PRESS RELEASE

Linda Marie Sacks Press Release May 6, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Press Contact:

Linda Marie Sacks 386-453-3017

Kathleen Russell, Center for Judicial Excellence 415-388-9600

 

HISTORIC CASE FILED IN UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT TODAY

 

 Washington, D.C. May 6, 2011 –– In an effort to protect her children and tens of thousands of children in similar situations, Linda Marie Sacks from Daytona Beach, Florida – an “all-American mom” who never imagined that she could lose custody of her children – will appear today in a landmark case before the Supreme Court to present a Petition for Certiorari.

 

Ms. Sacks stated, “My appearance before the Supreme Court is an historic moment for all of America’s mothers and their vulnerable children. Before the 2007 ruling by Judge Shawn L. Briese, I was my daughters’ primary care giver. I was my children’s class mom, soccer mom, and car pool mom.  I was a community volunteer and had no history of drug or alcohol abuse, no history of child or spousal abuse or infidelity. In my case, the trial court dismissed, ignored, and suppressed credible evidence of child sexual and physical abuse, and I lost custody of my children for trying to protect them from that abuse. More and more battered women are losing custody of their children; it has become a nationwide problem that has been described as “epidemic and widespread” and it has created a public health crisis for America’s children.”

 

Ms Sacks added, “The family court system is giving pedophiles and batterers custody, and the “fit” parent’s rights are terminated, or like me are placed on supervised visitation for years without a case plan or reunification plan. Worse, our minor children are not being protected.”

 

Ms. Sacks concluded, “A judge legally kidnapped my children. I am not alone, it is well documented that nearly 60,000 children are ordered by the courts to live with a sexually or physically abusive parent after a divorce in the U.S. The nation’s family courts did not protect my children. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone.”

 

Press Conference:                                                                       

May 6, 2011 12:00 P.M.

U.S. Supreme Court

One First Street, NE

Washington, D.C. 20543

  

Mothers Day Demonstration and Candlelight Vigil:

May 8, 2011 6:00 to 9:30 P.M.

The White House

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Press Release – Meir Dascalowtiz Statement from the Voice of Justice In Defense of Abused Children

 

Posted by Voice of Justice

 

Statement from the Voice of Justice In Defense of Abused Children

 

 CONTACT:         MARK M. APPEL       (917) 804-3942 cell

FOR PUBLIC RELEASE       Monday, February 21, 2011

On Wednesday, February 23, 2011, admitted serial child rapist, Meir Dascalowitz will appear in Kings County Supreme Court to plead to charges related to his many felony and misdemeanor sex crimes against children.

Click to download Press Release

Dascalowitz’s charges include criminal sex acts with a child under 14, sexual misconduct with a minor, and sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14, almost 100 felony sexual abuse charges in total.  Dascalowitz’s attorney is likely to have his client plead insanity.  In order for our community to be safe, we need to show the public and Judge Riviezzo that we will not tolerate these crimes against our children and that we believe perpetrators of these heinous sex crimes should be held accountable in a court of law.

At previous court appearances, Dascalowitz has managed to garner support from individuals who mock, intimate, and harrass Dascalowitz’s victims and witnesses outside the hearings.  The Voice of Justice is calling upon the Jewish community to gather in the courtroom on Wednesday February 23, 2011 at 9:00 AM to show support to victims of this dangerous admitted criminal, and their families.

To show your support of Dascalowitz’s victims, to demand justice, and to send a message that criminals who abuse children in the Jewish community deserve to and will be punished, please attend the Dascalowitz plea hearing below:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
9:00 AM
Kings County Supreme Court
320 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY
Judge Riviezzo

Press Release: Judge Breaking The Law – Protective Mother Needs Help

 

 For update posted November 25, 2010, click here.

Hawaii’s statutory law forbids perpetrators of Domestic Violence to have custody, but it appears Maui’s Judge Tanaka feels he’s above the law; giving custody to an abuser. He’s poised to order relocation to another state, as he’s done in other cases.
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Hawaii’s Judge Tanaka Breaking The Law – Giving Baby To Abuser

 
PRLog (Press Release)Nov 21, 2010 – Wailuku, MAUI – At 8:00am on Monday, November 22, 2010, domestic violence survivor, Maria Styke-Marquez, will be walking into Judge Keith Tanaka’s Second Circuit courtroom where, according to documents filed by the perpetrator’s attorney, Mimi DeJardins, the judge will grant her abuser’s request to permanently relocate to Minnesota with the former couple’s 2 1/2 year-old daughter, removing her not only from the island of her birth, but from access to her mother.

The child’s father, Bruce Anthony Sotelo Jr., was convicted and held in jail for beating a pregnant Ms. Styke-Marquez so severely in 2007 that the 4 month-old baby she was carrying died as a result of the attack that left Ms. Styke-Marquez with a concussion, broken ribs, cracked teeth, a split lip and contusions all over her body.

According to Hawaii State Statute 571-46(9) perpetrators of family violence are not candidates for either joint or sole custody of their children, yet in September 2010, Judge Tanaka inexplicably reversed his initial ruling that granted Ms. Styke-Marquez full physical/legal custody of their daughter and in contradiction of the statute, gave full physical/legal custody of the little girl to the man who put her mother in the hospital.

The case has caught the attention of several state lawmakers such as House Human Services Chair, Representative John Mizuno (Kalihi) and Domestic Violence Survivor Advocate, Dara Carlin, who said she is absolutely outraged by the situation. “Domestic violence victims flee their abusers in full faith that the system will protect them and their children from further abuse and trauma once they’ve fled and laws have been put firmly in-place to ensure this. That a family court judge can choose to disregard and override a state statute that protects those at-risk is simply unconscionable” Ms. Carlin states.

Research shows that 70% of batterers who request custody receive it, leading to 58,000 children per year who are forced to live with their identified abusers.[1] Batterers are over 6 times more likely to sexually abuse their children.[2]

[1] http://www.leadershipcouncil.org
[2] Bancroft, Lundy and Silverman, Jay, The Batterer as Parent, Sage Publications, 2002

Financially devastated from the litigation her abuser has put her through, Ms. Styke-Marquez, unable to afford an attorney, will walk into the courtroom alone to face her abuser (who as recently as November 19th has a criminal contempt charge lodged against him), his attorney (who is also a Per Diem judge) and a judge who has already ruled against her and state statute. “My last and only hope to save my daughter is to call public attention to what’s going on and I’m not the only one this is happening to – I know so many other domestic violence survivors who have lost custody of their children to their perpetrators as well which only tells me that this is no small problem. I’m a protective parent, not a perfect one, and never tried to keep our daughter from her father so I can’t understand how this is being allowed to happen” says Ms. Styke-Marquez.

Contact: Dara Carlin at breaking-the-silence@hotmail.com or on Oahu at 218-3457.

AngelGroup is spearheaded by people who’ve experienced or observed the corruption in Hawaii’s legal system, family courts, & social services. We’re resolved to change the legal landscape, achieving long-term change and potential correction for individual cases. Read more at http://www.angelgroup.org

###

“The Defending Childhood initiative… to revitalize prevention, intervention, and response systems for children exposed to violence…”

From The White House:

 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                                                                                  October 01, 2010
 

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2010

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

 

In the 16 years since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we have broken the silence surrounding domestic violence to reach thousands of survivors, prevent countless incidences of abuse, and save untold numbers of lives.  While these are critical achievements, domestic violence remains a devastating public health crisis when one in four women will be physically or sexually assaulted by a partner at some point in her lifetime.  During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the tremendous progress made in reducing domestic violence, and we recommit to making everyone’s home a safe place for them.

My Administration is committed to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence.  Last year, I appointed the first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women to collaborate with the many Federal agencies working together to end domestic violence in this country.  Together with community efforts, these Federal programs are making important strides towards eliminating abuse.

The landmark Affordable Care Act also serves as a lifeline for domestic violence victims.  Before I signed this legislation in March, insurance companies in eight States and the District of Columbia were able to classify domestic violence as a pre existing condition, leaving victims at risk of not receiving vital treatment when they are most vulnerable.  Now, victims need not fear the additional burden of increased medical bills as they attempt to protect themselves and rebuild their lives.

Individuals of every race, gender, and background face domestic violence, but some communities are disproportionately affected.  In order to combat the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault in tribal areas, I signed the Tribal Law and Order Act to strengthen tribal law enforcement and its ability to prosecute and fight crime more effectively.  This important legislation will also help survivors of domestic violence get the medical attention, services, support, and justice they need.

Children exposed to domestic violence, whether victims or witnesses, also need our help.  Without intervention, they are at higher risk for failure in school, emotional disorders, substance abuse, and perpetrating violent behavior later in life.  That is why my Administration has launched the “Defending Childhood” initiative at the Department of Justice to revitalize prevention, intervention, and response systems for children exposed to violence.  The Department of Health and Human Services is also expanding services and enhancing community responses for children exposed to violence.

Ending domestic violence requires a collaborative effort involving every part of our society.  Our law enforcement and justice system must work to hold offenders accountable and to protect victims and their children.  Business, faith, and community leaders, as well as educators, health care providers, and human service professionals, also have a role to play in communicating that domestic violence is always unacceptable.  As a Nation, we must endeavor to protect survivors, bring offenders to justice, and change attitudes that support such violence.  I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 800-799-SAFE or visit:  www.TheHotline.org.

This month — and throughout the year — let each of us resolve to be vigilant in recognizing and combating domestic violence in our communities, and let us build a culture of safety and support for all those affected.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2010 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA

PRESS RELEASE: Gathering to call for an investigation by the DOJ into family court corruption…

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                            

Contact Connie Valentine 916-233-8381
 
A press conference will be held on Friday, October 1, 2010 from 11:00 am to noon in front of the  U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.   


On the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness month, advocates and protective mothers whose children have been ordered into the custody of batterers and molesters are gathering to call for an investigation by the DOJ into family court corruption.  

 

These mothers are deeply concerned about their children. Mildred Mohammad, former wife of Beltway Sniper John Mohammad, took part in the Mothers’ Day vigil at the White House on May 9, 2010. “I was without my children for two years when they were kidnapped by John and the courts didn’t listen to me,” she told reporters.  

 

As in the Mohammad case, family courts across the nation ignore or minimize child safety.

 

Research shows that 70% of batterers who request custody receive it, leading to 58,000 children per year who are forced to live with their identified abusers.[1] Many are killed. Batterers are over 6 times more likely to sexually abuse their children.[2]

 

The social ramifications of this trend are frightening. Children who are abused are at a high risk in adulthood for problems such as addictions, obesity, suicide attempts, heart disease and cancer. [3]

 

After the press conference, the mothers and their supporters will march to the Senate to request Congressional hearings to investigate these violations of law and human rights.

 

The march will end at the Sewall Belmont House at 144 Constitution Ave NE, the suffragists’ headquarters when, in 1910, they insisted that women receive the civil right to vote.

 

In 2010, mothers are insisting that children have the human right to physical and sexual safety.  Please visit

www.mothers-of-lost-children.com for more information.

[1] www.leadershipcouncil.org
[2] Bancroft, Lundy and Silverman, Jay, The Batterer as Parent, Sage Publications, 2002
[3] www.acestudy.org

Dr. Phil: Crisis in the Family Courts 8/11/2010

 

 

Press Release 8/9/10

 
The Dr. Phil show will be airing the 2nd show on the crisis in the family courts on 8/11/2010. Please forward this information on to everyone, and let’s all email and thank Dr. Phil for covering this national crisis affecting thousands of America’s children who are court ordered to live with their abusive parent.  Mothers  and children, all over the U.S. are not being protected by the “official avenues” who are supposed to protect them…judges, police, Dept. of Children and Families. This is truly a national crisis, and it’s affecting more than 58,000 children a year. Let your voice be heard….let’s be part of the solution to this epidemic.

 

Linda Marie Sacks
Protective Mother, Actress and Co-Chair
Fl NOW Child Custody and Family Court Committee
lindamariesacks@aol.com
386-453-3017

Press Release from 2007, a really long time ago…

You’d think something as significant as a group of American mothers filing an official complaint with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights would have made the headlines of the morning papers.

The following press release – and others like it – was sent to local and national media outlets in May 2007. It’s three years later and there’s still nothing in the headlines of our morning papers, nothing on our local television news and still nothing on the national evening news.

What’s taking so long? 

PRESS RELEASE
May 11, 2007

CONTACT:
Irene Weiser
stopfamilyviolence.org
607-539-6856


MOTHERS FILE INTERNATIONAL COMPLAINT AGAINST UNITED STATES

Mother’s Day complaint claims United States courts violate human rights of abused women and children.

NEW YORK, On May 11, just before Mother’s Day weekend, ten mothers, one victimized child, now an adult, leading national and state organizations filed a complaint against the United States with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. The case claims that U.S. courts, by frequently awarding child custody to abusers and child molesters, has failed to protect the life, liberties, security and other human rights of abused mothers and their children.

“For more than 30 years U.S. judges have given custody or unsupervised visitation of children to abusers and molesters putting the children directly at risk,” says Dianne Post, an international attorney who authored the petition.  “These horrendous human rights violations have been brought to the attention of family court systems, and state and federal governments, to no avail. We turn now to international courts to protect the rights and safety of US children.”

The complaint details several cases with documented medical evidence of child sexual abuse, yet in each instance the father who was accused of abuse was given full custody of the children.  Several of the mothers were jailed by the courts because of their persistent efforts to protect their children from abuse, several were ordered not to speak of the abuse and not to report abuse to authorities.  Every mother was denied contact with her child for some period of time though none was ever proven to have harmed them.

“My life was completely shattered apart on that day and my childhood was destroyed,” said Jeff Hoverson, the adult child petitioner, about the day a family court judge ordered sheriff deputies to deliver him into the custody of his abuser. “It was as if I was just kidnapped. I was torn from everything I knew….I was made into a possession rather than a child.”  Hoverson endured years of trauma and fear living in his father’s home before escaping and returning to his mother at age 17.  He is haunted by years of feeling helpless to prevent his father’s night-time visits to his sisters’ bedrooms.

 “The cases in this petition represent the proverbial tip of the iceberg,” says Irene Weiser, executive director of the online organization  Stop Family Violence.  “We are contacted by an average of three protective mothers each week who have lost custody to fathers accused of child abuse – in many cases with supporting medical evidence. This is a nationwide crisis of enormous proportion.”

“The lives of thousands of children and mothers have been irreparably harmed by family courts across our nation,” says Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., executive vice-president of The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, another national organizations supporting the petition. “The years of trauma and psychological abuse because of the courts’ failings result in lasting emotional damage to the children they are supposed to protect.”

Studies of gender bias in the courts, conducted in the 1980’s and 90’s, found disturbing trends of courts minimizing or excusing men’s violence against women, and favoring the abusers.  In 1990 the United States Congress passed a resolution recommending the prohibition of giving joint or sole custody to abusers.  Seventeen years later, the practice continues unabated.  Ten years ago today, leading national organizations were joined by  members of Congress in a protest in Washington D.C. to again raise awareness about the problems in family courts.  Today, petitioners say, the problem is systemic and widespread in family law courts across the nation.

The petition seeks a finding from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the U.S. has violated the Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Man and the Charter of the Organization of American States and a statement of the steps that the U.S. must take to comply with its human rights obligations in regards to battered women and children in child custody cases.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was created in 1959 and is expressly authorized to examine allegations of human rights violations by members of the Organization of American States, which include the United States. It also carries out on-site visits to observe the general human rights situations in all 35 member states of the Organization of American States and to investigate specific allegations of violations of Inter-American human rights treaties. Its charge is to promote the observance and the defense of human rights in the Americas.

Dianne Post, a 1980 graduate of the University of Wisconsin law school, has worked on issues of gender based violence since 1976.  In addition to private practice and legal aid, she has taught legal classes and been a consultant working or living in Russia, Cambodia, Hungary and some dozen other countries. She is currently in Vladivostok, Russia.

In addition to The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, other national organizations supporting the international lawsuit include: National Organization for Women and the NOW Foundation, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Justice For Children, National Family Court Watch Project, Legal Momentum, Family Violence Prevention Fund, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence Report, Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute, and the National Center on Sexual and Domestic Violence. The petition is supported by many state organizations as well.

In December 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a petition against the United States with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights for their failure to protect Jessica Gonzales’ three children from their abusive father, who murdered them.  Their petition, the first of its kind, asserted that domestic violence victims have the right to be protected by the state from the violent acts of their abusers.


For additional information contact:


Irene Weiser
Stop Family Violence
actnow@stopfamilyviolence.org
607-539-6856

View the petition at http://www.StopFamilyViolence.org/468

###

Lots of good people in Washington, D.C. willing and able to help…

Dear Mothers at the White House vigil and around the country, 

  Here is Ms. Rosenthal’s contact info:

1-202-456-1414‏
lrosenthal@ovp.eop.gov

If it would not endanger you or your children to share the information, call to tell what happened with a three minute summary and follow up with an email of one page of info.  

Otherwise, you can have a friend call to report what happened with or without names. dates and locations until a formal investigation begins.

From White House Press Release  June 26, 2009:
” In this new position, Ms. Rosenthal will serve as an advisor to the President and Vice President on domestic violence and sexual assault issues; be a liaison to the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy community; coordinate with the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) on implementation of Violence Against Women Act programs; coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services on implementation of Family Violence Prevention Act services (including the National Domestic Violence Hotline); coordinate with the State Department and USAID on global domestic violence initiatives; and drive the development new initiatives and policy aimed at combating domestic violence and sexual assault with advocacy groups and members of Congress.Ms. Rosenthal has been widely recognized for her efforts to address domestic violence at the national, state and local levels. In 1999, she received the Florida Governor’s Peace at Home Award for making a difference in the lives of battered women and their children. In 2005, Doris Buffet’s National Sunshine Lady Foundation honored her for her work on the Violence Against Women Act. In 2006, she was the first recipient of the Sheila Wellstone Institute National Advocacy Award.”

 

Also, a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder to the National Summit on the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment, Tuesday, June 2, 2009 from the Department of Justice website:

Attorney General Eric Holder via Video to the National Summit on the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment – Remarks as prepared for delivery
 
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Good morning and welcome to the National Summit on the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment. I want to thank you for attending this very important conference. Domestic violence, in particular children exposed to domestic violence, is an issue that I have worked on for much of my career in public service. 

As a judge at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia I saw first hand the suffering and long-term trauma experienced by children exposed to violence. As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, I created the first Domestic Violence Unit in the office’s history. As Deputy Attorney General during the President Clinton Administration, I helped to launch the U.S. Department of Justice’s Children Exposed to Violence Initiative, as well as the Safe Start Initiative. And now, as Attorney General, I am committed to reinvigorating our work on this very important issue.

The Office on Violence Against Women, in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Family Violence Prevention Fund has planned this meeting to continue a conversation that began almost a decade ago, at the first National Summit held here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That meeting brought together domestic violence advocates, child abuse workers and judges to address the critical need for coordinated services to family members victimized by both domestic violence and child abuse. 

This summit brings together a broader cross-discipline of professionals who do not commonly work together: domestic violence and child advocates, judges and other court personnel, attorneys, child welfare workers, guardian ad litem, mental health workers, researchers, and policy makers. While you may not always work in concert on this issue, you share a vision for safe and healthy families. 

I want to recognize the tremendous work that has continued over the past decade but for the next two days, I ask that you work together to identify what you have learned and to help us build an agenda for the future.

As you are gathered here in this beautiful location, I hope that you will forge new alliances and a collective leadership that will help identify solutions that will have a lasting impact on the lives of mothers and children traumatized by family violence. I ask that you consider ways the Department of Justice can renew and strengthen its efforts to address this problem. We want to draw upon lessons gleaned from your work in communities throughout the country. We also want to know what has been left undone. 

Some of the topics that you will address may be more challenging than others. I hope you will especially discuss the most difficult issues I know many of you confront in your work:

  • Why are mothers who are the victims of domestic violence losing custody of their children to the courts and to the child protection system? 
  • Why are children of color over-represented in the child protection system? 
  • Do children need a relationship with their fathers even when their fathers have been abusive to them and their mothers in the past? If so, what does that relationship look like?

I ask that you explore all of these things while always remembering that the needs of children who are exposed to violence are inextricably linked to the needs of mothers who are the victims of domestic violence.

As a father of one son and two daughters, I recognize the importance of healthy relationships and that all of us need to be role models and mentors for our children so that they have the best chance of living in communities and families free from violence.

I want to thank you for your ongoing commitment to addressing child maltreatment and domestic violence. I fully support your work on behalf of mothers and children who are the victims of these crimes. The Department of Justice supports your work. And this Administration supports your work. 

I am looking forward to hearing about the ideas that surface at this meeting and to learning about how we can work together more effectively to end this cycle of violence. Thank you, and have a great summit.

Who is entwined?

im·pli·cate

//  (mpl-kt)

tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates 1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.

2. To have as a consequence or necessary circumstance; imply or entail: His evasiveness implicated complicity.3. Linguistics To convey, imply, or suggest by implicature.4. Archaic To interweave or entangle; entwine.

PRESS RELEASE: 

National and Local Advocacy Groups Note Disturbing National Trend of Divorcing Dads Killing Their Children and Themselves

Family Courts Implicated in Infants’ Murders: Two Young Boys Killed by Two Divorcing Dads in Past 10 Days, Points to Massive System Failure.

February 10, 2010               

By Kathleen Russell and Rita Smith

SAN RAFAEL- National and local advocacy groups are expressing outrage over what has become a disturbing national trend of divorcing Dads killing their children and themselves. 8-month-old baby Bekm was shot and killed by his father, Nicholas Bacon, in Meridian, Idaho just 48 hours ago, while 9-month-old baby Wyatt was killed by his father Stephen Garcia just ten days ago in San Bernardino County. Details are still emerging about the tragic Idaho murder-suicide of baby Bekm on Monday night.

 In the Garcia case, three different judges refused multiple requests by the child’s mother for restraining orders to protect her child, despite police reports and documented death threats by the father in text messages and on Facebook. 

 “The system failed Wyatt Garcia and Katie Tagle,’’ said California Assemblymember Jim Beall, Jr., the lead sponsor of Assembly Bill 612, which aims to prevent the use of non-scientific theories in California family courts. “Wyatt’s tragic death was completely avoidable.

” 

 Numerous sources report a significant spike in murder suicides across the country by violent fathers who kill their children and themselves, frequently after mothers’ requests for protection of their children are denied by family court judges. In addition, the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence estimates that more than 58,000 children per year in America are ordered by family courts into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce. 

 “The time has come for us as a society to speak out and put a stop to this growing national body count. Across the country, women and children are being killed because of judges’ personal biases and junk science that tells them to disbelieve women’s legitimate claims and evidence of abuse,” said Rita Smith, the Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

 According to court transcripts and eyewitness accounts, judges reacted with disbelief when mother Katie Tagle presented them with evidence of death threats against her son by the father. 

 Judge David Mazurek stated, “I get concerned when there’s a pending child custody and visitation issue and in between that, one party or the other claims that there’s some violence in between. It raises the court’s eyebrows because based on my experience, it’s a way for one party to try to gain an advantage over the other,” he said. 

 “This attitude permeates the courts, that women are lying about the danger they are in,” said Kathleen Russell from the Center for Judicial Excellence. “This attitude causes judges to ignore tangible evidence of death threats and abuse. The abusers’ lobby has convinced judges that shared custody is always the answer, and sadly, this case points out how deadly that approach can be,” she said. 

 According to a family member who was in the courtroom when Ms. Tagle last sought protection for her son, the judge reportedly said, “One of you is lying, and I think it’s you,” while pointing at Katie. Transcripts from this hearing are not yet available. 

 The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Center for Judicial Excellence are part of a growing national advocacy movement to educate the public as well as litigants, lawmakers, judges, and social service providers about the need for comprehensive family court reform. The Center for Judicial Excellence and their allies worked with California State Senator Mark Leno and others to pass an audit request through the state legislature last July. The California State Auditor is currently investigating the use of court appointees in family courts because of growing evidence that children are being harmed there. The California Legislature is slated to consider additional family court reform bills being presented by the Center and the California Protective Parents Association in the coming months. 

 “We must assess what’s happening in our family courts, and that’s why I’ve requested a state audit to take a hard look at the performance and effectiveness of the family court system,’’ said Assemblymember Beall. 

 The State Auditor’s report about the California Family Courts has an expected release date of June 2010. 

 *************** 

NCADV – The Mission of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is to organize for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives.  

CJE – The Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE) was established to improve the judiciary’s public accountability and strengthen and maintain the integrity of the courts. CJE has made a special commitment to protect the rights of children and other vulnerable populations in the courts. 

  

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