From Sevier County News:
Jimmie Robinson accepted responsibility for killing his son-in-law, Jason Hicks, and agreed to a plea deal offered by Attorney General Jimmy Dunn.
Attorney Bruce Poston appeared with Robinson in court Thursday before Judge Richard Vance where he agreed to serve 17 and a half years in prison for the April 19, 2009 slaying.
Robinson, who is 67, won’t be eligible for parole and must serve his entire sentence.
Hicks was in the process of divorcing his wife, Wendi, when allegations that Hicks had molested one of the couple’s children surfaced.
A police investigation was conducted and Hicks was was never charged. Clinical psychologist Thomas Hanaway interviewed the couple and recommended Hicks be given full custody and Wendi should be allowed only visitation rights.
Although the police believed Hicks was not guilty of wrong doing, the Department of Children’s Services believed otherwise. After a social worker investigated the case, a DCS committee concluded the abuse had occurred…
Lawless America…The Movie is all about exposing the fact that we now live in Lawless America. We no longer have laws that are enforced because judges do whatever they want to do. America has also become lawless because government officials are dishonest and/or corrupt.
The movie will expose corruption in every state. The Movie will focus on victims. Corrupt judges and corrupt government officials will be exposed, and we will confront a number of the crooks.
If anyone has ever questioned the story of a person who has expressed the view that they were a victim of the government or of judges, this movie will prove that the odds are that the corruption report was true. In fact, there are probably tens of millions of victims in the United States who never realized what happened to them.
One feature length documentary movie is being produced. It will be shown in theaters, on Netflix, Blockbuster, and other such video places, and the movie will be presented at the Sundance Film Festival and other film festivals.
From Karen and Wendi Robinson’s interview with Bill Windsor of Lawless America:
“I do also keep a picture of him when he was about five. So cute.
That’s what I grieve for. That’s what really makes me sad. I talked to that picture a long time ago and I told him,
These little boys will have the life that you should have had.
They’re gonna catch frogs and fish and…
You know? It won’t happen to them.
That’s who I talk to and that’s who I grieve for.
It’s the child he once was.”
– Wendi Robinson
In the video above, Karen and Wendi Robinson discuss the clustering of child custody cases and open collusion of those working in Tennessee family court. It’s happening in Tennessee just as it’s happening all over the country. Click on the screenshot below to read about Dr. Tom P Hanaway’s involvement in another family court case there:
by Julia Fletcher
A few mothers, each with an armful of clear evidence of crimes and corruption in Connecticut family courts, visited the Bridgeport, Connecticut office of the FBI yesterday.
One FBI agent told one of the mothers that what she was saying didn’t make sense to him. He said he’s sure that family court judges don’t take abused children from protective mothers to give full custody of the abused children to the fathers who abused them. The FBI agents then turned away the mothers and their evidence.
At least FOX News is investigating the family court crisis. Let’s hope FOX News will knock on the FBI office doors in Bridgeport, Connecticut to ask why that office turned away those mothers and their evidence.
While we wait for someone to investigate why that FBI office won’t investigate, maybe other FBI agents – except for the FBI in Michigan – will want to watch this video about one family court case. It’s a fine example of what happens.
Now we need the FBI to figure out how it happens in family courts all over the country.
by Julia Fletcher
A few weeks ago, I wondered why someone in Connecticut would send a link to Dr. Horowitz’s list of “Facebook friends” to me. Dr. Horowitz looks like a very nice man. Why does it matter who he publicly lists as “Facebook friends”?
Here’s why it matters:
Dr. Horowitz is “Facebook friends” with several attorneys and custody evaluators in Connecticut – like Bonnie Robson, who is a family law attorney. Attorney Bonnie Robson and Dr. Horowitz are business partners, working together in a business called, “The Collaborative Divorce Team of Connecticut”
This is from their website:
Divorce Should Not Be a Battle!
The traditional divorce process is an adversarial system, often resulting in expensive, drawn out battles over property settlements, custody, alimony and myriad other issues. The chance of a couple emerging from this process amicably is remote at best, and the effect on children is often dramatic.
We all know that divorce should not be a battle. So why is it?
Cases involving child abuse, spousal abuse and domestic violence clearly don’t belong in an adversarial family court system. Why are they there?
It would be okay if Dr. Horowitz and Attorney Robson were working together in a business venture to mediate divorce cases in which all parties agree to their involvement. However, when “Facebook friends” work “collaboratively” with each other without the agreement of all parties in a case, in an adversarial court setting, that’s not “collaboration”. It‘s “collusion”.
Attorney Robson’s husband, Dr. Kenneth Robson was the custody evaluator in this case . Dr. Horowitz is the “parenting coach” in that same case.
Does Dr. Horowitz’s list of Facebook friends show harmless “social networking” or does it sound an alarm to litigants, taxpayers and legislators that conflicts of interest are running Connecticut family courts?
Norm Pattis, an attorney in Connecticut wrote in his blog :
… There is a vast infrastructure of experts, therapists, counselors, social workers, court staff and lawyers in the state, all of whom know one another, and all of whom march beneath the banner of “best interests of the child.” When conflict arises in a divorce about what is best for the kids, there are programs, protocols and resources to throw at the warring parties …
… What I see in the cases in which I get involved is a regime that simply promotes and extends the conflict by other, and expensive means…
Attorney Pattis calls the family court system in Connecticut a “regime”. Others call it a “cottage industry”. Maybe Dr. Horowitz is joking when he lists “Angry Birds” as his other Activities and Interests on his Facebook profile page. If that was his intent, someone should probably remind him that ruined lives aren’t funny.
So, what could be better than “a vast infrastructure of experts, therapists, counselors, social workers, court staff and lawyers” with “programs, protocol and resources to throw at the warring parties”?
Here’s what Attorney Pattis thinks:
… Juries bring community values and common sense to a courtroom. Why don’t we trust them with decisions in divorce and custody? I worry that the community of experts, judges and lawyers become inbred when they deal with one another month by month in these heartbreaking cases. Therapists really don’t know best.
Inbred. That’s another way to describe it.
It looks like Dr. Horowitz lists friends as his “Facebook friends”. It looks like he lists his family members as his “Facebook friends”. He also lists what looks like part of that “vast infrastructure of experts, therapists, counselors, social workers, court staff and lawyers” Attorney Pattis wrote about.
Who allowed this to happen in the Connecticut family court system and where’s the FBI?
Editor’s note: With all due respect for the privacy of Dr. Horowitz’s public list of Facebook friends, we hesitate to post the screenshot of his public page here. We have done so because the authorities in Connecticut have purposely or inadvertently allowed this open collusion. We hope this post will encourage Connecticut taxpayers to demand an investigation.
“Chesler eloquently – and finally – breaks the wall of silence and discrimination surrounding the custody battles that women and their advocates have been facing. This book is a work of art. The combination of scholarship, poetry, politics, history, psychology, and legal analysis is stunning. Mothers on Trial is required reading…”
“There is a widespread belief that when marriages break up and child custody is in dispute, mothers nearly always win, fathers very rarely. And given another popular notion – that of the deeply loving New Father who is willing to take on child rearing and housekeeping responsibilities on his own – this state of affairs has come to be perceived as singularly unfair. Phyllis Chesler’s mammoth new work, Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody, demolishes these claims, demonstrating on the contrary that, when fathers choose to sue for child custody, they very often get it. Due to the epidemic of family abandonment by fathers, judges tend to be impressed by fathers who fight for custody; and the frequent brainwashing of children by fathers is simply considered proof of the father’s wish for intimacy with his children.”
According to Dr. Chesler, the 25th anniversary edition of Mothers on Trial will be published this summer with 8 new chapters. She must know that our family court system hasn’t changed much in the past twenty-five years.
She must also know that “custody disputes” are ending more and more tragically with each new day as dangerous fathers succeed in gaining unsupervised access to their children. Given that hundreds of thousands of cases of child abuse and fatalities could have been avoided over the last twenty-five years, Dr. Chesler must hate to say, “I told you so.”
Like spring bulbs erupting from a cold winter ground, books and articles and lectures surface with each new year as authors, attorneys and advocates herald the need for family court reform. How we respond now to the call for family court audits, oversight and accountability will determine how many more – or how many less – reasons there will be for saying, “I told you so.” twenty-five years from now.
by Julia Fletcher
Is Emily Gallup the only one? Is Emily really the only one working in that family court system who knows “… mediators were given insufficient time for mediation appointments and were allowed inadequate review of records and gathering of facts.” ?
Is Emily the only one who knows “…mediators failed to consider criminal history” ?
Is she the only one who knows mediators were “not allowed to consider such backgrounds while making recommendations in custody cases.”?
Or is Emily the only one who has the courage to speak up?
We’ve all been there. School. Work. You have to go along with whatever everyone else is doing. Whatever it is can’t be so bad if everyone else is doing it. It can’t be so bad if it’s been happening for so long. You don’t want to make waves and you want to fit in. You want to keep your job. You notice a few things that don’t seem quite right. So what do you do?
If you’re Emily Gallup, you do the right thing. In a nation of family courts with almost no oversight and no accountability, we could use a few thousand more people like Emily Gallup.
This is from The Union.com :
Two weeks after an arbitrator ordered an audit of the Nevada County Department of Family Court Services, court officials continue to review the ruling and prepare a response to it.
As part of his Feb. 6 ruling in a grievance filed by Emily Gallup, a former family court mediator who alleged the court had violated state statutes and its own rules governing the mediation process, arbitrator Christopher Burdick ordered a review of the court’s family law mediation programs and processes by an independent entity.
Gallup, who said she was terminated by the court during the ongoing arbitration case, was also awarded back pay and attorney fees by Burdick.
“Our attorneys are reviewing the award to determine how best to respond to it,” Superior Court CEO Sean Metroka said Friday morning.
“There are several elements in the award that have to be sorted out,” Metroka continued. “Among those, of course, are who to engage to perform the audit that the arbitrator ordered. Also, there’s negotiations ongoing about the attorney fees. So, we’re working through those things and I expect we’ll know more next week.”
Metroka also noted he could not speak to specific allegations of the case as “it’s a pending legal matter.”
Both sides must agree on an entity to perform the audit “(such as the Administrative Office of the Courts, the California State Auditor, or other professionals) to be retained by the court, solely at the court’s expense,” Burdick wrote in the award section of the arbitration ruling.
In her grievance, Gallup claimed mediators were given insufficient time for mediation appointments and were allowed inadequate review of records and gathering of facts. She also claimed mediators failed to consider criminal history, alleging they were not allowed to consider such backgrounds while making recommendations in custody cases.
Gallup claimed the Family Court Services also failed to offer separate mediation to domestic violence victims and placed undue influence to pressure parents into mediated agreements, according to court documents.
Once Gallup raised these concerns to her supervisors, she said, she received reprisals and retaliations from the court and its officials.
The court argued all it did was “counsel her in good faith not for her complaint but for her actions (e.g. taking too long on her cases; violating directives and inconveniencing others by allowing mediation sessions to run past business hours; by not achieving as many agreements as her coworkers; failing to observe mediator restrictions on ex parte communication; and being insubordinate to her supervisor, as well as Family Law Judge (Julie) McManus).”
The court also contended that “Gallup’s refusal to follow the (court’s model for mediation) as a bad faith reaction to her disappointment at not being selected as director (upon her supervisor’s retirement), manifested in the immediate decline of her performance and acting disrespectfully to Interim Director (Carmella) Smith, challenging her authority and complaining about the (model).”
Most of Burdick’s ruling, however, went in favor of Gallup’s contentions.
“Emily Gallup had reasonable cause to believe that (the) court’s Family Court Services department had violated or not complied with state statutes and rules of court in regards to mediations required by the Family Law Code and the California Rules of Court,” Burdick wrote. “That the court took reprisal actions against Gallup for repeatedly raising and discussing these issues, but (Gallup) failed to prove, in the technical and legal sense, that she had ‘blown the whistle’ to a law enforcement agency or other outside party with enforcement powers.”
Burdick also ruled Gallup had failed to prove the court violated its “Policy Against Harassment,” as she had claimed, but did have reasonable cause to believe information disclosed a violation of state or federal statute or a violation or noncompliance with state or federal rule or regulation.
In Gallup’s favor, Burdick found the court had violated its own “open door policy” of the personnel manual, “by taking reprisal actions against (Gallup) when she complained to the Court’s Facilitator and (to) the Administrative Office of the Courts that the Superior Court had violated or not complied with state statutes and rules of court in regards to mediations.”
Burdick also ruled Gallup “at all times acted within the ‘Code of Ethics for Court Employees of California’” and “at all times acted within the parameters of the duties and responsibilities set forth in the Court’s Job Description for ‘Family Court Mediator.’”
Contact City Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4249.
by Julia Fletcher
A new friend with years of experience working as a domestic violence advocate was gracious enough to talk on the phone and wonder out loud with me. As we tried to figure out how to fix the family court crisis as quickly as possible, we shared anecdotes about different judges in different states mishandling abuse cases in the same kinds of ways – the kinds of ways with no oversight and no accountability. We talked about the custody evaluators who make baseless recommendations as they throw away our tax dollars and our children’s lives. We talked about battered mothers and abused children struggling to protect themselves in a court system that’s supposed to do that for them.
We also talked about something that hasn’t been done before. What might happen if all of us working for family court reform would focus at least a small part of our efforts on one or two of the same goals? We battered mothers and advocates have been scattering our efforts in similar, but separate directions. If we can find a way to work together and take one single best step in the direction of our many objectives, the family court audits, congressional investigations and family law reforms would happen sooner. We’ll be able to save more lives.
Tossing ideas back and forth, we sifted through the projects that would be best for this kind of team effort. We need better family court laws, rules and regulations. We need family court audits and congressional investigations. We need to let the public know what’s been happening in our nation’s family courts.
The crisis has been in the crisis mode for the last 30 years. We were talking about finding a way to speed up the process of all that needs to be done. Days and weeks and years are passing with no contact between abused children and their mothers who are kept from them for protecting them. If we don’t do something to speed up the entire process, those vulnerable victims won’t have time to wait for the years that will pass before we see the fruits of the new laws, audits, oversight and accountability.
As our conversation slowed and we were running out of ideas, we settled on the goal of educating the public to put at the top of our collective “To Do” list. It makes sense. As soon as more people know there’s a problem, more people will be available to help. Most people have no idea how many tens of thousands of women and children are abused and/or how lose their lives each year as a direct result of family court orders. They have no idea that billions of tax dollars keep the family court cottage industry pressing full steam ahead while their state governments pinch pennies to fill potholes and keep schools open.
Hanging up the phone, I liked the idea of educating the public about the family court crisis until I thought of the long road ahead. I thought of how unfair it is that all of this work should have been done decades ago.
Dr. Catherine Clark Kroeger was another educator and advocate. She promoted such broad-minded ideas as equality for women in the church and a home-life that’s peaceful and free from violence and abuse. She passed away on Valentine’s Day at the age of 85.
As I read one of Dr. Kroeger’s articles today, it occurred to me that she had a better idea of what our first collective goal should be. The top of our list will need to start with something even more basic than education. If the public is going to learn more about the family court crisis, they’ll have to feel comfortable enough with the subject to want to learn more. It reminds me of something the forensic investigator told me after she evaluated my daughter. She said something like, “Childhood sexual abuse is an epidemic because no one wants to talk about it.” Looking back on what happened in my daughter’s case in the ten years that followed, I see that she was right.
In her article Are We Declining in Empathy? Dr. Kroeger wrote,
“How then do we respond to a subject that is so uncomfortable as that of domestic violence? How can we even acknowledge it in our midst?
All too often we have simply ignored those who are endangered or wounded or desperate. As with all sin and affliction, we must first acknowledge its presence and then bear our concerns up before God. Those who take the trouble to inform themselves will best understand the problem. They will be ready to reach out to victim and perpetrator alike, to seek to alleviate the suffering of one while holding the other accountable. Perhaps persons of faith have lacked empathy because they have not made the hard decision to engage in the positive action that scripture enjoins.”
Thank you Dr. Kroeger for all of your good work.
When my time comes, I’ll look forward to seeing you in Heaven. I hope our goals will be achieved before I get there.
From The Australian :
Broad support for family law bill that puts children’s needs first
February 15, 2011
By Patricia Karvelas
FAMILY law changes that redefine domestic violence, place greater weight on child safety and arguably weaken the Howard government’s shared parenting laws will go ahead after three-quarters of stakeholders endorsed the Gillard government’s draft changes.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland told The Australian there had been a strong response in favour of the amendments, with more than 400 submissions received during the formal public consultation process on the draft Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill, which closed last month. The changes, which are directed at cases involving abusive parents, make children the top priority in custody disputes. Whenever a court considers that this goal is in conflict with the right of a child to have a relationship with both parents, it will be required to give greater weight to child safety.
The change is contained in draft legislation released late last year for discussion by Mr McClelland. But Labor faces a tough fight with the Coalition, which is set on arguing that the changes will wind back shared parenting arrangements using the safety of children as an excuse.
Seventy-three per cent of respondents expressed support for the measures and a further 10 per cent made no specific comment on the bill but offered information about personal experiences.
“The public interest generated by the family violence bill demonstrates that family violence is a significant concern within the Australian community,” Mr McClelland said.