Saturday, November 30, 2013

Punished for reporting animal abuse

I sometimes report on child abuse cases, and I am reporting this because I did not even know that animal abuse was reportable like child abuse:
GREELEY, Colo. - The woman who took a video showing alleged animal abuse at a cattle ranch near Kersey is now facing animal cruelty charges.

Taylor Radig, who was associated with an animal rights organization, filmed the abuse as she worked at the Quanah Cattle Company from mid-July through September.

Radig was associated with an animal rights organization identified as Compassion Over Killing and referred to herself as a “contractor” for said organization, according to the sheriff's office.

The video footage was handed over to the Weld County Sheriff's Office two months after Radig quit working there, the sheriff's office said.

On Friday, Radig was charged with animal cruelty because she didn't report the abuse when it was happening, which is a violation of state law.
So she reported animal abuse and gets charged for not reporting it two months earlier?

There is somethihng fishy about this story. Maybe the cops just wanted to drive the animal rights group out of the county.

In most states, it is legal to fail to turn in a murderer. You can witness a murder, and report it 2 months late, or never report it, and you cannot be penalized. I do not know why animals would have more rights than human beings.

Update: A reader refers me to Ag-gag anti-whistleblower laws.

Update: No new ag-gag bills were passed in 2013.

Friday, November 29, 2013

CPS blames parents for bad diagnosis

Fox News Connecticut reports on a case where CPS blamed the parents when they got bad medical diagnoses for their daughter:
It’s a medical “mystery” that has left a Connecticut family baffled and heartbroken.

After a long history of medical problems, a West Hartford teenager is now “trapped” inside a hospital with seemingly no way out.

FOX CT spent the past few months investigating the emotional case.

It has been a bitter custody battle, and nine months after it started, it’s still going on.

In December 2012, Justina Pelletier was an active 15-year-old girl who would go ice skating, laughed and spent time with her family.

But just two months later, her family says their nightmare began.
“[Exhales] It’s beyond any wildest nightmare that you could think of,” says Justina’s father, Lou Pelletier.

Her longtime West Hartford psychologist has also been following the case.

“It’s the most bizarre situation … I’ve ever been involved with,” says Dean Hokanson, the clinical psychologist who has worked with Justina the past five years.

Justina was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease a few years ago. It’s a genetic disorder that can cause loss of muscle coordination and weakness.

Despite that diagnosis she lived a normal life.

But last February, she also got the flu and was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital to see her specialist.

Almost immediately, a different team of doctors delivered a different diagnosis, questioning the original diagnosis of mitochondrial disease.

“They came in, and they said we cannot take Justina out of the hospital. They called DCF,” says Linda Pelletier, Justina’s mother.

They said Justina had “somatoform disorder.”

In short, they were saying she suffered from a mental illness, not mitochondrial disease.

Her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, were escorted out of the hospital by security, and within four days, they lost custody of Justina. ...

The Pelletiers are left fighting DCF in court, hoping to regain custody of their daughter, and watch her ice skate once again.

“Hospitals, be it this scenario or big picture, cannot just hide behind DCF to do their dirty work,” says Lou Pelletier.

Since our initial investigation, we’ve learned that the judge has issued a gag order in this case.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The fad psycho diagnosis of our age

I mentioned a NY Magazine article, and it has more:
“Is every man in America somewhere on it?” Nora Ephron wondered about the autism spectrum in an e-mail to a friend a few months before her death. “Is every producer on it? Is every 8-year-old boy who is obsessed with statistics on it? Sometimes, when we say someone is on the spectrum, do we just mean he’s a prick? Or a pathological narcissist? I notice that at least three times a week I am told (or I tell someone) that some man or other is on the spectrum.”
After saying that Romney and Obama are both on the autism spectrum, it lists other celebrities:
The diagnosis is everywhere: Facebook’s former head of engineering has stated that Mark Zuckerberg has “a touch of the Asperger’s.” Time suggested that the intensely awkward Bill Gates is autistic; a biographer of Warren Buffett wrote that the Oracle of Omaha, with his prodigious memory and “fascination with numbers,” has “a vaguely autistic aura.” On Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew Pinsky deemed Dennis Rodman (selectively hyperfocused, socially obtuse) a candidate for an Asperger’s diagnosis, and the UCLA specialist brought in to make it official “seemed to concur,” Pinsky told viewers. On the Asperger’s community site Wrong Planet, threads like “Real life celebrities who have or probably have Asperger’s” include Jim Carrey, Adolf Hitler, Daryl Hannah, Slash, Billy Joel, J. K. Rowling, and Adam Carolla, who makes the cut because “I’ve heard guests on his podcast remark on his lack of eye contact.” “Kanye Probably Has Asperger’s,” BuzzFeed recently declared.

Still others are seeing it in themselves. David Byrne: “I was a peculiar young man—borderline Asperger’s, I would guess.” Craigs­list founder Craig Newmark, noting his poor eye contact and limited social competency, blogged that Asperger’s symptoms “feel uncomfortably familiar.” Dan Harmon, the volatile creator of NBC’s Community, told an interviewer last year that he had boned up on Asperger’s symptoms when researching the character Abed: “The more I looked them up, the more familiar they seemed.” Dan Aykroyd told NPR’s Terry Gross that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child (a puzzling claim given that the diagnosis didn’t exist prior to 1981, when Aykroyd turned 29); Aykroyd insisted he was being serious, and as evidence of his continuing symptoms he noted his “fascination with law enforcement and the police.”
It concludes that autism specturm is the fad diagnosis of our ae:
Every generation has its defining psychiatric malady, confidently diagnosed from afar by armchair non-psychiatrists. In the fifties, all those gray-suited organization men were married to “frigid” women. Until a few years ago, the country of self-obsessed boomers and reality-TV fame-seekers and vain politicians and bubble-riding Ponzi schemers made narcissistic personality disorder—diagnosis code 301.81 in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition—the craziness of the moment. And who among us has not proudly copped to our own “OCD” or “ADD,” deemed a mercurial sibling “seriously bipolar,” written off an erratic ex as “obviously borderline,” or nodded as a laid-off friend pronounced his former boss a “textbook sociopath”? Lately, a new kind of head case stalks the land—staring past us, blurting gaucheries, droning on about the technical minutiae of his boring hobby. And we are ready with our DSM codes: 299.00 (autistic disorder) and 299.80 (Asperger’s disorder).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Santa Cruz director of dad gouging

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports:
SANTA CRUZ -- The Department of Child Support Services is getting a new director, Jamie Murray, who is moving here from the same job in Sutter County.

A 20-year veteran of child support services around California, "she brings to the table a lot of tools that you really want to see in the department," said Lynn Miller, the interim director.

Murray has a bachelor's in industrial psychology from CSU, Hayward and a master's in public administration from CSU, East Bay. She will oversee a staff of 64 employees and a budget of $6.8 million in Santa Cruz County, as well as 19 employees and a budget of $1.86 million in San Benito County. Child Support Services does everything from garnishing wages to revoking passports in an effort to get kids their fair share. They also handle state-mandated paternity tests. ...

The department has a lot of options for finding delinquent parents and getting them to pay child support, including revoking driver's, hunting, fishing and medical licenses. But the goal isn't just to punish delinquent cases. They'll work with parents through job loss and other financial straights, to make sure everyone can afford their payments.

"A lot of people who aren't in the system wonder what we do," Miller said. "We serve a lot of families. And we really want to keep the noncustodial parent as involved in the child's life as the custodial parent. We didn't in the past, but we're really trying these days."
She has 64 employees and $6.8M just for extracting support payments from noncustodial dads? Yes, I do wonder what they all do.

How can a noncustodial parent be as involved as the custodial parent? She is babbling nonsense.

A comment says that the dept is getting sued in federal court.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Children of the Underground

A reader provided more info on the case below. The NY Daily News reports:
According to The Australian, Barnett initially fled to South Africa, where she married a man, Juan Geldenhuys in 1995.

She later gave birth to a son, now 17, before moving to New Zealand. From there, she moved to Australia after splitting with Geldenhuys, who recently died of bone cancer. It was a friend of Geldenhuys who helped tracked down Savanna's father after becoming suspicious of the mother and tracking him down via the Internet.

She was apparently helped in the US by an organization called Children of the Underground, which helps women stuck in apparently abusive relationships.
Another source says:
Since then, he has spent nearly all his assets in an effort to recover Savanna. Leveraged to the hilt, he lives simply and works seven-day weeks at two jobs: as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and as a father engaged in a full-time search for his child.

There are hundreds of people like Todd, mostly fathers, who say they are victims of an underground network that willingly helps mothers and their children go into hiding - in violation of court orders.

Most of these fathers say they have been falsely accused of molesting their children. While the courts believe them, the underground's organizers don't; instead, they take the law into their own hands, leaving fathers cut off from their sons and daughters for years at a time, sometimes forever.

The most public of those underground leaders, Faye Yager, says she will only hide mothers who have extensive documentation of sexual abuse - medical reports, psychological evaluations, police statements.

But no such papers existed in Todd's case. Barnett never made any sexual abuse allegations during the long, nasty court battle for custody of Savanna. She called Harris Todd lots of names, but "child molester" wasn't one of them.
Just as I suspect, there is an underground network of child kidnappers that help moms violate child custody court orders. They tell themselves that they are preventing child molesters, or some such nonsense. Fathers no not molest their one-year-old babies. This is just a phony charges that is dreamed up by moms because they are vindictive, delusional, paranoid, possessive, borderline, or whatever.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mom tracked down in Australia

A baby stealer has been tracked down on the other side of the world. AP reports:
A woman accused of abducting her infant daughter from South Carolina 20 years ago has been located in Australia and is facing extradition back to the United States to face charges, federal authorities announced this week.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said that an indictment had been unsealed charging Dorothy Lee Barnett, 53, with international parental kidnapping and making a false statement on a passport application.

Her daughter, Savanna Catherine Todd, now 20, was in Australia living a normal life, Nettles said.

Barnett did not have custody of her then 10-month-old daughter when she left in 1994 from Isle of Palms, Nettles said. At the time, police said Barnett left for a birthday party with her daughter and never returned. In 1993, she had filed for divorce from her husband, Bowling Green, Ky., native and former Charleston stockbroker Benjamin Harris Todd III.

Authorities said Barnett was located in Australia earlier this month and had been living under several aliases.
Some people are probably going to say that this woman should not be punished because she is the mom, because a mom must have had good reasons for her flight, and because she is no longer a threat to kidnap more babies.

It should not matter if the daughter speaks out in favor of the mom. Kids are worse off being reared by single moms, and a lot of resources could have been spent on the search. The kidnapping was a big loss to the dad and other relatives. The mom was probably helped by friends and relatives, and they could be charged also/.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Forensic lab expert is convicted

In a rare case of accountability for forensic experts, a corrupt chemist is going to prison.

AP reports:
A chemist at a Massachusetts drug lab accused of faking test results in criminal cases has been sentenced to three to five years in prison.

Annie Dookhan, of Franklin, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence. Friday in Suffolk Superior Court.

She'll also be on probation for two years when she gets out of court.

Dookhan sent the state's criminal justice system into a tailspin last year when state police shut down the state Department of Public Health lab she worked at after discovering the extent of her misconduct.

Since the lab closed in August 2012, at least 1,100 criminal cases have been dismissed or not prosecuted because of tainted evidence or other fallout from the lab's shutdown.
She did not make all drug tests positive, of course -- just the one where she knew that the prosecutors wanted a positive result. More details:
State police shut down the state Department of Public Health lab she worked at after discovering the extent of Dookhan's alleged misconduct.

Prosecutors said Dookhan admitted "dry labbing," or testing only a fraction of a batch of samples, then listing them all as positive for illegal drugs, to "improve her productivity and burnish her reputation." ...

Dookhan's lawyer, Nicolas Gordon, argued that she made a series of tragic mistakes and that her only motivation was to be "the hardest-working and most prolific and most productive chemist."

"This is not a woman who ever set out to hurt anyone," Gordon argued during a court hearing last month.
She is a scapegoat. None of the prosecutors is being punished.

The judge piles on:
Sentencing guidelines called for a maximum sentence of three years for Dookhan, but Ball said in a ruling last month she wanted to impose a tougher sentence “given the magnitude of the harm she has done, considerations of general deterrence and, particularly, punishment.”

The judge said in the ruling that “the consequences of her behavior, which she ought to have foreseen, have been nothing short of catastrophic: Innocent persons were incarcerated, guilty persons have been released to further endanger the public, millions and millions of public dollars are being expended to deal with the chaos Ms. Dookhan created, and the integrity of the criminal justice system has been shaken to the core.”

Dookhan pleaded guilty to 27 charges, including evidence tampering and obstruction of justice. She worked at a now-closed Department of Public Health lab in Jamaica Plain.

A scientific determination that a substance seized by police is an illegal drug is a cornerstone of a drug case in court. A defendant cannot be convicted for possession or distribution of, for example, a harmless white powder.
No, the whole state criminal justice system should have foreseen this. Those judges and prosecutors surely realized that they were giving incentives for pro-prosecution faking.

It is very easy to devise a system where it would be impossible to do what Dookhan did. Just occasionally send duplicated samples to an independent out-of-state lab. Anonymize the samples so that no one at the lab knows which samples are supposed to be positive. Use some of the quality control methods that are now used in factories all over the world.

The state has to do some of these things anyway in order to get admissible evidence in court. Someone is supposed to be able to testify about the reliability of the lab results, and they need to do some sort of double-checking in order to estimate the reliability.

No, the state of Mass. deliberately created a system for framing defendants with bogus lab results.

The problem is worse in the family court. I do not see how Dookhan's crime is any worse that what psychologist Ken Perlmutter does. He refused to do my evaluation until he could call Commissioner Irwin Joseph to find out what outcome he wanted. And then he dry-labbed his report, ignoring the evidence on the record. This Complaint to State Board details how he failed to do a proper evaluation. The California board verified all the factual allegations, but did not take his license away.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Asperger syndrome and divorce

I have posted many times a bout phony psychological diagnoses being used as evidence, and I just found this 2012 NY Magazine article about Asperger syndrome being dropped from the DSM-5:
The publication of DSM-IV had unintended consequences. “We were glad that Asperger’s was included,” says psychologist Bryna Siegel, another working-group member, who directs clinical care at the autism clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, “but until the publication of DSM-IV, very few people had heard the term Asperger’s. And when it came out, a lot of clinicians let their fingers do the walking in DSM. There were fully trained practicing clinicians who really didn’t have any idea what Asperger’s was. Everybody with Asperger’s got diagnosed with Asperger’s, but a lot of other people got diagnosed with Asperger’s, too.”

Siegel, who has been running her clinic since the eighties, says she’s seeing “more false-positive assessments than ever before.” Of the roughly ten new assessments she’s asked to do every week—kids showing up with spectrum diagnoses from another therapist — six of them might not have an autism-spectrum disorder. This isn’t to say that they may not have psychological issues, only that those are either other disorders or they don’t rise to an impairing level. “A lot of kids are just delayed in development, slow to talk, or anxious, or hyperactive, and a lot of kids are just terribly parented.”

Siegel sees overdiagnosis and misdiagnosis as driven largely by economic and social priorities rather than medical ones. Some adults who might be very high-functioning seek a formal diagnosis because it enables them to, in Siegel’s words, “wallow” in their symptoms rather than “ameliorate” them, because they’re “a lunch ticket.” Poor parents want diagnoses serious enough to merit state-funded school services, and rich parents want the least stigmatizing diagnoses. (“When you say a kid is mentally retarded,” Siegel says, “parents try to talk you out of it.”) And some parents are simply flummoxed by their own kids’ irrational mood swings, refusal of food, or inability to express emotion. When these parents come to Siegel, they get a surprise: She diagnoses their children as suffering from childhood. “We see a lot of diagnosis-of-childhood kids, whose parents have never set limits, plus kids who are temperamentally difficult to raise.”

Also temperamentally difficult: husbands. Put-upon spouses have seized on the autism rainbow as a simple, esteem-boosting way to pathologize what used to be called “a typical guy.” Simon Baron-Cohen, a leading expert on Asperger’s at Cambridge (and, as it happens, the cousin of Sacha), has theorized that the autism spectrum represents the “extreme male brain,” turned up to eleven. Hence the ubiquity of spectrum references in the coastal power centers where Nora Ephron spent most of her time. And the Internet abounds with unhappy married women diagnosing their callous workaholic husbands with Asperger’s, whether or not a clinician has seconded their opinion. In a forum called Asperger Divorce Support Group, posters share war stories, some less harrowing than others: “My ex … did not GET a sunset. He took pictures of fall color trees last year and said, ‘I guess its cool looking, right?’ ”

“It’s become more frequent in the last five years,” confirms a Connecticut divorce lawyer who says she has represented parties in several cases where a wife accused the husband of being on the spectrum. “It’s women complaining, ‘He lines up my towels perfectly. He complains if his shoes aren’t lined up right.’ ”

Men have caught on and, in a kind of inverted gaslighting, begun to describe themselves as having Asperger’s as a way of controlling their spouses. “Having Asperger’s-like syndrome does not give you Asperger’s,” says David Schnarch, a Colorado-based couples therapist. “Having a big belly does not make you pregnant. I’ve not seen a single case of what I would consider to be diagnosable Asperger’s. But I have seen any number of cases of wives accusing husbands of it, any number of cases of husbands claiming to have it.” It’s the new ADHD, he says. “The wife doesn’t want to accept that the husband knows what he’s doing when he’s doing something she doesn’t like.” Schnarch recalls a man who phoned him the day before a scheduled initial couples session and announced that he’d just been diagnosed with Asperger’s.
Here is a woman who brags about being a sociopath, and says that there is a fine line between that and Asperger. Tyler Cowen suspects that her book is a stunt.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Looking for bigfoot in Santa Cruz

The Animal Planet TV channel just broadcast an episode from the Santa Cruz mountains:
Surf's Up, Sasquatch

The team travels to Santa Cruz to visit the Bigfoot Discovery Museum. The museum's owner directs them to recent eyewitnesses and secret hotspots. Bobo hopes the smells from an authentic Hawaiian luau will be too much for nearby bigfoots to resist.
The local expert, who claimed his own bigfoot sighting was Univ. of Santa Cruz Psychology professor Walsh.

I cannot find "Dr. Walsh" on the UCSC Pyschology faculty page. I don't know whether the guy is an impostor, a promoter for the Felton Bigfoot museum, a gullible fool, or just took too much LSD.

I posted last year about weirdo UCSC psychology professors dropping dead.

Maybe I expect too much from this crazy little beach town. How can I hope for sane and honest court psychologists, when even the college professors are nuts?

Besides bigfoot, Santa Cruz has also been famous all over the world this week for pictures of toddlers snuggling with puppies.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Santa Cruz county judge assignment

A reader writes:
You may have heard that Judge Ariadne Symons is moving to family court in Watsonville and Commissioner Irwin Joseph has moved to the court in Morgan Hill.
No, I didn't hear. I see the Santa Cruz judicial assignments page says:

Department C: Judge Jeff Almquist
Family Law/Small Claims

Department D: Judge Stephen S. Siegel
Family Law/Domestic Violence/Family Preservation Court/Family Law Pro Per Court (Moves to Dept. 1 November 25, 2013)


Department C: Judge Jeff Almquist
Family Law

Department D: Judge Ariadne Symons
Family Law/Domestic Violence/Family Preservation Court/Family Law Pro Per Court
So it appears that Symons is replacing Siegel, with Almquist staying on the family court. I don't know how they decide betweeen Dept. C and D.

I guess Joseph is still a commissioner because he was passed over for a judge appointment, thanks to those who explained his incompetence to the governor's advisory committee. Judge Morse was apparently demoted to a lower court.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Man erects giant middle finger

Lisa sends this NY Post story about an angry ex-husband:
Alan Markovitz is “so over” his ex-wife.

So over her. Which is presumably why he bought the house next to hers and erected a $7000 statue of a hand with its middle finger raised in the backyard.

The bronze statue, which is about 3.5 metres tall, faces the windows of Mr Markovitz’s ex-wife Lea Tuohy’s house.
It’s even spot-lit to ensure the neighbours can see it at night, Gawker reports.

Mr Markovitz is a “local legend” who owns three strip clubs in the US city of Detroit. He reportedly lives with his 17-year-old daughter, Tiffany, from a previous relationship. ...

Mr Markovitz has a colourful reputation to say the least. He’s been shot twice and targeted by a murder contract, all while buying and selling local topless clubs, Deadline Detroit reports.

Mr Markovitz has also written an autobiography, modestly entitled “Topless Prophet: The True Story of America’s Most Successful Gentleman’s Club Entrepreneur”. The book is currently being turned into a TV series.

Oh, and the guy obviously has enough cash floating around to casually buy a house and put a $7000 statue in the yard just to spite his ex-wife and her new partner.
Compared to all the other ways that ex-spouses get revenge, both legal and criminal, this is tame and amusing.

Signs of a false accusation

Return of Kings posts signs of a bogus rape accusation:
1. Virtually no evidence of struggle
2. The attacker is invited to the victim’s house OR the victim willingly went to the attacker’s house
3. Authorities are alerted days, weeks, or even months after the rape
I would add some others that occur in child molestation accusations:
Lack of objective evidence
Complaints only made years later
Inconsistencies explained by recovered memories
Complainers suing for big bucks
An implausible conspiracy covered up the crime
All of these were present with Jerry Sandusky.

One of the creepier things about the Sandusky case was how people like Bob Costas could somehow do his own psycho-analysis and decide that he had the mind of a child molester. How would Costas know that, unless he were a child molester himself? Now every time I look at Costas on TV, I think that he is a pervert.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

China promises reform

In the USA, parents can lose their kids and be sent to psychologists and classes without any wrongdoing ever proved in court. I believe that someday all liberty-minded folks will view these practices as barbaric, just as we view Chinese policy as barbaric.

CNN reports:
After months of hints, China announced Friday it will relax its decades-long one-child policy and abolish labor camps in an effort to improve human rights, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Officials had said earlier both controversial policies were under review, but that did not diminish the force of Friday's announcement.

The biggest change could be the abolishment of the so-called "re-education through labor" system under which tens of thousands are imprisoned in China without trial.

"Reform through labor" was set up in the 1950s under Mao Zedong and modeled on Soviet gulags -- a place where "counterrevolutionaries" and "class enemies" could be detained without trial.

Millions are believed to have died through overwork, suicide and harsh conditions until a system overhaul in the 1970s when Deng Xiaoping released prisoners accused of political and religious offenses.

According to the latest available figures from the Ministry of Justice, 160,000 people were held in 350 re-education through labor centers nationwide at the end of 2008. The United Nations has said the figure is possibly as high as 190,000 people.
How many American fathers have been sent out for re-education, or been the victim of a zero-child policy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Simulate frog dissection on tablet

I missed this silly application:
One of the latest apps available comes highly rated by Apple as well as teachers, and we bet frogs probably think it’s a great idea too. According to eSchool News, the Frog Dissection app teaches students about organs and organ systems without actually having to dissect a frog. By skipping out on killing frogs for educational purposes the new app proves to be a much more eco-friendly and humane alternative for science students to learn.

Frog dissections are unethical and unnecessary. They are contributing to the depletion of wild frog populations all over the United States. Now that virtual dissection is available, it is an excellent alternative for students to learn and a great way to protect frogs.

What’s great about the app are all of its features. It’s just as informative, if not more, than dissecting a real frog. The app has 3D imaging and step-by-step instructions on the dissection procedure. The Frog Dissection app is a winner of PETA’s mark Twain Ethical Science Award, via iTunes. It’s only $3.99 and is now available on iTunes.
Next we will abolish pets, zoos, gardens, etc. Too messy. No need to do any lab experiment or any hands-on educational learning. Just get the apps.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Galileo did not expect commutation

I just found this quote from Galileo, before he died while under house arrest:
I do not expect a commutation of the sentence because I have not committed any crime. I could expect forgiveness and pardon if I had done so, because it is such offenses which would give a sovereign the opportunity to show his generosity and forgiveness, while a man who is sentenced innocently must be treated without any pardon to prove that his accuser was right.
That is also why I cannot see my own kids.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Egg donor gets parental rights

The Wash. Post reports:
The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner has parental rights to the child and ordered a lower court to work out custody, child support and visitation arrangements.

The case involves two women, identified only by their initials, who had a child together. One donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other, who gave birth in 2004.

But two years later the Brevard County couple split up, and the birth mother took the girl and left the country. The other woman, who identifies herself as the biological mother, used a private detective to find her former partner in Australia, and a custody fight ensued.

The birth mother tried to use a Florida law that prevents sperm or egg donors from claiming parental rights to children born to other couples. Her lawyer also cited a standard form donors are required to sign relinquishing parental rights. The court rejected both arguments, saying the law doesn’t apply in this case because the couple clearly planned to parent the child together.
The whole point of Rule of Law is to have written rules and predictable outcomes. This ruling is contrary to Rule of Law.

I do not agree with the term "biological mother" to refer to the egg donor. A pregnancy is certainly a biological process, and the egg donor and birth mom can both claim to be the biological mother. I would say that neither is really the biological mother. Wikipedia says "Biological parents consist of the male who sired the child and the female who gave birth to the child."
The court wrote that the case didn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing decision” on which parent had rights to the child. ...

A trial judge ruled for the birth mother and said the biological mother has no parental rights under state law, adding that he hoped his decision would be overturned.

The 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach sided with the biological mother and said both women have parental rights.

“It would indeed be anomalous if, under Florida law, an unwed biological father would have more constitutionally protected rights to parent a child after a one night stand than an unwed biological mother who, with a committed partner and as part of a loving relationship, planned for the birth of a child and remains committed to supporting and raising her own daughter,” the court wrote.
No, that is not an anomaly. In one case, you have a real biological father and mother, along with parental rights that have been understood for centuries. In the other, there is no legal father, no biological mother, and no committed partnership.

More and more, courts are just throwing away the rules about child custody, and just deciding on their own how to micro-manage peoples' lives. We are not a free society when this happens.

Here is another judge, trying to cope with a so-called lesbian marriage:
The judge hearing the case was an older man—old enough, in fact, to be the grandfather of the couple’s children, and how those children came into the world seemed to transfix the judge’s mind to the point that it became a sticking-point in the proceeding. Befuddled by the formula the women had devised, hung up on the lengths to which they had gone to ensure their kids’ origins, fascinated and at the same time repelled by a situation utterly foreign to his experience, he simply could not get past what he persisted in calling the couple’s “lifestyle.”

His emphasis on this issue was irrelevant and wide of the mark, as both lawyers agreed, and the judge’s insistence on raising it was both time-consuming and offensive. It was Melissa who first hit the bursting-point, proposing to Jennifer that the two take their fate out of the hands of a guy who struck her as very much a caricature of the quirky judges on “The Good Wife.” He simply could not get his head around who they were as people and what they had at stake.

Melissa and Jennifer were not comfortable with this person making decisions that would affect their lives—lives he clearly did not understand. Instead, the couple agreed to go to mediation to settle the issue on their own. And that’s exactly what happened.

To me, this case seemed to exemplify the disconnect between outmoded perceptions and current reality when it comes to relationships and their dissolution. To oversimplify a bit: On one side was the generation the judge embodied, still clinging to the idea that “family” means father, mother, two kids, refrigerator, and split-level—a template that was never as pervasive as claimed but that served as a kind of Madison Avenue standard for many years.

On the other side was a family configuration that shattered that notion noisily, and then had the temerity to break up and seek resolution in the law, which, by the time the twenty-first century rolled around, in fact protected the new configuration.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Standing Up for the Rights of New Fathers

The NY Times reports:
Josh Levs, father of a new baby girl, emerged from his sleep-deprived stupor last month to take a stand: He is challenging his employer’s parental leave policy on the grounds that it discriminates against biological dads.

This was his third child, and this time around, he said he felt compelled to take action. So Mr. Levs, a reporter at CNN, filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Time Warner, his employer’s parent company.

He took his case public on his Tumblr page, where he laid out his reasoning: Birth mothers are entitled to 10 weeks of paid leave. The same policy applies to both men and women who adopt or have children through a surrogate. Biological fathers, on the other hand, receive only two paid weeks.

There aren’t any federal laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination against workers with family responsibilities, but some states and municipalities have more specific protections. The types of claim filed by Mr. Levs is brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enforced by the E.E.O.C., which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex. Mothers who claim they were treated differently from men with children file claims under the law, and so do fathers who say they were denied leave or benefits available to female caregivers.

That’s generally what Mr. Levs is contending. “If I gave up my child for adoption, and some other guy at Time Warner adopted her, he would get 10 weeks off, paid, to take care of her,” he wrote on his Tumblr page. “I, however, the biological father, can’t.”
I usually side with the dad on issues like this, but I have to admit that childbirth is a little more traumatic for the mom than the dad, and there is more reason for maternal leave than paternal leave. I do not see a need for the feds to intervene in a case like this. But if blind egalitarian thinking leads to better recognition of parental rights for dads in other areas, so much the better.
And when men take time off after the birth of a child, it can have lasting ripple effects. Not only does it help create a connection with the child, but it sets the stage for a more egalitarian division of labor at home over the longer term. It could also help equalize the perception when women take time off. “If it is true that women will not be equal in the workplace until men are equal at home,” Ms. Calvert added, “it has greater repercussions as well.”
This is a fantasy.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Rorschach Inkblot Test

Yesterday's Google doodle was on the Rorschach Inkblot Test.

In my child custody dispute in the family court, Commissioner Irwin Joseph sent me and my ex-wife to a psychologist to have Rorschach Inkblot Tests done. The psychologist handed me the 10 inkblots, one by one, and asked me w hat I say. He took notes and punched them into a computer program that generated a personality profile. It was about like getting a horoscope reading. It had no relevance to parenting practices. It was like voodoo.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Dad unfit parent for refusing son McDonalds

One of the bad things about the family court and CPS is that parents have to walk around on pins and needles out of fear that some stupid shrink will second guess some routine parenting decision.

The NY Post reports:
A Manhattan dad is not lovin’ McDonald’s right now.

Attorney David Schorr slapped a court-appointed shrink with a defamation lawsuit for telling the judge deciding a custody battle with his estranged wife that he was an unfit parent — for refusing to take his son to the fast food joint for dinner.

“You’d think it was sexual molestation,” Schorr, 43, told The Post Thursday. “I am just floored by it.”

Schorr says in his Manhattan Supreme Court suit that E. 97th Street psychiatrist Marilyn Schiller filed a report saying he was “wholly incapable of taking care of his son” and should be denied his weekend visitation over the greasy burger ban.

Schorr, a corporate attorney turned consultant with degrees from NYU and Oxford University, had planned to take his 4-year-old son to their usual restaurant, the Corner Café on Third Avenue, for his weekly Tuesday night visitation last week.

But the boy threw a temper tantrum and demanded McDonald’s. So he gave his son an ultimatum: dinner anywhere other than McDonald’s — or no dinner.

“The child, stubborn as a mule, chose the ‘no dinner’ option,” the disgruntled dad says in the suit.
This poor dad is reduced to Tuesday night visitation with his 4yo son, and does not even have the authority to choose a restaurant.
“It was just a standoff. I’m kicking myself mightily,” Schorr said.

“I wish I had taken him to McDonalds, but you get nervous about rewarding bad behavior. I was concerned. I think it was a 1950s equivalent of sending your child to bed without dinner. That’s maybe the worst thing you can say about it,” he said.

Adding insult to injury, he said: “My wife immediately took him to McDonalds.”

Upon reflection, Schorr said he should have remembered that mother knows best.

“The first thing I did was I questioned myself,” he recalled.

“Had I done something wrong? I did what any 43-year-old Jewish man would do — I told my mother. I said, ‘My God, did I do something wrong here?’

“Even my mother, the strictest mother in the world, said, ‘Why didn’t you just take him to McDonalds? What were you thinking? You know that this is a divorce situation.’”
Apparently Jewish mothers do not believe that dads should have the autonomy to decide whether to eat at MacDonalds. Jewish judges, commissioners, and pychologists do not necessarily realize that non-Jews are a lot less likely to see it that way.
Schorr claims that Dr. Schiller only interviewed the child and his mother and never asked for his side of the story before telling the court she was gravely concerned about Schorr’s parenting.

Bari Yunis Schorr sued her husband for a divorce in 2011, just four years after they married in a lavish ceremony at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.

She recently filed motions asking the judge to punish her husband for flouting court orders and for a judgment on nonpayment of child support.

Her attorney, Louis I. Newman, declined to comment on the McDonald’s matter.

“It’s a litigation between Mr. Schorr and Mrs. Schiller,” Newman said.

In the past two and a half years that he has had partial custody of his son their time together “has run smoothly without incident” save a scraped knee, Schorr insists in the suit.

He wants the shrink to return the $2,750 he paid for the evaluation.
I hate to say it, but the dad is not going to get his money back. psychiatrist Marilyn Schiller is probably incompetent or corrupt or both, but she is probably also immunized by the family court.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Pro-father Cuccinelli lost in Virginia

In the election yesterday, the Republican governor of New Jersey was re-elected, and the Democrat won in Virginia.

The Democrats in Virginia attacked the Republican for being sympathetic to fathers rights:
Today the Washington Post revealed Ken Cuccinelli’s pattern of association with and support for Fathers’ Rights advocates whose agenda includes opposing domestic violence protections, reducing child support payments and making it harder for married couples to get divorced. ...

As a legislator and Attorney General he has also acted in line with the group’s agenda on multiple issues. As the Post reports, In 2005 “Cuccinelli offered a bill that would have made it so parents initiating a no-fault divorce could have that action counted against them ‘when deciding custody and visitation.’”

The next year he was the lone vote in the Virginia Senate against legislation that would have increased child support payments by tying them to inflation. And as Attorney General Cuccinelli was one of just 3 state attorneys general in the country to refuse to sign a letter urging congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a vital piece of anti-domestic violence legislation that Fathers’ Rights groups oppose.
The Democrat party has become the party of single moms, welfare queens, and other anti-family factions. Obamacare has added new marriage penalties. Most Republican politicians are weak on this issue also, but they tend to be a lot better than the Democrats.

Last night Fox News Bill O'Reilly said that his Virginia mom should be charged with child abuse for this:
A Virginia mother whose son dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan for Halloween said she sees nothing wrong with the costume. In fact, it's something of a family tradition. ...

"It's supposed to be white with white. Black with black. Man with woman and all of that. That's what the KKK stands for," she said.
O'Reilly says that he is not a Republican or a Democrat, but he is a busybody. I don't see how a KKK costume is any worse than those dressed as Satan or a pirate.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Liar wants to be a lawyer

The San Jose newspaper reports:
In the journalism world, Stephen Glass was a true villain, perhaps the most renowned fabricator in the profession's history.

Dozens of his stories in magazines such as the New Republic and Rolling Stone in the late 1990s were proven to be bogus. His level of journalistic deceit became such a national scandal that Hollywood made a movie about his fall, "Shattered Glass."

But in the 15 years since Glass was caught in his fraud, he has pursued another profession that depends on honesty. And now his own fable of redemption, if it is to be believed, has set a jarring question before the California Supreme Court: Can someone who once built a career on lies be licensed to be a lawyer in this state?
Glass was not convicted of any crime. Since when does the legal profession depend on honesty?

In other news, the FDA announced:
FDA: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to plead guilty and pay over $1.6 billion to resolve allegations of misbranding and filing false claims for its schizophrenia drug Risperdal

On behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice today announced a guilty plea agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (JPI) of Titusville, N.J., and a $400 million criminal fine for introducing a misbranded drug, Risperdal (risperidone), into interstate commerce. A Johnson & Johnson Company, JPI must also pay $1.25 billion under a separate civil settlement concerning the same drug. The combined criminal plea and civil settlement agreement related to Risperdal totals more than $1.67 billion. ...

The FDA maintains that physicians may, within the practice of medicine, use a drug to treat patients for symptoms or diseases even when the drug is not FDA-approved for such uses. However, if a pharmaceutical manufacturer intends its drug to be used for a new use, not approved by the FDA, and introduces the drug into interstate commerce for that use, the drug is misbranded, and introduction of that misbranded drug into interstate commerce is a violation of the law. ...

JPI also marketed Risperdal for use in children with behavior challenges, despite known health risks to children and adolescents. Until late in 2006, Risperdal was not approved for use in children for any purpose, and the FDA repeatedly advised the company that promoting its use in children was problematic and could be evidence of a violation of the law.
One of my readers has a grandchild ordered to take Risperdal by the Santa Cruz family court and its incompetent experts. If this drug is so dangerous that the maker if fined a billion dollars for promoting, I do not thing that stupid court officials should be requiring over the objections of one of the parents.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Getting off the CPS abuser database

I sent this to CPS, as a result of a recent appeals case in San Jose and discovering that I have a right to a hearing:
Cecilia Espinola, Director
Human Services Department
1400 Emeline Ave., K
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 454-4222

Oct. 17, 2013

Dear Ms. Espinola:

I demand that I be removed from the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). The Referral Number is XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXX3279.

I was put on the CACI after an investigation by your social worker Sally Mitchell in Nov. 2007, and after a complaint from my ex-wife to her in a bitterly contested divorce.

Mitchell’s 2007 report was a collection of inaccurate anecdotes about my parenting practices, as described by my kids. It admits that none of described incidents constitute emotional abuse. The report also admits that a neutral observer would be likely to regard all of the incidents as unimportant and impossible to have a negative impact on the kids.

Mitchell testified at a family court hearing where my ex-wife made a motion for sole child custody before Commissioner Irwin Joseph, but did not make a recommendation regarding custody. She testified that the best examples of my so-called emotional abuse were how I once reset an alarm clock from 5:00 am to 7:00, and a crazy story about running over a dog. The dog owner testified that no one ran over his dog. Her main criticism, she said, was that she disapproved of the sum total of my parenting style. Since then, the family court has only issued a series of temporary orders.

Eligibility for a hearing
According to PC 11169(d), I am entitled to a grievance hearing, satisfying due process requirements. An opportunity for a hearing was not previously provided, apparently because either the county had no grievance process, or because the issue was thought to be pending in a child custody dispute before the family court. There are no longer any abuse accusations pending in court.

Admittedly, Joseph expressed the opinion on Jan. 11, 2008 that I had “engaged in emotionally abusive behavior and conduct.” That would seem to be decisive in my case, because PC 11169(e) provides for denying a hearing “when a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that suspected child abuse or neglect has occurred”. However that reasoning is incorrect for several reasons.

(1) The family court is not a court of competent jurisdiction for child abuse.
(2) Joseph did not really make a determination on that day, because he only made temporary child custody orders and ordered a psychological evaluation for a subsequent hearing. That evaluation found no abuse, and the subsequent hearings did not either.
(3) The statute only applies if the court confirms what CPS suspected. But the CPS agent was discredited in court, and in that same speech Joseph said, “Third, this Court is not relying on what Sally Mitchell said.”
(4) The CACI law does not allow listings for “emotionally abusive behavior and conduct.”

These might seem like technical arguments contrary to the spirit of the CANRA and CACI, but they are not. I elaborate on them:

(1) The county has a criminal court and a juvenile dependency court for deciding child abuse. CPS could have initiated an action in either of those courts, but Mitchell testified that there were insufficient grounds. The family court can decide child custody, but the standards are completely different.
(2) The intent is to yield to a more competent determination, when available. Joseph eventually appointed psychologist Ken Perlmutter of Palo Alto to evaluate the allegations, and he found no abuse of any kind on my part. He testified that I am just as good a parent as my ex-wife, and that there is no example of a substandard parenting practice on my part. At a later hearing in 2010, psychologist and nationally-recognized abuse expert Donald G. Dutton also testified that there was no abuse. No psychologist or anyone else testified that there was abuse.
(3) When the CACI is used for background checks, recipients are required to review the child abuse allegations as part of their screening process and to draw an independent conclusion about the allegations, according to SOC 832. That process is subverted if the CACI is allowed to indicate an allegation and a confirmation, but the confirmation is not of the allegation. Thus the listing can only be “confirmed” if the CPS alleged abuse is confirmed, and not if some other form of abuse is confirmed.
(4) According to PC 11165.12, a “substantiated report” requires a finding of “child abuse or neglect, as defined in Section 11165.6”. That definition consists of physical injury or death, sexual abuse, neglect, willful harming or injuring or endangering, and unlawful corporal punishment or injury. Those are defined in different sections. It pointedly does not include “serious emotional damage”, which is defined in PC 11166.05. And it certainly does not include “emotionally abusive behavior”, as that is not actionable at all.

Thus the law requires that you either remove my name or give me a hearing. The report was almost six years ago, but I have had no earlier opportunity for a hearing. The SOC 833 sect. 2d says that I have 30 days to request a hearing after becoming aware of the grievance process. I only learned about the process from the court case mentioned below.

CPS negligence
Mitchell investigated a report with about a dozen allegations, all of which were false. She was unable to confirm any of them. All she did was to interview my kids at school, and she never got any adult confirmation for anything they said. She believed fantastic and nonsense stories, such as me repeatedly running over the same dog in a car and the dog being unharmed.

She came to me with complaints about setting an alarm clock and buying soup in the grocery store, but she could never explain how I should do anything any differently. She ignored guidelines about collecting information, verifying it, and trying to correct problems.

Mitchell’s testimony also showed that she misunderstood the statutory requirements for a finding of emotional abuse.

The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act [CANRA] was amended in 2004 to make its definitions closely track those in Welfare & Institutions Code §300. The definitions of abuse and neglect under CANRA are now essentially the same as what is actionable in juvenile dependency court. Mitchell testified that there were not sufficient grounds for an action under WIC §300 in the juvenile dependency court. Hence they cannot be the subject of a CPS investigation under CANRA, and cannot justify a listing in the CACI.

CANRA might be summarized by saying that suspected physical abuse, sexual abuse, and child neglect must be reported by teachers and others. Suspected emotional abuse may optionally be reported, but only if it results in serious emotional damage, and only if it is evidenced by behavior such as severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggression. Neither Mitchell nor anyone else ever alleged any emotional damage, serious or minor, and no one ever alleged any such behavior evidence in my kids.

Mitchell testified that my kids had not been emotionally damaged from my treatment, and that their behavior did not reflect any substandard treatment. She also testified that she failed to get adult confirmation for any allegation.

Mitchell apparently relied on a pamphlet based on an earlier vaguer version of the California statute, and not the law that was in effect at the time. Your department was negligent in not training your social workers in the current child abuse law. There were not even any allegations that can support a proper finding of emotional abuse under the law.

Law requires harm, intent, and due process
I refer you to the recent case of the California Court of Appeal, Gonzalez v. Santa Clara County Dep’t of Social Servs. (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 8, 2013). There the appeals court in San Jose ruled that spanking with a wooden spoon was not child abuse, even though it left bruises, because an assortment of other conditions was not met. Furthermore, it ruled that the superior court can issue an administrative mandamus to force your agency to remove a name from the CACI.

Those conditions were not met in my case either.

The decision said:
Under CANRA, a report of child abuse is “ ‘[u]nfounded’ ” if it “involve[s] an accidental injury.” (Pen. Code, § 11165.12, subd. (a).) “ ‘In its plain and ordinary sense, “accidental” means “arising from extrinsic causes; occurring unexpectedly or by chance[; or] happening without intent or through carelessness.” ’ ” (Insurance Company of the West v. Haralambos Beverage Co. (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 1308, 1318, disapproved on another point in Vandenberg v. Superior Court (1999) 21 Cal.4th 815, 841, fn. 13.) (Italics added.) There can be no doubt that Mother’s conduct — striking her Daughter’s buttocks with a wooden spoon — was intentional. The resulting bruises, however—the only “injury” even arguably involved —appear to have been “accidental” in that they “happen[ed] without intent,” and at most “through carelessness.”
In my case, no injury was even alleged, except that Mitchell claimed that the alarm clock made my kids late for school. In court, she admitted that the kids were never late for school and never missed doing homework. While it could be said that I “intentionally” reset the alarm clock one morning, it was never even alleged that any harm or injury was intended or ever occurred. There was no intent to abuse, as the court has now defined these terms.

Whatever the judgment of your social worker in 2007, it cannot outweigh the subsequent analysis of two court psychologists, and a CACI listing cannot be maintained without the factual support required by the above appellate court decision.

Therefore I demand that you remove my name from the CACI, and to inform the Department of Justice that the report is “unfounded.” If you refuse, then please give me a grievance hearing, as I am entitled under the law. I have court transcripts for all of the above testimony by Mitchell, Perlmutter, and Dutton, and I can prove that your agency is delinquent in its responsibilities. I also submit an SOC 834 form.


[George the Angry Dad]

Gonzalez v. Santa Clara County Dep’t of Social Servs.
California Dept. of Social Services forms
All transcripts are on file in ..., Santa Cruz family court.
I was not sure about admitting the most damaging evidence against me in the letter -- namely that the family court ruled against me, seemingly in confirmation of the CPS opinion. After all, maybe CPS is too incompetent to figure out what the family court did. My court file is 100s of pages, and is not easy to make sense of it.

Until talking to San Diego CACI lawyer Tate Lounsbery, I thought that I did not get a CPS hearing back in 2007 because the matter was being resolved in the family court. But he explained to me that the family court is not a court for resolving CPS issues. Furthermore, CPS was not giving anyone hearings back in 2007, and only started a couple of years later following changes in the laws, regulations, and court precedents. CPS is still not properly following the law, which is how he can do a business explaining the law to CPS. He also advises people outside of San Diego county, and I recommend him for anyone being bullied by CPS. He is also the first one I found who actually understands the legal requirements for a CPS finding of emotional abuse.

I decided not to hide anything, and to squarely address the legal issues. I wanted to write the sort of letter that would force the CPS bureaucrats to turn it over to county attorneys for evaluation. My only hope for getting off the CACI was to get the matter in the hands of someone who understands the pertinent legal issues, and the mush-head social worker bullies do not.

I just got this reply:
October 29, 2013
Mr. [George AngryDad]
Referral Number: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXX3279
Dear Mr. [AngryDad]:

In response to your request, the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department, Family and Children's Services Division, has completed a reassessment of the investigation to determine whether the report made to the Department of Justice (DOJ) was made in accordance with the statutory requirements.

Section 11169 of the California Penal Code requires child protective agencies to forward to DOJ a written report on each case of known or suspected child abuse that the department investigated and determined to be "substantiated". However, at the time of the investigation pertaining to your family, the Penal Code also required Child Welfare agencies to submit reports on investigations to the DOJ that were determined to be "inconclusive" as well. In 2012, the reporting requirements changed and Child Welfare agencies are no longer required to submit reports with "inconclusive" findings.

Based on our review, we have determined that the outcome of the investigation pertaining to you was incorrectly found to be "substantiated". Specifically, the documented facts of the investigation should have led to a conclusion of "inconclusive", as defined by the Penal code, instead. Though at the time of the investigation, a finding of "inconclusive" would have still resulted in a report to the DOJ, making this change to "inconclusive" now allows the Department to notify the DOJ and request that your name be withdrawn from their records. We have notified DOJ and requested your name be immediately removed from the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI).

Please keep this letter for your records and to provide to your employer if necessary.


Abby Wexler, MSW
Assistant Division Director
Family and Children's Services
Of course they do not apologize for the bogus listing or for ruining my life or for making my kids grow up without a dad. But I am happy to be removed from the database. This removal would never have happened, except for recent due process requirements, and the possibility of CPS being reviewed by an outside authority.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Getting on the CPS abuser database

Many of my problems in family court, as describe in this blog, stem from a Nov. 2007 CPS investigation. Leveraging that, my ex-wife got an ex-parte order from Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph to send the cops to seize my kids at my house, pending the completion of the investigation.

CPS produced a report saying that accusations of emotional abuse had been confirmed, and that I was being put on the California database of child abusers. It is officially called the California Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). A social worker, Sally Mitchell, testified in family court against me.

Legally, a CPS social worker's opinion carries no more weight than any other witness. Her testimony was quite weak, and she did not make a child custody recommendation. Apparently her position was that such a recommendation was unnecessary because the court had already seized my kids by the time she testified.

I wasted several years trying to fight what happened, before Comm. Joseph, the appeals court, psychologist Ken Perlmutter, and Judge Heather Morse. It did not matter how much evidence I presented. None could get past the fact that I had been labeled a child abuser, and none would ever let me see my kids unsupervised.

In litigation over the past 6 years, all we have ever had was a series of temporary child custody orders. No one could ever find any evidence that I was an unfit parent, so as to justify not seeing my kids at all.

The previous family court dispute in 2004 resulted in a full child custody trial, and a final (permanent) judicial determination of 50-50 joint legal and physical child custody of our 2 kids. But for the past 6 years, there has never been any possibility of a permanent resolution, because of the bogus CPS abuse listing. Giving permanent sole custody to my ex-wife would require me being found unfit (or waiving my rights), but there was no hard evidence against me. Any other custody determination requires finding that CPS was wrong about the abuse. That is, I might get 5% custody if I am a lousy parent, but if I am an abuser, then no partial custody could be justified.

Joseph, Morse, and Perlmutter all made 6-figure salaries by agreeing with CPS. They are all crooks, and they will not give an opinion against CPS even when they know that CPS is wrong.

At the time that I was put on the abuser database, the only way to contest it was to write a letter to the director of the CPS office. I did that, but the director just parroted Mitchell's opinion, and gave no meaningful consideration to my objections. Since then I concentrated on the battle in family court, as that is the higher power and that is what affected me. There is no reasoning with CPS. In their view, the database is a list of everyone suspected of abuse, and they do not believe that anyone should ever be removed. You could tell them that you are not guilty, and they would say that it is not a database of guilty people, but suspected people, and once suspected you are always suspected.

I have occasionally posted stories about the database. Most of them were about the lack of due process for getting off the database. I assumed that the whole system was FUBAR, and hopeless.

I posted in April about how CPS was grumbling about some new due process requirements. Cops can no longer put someone in the database, without a CPS investigation. CPS used to put people in as either confirmed or unconfirmed abuser, but now they can only put confirmed abusers in. But I was in as "confirmed" by CPS, so that did not do me any good.

I got some new optimism with an appeals court ruling on spanking with a spoon that I posted last month. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that CPS judgment was challenged and reversed outside CPS. That is, the mom with the wooden spoon got some meaningful due process.

There are now lawyers in Southern California who specialize in getting people out of the database. A good one is Tate Lounsbery of San Diego. His web site has an ebook and other good info on contesting a listing. He says:
What are the consequences of being placed on CACI?

If you are placed on CACI, you may never be able to adopt a child, become a foster parent, work at a school or day care, operate a day care at your home, obtain security clearance, etc. Your spouse will also never be able to run a day care out of your home. If you have a sibling who has listed you in his will as the designated person to care for his children in the event he passes away, being on the CACI may prevent you from fulfilling your sibling’s wishes. As the 9th Circuit Court noted, being listed on the CACI creates “a stigma and a tangible burden on an individual’s ability to obtain a right or status recognized by state law”. (Humphries v. County of Los Angeles, 554 F.3d 1170, 1188.)
Child abuse is a crime, so being on the CACI is having a criminal record.

Now that it is possible, I wrote CPS a letter demanding some of that due process. I will post that next.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bio-ethicist rant against fertility technology

Jennifer Lahl is a bio-ethicist who makes movies like Anonymous Fathers Day, about how kids of sperm donors want to know their fathers. She opposed fertility technologies:
Assistive reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization not only involve serious medical risks, they also disrupt family life and commodify human beings. ...

While modern reproductive technologies began as what seemed to be good ways to help people who struggle with infertility, from where I sit, we’ve made a real mess. ...

One story sticks in my head. A surrogate mother for a gay couple, right after she gave birth, realized she couldn’t surrender the child — so she went to court to get shared custody.  The daughter, being raised by the gay couple and the surrogate mother, one day asked her surrogate mother a very poignant question: since she looked like her biological mother, why is it that her mommy gave her away? The little girl simply could not understand how her mother would do this. The surrogate mother’s response? “I didn’t know what to tell her.”

I wouldn’t know what to tell that little girl either. Maybe we should just stop making such messes.
We are indeed in the midst of a grand and foolish child-rearing social experiment, but the fertility methods are a small part of the story. This gay couple surrogate mother stuff only accounts for a few hundred babies a year, worldwide.

There are millions of kids in the USA who have been cut off from a mom or dad because the other parent is bitter or spiteful or possessive, or some judge is prejudiced, or some shrink is crooked.

I don't know why some stupid judge would award child custody to be shared between a gay couple and a surrogate mother. I have attacked the California 3-parent law. But that is just a symptom of a much larger problem, and not the fault of fertility technology.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Tennessee CPS gets new restrictions

A reader writes:
The Tennessean has had an ongoing series since September, exposing problems with the state children's services department. Another news site has an article, New U.S. Waiver To Give DCS More Flexibility To Help Children.

On Sunday, you posted an article from the St. Louis and Atlanta newspapers about CPS in Missouri. Wonder why the news media in 3 different metro areas suddenly started churning out these kind of stories.
I don't know. I would like to think that there is a public shift towards more accountability of CPS.

The Tennessee story says:
The agency told caseworkers this month that they can no longer remove children from homes without an in-person court hearing, a process that can take days — or longer in some rural areas — and potentially leave a child being abused or neglected in dangerous homes until a judge can review the case.

Before the federal ruling, caseworkers and their supervisors could decide on their own to remove a child from a home, but had to petition a court within 72 hours for a hearing to review their actions — a policy that the Sixth Circuit decision made clear is unconstitutional.

Juvenile court officials and attorneys say there is a middle ground between DCS’ previous policy giving the agency sole authority to remove a child on the spot and its new policy to wait until a judge can decide.

This policy is a result of federal court liability:
And in a pair of recent rulings, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit used the cases to spell out for the first time that caseworkers, like police, are governed by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against searches and seizures done without a warrant. ...

No other state subject to the Sixth Circuit ruling has gone as far as DCS to limit caseworkers’ abilities to remove children. The federal court has jurisdiction over Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.
I think that one of the cases is Andrews v Hickman County Tennessee pdf.

All state workers, including cops and cps social workers, are subject to basic civil rights laws, and can be sued in federal court under the post Civil War Klu Klux Klan Act. These lawsuit get filed a lot, because if they win, the plaintiff can get attorneys fees. I have considered filing such a lawsuit in my case. But these suits usually lose, under it happens to get the interest of some federal judge who wants to make some sort of procedural point.