I appreciate that you supported HB 5544. I was in the room when the Judiciary Committee heard the argument.
However, I am mightily disappointed in the fact that it was clear to us that the committee had made their decision behind closed doors before the hearing to delete the cap on the appointed attorney’s fee.
This fee cap was the main reason for this bill. Without it, the bill is a sham and should be withdrawn in my opinion, with me and others proceeding in the federal courts, unless you are willing to drastically change it as follows.
Please note that I do not speak for others who were at that hearing, but several persons have already told me they agree with the following, which I have determined to be a probably productive response to your committee’s total failure to address the issues.
I believe that Rep Lang’s and others’ statements that they understand the situation was a phony act as much as a $ 3.00 bill. I don’t believe an amendment will help. The only thing besides a fee cap would be to totally trash the 506 statute and rewrite it in a way similar to the fitness statutes in the criminal code.
I worked with Senator O’Malley to lobby for and get his bills passed and I know clearly how things work in Springfield. All bills are decided whether they will come out of committee or not behind closed doors and the public hearing is just an act to appease the public, with the legislators simply, in their view wasting their time listening. That is why such a ridiculously short time is provided for comments on the bills. These comments are always ignored. I also realize that senior members like Rep. Lang control such committees and most members have no influence on whether or not bills pass. Only a handful of people including Madigan actually decide what will pass and what won’t pass. Attorneys, who are a majority of the legislature have a stranglehold on the body and no law will be passed without the approval and consent of the ISBA.
I do not appreciate how your committee and Rep Kay appeared to simply use us – our group supporting the bill. Our testimony was a waste of our time.
It is clear that we will not get remedy with the legislature.
Therefore, I will be advocating for our group to go immediately to other venues to address the following issues:
First, 750 ILCS 5-506 is unconstitutional as under the contract clause in the Constitution, under the Due process clause, and under the commerce clause, it is illegal for the government to order someone to give up their property rights (property includes money) and contract under duress by court order to purchase a service that they cannot afford. This is grossly unconstitutional. Any oral contract under such circumstances would be declared void.
Statutes also require numerous acts before the judge can order the child rep paid and these are routinely ignored including:
(1) written contracts if there are services for > $500
(2) attachment to contract of “clients rights and responsibility document in contracts with attorneys in divorce cases
(3) detailed invoices every 90 days.
It would be like obtaining a job with a government agency, being told that you must own a car to work there, then being taken to a car dealership and told you must purchase a Rolls Royce, without signing a contract, without knowing the price, and that two years later you must pay whatever bill for the sale price that the dealer writes, after consultation with your boss. Who in their right mind would allow such unconstitutional exploitive behavior and “contracts”? This is extortion, highway robbery and unethical.
It was simply shocking and nauseated me to see Reps Lang, Mathias and others agree with that unethical child rep from the ISBA that testified falsely. This is tyranny and not democracy. Child rep attorneys and not children are your committee’s concern.
Parents are being told they must pay a bill that will be determined years later, without recourse, and which may be as much as 4 times their yearly income – this is in addition to paying for their own attorneys at outrageous fees, paying for child psychologist’s evaluation, paying for maintenance, paying for child support, and paying for God knows what else. This ensures that all parents become indigent and that the children are neglected because the family’s house will be sold to pay fees, they will be homeless, the parents will be slaves for decades to pay off these bills, and the children will be stressed and mentally damaged.
The fact that the JUDGES are APPROVING such payments may which violate the federal Consumer Protection Act limiting garnishment top no more than 60 % of wages, reveals that to rely on the judges as being fair is simply ludicrous. The legislature needs to pass a new bill mandating extensive and thorough judicial education and oversight. They consistently act like omnipotent Gods ignoring law without oversight. Most people don’t appeal because they don’t know how to and can’t afford it. Therefore, lawlessness rules and YOU ADMITTED YOU KNOW THIS.
The judges under 506 MUST view the “detailed invoices” provided within 90 days of appointment and every 90 days thereafter” and determine that they are”reasonable and necessary” before authorizing payment. They don’t do this and have been acting in violating of this statute since it was enacted.
In practice, child reps do NOT follow this law and submit invoices. David Wessel, Regina Scannicchio (now a judge), and Ralla Klepak are some of the worst offenders. They flaunt their wealth by wearing expensive jewelry, driving expensive cars, taking three month yearly vacation at their second home in Florida, etc. They became millionaires off this extortion. Ralla Klepak was disciplined by the Illinois Supreme Court for illegally taking an expensive condo from one of her clients, as a bequest in his will, yet is still allowed to be a child rep! These people made nearly ALL their income as child representatives! They have made extortion a profession.
The judges violate the statutes and authorize payment. This is simple extortion, statutory fraud, and is unconstitutional. The judges abdicate their responsibilities and the child reps usurp the judges’ responsibilities with the judges simply rubber stamping their recommendations and motions without due process or evidentiary hearings- while leaving the bench early daily to go golfing.
Judges have a cozy agreement with a very small group of “professional” child reps, who claim to have the skills to evaluate the children’s circumstances. My answer to that is BALONEY! They are NOT QUALIFIED. They do not have a PhD in psychology, an MD in psychiatry or pediatrics, a social worker degree or experience as a DCFS investigator. Their experience is non-existent as they follow a pattern and practice that is so deficient in substance that you cannot say they know what they are doing.
There is ABSOLUTELY no need for the added expense of another attorney to represent the children.
I am a physician, who has worked with DCFS in evaluating families, who also has experience in pediatrics and psychiatry. I evaluated the daughter of Winston and Straum partner and former U,S. Attorney Dan Webb who publicly acknowledged, about 15 years ago that his stepdaughter accused him of raping her. I have certain skills in this area. His daughter was taken into protective custody until my evaluation was finished. I know what I am talking about.
I would not pretend to be a social worker skilled in evaluating home situations. To say that an attorney with 10 hrs training is skilled to do this and can do this WITHOUT interviewing collaterals including family, neighbors, friends, teachers, physicians, etc., without visiting the home and observing the parents and relatives with the children, without evaluating the financials as an accountant or skilled technician, is FRAUD upon the court and the public. The child reps claim to be a master of all these professions, yet they are incompetent at all of them. They are practicing social work, psychology, accounting, education, and medicine without a license. For the legislature to write such a deficient statute is astounding.
In criminal court, when a fitness exam is needed, the judge, supposedly a neutral jurist, will order a fitness exam – one time and not on a continuing basis who will provide the court an opinion within 30 days. Then either side may use this expert opinion as evidence. You don’t need separate “neutral” attorneys to evaluate the situation, read the psychologist’s report and provide the court evidence based fact as to what is in the best interest of the allegedly insane person. The judge has the job of being the neutral arbiter.
A similar statute could be written for divorce court, giving the judge the option to appoint a psychologist to examine BOTH PARENTS AND ALL CHILDREN, appoint a social worker to EVALUATE THE HOME SITUATION AND FINANCES, AS WELL AS CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL AND MEDICAL CIRCUMSTANCES, and make reports to the court. Either parent’s attorneys could request permission to have a second opinion at their expense. If the estate is large and there are huge assets, a professional accountant could be retained to brig a report to the court.
Who ever orders the reports, whether mother, father, or court, would be responsible to pay the fee for the report. There is no need for continuing evaluations of the parents, children, and circumstances. This would shorten divorce proceedings. If the psychologist recommends continuing therapy, that would be a different circumstance. No evaluations could be ordered without a bona fide detailed and not generalized or vague reason stated on the record.
If a parent is indigent and request a second opinion, like in criminal court, the court should order the state to pay for it.
A recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion about a South Carolina case held that child support payments can not be ordered until there is an evidentiary hearing regarding the parent’s ability to pay. (Turner v. Rogers)
This requirement for an evidentiary hearing must be part of any law concerning child support payment orders.
A valid contract for services was never signed in these custody/divorce cases – where a child rep’s services are ordered by the court. The law that REQUIRES that in divorces, all attorney’s contracts MUST have attached a “client’s rights agreement” is always violated. This law, 750 ILCS 5/508(c)(4), requires that there be a formal contract between the client and the attorney, that the contract have appended a form explaining “client rights and responsibilities“, in addition to the 506 requirement of “detailed invoices every 90 days.”
The statute regarding 750 ILCS 5/508(c) – Attorney’s Fees; Client’s Rights and Responsibilities Respecting Fees and Costs.
(c) Final hearings for attorney’s fees and costs against an attorney’s own client, pursuant to a Petition for Setting Final Fees and Costs of either a counsel or a client, shall be governed by the following:
. . . .
(2) No final hearing under this subsection (c) is permitted unless: (i) the counsel and the client had entered into a written engagement agreement at the time the client retained the counsel (or reasonably soon thereafter) and the agreement meets the requirements of subsection (f); (ii) the written engagement agreement is attached to an affidavit of counsel that is filed with the petition or with the counsel’s response to a client’s petition; (iii) judgment in any contribution hearing on behalf of the client has been entered or the right to a contribution hearing under subsection (j) of Section 503 has been waived; (iv) the counsel has withdrawn as counsel of record; and (v) the petition seeks adjudication of all unresolved claims for fees and costs between the counsel and the client. . . .
(3) The determination of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs either under this subsection (c), whether initiated by a counsel or a client, or in an independent proceeding for services within the scope of subdivisions (1) through (5) of subsection (a), is within the sound discretion of the trial court. The court shall first consider the written engagement agreement and, if the court finds that the former client and the filing counsel, pursuant to their written engagement agreement, entered into a contract which meets applicable requirements of court rules and addresses all material terms, then the contract shall be enforceable in accordance with its terms, subject to the further requirements of this subdivision (c)(3). Before ordering enforcement, however, the court shall consider the performance pursuant to the contract. Any amount awarded by the court must be found to be fair compensation for the services, pursuant to the contract, that the court finds were reasonable and necessary. Quantum merit principles shall govern any award for legal services performed that is not based on the terms of the written engagement agreement (except that, if a court expressly finds in a particular case that aggregate billings to a client were unconscionably excessive, the court in its discretion may reduce the award otherwise determined appropriate or deny fees altogether).
(4) No final hearing under this subsection (c) is permitted unless any controversy over fees and costs (that is not otherwise subject to some form of alternative dispute resolution) has first been submitted to mediation, arbitration, or any other court approved alternative dispute resolution procedure, except as follows:
(A) In any circuit court for a single county with a population in excess of 1,000,000, the requirement of the controversy being submitted to an alternative dispute resolution procedure is mandatory unless the client and the counsel both affirmatively opt out of such procedures; or
. . . .
(f) Unless the Supreme Court by rule addresses the matters set out in this subsection (f), a written engagement agreement within the scope of subdivision (c)(2) shall have appended to it verbatim the following Statement:
“STATEMENT OF CLIENT’S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES” [emphasis added by writer]
ANY judicial order to pay a child rep, who did not have a signed contract from the parent’s for his services with a form for client’s rights and responsibilities attached, along with having submitted detailed invoices every 90 days – is void ab initio and unenforceable. (case law available on request)
All payments made that do not comply with the above, were coerced from the parents, under judicial threat of contempt of court, and may be considered “ILL GOTTEN GAINS“, which can be ordered to be RETURNED TO THE PARENTS – WITHOUT ANY STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS BECAUSE VOID ORDERS CAN BE QUESTIONED AT ANY TIME IN ANY VENUE. (case law available on request)
Many of our members (govabuse.org, Stop Illinois Corruption, and other similar groups – totaling about 400,000 people across the country) will therefore be writing Complaints for Injunction to the Federal District Court for Civil Rights Violations under 1983 amounting to a criminal violation of 18 U.S.C. 241 & 242, conspiracy to violate rights (property rights, due process rights, contract clause rights, commerce clause rights) under color of law and violation of civil rights under color of law, requesting for the court to issue injunctions to return these ill-gotten gains, ordered paid by judges in violation of statutory rules, to the child representatives.
I and several others also believe that we have a strong case for having the 750 ILCS 24 et seq laws ruled unconstitutional as well as the companion 305 ILCS 5/10 laws as they violate separation of powers to give the Illinois Supreme Court executive authority to supervise administrative law courts in Dept of Healthcare and Family Services. A petition for certiorari asking for a supervisory order would be appropriate here as the Illinois Supreme Court as a supervisor of this inadequate, unconstitutional, and highly abused system, that they have failed to supervise, requires that the U.S. Supreme Court become involved as the legislature in Illinois, as well as the Illinois Supreme Court have thus far dropped the ball.
I am a self-taught constitutional expert, who works behind the scenes with the ACLU and constitutional scholars on the U.S. Supreme Court bar.
I am attaching the “Big Divorce Book” that summarizes some of the pertinent state statutes in the table of contents written by another person.