling.

People have different opinions about homeschooling. Most people don't like it for various reasons. Maybe they are right, but the law says that it is within the rights of the parent to make that decision, not the court. The judge should have no jurisdiction over the matter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why women are treated differently

The Dilbert comic blog has attacked men's rights, and drawn fire from both sides. He says:
The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles. ...

Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights: Get over it, you bunch of pussies.
Before you get too excited, remember that he is a cartoonist. He is more interested in being provocative than persuasive.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to collect from dads

A reader writes:
I am curious how would you propose encouraging a father to pay child support, if he goes to great lengths to avoid it and his children suffer as a result of his endeavors?

I know of cases where the father abandons his kids, moves away, starts over with a new honey, and amasses thousands of dollars in child support arrearages - and refuses to provide for the children HE fathered with his ex wife. Kids are on welfare while their sperm donor takes trips to the Bahamas and lives like a king. This is shameful!

What about the children's rights?
If children had any rights, then they would have the rights to have meaningful relationships with both parents, and they would have the right to have child support money spent on themselves. They do not. The American child support system is structured to do the opposite. The mom can get the most money by preventing the kids from seeing their own dad, and the mom can spend all the money on herself. The child is entitled to nothing.

In most cases, the dad only abandons his kids because the court has already eliminated his parental role. It is the court that really causes the abandonment.

In the situation where the dad does owe some sort of tax debt based on a percentage of his income, then I would suggest that collection methods be limited to what IRS and other tax collectors can do. Those tax collectors have plenty of power already.

The family court jails dads without trial for not paying money that they do not have. The system is barbaric.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Colorado lets parents try to get kids back

A new 4-3 Colorado supreme court decision favors the parents trying to get their kids after letting some relatives be guardians.

It seems to me that if parents voluntarily appoint relatives be guardians temporarily, and if the parents have not been adjudicated unfit, then the parents should be able to get their kids back whenever they want them.

In this Colorado case, the parents have been trying to get their kid back since Aug. 2007. This 4-3 court decision just allows them to keep trying. The family court will probably still decide that the guardians are in the best interest of the child (BIOTCh).

The core of the problem here is that the family court does not respect parental rights, and spends four years trying to determine the BIOTCh. It should have decided on day one that the parents never relinquished their rights, that they have not been found unfit, and therefore that the BIOTCh should mean that the parents get to decide what is good for their own kids.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Supreme court oral argument

A reader sends the transcript for the US supreme court case, mentioned below, and reports:
All the justices seemed to recognize there was a failure of due process in this case, but they were reluctant to make a categorical rule requiring counsel in all such cases. Since the court only took the case to decide whether there is a right to counsel, it's unclear if the court has jurisdiction to decide anything else.
Yes, I am afraid that declaring a right to counsel is not going to solve the due process problem, and the court does not have the guts to address the real problem.

An overlooked detail here is that the mom had assigned her child support benefits to the state, so that she could get more welfare benefits. The state then collects the so-called child support according to formula, which means it is a percentage of the dad's income.

So this case did not involve money going to the child. It was about throwing a man in jail for not paying income taxes to the state, and doing it without a trial.

The state has to be able to enforce its tax law, of course. If IRS or the sales tax authorities decide that you owe money, they are already pretty effective at squeezing the money out of you. They can dock your pay, seize your assets, and make your life miserable until you pay. But they do not throw you in jail without trial, as the family court does, just because of an unpaid tax debt. The family court should have no more money collection powers than IRS.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Supreme court hears case on jailing dads

The US supreme court is hearing oral argument on Turner v. Rogers tomorrow. It concerns whether a dad has any due process protections if he is going to be jailed for allegedly failing to pay support to the mom.

The case has attracted a dozen amicus briefs, including a couple of anti-father opinions from supposedly conservative politicians.

Texas AG Greg Abbott argues that lawyers will not help dads because they are being jail on such sloppy evidence and procedures anyway:
There are several notable aspects of the rules of procedure in South Carolina’s family courts.10 First, the rules not only permit, but require, courts to admit certain unauthenticated documents and statements into evidence. ... empirical evidence confirms that the child-support civil-contempt proceedings in South Carolina family court differ from the formal, adversarial criminal trials that require appointed counsel. Litigants do not question or cross-examine witnesses; judges handle all the questioning. ...

In the rare cases where lawyers appeared, they performed only tasks that pro se litigants would be equally capable of doing. There is no need for a right to appointed counsel in such simple proceedings.
Senators Demint, Graham, Johanns and Rubio argue just the opposite. They say that lawyers will help the dads so much that the dads will get an unfair advantage:
Indeed, disputes over child support payments perfectly illustrate the danger of extending the right to state-paid counsel to civil contempt proceedings. Inserting the right to counsel into child support disputes on behalf of delinquent parents would put their children and the custodial parents at an extreme disadvantage.
The brief argues that jailing dads has been very effective at squeezing money out of them, so nothing should interfere with that.

The argument is really an argument against any defendant having any rights. The authorities would have any easier time putting drug dealers and murderers in jail also, if they could use unauthenticated documents, disallow cross-examination, and throw suspects in jail without lawyers speaking in their behalf.

Abbott's brief makes this admission about his own state of Texas:
Many States, including Texas, appoint counsel for indigent defendants in civil-contempt proceedings. They have done so either as a matter of legislative grace or as a matter of state constitutional law.
So Texas is arguing that S. Carolina dads should not have rights that Texas dads have.

I am appalled that these politicians can gain votes by coming out in favor of jailing dads without having due process in the family court.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

California court computer boondoggle

The Sacramento Bee reports:
Computer mess jeopardizes court's political clout

SAN FRANCISCO -- Former California Chief Justice Ron George's crowning achievement was expected to be his crusade to drag the nation's largest court system into the 21st century: a computer system linking every courthouse in the state's 58 counties.

As initially envisioned a decade ago, anyone in any courthouse today should be able to get real-time information on just about any case anywhere in the state.

Instead, the state auditor has concluded that court officials have so badly mismanaged the massive information technology project formally launched in 2004 that it has been installed to mixed reviews in just seven counties. And more than what may become a $2 billion computer project is at stake.
It takes 10 years and $2 billion just to set up a web site showing all the California court cases? This is pathetic.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The money follows the child

Palo Alto psychologist Ken Perlmutter did an evaluation for the court. He said that I was not any worse parent than my ex-wife, but that my contact with our kids should be supervised because of what I might tell them.

He testified on Dec. 14, 2010:
Q. And what was the comment that I made that was so
A. There were several.
Q. Okay. Can you name one?
A. One was that you acknowledged that you said "The
money follows the child." That would be one.
That is the family court practice of ordering the dad to pay the mom thousands of dollars every month if she can make allegations that result in her getting custody of the child. Perlmutter concluded that my ex-wife's allegations of abuse were entirely false and unfounded, and that it would be harmful for the kids to learn that she had lied to the court in order to enrich herself and to cut their dad out of their lives.

What I actually said was that my kids ought to know that I am not a child abuser, and that I am paying child support. He admitted that no child has ever been harmed by such information. But the story is harmful to the reputation of the court, and his primary responsibility was to protect the court from disclosure about its bad decisions.

It is simply not possible to prevent my kids from learning the truth. They already know these facts. Many others in town know them. The longer the court tries to punish me for telling the truth, the more the truth will be apparent to everyone.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dwyane Wade wins custody of sons

AP reports:
MIAMI -- When the Miami Heat ended practice Sunday, Dwyane Wade went home to his sons.

That will be a regular event going forward.

Ending a long and often-vengeful fight, a Chicago court has awarded Wade sole "care, custody and control" of his two sons. The boys arrived in Miami on Friday, shortly after the ruling was filed, and Wade told The Associated Press that "a huge weight is off my back."

“Mentally, I've been preparing for it for over a year now. To me, it's bigger than that. For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids' lives sometimes. You fight until you can't fight any more. That's all I was trying to be, a father in his kids' lives.” -- Dwyane Wade

"My life changed in a huge way," Wade told the AP. "Mentally, I've been preparing for it for over a year now. To me, it's bigger than that. For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids' lives sometimes. You fight until you can't fight any more. That's all I was trying to be, a father in his kids' lives."

Wade did not immediately announce the decision after receiving word Friday, trying to make sure that his sons fully understood what it meant first. Teammates, informed of the ruling in a locker room meeting on Saturday after Miami's victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, gave him a rousing ovation.

Wade had one of his finest all-around efforts of the season Saturday: 28 points, nine assists, five rebounds and five blocked shots.

It may not have been a coincidence.

"I heard the best news I could possibly hear," Wade said. "So I was like, 'I'm going to go out there and play free and enjoy it.'"
This should not be a news story. It should be an everyday event.
Still, the 102-page ruling had some sharp words for Wade's ex-wife.

"This court finds that [Siohvaughn Wade] has embarked on an unstoppable and relentless pattern of conduct for over two years to alienate the children from their father, and lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between them," read a portion of the ruling entered by Judge Renee G. Goldfarb.

Wade's attorney, James Pritikin, said the custody trial "was one of the longest ever in Cook County history." ...

He and his ex-wife separated in August 2007 ...

More claims against Dwyane Wade followed during the custody case, including that he was abusive to his children. The court found them all to be baseless.
Longest case ever? It was just 3.5 years. Mine has been 7.5 years, and counting. My ex-wife's baseless abuse allegations have gone on for the last 3.5 years, even tho all three court psychologists testified that her accusations were baseless.

My case for custody is probably stronger than Wade's was, but I don't think that I am going to get a 102-page decision like he did. My guess is that he lucked out by getting a basketball fan as a judge.

Update: A reader points out that the Chicago judge is the same one that ruled last year:
Judge Renee Goldfarb said Tuesday that Joseph Reyes can take his daughter to "church services during his visitation time if he so chooses." The judge also ordered that Joseph have visitation with his daughter every year on Christmas and Easter.
I had written about that case on December 16, 2009, February 04, 2010, February 17, 2010, February 26, 2010, and April 14, 2010. It is nice to see that there is an occasional sane judge in a land of corruption. It reminds me of the new TV crime show, The Chicago Code, where a few good cops take on a corrupt establishment in Chicago.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Judge Grilling Parent in Child Custody Case

Law professor Volokh's blog on Judge Grilling Parent in Child Custody Case About the Parent’s Secular Humanism drew this comment:
This is the big problem with family law. They use a standard that their decisions must be in the best interest of the child. They can delve into just about anything they want to. They use this standard to rob parents, mostly fathers, of their right to raise their child the way they see fit.

If you don’t go to any church at all, you will likely not get custody of your child in a divorce. If you practice a religion that is out of the mainstream, such as Judaism, and the other parent is christian, you face a higher hurdle to get custody, no matter what the law says. That’s because decisions are based on the undefined standard of “best interest of the child” and some judges think that contributing money to a church is in the best interest of a child.

We need a revolution in family law. Judges should not have so much say. Parents should have full rights to raise their child as they see fit without interference from the government, unless there is evidence of abuse.

The government has no business deciding what religion or philosophy the child is raised with. If a parent wants their children to be raised as atheist jewish nazi devil worshipping racists, then that is their constitutional right.

It is extremely dangerous for government to be mandating child rearing ideologies.
The remarkable thing is that Volokh, who normally has libertarian views, did not seem to understand this comment. Others had trouble as well.

The comment is exactly correct. The core problem is that the judge is trying to decide the Best Interest Of The Child (BIOTCh). It must be abolished if we are to be a free nation.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Rule of Law

The Rule of Law is an ancient concept that means that a society is governed by rational objective written laws, as opposed to the personal whim or arbitrariness of some king. The concept goes back to Aristotle and the ancient Greeks, and it is essential to modern civilization.

Here is one definition:
The rule of law requires the government to exercise its power in accordance with well-established and clearly written rules, regulations, and legal principles. ...

Under the rule of law, no person may be prosecuted for an act that is not punishable by law. When the government seeks to punish someone for an offense that was not deemed criminal at the time it was committed, the rule of law is violated because the government exceeds its legal authority to punish. The rule of law requires that government impose liability only insofar as the law will allow. Government exceeds its authority when a person is held to answer for an act that was legally permissible at the outset but was retroactively made illegal. This principle is reflected by the prohibition against Ex Post Facto Laws in the U.S. Constitution.

For similar reasons, the rule of law is abridged when the government attempts to punish someone for violating a vague or poorly worded law.
The current USA citizenship exam asks What is the "rule of law"? Our elected officials have to take an oath of office promising to obey the rule of law.

The rule of law requires that citizens can only be punished for offenses that are codified in writing somewhere. The family court is a modern exception.

I have been punished by having my kids taken away from me, and ordered to pay non-guideline child support. No one even claims that I have violated any written rule, or that I am an unfit parent, or anything like that. The core problem is that the family court does not respect the rule of law.

I should not have to explain why rule of law is superior to the rule of Muammar Gaddafi or King George III. It has been obvious for thousands of years. Someday everyone will agree that the family court is barbaric.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Crooked cops fueling nasty divorces

The Contra Costa Times (near Oakland California) reports:
A Danville police officer was arrested Friday on suspicion of drug and gun offenses, becoming the third law enforcement official in a month held in the widening investigation of a Contra Costa County drug task force chief and a high-profile private investigator, law enforcement officials said. ...

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Tanabe was one of those chosen officers who would make arrests at Butler's request, and investigators were looking at two of his January arrests and up to four other officers in other Bay Area agencies were being investigated for their links to Butler. The DUI set-ups were to help ex-wives sully their former husbands' records before divorce and custody hearings, the paper said.
Wow, ex-wives winning child custody cases by using crooked cops to frame their ex-husbands.

Monday, March 07, 2011

No decision today

I went into court today expecting a "tentative decision", but did not get it. Judge Morse's court was clogged up with other cases. She told us that she was writing a decision, but she was taking her time because of the possibility of appeal. She told us to come back on April 19, and she should be done by then. She told us to bring whatever new reports we have at that time.

I have complained about long delays under previous judges, but this judge is nearly as bad. I got the psych report in May 2010, and it has taken her 11 months so far to decide what to do with it. This is not good.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Awaiting tentative decision

On Monday (tomorrow), I will appear in family court to get a "tentative decision", whatever that means. Presumably the judge will say that she cannot make any sense out of the case, and send us off for some more evaluations or counseling.

This has been going on for over 3 years already. If I had really abused my kids, I would have been sent to juvenile dependency court, and gotten my kids back after 1 year. As it is, I am completely innocent, but the court prevents me from seeing my kids while it takes years to decide what to do.

I am expecting court action until my kids are 18 years old.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Expert opinion inadmissible in federal court

A reader sends this story:
The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in a 3-judge panel that includes the eminent Richard Posner, has ruled for the second time in case that began in April 2006 when two public high school students were prevented from wearing anti-gay T-shirts during a pro-gay festival called the Day of Silence.

As we learn on pages 11 and 14-16 of Posner's 17-page opinion, the school defended its decision to silence the students' free speech by presenting an expert opinion to show how harmful and disruptive their anti-gay message was. The expert had a Ph.D. in sociology and was a "professor of family and consumer sciences."

Posner granted the expert's expertise, but then showed that his 38-page report was so lacking in actual analysis that it failed to qualify as expert testimony under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Posner wrote: "Dr. Russell is an expert, but fails to indicate, however sketchily, how he used his expertise to generate his conclusion. Mere conclusions, without a “hint of an inferential process,” are useless to the court."
Most of the child custody evaluations would be inadmissible under the federal rule, FRE 702. The ones that I have seen show no hint of an inferential process. They don't cite any expert knowledge or explain any reasoning. They just recite some data gathering, and generate a conclusion. Any court that relies on such a report is acting contrary to what courts are supposed to do. Judge Posner agrees with that, anyway.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Moms who kill

A reader send this NY Times story:
TAMPA — The Tampa Palms neighborhood here is the kind of place people move to get away from crime. ...

But in recent weeks, the residents have become all too aware of how deceptive surface appearances can be. On Jan. 28, the police arrived at a two-story house on a quiet cul-de-sac in Tampa Palms to find Julie Schenecker unconscious on the patio, blood on her white bathrobe. Inside were the bodies of her two children, Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13.
After detailing this crime, the article goes on to discuss research on moms who kill:
Forensic researchers who have studied mothers convicted of killing their children said that such women often leave a trail of clues behind them. “In almost every case there’s obvious signs,” said Cheryl L. Meyer, a professor at Wright State University whose research team examined 219 cases of maternal filicide and conducted lengthy interviews with 40 of the mothers.

As disturbing as such crimes are, they represent a robust portion of child homicides in the United States. Dr. Meyer found more than 100 cases a year of children killed by their mothers in the 1990s, a figure she says is probably an underestimate. Other experts, basing their numbers on data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, believe that the number may exceed 200 a year, though precise figures are elusive because the deaths are often misclassified.

Many mothers kill their children through some form of neglect or repeated abuse. But in a quarter of the cases Dr. Meyer studied, the mothers purposefully murdered their children. In a notorious 2001 case, Andrea Yates drowned her five children in a bathtub. In 1995, Debora Green, a doctor in Kansas, set fire to her house, killing her 6-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son. When a third child escaped onto the roof, Dr. Green told her to jump but made no effort to catch her.

The victims in most maternal filicides are infants or younger children. But mothers who kill purposefully sometimes kill older children, including teenagers, Dr. Meyer said. Delving into the lives of such women, researchers often find histories of mental illness, broken relationships, social isolation or other stresses that may have helped push them into violence. Many are devoted mothers, who plan to kill themselves and become convinced that their children are better off dead than left in the care of others.

Geoffrey R. McKee, a forensic psychologist in South Carolina and the author of “Why Mothers Kill,” said that in a severely depressed state, it was possible that a mother could misread the normal parent-child battles of adolescence. “The children can be pretty much as they always are, but if Ma has changed, then banter on the part of her children can be interpreted as mouthing off,” said Dr. McKee, who has conducted forensic evaluations in high-profile cases like that of Susan Smith, who was convicted in 1995 of killing her two children.
Some people think that moms are necessarily more protective of kids, and hence kids are safer with moms. But a lot of moms have severe problems, as this article describes.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Newspaper prints anti-dad propaganda

A Calif free weekly just published this opinion article:
Karen Anderson suspected that something strange was going on between her ex-husband, Rex Anderson, and their 15-year-old daughter. Prior to the couple's separation in 1998, the girl would sometimes put on high heels and makeup, "visiting" her dad while he worked late at night in the family's basement. ...

After the divorce, Rex was given primary custody of his daughter, as well as the couple's 8-year-old son. ...

Family Court Judge James Stewart temporarily barred the children from seeing their father while the court looked into the abuse claims. But instead of seeking evidence as to whether molestation was taking place, he hired a Menlo Park–based psychologist, Leslie Packer, to evaluate both parents. Among Packer's tasks was to assess, in light of their psychological profiles, whether the accusations were likely to be true. After a series of interviews and personality tests, such as the Rorschach inkblot test, she delivered her opinion: Karen's fears for her daughter were unfounded. ...

Today, Rex Anderson is serving a 23-year sentence at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga. ...

Geraldine Stahly, a psychology professor at California State University at San Bernardino, likewise says that the family courts need to be revamped so as to devote more attention to evidence — as do other courts of law — rather than the opinions of individuals such as psychologists, mediators, or even judges. "I would like to see judges relying a lot less on psychological evaluations and a lot more on the facts of a case," she says.
I guess that the reader is supposed to be persuaded that the family court screwed up, and that the prison sentence is the proof. I don't see it that way.

Note that the alleged abuse began while the parents were still married and living together. If the mom is unable to detect the wrongdoing when she is living in the house where the alleged abuse is taking place, then how can anyone expect some dopey shrink to detect it? It seems likely to me that the mom was making false charges.

The family court is not a criminal court. The mom was free to present evidence of criminal wrongdoing to the police at any time. The man was innocent until proven guilty.

I do not assume that the dad is guilty in this case, because I do not think that such me get fair trials. But even if he is guilty, he is entitled to a fair trial. This includes all the constitutional guarantees, including confronting the evidence against him, presenting evidence in his behalf, getting a jury trial, etc.

Leslie Packer is just another leech in the family court system. She does not have the training, ability, or power to be judge, jury, and executioner. She just writes dopey little reports where she repeats what she heard in interviews. Maybe she will throw in some psychobabble terms, but my evaluators did not even bother with that.

This newspaper is trying to use a couple of scare stories to say that moms should get custody over dads, because of a threat of abuse. The argument is crazy anyway. The vast majority of the sexual abuse comes from step-dads, after the moms win custody from the real dads. If such abuse were really the main concern, then the prudent thing would be to always give custody to the biological dad.

Glenn Sacks also comments.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Court hears CPS arguments

I mentioned before that the US Supreme Court was hearing a CPS case. The oral argument was yesterday, as the LA Times reports:
WASHINGTON…The Supreme Court justices, hearing arguments in a closely watched case involving child-abuse investigations at school, took sharp exception to the notion that a search warrant or a parent's consent is required before a child can be questioned at school by a child care worker or a police officer.

Each year, state and local agencies investigate more than 3 million claims of child abuse or neglect. In about one in four cases, the investigators decide that some abuse took place.

The high court has not ruled on whether the Constitution put some limits on investigations at school. However, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco got the attention of child care workers nationwide when it ruled that investigators usually need a search warrant before taking a child out of class for questioning.
Unfortunately, it appears that the court is going to give CPS more power. The conservatives like to cut obstacles to law enforcement, and the liberals believe that govt social workers should have more authority over kids. The result is that neither side wants to respect parental rights.

Here is the transcript, and more info.