Federal Representatives to State Courts: Improve Adjudications

From The Center for Judicial Excellence:

Guess what?

It’s August Recess — and federal lawmakers are home in their Districts until Labor Day!

Now is your chance to get your House Rep signed on
as a co-sponsor of H Con Res 72 to prioritize child safety in family courts!

Join us for a one-hour advocacy training with Kathleen Russell, Executive Director of the Center for Judicial Excellence, and Connie Valentine, the Founder of the California Protective Parents Association to learn:

  • What does H Con Res 72 say?
  • What happens when it passes the House of Representatives?
  • How do I schedule a meeting, and with whom? house concurrent res 72 8 2018
  • Who and what should I bring to the meeting?
  • What should I say there?
  • How should I follow up?
  • What is most effective? (hint: good legislators supporting good laws!)

To RSVP for the ZOOM call, send your: name, county, state, phone number and email address to: gettraining@yahoo.com

You will receive a personal invitation via email after speaking with us to ensure that this call is a good fit for you! Together, we will do this!!

child safety days dc september 9 to 12 2018

Also, join us this September 9, 10, 11 and 12 in Washington DC! We will train protective parents on Sunday afternoon to lobby for child safety in family courts and then fan out for three days of meetings to seek even more H Con Res 72 co-sponsors and supporters.

If you can get yourselves to DC, we can put you to work for child safety!

Let’s Do This!

 

Current list: Cosponsors: H.Con.Res.72 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)

 

Wendy Murphy. (2007) And Justice For Some: An Expose of the Lawyers and Judges who Let Dangerous Criminals Go Free.

BEFORE YOU STEP ONE FOOT INTO FAMILY COURT …

Wendy Murphy. (2007) And Justice For Some: An Expose of the Lawyers and Judges who Let Dangerous Criminals Go Free.

Wendy Murphy, And Justice for Some. (2007).

From Wendy Murphy, JD :

 

“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.”

 

Attention: Protective Parents in Family Courts

photo: dwinslow

photo: dwinslow

December 20, 2013

by Diana Winslow 

Concerned parents were elated this week when a much awaited segue for them to speak came forward as an invitation from the federal government, asking for clarifications on identified problems with child human rights in court, family rights in court and the lack of a uniform structure to respond to child sex abuse investigations, child abuse investigations and placement of children with a parent who is not known to them, has committed crimes against the other parent or is convicted of crimes that put the child at risk in their care.

Following a march on Washington DC and a Congressional Briefing this Summer members of Congress heard and were concerned about the severity and frequency with which child custody issues are mishandled, to the point of injury to the child or protesting parent.  It is remarkable that BOTH events happened despite the sequester, AND that these actions generated interest and an invitation.

Some cases are so problematic, as with the classic case illustrated in the October 2012 Documentary of Holly Collins, called “No Way Out But One“, that the parent is forced to flee the situation, due to deafness in authorities, investigators, systems system law and policy, court law and policy, and court systems. Succinctly, the definition of being run into the ground by such system based problems is called “Systems Induced Trauma.” Beyond victimization in a specific social or family situation, the family, one or all members are further agitated, abused or traumatized by the applied services and policies of systems that interlock without oversight, basically trapping the persons perpetuating a complaint without safety and resolutions.

The US Department of Justice is ready now to consider cases of chaos caused by State child and family courts. USDOJ is calling for child custody outlines in a format. The purpose of providing the outline is for the writer to simply and systematically give structured information regarding the problem case in question.

The US Department of Justice wants timelines of these outrageous cases.

Just complete and send your case in this format to: Mary Seguin atricourtcon@gmail.com by January 15, 2014 so she can provide them to the DOJ. The USDOJ invitation was issued to the representing group at the Summer March and Congressional Briefing: The California Protective Parents Association.

(Update 1/6/14: The original notice regarding requested timelines is from the California Protective Parents Association November 2013 Newsletter  which says: “Please send the timeline to cppa001@aol.com so we can forward them in a group to DOJ.” Some parents are sending copies of the case timelines – first received and time stamped at local DOJ offices – via certified mail to: U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001.

The email address “atricourtcon@gmail.com” noted in the Examiner article above is for those interested in joining a complaint filed in United States District Court, District of Massachusetts. Please see the CPPA November 2013 newsletter for more information. –  Julia )

___________________________________________________________________________

Format for the Letter to the USDOJ

Who you are

 1. Contact information:

 2. Background:

3. Education:

4. Former employment:

5. Criminal record (arrests and convictions):

 

Who your former partner/husband/wife is

1. Background:

2. Education:

3. Former employment:

4. Criminal record (arrests and convictions):

 

Reports of physical or sexual assault/battery and/or incest

1.  Law enforcement (give name of office and address):

Date, Name and title of officer, Outcome of investigation and report:Child Protective Services (give name of office and address):

2. Social worker/Counselor/Other:

Date, Name and title of worker, Outcome (including not reporting to criminal authorities to investigate):

 3. Court personnel (give title and address):

Date, Name and title of professional, Outcome(including not reporting to criminal authorities to investigate):

4. Other offices/individuals:

Date, Name and title of professional, Outcome (including not reporting to criminal authorities to investigate):

 

Intimidation against you that deterred you from reporting

1. Who intimidated you:

2. How were you intimidated:

 

Gag orders

1. Who gave you a gag order (name, title, date, place):

2. Rationale given for gag order to not talk about these recurring crimes of incest and assault and battery:

3. Removal of child(ren) from you after you reported criminal physical or sexual assault/battery and/or incest:

 

Response from Social Services

1. Name and title of person(s), recommendations for investigation/ removal/ supervision:

2. Date of recommendation and where recommendation was filed:

3. Name and title of person ordering removal of children (if removal was ordered) :

4. Date of order and where order was filed:

 

Supervised visitation

1. Name and title of person recommending supervised visits:

2. Reason given for recommendation:

3. Name and title of person who ordered supervised visits:

4. Date and place order was made:

5. Name of specific visitation center you were ordered to attend:

6. Amount of fees:

7. Dates and times you were ordered to attend:

8. If you were not ordered to a specific visitation center, name of visitation center you chose:

9. Was this center paid by the county:

 

Motions you filed for relief

1. Date and place filed:

2. Who filed the motion:

3. What lawyers were involved:

4. Outcome of the motion:

*At the end of the time line, please provide note: Supporting evidence is being compiled in exhibits.”

Parents in and out of CPS courts and family/divorce courts face a hamster wheel of demands, which beyond the direct trauma to the family, often exhaust financial and emotional resources, cost jobs and personal assets. Most everyone knows at least ONE case like this. Please pass this article along to others who might be affected.

Family Court in Denmark

From TV 2 | ØSTJYLLAND :

On Thursday transmitter TV 2 | ØSTJYLLAND documentary “The secret network”.

About 450 women in Denmark are fighting to protect their children from the children’s fathers. One of the key figures behind the network is Sidsel Lyster, the now former pastor of Tirstrup in Jutland.

The women are ready to go underground or move abroad and go to jail to avoid disclosure of their children to the fathers, they either suspect or have evidence of violent, pedophiles or abusers. For, according to women and more experts, the new Parental Responsibility laws have made it virtually impossible to stop socializing with parents who are either violent, drug addicts or sex offenders.

Instead, the Act requires that parents must cooperate and make sure that the child has the opportunity to see both parents. And if the anxious parent does not cooperate, he or she risks losing custody of the child. Conditions under sharp criticism from the EU.

TV 2 | ØSTJYLLAND the past year followed the struggle of women inside the secret network and followed with when they go underground.

Join us on Thursday on TV 2 | ØSTJYLLAND pm. 19.50.

A Very Strong and Clear Signal

Wonderful news of progress from Safe Kids International:

European Parliament Votes 20 to 1 to Approve Working Document with Recommendations to Help Stop Court Licensed Abuse!

“The Working Document indicates that the Danish Parental Responsibility Act . . . sometimes creates perverse effects . . . whereby mothers risk being imprisoned for protecting their child from abusive fathers and abusive fathers obtain contact and even full custody rights to the children they abuse.”

Angelika Werthmann (Chair of the delegation) commented: 

“The result of today’s vote is a very strong and clear signal . . . It can by no means be accepted that the youngest citizens’ fundamental rights are not being respected.”

 

This discussion is in English, body language is universal. . .

 

“… the leading country in the world …”

From Mothers of Lost Children:

Congressional Briefing October 2, 2013 (Part One)

Congressional Briefing October 2, 2013 (Part Two)  (Part Three)  (Part Four)

Kinsey’s Family Court #Shutdown

Morris Ernst ACLU Kinsey

by Julia Fletcher

What does the family court crisis have to do with our reputation in half the world as “Infidels!”?

Dr. Judith Reisman knows.

She’s been researching this and speaking up about it for years. Here she is speaking about it in January of this year at Liberty University. Fourteen years ago, in an article published in the World Net Daily she wrote:

“According to PAS theory, if a parent (usually mom) accuses the other (usually dad) of sexual abuse, this “turns the child against the father,” hence, mom’s “influence over the child should be halted.” That is, even when the accused is a convicted sex offender, mom has lost custody and visitation rights.

The theory, based on Gardner’s observations during child custody disputes, largely discredits incest charges.

PAS was invented by Richard A. Gardner. Gardner is a Columbia University clinical professor of child psychiatry and he defends his theory in his 749 pages of “True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse” (1992).

Inevitably, Gardner’s sole experimental authority for this PAS theory is Alfred C. Kinsey. In fact, Gardner largely plagiarizes Chapters 5 in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Female (1953) to show child molestation is normal.”

Now that it’s October 2013, we’ve come so far as to be in our current state of a “partial government shutdown”. Congress can’t agree on a budget or how much money to borrow or how much interest to pay. They can’t agree on healthcare and state parks are closed too.

People are tweeting things like: #Democratshutdown! and #Republicanshutdown! Each side calls the other “extremist” and both sides agree that “extremists” are the problem.

The same goes for family court reform advocates.  Insults and accusations fly among advocates as often as they fly in Congress. We all know who the “extremists” are and we know who to blame for the lack of investigations, zero oversight and and near zero family court reform. 

As long as everyone who watches this video agrees that extremists are the problem, the family court crisis will be appropriately addressed and we might not have to deal with “terror threats” from those who call us “Infidels!” anymore.

Real extremists who cause real problems are easy to spot – especially those who openly associate with Nazis and demons.   

Eliminating Legal Protections for Women & Children

“Prior to the adoption of the American Law Institute’’s Model Penal Code by the states, men who raped and preyed on children were deemed criminals, not simply ““actors”” as they are today. Abused and violated women and children were victims, not ‘complainants.”’  Justice was meted out by a jury of one’’s peers, not by social science “’experts”’ and predators received penalties, not legal protections.”     Dr. Linda Jeffery

 

“It is indeed an international issue.”

From The Copenhagen Post online:

Investigating child custody claims, EU delegation ignored by government

Ray Weaver 

June 21, 2013

Members of an EU committee in Denmark to investigate how the country handles custody and visitation rights involving EU citizens have been rebuffed by the government.

Photo credit: The Copenhagen Post

The delegation, led by MEP Angelika Werthmann from Austria, came to Denmark after the committee had become “deeply concerned” by Denmark’s handling of custody and visitation rights cases and has been in Denmark for the past two days to investigate complaints sent to them by parents who feel their rights are being trampled on by the government in child custody cases.

The group made the trip especially to speak with the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), the social affairs and integration minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), and the national police commissioner, Jens Henrik Højberg, to discuss the growing number of cases the EU is seeing coming out of Denmark.

The petitions committee is designed to investigate concerns sent to them by EU residents. Being involved in human-rights cases is something of uncharted territory for the group that is more often called in to investigate and mediate issues like housing, environmental and land disputes.

Neither the ministers nor the police commissioner would meet with the delegation. They instead sent representatives who, according to Werthmann,  told them they only had a “short time” to spend with them.

“I can say, without a doubt, that this committee has never, ever been treated in this fashion anywhere else,” a frustrated Werthmann said today during a press conference. “This is an official delegation of the EU.”

After failing to be granted an audience with the ministers, Werthmann and fellow delegates, MEP Peter Jahr from Germany and MEP Carlos Iturgaiz Angulo from Spain, then attempted to arrange meetings with rank-and-file MPs, only to find that most have already left for their summer holiday.  …

To read the full story by Ray Weaver, click here to go to The Copenhagen Post online.

 

“I hope all Family Court judges listen.”

by Julia Fletcher

There are plenty of victims – more than in the Penn State scandal. There’s plenty of evidence – more than in the Catholic Church scandal. Plenty of studies have already been done and in place of hundreds of mainstream news reporters is deafening silence.

Except for the news reporters in one mainstream news station. The FOX 11 news team in Los Angeles, California is single-handedly investigating and reporting the national family court crisis. When children are finally protected in our family courts, it might be because FOX News LA reported the holocaust when no other mainstream news stations would.

From FOX News LA:

“A father just ax murdered his son.”

This email  appeared in my inbox last February. The email’s author had been warning me about judges in custody cases. She said they refused to listen to  parents and children – even when they had evidence they were in danger. Sometimes, she said, the judges were even taking kids away from moms – just for trying to protecting their kids.

Unbelievable?  I thought so , too. She said if I didn’t do something, more kids would die. Then 9-year-old Matthew Hernandez was murdered. Yes, with an axe. While he slept on the couch. His father is charged with the murder.

“I told you,” my email friend wrote. “Why don’t you believe me?”

By then, I did believe her. I had read the clippings she sent, particularly the ones about the murder of Baby Wyatt. That father had posted his death threats all over the internet. 

The mother warned judge, who did nothing. The father later shot Wyatt. Then himself. 

I read about case after case in Family Court: Judges warned. Mother’s desperate pleas – ignored. Children murdered. Two fathers are on trial right now for murdering their kids in these kind of cases.

So when I heard about the funeral for the ax-murdered boy – 9-year-old Matthew Hernandez — I got in my car and headed north. When I arrived, gospel music filled the large, empty Sacramento church. Matthew’s grandmother was draped over Matthew’s casket, sobbing right next to his Teddy bear. Soon hundreds of friends, relatives and community members filled the pews. It was standing room only. Matthew’s young mother, Jessica, looked shattered. She says  she warned the judge her ex was dangerous.  But he didn’t listen. The family says he didn’t even investigate. Matthew paid the price.

I was so moved by Matthew’s funeral, I wanted to find out how many other judges were warned before they handed over children to dangerous men. I talked to several moms. Many were too devastated to come on television. But not Andrea Gallegos. 

Andrea was brave enough to sit in front of our cameras and re-live the horror of having her 2-year-old son, Isaac, murdered. She pleaded with the judge, John M. Pacheco, to look at the photos of Isaac’s bruised body – proof that the father was abusing him.

The family says the Pacheco just tossed them aside. Then turned to her, according to court transcripts, and told her she was “over reacting.” Then they say,  he threatened to take her son away from her if she kept it up. It must be confusing to be a judge.  Especially in these emotional custody cases. But threatening to take away the son of  a 23-year-old mother who is begging for help?

“That’s what we do,” Judge Pacheco said, according to the court transcript.

In context, it seems he meant that courts give the child to the parent who is most willing to cooperate with the court. The next time little Isaac came home with bruises from his dad, the family told me they didn’t know what to do – or who to turn to for help.

That’s what this judge did.  Silenced a family.  And a child died. I hope Judge Pacheco listens to Andrea this time. I hope all Family Court judges listen.

Written by: Martin Burns, Investigative Producer

“Barbaric” Courts on Both Sides of the Pond

From The Daily Mail Online:        

                

Scandal of ‘unqualified’ experts who advise our family courts:

Decisions about the care of thousands of children routinely flawed

 

By Katherine Faulkner

Life-changing decisions about the care of thousands of children are routinely being made on flawed evidence from poorly qualified ‘experts’ in the family courts, a damning study reveals.

More than a fifth of these vital reports are being produced by people who are completely unqualified, the Channel 4 News investigation found.

‘Experts’ used in hundreds of family court proceedings are frequently unqualified or unreliable, the study reveals. In some cases, reports on parents or children are being given to courts by doctors who have not even seen the individuals concerned.  Until now, these ‘expert witnesses’ – often psychologists or psychiatrists – have largely escaped scrutiny due to the draconian secrecy surrounding the family courts.

But in a unique study for the Family Justice Council, Professor Jane Ireland – a forensic psychologist who has herself been an expert witness – examined over 100 expert witness reports used in family court cases. Incredibly, she found that 20 per cent had been produced by people who were not qualified at all. A further fifth had been carried out by people who were writing reports in areas entirely beyond their knowledge and qualifications.

In addition, as many as 90 per cent of the reports had been produced by ‘expert’ witnesses who were no longer in current practice at all, but were simply working as ‘professional expert witnesses’. Often, these professional experts – who rake in thousands of pounds in fees from the chaotic family courts system – have not practised for years, leaving them out of touch with developments in their field.

They are often appointed to assess the suitability of a parent or parents to continue to look after their child in care proceedings brought by local councils. They can also be used in access cases following the separation of a child’s parents. Thousands of children have their futures decided in the family courts every year and because of strict rules on what can be reported, often little is revealed about what happens once the court doors are closed.

In the past, parents have bitterly complained that they have not even been allowed to know the names of the paid expert witnesses who testified against them.

That has now changed but Professor Ireland, of the University of Central Lancashire, said 65 of the 100 reports she examined were ‘poorly’ or ‘very poorly’ carried out.

Some reports were found to ‘cite opinion without conducting a formal assessment’ or show a complete lack of understanding of the conditions discussed. One was even found to have ‘completed an assessment on the mother without actually seeing her’.

Professor Ireland said an ‘urgent review’ of expert witnesses in the family courts was needed. ‘I think we were very concerned and perturbed by some of the reports that we read,’ she told Channel 4 News.

‘Some of the most startling results were the sheer number of expert psychologists . . . who are reporting that their entire job is the production of assessment reports for courts.

‘I think the results from the research are enough to suggest that we do need an urgent review across the range of expert witnesses that the courts are employing.’

The Family Justice Council is an independent public body set up in 2004 and funded by the Ministry of Justice. It is charged with monitoring the family justice system and advising the Government and the courts on how the system can be improved.

One mother involved in family court proceedings told how a psychiatrist who had never seen her wrote a 14-page report on her and her family. The day after the psychiatrist signed off his report he was suspended by the General Medical Council for a separate offence. Despite this, his report was still used by the courts.

‘He’s never seen us, never spoken to us,’ she said, ‘and yet he’s ended up writing 14 pages, with recommendations, that he could not possibly have made if he had spoken to any of us or had he read through the court papers.’

She said her custody case dragged on for five years because of the competing testimonies of no fewer than eight expert witnesses.

‘The court system in England is barbaric,’ she said. ‘It does not allow parents to be given a voice, it doesn’t allow their children to be given a voice.

‘But what it does instead is it focuses on employing expert witnesses – at huge expense.’

Nigel Priestley, a family solicitor in Huddersfield, said: ‘If the statistics are that 20 per cent are unqualified, that is not just a mess, that is staggering.’

Who Would Win Family Court Super Bowl?

Could your state win a Family Court Super Bowl?

What would it take to win? 

Would the winning team continue year after year, promoting “high conflict” litigation, draining public coffers, ruining lives and taking lives in the process?

Let’s say the attorneys are the coaches.  The judges are the referees. The rules of the game are the law.

The skills required to play the “game” are this: Knowing the rules of law. Knowing the nuances and the dynamics of all kinds of kinds of cases – especially the “high conflict” cases – and doing the right thing at the right time. For the right reasons. Always.

It’s just a matter of time before all family courts begin to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. 

And… It’s first and ten on the 50-yard line… Alabama family courts have the ball….   

From WLTZ.com:

 

 Local volunteers create binders to spread word on child abuse

 
by Christina Chambers

It’s a binder full of stories about those who have been affected by child abuse.

“What’s happening is 58,000 children a year, throughout the nation, are being court ordered into unsupervised contact with the people that they have identified as abusers,” said project volunteer Amanda Hodge.

Three volunteers who have been victims of domestic violence created a resource binder for all family court judges in the state of Alabama.

“These binders are the first step in trying to reach out to our judges, not place blame, but to say we want to help, we want to fix this problem as a community and a state,” said Hodge.

Alabama is the first state to create a resource binder for judges. Hodge says she’s spoken with survivors across the nation trying to push this project in other states.

“It’s huge for us to have the support of our state legislators, and to be able to get these binders out to people,” Hodge said.

Hodge says the intent is to assist judges in the proper way to handle child abuse cases that come up when the victim wants to leave the abuser.

“I hope that our judges will take the time to read the binders, go out and get further training, and ask questions,” said Hodge.

The judge’s resource binder also has letters of support from Governor Robert Bentley and House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

The volunteer group is sending out the binders at the end of the month to 70 family court judges across the state. Lee County family court Judge Mike Fellows had no comment on the issue. 

_____________________________________________

Please Forward to Those Who Can Help…

January 15, 2012

 

Greetings to all,

We are searching for a pro bono Alabama attorney who is an expert in domestic violence and child abuse to work with a nationally known attorney to support a case pro hac vice.

This case involves a child and a wonderful protective mother who is advocating for her child, other mothers and their children and recently presented her testimony in Washington, D.C.

Time is of the essence. Please forward this request to your lists and call if we can help answer any questions or be of assistance.

Let’s help make a difference for this child and mother.

Linda Marie Sacks

FL NOW Co-Chair of the Child Custody and Family Court Committee

lindamariesacks@aol.com

Cell 386-453-3017

From The Alabama State Bar website:

ADMISSION OF FOREIGN ATTORNEYS PRO HAC VICE

An attorney or counselor-at-law who is not licensed in good standing to practice law in Alabama, but is currently a member in good standing of the bar of another state, the District of Columbia, or other United States jurisdiction may appear as counsel pro hac vice in a particular case before any court or administrative agency in Alabama upon compliance with Rule VII, Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar.

A foreign attorney appearing as counsel pro hac vice is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state.

To appear pro hac vice, a foreign attorney must associate in that cause an attorney who is a member in good standing of the Alabama State Bar (local counsel). A foreign attorney must then file with the court or agency where the cause is pending a verified application for admission to practice.

The application required by Rule VII shall be on a form approved by the Alabama State Bar and the Supreme Court. The granting or denial of an application for admission as counsel is discretionary with the court or administrative agency before which the application is made.

For further information, contact PHV Admissions at (334) 269-1515 or phv@alabar.org

Hating to Say, “I Told You So.”

by Julia Fletcher
 
In 1986, the Staff Attorney for the National Center on Women and Family Law reviewed Dr. Chesler’s book, Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody
 
Attorney Schulman wrote:
“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…”
 
Here is part of Dr. Paula Caplan’s review in Psychology Today Magazine, February 1986:
“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.”

Good news, new information and request from California Protective Parents Association…

This good news, new information and request is from the California Protective Parents Association: 

Dear Friends,

1. The Mothers March in Washington was fabulous! 

 We assembled in front of the U.S. Department of Justice with our signs, banners, new Safe Child Coalition flag and white Mothers of Lost Children T shirts.  Karen Anderson, Executive Director of CA Protective Parents Association, gave the Attorney General’s public relations officer a packet explaining the family court situation and documentation of the destruction of evidence during an audit by Marin County family court. We then marched to the U. S. Senate buildings where we fanned out in teams to attend appointments with U. S. Senate aides. We all had the same request: Congressional hearings. The aides were appalled at what we told them. We ended the day with a wonderful photo at the Sewall Belmont house,  headquarters of the suffragists  a century ago. 

 The next day we stood vigil in front of the White House for an hour before joining the huge One Nation demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial. Thanks  to everyone who came, and everyone who supported us in so  many ways.  We believe our two events this year will have historic significance.  Pictures and press clips will be posted soon.

 What can you do to help now? Follow up is crucial. Please write a letter to your two U.S. Senators with the same request:  we need Congressional hearings.  They need to hear directly from their constituents.  Locate your Senators at www.senate.gov. Faxed personal letters are more significant than emails. If you decide to remain anonymous, tell the Senator you fear judicial retaliation and must use a pseudonym.    
               

       The Honorable ________
       Re: Request for Congressional hearings on the failure of family court to protect children

       Dear Senator ________:
       I am writing to urge you to schedule Congressional hearings on the failure of     

       family courts to protect children, and the retaliation against mandated reporters

       and parents who report child sexual and physical abuse. The scope of this

       problem is staggering:  nationally, over 1000 children per week are placed with  

       their identified batterers or molesters by family courts.www.leadershipcouncil.org  

       Children are being maimed and killed in completely preventable tragedies.  As your

       constituent, I want you to know this is happening in our state. It has happened

       to my children.

2. Press Conference at Marin Courthouse on Tuesday Oct 12.  

Center for Judicial Excellence invites you to  a picket and press conference one week from today. More than 1,000 flyers have been distributed in Marin, San Francisco and Alameda counties in the past week by three great moms.

You can register by clicking this link, then clicking the button at the bottom of the page that says “Register.” Your name will not show publicly. If you are bringing any friends or family or guests, please be sure to add them to your registration. 

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=me65kybab&oeidk=a07e311awpu5d1273b5

Let us know if you need a place to stay if you are coming from out of town!

 

 

September News from WATCH…

Please click on the links provided to read the September 2010 WATCH newsletter:

 

WATCH POST NEWSLETTER:


WATCHING WITH A WIDER LENS
by Susan Lenfestey, WATCH founder

Recently I was talking to a friend about a WATCH report that documents, among other things, the hurdles facing a victim of domestic abuse if her children have been removed from her care and she is trying to get them back. “So you don’t just sit in the back of the courtroom checking things off on a list,” she said. It was the clichéd “aha!” moment when I realized that many people, even those who generously support WATCH, don’t know very much about what WATCH actually does.
 
As one of the founders of WATCH, I can tell you that in our nascence we did indeed sit in the courtroom with a checklist and, well, watch. Did the hearing start on time? Did anyone tell the victim or family members why there was a delay and how long it would be? Did an emotionally charged sentencing get squeezed into a busy arraignment court? Was the defendant – or victim – one we had seen in the past? After one year we issued a report on what we, as outside observers, had noted and what we believed could be done more effectively. Some of the practices now taken for granted in the daily routine of the courts were enacted as a result of that simple first report.
Read the full article and entire WATCH Post newsletter…

 

WEBINAR:

MANAGING COURT MONITOR VOLUNTEERS

In this webinar you’ll learn strategies and techniques for recruiting, training, and managing court monitor volunteers.
Special guests Tulsa County Court Watch and the Legal Aid Justice Center of Virginia will discuss their innovative programs that use seniors and law students respectively to monitor the courts. Participants will receive sample applications, job descriptions, and screening materials.
Date & Time: Wednesday, September 29th 11:30 (CST)*
Cost: $50                
NACMP member rate: $35

 

Register Now

Contact: Anna Light or (612) 341-2747 x7. 

*9:30 am Pacific, 10:30 am Mountain, 12:30 pm Eastern

 

NEWS & NOTES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY

Courtwatch-Rochester (Rochester, MN) recently visited the WATCH offices to meet with staff and learn about our program. The group is reorganizing after a staffing change and investigating new directions for their work. We wish this all-volunteer organization all the best as they work to improve their courts.

WATCH is pleased to announce that the Domestic Violence Report will publish an article on WATCH’s report examining the child protection process in Hennepin County, MN. The article will appear in the October/November issue.

Congratulations to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (an NACMP member) on the release of their video entitled Family Abuse Protection Orders in Virginia: Everything You Need to Know. This innovative 15-minute video, available at their website, provides an overview of the process for obtaining an order and potential consequences if the order is violated.

 

HEARD AT COURT

The deputy was playing solitaire on his cell phone throughout the entire order for protection hearing this morning.
 
During a probation violation hearing for a third degree assault and domestic assault by strangulation case, the defense attorney was exceptionally organized and respectful. He represented his client effectively without minimizing the crime in any way.
 
I was reminded again today of how hard it is for the families of victims and defendants to see court staff laughing and joking around between hearings. I overheard the mother of a defendant whisper to her husband that she felt the court personnel were not respecting her family’s dignity.
 
A defendant out in the lobby at one of the suburban courthouses was texting a woman in the courtroom. After a defense attorney told the deputies what was happening, they went out and took him into custody for violating his no contact order.
 
Court was scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. At 10:30, the judge had only spent 10 minutes on the bench, heard two cases, and provided no explanation as to what was going on.
 
Since I began monitoring this court in September, I have seen all the attending deputies sleeping at some point!
 

WATCH

bringing a public
eye to justice

608 2nd Ave S. #465
Mpls, MN 55402
(612) 341-2747

watch@watchmn.org
www.watchmn.org

WATCH System Accountability Webinar 7-20-10

 

Court Monitoring Makes a Difference

Since 1993, WATCH has trained 760 volunteers who have donated

32,000 hours and monitored over 61,000 hearings.

 

WATCH’s mission is to make the justice system more effective and responsive in handling cases of violence against women and children, and to create a more informed and involved public.

Every day trained WATCH volunteers observe court and report on what they see. WATCH follows up with court staff and committees to recommend improvements. Our experience shows that when the public is present in court, everyone does a better job.

  • WATCH was founded in 1992 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Trained WATCH volunteers monitor over 5,000 hearings each year in several Hennepin County courts
  • Court personnel and advocates for women agree that public scrutiny of the courts leads to improvements
  • WATCH trains court monitoring groups cross the U. S. with manuals, site visits, and web-based training

WATCH is committed to ending racial, cultural, and gender bias in the courts and to reflecting that commitment at all levels of our organization.

 

 

Click on link below to join our July 20th webinar:

Monitoring Sexual Assault Cases

July 20th from 11:30-12:30pm (CST)

System Accountability for Sexual Assault Cases

Special Guest:
Attorney Laura Jones, CourtWatch Manager
King County Sexual Assault Resource Center in Seattle, WA

 

Through monitoring, research, and feedback, court watch programs promote system accountability by examining and reporting on court procedures, policies, and practices. But with so few cases of sexual violence getting reported to the police and even fewer going to trial, how can court monitoring help? This one-hour presentation will provide an overview of court monitoring and address ways sexual assault programs and advocates can highlight flaws in the system and advocate for change. Special guest Laura Jones will discuss her programs project using court monitors to examine their Sexual Assault Protection Order process.

These additional topics provide in-depth, practical advice and information on specific monitoring issues. 

Can’t make the date? Contact us to schedule a one-on-one session.

September 29th
Managing Court Monitor Volunteers
November 16th
Providing Feedback to Your Courts
 
All WATCH webinars run for one hour and are scheduled for 9:30am PST, 10:30am MST, 11:30am CST, and 12:30pm EST. Payment information above. Webinar descriptions and FAQ can be found here.
 
 
  
Click here to view a brief PowerPoint presentation on the basics of court monitoring.