Broken down legal System
Napa Valley Historical Court House an example of a Broken down legal system.
When Family Courts are known as Pay to Play – Napa Justice is Green
“Today, the opportunity to access justice in our courts is becoming as much a luxury as a Louis Vuitton bag.”
ABA President Stephen Zack
These For Profit Courts put Women and Children in Danger
Where Domestic Violence Divorce often end with the safe mother losing custody
“Forcibly taking a mother’s children, and then controlling her emotionally by withholding contact must be publicly recognized as one of the greatest forms of ‘mis-use’ of the American justice system and one of the greatest hidden vehicles for wide-spread socially approved physical and emotional abuse and control.” Coral Anika Theil
On September 19, 2014 Center for Judicial Excellence and California Protective Parents Association are Hosting an event to bring attention to our Broken Courts. Parent led groups from across the state including the Kidsafe Task force for Napa/Solano will be testifying to the court ordered abuse. These groups have been organizing and addressing the Broken Legal System that violates the rights of protective parents and children. After three decades concerns for the safety of children in custody cases have come to a breaking point. Sadly our state court and county services are failing to protect children and violate Due process for mothers in Domestic Violence Divorces . These events have prompted many studies and initiatives to address the failures of Family Courts in California. The Examiner says this about the event. “Organizers argue that many Californians are being “denied lawyers, court reporters, and effective relief from biased judges and corrupt branch officials,” and little is being done to change the status quo.”
Many organizations have concerns about California Courts that Fail to protect the Rights of Victims , and violate constitutional rights of protective mothers in Domestic Violence Divorces . Let it be said that good fathers do not fight for full custody of a child attached to their mother. However challenging divorce can be, loving parents should be working to change as little as possible in the daily life of the child and offer reassurance that both parents love and support them. Marriages end in Divorce 50% of the time, and of these 15% are considered Domestic Violence Divorces ( with high conflict)
How does the good mother lose custody to the abusive father? ABA 10 Myths
- For Profit Courts create an unreasonable advantage for abusive men to win custody
- Lack of Representation- 70% of female litigants are unrepresented in Domestic Violence Divorces
- False beliefs of Court professionals and lack of training In Dr. Daniel Sanders Reports to Justice he says that bias and training of court professionals are interfering with victims of Domestic violence access to justice
- Concerns about Minors Councils/GAL’s Representation.
- Judicial Accountability, Courts following Domestic Violence protocols.
- Financial and Legal Abuse -a. -High ticket Divorce b. Bankruptcy c. Ugly Divorce
- Federal Funding to the State Courts and Social Services fueling the war on women and children.
- Corruption and Violations of Rights of Litigants due to Gender bias
With in the last 50 years family law moved from child centered “The Tender years doctrine”, to a more Father friendly family law remedy with pressure from the Father Rights Movement, California Legislation adopted - Child Support Carrot/visitation incentives, Best Interest standard was adopted, The growing opportunities in Family Law brought about Criminal law strategies to protect pedophiles and abusive fathers including Dangerous Junk Science PAS, In an article by Safe Kids international Power to Protect they sums up the underlying problem of a patriarchal system that rewards the abusive parent most often the father. A legal system created by men fails to address the criminal activities, power and control a male dominated society creates. When women are unrepresented in courts, the Judges fail to uphold their constitutional rights. In a country that continues to the cycle of dominance over women by unequal pay, unequal representation, we fail not only the women but the children too, who lose custody of their primary attached parent, as a result of legal and financial abuse.
Legal abuse refers to abuses associated with both civil and criminal legal action. Abuse can originate from nearly any part of the legal system, including frivolous and vexatious litigants, abuses by law enforcement, incompetent, careless or corrupt attorneys and misconduct from the judiciary itself.
Legal abuse is responsible not only for injustice, but also harm to physical, psychological and societal health.*
Not only do mothers face legal abuse but also Financial abuse. Many aggressive fathers who have money can force mothers into joblessness and homelessness while mother tries to protect herself and her parental rights. Legally kidnapped in Napa could be demonstrated with stories of mothers who are falsely accused of alienating the father after the child reports abuse and the mother tries to provide protection. One such mother was told the father was entitled and would destroy her and take her child. Unaware of the systemic failure to protect victims of Domestic Violence and their children, Mother lost custody. This Failure to protect the rights of women as victims of crime in family courts begin with law enforcement, CPS, The District Attorney, Napa Emergency Women’s Services and end with civil court proceeding that are driven by court orders filed and paid for by litigants. After years of citizen driven taskforces in Napa County and countless training’s that began with Seth Goldstein He served as the investigator and Project Director for the Child Abuse Vertical Prosecution Unit of the Napa County District Attorney, Napa, California for four years in Napa He founded the Child abuse forensic institute and is an advisory board member for the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence. With all this training and access to good information about Domestic Violence and Custody, the court and the county continue to get it wrong.
Napa Courts like courts across the country have been called Pay to play. If you have money you can use the system to legally kidnap and devastate the other litigant in Family Courts. These ‘For Profit Courts’ have created Moral and Ethical dilemma for our culture. What about the litigant that can not afford representation? Are their rights not represented in State Courts? For Mothers who can go the distance find that men will still outspend and exhaust them financially and emotionally. Like Kelly Rutherford, an actress in the Los Angeles Courts. Once all of mothers funds are spent custody will go to the father. Have the values of the Legal system been challenged by the pecuniary interest of the highly lucrative field; Family Law. Can Despicable lawyers who’s only concern is billable hours put children’s lives at risk? How can Judges who are responsible for the welfare of young children ignore evidence of abuse and concerns of protective mothers. In Sacramento Judge Sharon Lueras did caused the death of Mathew when she ignored credible evidence. How can we hold the Attorneys and Judges accountable when the Judiciary council and the bar association fail to so????
For profit courts fail to find fathers responsible for abusive behaviors (who is paying for the loyalty of court professionals who look the other way?) Why does State and County Services step back when Victims of Domestic Violence Divorces seek help? because:
1. No financial incentive to support women and children. No motherhood.gov 2. Federal Funding from fatherhood initiative fund state courts, as vendors for services 3. Angry men with money will return to court repeatedly creating billable hours for legal system 3. Secondary Training of Court professionals WhistleBlower Judge Speaks Out
About Family Court’s Failure to Protect Children
Former Judge DeAnn Salcido says Family Court is a “circus”. 4. Our Patriarchal Culture- Women and children are Property of the Husband. The blame game….we blame victims, when women and children disclose we consider them liars, and not intelligent enough or valuable to believe as a Culture we idolize men for their physical aggression, arrogance, and achievements and money. Father’s know best interest Standard.
U.S. judges routinely force abused children to live with their abusers.
California Stolen Childhood Commission has received reports from counties across the State from -/Sacramento, San Diego, from protests and Demonstrations at court houses in a Tricounty Area Taskforce- Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Contra Costa, El Dorado, San Fernando, Los Angeles, San Jose, Orange Counties on Family Court Failures. In Solano County, Protective mother, Jennifer Green protested the legal Kidnapping of her three daughters to a registered sex offender. She initiated a recall event to remove a Dangerous Judge Daniel Healy from Vallejo Superior Court.
The common theme from these reports state concern for issues related to Due Process, Victims of Violence who’s Rights are violated in family courts, Systemic failures: Law enforcement, CPS, DA, and Family and Dependency courts that violate rights of parents and children. Reports include concerns of Rico issues, State and County Services misappropriating Federal Funding to Visitation Centers, DV programs, court services. Litigants report concerns of extortion in a Pay to Play system where Justice is Green and provides unequal services for Parents of both gender. CSCC considers California Courts recognition of Judicial Gender Bias, and “Unintended Bias towards self representing litigants as an omission of problem and demand the State remedy the problem for the welfare of female litigants and their children.
In 2013, Damon Moeltor a teenager, trapped in the system posted his story on You Tube and lit a match that would ignite an unprecedented media coverage of Children Lost in the System highlighting stories from Los Angeles County, Orange and San Diego. His Mother, Cindy Dumas Executive Director of Safe Kids International, has helped lead the charge in new legislation that will address the failure to protect. Damon’s Law will bring some sanity to this broken system that more times than not fails the child.
The State of California Courts acknowledges these constitutional rights violated in California Family Courts. Yet, the Court has failed to remedy the problem and provide equal access in the court rooms where the most important life issues are decided. The most egregious event that is taking place in courtrooms in California and mirrored nationally are the child victims of abuse being placed with their identified perpetrator. The Systematic failures start with law enforcement and child protective services and Domestic Violence services that fail to protect Victims of Abuse once in court Judges violate Domestic Violence laws intended to protect mothers and children from on going abuse. In El Dorado County, CA this group did courtwatch for a Mother who tried to provide safety for her child. The DA represented the abusive father.
Mothers of Lost Children fight Court Ordered Abuse El Dorado County Superior Court House, DA, for the record represents the people vs the protective mother a victim of abuse
Recommendations for Reform include -
- Best Interest Standard must be amended to include Safety being the highest Priority, The court must provide safety for the child in the area of physical and sexual safety. The court must recognize the emotional well being and development of the young child and their attachment to a primary parent, recognizing an approximation rule and continued care and transition in divorce to be as fluid for the child as possible. Changing custody, schools, and environment must be addressed as major health issue for children and consider the Adverse Childhood Experiences of Domestic Violence.
- Gender Bias must be addressed
- Due Process
- Accountability and reform for Representation for the child
- Trauma informed courts; mediation/orientation/dv specialist for family court/ family risk assessments,
- Example - Social Justice Solution Trauma Informed Policies California Bill address toxic stress childhood brain
- Improved Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Training of all State Employees in Social Service all mandated reporters
Finally what must be understood is that Mothers fighting for their right to parent are concerned about the welfare of their children. They fight for the rights of the children to have a nurtured safe childhood. While the pain and loss is excruciating for a ‘Mommy’ to lose custody, it is equally if not more life changing for a young child. In this report our concerns are confirmed for the health and welfare of the attached child. Family violence and separation from parents is the greatest injury to juveniles.
“The most beneficial action a court can take for a child exposed to domestic violence is to end the exposure and support the protective parent” says Lynn Hecht Schafran
“We are now recognizing in medical science and practice that there are real and significant effects when children grow up with toxic and persistent stress,” said Robert W. Block, MD, past president of the AAP, in an interview. “Those effects take a toll on the ability to learn in school and informally.”
The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems in our nation can arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences. Realizing these connections is likely to improve efforts towards prevention and recovery.
The following are Legislative plans and Remedies for the Broken system that puts children at risk and fails to protect.
Assembly Member Tim Donnely and AB-1828 Child Welfare Bill – Sammy’s Law providing tape recording with Social Workers. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB1828
Damons Law making Juries in Sexual Assault cases mandatory- http://www.safekidsinternational.org/damons-law.html
Dangerous Judges – Safe Kids International- http://www.safekidsinternational.org/judicial-complaints.html
California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody
Complaints have flooded in about Parents losing custody to abusers-
As a result of the complaints California Protective Parents Association initiated a study. The Leadership Council reports that High conflict families are disproportionately represented among the population of those contesting custody and visitation. These cases commonly involve domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse. Research indicates that…
Parents Losing Custody to Abusers: Leadership Council Reports – High conflict families are disproportionately represented among the population of those contesting custody and visitation. These cases commonly involve domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse. Research indicates that that custody litigation can become a vehicle whereby batterers and child abusers attempt to extend or maintain their control and authority over their victims after separation.
Although, research has not found a higher incidence of false allegations of child abuse and domestic violence in the context of custody/visitation, officers of the court tend to be unreasonably suspicious of such claims and that too often custody decisions are based on bad science, misinterpretation of fact, and evaluator bias. As a result, many abused women and their children find themselves re-victimized by the justice system after separation.Meier, J. S. (2003). Domestic violence, child custody, and child protection: Understanding judicial resistance and imagining the solutions. American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy, and Law, 11, 657-731.Joan Meier surveyed the 2001case law and identified 38 appellate state court decisions concerning custody and domestic violence. She found that 36 of the 38 trial courts had awarded joint or sole custody to alleged and adjudicatedbatterers. Two-thirds of these decisions were reversed on appeal. These cases included a case in which the perpetrator had been repeatedly convicted of domestic assault (In re Custody of Zia, 736 N.E.2d 449 [Mass. App. Ct. 2000]); in which a father was given sole custody ofa16-month old despite his undisputed choking of the mother resulting in her hospitalization and his arrest (Kent v. Green, 701 So.2d 4 [Ala. Civ. App. 1996]); in which the father had broken the mother’s collarbone (Couch v. Couch, 978 S.W.2d 505 [Mo. App. 1998]); had committed “occasional incidents of violence” Simmons v. Simmons, 649 So. 2d 799, 802 [La. App. Ct. 1995]); and had committed two admitted assaults (Hamilton v. Hamilton, 886 S.W.2d 711, 715 [Mo. App. 1994]) . More such instances can be found in the article.
Neustein, A., & Goetting, A. (1999). Judicial Responses to Protective Parents, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 4, 103-122. http://www.haworthpressinc.com/store/SampleText/J070.pdf (go to page 109 of pdf) This study examined judicial responses to protective parents’ complaints of child sexual abuse in 300 custody cases with extensive family court records. The investigators found that only in 10% of cases was primary custody was given to the protective parent and supervised contact with alleged abuser. Conversely, 20% of the cases resulted in a predominantly negative outcome where the child was placed in the primary legal and physical custody of the allegedly sexually abusive parent. (see p. 108). In the rest of the cases, the judges awarded joint custody with no provisions for supervised visitation with the alleged abuser. The Voices of Women Organizing Project (VOW). (2008). Justice Denied: How Family Courts in NYC Endanger Battered Women and Children. Brooklyn, NY: Battered Women’s Resource Center. (Executive Summary) EXCERPT: 80% of women said their abuser threatened to take away their children and used the court to follow through with that threat. 10% of women said they stopped reporting abuse for fear of losing contact with their children. Mothers were told by their lawyer, the law guardian or the judge not to oppose visitation, even when they felt it was unsafe or when their children protested.
See also a list of gender bias reports from 43 states and 7 federal districts athttp://www.legalmomentum.org/our-work/njep/njep-task-forces.html a. Official State Reports New Jersey was the first state to give prominence to the goal of raising awareness of gender bias in the court system. Since the establishment of their gender bias task force, forty-five states and a number of federal circuit courts have established gender bias task forces, including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These task forces were initiated by a variety of institutions and organizations, including the state supreme court, judicial council, and bar association. Thirty-four have published reports. A number of state task forces collected and analyzed data on the experiences of women in family courts. Read entire report at: http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/dv.html
Like other mothers there were threats that she would be charged with crimes if her allegations continued. The price for my own safety and freedom in 1996 was an imposed, unnatural and unwanted separation from my eight children. The injustice committed against me is not just the physical separation from my children, but the willful desecration of the mother-child relationship and bond, a sacred spiritual and emotional entity. www.coralanikatheill.com