“I am petitioning for the following changes…”

From Change.org:

Mother’s Day wish to bring my child home…

Dear Attorney General Eric Schneidermann:

It is Mother’s Day of 2012 and nearly one year ago, my daughter was taken from me as a result of an “arbitrary and capricious” decision made by the Family Court judge. This “temporary” order gives my daughter’s father full custody and limited access to me–her mother (which means barely 20 hours every other week, no overnights)

Despite much effort to avoid court intervention for my divorce, I placed trust in the system to be fair in judging what would be in her best interest of our child. Three years later, my petition for full-custody has evolved into a “kangeroo court” focused on anything but the “best interest of my child”.

As I’m sure you know, the state’s Family Court system needs serious reform.

Countless responsible and loving parents lose their children dictated by corrupt activities in our courts. Parents are powerless because of the immunity granted to all judges, law guardian, and expert witnesses.

It is time that we stop from allowing these individuals to operate by their own rules. This is an abuse of power, similar to police brutality. And these actions are parallel to sick acts of children bullying of other children.

On that note, I am petitioning for the following changes:

* Enforcement of a child’s constitutional right to their own attorney through parents’ consent.

* Clear guidelines and standards on what qualifies and DOES NOT qualify as quasi-immunity in child custody trials for judges, law guardians and expert witnesses. Disciplinary action taken for defined unethical behavior.

* Forensic evaluators, specifically child psychiatrists or psychologists must provide reports and testimony that is objective and evidence-based. Mandate that these paid professionals are Board Certified in Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology to insure they understand the clear difference between forensic and clinical evaluations.

* Gross negligence would be subject to possible civil tort litigation and/or prosecution.
In cases medical experts who act with gross negligence, their actions can qualify as medical malpractice despite absence of patient-physician relationship.

• Priority through an immediate trial must be placed for temporary decisions that orders significant change in child’s custody.

• Enforce open forum to public in courtroom and/or cameras present, specifically as it relates to interviews with appointed law guardians and forensic evaluators. Privacy of child also would be strictly mandated.

Children are also guaranteed constitutional rights and the laws need to protect them. How can a legal system in our state and country have the liberty of allowing such injustice that is destroying our children? I speak for so many parents who have completely lost faith and trust in our judicial system.

Mr. Attorney General, please help to make this change in New York and be an example for other states to follow. I trust and pray you will make this happen.

Respectfully,

Anonymous (until my child comes home!)
New York County- Manhattan

[Your name]

Comment from another mother in New York…

 
I’ve asked this mother’s permission to post her comment in this section so more readers can see it. She graciously obliged, so here it is:  
I support a call for the investigation of family courts by the DOJ. The problem is currently overwhelming and perhaps part of the problem is that each case differs from every other one. The only time we seem to acknowledge the problem as a society is when murder or sexual abuse has been clearly proven. Terrible damage can be done in ways that are difficult to prove in court, and indeed that will be dismissed as emotional ranting.

In my opinion, the first port of call needs to be a thorough evaluation of the judges in family court. Each one must have a full background check, and full transparency of each decision must be able to show that concern for the entire well-being of the child has been the motivating factor.

I will not detail my own case, but when I read that one of the judges who has ruled in it has been removed from the bench, it both relieved and frustrated me. Her past orders are not being called into question. I wonder if by simply moving her to another branch, the establishment avoids having to reopen cases that have been devastating for many families. Had she been charged with a crime, the process would be long and expensive, and perhaps given families the right to object to her previous orders.

07/15/2010
Judge Robin Sheares, who jailed mom for keeping son from visiting rapist dad, transferred
BY WILLIAM SHERMAN (NY Daily News)

The Family Court judge who jailed a Brooklyn mom who defied a court order to send her 9-year-old son to visit his jailed serial rapist father was transferred Wednesday, the Daily News has learned.

Top court administrators transferred Judge Robin Sheares to Brooklyn Civil Court for violations of the state Code of Judicial Conduct – including biased behavior in her tirades and decisions from the bench, sources said.

The highly unusual transfer was the direct result of an investigation by The News into her decision on June 10 to sentence Sukhwant Herb, 29, of East New York, to a minimum of 50 days on Rikers Island.

Herb had ignored Sheares’ demand that she send her son Sean to see his dad, Sean Jonas Sr., in an Arizona prison.

“I don’t want my son in that environment, seeing the prisoners in jumpers, and the slamming of gates, the noise. My son is 9, and it’s horrible, horrific,” she said in a call from jail two weeks ago. Jonas Sr. was convicted in 2003 of raping three women in Phoenix and is serving 27 years.

Sheares released Herb from prison two days after Herb spoke to The News, which revealed that Sheares jailed Herb, who had a clean record, without offering her bail.

In handling the case, Sheares “was inaccurate and remiss on the law, and held ex-parte conversations – speaking to one party in the case – with the father’s family outside the presence of the other party, the mother or her lawyer,” a source said.

That violated “fairness and the code of judicial conduct,” the source said.

David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration said, “It is our policy not to discuss judicial assignments.” Sheares did not respond to a request for comment.

Told of Sheares’ transfer, Herb, who is black, said, “I find it a little disappointing that a black woman who has worked so hard to get to this position has lost it, but everything has consequence. She was harsh and unfair to me and my son.”

Her lawyer, Dale Frederick, praised the move.

“Removing Sheares from Family Court helps bring back confidence in the judicial system,” Frederick said. “I objected to her on the manner in which she handled the case, including no bail, her inability to remain impartial and my client’s unfair incarceration.”

wsherman@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/07/15/2010-07-15_judge_transferred_after_jailing_mom.html#ixzz10dotG9ZY