Saturday, May 31, 2014

Campaign against Bob for protecting rapists

There is a big money campaign to defeat Democrat Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski. See the web site on Wieckowski Allowed Rapists and Their Attorneys to Victimize Women, and video of him defending his sole vote against a bill. The bill passed, and makes it easier for a wife to avoid paying alimony and other family court fees by alleging domestic violence.

The justification for the bill was this 2011 case:
First, Crystal Harris was sexually assaulted by her husband — and now she’s being attacked once again by a California court.

Because of a bizarre legal loophole, Harris, 39, was ordered to pay $1,000 a month in spousal support to her now-ex, Shawn Harris.

“As soon as he gets out of prison for raping me, I have to start writing him checks! What a thing to choke on!” Harris told The Post in her first extended interview.

Shawn Harris, 41, was convicted on Jan. 24 of forced oral copulation, attacking his wife in 2008 while their children listened to her cries from an upstairs bedroom.

Harris was also ordered by San Diego Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack to cough up $47,000 to repay the money Shawn Harris spent on divorce lawyers to win the alimony.
The wife was married for 12 years, living with her husband, and suddenly claims a sexual assault? This sounds fishy to me. Calling this rape does a disservice to genuine rape victims.

Wieckowski was right to oppose the bill, because it gives a huge incentive for false claims.

Wieckowski is a leftist Democrat and also sponsored a California bill to let illegal immigrants serve on juries.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Florida CPS to take more kids

Florida is making it easier for CPS to take kids:
The Legislature’s child welfare overhaul bill, awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature, would make it harder for the state to reunify children with dangerous, drug-addled parents. ...

The child welfare bill, still awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature, gives Community Based Care groups — private organizations contracted by DCF to provide child welfare social services — a chance to raise objections if they think reunification will leave a child in danger.

“We wanted to have a role in the conversation about reunification,’’ said Kurt Kelly, who heads the Florida Coalition for Children, which represents the state’s CBCs. “Because we are providing the services, we are often the closest to the families and can contribute to the decision about whether a child can be safely reunified.’’

Over the past five years, more than two dozen children have died after either they or an older sibling were reunited with volatile, lawless or drug-using parents. The parents were shown mercy. The children weren’t.
of course the article has stories to make this sound like a good thing.

I have a hard time seeing how private organizations have any business separating parents from their kids. If the parents are guilty of some crime, that is for the state prosecutors to prove in court.

In other news about presumed guilt:
A C Grayling has criticised a boycott of the Oxford Union after the president was reinstalled despite being investigated by police over rape allegations, saying he is “innocent until proven guilty”.

The Professor of Philosophy said the president, who was arrested by police earlier this month on suspicion of rape and attempted rape of two undergraduates, should not be subject to “the kangaroo court of opinion”.
I certainly hope that there is not a college president who goes around raping undergraduates. We should not jump to conclusions based on accusations.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Georgia dad arrested for child cruelty

Georgia news:
Police arrested a Douglasville father on child cruelty charges after the man punished his 16-year-old son by making him carry a 23-pound landscape stone for several miles.

Charlie Mayes, a 40-year-old military veteran with no criminal record, told police he used military-style punishment because his son watched too many videos and didn't do his chores and school work. Douglasville Police charged Mayes with first-degree child cruelty.

"This was done multiple times over a three-day period, sometimes as early as 3 o'clock in the morning," Police Sgt. Todd Garner told 11Alive on Tuesday.

Garner said the boy, who is only 4'2" tall, was also punished in-between the 3-mile hikes.

"In between that time, he was at home having to move rocks and stuff from one side of the back yard to the other and then being taken right back out to the same location and dropped off and made to walk back again," Sgt. Garner added. ...

Douglasville police have yet to make the video available, but say the father freely admitted what happened.

"He did not feel that this was inappropriate at all and neither did his wife," Sgt. Garner said.
This sounds peculiar, but I don't see how it is a crime. Parents need to have some discretion in disciplining their kids. We don't have the context, and the cops don't either.

A criminal prosecution should be based on some intentional objective harm. There is no obvious harm in carrying a stone. The parents appear to have a sincere belief that this is appropriate.

Some people will read this, and say that they would never punish a boy like that, or that other methods should be tried first. Maybe so, but no matter how you discipline a child, there will be others who believe that you did it incorrectly. Do you really want CPS, cops, and prosecutors second-guessing routine parenting decisions?

Here is a more serious case of excessive discipline:
A Pakistani immigrant beat his wife to death in their Brooklyn home after she made the mistake of cooking him lentils for dinner instead of the hearty meal of goat meat that he craved, according to court papers.

Noor Hussain, 75, was so outraged over the vegetarian fare that he pummeled his wife, Nazar Hussain, 66, with a stick until she was a “bloody mess,” according to prosecutors and court papers.

“Defendant asked [his wife] to cook goat and [his wife] said she made something else,” the court papers indicated as Hussain’s murder trial opened on Wednesday.

“The conversation got louder and [his wife] disrespected defendant by cursing at defendant and saying motherf- -ker, and ... defendant took a wooden stick and hit her with it on her arm and mouth.”

Defense attorney Julie Clark admitted Hussain beat his wife — but argued that he is guilty of only manslaughter because he didn’t intend to kill her. In Pakistan, Clark said, beating one’s wife is customary.

“He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife … He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.” - Defense attorney Julie Clark

“He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife,” Clark said in her opening statements at the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench trial. “He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.”
I wonder if it is really true that this would not be a crime in Pakistan.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Shooting blamed on Asperger syndrome

This is annoying:
The news that Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old confirmed by police as a suspect in the violent rampage which left seven people dead and 13 injured in Isla Vista, southern California, had Asperger’s Disorder – a form of autism – has raised questions about whether the condition was a factor in the man’s horrific actions.

Adam Lanza, the man responsible for the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 26 people, including 20 school children, dead in December of 2012 had also been diagnosed with Asperger’s. And in times of tragedy like these, it’s natural to want answers for how such senseless, horrendous acts could happen. It’s also reasonable to question whether Asperger’s was a factor in the violent actions of the two men. Yet, most experts will tell you that people with Asperger’s are rule followers, not rule breakers.

While those on the autism spectrum may not come hardwired with the same levels of social understanding as people without the syndrome, and can be involved in some crime, there is no proven connection between the diagnosis and violent behaviour.
I just listened to Michio Kaku plugging his latest book, and he said you can see what Asperger syndrome is by watching the CBS TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. He said the most common symptom are an inability to make eye contact and misunderstand women.

But if you watch the show, the nerdy characters are all good at making eye contact, and they understand women very well. In the last episode, the most supposedly Asperger character runs off and abandons his girlfriend, but it is not because he does not understand her. He goes because of his own problems, which have little or nothing to do with Asperger. Kaku claimed that the famous physicists Newton, Einstein, and Dirac also had Asperger, but none of them is known to have had trouble making eye contact and 2 of them had long-term marriages.

Asperger syndrome is just a personality characteristic, and a big fad. It has been dropped from the DSM-5.

You can expect the shrinks and medicos to use tragedies like the Santa Barbara shooting to to expand their power and influence. Currently,
The National Rifle Association is blocking the nomination of Vivek Murthy, a doctor at Boston's Brigham and Women's hospital and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, for surgeon general. The reason? Murthy was one of the authors of a letter saying that "strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken immediately." So despite a bipartisan recommendation from the Senate HELP committee in February, the NRA promised to "score" any vote on Murthy confirmation, meaning an affirmative vote would pull down a senator's annual rating from the group.
Murthy ought to be blocked. We need a surgeon with medical expertise who is concerned with medical problems within that expertise. His anti-gun letter is almost entirely political and is not based on any medical knowledge or facts. This is just a nomination to push Pres. Barack Obama's leftist anti-gun agenda.

Update: It appears that Eliot Rodger had a history of misdiagnosis and mistreatment from shrinks, and bullying from classmates. He posted his life story, and he describes a bad case of social anxiety. A blog comments:
The key factor in understanding Elliot’s personality is that he was very high on the “neuroticism” scale. People, including “professional” psychiatrists who should have known better, seem to think that he had all sorts of other mental “illnesses” such as Asperger’s Syndrome, or later in his life schizophrenia. Elliot knew that he didn’t have schizophrenia, because he was quite introspective about why he was messed up, and that’s why he refused to take the Risperidone that was prescribed for him. I think that Elliot really wanted help, but he had too much social anxiety to ask for it properly, or maybe the people who were supposed to be helping him were just too clueless. ...

Neuroticism is not a very trendy psychological diagnosis. Every kid is being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but kids who simply have very high Neuroticism are ignored and don’t get the help that they need. Yet anyone who bothers to read all of Elliot’s autobiography will see that the Wikipedia explanation of high Neuroticism perfectly matches what Elliot experienced.
The SPLC, a Jewish-led hate group, ignores this in order to push its leftist agenda.

Update: There are some racial and other angles to this story that I ignored. Eliot's birth mom was Malaysian and his step-mom was Morrocan. His biracial sister had no trouble getting laid, but he was a misfit. He was attracted to blond white women, but they ignored him. His first three killings were knife stabbings, and he tried to run down bicyclists with his BMW, so it is not entirely a gun story.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Right to video record police

A federal appeals court on the east coast ruled:
In Glik, we explained that gathering information about government officials in a form that can be readily disseminated “serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’” Protecting that right of information gathering “not only aids in the uncovering of abuses, but also may have a salutary effect on the functioning of government more generally.” Those First Amendment principles apply equally to the filming of a traffic stop and the filming of an arrest in a public park. In both instances, the subject of filming is “police carrying out their duties in public.” A traffic stop, no matter the additional circumstances, is inescapably a police duty carried out in public. Hence, a traffic stop does not extinguish an individual’s right to film.
Judges ought to be video recorded for the same reasons.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Baby adoption fraud

Baby-selling is technically illegal, but a pregnant woman can collect $10k or more based on adoption promised, provided that she goes thru appropriate middle-men. Here is an adoption gone bad:
Investigators said an Orange County woman is in jail after she promised to give her baby up for adoption but instead kept the baby and cashed in on the couple who was supposed to get the child.

Police said Jill Rader kept taking payments after she gave birth and got almost $10,000 from the couple who thought they would be adopting her baby.

The money went to help pay for Rader’s rent, gasoline, groceries and anything else she needed.

Once the child was born at Winnie Palmer Hospital in February, Rader allegedly cut off contact from the adoption agency, but still asked for financial help.

Court papers said Rader used the business A Chosen Child to find a new family for her child.

Documents said she eventually wanted to keep the baby girl, but she kept taking payments from the agency, which is illegal.

“I think that she should really be in jail for that because if they’re funding you for the adoption and you don’t go through with it, it’s just like stealing money from a bank,” said resident Porche Black.

The executive director of A Chosen Child said mothers sometimes change their minds and keep the baby, which is allowed.

But Rader allegedly never informed the agency she had the baby.

Rader posted pictures of herself with her newborn on her Facebook page.

After the birth, the agency handed over nearly $1,800 for rent, groceries and gas.

That money came from the adoptive parents, who gave almost $9,000 to cover any expenses incurred by Rader during the pregnancy.
It is not clear to me how the pregnant woman crossed the line into a prosecutable crime. Apparently she is allowed to change her mind after the birth, and it may be impracticle to force her to give the money back. Perhaps there was some evidence from Facebook or elsewhere that she never intended to give up the child. If so, then I guess she committed fraud by promising something she did not intend to deliver, and taking money for the bogus promise.

I post this to point out that there is a market for babies. There is demand for a newborn baby, even if from a flakey and unreliable woman, and the adoptive parents are willing to pay $10k or more.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Parents spank a lot more than they say

Spanking is a funny issue. The vast majority of parents do it, and believe it to be necessary. The vast majority of experts, such as child psychologists and social workers, are opposed to spanking. And yet there is no scientific research showing it to be harmful.

I cannot think of any other issue where the expert opinion is so diametrically opposed to both the research and the common practice.

I am a believer in using common sense, as informed by research, even if it differs from the experts. Here is the latest from SciAm:
The study followed 33 families from four to six evenings while parents wore audio recorders documenting all interaction with their toddlers, who averaged four-years-of-age. Participants were mostly working mothers — 80 percent were educated beyond high school and married.

Those parents who approve of corporal punishment contend that they only spank as a last resort, do it only for serious misbehavior and only when they are calm. But the recordings often revealed the opposite. Parents seemed angry when striking their child, they did it reactively and for minor transgressions. ...

Previous studies using parental self-reports have estimated that parents spank about 18 times per year. But this study using real-time audio found the median rate to be 18 times per week—and this is among people who knew they were being monitored.
This is a huge difference between self-reports and actual practice. Apparently those self-reports are wildly inaccurate because the parents know that the experts disapprove of spanking.

The comments show how contentious this issue is:
It's child abuse - put them in jail.

If it's not okay to hit intellectually disabled adults, why should it be okay to hit children of the same mental age?

There is no argument that no one should hit children, or anyone really. The surprising finding of this study is not that parents are hitting their children, but the fact that they don't even realized when they are doing it! And for such mundane things!

Tennessee Public Schools hit over 14,000 children k-12 each year, known as corporal pain punishment, legal and protected by 1977 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 19 states today, even against written parental prohibition, prohibited in Nashville schools and schools in 31 states and prohibited by federal law in ALL U.S. prisons.

30-something nations that have made corporal punishment illegal. Psychological studies consistently show that corporal punishment, at best: has no benefit when compared to other parenting methods, and at worst: causes psychological harm to children.
That last claim is completely false. There is no study showing that moderate corporate punishment has ever harmed anyone, or that any other method of child discipline is superior. Those conclusions come from studies that extreme and frequent beatings are harmful.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dad wants joint custody of ashes

I often complain that family court judges unnecessarily interject themselves into private families, with the excuse that if the parents do not agree 100 on everything, the judge has the right to dictate their lives.

A new Florida appeals case, Wilson v. Wilson (Fla. Ct. App. May 21, 2014), reads like a parody of what is wrong with the court:
The twenty-three year old son, single and without children, died in a tragic automobile accident. He left no will and no written or verbal instructions for disposition of his body. His parents are co-personal representatives of their son’s estate, and the sole beneficiaries.

After their son’s death, the parents agreed to have his body cremated. They were unable, however, to agree on the final disposition of his ashes. The mother wanted to bury the son’s ashes in West Palm Beach, Florida. The father wanted to bury the son’s ashes in a family burial plot in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
The mom demanded sole custody of the ashes, the dad asked to just split them, and so the judge decided to "appoint a curator or other suitable person" to carry out the disposition, according to the best interest of the ashes.

You probably think that I am making this up, but that is pretty much what the decision said. Read it yourself.

A law professor quotes another court:
It is a sorrowful matter to have relatives disputing in court over the remains of the deceased. In this case in particular, there is no solution that will bring peace to all parties. We express our sympathies to both sides in their loss, which must be magnified by these proceedings.
The suggestion here is that the relatives are being unreasonable by having a dispute, and the judge is trying his best to resolve. But it only takes one to create a dispute, and in this case it is the mom. The courts dragged this out for a year or two when it should only take 5 minutes. No amount of hearings or lawyering will ever reach a more just distribution or disposition of the ashes.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

CPS investigates picture of shirtless man

A reader sends this celebrity story:
Basically their daughter took a photo with a shirtless 20-year-old man who's a family friend. The photo went on social media then got lots of national attention. Some may find this photo in poor taste, but it's just damn ridiculous for CPS to even pay an iota of attention to this!

the top comment in the link:

"This "case" will be investigated by the same Department where social workers striked in December 2013 citing high case loads and being unable to give adequate attention to their current cases!" Then linking to this public radio story.
Because the girl's father is a big Hollywood celebrity, the picture was widely passed around. All it takes is one person to think that it is inappropriate and to call in an anonymous complaint to CPS. CPS is under legal obligation to investigate complaints.

I am not trying to defend CPS. I am just saying that the problem is systemic.

I would say that the picture does not show anything actionable under the law, and therefore CPS should ignore the complaint. I don't even agree with anonymous complaints. But CPS accepts complaints that are just suspicions, and I guess anyone can be suspicious of anything.

The Santa Cruz police are told to make a CPS report when a child is in a home with reported domestic violence. In that case, the cop does not necessarily have any suspicions of abuse against the child. I do not see how such a policy is lawful, but that is what the local cops do, and cops elsewhere probably do it also.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Political candidate once had domestic fight

Petty domestic squabbles from years in the past can creep into politics. Here is an example. Politico reports:
Monica Wehby, the leading GOP Senate candidate in Oregon, was accused in December 2007 of harassing her now ex-husband during a divorce proceeding, according to a new report.

Neither Wehby nor her ex-husband, James Grant, were arrested in the incident.

It marks the second time during the last three days that Wehby has faced embarrassing stories on her personal life. POLITICO reported on Friday that a former boyfriend had accused Wehby of “stalking” him last year and “harassing” his employees, although no charges were filed in that episode, either. ...

Neither Wehby nor Grant wanted to have the other arrested, and they sought to avoid the filing of a police report. The officers told the couple to sleep in separate rooms, and Wehby and Grant were warned they could be detained on domestic violence charges.
Even if they were arrested or charged, it would mean very little as sometimes there are policies to always make arrests.

Advice to sleep in separate rooms? Funny.

Somehow Wehby just won her primary yesterday:
Dr. Monica Wehby emerged victorious in the Oregon GOP Senate primary Tuesday to take on Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley in November in a race Republicans hope could help them take back the Senate.

Wehby beat Oregon state Rep. Jason Congers and three other candidates with 51 percent of the vote. Congers placed a distant second with 36 percent.

Republicans are looking to Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon and political newcomer, to pull off an against-the-odds victory in territory where a Republican has not won a statewide election since 2002. However, some believe that first-term incumbent Merkley is vulnerable because he has enthusiastically supported ObamaCare.
In claiming victory, she said:
In a Tuesday night victory speech at her campaign headquarters, Dr. Wehby tackled the issue head-on, telling a cheering room of supporters that she had made mistakes, then hitting back at Democrats for releasing the reports to the media.

“Over the last several days, there have been a lot of vicious, ugly hurtful attacks,” Dr. Wehby said in video posted online by KGW-TV in Portland. “Lord knows that I am not perfect. I am like countless other Oregonians. … I try my best, but in life we all make mistakes. And when I do, I’m no different than the rest of you. I pick myself back up and get going again and I try to make things better.”

She continued, “But I do have a message for those national Democrats who were willing to shred my family for their own political gain: People are tired of your dirty tricks.”

The Oregonian reported Monday that a researcher with the Democratic Party of Oregon was the first to request the April 2013 police report. The story was broken Friday by Politico, but the online publication did not submit a request for the report, according to the Oregonian.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

11 anti-Semitic stereotypes

The Jewish ADL claims that a billion people are anti-Semitic, based on a survey of agreeing with some of these:
1) Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in].
2) Jews have too much power in the business world.
3) Jews have too much power in international financial markets.
4) Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.
5) Jews have too much control over global affairs.
6) People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.
7) Jews think they are better than other people.
8) Jews have too much control over the United States government.
9) Jews have too much control over the global media.
10) Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.
11) Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.
I am surprised that the number is not closer to 7 billion. Jews are only 2-3% of the USA population, and much less than 1% of the world population. It is an obvious fact that they have much more power and control than that.

It is also obvious that Jews talk about the Holocaust much more than is interesting to non-Jews.

The Tiger mom and her Jewish husband wrote a whole book on how Jews think they are better than other people.

Someone might say that Hitler hated Jews because of the way Jews behave, and that makes Hitlet anti-Semitic, but it does not make someone anti-Semitic for holding that opinion about Hitler.

Jews do commonly have strong loyalties to Israel. Don Sterling bragged to Anderson Cooper about how Jews take care of their own kind.

I don't know how Jews could be responsible for most of the world’s wars. I didn't know that was a stereotypes. Most of the world's wars have not involved Jews, as far as I know.

I once posted Ten Jewish stereotypes, but this list is weird. Only the Jews go around doing phony name-calling surveys like this.

Update: ADL weighs in on the supposedly anti-semitic costume of a pro-LGBTQIA rapper.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Law professor against electing judges

Jessica A. Levinson, an associate clinical professor at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles, whatever that is, writes in an LA Times op-ed:
Do you know which judicial candidates you are voting for in the next election? Neither do I. And I teach election law.

It matters who serves as judges. They preside over state civil and criminal cases. Whether it is a murder trial or a divorce case, judges make hundreds of important decisions each day.

In June, there are 26 candidates running for 12 contested judicial seats (and three running unopposed in open seats) in Los Angeles County. So how do I decide whom to vote for? ...

There is more than just an informational problem here. It is inherently knotty to ask judges and would-be judges to take part in political campaigns. Judges should be making decisions by applying the law to the facts. Sometimes these decisions will be unpopular. That is often as it should be. ...

We do not hold judicial elections at the federal level. Instead, the president appoints and the Senate confirms federal trial and appellate judges.

For state judges in California, we have a hybrid system. The governor has the power to appoint judges to fill vacant seats, but we hold elections as well. ...

Given the typical voter's lack of information and the innate problems with judicial elections, we should move to a model that eliminates judicial elections.
I say we need more accountability for judges, not less. Admittedly these elections are not very effective at getting rid of bad judges, but I don't see how eliminating elections is going to make it better.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dad ordered not to have more kids

AP reports:
An Ohio appeals court has upheld a judge's order that a deadbeat father can't have more kids until he pays his back child support.

The decision this week by the 9th District Court of Appeals didn't provide an opinion about whether the judge's order was appropriate. Instead the appeals court said it didn't have enough information to decide the merits of the case without a copy of the pre-sentence report detailing Asim Taylor's background.

In January 2013, Lorain County Probate Judge James Walther said Taylor couldn't have more children while he is on probation for five years. The judge said the order would be lifted if Taylor pays nearly $100,000 in overdue support for his four children.
We have millions of moms who cannot support themselves, and who depend on AFDC, food stamps, housing subsidies, child support, and other welfare programs. Maybe they should get sterilized as a condition for support payments.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dad out of prison, gets Sonya back

CNN TV's Anderson Cooper has taken up the cause of helping Magic Johnson run the Jewish owner of the NBA LA Clippers out of the league, and now he also siding with Sonya's adoptive parents:
Dickson, Tennessee (CNN) -- The last time Sonya's adoptive parents heard her voice, the girl was begging to return to the only home she'd ever known.

"What did you say, baby doll?" asks Kim Hodgin, in a recording of the phone call.

"I want to you to come and get me," responds Sonya.

She describes her biological father's home as dirty, with mold and cigarettes everywhere. The girl complains he doesn't have clean water, but says he's being nice to her.

Her adoptive father tells Sonya everything is going to be OK. "You just stay strong," says Dave Hodgin.

That call took place January 30, one day after Sonya was removed from the Hodgins' home in Tennessee.

Sonya, now 9, had been in the Hodgins' care since before she was 2, and was adopted by the family in 2008.

Before the adoption was finalized, her birth father pleaded guilty to transporting firearms -- a felony -- and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Under Tennessee law, his parental rights were automatically terminated because state law does not allow anyone incarcerated for more than 10 years to have rights to a child under the age of 8.

However, her birth father later cut a deal using information he had about a homicide. His sentence was reduced to just 7½ years, allowing John McCaul to assert his parental rights and fight to reverse the adoption.
This seems like a simple matter to me. The natural father has done everything required of him under Tennessee law to assert his parental rights. So he should have sole custody. The Hodgins should not get any custody of visitation. They did an adoption without the consent of the father, and should have gotten legal advice about extinguishing the father's rights.

The Hodgins have permanently lost custody for several months now, but tell CNN that they are trying to get a BIOTCh hearing to determine the best interest of the child. The implication is that Sonya is better off in a home that is cleaner, and has no one with a criminal record. But it should not be up to judges to decide that.

CNN never explains Cooper's biases. He is gay, and Magic Johnson is a big gay hero. Even weirder, Cooper's mom was Gloria Vanderbilt, the subject of the most famous child custody dispute in American history. I don't know whether he has ever talked about it, but he surely has some strong personal views about child custody.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Suicde note may get taken down

I posted links to the Chris Mackey suicide note, and now his widow is trying use copyright law to force sites to remove his letter.

The suicide note shows that the ex-wife and family court drove Chris Mackey to suicide. This ought to be public. She has apparently shut down his blog already, and I don't know if anyone mirrored it. I suggest that you get the letter now if you are interested.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

NY divorced lesbian is presumed father

Here is the latest LGBTQIA attack on the family:
In this divorce action, a child conceived from artificial insemination was born during the marriage. The court must now determine whether the spouse who did not give birth to the child (the non-biological spouse), is a parent of the child under New York’s longstanding presumption that a married couple are both parents of a child born during their marriage.
Here is the relevant California Family Code:
7540. Except as provided in Section 7541, the child of a wife cohabiting with her husband, who is not impotent or sterile, is conclusively presumed to be a child of the marriage.

7541. (a) Notwithstanding Section 7540, if the court finds that the conclusions of all the experts, as disclosed by the evidence based on blood tests performed pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7550), are that the husband is not the father of the child, the question of paternity of the husband shall be resolved accordingly.

(b) The notice of motion for blood tests under this section may be filed not later than two years from the child's date of birth by the husband, or for the purposes of establishing paternity by the presumed father or the child through or by the child's guardian ad litem. ...
The California courts have not yet ruled how this applies to same-sex marriages. In my opinion, the plain meaning and obvious intent of this law is to make the natural father to be also the legal father, and not to make some lesbian partner the legal father.

The term "blood tests" is an anachronism, as the DNA tests are usually done with saliva.

As the gays have infected the courts, I would not count on a common-sense ruling.

In the New York case, the judge was influenced by the "birth-mother" posting this to Facebook:
This is our year!!! Our daughter will lawfully have two mommies when she arrives and a family that’s recognized wherever we go in the U.S. I love you!
So the judge accepts this FB legal analysis? I really doubt that all US states would recognize this family. The California state constitution says: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Many other states have similar language, and it has been upheld by every appeals court that has ruled on the matter. Maybe not for long, but currently this is not a recognized family.

Alas, no one recognizes this so-called family, not even each other:
After the birth of the child, citing marital trouble, the spouse left the household, in her words, to “not cause undue stress or potential other problems.” The child only lived in the same household with the two women for one week before they established separate households. The action for divorce was commenced by the birth-mother in December 2013, less than then three months after the birth of the child.

Before and after commencement, the birth-mother would not permit her spouse to visit with the child. The spouse then filed the instant request for a variety of relief, including access to the child, maintenance, and attorney fees. ...

The pervasive and powerful common law presumptions that link both spouses in a marriage to a child born of the marriage ... This court holds that the non-biological spouse is a parent of this child under the common law of New York as much as the birth-mother.
This is crazy. There has never been, in any civilized society, a common law presumption that a lesbian is a father.

The news these days is all gay all the time. The NFL announces:
Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones took to Twitter with inappropriate comments after Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday. ...

Shortly after Sam was drafted with the 249th overall pick in the seventh round and became the first openly gay player in the NFL, Jones tweeted "omg" after television cameras showed Sam kissing his boyfriend. ...

The Dolphins said Jones cannot return to the team until he "undergoes and completes educational training."
This sounds like Soviet-style re-education camp.

Also facing re-education is LA Clippers basketball owner Donald Sterling. He was born with the Jewish name Donald Tokowitz. He was betrayed by a paid escort who illegally recorded a private conversation and released it to the press. In the conversation, she taunts him about dating prominent black men, and provokes him into stating his disapproval. At one point he objects to her taking other dates to his basketball games, and asks why she is so eager to broadcast these liaisons. He also asks her why she is making a racial issue out of it.

The funny thing is that he never says anything derogatory about black people at all. He does have a dislike for Magic Johnson, but the reasons are not necessarily racial. The dislike appears to be largely based on Johnson being associated with the rival basketball team, Johnson's bisexuality, or Johnson taking part in a conspiracy to run Sterling out of business. Johnson was widely rumored to have gotten HIV (AIDS) from homosexual acts. He has never revealed how he was infected.

Now Sterling is banned for life from basketball, and will probably have to sell the team. His wife says he might be getting dementia, and there is no cause for her losing her community property share of the team. Johnson seemed to have dementia as well, as he said, "I'm going to pray for this young man." Sterling is 81 years old, and is not a "young man".

Apparently HIV made Johnson some sort of gay hero, and no one can criticize him. And apparently he and other black basketball players have a very strong belief that they have a right to poach the escorts of rich Jews. Not a single one says that Sterling has a right to privately express his jealousies to his honey. Jackson admitted to CNN that, on his lawyers advice, he was refusing to talk to Sterling. Reportedly, Jackson is using this story to force a sale of the team to a group of investors, with a big share going to Jackson for leading the attack/extortion.

I saw the gay actor Jim Parsons on the Late Show with Dave Letterman. He was promoting some gay AIDS movie he was in. He is best known for starring in the CBS TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He was also on NBC TV SNL recently complaining that people assume that he is like the roles he plays.

I guess he is trying to deny being an Asperger syndrome physicist. But he displays the same personality in every setting where I have seen him. The TBBT sitcom character does not really have AS, but is an asexual narcissist. In real life, Parsons shows every sign of also being an asexual narcissist. On the sitcom, he has no trouble understanding the needs and concerns of others. He just doesn't care about anything but himself. On the talk shows, he only tells self-centered stories about himself.

The difference between AS and narcissism is like the difference between being shy and introverted:
"Though in popular media they're often viewed as the same, we know in the scientific community that, conceptually or empirically, they're unrelated," Schmidt says.

The two get confused because they both are related to socializing -- but lack of interest in socializing is very clearly not the same as fearing it.
When someone fails to show the expected empathy, it could be that he does not understand the thoughts or feelings of others, or it could be that he understands but does not care. Psychopaths will often understand and then use that understanding to malevolently manipulate others.

Update: TBBT had its season finale, and Sheldon (Parsons) is once again an extreme asexaul narcissist, and not all Asperger. Sterling refuses to pay the NBA fine, saying he has violated no rule. I complain about family courts mpunishing parents for unwritten rules, and I do not agree with the NBA doing it either. I actually saw a black man on TV, Sherrod Small, say that it is okay for a man to be a racist at home, and since that is where Sterling expressed his opinion, he has no quarrel with it. Good for him. I am glad to see that not all blacks are Jew-haters or intolerants believers in black sexual aggression.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Myth of the Spoiled Child

Alfie Kohn has a new book on child-rearing, titled The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting:
Somehow, a set of deeply conservative assumptions about children--what they're like and how they should be raised--have congealed into the conventional wisdom in our society. Parents are accused of being both permissive and overprotective, unwilling to set limits and afraid to let their kids fail. Young people, meanwhile, are routinely described as entitled and narcissistic...among other unflattering adjectives.

In The Myth of the Spoiled Child, Alfie Kohn systematically debunks these beliefs -- not only challenging erroneous factual claims but also exposing the troubling ideology that underlies them. Complaints about pushover parents and coddled kids are hardly new, he shows, and there is no evidence that either phenomenon is especially widespread today--let alone more common than in previous generations. Moreover, new research reveals that helicopter parenting is quite rare and, surprisingly, may do more good than harm when it does occur. The major threat to healthy child development, John argues, is posed by parenting that is too controlling rather than too indulgent.

With the same lively, contrarian style that marked his influential books about rewards, competition, and education, Kohn relies on a vast collection of social science data, as well as on logic and humor, to challenge assertions that appear with numbing regularity in the popular press. These include claims that young people suffer from inflated self-esteem; that they receive trophies, praise, and As too easily; and that they would benefit from more self-discipline and "grit." These conservative beliefs are often accepted without question, even by people who are politically liberal. Kohn's invitation to reexamine our assumptions is particularly timely, then; his book has the potential to change our culture's conversation about kids and the people who raise them.
You can listen to the author explain his thesis in this interview (mp3).

In short, he favors permissive or indulgent parenting. He is not just against spanking, he also opposes time-outs as being even worse, as that he says that is just substituting emotional suffering for physical suffering.

He was particularly critical of NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. I had been impressed by that book because it is the most evidence-based parenting book I've seen. It recites a lot of academic research, and then explains the implications for parenting. Kohn contends that it misrepresents the research, and particularly distorts the Stanford marshmallow experiment.

Kohn views these parenting style differences as being mostly political. He says right-wingers want to discipline their kids and left-wingers want to boost their self-esteem. He agrees with the left-wingers, and laments that even the NY Times mocks self-esteem promotion, and suggests that the NY Times must have been influenced by Fox News on this issue.

Okay, my skepticism is aroused when someone with a Jewish name complains that the NY Times is too right-wing. But Kohn says that the research backs up what he says.

Not having read the book, I am not sure who is right. Child-rearing style may well be more a matter of politics than science.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Attacking the attorney-client privilege

A reader complains about Rule 1.6:
This Rule governs the disclosure by a lawyer of information relating to the representation of a client during the lawyer's representation of the client. ... A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that, in the absence of the client's informed consent, the lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation.
The constitutional basis is the Sixth Amendment:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
The thinking is that "Assistance of Counsel" requires because able to ask your lawyer confidential questions about your predicament without that being used against you in court.

Here is the lawsuit against Rule 1.6, with further argument here and here.

I am sorry, but this stuff is incoherent and is going nowhere. Apparently some guy is mad that he cannot get copies of the communications between his wife and her lawyer in a divorce court battle. There is no explanation why those documents would be useful or relevant, and no explanation of how the legal profession would ever function without an attorney-client. I realize that the privilege is occasionally abused, but this guy gives no evidence of any abuse.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Academic paper on tiger moms

I have posted about the new Tiger Mom book, along with accusations of racism because it is largely a rant about how Chinese and Jews are better than the rest of us. Now a respectable academic journal has published a paper about her parenting style:
My Mother and Me
Why Tiger Mothers Motivate Asian Americans But Not European Americans
Alyssa S. Fu  Hazel Rose Markus 

“Tiger Mother” Amy Chua provoked a culture clash with her claim that controlling parenting in Asian American (AA) contexts produces more successful children than permissive parenting in European American (EA) contexts. At the heart of this controversy is a difference in the normative models of self that guide behavior. Ideas and practices prevalent in AA contexts emphasize that the person is and should be interdependent with one’s close others, especially one’s mother. In contrast, EA contexts emphasize the person as independent, even from one’s mother. We find that AA compared with EA high school students experience more interdependence with their mothers and pressure from them, but that the pressure does not strain their relationship with their mothers. Furthermore, following failure, AAs compared with EAs are more motivated by their mothers, and AAs are particularly motivated by pressure from their mothers when it conveys interdependence.
It is politically incorrect to draw attention to such racial or ethnic differences, but it is at the heart of understanding tiger moms.

As this article explains, white Christian Americans believe in a notion of individuality that is incomprehensible to the rest of the world. This is largely a consequence of social developments in northwestern Europe over the last millennium. Americans have a history of nuclear families, while Asians and others have other family types. I have mentioned the Jewish stereotypes because of their eagerness to use the family court to run the lives of gentiles, but the Asian stereotypes are just as striking.

I have heard from women who refuse to date Asian or Jewish men because they are all mamas boys. These women say they do not want to marry a man and then play second fiddle to a meddlesome mother-in-law. According to the widely accepted stereotype, these men have an admirable devotion to their mothers, but they are also sometimes despised for it.

I would have assumed that this family structure is entirely cultural. It is hard to imagine that there is a gene for being a mamas boy. But twin studies and other research has shown that most personality traits are heritable. And a new NY Times science writer book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, supposedly explains how Asians could have evolved different behavior genes from Westerners. There is even doubt that any parenting styles do any good:
Chua’s book, and the particularly harsh formula for raising successful children that she espouses, are based on a faulty premise: that parenting can greatly affect the outcome of children. This is false. Steven Pinker, your fellow Project Reason Advisory Board member, has discussed this in detail in his 2002 book The Blank Slate. A chapter of Pinker’s book is devoted to discussing what Judith Rich Harris researched for her 1998 book The Nurture Assumption: twin and adoption studies (collectively known as behavioral genetic studies) have consistently shown that differences in parenting do not correspond to differences in how children turn out, once you control for heredity. Identical twins, as well other biological siblings, are no more similar when raised together than if raised apart (being about 50% and 25% similar overall, respectively). Adopted siblings, who grew up the same home and were exposed to the same parenting practices; with same amount of books; the same examples; the same degree of encouragement and discipline; the same amount of order or disorganization; the same level of quarrel or tranquility; the same permissiveness to watch TV; have sleepovers and go on dates—turn out to be no more similar than strangers plucked off the street at random. This is not just in IQ and large scale personality traits, such as how outgoing or talkative one is, but in real tangible “important” outcomes such as likelihood of getting divorced, finishing school (and the level of education obtained) getting into trouble with the law (Loehlin, Horn & Ernst, 2007; Harris, 2009), and even the income one makes as an adult (Bowles & Gintis, 2002; Caplan, 2009a; Caplan, 2009b, Edit, 3/17/14, [see also Cesarini, 2010Hyytinen et al, 2013]. This also includes one’s body mass index (BMI); in defense (grudgingly) of Mike Huckabee and this infamous photo of him with his obese family, parenting has no impact on adult BMI, once heredity is controlled for (Grillo & Pogue-Geile, 1991; Harris, 2009; Keskitalo et al., 2008). It is their shared genes—not examples set by the parents—that explain the relationship between parents and their biological children (including the size of Huckabee and children). Here is a summary of all this in an essay by Harris about the absence of birth order effects. ...

Contrary to what Chua claimed on your show, one cannot make one’s children into “respectful, decent human beings who contribute to society” if it is not in their makeup, their peer environment, and the luck of the draw to become this way. As Pinker put it in The Blank Slate, “Not to put too fine a point on it, but much of the advice from the parenting experts” (which now, apparently, includes Amy Chua) “is flapdoodle” (p. 384).
It is nearly impossible to convince parents of this research.

Wikipedia defines:
Mother's boy, also mummy's boy or mama's boy, is a term for a man who is excessively attached to his mother at an age when men are expected to be independent (e.g. live on their own, be economically independent, married to a woman or about to be married). A mother's boy may be effete or effeminate, or might be perceived as being macho, or might have a personality disorder, such as avoidant personality disorder, or might be schizophrenic, so that the mother acts as a caretaker. In any case, a mother's boy cannot maintain a healthy partnership with a woman (Carruthers, 1998).

Being mother-bonded is sometimes seen as a sign of weakness, and has a social stigma attached to it in many places, although in other places it may be more acceptable or perceived as normal. A mother-bonded man is seen to give control of his own life to his mother, in exchange for a sense of security. If the mother has more than one son, then she will have, at the most, one mother's boy, usually the oldest or youngest son. The relationship between mother and mother's boy is thought to be "symbiotic": the mother enjoys controlling her mother's boy.
Holy cow, I thought that I was being insensitive. Another article advises How to Date a Mama's Boy:
No woman wants to feel that she is the number two love in her guy's life, yet this is exactly how women in a relationship with a mama's boy feel. These guys aren't bad; it's just that someone forgot to cut the umbilical cord. Dating a mama's boy isn't easy but it can be done.
Unfortunately the family courts are full of judges, commissioners, and psychologists who hate white Christians, and who are hostile to traditional American family structures.

Monday, May 05, 2014

The Brewington error

I heard someone conclude that Dan Brewington's conviction was upheld because his lawyer made a mistake. That is not accurate.

The Indiana supreme court did say that his lawyer "invited error", but the errors were that the Indiana legislature passed an unconstitutional infringement of free speech, the grand jury brought a vague indictment, the prosecutor brought unconstitutional charges, the judge incorrectly instructed the jury, and the appellate court flagrantly misstated the facts and the applicable constitutional principles. That is what the high court decided.

When any of those things happen, the conviction is usually reversed and the defendant goes free. The prosecutor can still try him again, by getting a new indictment and doing it right.

But sometimes the high court does not want to let a dangerous criminal out on a technicality, so it rules that there was "harmless error", and sufficient evidence to convict the man anyway. However even the vindictive Indiana judges could not really say that the constitutional violations were "harmless". So they said that the defense lawyer "invited" the error by not anticipating the erroneous appellate court and not providing a sufficient trial record for the Indiana supreme court to uphold the conviction on harmless error.

Yeah, it still doesn't make sense. When judges are out to screw you, they can usually find a way.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Movie star sperm donor still fighting

I reported on this story before, and on a proposed law to address it, and here is the latest:
LOS ANGELES — He is a movie star who shot to fame on a motorcycle in “The Lost Boys.” She is a California massage therapist from a prominent East Coast family. Four years ago, with his sperm, her eggs and the wonder of in vitro fertilization, they produced a child.

From there, the tale gets very, very messy.

For the last two years, Jason Patric and Danielle Schreiber have been waging what has become one of the highest-profile custody fights in the country — one that scrambles a gender stereotype, raises the question of who should be considered a legal parent and challenges state laws that try to bring order to the Wild West of nonanonymous sperm donations.

Played out on cable news, dueling “Today” show appearances, YouTube videos and radio call-in talk shows, this rancorous dispute, which heads back into a California courtroom next Thursday, serves as cautionary tale for any man considering donating sperm to a friend and any woman considering accepting it from one, experts say.
The caution is that there are legal procedures for avoiding the trouble. Don't follow them, and you are at the mercy of some stupid judge. If you want to avoid paternal responsibility, do a sperm donation thru a physician and sign the necessary paperwork showing your intent. If you want paternal responsibility, make that clear to the physician and sign the birth certificate.

The Lost Boys movie was a cult classic, and is a favorite here in Santa Cruz for how it captures the local culture. It has stylish scenes, good music, cheap amusement park, beach bums, comic book freaks, aging hippies, and teenaged vampires.
Ms. Schreiber has tried to block Mr. Patric from using their son’s name on Twitter, Facebook and at fund-raising events in relation to Stand Up for Gus. She has been losing that fight. Last week, a Los Angeles judge denied a restraining order request on the ground that it would violate the actor’s First Amendment rights. (Her lawyer, Mr. Heather, said she does not plan to drop this element of the fight, perhaps pursuing a deceptive fund-raising case.)
He still has free speech rights, if no paternal rights.

I guess the argument is that if Gus is a child, and if the mom has sole custody, then the dad should not be able to speak for him by operating a web site called That is, only Gus's custodial parent can speak for Gus.
Throughout his career, Mr. Patric has been a reluctant celebrity, courting the spotlight only as a publicity tool for his films. So why has he gone so public in this instance, appearing on talk shows like “Katie” and news programs like “20/20” to publicize parental alienation?

“I want to leave a huge trail so Gus will someday know how hard I fought for him,” he said.

But what will Gus someday think of Mr. Patric’s decision to speak abrasively about Ms. Schreiber? “I don’t say negative things about her,” Mr. Patric said. “I’m not in a public spat with her.”
Good answer. This is an annoying anti-father argument that I have also encountered. The suggestion is that the boy will somehow be harmed by the public knowledge that his dad tried to see him. It is nonsense. The truth is more nearly the opposite, as the boy is more likely to be harmed by feelings of abandonment.

As far as I know, Patric has not gone on a character assassination against the mom, as moms very commonly do against dads in court. I haven't either. I just respond to allegations against me, and explain why I am a good dad. It is hard to imagine how any child could see that as a bad thing, especially if the truth is on the public record.

I cannot help but thinking that a big movie star like Patric could admit his mistake, take his loss, and find another girlfriend to bear him another child. And next time, get his name on the birth certificate. But then when someone tells me that he lost a dog, and I explain how easy it is to get another dog, I get told that I am an insensitive jerk.

Friday, May 02, 2014

More on the Indiana Brewington outcome

I am still trying to make sense out of the Indiana Brewington decision. According to the Indiana supreme court, here is the core of the case against him:
But for all the strength of that circumstantial evidence, the strongest evidence here is direct: that Defendant declared—indeed, emphasized—his threatening intent in a letter to the children’s treating therapist that he attached to his reply in support of the “Motion for Relief from Judgment”:
I have always said that I would hold everyone accountable for any unethical and/or illegal conduct in matters dealing with my children. Some would argue that this appears threatening. I would argue that it is a promise. People have accused me of trying to intimidate psychologists, lawyers, and judges. ... If I have done anything wrong, I would suggest that these people contact the proper authorities and file charges or retain an attorney and sue me.
This touches on a confusing and technical legal issue, called the blackmail paradox:
1. I am generally perfectly free to publish embarrassing information about you — in fact, I generally have the constitutional right to do so. (The “disclosure of private facts” tort may constrain this in some instances, but the tort has been read quite narrowly, and much revelation of embarrassing secrets is not tortious and constitutionally protected.) Likewise, I am free to keep quiet about such information.

2. I am generally perfectly free to ask you for money — or to ask you to do something else — in exchange for my doing something (here, keeping quiet) that I have no preexisting legal obligation to do. This distinguishes classic extortion, where I ask you for $10,000 not to burn down your store: Because I have a legal obligation not to burn down your store, it’s easy to explain why extortionate threats to burn down the store would be punishable. I will use “blackmail” to mean just threats to reveal information, not threats to commit illegal violence or property destruction.

3. But if I ask you for money or a service in exchange for my not revealing embarrassing information about you, then that’s a crime.

What’s the explanation? Legal scholars have debated this for decades, and to my knowledge have not come up with a perfectly satisfactory answer.
The most obvious explanation of Brewington's language is that he was trying to avoid blackmail. That is, he is promising to hold the shrink accountable for his bad conduct, but he does not want to blackmail him by asking for a good evaluation in return for not reporting the bad conduct.

E. Volokh explains how the Indiana court got the blackmail analogy wrong.

Bribery law has a similar paradox. Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown is running for re-election. You are free to contribute money to his campaign. You are free to ask him to veto a particular bill. But it is a crime to offer to give the money contingent to vetoing a particular bill.

In context, it seems clear that Brewington just wanted to see his kids, and to expose any corrupt/unethical/improper practices that present legal impediments. His position is not that much different from other litigants who aggressively argue their cases.

You can read the court decision for details of other accusations against Brewington. Or save the trouble, because the decision said that the above is the "strongest evidence" against me.

The other accusations are just as ridiculous. One says that he found Heidi Humphrey's address on a public database, but lied when he said that he was not sure if she was married to Judge James Humphrey. Even if he discovered that they lived at the same address, I don't see how he could have know whether she was a wife, sister, daughter, mother, or what.

Another silly argument is that Brewington said he felt threatened by a police officer who called him and knew that his mom lived in Cincinnati, and hence should have known that someone could feel threatened by disclosing a home location. The decision presents this as some sort of smoking gun, but it proves nothing. The critical issue is what is being threatened. I really don't think that Brewington felt that the cop was threatening to kill or do bodily injury to his mom. More likely, he felt threatened that the authorities were going to use some sort of legal process to intimidate him.

As Volokh's brief and oral argument forced the Indiana supreme court to concede, the First Amendment protects speech that threatens to expose judges to “hatred, contempt, disgrace, or ridicule”. So even if Brewington were threatening the judge, such threats are entirely legal if directly at exposing the judge's bad behavior in taking his kids away, as is clearly the case.

Here is where the decision concedes that the whole prosecution was based on an unconstitutional law, because the indictment was vague and the defense argued free speech, Brewington invited the error:
Like Bachellar, the grand jury’s indictments against Defendant here do not allege any particular act or statement as constituting intimidation, instead alleging generally that his conduct as a whole “between August 1, 2007 and February 27, 2011” (as to the Doctor) and “between August 1, 2009 and February 27, 2011” (as to the Judge) was “intended to place[ them] in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act.” App. 22, 24. Nothing on the face of the indictments, then, creates confusion between protected or unprotected acts as the basis for conviction. Instead, like Bachellar, any confusion arises only because of how the case was argued and how the jury was instructed.

Specifically, the prosecutor argued two grounds for Defendant’s convictions, one entirely permissible (true threat) and one plainly impermissible (“criminal defamation” without actual malice). See Tr. 455–56. Then, the jury was instructed on all eight alternative forms of “threat” under Indiana Code section 35-45-2-1(c), App. 16, without any instruction that for these particular victims, threats of “criminal defamation” under (c)(6) and (7) also require “actual malice.” That makes it quite possible that the impermissible criminal-defamation theory formed at least part of the basis for the jury’s guilty verdicts, and the general verdict cannot indicate otherwise. Accordingly, Bachellar compels us to find a general-verdict error here—but as discussed below, Defendant invited that error as part of a reasonable defense strategy, and therefore may not raise it as grounds for relief.
This is amazingly bad reasoning.

There is very little mention of the real issue, which is that a rogue psychologist (Edward Connor and judge (James Humphrey) had had conspired to take his kids away for bogus reasons. The decision is mean where it says:
Defendant considered that ruling tantamount to termination of his parental rights. [cite] But instead of taking the court-ordered steps to maintain his relationship with his children, he escalated his efforts at intimidating the Judge and the Doctor — efforts he was able to pursue full-time, since he was unemployed at all times during and after the divorce, supported by his mother’s provision of a rentfree house and $2,500 monthly assistance.
Yes, he used legal channels to object to losing custody of his kids and vindictive court official putting him on supervised visitation. The Indiana supreme court is showing an extreme anti-father bias.

Someone suggested an appeal to the US Supreme Court, but that will not happen. This is the final word on the issue. Brewington only got to the Indiana supreme court because Volokh and the ACLU got involved in a blatantly unconstitutional appellate ruling. The US Supreme Court never bothers with cases like this.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Brewington conviction upheld

Fellow angry dad Dan Brewington took his free speech case to the Indiana supreme court, and it has just upheld his conviction.

The reasoning is strange. The court agreed that the Indiana law, as applied by the judge and appeals court, is unconstitutional, that the jury was improperly instructed, that Brewington had a free speech right to make the individual statements that he did, but that he is somehow guilty anyway because he showed a "persistent, single-minded obsession" with wanting to see his kids and because his lawyer failed to educate the judge on how the Indiana legal system had been miscontruing the First Amendment.

This makes no sense. He has already served his 3 to 5 years in prison, and is now a free man, but he did not deserve to be a convicted felon. It appears to me that the judges just don't like his attitude, and will twist the law any way they can to punish him.

Update: UCLA law professor and free speech expert writes:
The court also concluded that defendant’s accusations of “child abuse” and “abducti[on]” against the judge, which the lower court viewed as factual falsehoods, were instead constitutionally protected opinion. “Reasonable readers would understand ‘child abuse’ or ‘abducting’ as Defendant’s exaggerated opinion of the decree’s custody ruling — not factual assertions that the Judge actually beats or kidnaps children.” That too is an important conclusion, for reasons given here.

And the court concluded that even threats of violence are punishable under Indiana law only if they are intended to put the target in fear (and not just sufficient to put a reasonable person in fear). In the process, the court suggested that the First Amendment precedents are best interpreted as requiring such a conscious purpose; there is a disagreement among lower courts on the question. ...

I can’t speak to whether this decision is correct given the trial record and the state of Indiana “invited error” law. But I am glad that the Indiana Supreme Court recognized and reversed the legal error in the Indiana Court of Appeals opinion — the thing that my clients (who were the amici, not the defendant) were concerned about. Threatening to harshly criticize people’s actions, and thus to expose them to ridicule and disgrace (at least outside the special case of blackmail) is legal again in Indiana.
Volokh is being polite by not speaking about "invited error". The only way Brewington "invited error" was by standing trial under an unconstitutional law.

Divorce court drives Chris Mackey to suicide

A reader sends:
Chris Mackney committed suicide on December 29, 2013 because his ex wife was using the divorce courts in America to TORTURE him and kidnap his children from him. He wrote a 4 page suicide note before killing himself.

LATEST UPDATE: The ex-wife is such a psychopath that is she trying to copyright her ex husband's suicide note, in order to prevent it from being circulated on the internet. She is using her lawyers to threaten legal action against websites that published Chris's suicide letter. She is trying to silence him, even in death.

The website "A Voice for Men" also got a letter from her lawyers and wrote an article about it yesterday:

Here's a few more updates:
I hate reading these stories. His Wash. Post obituary said:
Chris was an active and passionate advocate for spousal rights in the area of family law and made the world better by bringing awareness to this important element of modern society. His active blog provided education to others while documenting his real life experiences.
His blog is also dead now, and is taken over by a domain name reseller.