Nebraska high court again rules father’s consent necessary for adoption

March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Nebraska high court again rules father’s consent necessary for adoption

23 hours ago  •  By MARGERY A. BECK / The Associated Press

For a second time, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a father who was intentionally misled about the birth of his child can stop the baby’s adoption.

In a ruling Friday, the state’s high court said the consent of the father, listed in court documents as Jeremiah J., is required by state law for the child to be put up for adoption. Further, the high court said the child’s mother, identified as Dakota D., failed to prove Jeremiah met any of the exceptions for consent because she did not show he had abandoned her or the child or that he would be an unfit parent.

Jeremiah learned in June 2011 that Dakota, his ex-girlfriend, was pregnant. Five months later, he was contacted by an adoption agency caseworker who told him he had been identified as the baby’s father and that Dakota planned to put the baby, due Feb. 18, 2012, up for adoption, according to court documents. Jeremiah told the caseworker he did not want that, then tried many times to reach Dakota, but she did not return his calls, records say.

The child was born Feb. 9, but Jeremiah was not told of the birth. He contacted Dakota on Feb. 13, but she did not tell him the baby had been born. Jeremiah also repeatedly called the hospital and caseworker to try to learn of the birth, but they refused to tell him, citing privacy policies. The adoption was put on hold after Jeremiah filed his appeal.

Dakota later testified in court that she did not tell Jeremiah of the child’s birth because she did not want him to know about it during the five days he had to object to the adoption.

A Hall County court ruled in the mother’s favor, saying Jeremiah could have hired an attorney sooner, but the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed that ruling last year, noting the mother’s deception. The lower court then ruled in Jeremiah’s favor, and Dakota appealed, arguing he is not a fit parent because he has an unstable work history, has used drugs and has a criminal record, among other things.

She also argued that Jeremiah neglected the child after she was born, and did not provide financial support for her or the child.

But the state’s high court rejected those arguments Friday, saying Jeremiah’s criminal record consisted of misdemeanor convictions as a teen. The court also noted that Jeremiah has denied any drug use, and that he has a stable job paying more than $12 an hour.

“And in any event, low income or an unstable job history does not alone establish parental unfitness,” Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Michael McCormack wrote for the court.

The high court also rejected arguments that Jeremiah did not provide financial support.

“Dakota clearly does not want to have Jeremiah in the life of the child, and she chose to not provide Jeremiah with a fair opportunity to offer financial support,” McCormack wrote.

Jeremiah’s attorney, Mark Porto of Grand Island, said the next step will be to file a paternity action in an effort to establish custody and visitation issues.

“He’s thrilled that he’ll be able to be a part of his daughter’s life,” Porto said.

An attorney for Dakota did not immediately return a message left Friday.

The appearance we will give these scumbags more money that families don’t have ?

January 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

FAMILY LAW

Task force considers whether guardians ad litem are helpful in custody disputes, given the costs

By Stephanie Francis Ward

Jan 29, 2014, 03:49 pm CST

A Connecticut task force on custody disputes is considering whether appointing guardians ad litem to represent children is in families’ best interests, considering the costs involved.

Peter Szymonik, a single father, told the task force that he paid two guardians ad litem more than $20,000 in his divorce, the Hartford Courant reports. He supports tracking payments to guardians ad litem

Comprised of politicians, lawyers with child custody experience as well as attorneys who serve as guardians ad litem, the task force is also studying whether state judges comply with a statute that requires they consider children’s best interest in custody cases.

“We’re here to look for solutions and see if we can improve the system that everybody is complaining about,” said state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, who is also a task force member.

Another issue being considered is whether Connecticut should adopt a presumption that shared custody is in a child’s best interest. While some testified that children need two parents, others expressed concern about shared custody in relationships with domestic violence histories.

Recommendations from the task force are slated to go the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee by Feb. 1.

 

Power of FOIA every meeting of public officials or state actors that posted or a special is all good to ask for info.

January 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Lawpulse

Aldermen’s texts, tweets during council meetings are ‘public records’

By

Adam W. Lasker

Put your phone down as soon as the meeting starts, a lawyer for local officials counsels his clients in the wake of City of Champaign v. Lisa Madigan.

In a decision that bolsters the strength and lengthens the reach of Illinois’ sunshine laws, an appellate court ruled that messages sent by aldermen on their personal electronic devices during a council meeting are “public records” and are subject to disclosure if they pertain to public business.

In City of Champaign v. Lisa Madigan, 2013 IL App (4th) 120662, a unanimous panel of the fourth district appellate court held that a municipality is required to disclose electronic communications between aldermen during a city council meeting if those texts, tweets, or e-mails were about city business, even if the communications were created on, sent by, or stored in the aldermen’s private phones or computers.

“To hold otherwise would allow members of a public body, convened as a public body, to subvert the Open Meetings Act and [Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)] requirements simply by communicating about city business during a city council meeting on a personal electronic device,” Justice M. Carol Pope wrote for the appellate panel.

Public business on private devices

The case began when a reporter from The News-Gazette attended a public meeting of the Champaign City Council and noticed some aldermen using their personal cell phones and other electronic devices to send messages during the meeting. Curious about the contents of those messages, the reporter submitted a FOIA request to the city, seeking copies of: “All electronic communications, including cellphone text messages, sent and received by members of the city council and the mayor during the city council meetings…. Please note that this request applies both to city-issued and personal cellphones, city-issued or personal email addresses, and Twitter accounts.”

The city conceded that “there were electronic communications [that] would be responsive to [the reporter’s] request if they were required to be produced,” but the FOIA officer refused to produce any such documents, claiming instead that they did not meet FOIA’s definition of “public records” and that the individual members of the city council did not meet the definition of a “public body.”

The appellate court, however, disagreed. The court noted that section 2(c) of FOIA defines “public record” as documents “pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.”

The court further held that “public business” is an element of a public record, and public business can be easily summed up as “business or community interests as opposed to private affairs.”

Since the city had acknowledged that at least some of the requested records pertained to public business, and since the reporter conceded he was not seeking disclosure of any private affairs, the court was left with the issue of whether the individual aldermen constituted a “public body,” and whether the records created and stored on their personal devices were “in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.”

After analyzing prior appellate decisions, the fourth district held that an individual alderman is not a “public body” while acting alone, but is an integral component of a public body while acting in unison in the midst of a meeting of the entire board or council.

“Under this interpretation, a message from a constituent ‘pertaining to the transaction of public business’ received at home by an individual city council member on his personal electronic device would not be subject to FOIA,” the court explained. “However, that communication would be subject to FOIA if it was forwarded to enough members of the city council to constitute a quorum for that specific body, regardless of whether a personal electronic device, as opposed to a publicly issued electronic device, was used.”

Similarly, if the communications were created in the midst of a council meeting, or a meeting of any other public body, such communications would be subject to FOIA because the individual members were, at that time, acting together as the public body. When the individual members are acting as a public body, the court held that all records stored on their personal electronic devices are, as a matter of law, in the possession and control of the public body and must be disclosed if the records pertain to public business.

“For the reasons stated, communications ‘pertaining to public business’ and sent to and from individual city council member’s personal electronic devices during the time city council meetings (and study sessions) were convened should be turned over to the City’s FOIA officer for review of what information, if any, should be…provided to [the FOIA requester].”

A duty to store personal texts, emails?

This holding appears to place a duty on elected officials to provide copies to the head of the public body (or its FOIA officer) of all documents stored on their personal computers and phones that are related to public business and that were either created during a meeting of the public body, or that were distributed to at least a quorum of its members.

However, Bollingbrook-based local-government attorney John M. O’Driscoll, a partner with Tressler LLP, said the Champaign decision raises more questions than it answers, and all governmental bodies throughout the state should take a close look at their local practices and ordinances to make sure they are complying with the sunshine laws without also putting themselves at risk of having to disclose communications they intended to remain private.

“Everybody understands and appreciates the need for transparency in government, but trying to implement that in a fair and reasonable way is a difficult thing to do, especially with advancements in technology,” O’Driscoll said. “With my [village] trustees, I tell them to put their phone down and don’t touch it as soon as the meeting starts – it’s not worth the aggravation. But that can be a problem sometimes, because people are addicted to these devices.”

O’Driscoll said responding to FOIA requests that involve electronic communications has become “no easy task,” and the Champaign decision is only one step towards providing FOIA officers with the information they need to properly perform their duties. There will be future court decisions, O’Driscoll said, dealing with specific scenarios on a case-by-case basis.

“For example, consider a message that was sent before the meeting started but had an attachment that slowed the delivery until after the meeting started. How would that be treated?” he said.

The Champaign court didn’t have all the answers, but it did provide some advice for elected officials that echoes what O’Driscoll has been telling his governmental clients.

“We would encourage local municipalities to consider promulgating their own rules prohibiting city council members from using their personal electronic devices during city council meetings,” the court said.

Adam W. Lasker <alasker@ancelglink.com> is a lawyer in the Chicago office of Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCanni & Krafthefer.


December 2013 Lawpulse

BEFORE YOU STEP ONE FOOT INTO FAMILY COURT – READ THIS!

January 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

BEFORE YOU STEP ONE FOOT INTO FAMILY COURT – READ THIS!

January 17, 2014 By 
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A colleague of mine, Anne Stevenson, recently testified before the Connecticut legislature on behalf of good parents and ethical court employees who feared retribution if they spoke up themselves against the corruption, fraud and shady deals in Connecticut’s family court system.

 

The content of her testimony is critically important, and not widely understood, so I agreed to post it here to provide folks with a better understanding of how the “divorce industry” in Connecticut is ruining families financially, and subjecting children to dangerous custody arrangements.

 

Her proposed changes for reform, set forth below, were provided to the Connecticut legislature but are applicable to other states as well because the problems in Connecticut are systemic in American family courts.

 

Wendy

 

(1) Court appointments for mental health services should be made with due preference given to providers who accept the parent’s insurance. Parents are too often ordered to obtain mental health services from providers who do not accept their insurance. This forces parents to pay out of pocket, leaving many literally bankrupt.

 

Some of the cases involve insurance fraud and the deliberate misdiagnosis of parents as having mental illnesses when they are perfectly healthy, and prescribing medicine and treatments the patient does not need.

 

(2) GALs and court personnel should have to submit statements of financial interest, just like the ones judge’s must fill out every year. These statements should be provided to the litigants prior to a GAL’s appointment or assignment to a case, and published on the Judicial Branch’s website (alongside the Judge’s statements of financial interest). This way, parents and professionals alike can avert conflicts of interest before they have a chance to affect the integrity of a case.

 

(3) Courts should track the number of assignments each family court industry professional (GAL, expert, visitation supervisors, etc.) receives, and make that information available to the public on the Judicial Branch’s website. GAL caseloads are not accurately reported or tracked according to the attorney’s vendor number, as required by law.  Moreover, appointments of GALs and other professionals are not trackable in the current system. All vendors appointed and assigned to cases need to be assigned vendor numbers and tracked the same way attorneys are tracked, and the information must be made available to the public.

 

(4) Task Force panels should be created to collect data about the problem of industry professionals misusing the system, and appropriate cases should be referred to appropriate professional oversight authorities. Many parents testified in Connecticut that they were victims of fraud. They had their life savings, their children, their personal safety, their employment destroyed due to unethical professionals assigned to their case who created problems they could then profitably “solve” in what sounded like false billing scams and extortion.  Parents also testified that despite having filed formal complaints against the various professionals to oversight boards, their complaints were thrown out without any meaningful investigation.  The names of court-appointed “favorites” came up over and over again. A task force in every state should be created to obtain statistics on how many complaints are filed against court “favorites” and whether oversight authorities like professional mental health licensing boards, Judicial Review Commissions and Board of Bar Overseers are effectively responding to the complaints.

 

(5) The Judicial Branch should get out of the GAL training business. Many GALs are “certified” using the Judicial Branch’s FREE AFCC training program.  States should not be spending tax dollars training private attorneys and psychologists to be “certified” as GALs who are then effectively “supervised” by the Judicial Branch. In Connecticut, such certification practices have led to harmful results in part because there is no “decertification” process to prevent substandard actions that hurt families.  While judges have authority to sanction GALs, no GAL has ever been sanctioned for misconduct in Connecticut despite countless reports of misconduct and poor decision-making

 

Training and oversight of GALs (and supervised visitation professionals) should be removed from the authority of the Judicial Branch.

 

(6) GALs and Supervised Visitation professionals need formal training with accreditation from public health and education agencies.  GALs and supervised visitation professionals oversee vulnerable families, many of which include victims of violent crimes. In Connecticut, you cannot represent children as an attorney unless you complete 20+ years of formal education, plus various exams and accreditation reviews. In fact, you cannot run a daycare center without passing various exams and receiving accreditation from agencies such as the Department of Public Health, which then provides oversight and continuing education, etc.

 

But when victims of violent crimes and abuse come to family court, there are no standards whatsoever to ensure that the professionals making decisions about children are similarly experienced and capable of acting in children’s best interests.

 

Dangerous criminals are allowed to serve as visitation supervisors and even GALs and judges have authority to appoint them to positions where their actions and decisions threaten the well-being of children.

 

There is no accreditation, no security for children and no place to file a complaint when parents get ripped off or the untrained professional provides false or misleading statements to the court, or provides inadequate services.

 

(7) Courts need to track how often offenders obtain custody when an allegation of violent crime is raised or when a restraining order is in place. There is much dispute about the frequency with which abusers win custody of their victims, but one thing is certain: Courts often place the parental and property rights of offenders seeking control and ownership of victims over the rights of children to be safe.  Decisions often rest on the recommendations of family court industry professionals who earn a lot of money off the endless [sometime inconclusive] assessments and billable hours they purport to spend in the name of “advocacy,” “investigation” and mental health services.

 

One man in Connecticut was labeled a “jealous ex” by family services when he requested information concerning his children’s whereabouts and the identity of individuals who were caring for them. His ex-wife’s new boyfriend was subsequently arrested for brutally murdering his son.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/jud/ldcc/Testimony/January%209/Garcia%20III,%20Pedro.pdf

http://www.wtnh.com/news/crime/news_ap_meriden_man_arraigned_toddlers_death_200910131615

 

Other testimony included a mom who read from police reports which explaining how her ex was arrested for various violent crimes, with multiple weapons, and that police had to taser him to subdue him because he was so rageful.  She showed pictures her ex had taken of her young daughters naked in suggestive poses with naked grown men, which he allegedly posted on a website. Although the man submitted written testimony admitting he had done this, the GAL did not refer the case for prosecution after concluding that the photos were “art.” The GAL then blamed the victims for reporting the matter, and fought to help the offender get custody and overnight visits with his daughters.

http://www.ctpost.com/policereports/article/Cops-Man-violating-protective-order-hit-with-3403278.php

 

Another woman described how when she sought treatment for injuries her son allegedly sustained at his father’s hands during a brutal rape (confirmed later by medical professionals), the judge gave the father sole custody and revoked the mother’s rights even though there was no finding that the other was unfit or that she had abused or neglected her child. After paying out over $1 million in legal expenses, the mom was left without sufficient funds to purchase her parenting time and has not seen her child [who remains with the alleged perpetrator] in nearly 2 years.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/jud/ldcc/Testimony/January%209/Kelley,%20Sunny.pdf

 

(8) CSSD should no longer accept grants requiring it to incentivize decision-makers to remove children from a fit parent’s home and place children with identified predators.  Many parents testified about court decisions that arbitrarily revoked their custody rights, only to have the family court industry professionals then effectively “sell” them back their parenting time back in what one man called a “pay per view” racket, where good parents could only visit with their children if they paid for therapy, assessments, court dates, and supervised visitation programs prescribed by the courts.

 

(9) CSSD should no longer accept grants requiring it to arbitrarily discriminate against parents on the basis of gender or marital status.

 

Testimony in Connecticut revealed many problematic CSSD programs funded by HHS Access and Visitation, VAWA, and Responsible Fatherhood grants. If you look at the grant applications and MOA for the Fatherhood program, for example, you can see that state officials sign agreements with several other State agencies, INCLUDING THE DEPT OF CORRECTIONS AND DEPT OF PAROLE, to help dangerous offenders obtain custody. In a section of the grant reports from Connecticut labeled “Problem Solving Court,” CSSD is clearly working overtime to help drug addicts, violent offenders, and violent parents with serious mental illnesses get custody of victimized children.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126298352/CT-Family-Court-Grants-Fatherhood-Access-and-Visitation-DOJ

 

Testimony also detailed the way that assessments and recommendations made by CSSD about parenting plans were often defective, and placed children in profitably dangerous homes without due consideration for their well-being. The stated purpose of these grants is to help good fathers, but the funding incentives create dangerous conditions for kids because the grant money is intended to provide even incarcerated prisoners with “technical assistance” so they can obtain visitation rights, avoid criminal penalties and seek “reunification” therapy with children they are not fit to be around.

 

The infamous Connecticut murderer Joshua Komisarjevsky was a beneficiary of misguided funding incentives when he obtained sole custody of his daughter despite the fact that he was a drug addict on parole and wore a GPS bracelet to the custody hearing.  His parole records detail the ways the Dept. of Corrections was encouraging him to sue for custody and helping him obtain resources to assist him with his case. The Hartford Courant reported that Komisarjevsky’s case was approved by Family Services as an appropriate candidate for “Conflict Resolution” in family court, (thus allowing the flow of grant monies) as if the guy was no different than a bickering parent.  A few weeks after obtaining custody of his daughter, he murdered the Petit family after raping 11-year-old Michaela.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/194782665/Komisarjevsky-Paternity-Case-and-Parole-Records

 

Another distraught parent testified the judge in his case repeatedly refused to enforce orders to facilitate his parenting time.  The GAL withheld his son’s education records from him, and the court was initially ineffective at protecting his parental rights to see his son’s file.  When he finally received a copy of the records, he learned that an accused prolific pedophile priest naed Richard McGann was on the list of adults approved to pick up his son from school—but he, the father, was not. The man hasn’t seen his son in years.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/jud/ldcc/Testimony/January%209/Tolmoff,%20Ron.pdf

 

A national non-profit that advocates for priest abuse victims, SNAP, discovered McGann’s whereabouts and reported to DPH that the guy was living at a day care center and that the archdiocese had suspended McGann from the priesthood and paid out “a substantial amount” in connection with allegations McGann repeatedly raped and exploited children during his tenure as a priest.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_press_releases/2011_press_releases/042511_predator_lives_at_day_care_center_groups_say.htm

 

While the Fatherhood grant agreement requires DPH to work on behalf of  “fit” fathers, the system appears to be working more effectively on behalf of predators like McGann, which makes sense given that the grant money can only be justified if offenders and noncustodial parents are able to increase their time with children.

 

(10) Courts should not be contracting with the AFCC, and State workers who are running it should be fired. State Judicial Branch employees should not be using their offices and taxpayer money to run a private trade association that promotes the family court industry and the “collaborative efforts” of the AFCC professionals who do business in their courtrooms.  Based on the number of complaints about GALs alone, the GAL trainings should not be allowed to use an AFCC curriculum, and the judicial branch should not be allowed to contract with AFCC to set up family court services.

 

Testimony included shocking stories about judges collaborating with certain attorneys and psychologists and effectively operating a private trade association for family court professionals from their state offices, and funding it with the money allocated by the government to family courts which are supposed to HELP families, not FUND an industry.  The documents filed with the Sec. of State in Connecticut showed that Judicial Branch employees were listed as directors and officers of entities benefitting form the disbursement of these grant monies.

 

Brave parents in Connecticut testified about their concerns regarding the apparent “collusion” between AFCC leaders and family court professionals.  Many testified that AFCC leaders and members do not disclose their conflict of interest to the families whose cases they influence, and because the AFCC leaders are State employees promoting the private industry complained of, this creates a disincentive to discipline any AFCC members or to even acknowledge there is a problem. They do not tell litigants, for example, that they are in business together.  Who could possibly hope to have a judge hold AFCC accountable for a conflict of interest when the courts directly benefit from the conflict?

 

In addition to testimony about the AFCC’s involvement with GALs, many people testified that Family Services’ screening intake assessments were defective because they failed to accurately discern between fit loving parents and violent offenders who are not.

 

Important testimony on that point can be found here:

http://www.cga.ct.gov/jud/ldcc/Testimony/January%209/Szymonik,%20Peter.pdf

 

The list of AFCC affiliates can be found here:

 

You can read up on AFCC’s history in the Connecticut courts below. Please note that the old newsletters show that in many cases, CSSD administrators who served as AFCC officers were raising money for the AFCC from the public and family court industry professionals with instructions to mail that funding directly to their Judicial Branch offices during times when the corporation was not registered to do business in Connecticut. These administrators oversee HHS Access and Visitation programs, VAWA, and Responsible Fatherhood programs and their funding.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/134247461/AFCC-CT-Judicial-Branch-Taxpayer-Funded-GAL-Training-Boon

 

You can also read about how CSSD came to hire the AFCC:  The attached newsletters show that:

 

(a)  In 2001, CSSD director Robert Tompkins received an award from AFCC for his outstanding member contributions.

 

(b)  In 2002, Grant sat on the AFCC’s Board of Directors.

 

In 2002, CSSD awarded the AFCC a [taxpayer funded] contract to overhaul the family court’s case intake protocols and address the court’s federal Access and Visitation program and growing number of “high conflict” cases.

 

The Family Civil Intake Assessment Project in the Connecticut family courts reports were apparently peddled as “independent research,” a collaboration between disinterested professionals and the researchers from AFCC. The reports can be found here:

http://www.afccnet.org/ResourceCenter/CenterforExcellenceinFamilyCourtPractice/ctl/ViewCommittee/CommitteeID/16/mid/495

 

You can read up on how CSSD family court personnel allowed their names and time to be used by the AFCC to promote AFCC “task force” activities here:

http://www2583.ssldomain.com/afccnet/pdfs/AFCC%20Five-Year%20Report%20Web.pdf

 

(11) Complaints about family courts should be referred to the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services, for investigation.  Testimony in Connecticut included reports of widespread complaints from parents that they were being victimized by fraud and false billing scams, and that they were wrongfully losing custody because they were falsely discredited.  Nearly all these parents (who did not know each other and were from all walks of life and geographic areas) had good reputations and voiced the same complaints about the misconduct in their family court cases, but were all treated as liars and unfit parents.  By contrast, the State Auditor found that CSSD has misappropriated millions of dollars in family court-related matters, yet no one was discredited and the misappropriation activities were never referred to law enforcement for prosecution.

 

In the absence of meaningful oversight by the states, federal oversight agencies such as the DHHS and the DOJ must step in and investigate.

The appearance to level the playing field to see children without the financial tormentor other parent

January 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Short Description:  DISSOL: CUSTODY-1ST REFUSAL

House Sponsors
Rep. Josh Harms – Jil Tracy – Chad Hays – Naomi D. Jakobsson – Michael J. ZalewskiLinda Chapa LaViaJohn M. CabelloMonique D. DavisJim SaciaRaymond PoeLou LangAnn WilliamsElgie R. Sims, Jr.Dennis M. Reboletti and André M. Thapedi

Senate Sponsors
(Sen. Ira I. Silverstein – Steven M. LandekJohn M. SullivanJohn G. MulroeJason A. Barickman,Kirk W. DillardMichael E. HastingsDaniel BissLinda HolmesMelinda BushMichael NolandMartin A. SandovalToi W. HutchinsonPamela J. AlthoffChapin Rose and Napoleon Harris, III)

Last Action

Date Chamber  Action
  8/16/2013 House Public Act . . . . . . . . . 98-0462

Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance

750 ILCS 5/602.3 new

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Provides that if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child and awards joint custody or visitation rights, the court shall find that both parties have the right of first refusal to care for the minor children if the absence of either party is necessary during the party’s normal parenting time. Provides that the use of baby-sitters, family members, or subsequent spouses is secondary to the right of first refusal. Provides that “right of first refusal” means that in the event that either parent intends to leave the minor children for a period of 4 hours or longer, that parent shall first offer the other parent an opportunity for additional time with the children before making other arrangements for the temporary care of the children. Contains provisions concerning the setting of parameters regarding distance, transportation, and time constraints which may make the offering of additional parenting time impractical and therefore not required. Provides that the parent leaving the children with the other parent or with a temporary child care provider shall notify the other parent of the duration of the parenting time or temporary care of the children by other persons. Contains procedural requirements regarding the offering and acceptance of additional parenting time. Provides that the parent exercising additional parenting time shall provide the necessary transportation unless the parties agree otherwise. Provides that the new provisions are enforceable under the Section of the Act concerning visitation abuse. Provides that the right of first refusal shall be terminated upon the termination of custody or visitation rights.

House Floor Amendment No. 1
Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Provides that if the court awards joint custody or visitation rights, the court may consider, consistent with the best interest of the child, whether to award to one or both of the parties the right of first refusal to provide child care for the minor child or children during the other parent’s normal parenting time, unless the need for child care is attributable to an emergency. Provides that “right of first refusal” means that if a party intends to leave the minor child or children with a substitute child-care provider for a significant period of time, that party must first offer the other party an opportunity to personally care for the minor child or children. Provides that the parties may agree to a right of first refusal, but if they do not and the court determines that a right of first refusal is in the best interest of the child, the court shall consider an make provisions in its order for specified considerations relating to the right of first refusal. Provides that the new provisions are enforceable under the Section of the Act concerning visitation abuse. Provides that the right of first refusal are terminated upon the termination of custody or visitation rights.

Actions

Date Chamber  Action
  2/26/2013 House Filed with the Clerk by Rep. Josh Harms
  2/26/2013 House First Reading
  2/26/2013 House Referred to Rules Committee
  3/7/2013 House Assigned to Judiciary
  3/8/2013 House Added Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Jil Tracy
  3/8/2013 House Added Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Chad Hays
  3/8/2013 House Added Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Naomi D. Jakobsson
  3/8/2013 House Added Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Michael J. Zalewski
  3/8/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia
  3/8/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Ron Sandack
  3/13/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. John M. Cabello
  3/13/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Monique D. Davis
  3/15/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Jim Sacia
  3/15/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Raymond Poe
  3/19/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Lou Lang
  3/19/2013 House Removed Co-Sponsor Rep. Ron Sandack
  3/20/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Ann Williams
  3/20/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.
  3/20/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. Dennis M. Reboletti
  3/20/2013 House Added Co-Sponsor Rep. André M. Thapedi
  3/20/2013 House Do Pass / Short Debate Judiciary; 016-000-000
  3/20/2013 House Placed on Calendar 2nd Reading – Short Debate
  3/21/2013 House House Floor Amendment No. 1 Filed with Clerk by Rep. Josh Harms
  3/21/2013 House House Floor Amendment No. 1 Referred to Rules Committee
  3/28/2013 House House Floor Amendment No. 1 Rules Refers to Judiciary
  4/10/2013 House House Floor Amendment No. 1 Recommends Be Adopted Judiciary; 011-000-000
  4/10/2013 House Second Reading – Short Debate
  4/10/2013 House House Floor Amendment No. 1 Adopted
  4/10/2013 House Placed on Calendar Order of 3rd Reading – Short Debate
  4/12/2013 House Third Reading – Short Debate – Passed 104-000-000
  4/12/2013 Senate Arrive in Senate
  4/12/2013 Senate Placed on Calendar Order of First Reading April 16, 2013
  4/12/2013 Senate Chief Senate Sponsor Sen. Ira I. Silverstein
  4/16/2013 Senate First Reading
  4/16/2013 Senate Referred to Assignments
  4/23/2013 Senate Assigned to Judiciary
  4/26/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. John M. Sullivan
  4/30/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. John G. Mulroe
  4/30/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Jason A. Barickman
  5/1/2013 Senate Do Pass Judiciary; 010-000-000
  5/1/2013 Senate Placed on Calendar Order of 2nd Reading May 2, 2013
  5/2/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Kirk W. Dillard
  5/2/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Michael E. Hastings
  5/3/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Daniel Biss
  5/7/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Chief Co-Sponsor Sen. Steven M. Landek
  5/8/2013 Senate Second Reading
  5/8/2013 Senate Placed on Calendar Order of 3rd Reading May 9, 2013
  5/9/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Linda Holmes
  5/9/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Melinda Bush
  5/9/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Michael Noland
  5/9/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Martin A. Sandoval
  5/20/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson
  5/20/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Pamela J. Althoff
  5/20/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Chapin Rose
  5/22/2013 Senate Added as Alternate Co-Sponsor Sen. Napoleon Harris, III
  5/22/2013 Senate Third Reading – Passed; 057-000-000
  5/22/2013 House Passed Both Houses
  6/19/2013 House Sent to the Governor
  8/16/2013 House Governor Approved
  8/16/2013 House Effective Date January 1, 2014
  8/16/2013 House Public Act . . . . . . . . . 98-0462

This happens in every court house in ILLINOIS its called the COTTAGE INDUSTRY

December 23, 2013 § 2 Comments

Parental Alienation -Cover-up of a ‘Foreseeable harm’

Emotional and Psychological abuse is all about Power and Control.  It is the misuse of that power and control where the abuse is defined. The Best Interest of the Child statute of Virginia was written to give Judges ‘wide latitude’ in determining the presence of abuse in the family.  Parental alienation is the abuse of power and control by the custodial parent and can be prevented.  Parental alienation is not a mystery, and understanding domestic violence, abuse, and the dynamics of power and control are all that are required to prevent it.  Dr. Samenow understood this and accurately refers to abusers as ‘controllers’.

High Conflict divorce is also not a mystery. All the research into High Conflict divorce shows that they are defined by the extensive litigation.  Janet Johnston is the best known researcher of high conflict divorce and parental alienation. Her work dating back to the the 1990′s shows that 80% of divorce cases are settled, either up front, or as the case moves through the process.  Studies have found that only 20% of divorcing or separating families take the case to Court.  Only 4-5% ultimately go to trial, with most cases settling at some point earlier in the process.’   Janet Johnston also found there to be a ‘severe psychopathology’ in one or both parties, in high conflict divorces where visitation is litigated.  My ex-wife has never even attempted to settle.  My case has had over 50 hearings and I have been put in jail 4 times, at the request of my ex-wife. Her father was convicted of accomplice to murder, and the Court still has no psychological information about my ex-wife or her head injury.

Domestic Violence is also almost always present in High Conflict Divorce. Peter Jaffe is one of the World’s leading experts on children, domestic violence, and custody.  The research used by Jaffe to support the claim that Domestic Violence is present in 75% of that 5% of Couples that actually go to trial.  The research into Jaffe’s research is supported by multiple studies and very well documented.

Children in the Crossfire: Child Custody Determinations Among Couples With a History of Intimate Partner Violence,” Violence Against Women, Vol. 11, No. 8, August 2005, – See more at: http://americanmotherspoliticalparty.org/ampp-article-library-family-court-custody-abuse-dv/1-research-articles-family-court-bias-custody-abuse-battered-moms/11-high-conflict-cases-likely-have-history-of-domestic-violence#sthash.5e6VnhXN.dpuf

In 1997, The Virginia Commission on Domestic Violence Prevention conducted a study into Custody Cases.  The study found that in custody cases where there was also a domestic abuse case in court, only 25% of the custody files referenced the existence of the domestic abuse case.  So, of all the cases in Virginia that are high-conflict, about 50% of the domestic violence is not even considered by the Court in making Custody decisions.  This is a systemic failure.

In my relationship, I had no power or control.  My friends, family and everyone that knows me or my ex-wife and her family, knows that I had no power or control. Dr. Samenow was given the witnesses that would confirm the imbalance of power, control and money in the relationship. Dr. Samenow never contacted my psychiatrist or 5 other witnesses that were provided to verify the abuse of power in the relationship.  I even provided Dr. Samenow with a signed release to speak to my psychiatrist who began treating me for depression and abuse, 2 years after my ex-wife’s traumatic brain injury.  The head injury was very serious and was also identified as a source of conflict in the relationship, in a deposition for the personal injury lawsuit.

Dr. Samenow was also shown a ripped shirt that I had brought into his office, as evidence of domestic violence.  My ex-wife had assaulted me, in front of our children, on January 19, 2008. She attacked me from behind as I tried to escape her anger. She woke me out of bed to help her find her keys, which were in my pants pocket  on the floor. Before she woke me up, she had already taken my car keys.  She was also already in a state. When I found her the keys the anger did not dissipate.  After 8 years, my conditioned response, at this point, was to flee, not to fight.  When I attempted to leave and go to the gym, I found my keys missing.  She mockingly claimed she had no idea where the keys were and followed me around the house, as I looked. I wanted out of there, so I picked up a tray of her jewelry beads, and explained very calmly, as my children were right there, that if she gives me the keys, I won’t turn over the tray.  She didn’t give me my keys to leave, so I overturned the tray and calmly grabbed another tray.  I asked her a second time to for my keys and calmly turned over the second tray.  My ex-wife flew into a rage and began hitting and scratching me from behind, ripping the shirt, I showed Dr. Samenow, from my body. The police found me behind a locked door with our children.  When they were taken out, I broke down. This event is a microcosm of the dynamic of our relationship and this entire divorce and Dr. Samenow completely misrepresented it to the Court. My ex-wife would become irrational, use instrumental aggression and prevent me from escaping, I would then respond with an elevated reactive aggression.  I am not proud of my reactions, but they were not the source of conflict. Just like our divorce.

Here is what Dr. Samenow included in his report about the incident:

Ms. Mackney spoke of her husband’s explosive nature in citing a particular incident in which Mr. Mackney became upset and scattered her jewelry materials all over the room. This was after an argument which had eventuated in each taking the other’s keys.

“He took the drawers out and threw the jewelry – thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. There were two trays sorted by size. He dumped both of these. I was trying to stop him. I called the police. He was going to delete my work files on the computer.”

Dr. Samenow failed to include the Domestic Violence of my ex-wife. I was the one to call the police on her, and I threatened to delete her work files because her father took the shirt, I brought in to show him as evidence. My nature is also not explosive, as anyone has known me or dated me would tell you.  I have no history of violence or aggression in my relationships. None.  Dr. Samenow also withheld my reports of my ex-wife attacking me on our honeymoon, while I was driving our rental car.

Judge Bellows became aware that there was evidence of domestic violence, that Dr. Samenow left all of it from his report, in April 2009.  Dr. Samenow was paid by my ex-wife as a witness to testify after Dr. Zuckerman had testified that there was ‘no reason’ why I should not have access to my children.  Dr. Samenow got on the stand and I pulled out the shirt and asked him under oath if he had seen the shirt before.  He admitted that I brought it into his office to show him, but there is no reference to it in his report.

The legal profession and the psychological profession are failing to protect children from a foreseeable harm, by ignoring the dynamics of power and control and the presence of Domestic Violence.  The Courts who are responsible for managing the conflict and are beholden on the Psychological professionals and forensic evaluators to understand the conflict.  The law empowers Judges to also obtain information about the conflict through other methods, such as Guardian Ad Litems, Parenting Coordinators, and Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The Law, as written, empowers Judges to protect children from parental alienation.  They have the tools at their disposal to determine the presence of abuse.  Judge Bellows knew there was domestic violence and that Dr. Samenow failed to report it.  Two months later, he held me in contempt of court and took away visitation with my children for not includinga receipt, when I faxed a copy of a lease to my ex-wife’s attorney.

Judge Bellows covered up for the fraud of Dr. Stanton Samenow and failed to protect children from a foreseeable harm, especially when you read all the motions that were filed with the Court that he denied.  Judge Bellows chose to protect the professional reputation of Dr. Samenow and Judge Ney over protecting children from abuse.  Judge Bellows was the Judge in another case where Dr. Samenow testified as a witness for the Commonwealth and was also accused of not documenting the facts accurately.

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How To Deal With A Bad Judge Revealing Many Ways For Dealing With Bad Judges

December 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

How to deal with bad judges
How To Deal With A Bad Judge

Revealing Many Ways For Dealing With Bad Judges

This page is informational. We are NOT lawyers and nothing on this page should be construed as legal advice!

“I can state with certainty that if you go against the status quo in Rhode Island and point out wrongdoing of the judiciary they will ruin your legal practice and make it impossible for you to win a case.”
–Quoted by a well known lawyer who was discussing the Rhode Island Judiciary

You should consider a Judge bad only if they show a pattern of behaving or ruling in a manner that is:

  • preventing or hindering you from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice or
  • you have seen evidence which would lead a reasonable person to believe they could be prevented or hindered from receiving full, fair, impartial hearings or the full, fair, impartial administration of justice.

The criteria used in deciding if a judge is bad is NOT how they handle a high profile case or people of influence, but how they handle the poor, prosecutorial misconduct and the unrepresented.  Regardless of how bad a Judge is, they will undoubtedly make SOME correct decisions.  We consider a Judge bad if they do not FAITHFULLY and CONSISTENTLY adhere to their oath of office and aggressively pursue justice for ALL.   Anything less is unacceptable and is the definition of a bad judge.  Also see the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law and the article on dismissals of Government cases.

Bad Judges exist.  We all know they do.  [See Judges as Criminals?]  Very few practicing lawyers are willing or able to expose Bad Judges publicly, for they are at great risk when they must later appear again before the exposed Bad Judge.  Exposure of rotten judicial apples offends and embarrasses the entire judiciary.  When a lawyer, in diligent pursuit of his client’s interests, dares stand up to Bad Judges, the “system” locks arms, and seeks to punish or suppress the iconoclastic lawyer.  The system’s resistance to admitting the existence of a bad judge can be astounding.  Yet someone must stand up to challenge this cancer within the Judiciary.  Bad Judges need to be weeded out.  It is to the fair, competent judges that the following is dedicated.

Before you go before a Judge, try to learn the Judge’s record!

  • Check Caught! to see if complaints or comments are on file.  [Rhode Island]
  • Courtroom Monitoring
  • Case Research [try researching decisions by topic and judge]
  • Investigation [Newspaper Databases, Law Library etc.]
  • Ask local practitioners
  • Ask national court reform advocacy groups
  • For new Judges with no track record, listen to other cases in their courtrooms before losing your right to disqualify

To Change A Judge Before The Trial:

  • READ CASE LAW REGARDING JUDICIAL BEHAVIOR DURING TRIALS
  • PEREMPTORY DISQUALIFICATION
  • DISQUALIFICATION FOR CAUSE (RECUSAL)
    Note: In Rhode Island it is customary for a judge to recuse himself if there is a complaint pending with the state’s Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline.  Check your area and jurisdiction.  There are 2 factors to consider.  First, once a Judge starts to stink it usually always gets worse.   Second, the grass might NOT be greener on the other side.

    Now, according to Congress, U.S. Supreme Court case law and Rhode Island’s canons of judicial ethics, a judge must bow out of hearing any case in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.  The Rhode Island Canons of Judicial Conduct say that judges must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety.
    “The test for appearance of impropriety is whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge’s ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired.”
    Use this wording when moving for recusal.  Also, requests for recusal MUST be in the form of a motion.

  • REMOVAL TO ANOTHER JURISDICTION
  • CHANGE OF VENUE
  • MOTIONS TO DISMISS BEFORE MERITS ARE HEARD
    • Res Judicata
    • No Jurisdiction
    • Sham, Frivolous, Meritless pleadings
  • DELAY IF JUDGE IS ABOUT TO BE ROTATED OFF OF CASE
  • START LISTING THE ABUSES ON CAUGHT! [Rhode Island]
  • FORMAL COMPLAINTS

If It Is Impossible To Change A Judge Before Trial:

Dealing With A Judge After A Bad Ruling

Serve Society By Taking Action To Get A Bad Judge Off The Bench.
Identify And Publicly Expose Biased, Prejudiced And Corrupt Judges!

Related References

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