Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The feminized profession

A NY Times article says:
Researchers began tracking the “feminization” of mental health care more than a generation ago, when women started to outnumber men in fields like psychology and counseling. Today the takeover is almost complete.

Men earn only one in five of all master’s degrees awarded in psychology, down from half in the 1970s. They account for less than 10 percent of social workers under the age of 34, according to a recent survey. And their numbers have dwindled among professional counselors — to 10 percent of the American Counseling Association’s membership today from 30 percent in 1982 — and appear to be declining among marriage and family therapists.

Some college psychology programs cannot even attract male applicants, much less students. And at many therapists’ conferences, attendees with salt-and-pepper beards wander the hallways as lonely as peaceniks at a gun fair.

The result, many therapists argue, is that the profession is at risk of losing its appeal for a large group of sufferers — most of them men — who would like to receive therapy but prefer to start with a male therapist.
Of the few male therapists, they are nearly all effeminate and/or Jewish and/or con men.

I might rather have a male therapist, if it were a man with whom I had something in common. They do not exist.

I have never met a manly therapist. If I am going to be talking to an effeminate man, I as might as well be talking to a woman.
“Many men like this believe that only another man can help them, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or not,” Dr. Levant said. “What’s important is what the client believes.”
This is the pitch of a con man. It does not matter to Levant whether the client is helped; he only wants the client to believe that he is being helped, so that he will pay the bill.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Abuser list lacks due process

A Pittsburgh newspaper reports:
In Pennsylvania, a parent can be branded an abuser for spanking a child, and then remain on a state list with pedophiles and felons without the benefit of a court hearing, attorneys say.

"The process puts the cart before the horse," said Aaron Martin, a constitutional attorney with a private practice in Kennett Square, Chester County. "You are first declared guilty by the state, and then it is up to you to challenge that indication to assert your innocence."

Under state law, child protective service agencies such as county Children and Youth Services must investigate all reports of child abuse within 24 hours. When a social worker or police officer deems a report to be valid, law requires the immediate — and permanent — placement of the suspect's name on the state child abuse registry, regardless of whether police ever charge the person with a crime. ...

Attorneys advocating on behalf of people who contend they were improperly placed on the registry said their main concern centers on what the state terms "indicated" determinations of child abuse. That's when a social worker — not a law enforcement official or judge — decides an abuse report is valid. Social workers base those decisions on an investigation, which can include medical evidence or a suspect's admission, according to the welfare department.
That last self-serving sentence is very misleading. When my ex-wife made a complaint to CPS, the social worker's "investigation" only consisted of a couple of child interviews. There was no medical evidence or suspect admission. There was no adult confirmation of anything. No expert was consulted and no guidelines were followed. There was no appeal, except that a supervisor read the social worker report and signed off on it.

It understates the problem to say that a parent can be branded an abuser without benefit of a court hearing. The parent is never granted any sort of real hearing, in court or otherwise. Even if the parent is exonerated in court, the parent usually remains on the abuser list.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baby used for sex experiment

BBC reports:
A Toronto couple are defending their decision to keep their infant's sex a secret in order to allow the child to develop his or her own gender identity.

Kathy Witterick and David Stocker have been widely criticised for imposing their ideology on four-month-old Storm. ...

In an e-mail, Ms Witterick wrote that the idea that "the whole world must know what is between the baby's legs is unhealthy, unsafe, and voyeuristic".

Ms Witterick, 38, and Mr Stocker, 39, have also been criticised for the manner in which they are raising their two sons Jazz, five, and Kio, two.

The boys are encouraged to choose their own clothing and hairstyles - even if that means wearing girls' clothes - and to challenge gender norms. Jazz wears his hair in long braids, and the boys are "almost exclusively assumed to be girls," Mr Stocker told the Toronto Star. ...

In an e-mail to the Associated Press news agency, Ms Witterick, a stay-at-home mother, said a four-month-old infant was still learning to recognise him or herself, and said it was inappropriate to impose a gender identity on the child.
Witterick is not the first feminist to claim that sex is social construct. She will have to learn the hard way. No one has called CPS yet, as far as I know.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fathers have rights

Here are a couple of unrelated stories that actually found some rights for fathers. First, a DNA story:
Men who father a child during an affair with a married woman have the right to seek a role in the child's life, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled.

In an emotionally charged decision that critics say will undermine marriage, the court reversed centuries of common law and its own 2008 ruling that held such children are presumed to be the offspring of the woman and her husband.

Bowing to the realities of DNA testing, which makes proving fatherhood a virtual certainty, the high court said in a 4-3 opinion late last week that Christopher H. Egan has the right to assert paternity — and ultimately visitation and shared custody — to a baby girl he said he fathered in September 2008 during an extramarital affair with Julie Ann Stephens. Both live in Northern Kentucky. ...

In a dissenting opinion, however, Justice Bill Cunningham said the majority's decision consigned the institution of marriage “to the funeral pyre of modern convenience and unanchored values.”
The DNA test is now more important than marriage.

And here is a strange story from Britain:
A burglar was let out of jail yesterday because locking him up breached his family’s human rights.

In a staggering judgment, the Appeal Court ruled that the rights of Wayne Bishop’s five children were more important than those of his victims or the interests of justice.

MPs said it opened the way to thousands more convicts claiming a ‘get out of jail card’ under the controversial Human Rights Act.

Article 8, the right to a family life, has repeatedly been used by foreign criminals to avoid deportation from the UK. But this is believed to be the first time it has been used to let a prisoner walk free from jail. ...

At the Appeal Court, Mr Justice Maddison and Mr Justice Sweeney agreed that imprisoning Bishop was not in the ‘best interests’ of his children, and ordered the sentence to be suspended instead.

The court was told that Bishop was the sole carer of his children, aged between six and 13, for five nights a week. ... The court was not told that Bishop has been married for the last three years.
My working hypothesis is that judge's brains start turing to jelly whenever someone utters the phrase "best interests".

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reckless or malicious disclosure

My ex-wife is asking to have me found in contempt of court for violating Calif. Family Code 3111 because I quoted the psychologist in this explanation of how I lost joint legal custody of our kids in this case. She points to this post to show my understanding of the law.

Briefly, she lied to Ken Perlmutter, and he lied to the court. He wrote the order that took away my joint legal custody, and I thought that it was necessary to quote him in order to tell the story accurately.

The California statute has actually been changed since I quoted it above. It now has this clause added:
(f) For purposes of this section, a disclosure is unwarranted if it is done either recklessly or maliciously, and is not in the best interests of the child.
So I guess that her argument must be that I was reckless or malicious to tell the story, and not acting in the best interests of the child.

All I am doing here is to quote a govt agent who was lying in order to take rights away from me and my kids. The First Amendment protects my free speech, free press, and right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

My ex-wife's motion serves no purpose except to cover up her own lying, and the corruption of court officials. No confidential info was disclosed. Nothing was reckless or malicious. I just told the story of what the court openly did.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Judge Morse stalls again

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.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Really Happened

I just got 3 more court filings from my ex-wife, totally about 100 pages. Part of it came by a process server, and seems to duplicate what I got before. She also responds to one of my filings, and begins:
On April 21 2011 and May 12, 2011, Respondent (hereinafter, "George") filed briefs in support of his OSC for custody and visitation, to be heard on May 23,2011. Petitioner (hereinafter, referred to in the first person) herein responds to George's 2nd brief. George has submitted at least nine sections of misleading remarks in his "brief' and supporting "declaration". Below, at the cost of a work day, I drafted the following response to address the misleading content in George's 2nd brief and declaration.

Every court brief and declaration that George has filed from 2004 through the present has been filled with misleading content, causing me to spend an average of at least one to two months a year of work time addressing George's intentionally misleading legal meanderings. A licensed attorney would not get away with this unethical behavior - why should George, who chooses to act as his own attorney?
She then goes thru a list of 9 alleged "misleading statements" from my brief. The first is:
The Court has accepted the May 2010 Ken Perlmutter recommendations for the ensuing 6-9 months. After that period expired, the Court notified him that it was necessary 'for an Updated Child Custody Evaluation to be completed by Dr. Perlmutter', and that there could be no further action 'until the update has been completed'.
She then explains that "What Really Happened" was that the court ordered:
When George has completed one of the three treatment plans, he may ask for an Updated Child Custody Evaluation to be completed by Dr. Perlmutter ... The case should not be calendared for Motion 2 to Modify Custody or Visitation until the update has been completed.
So what did I get wrong? It appears that she does not like my use of the word "expired". But Perlmutter was adamant that his recommendations were only temporary for 6-9 months, and that we would have to go back to him for an update after that.

Her second complaint is that I said this about Ken Perlmutter:
He has written a letter (attached) to the court saying that he "would not do an Update", and refusing to do any more work on the case. Moreover, he says that his neutrality and objectivity were compromised in June 2010. The California Board of Psychology is currently investigating his unethical behavior in this case.
She then argues that "What Really Happened" was:
Dr. Perlmutter wrote a letter to the Court stating that it would not be appropriate for him to serve in any capacity for our family, since he cannot guarantee his objectivity and neutrality, after having read George's posts on Yelp and his web sites, subsequent to his (Dr. Perlmutter's) deposition in June 2010. Significantly, George's Yelp Internet posting was in June of 2010. Dr. Perlmutter does not state that his objectivity and neutrality were "compromised" in June of 2010.
Again, I don't really get her point. She admits that Perlmutter lost his objectivity and neutrality, after having read my June 2010 web postings. So what is she trying to say -- that he did not lose his objectivity and neutrality until July 2010? I guess it is possible that he read my postings in June, but did not understand them until July. But either way, I think that it is fair to say that his objectivity and neutrality were compromised in June 2010.

I doubt that the judge is going to read this stuff, and if she does, then I doubt that she will be able to make any sense out of it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Botox mom hoax

A reader, arguing for the necessity of CPS, gives the recent story of the Botox mom as an example of where a CPS intervention is needed. Now it turns out that the Botox mom was a hoax:
TMZ.com obtained a sworn deposition written by Kerry Campbell, whose real name is supposedly Sheena Upton, reading in part:
I Sheena Upton, was solicited by a company in the United Kingdom, to play the role of Kerry Campbell in the United Kingdom newspaper, The Sun. The Sun's story was called "I give my 8 year old daughter Botox". I was provided with the story, instructions and a script to follow for a recorded interview for paid fee. I received $200 for that story.
Upton adds that she was offered a bunch of money by "Good Morning America" and "Inside Edition" to give interviews. She confesses:
The truth is that I have never given my daughter Botox, nor allowed her to get any type of waxing, nor is she a beauty pageant contestant. Yesterday, on May 17, 2011, I went with my daughter to the U.C.L.A. Medical Center....After my daughter received a full medical exam, the results indicated that she has not ever received treatments including Botox or other such injections.
Read the document in full here.
TMZ had the scoop on this, as well as on Arnold's love child. Apparently that is the best source of celebrity news.

CPS has now dropped the case. I don't even think that this was an appropriate case for CPS anyway, even if it were not a hoax. I certainly do not agree with giving botox to an 8-year-old, but there is no evidence of substantial objective harm. It is now common for teenaged girls to get botox. I don't agree with that either, but it is legal and accepted in our society, and hence none of CPS's business.

If botox for kids is really unacceptable for kids, then I suggest passing a law against it. That is what some people are trying to do for circumcision, according to this San Jose Mercury News story:
SAN FRANCISCO -- A group seeking to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has succeeded in getting their controversial measure on the November ballot, meaning voters will be asked to weigh in on what until now has been a private family matter.

City elections officials confirmed Wednesday that the initiative had received enough signatures to appear on the ballot, receiving more than 7,700 valid signatures from city residents.

Initiatives must receive at least 7,168 signatures to qualify.

If the measure passes, circumcision would be prohibited for boys younger than 18. The practice would become a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. There would be no religious exemptions.

The initiative appears to be the first of its kind in the country to actually make it to this stage, though a larger national debate over the health benefits of circumcision has been going on for many years.

Banning circumcision would almost certainly prompt a flurry of legal challenges arguing violations of the First Amendment's guarantee of the freedom to exercise one's religious beliefs. ...

"Parents are really guardians, and guardians have to do what's in the best interest of the child. It's his body. It's his choice," said Lloyd Schofield, the measure's lead proponent ...
No, parents are not just guardians who are obligated to follow some do-gooder's opinion of the BIOTCh. Parents have a legal and moral duty to use their own judgment about their kids, as long as it is lawful.

Some people say that circumcision is child abuse, while others applaud the practice. I say that neither circumcision nor botox are matters for the judgment of CPS case workers. If these things are really ban, then ban them. If they are banned, then law enforcement can take whatever measures that the law provides. But in no case should CPS be making these decisions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Teriminator pays child support

I just listened to FoxNews (O'Reilly Factor) legal expert Lis Wiehl explain child support, in connection with the Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal:
What California does, as many states, there is a grid. And they look at this grid and say -- How much does the mom make? How much does the dad make? How much does it cost to raise a child? They put those things together, and they split it up. If the mother makes a lot more money, she is going to have to pay more. If the father makes a lot more money, he is going to have to pay more.
No, this is not right. The cost to raise a child is not a factor at all. And if the mom has full custody, then her income is not a factor either.

She also talked about how the parents can settle out of court, but that is not correct either. The parents do not have the ability to make a binding deal that the courts will uphold.

The term "child support" is misleading. The system is really a cross between an income tax and alimony. It is not what most people think at all, and not even what TV legal experts think that it is.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ex-wife demands a new plan

My ex-wife has submitted this to the court:
I propose the following plan to put a definitive end to most of these court hearings:

Visitation Supervisors:
1. I choose the visitation supervisor out of the recommended Court list. If that visitation supervisor refuses to perform visitation monitoring due to George's behavior and "sabotaging" efforts, then George forfeits his right to have visitation.

2. I choose the time, date, location and frequency of the visits. I have no problem with George seeing Mary and Jenny frequently (several times a week), but it must be under supervision and it must not continue to interrupt their lives. If George doesn't like my choices, then he can choose not to participate.

3. George pays for the chosen supervisor at the chosen time and date 2 weeks in advance, unless the visit is arranged within the 2 week span of time. If he does not pay, then he foregoes the visit. If the visit is arranged within the 2 week span then it is up to the supervisor to choose the deadline for payment. If George does not pay by the deadline, then he foregoes the visit.

4. The visitation supervisor is paid to write up a summary of the visit, as per the custom for supervisors. George pays in advance for this service, with the same rules applying for the payment for the visit date.

5. The visitation supervisor is permitted to read Dr. Perlmutter's report and whatever information I choose to give to the visitation supervisor. There is to be no exchange of documents/web site information between the visitation supervisor and George. If George wants to give the visitation supervisor information, then he must give it to me first, and I will decide if it is to be seen by the visitation supervisor. If George does not follow this rule, then George foregoes his right to have this supervisor perform visitation monitoring. This rule is intended to keep George from tainting the process.

6. The visitation supervisor is to strictly perform supervision and not to give George suggestions about how to parent. This rule is to avoid George's pattern of getting a professional from identifying with him and becoming invested in his "progress", while George only pretends to "try". Ultimately the write-ups become distorted if the visitation supervisor has too much of a vested interest in the progress of the one he/she is supervising.

Family Therapy
7. If George wants to go to family therapy with Mary and Jenny, I will pick the family therapist. This can occur between 1 and 4 times a month. George will pay the family therapist for their time, in advance, just as with the visitation supervisor of 3 above. If George does not like my choice of a family therapist, then he foregoes the opportunity to participate in family therapy.

Therapeutic Visitation Supervision
8. If George wants to have therapeutic supervised visitation, I choose the therapeutic visitation supervisor, the time/date/location/frequency of the visits. George pays for the visits and the write-up. The same rules apply for payment of therapeutic visitation supervisors as for visitation supervisors.
Wow, this is really extreme. Item 6 is particularly ridiculous.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Receipt of complaint

I just got this response to my complaint:
RE: Dr. Kenneth B. Perlmutter
Control Number: 1F 2011 215103

This is to acknowledge our receipt of your recent correspondence regarding the above-
named subject. We are currently reviewing the information you have provided and will
be conducting a thorough analysis. You will be contacted by the analyst assigned to
your case, [name omitted], for further information if necessary, and be advised of the status of your complaint at various stages of the complaint process.

The Board is currently experiencing an extended processing time for complaints. At this time, we will not respond to requests for status checks, as this delays the processing time further. Unfortunately, contacting the Board will delay processing of your complaint to the large volume of calls and e-mails we receive daily. We thank you in advance for your patience as our staff is working as quickly as possible to process your complaint.

We appreciate the information you have provided and thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Please see the enclosed flyer for information about the complaint process.

[name omitted]
Enforcement Technician
California Board of Psychology
This sounds as if I am starting to get the run-around. It is just another way of saying, "Don't call us, we'll call you."

I thought that I had a duty to notify them about what happened. I will give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they process complaints seriously.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ex-wife files new custody motion

My ex-wife has just filed a new motion for permanent sole legal and physical custody, to be heard on June 29. The paperwork is about 200 pages. Her reasons are:

1. She argues that this post violates confidentiality requirements of the California Family Code. That explains how I lost joint legal custody. I guess that I will have to research whether there is really some law that prevents me from telling that story.

2. I complained on Yelp about the court psychologist, and complained to Sacramento. She says that this damaged his reputation. She also complains that I posted his letter to the court, where he admitted his bias in the case.

3. She fears that our kids will learn that "the money follows the child", and that the court psychologists all agreed that her accusations of emotional abuse were unfounded.

4. She complains that I switched supervisors last year. She blames me for me not getting my supervised visits the last couple of months.

The curious thing is that she makes no attempt to rebut anything I said. She rambles on and on with gripes about this blog, but she fails to identify anything that is actually false.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Durbin voted off

James Durbin is Santa Cruz's most famous celebrity. He is a rock singer and had been the favorite to win American Idol, but last night he was voted off.

He is married, has a small child, and has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. I wonder if he realizes that Santa Cruz has a family court judge who believes in taking kids away from parents with Aspergers.

All six court psychologists said that I do not have Aspergers or any other psychological disorder. But Judge Heather Morse said that a lot of psychologists don't know about Aspergers, and maybe I have it or narcissism. For that, she has blocked me from seeing my kids. She obviously knows nothing about personality disorders.

Even if I had a disorder, it is the law and public policy of California not to discriminate against a parent with a disability. If you are a drug addict, then the judge can make you attend rehab, but you cannot lose custody because of mental or physical disabilities. Judge Morse says that I am "physically incapable" of understanding her decision. I wonder if she realizes how bigoted she appears. She is punishing my kids and me because of a false and ignorant stereotype.

Update: By popular demand, Durbin Day Back On In Santa Cruz. Saturday, 2:30 downtown, 5:00 Boardwalk. Santa Cruz is showing a lot of class by doing this.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Perlmutter update

I filed a new motion to the court a couple of weeks ago, and now I have updated it regarding the psychologist's refusal to update his evaluation:
Brief and declaration in support for OSC for custody and visitation

This brief updates my OSC for more favorable child custody and visitation of our two kids. An attached declaration adds some supporting facts.

The Court has accepted the May 2010 Ken Perlmutter recommendations for the ensuing 6-9 months. After that period expired, the Court notified him that it was necessary “for an Updated Child Custody Evaluation to be completed by Dr. Perlmutter”, and that there could be no further action “until the update has been completed.” He has written a letter (attached) to the court saying that he “would not do an Update”, and refusing to do any more work on the case. Moreover, he says that his neutrality and objectivity were compromised in June 2010. The California Board of Psychology is currently investigating his unethical behavior in this case.

I have completed all of Perlmutter’s recommendations, and he expressed no opinion on what to do now. He testified that AngryMom is no better parent than I am, and that there is no threat of any form of abuse. Other psychologists gave uncontradicted testimony that there was never any emotional abuse, according to the applicable standards, even if all of the accused acts were true. Perlmutter’s report said, “A key and incontrovertible finding in this evaluation is that these children love and want a relationship with their father.” [p.38]

AngryMom and I had a final judicial determination of 50-50 joint legal and physical custody in 2005, and no witness has recommended changing that. We have been operating under temporary orders since Nov. 2007.

AngryMom has cut off all visits with our kids. My last visit was March 6. We were supposed to have a visit on April 10, and then April 16 and 24, but AngryMom ignored communications on the subject. We were supposed to have another one on May 14, but the supervisor backed out when AngryMom again did not respond to emails. ...

This Court has unnecessarily and inexplicably chosen to interject itself into the rearing of our two kids. In the opinion of Perlmutter, and every other witness, this intervention has been almost entirely destructive. After seven years of litigation, a dozen evaluations, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses, this Court is no closer to resolving the issues. There is no witness who even suggests any plan or arrangement that is better than the 50-50 joint custody we had back in 2003.

The effect of this Court’s ruling is to string this case along until our kids are age 18, by ordering more and more evaluations and reciting anecdotes about an alarm clock and other trivial matters from many years ago. But there is no witness who has ever testified that any of those anecdotes should have any bearing on our custody situation.

This Court is forcing my kids to grow up without a father. Someday I will have to tell them why. They will ask what I did wrong, and what the Court wanted me to do. They will want to know why their college tuition fund was spent on court psychologists. The Court only says that I am “physically incapable” of understanding, and that maybe I have a personality disorder that none of the six psychological evaluations were able to detect. I am asking this Court to let me return to joint custody, or to explain how it is going to continue intervening in the upbringing of our children.
If I were truly a bad parent, the court could just declare me unfit or give my ex-wife permanent custody. If I had some bad habits, such as drug use or losing my temper, then the court could require me to correct the problem. But it does none of those things. It just keeps issuing temporary orders, and it may continue doing that until my kids are age 18.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Many courts use video hearings

An AP story tells how many courts are using closed-circuit TV to make it easier for prisoners to appear in court. While this may occasionally be convenient, it can be taken too far:
In Oregon's Multnomah County, which includes Portland, court officials have set up a closed-link system at a domestic violence shelter where women can apply for a protective order from their abusers without having to risk leaving the safe house.
The AP didn't even bother to call them ALLEGED abusers.

Needless to say, this procedure violates the constitutional right of the ALLEGED abuser to CONFRONT his accuser. Confront mean look her in the eye, in the flesh, in person. A TV screen doesn't cut it!

It is easy to lie when you are just checking boxes on a form, and not facing the consequences of your lies. There are good reasons for our centuries-old tradition of requiring parties to face each other in court.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Complaint to State Board

I just mailed this complaint:
To: California Board of Psychology.
This is a complaint against Kenneth B. Perlmutter.

This complaint concerns a court-ordered child custody evaluation. I was not a patient and I did not receive diagnosis or treatment. I am using this letter instead of the official consumer complaint form, because I think this is more appropriate.

My ex-wife filed for divorce in 2003, and we signed an agreement for joint custody of our two kids. We had several evaluations for the family court and a full child custody trial in 2005, resulting in a final and permanent judicial determination of 50-50 joint legal and physical custody. In Nov. 2007, she alleged emotional abuse to CPS and the court, and asked for temporary legal and physical custody. The court granted temporary sole physical custody pending a psychological evaluation, and denied the sole legal custody request. Ken Perlmutter was appointed to do the psychological evaluation, and to make child custody recommendations.

Perlmutter was paid $27,900 for his evaluation, report, and testimony. He only made a temporary recommendation for the next 6-9 months, and suggested going back to him for an update to get instructions on what to do after that. His recommendation reduced me to only a once-a-month supervised visits. He mailed his recommendation to a juvenile delinquency court commissioner who issued the recommendation as an order in May 2010, without any notice or hearing. Perlmutter testified in deposition in June 2010, and in court in Dec. 2010.

Perlmutter admitted, under oath, that he brought no psychological or legal expertise to bear on his recommendations, that I am just as good a parent as my ex-wife, that there is no example of a substandard parenting practice on my part, that he has no suggestion as to how I could improve my parenting, and that there is no example of such extreme recommendations doing any good in a case like mine. He explained his decision as one where the court had acted wrongly, and he was just continuing the injustice, in order to support the expectations of the court.

Perlmutter also admitted, under oath, that he did not know how emotional abuse was defined, and therefore was incompetent to express an opinion on those allegations. He admitted that he wrongly said that I had lost legal custody, and that his first recommendation that “Mother shall continue to have temporary sole legal and sole physical custody of the minor children” was based on that wrong premise. He said that his recommended order was “insane”, but he refused to send any correction to the court.

Here is his June 2010 testimony about the court order that he wrote:
10 A. How can you comply with it? There's nothing
11 in the order as it's filed with the court that is
12 compliable. It's absolutely insane. You can quote me
13 on that. It's on the record. It makes no sense to me
14 that my recommendations are a court order because there
15 are contradictory things in the court order.
Nevertheless, I have had to try to comply with his order for the last year.

In April 2011, Perlmutter notified the court that he was refusing to do the update he promised, saying, “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.”

Perlmutter may say that his job was made more difficult by the lengthy legal history of the divorce case, or the absence of lawyer, or my blog where I have discussed public court actions. However, I disagree. The lengthy legal history shows that many issues were already resolved. For example, he did not have to do any psychological testing because he relied on previous evaluations that determined that there were no disorders present. Lawyers are not allowed to be involved in an evaluation anyway.

I do have an “angry dad” blog where I express my dissatisfaction with the family court. I do believe in publicly defending myself and my kids against those who attack us with false and defamatory allegations in public court. Perlmutter knew about my blog when he agreed to do an evaluation, and he said in writing that he had no objection to it.

You may assume that my perspective is skewed by my dissatisfaction with the family court. Perlmutter said that my “children's insight and level of maturity surpasses their father's.” They were aged 12 and 10 at the time. Referring to an allegation that it was emotional abuse for me to set an alarm clock for 7:00 to wake up for school and to take my kids to a county math contest, he said that “it is unclear why no criminal charges were filed” against me. [both quotes from his May 2010 report] The judge said that I was “physically incapable of perceiving why he was being prevented from having unsupervised time with his children.” [April 2011 decision] But regardless of whatever physical and mental disabilities I might have, it was Perlmutter’s responsibility to explain how the issues of the case could be addressed using generally accepted psychological knowledge. His report said, “A key and incontrovertible finding in this evaluation is that these children love and want a relationship with their father.” But he refused to make any recommendation for how such a relationship could be achieved.

It is not clear why my criticisms should have anything to do with Perlmutter’s neutrality and objectivity. He had to know that I would be dissatisfied with his report. Even if he didn’t, he had an obligation to find out. I did post a negative review of him on Yelp.com in June 2010, but so did others. At that time, there were ten other Yelp reviews of him, and every one of them gave him the lowest possible rating.

Perhaps Perlmutter is upset that there are complaints about him on the internet. I would have very much preferred to keep my private life private. However, he asked me to sign an agreement saying that I “understand that essentially there is no confidentiality in this matter”. Furthermore, he chose to put his recommendations on the public court record, without any opportunity for me to object, negotiate, or even for me to request corrections. That document falsely and publicly accuses me of having lost joint legal custody of my kids as a result of emotional abuse. I believe that I have a right and a duty to publicly defend myself and my kids against such public accusations against me.

Perlmutter gives “June 2010” as the date for reading the online criticisms that caused his loss of neutrality and objectivity. But he testified against me in Dec. 2010 anyway, without notifying the court that he had lost his neutrality and objectivity. It is not clear how he could possibly justify testifying that I should lose custody pending an update from him, and then refusing to do that update because he had previously had lost his neutrality and objectivity.

My current situation is that my kids have not seen me in two months, and Perlmutter’s irresponsible actions have left me with no prospects for improvement. The current court order forbids me from even filing a motion to see my kids until I get an update from Perlmutter, and he refuses to do it. Even if I could get the attention of the court, I would probably have to start all over with a new evaluation from a new psychologist. It took three years and $28k to get one from Perlmutter.

I sent Perlmutter a letter on April 25 explaining how he made his work worthless, and demanding a return of his fees. He has ignored my request.

I believe that Perlmutter’s behavior and performance has been unethical, unprofessional, grossly negligent, and incompetent for the following reasons.

  1. Failure to recognize to major legal points of the case. Perlmutter either did not understand or did not accept any of the case legal history. He claimed to not understand the outcome of the 2005 custody trial, and he wrongly claimed that I lost joint legal custody in 2007. This is in spite of the fact that we gave him the documents, and I personally explained them to him.
  2. Failure to consider the emotional abuse allegation. We had 50-50 joint legal custody, and there was only one contrary allegation: emotional abuse. There was no alcohol or drug use, domestic violence, child neglect, or anything like that. There were no significant facts in dispute. The whole purpose of his appointment was to evaluate the emotional abuse allegation, and he admitted that he did not even bother to find out how emotional abuse is defined.
  3. Failure to base his opinion on expert knowledge. Perlmutter testified as an expert witness, which means his opinion should be based on some generally accepted expert knowledge that might not be known to the court. But he admitted, under oath, that he did not rely on any such knowledge.
  4. Refusal to correct his errors. Even when I proved to him that he had written a court order based on a incorrect reading of the existing custody situation, he refused to notify the court of his mistake.
  5. Excessive fees. Failure to refund any of it when his own actions made his work worthless.
  6. Failure to resolve anything. Perlmutter made no attempt to resolve any dispute, and even admitted, under oath, that he could not have caused greater conflict even if he had been trying to do so.
  7. Testifying in favor of a dead plan. His Dec. 2010 court testimony was in favor of his May 2010 plan, and that plan required an update from him after 6-9 months. We had already been on the plan for 7 months, so we were going to need that update in only a couple of months. He had apparently already decided that he was refusing to do that update.
  8. Refusal to finish the job. He has personally caused us about two years of extra litigation, and forced my kids to live without a father, because he has refused to make the recommendations for which he was paid $28k.
  9. Bias. He admits that his neutrality and objectivity were compromised in June 2010 after reading my disagreements with his testimony. But he continued to testify against me in Dec. 2010 anyway.
  10. Leaving my kids and me in an impossible situation. He received the April 2011 order specifying that his promised update was essential to the court process of restoring custody and visitation, and he still refused to do it.

I have put some relevant documents online. These include his appointment order, his recommended custody plan, his letter refusing to do an update, and the online postings that apparently annoyed him. I will put more there on request. I am unable to sign a release for my kids, because Perlmutter’s error has taken away my legal custody. There may be legal obstacles to releasing some of the documents. However, I believe that I can quote from these documents as necessary, if Perlmutter disputes anything I say.

I hereby authorize use of these documents to process this complaint, and also for the similar use of any other documents on the court record.
I am not very optimistic about this. The guy has done 650 evaluations, and he has not lost his license yet. But I think that I have a duty to file a complaint anyway. Maybe when the Board gets a hundred complaints like this, it might do something.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Fired commissioner is back

Irwin Joseph was a Santa Cruz commissioner and acting family court judge, until he was fired last year. He then did a mediation business, getting clients from the family court. His website now says:
Effective May 2, 2011, I return to the bench as a Superior Court Commissioner, having been recently appointed by Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Another site says:
HON. IRWIN JOSEPH has been recently appointed Commissioner at Santa Clara Superior Court, after completing four years in the Family Law Department in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, hearing dissolution, custody, support, paternity and domestic violence matters. He created a Judicial Mediation and ENE program for the Family Court.
Wow, I am really surprised that he could get hired in the next county. He was widely despised as an incompetent jerk in Santa Cruz.

He held a grudge against me because I once got him reversed on appeal in a published opinion. It was not worth it, as he vindictively punished me in other ways. He made me pay non-guideline support. He sent the sheriff to seize my kids, even though CPS closed the case without making a recommendation. He issued custody orders without any hearing or due process. He even tried to shut down criticism of him on this blog. If there were any justice, he would be in prison for abuse of power.

If anyone from Silicon Valley googles him and finds this blog, you should know that you do not have to accept having a lowly commissioner as a judge. He will pressure you to sign a form waiving your rights, but you do not have to sign. Ask for a real judge.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Innocent man must pay child support

Here is another story about a deadbeat dad who did not pay child support. His excuse -- he was on death row in Texas for a crime he did not commit.

A Dallas newspaper editorial says:
The absurdity of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott seizing a $250 check due to Anthony Graves underscores the point that the state’s best-known exoneree still has not received justice.

Graves, wrongfully convicted of capital murder in 1994, was released in October after 18 years of incarceration, most of it on death row. A special prosecutor handling a retrial of his case cited fabricated evidence and unethical pressure on witnesses by her predecessor when prosecutors asked a state court to drop all charges. The court readily agreed.

The obvious next step would have been for Graves to receive compensation from the state under the Timothy Cole Compensation Act, which allots $80,000 to wrongfully convicted people for every year of their life taken by the state. Instead, because the court did not use the words “actual innocence” in its release order, Comptroller Susan Combs said the state should not pay. Despite criticism from Gov. Rick Perry — and pretty much everyone else — the comptroller has stood by this decision, which has prompted a lawsuit.

Now, while all of this is going on, an automated system in the Texas attorney general’s office tagged Graves for owing back payments of child support for 1998-2002. Why was he behind? The fact that he was locked up on death row might have had something to do with it.
The system is sick. Those kids are grown now. The man obviously did not have any money or income while he was on death row. The money would not go to the children anyway.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Correcting the errors

A reader asks:
You say you demonstrated the errors in the report and Dr. Perlmutter refused to correct it. Was this before it was submitted to the court? I understand there should be some time to review the report by the parties before the court gets it and a party can object to it before it's submitted. Did you do this?
Common sense would suggest that I would have an opportunity to correct errors, but it does not work that way.

During the evaluation, I explain the basic facts of the case to Kenneth B. Perlmutter, but I was talking to an idiot. I told him that we had joint legal custody, and here is what he put in his report:
(Quote redacted by court order.)
No, I was not unsure. Those 2007 papers clearly say that my ex-wife asked for sole legal custody, but the request was denied. We had joint legal custody, and the court papers clearly said so. And yet he claims to have examined the papers himself, and quoted them.

No, I did not have a chance to see Perlmutter's report before he sent it to the court. His policy is to keep the parents from ever seeing his report, if he can arrange it, as I noted here.

In deposition, I asked him to show me the document that he quoted from. He produced the application for the order, and the order. He did not seem to understand the difference. He again quoted the application for the order to say that the court had terminated the joint legal custody. I had to point out to him that the application had large block letters across the top saying, "THIS IS NOT AN ORDER".

He eventually admitted that it was insane for the commissioner to take away my joint legal custody based on some idiot shrink's misreading of an order, and to do it without any hearing or due process. Since Perlmutter knew that his error was the basis for the commissioner's faulty actions, I asked Perlmutter to correct his error by notifying the commissioner. Ken Perlmutter refused.

So to answer the reader's question, I had no opportunity to see or correct Perlmutter's errors before they were sent to Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph and issued as a order of the court.

The error about legal custody was not even his biggest error. He got all of the major elements of the case wrong.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

New book about killer mom

There is a new book by famous New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm about a mom who hired a hit man to kill the dad, and the ensuing murder trial:
Three and a half weeks before Malakov’s death, Justice Sidney Strauss of the New York State Supreme Court suddenly awarded him sole custody of Michelle, even though until that point, the girl had lived with her mother and resisted visits with her father. The prosecution’s theory was that Borukhova had killed her husband to avenge this loss. ... Malcolm treats Strauss’s custody ruling as a terrifyingly arbitrary exercise of state power. ... What malevolent fairy had written its surreal script?”

That character turns out to be David Schnall, Michelle’s court-appointed law guardian. As Malcolm explains, law guardians aren’t constrained by the wishes of their child clients. At their worst, they present the child’s best interests to the court in a light that merely reflects their own prejudices. Schnall never talked to Michelle, ...
The parents were both physicians, and Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants. The dad was shot and killed while he was with his daughter. The mom and hit man convicted of murder by the jury, and sentenced to life without parole.

I haven't read the book, but it appears to me that this is another case of destruction caused by family court meddling. The court could have just let the parents have joint custody, and there would have probably been no problems. But the court made a mess of it, and kept making it worse. The court first gave the mom sole custody, then restricted the dad to supervised visits, then allowed the mom to sabotage those visits by alienating the kid, then appointed a guardian ad litem, and then ordered another radical custody change.

I blame the family court. Some day it will be obvious that there is no justification for court meddling in these cases. The court always makes things worse. I don't think that I have even heard of one case where family court meddling did any good at all.

I have never even heard of Bukharan Jews. They come from central Asia. I am making a note not to pick any fights with them. A seemingly civilized physician could have a cousin who is a gangster or a hit man. I get the impression from the above story that a sizable part of the Bukharan Jewish community believes that common family court orders are sufficient justification for murder. The NY Times says that the "trial divided the community". That should be a clue that the NY family court is doing something wrong.