Crisis In The Family Courts

Worldwide Outrage Over Custody Tragedy: Daughter Dombrowski Needs Her Mother

People are outraged everywhere.  The last time 15 year old Daughter called to cancel her two hour Sunday visit she is allowed each week with her mother, she was crying on the phone and said she couldn’t come.  Abuser WOS (waste of skin) Hal Richardson was yelling in the background, and Daughter cried more.  Dear Claudine told her daughter it was okay, that everything would be okay.  That was it.  After that, not even a phone call to cancel, Hal Richardson failed to produce Daughter at the Topeka Police Station as he was ordered to do.  Nothing.  And the court let him get away with all 67 violations of this court order on August 20th when they went to court.

This girl is suffering, and being threatened with what to say, and she needs help immediately.  We may need to get ahold of the United Nations or NATO to seek help if we don’t get action soon from the Kansas Legislature.  I plan on calling Lynn Rosenthal, Obama’s White House Advisor on Domestic Violence, at the White House today and discuss this with her, as she and Department of Justice personnel have been looking at ways to stop abusers from getting custody.  Please call her too and let her know you are disgusted that an abusive criminal could keep a mother and daughter apart for ten years, thanks to money-hungry court personnel and lawyers.  Her phone number at the White House is 202-456-1414, and ask for Lynn Rosenthal.

From Anne Caroline Drake’s Website:

Injustice in Oz: Are Judge David Debenham and GAL M. Jill Dykes Acting in the Best Interest of the Child or Engaged in a Cover-up?

Posted by Anne Caroline Drake on August 22, 2010 · 11 Comments


Claudine Dombrowski and her daughter got caught up in a Kansas-style tornado of injustice and pretext on Friday.  There are so many abusive narcissistic wizards in this courtroom catastrophe that I felt like Dorothy in Oz when I heard what happened.

You Decide:  Incompetence, Pretext, Cover-Up, or Best Interests of the Child?

In the 14 years this case has been pending, Ms. Dombrowski has gotten just one day of justice back in January when she and Rights for Mothers‘ founder Nancy Carroll packed the courtroom.  Judge David Debenham allowed her the First Amendment right to shine a bright light on the injustice perpetrated by Hal Richardson and facilitated by GAL M. Jill Dykes.

GAL is the legal term for guardian ad litem.  These attorneys are appointed by the court to protect the best interests of the child in custody battles.  They are supposed to remain neutral and protect and advocate for the child.  It’s a sweet gig for attorneys.

Pretext is the legal term for blowing smoke up the court’s ass.  It’s a nice way of describing a courtroom that operates more like a mushroom farm.  As you may know, mushrooms thrive when they are covered in shit and kept in the dark.

Sealed Records, Gag Orders, and Closed Court

Judge David Debenham’s first order of business on Friday was to clear the courtroom of witnesses to the proceedings.  He claimed it was in the best interest of the child.  Then, he confiscated Ms. Dombrowski’s cell phone, ordered the records sealed, and issued a gag order.  This is from the court docket:

Court finds that Dr. Rodeheffer’s report of May 18, 2010, has been published on the website of Respondent. Court suspends Respondent’s parenting time pending final hearing in this matter. Respondent’s counsel is to review Respondent’s cell phone to determine if there are images of report on Respondent’s cell phone – Respondent’s phone time with minor child to continue but to Petitioner’s home phone. Due to publication of report on the Internet, which deals with minor child, Court finds that there is a privacy interest of the minor child that is central to these proceedings and outweighs the public interest and orders that the files, records, and transcripts of the case be sealed until further order of the Court. J. Dykes to do order.

Before I rip into the pretext and cover-up in this order, this is what Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had to say about a Rhode Island judge who issued a similar order:

This court order is a blatant violation of the First Amendment.  If she believes she is being treated unfairly, or if she just wishes to make people aware of her case, she should be able to do so free of a court-ordered gag rule.

Was Hal Richardson held in contempt of court for routinely denying visitation between his daugher and her mother?  Hell no!

By the time he and GAL Dykes got done manipulating the judge, Ms. Dombrowski was the one in the hot seat. . .for shining a bright light on the truth. . .for exercising the very same First Amendment rights the judge guaranteed last January.

Claudine after being raped and beaten in 2000

Is GAL M. Jill Dykes Incompetent, Corrupt, or Clueless?

Before the hearing on Friday, I sent GAL Dykes a professional courtesy e-mail message.  A part of me was hoping she might make better decisions if she was apprised of the dynamics of PAS (parental alienation syndrome), domestic violence, and manipulation of the legal system as an instrument of abuse.  I also addressed my very legitimate concerns about a minor child residing in a house with a child’s coffin as a coffee table and a gun on the wall with a convicted criminal as custodial parent.

Her GAL-pal Rene M. Netherton sent me a threatening e-mail message in response.  I guess I was supposed to be intimidated into silence.  I wasn’t.

Instead, I was dumbfounded that licensed professionals would engage in behavior more common for junior high kids.  The tone and tenor of her comments let me know I was dealing with an abusive narcissist.  They can’t handle criticism and project their own evil intent onto others.  It explains why they are unable to distinguish between perpetrator and victim.

Ms. Netherton was GAL in this case before Ms. Dykes.  She didn’t respond to my concerns about Hal Richardson’s criminal record or choice of decor.

Best Interests of the Child

Yes, folks that’s a child’s coffin.  The photo doesn’t show the gun on the wall.  Y’all have sounded off with your concerns about the safety of a child residing in such a hostile environment.  GALs Netherton and Dykes don’t get it.  I’m not terribly surprised.  Ms. Netherton misses simple stuff like the fact that “privileged” is spelled incorrectly in her boilerplate.

Richardson Has an Extensive Criminal Record

According to Stop Family Violence, the abuse of Ms. Dombrowski and the minor child started when she was four months pregnant and discovered that Mr. Richardson had lied to her about being married.  He beat her.  As you can see, she was sporting a black eye when she gave birth to the child in 1994.

On February 18, 1995, Mr. Richardson was arrested for domestic battery and damage to property.  A no contact order was issued on February 21 which he immediately violated.  His bond was revoked when he failed to appear.  Shawnee County (KS) Court Services Officer Mary Kelly sent a memo on March 14 to Judge James P. Buchele regarding sentencing and probation:

Mr. Richardson has been placed on probation five times in the past 15 years.  I do not believe he is a good candidate for probation. . .I recommend. . .a psychological evaluation and follow all recommendations for treatment.  [emphasis added]

Nevertheless, Judge Buchele let him off with a slap on the wrist in a plea deal.  The domestic battery charges were reduced to disorderly conduct and the damage to property charge was dismissed.  Although he was ordered to get a psychological evaluation, he never did.  He was released from probation on June 13, 1996 after getting expelled from a court-ordered batterers group:

  • 3/6/95:  Fred Eisland:. . .marriage that ended in divorce and there was some violence there and he and his current partner are fighting.

  • 5/29/96:  . . .rude and disrespectful to female cofacilitator as evidenced by his combative stance, his repeated interruptions, his sexist language, his monopolization of the group with his loud voice, and his refusal to accept responsibility for his own actions.  Appears to be inappropriate for group.  JSM

  • 6/5/96:  No show

  • 6/10/96:  . . .client very disruptive during group. . .constantly challenging the structure of the program.  Client attempted to use the group as a forum to discuss his negative views of the local judicial system.  Client refuses to see himself as anything but a victim.  Very inappropriate actions for a group setting.

  • 6/11/96:  Called PO and client to tell them that he had graduated as far as I was concerned.  He only has 17 sessions, but is causing too much trouble with his mouth.  Terminated, with cause.  Will not be accepted back.  JSM  [emphasis added]

Please visit Anne Caroline Drake’s website for the rest of this excellent report.

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Comment Pages

There are 22 Comments to "Worldwide Outrage Over Custody Tragedy: Daughter Dombrowski Needs Her Mother"

  • Anita says:

    August 23, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Please be sure to tell Lynn Rosenthal (though she knows full well) that to stop the court ordered child abuse across the US requires the Obama Admin stop funding the highly discriminatory -anti-constitutional Fatherhood aka Father Supremacist progams and their hidden agendas!!

  • Ingrid Blank says:

    August 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Total anarchy in the US family court system and nobody is holding them accountable. These are no longer mere family court matter but the vilest violations of human, civil and constitutional rights, including all UN treaties to which the US is signatoree. Given the fact that graveyards are filling up with abused women and children,subjected to secondary abuse and legal battery by ethically corrupt family court megalomaniacs, this is premeditated genocide against abused women and children and warrants the biggest human rights complaint ever brought before the UN and the International Criminal Court under the Rome Statute

    Nancy, does anyone have an email address of Lynn Rosenthal and the Attorney General in California?

  • Nancy Carroll says:

    August 23, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I just actually sent it to Elena a couple minutes ago Ingrid. It is:

  • Lisa Hunt-Nocero says:

    August 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

    this needs to be a grass roots effort, there needs to be a revolution on civil rights movement, this is getting real old, too many children are being deprived. We need to stop focusing on the rights of the parents and only focus on the rights of the children. The courts use the excuse of the “he said she said”, or in “good Faith” we need to stop focusing on us mom’s being deprived of our children and make it all about our children. OMG, so many children are just ripped away, just like the evaluator in San BernardIno who shoot himself, wanted to send a 15 year old child to FIGI, so that the child and mother would be waters apart, COMPLETELY INSANE.

    In my case I just found a fake document submitted into my file by the opposing counsel (who pro-temps) and our former minor’s counsel, submitted a fake ALTERNATE SENTENCING PROGRAM (ASP) stating I was sentenced for DV, and this fake document made me look like I did not comply, since I knew nothing about it, so a new judge of 15 min’s on my case who I just met took my 7 years old daughter out of primary care, I was not married ever to this man, he has a criminal record, and I was allowed no contact except 5 Mins a week for 22 months, no reunification, and could not get back into court for 13 months, and then in chambers I was labeled mentally ill.

    so I lost another 2 years of having my daughter home, having to defend my mental state. Then I appealed one judge made a finding of misconduct by minor’s counsel and he was removed and I was able to bring my daughter home the next day for reunification, since all the 730′s stated I was the superior parent and more emotional stable, 3-730′s, 5- mediators, and my daughter’s therapist all stated not to remove the child from the mother. 3 1/2 years later, I still only get 2 days a month, since a new judge came in and took all the findings away from the previous judge, and i could not see or talk to my daughter from feb. 2009-sept.0f 2009, they filed a no contact, and because I filed to have a relationship with my daughter, this new judge now has labeled me vexatious.

    Now I have filed a petition for a writ of Habeas Corpus on a miscarriage of justice, filed for an investigation with the DA on this fake document, filed with the state bar with this fake document and missing files certified from the appeals court of these missing files, filed for an investigation with the presiding judge for the fake document and missing files.

    Remember Legislator’s only make laws, we have law’s in place we have to grassroot to get the courts to follow the law’s. The Courts are governing their own laws, and Minor’s counsel’s, CPS and social workers need to stop playing God with our children. we have to have a revolution here!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    I am currently working with Tom Rogers/Sen. Hollingsworth to expose here in Riverside all the corruption and children being ripped our of there homes, and would like to make this a grassroots effort, but until we all reunite together and not make this about parents and only our children, this is not going to stop. Laws keep getting put in place, “what does that mean” so a law gets passed to protect our children and still does not protect them. Oh I just can’t stand to hear about children like this little girl, or teenage girl can not be with her mother, it is IN-HUMAN, it is cruel, it is torture. I know a lot of parents are exhausted to fight this fight, but we need justice. Lisa

  • Anne Caroline Drake says:

    August 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Lisa makes a good point. I think we’ve been doing this without realizing it. . .we need to focus on the children rather than the mothers. . .we’ll have WAY more credibility. . .protecting the human rights of children.

    Thanks for the e-mail address for Lynn Rosenthal. I’m going to copy her on my e-mail to KS’ First Lady.

    IMHO, Rikki has got to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Her daddy’s been beating up on her mommy and getting away with it one way or another since before she was born. I think it was quite telling that her mother had a black eye when she was born.

    Hal’s still giving her black eyes ~ now he’s using the judges’ gavels.

    BTW, to lighten things up and encourage y’all to take action. . .if any of y’all are Sagitarius, our horoscope for today is spot on for us to kick some serious butt ~ despite the fact that Mercury is retrograde:

    Monday, Aug 23rd, 2010 — You usually get along well with others and make friends easily; your social charm comes even more naturally today. You are the life of a party and your easygoing attitude can be contagious. But this isn’t only about pleasure as you turn your inspirational attitude toward community issues or politics. Don’t hesitate to get involved for you have a lot to offer.

    Sending hugs,
    Anne Caroline

  • Yvonne Allen says:

    August 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Please contact me. I’m trying to see if anyone is interested in working with me on our board to reunite mothers who lost custody of their children and an immunity program for the women underground.

    Yvonne Allen
    Foundation for Court Reform
    1600 Bopp Road, Des Peres, MO 63131

  • Injustice in Oz: Are Judge David Debenham and GAL M. Jill Dykes Acting in the Best Interest of the Child or Engaged in a Cover-up? « Anne Caroline Drake says:

    August 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    […] children from abuse.  You can e-mail Ms. Rosenthal at: Please visit Rights for Mothers to read about the worldwide outrage that manifested into an international grassroots campaign that […]

  • Free2Dream says:

    August 23, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    TY for the information– I hope you do not mind But I just sent my letter in coping your post to all those below–
    I found the Governor email and all the Secretary of State Email as I have heard that she is on the SaH ADDRESS Confidentiality program–

    I think they too need to know what happens with battered moms and their children– especially when the State of Kansas is trying to protect her OMFG what is wrong with this court– get a rope I say but next best thing I emailed below- Thx Rights For Mothers! ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; : ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Lance Kinzer ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

  • Cold North Wind says:

    August 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    In MY opinion, all these court people are aiders and abettors- accessories to crimes. I consider all the cases across N.America, to be human rights abuses. Some in sociey wonder about the increasing malaise of young people. Well- if one is forced to live with an abuser and constantly told the other parent- especially a same sex mother- , is mental or dangerous or a bad mother or a loose woman or a drug addict or an alcoholic; you are training them to become- unstable, confused or twisted. The strongest survive- with trauma reactions-for life.I have heard and lived these sick stories for almost 25 years. We are destroying our own societies, from within.

  • Cold North Wind says:

    August 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Cannot resist an analogy- or two. If you consistently stomp on a growing green plant- as it is developing to maturity; it will, if not die, grow to maturity -but stunted or somehow visibly maimed. It may not be able to flower or reproduce. HOWEVER, I also see plants push their green fingers through asphalt, and succeed in changing an asphalted area into a green jungle !

    This family law jazz- so many stompers busily trying to stomp the life out of humans- especially young, vulnerable developing humans.

  • Anne Caroline Drake says:

    August 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Nancy, my e-mail to Lynn Rosenthal bounced back.

    The governor of KS has his e-mail spam filters set up to bounce messages from unknown recipients.

  • Nancy Carroll says:

    August 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    The email was what was passed to me for Lynn Rosenthal….I’ll have to look further. Why not fax the governor? I think I will. I send the email out to all the legislators, some had out of office replies. And of course I sent to the first lady of KS.

  • Rights for Mothers | Resources and Support for Noncustodial and Custodially-Challenged Mothers says:

    August 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    […] Worldwide Outrage Over Custody Tragedy: Rikki Dombrowski Needs Her Mother […]

  • Anita says:

    August 23, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Start looking into the fatherhood funding in the state …generally it’s the govenor who doles out funding to the counties & so on. It’s just amazing the stuff that can be found when you begin to follow the money trail !!

    Yelling at the very criminals in control will produce circular results & / or cover up. Isnt that obvious? The state senate holds public hearings & hears the main issues in the Dombrowski case yet months later is there any change?? Why ??

    We have an Americanized Taliban ….fueling the psychosis, thanks to the massive federal funding …..billions on fraud, abuse & waste !! Call your political reps to accountability .. who’s funding these officers of the courts fat salaries, to do exactly the opposite of what they claim in terms of creating programs to address DV, to reduce litigation time etc.

    The civil rights violations are so blatant that a blind man can easily see it, and the anarchy flourishes. As someone commented about the mushrooms …they thrive covered in shit and kept in the dark !!!

  • Ingrid Blank says:

    August 24, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Does the U.S. even recognize that children have rights? Don’t forget that the U.S. and Somalia were the only countries that did not ratify the UN Convention on the Right of the Child.

  • ricky says:

    August 24, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    nancy schaffer

  • LetsGetHonest says:

    August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Yeah, Rikki, remember Nancy Schaefer (the late) in Georgia, who spoke up about corruption in the DCFS case. I believe I blogged a link to that on another comment here.

    I agree with Anita — but Anita, people are going to listen, or not listen, their choice.

    Here’s Lorraine’s case in Octonto, Wisconsin (I narrated 36 people involved in it, she did jail time for contempt, two CPS workers in 2 counties supported abuse). At what point do we NOT have to take these people seriously?

    Jailing Moms for Protecting Kids” {not its actual title, but another case history. They follow a certain formula, with few variations}

    Here’s another site I’m working through, called “Who Rules America.” I mean, if there’s nothing but idiotic rulings coming from the Family Courts, and they aren’t exactly self-correcting! (See Anita’s 2nd Comment), then where IS that power base?

    You can’t understand how women lose in court unti you understand, for one, the role of the OCSE (Child support agency) and the concept of Kids-As-Cash-Magnets in how those Access/Visitation funds responsible for bringing in the GALs. I have rarely heard of a good GAL — anyone know of one? Maybe they exist, but their presence generally is going to exacerbate taking sides with one parent. MEDIATION: Mediation and DV are known to be bad medicine (toxic combo), and were fought real hard to keep in there, with just a hat-tip to mediation). Mediation is the poor-man’s custody evaluator. if there’s money somewhere, it goes to the custody evaluator. . . . .

    When a dept. of the Exec Branch literally sets a policy attempting to get a “Required Outcome” of a custody case in the COURTS (Judicial branch, right?) based on psycho-religious-sociological mumbo jumbo (all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. All animals are equal, but especially male animals….) and is serious about this, we no longer have “courts” in essence, but mental health dispensaries.

    This site has a sociologist (I just found it about 1 day ago, in writing a post) from Santa Cruz. I’m studying it.

    What Social Science Can Tell us about Social Change

    y G. William Domhoff
    March 2005

    What does the social science literature have to say about social change, especially for democratic countries like the United States? There are a handful of general findings, along with some specific ones that are spelled out in the additional documents listed in the box on the right.

    First, social-psychological studies of small groups show that “moral exemplars” — those who stand outside the general consensus and at first are labeled as “extremists” — can often be very effective, but with one important qualification: they can’t be too extreme or else they will be ignored. Thus, the trick for any social change agent is to be just extreme enough to be an “effective extremist.”

    Second, historical case studies of social change show that a very small number of highly organized and disciplined people, drawing great energy from their strong moral beliefs ANDsupreme confidence in their shared theoretical analysis, can have a big impact.

    Third, the change agents have to understand a key difference between themselves and other people. ** Most people are focused on the joys, pleasures, and necessities of their everyday lives, and will not leave these routines unless those routines are disrupted, whereas change agents sacrifice their everyday lives — family, schooling, career — to work on social change every waking minute. This means that change agents must be patient for unexpected social circumstances to create disruption, or else find effective ways to disrupt everyday life without alienating those they wish to become supporters of their cause.

    Fourth, for all the universality of the change agents’ moral vision, they have to take the social structure of the given society very seriously to have any chance at all, which means they have to pay attention to the country’s history, culture, and form of government. Put another way, this means they have to resist any temptation to copy the methods and plans of change agents in other countries, which was a mistake made by most American activists on the Left throughout the 20th century.

    {{Guess this guy is on the “Left” or maybe progressive.}}

    Fifth — and this one is my own personal conclusion from reading the literature — the next generation of change agents should take the findings of the social sciences seriously. Put another way, it is not philosophy or “Grand Theory” that will be helpful, but the application of systematic social science findings.

    This is why “fatherhood practitioners” or “domestic violence advocates” are successful — in what they are doing (mostly conferencing and talking about how concerned they are about the rest of us).

    ** I recognize a major difference (speaking for myself, at least, maybe others) between people who are working towards systemic changes and mothers (or fathers) who have minor children still living with abusive parent or in a dangerous situation. That differences is URGENCY and STRATEGY.

    Notice this author used a phrase “change agent.” One key to making change to start with is changing / introducing vocabulary. The corruptive influence in the courts (changing them from legal process to psychological assessment dispensaries — and that switches custody, which changes cash flow, basically) – – changing vocabulary is no accident.

    AFCC — is a primary organization in the court. They wish to change the paradigm AWAY from feminism, domestic violence issues (co-opting them into the “family unit” theory). Their members include:

    FCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.

    {{does it say anything above about civil and legal rights, due process??}}

    AFCC members are:
    Judges Lawyers
    Mediators Psychologists
    Researchers Academics
    Counselors Court Commissioners
    Custody Evaluators Parenting Coordinators
    Court Administrators Social Workers
    Parent Educators Financial Planners

    WOW — sounds like some of the problem personnel in Claudine’s (and Lorraine’s, and mine, and others’ cases). Think we might want to know what they’re talking about, and with whom?

    They have “Task Forces and Initiatives” Wouldn’t it be great to have a clue about what?

    Child Custody Consultant Task Force
    Child Custody Evaluation Standards Task Force
    Family Law Education Reform Project
    Parenting Coordination Standards Task Force
    Domestic Violence and Family Courts Project
    Child Welfare Collaborative Decision Making Network
    Brief Focused Assessment Task Force
    Court-Involved Therapist Task Force

    Family Law Education Reform: I clicked. It’s co-hosted with Hofstra Law (in NY, shares personnel with AFCC). I clicked on Faculty, and searched “Parental Alienation” (another place to find that topic is in most AFCC conferences — generally at least one a year dedicated to it, no matter what any scientists or District Attorney association says about it being junk science…).

    Came up with 19 references. WHen I put it in quotes, only 1, which was an issue of the Family Court Review, and apparently these authors brought it up:

    Family and Conciliation Courts Review
    Volume 37, Number 4 / October 1999

    Editorial Notes
    Response to Clare Dalton’s “When Paradigms Collide:
    Protecting Battered Parents and Their Children in
    The Family Court System”
    Mediation and the Process of Family Law Reform
    Family Courts: Assessing the Trade-Offs
    Developing a Unified Family Court in Ontario
    Supervised Visitation: A Profile of Providers
    Supervised Access: A Long-Term Solution?
    Mediation and Parental Alienation Syndrome: Considerations for an Intervention Model
    Brief Intervention Model for Access-Based Postseparation Disputes: Family and Court Outcomes RACHEL BIRNBAUM and HELEN RADOVANOVIC 504
    The Bookshelf
    Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths,
    By Sanford L. Braver with Diane O’Connel
    M. DEE SAMUELS 514
    Legal and Mental Health Perspectives on Child Custody Law:
    A Deskbook for Judges, by West Group
    Index 519

    Those of us who don’t believe the main point is that our children have supervised visitation with a molester or a former battering parent (or who don’t want to continue being under threat of that being used to punish us, if it hasn’t been already) (Like happened to Claudine. First — briefly, I guess – Hal got it. It was only a matter of time that this was going to be switched). — should spend a little air time on the AFCC site and get to understand the language, and who’s conferencing on it. Of course there are member logins and non-member logins on some materials.

    Here’s the current AFCC Board of Directors (notice the areas of practice) They are in US, Canada (at least 2) New Zealand, and here’s a young lady from Maricopa County — seems to me I’ve heard of some pretty devastating custody cases out of that area, Phoenix (not including the Dawn Axsom case, which I guess is over, since Dad killed Mom, his mother in law, and himself after a family law judge ignored the mother’s pleas for permission to leave with her toddler, or was it baby…).(see “” for coverage of it).

    Annette T. Burns, JD, Phoenix, AZ

    Annette Burns was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in 1984 and is certified as a Family Law Specialist. She served as a Judge pro tem in the Maricopa County Superior Court from 1992-2005. Ms. Burns was a member of the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona from 1994-2007, and was chairperson of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona in 1999-2000. She is a past president of the Arizona Chapter of AFCC. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). She served on the Arizona Supreme Court Committee that created the Family Law Rules in 2005, and is currently chairperson of the Family Law Practice and Procedure Committee of the State Bar of Arizona. She recently coauthored the Arizona Family Law Rules Handbook for Thomson West publications.

    Mediators, Judges, MSW’s psychologists, positioned on task forces, state bars, and helping write Law and Procedures.

    Here’s Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett – – I heard her husband on TV collaborating with the child support agency and a fatherhood group, I think IAADV or something. He didn’t talk much sense. Not surprisingly, HER bio has some Fatherhood involvement stuff in it, too. She’s from Smith (ivy league, in otherwords — I suppose):

    Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., Northhampton, MA (that should show an image)

    Marsha Kline Pruett is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Maconda Brown O’Connor Professor at Smith College School for Social Work. She is researcher, mediator, and consultant to couples, attorneys, and judges. Dr. Kline Pruett has a national reputation for the development, implementation, and evaluation of preventive interventions in courts and family-focused community agencies. She has written extensively for academic and lay audiences, coauthoring Your Divorce Advisor (2001) and Partnership Parenting (2009). She is a member of the board of editors of the Family Court Review. She was awarded the AFCC Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award in 2004. The California Supporting Fatherhood Involvement (SFI) project is currently a major focus of her intervention and research efforts.

    “Fancy that” — – she got a major award, and is focusing on a Fatherhood project. When you go to court, (or, the Dad, into a child support agency if he’s in arrears) you might just end up instead getting an “intervention.” . . . . I’ve heard of “intervention” when people are on drugs, a suicide watch, or alcoholic. But — divorcing ??? Separating ???

    Theory is one thing, but Practice, entirely another. These are some (only) of the practitioners, and the structure is already set in place. LEGALLY, since 1939, if a divorcing or separating couple could not agree the Conciliation Courts got jurisdiction, like it or not. One of the two dudes who probably helped put this law on the books (Roger Alton Pfaff — I think was a legislator in 1941, later was a Judge) is prominent in AFCC. He was never married (an old 1959 article said) and was hard-nosed — not moderate– regarding, say traffic tickets as a judge (til he got caught). But he was all into “mediating” for the rest of us.

    This is what “change agents” will have to address, somehow. The forces opposing safety and accountability already have THEIR structures in place, and the word THEIR applies.

    Here’s an old 1998 piece: It’s a long quote: I hope that people read it, and consider how — Family Law encourages mediation. AFCC encourages mediation and conflict resolution — it is their paradigm. It places the responsibility for abuse (theoretically) INBETWEEN the couple. It’s “marriage counseling” not divorce court (with or without married partners). Being based almost exclusively on this concept, it is going to screen out, not handle, and not address violence, child rape, threats, stalking, any kind of abusee properly — because it sees them all as factors fo the family unit.

    In short, it’s a crock.

    “Mediation and Domestic Violence”:

    When we recognize that even strongly worded court orders fail to stop abusers from re-offending, and even killing victims it becomes readily apparent that any agreement or discussion by a mediator about any issue in their relationship can only aggravate an already very dangerous situation, at worst, or cover the efforts of an abuser to control and coerce at best.

    Justice And Accountability

    Domestic violence must be prosecuted in public, as the public offense that it is. To relegate any aspect of it to a private process like mediation is to silence the victim as seriously as has been done for generations prior to the current understandings, laws and interventions. Justice must be an overriding concern; the criminal legal system can mete out justice. Mediation cannot.

    Because most mediation programs are funded on an annually renewed basis and must prove effective to retain financial and court support there will be much temptation to judge interventions effective that are in fact damaging. This is exactly the opposite of justice. This is not representative of accountability to victims or fairness. This is one more way that safety is further compromised and danger is potentially escalated.


    Mediation can only work if a change in attitudes or perceptions can solve the issue, if the issue is truly a disagreement or conflict, if power is equal between the parties, if no punishment or legal consequence is needed, and if both parties are capable of carrying out the agreement.

    Relationships between abusers and victims are full of power imbalances. In general, men have economic power, physical power, and societal power. These facts further erode the ability for victims to negotiate on equal footing with their abusers.

    Mediation is not enforceable and engenders no follow-up. Mediation is private; domestic violence is a public issue requiring public prosecution by public officials.

    The mediation or dispute resolution program that cares about justice, fairness and safety will carefully avoid mediating any issue between parties where domestic violence has been perpetrated. Any remaining questions may be addressed to your state coalition against domestic violence; many have position papers and other materials available on this issue, and many train court administrators and dispute resolution administrators to identify and respond safely and appropriately to domestic violence.

    © March 1998

    FOOTNOTE: This paper is not one individual’s thoughts or philosophy, but is based upon knowledge gleaned by the battered women’s movement over a course of twenty five years.Barbara Hart in particular has been at the “cutting edge” of issues like mediation, and has helped to articulate these concerns for all of us. I wish to acknowledge her influence on the development of my understanding. I wish also to acknowledge the leadership and influence of Susan Schechter, Beth Richie, Ellen Pence and other foremothers of the movement on the process of learning and furthering understanding of battered women’s realities.

    Author Rose Garrity has been a domestic violence advocate and trainer for over twenty years. She is the Executive Director of a domestic violence and rape crisis center in a rural county of New York State. She is also an experienced mediator, having worked closely for many years with a court-system- sponsored dispute resolution center. She has written widely on the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, and is a trainer and activist around issues of violence, oppression and cultural diversity.

    A little more from this same, commonsense (and ignored) piece:
    The power and control desires of the abuser drive all of his behavior choices. He coerces, manipulates and invalidates the victim to continue his access to the benefits of the relationship for him. Only interventions that hold him accountable and give him clear consequences for his behavior can address his belief in his right to control and own his partner.

    Should We Mediate Domestic Violence?

    Is mediation ever appropriate to resolve any of the issues between persons where domestic violence has been perpetrated? There are many who believe that mediation is a viable and reasonable tool for resolving disputes, and who include domestic violence cases as “disputes” which can and should be addressed with mediation. Many practitioners believe that while they cannot mediate the violence that they can mediate other issues, such as custody, visitation and property settlement. Proponents of using mediation say that mediation is “one tool among many” that may be used, that mediation encourages cooperation instead of litigation, community building instead of adversarial proceedings, empowerment instead of being made spectators in a court process…. in short that it is “restorative justice”, instead of “retribution justice”.

    All well trained mediators know that we cannot mediate violence. Do we accept the idea that domestic violence is “escalation of conflicts”? Not all of us choose to use violence to address conflict; much violence occurs with no stimulus. The use of violence is always separate from the issue of conflict resolution.

    But in addition it important to understand that mediating any situation between partners where abuse has been perpetrated is mediating violence, because any negotiation between the partners for any reason is a subject of the abuser’s terrorism.

    Perhaps it would be helpful to think about mediation in other situations. Would we mediate an issue between a rapist and his 14 year old victim? Between a father and the 10 year old child he sexually abused for several years? Between a terrorist and a hostage?

    There are more “dots” to be connected. For example, this old 1998 piece (whose wisdom has basically been ignored by the courts) is on the website of a spanking new (far as I can tell) nonprofit up in Michigan pushing Batterers Intervention. The nonprofits are getting money to post information that they neither wrote, and which probably was on the web somewhere already. This particular one goes back a long time:

    The The ADA Program was founded in 1986 by David J. H. Garvin MSW, LMSW, in Toledo Ohio, at Family Services of Northwest Ohio. In 1987 we brought the ADA Program to Ann Arbor, Michigan at Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County.

    In the early 1990′s the ADA Program established its own curriculum and model of a 52+ weekly session program.

    Here’s a 1998 conference:
    “April 1998 we hosted our THIRD annual Statewide Conference at the McGuire’s Resort in Cadillac, Michigan Featuring: Donald Dutton, Ph.D. and Creel Froman, Ph.D.

    (Creel Froman sounds interesting, he’s: “Creel Froman, Ph.D. Northwestern University, Professor Emeritus of Political Science” (at UC-Irvine)(Donald shows he’s “rethinking domestic violence” these days….)

    NONE of these people are likely to tell us about the origins of AFCC, of the real purpose behind the extra court professionals — in how they’re used to get more noncustodial parent time, and how supervised visitation was inappropriately applied to feminist/battered women’s situation, and about of course the grants funding, which you can look up yourself at, or by simply googling the access visitation funding.

    None of these either, are likely to let you know the truth — much of this came simply out of welfare reform. To heck with the civil rights of certain people, it’s more important to handle poverty & welfare through tinkering with child support and custody. At least so the narratives go.

    While, that’s it for THIS narrative today, and thanks RFM for putting up. You know me, I like to put the information out there, whoever wants to can follow up. I am overwhelmed with personal situation (always changing) and help the commentor from MO gets some help.

  • Rights for Mothers | Resources and Support for Noncustodial and Custodially-Challenged Mothers says:

    August 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    […] are coming to know the injustice that happened on August 20th in a court room in Topeka, Kansas. Welcome to the U.S. House of Representatives.   […]

  • Alicia Elkhart says:

    August 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    President Obama needs to act now and bring justice to this mother and child, this is abuse of worst kind, ongoing mental torture and control, but Claudine has survived so far, and has made big headlines here in Australia, Oh great countr yof America..what are you doing to this woman and her duaghter..the only answer is to sack the Judge and hold each one accountable for this inhumane attack on motherhood and the child’s development…Obama must act and this should become one of the greatest re-election issues…USA needs to sign the UNHRC on protecting women and children from violence and abuse of so many mums and kids, and scrutinise the abusers, namely the money hungry lawyers, evaluators and corrupt court systems. Claudine should be compensated fully. We are supporting you Claudine and Nancy for all your hard work to be informing of this gross human injustice in the USa..Alicia from Australia.

  • Why Not Common Sense? says:

    August 31, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Perhaps the next generation of smart women will opt to go to sperm banks instead of taking a chance on matrimony. Oh my god – would that mean the custody assessors, judges and lawyers wouldn’t be able to afford their country club golf memberships anymore? That shared custody only for the gain of pariahs would cease? That children would feel safe and loved at home with their mamas giggling in their dreams instead of waking up crying and afraid? That wrong would become right? That notions like “best interest of children” would no longer be a load of smoke and mirrors crap? What a fairytale! Wait – wouldn’t all this be God’s plan… we could let that happen!!!

  • I called Lynn Rosenthal today says:

    October 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I have been following this story for years now. I am outraged over the abuse and injustice that Claudine has been served. I called Lynn Rosenthal today and left my real name. I explained that I am a civil rights activist here in Los Angeles and I urged her to get involved in Claudine’s case. My prayers are with her. Please keep us posted on her case and tell her to hang tough.

  • jackie says:

    November 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I have contacted the local ACLU since I don’t trust the Bar Association or it’s political offiliates. This story is the catapult to have Mothers Cilvil Liberties and how the law discriminates with Fathers Initiatives and the elections. Guess who are most of the candidates? Guess who has most the voting power? Men. After almost a year of lies, pay offs, and games, someone at ACLU is gaffing. I applaud Claudine, Nancy Carroll, Rita Anita LInger, and Anne Drake for making public statements in a society where “shut up or else” is the only answer.
    My daughter no longer feels comfortable talking to me. And another season of celebrations has pushed me into isolation with WOS like my ex husband and his OJ Dream Team.
    -Spyware is used on every computer they send you an email to and you respond. If you don’t. You are considered none responsive. Most libraries have a 2 or 3 hour waiting list.
    -Your cell phone
    -Computer spyware is able to prevent messages from comimg through
    -People will email me saying they need help and ask you about your case and actually work for the opposition. By their law it’s allowed.
    It is sick. When I made the comment to my ex and his attorney where is the right for my daughter, the scoffed. “Thats what I thought” I said.
    Keep going. Becky Beaver is a childs worst nightmare and a rich parents dream to destroy.
    SHe is not the only one.
    Judge Covington. – Court WHore.
    NO children are considered just who recieved the most money.

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  1. LetsGetHonest said, on April 29, 2011 at 6:07 am

    It appears to me that one 2011 comment in moderation was not approved but in subscribing to this comments list again, I have a reply in my inbox from Claudine to one (only — not most, and definitely not the main) of the points I made.

    Right now, I see neither the comment she replied to, nor the reply, on this site. Perhaps I have wrong URL — it’s late, I’m tired, and may (or may not) check back later, although definitely recall replying to this post and not others.

    I recommend mothers check out Richard Fine’s “How to Disqualify Your Judge” (if judge is on the take). This is based on his L.A. County experience, but it seems would apply to any judge any where who has been “on the take” from the County creating a Conflict of Interest in a family law case.

    Los Angeles, CA Former U S Prosecutor Dr. Richard I Fine explains how citizens can disqualify a State judge who is “on the take”. All 430 California Superior Court Judges in L A County can be disqualified by citizens who have been involved in litigation against the County of Los Angeles in the last two decades. If you lost your case and did not know your judge was getting money from the County, Richard Fine says you can “Null & Void” the Judge’s Order and get a new trial.


    If you paid money to the County, you now have a chance to recover that money, according to Dr. Fine’s experience, he has already disqualified five judges who have been “On the Take” in his cases involving the County of L.A. That is why he was locked up in L A County jail for 18 months without being charged or convicted of a crime. Now he can show you the way to get JUSTICE. Featured here are Dr. Fine’s Motions to “Null & Void” that were used by him to disqualify the five Judges so far in his case.



    The civil contempt charge against Fine was brought after he “Disqualified” Judge Yaffe from sitting on the case. L.A. County had paid the Judge approximately $850,000.00. Fine has contended these payments violate the State Constitution and Judicial Canons of Ethics that prohibit Judges from taking money from parties involved in cases before them. Richard Fine also alleged in these court documents that the County’s Development Partners, Del Rey Shores, LLC. participated in “Pay to Play” by giving thousands of dollars in political contributions to the elected County Supervisors,

    it’s possible to find out who is running our government, and do something about it, by self-education. Alternately, you can go to Washington, D.C. and beg from the United States’ CEO — excuse me, President (or someone else in the Executive Branch)– whose election was financed in good part by known crooks in real estate development community in Chicago (i.e., Tony Rezko) — not that the opponent was likely much better.

    Rezko was into money-laundering, racketeering. Why are we surprised to find this in the family law venues, then? How many politicians got elected with a little help of this sort?

    Or (take your pick) fro the Times UK:

    Who is Tony Rezko?
    Antoin “Tony” Rezko, 52, a long-time friend and fundraiser for Barack Obama, is a Syrian-born property developer, pizzeria entrepreneur and political fixer in Chicago. Hillary Clinton has made him a campaign issue by denouncing him as a “slum landlord”. Mr Rezko faces two criminal trials as well as dozens of civil lawsuits.

    How does he know Barack Obama?
    Mr Rezko approached Mr Obama in 1990 after reading that he had become the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Mr Rezko and two real estate partners offered Mr Obama a job building inner-city homes in Chicago. Mr Obama declined, but remained friendly with Mr Rezko, who became one of his earliest and biggest fundraisers. Mr Obama says that he met Mr Rezko “once or twice a year” for lunch and the Rezkos and Obamas have dined together as couples perhaps “two to four times” since they have known each other. As a lawyer, Mr Obama did six hours’ work for partners of Mr Rezko’s company in state-subsidised apartment rehabilitation projects.

    Why are they linked in a property deal?
    The Obamas bought a mock Georgian mansion in Chicago in June 2005, after he was elected to the US Senate. Mr Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought the adjacent garden on the same day from the same seller. The sellers say that Mr Obama and Mr Rezko toured the property together before the transaction. At the time, it was already known that Mr Rezko was under criminal investigation.

    hy is Mr Rezko on trial?
    Mr Rezko went on trial in Chicago this week for money laundering, fraud, aiding bribery and attempted extortion. He is accused of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking to do business with two Illinois state boards controlled by his friends – the Teachers Retirement System, which manages a $30 billion pension fund, and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which must approve all building permits involving hospitals.

    Clinton and Obama criticise choice of EADS
    Is Mr Obama involved in the case?
    Mr Obama is not accused of any wrongdoing. However, money from one of the many alleged kickbacks appears to have ended up as a $10,000 donation to his campaign”

    Mr Obama has donated to charity $150,000 in political contributions linked to Mr Rezko.

    Where does Nadhmi Auchi fit in?
    Mr Rezko ended up in prison in January for violating bail by failing to declare a $3.5 million loan from Nadhmi Auchi, a British-Iraqi billionaire who was convicted of corruption in the Elf scandal in France in 2003. Mr Auchi was involved with Mr Rezko in a pizzeria business in the Midwest as well as a 62-acre property development in Chicago, and had lent millions of dollars to him.

    An earlier $3.5 million dollar loan to Mr Rezko was made only weeks before Mrs Rezko bought the garden next to the Obamas’ new house. Mr Auchi says the loan was for business reasons.”

    I think it’s more important to stick to getting rid of the conflicts of interest factor in the courts — which is an accounting trail, not a complaining trail. Both are important. Just stop neglecting the latter.

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