Crisis In The Family Courts

Anonymoms; We are Everywhere

Posted in : PAAO, Parent Alienation, Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting Awareness Day, Parental Alienation Awareness Day, Parental Alienation Awareness Organization, Abusers Denier, Amy Castillo, Maryland legislatures Kill Domestic Violence Bill,, Angry fathers, Battered Mothers Custody Conference, Breaking The Silence; Children's Stories, child abuse, Child Custody, Child found, Childrens Rights, corrupt bastards, Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore), Benjamin S. Barnes (D-Prince George's), Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore), Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore), Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel), William J. Frank, Custody Hell, domestic law, don hoffman jill dykes judge david debenham Dr. rodeheffer, Dr Richard Warshak, Dr. Richard Gardner, Father of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Committed Suicide May 25, 2003, family court corruption, Fathers & Families, Glenn Sacks, ACFC, RADAR, ANCPR, fathers murdering, Fathers Rights, FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR. FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR. FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR., Getting screwed by the Family Courts, Getting screwed by the politicians, JUDGE KEVIN CRONIN, Karin Huffer"Legal Abuse Syndrome" FAMILY LAW JUDGE SENTENCES DISABLED MOTHER TO 21 DAYS IN JAIL, Maria's ex-husband broke her back during a rage of anger. Maria Mel, Judge Richard Anderson Shawnee County Courts Topeka Kansas, Judge Robert Lemkau Katie Tagle Wyatt Garcia Stephen Garcia Victorville CA., Kansas House Representive Melvin Neufeld . Ks Wefare Summit, Kansas State House, SRS, CPS, Kansas Joint Committee on Children’s Issues on Nov 30, 2009 in Topeka, Kansas Legislature, Covenant Marriages, Domestic Violence, BULLSHIT LAWS, Katie Tagle, Dr. Phill, Steven Garcia, Pinnion Hills, CA,, Maryland Legislature Frank Conway Jr, BATTERER Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City, Maternal Deprivation, Domestic Violence By Proxy, Message to My Child . ., Motherhood, Mothers Rights, Murder-Suicide, Parental Alienation (PAS), Parental Alienation (PAS), Parental Alienation (PAS), Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), PAS is a Scam, Speak Out, Susan Murphy Milano, Times Up, Defending Our Lives, by abatteredmother on April 25, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

Ms Magazine: Maryland Slaps Domestic Victims in Face

Maryland Slaps Domestic Victims in Face

March 9, 2010 by Elizabeth Black · 14 Comments

Please comment and Forward on!

http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/03/09/maryland-slaps-domestic-victims-in-face

A bill that would have made it easier for domestic violence victims to obtain protective orders against their abusers has failed in the Maryland House Judiciary Committee. According to The Washington Post , “H.B. 700 would have brought Maryland into conformance with the practices of every other state in the country.”

The bill would have replaced the current Maryland standard that victims must offer “clear and convincing evidence” in order to gain a protective order, rather than a “preponderance of the evidence.” Maryland, the Post pointed out, is the only state using this higher standard.

The failure of the Maryland House to lower the standard–and thus better protect the abused, who are generally women–is a slap in the face to all who have suffered at the hands of partners and can’t get the help they need.

Protective orders can be lifesavers; the lack of them can be deadly. Take the case of Mark Anthony Castillo.  The Montgomery County, Maryland, man drowned his three children in a hotel bathroom after his wife was not given a protective order despite his threats against the children.

Want to let Maryland legislators know how you feel about their decision? Here’s a list of those who voted againstand for this important and necessary bill:

Against making it easier to obtain a protective order:

Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore), Benjamin S. Barnes (D-Prince George’s), Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore), Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore), Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel), William J. Frank (R-Baltimore County), J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore County), Kevin Kelly (D-Allegany), Gerron S. Levi (D-Prince George’s), Tony McConkey (R-Anne Arundel), Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s), Samuel I. Rosenberg (D-Baltimore), Todd L. Schuler (D-Baltimore County), Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) and Michael D. Smigiel Sr. (R-Cecil)

For:

Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery), Susan C. Lee (D-Montgomery), Susan McComas (R-Harford), Kriselda Valderrama (D-Prince George’s) and Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/meggganhope/ / CC BY 2.0

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Dr. Phil & Action Alert! Kathleen Russel with Katie Tagle The Crisis in Family Courts

Lets hope dr fool dont f^&*  this one up-

CJE Web Header 600

BREAKING NEWS

CJE’s own Kathleen Russell has been invited to appear on the Dr. Phil Show!
She will be speaking about the growing crisis in our family courts, and will appear alongside Katie Tagle and others. Tagle’s 9-month-old child was killed by his father after three judges denied the boy protection, even after the dad threatened in writing to kill their son.
This is a great opportunity to make sure Dr. Phil takes the crisis in our family courts seriously!
We encourage anyone who can make it to LA this Wednesday to COME TO THE DR. PHIL SHOW TAPING & SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!
To RSVP and claim your FREE admission, call either: Elaine at 323-956-3334 or Jason at 323-956-8497 this Monday between 10AM – 4PM. Be sure to tell them that you heard about the taping from CJE!
DATE OF TAPING: Wednesday, March 24
LOCATION: Provided Upon RSVP (Hollywood)
TIME: Arrive at the studio no later than 8:00AM — taping will begin at 9:30AM and you will be free to leave by around 11:00AM.
Check the

CJE website for more information – we’ll keep you updated as we firm up the details.

RECENT PRESS

Nearly 100 people gather to protest Judge Lemkau
– Victorville Daily Press 3/8/10
Rebellion in the California Court System
– ABC7 News 2/25/10
For more information, contact CJE at 415-256-9606, or at info@centerforjudicialexcellence.org

IMPACT OPPORTUNITY

Please plan to join us in Sacramento to support Whistleblower Protection in the California Courts.
Hearing Date TBD – likely early April
Assembly Judiciary Committee Hearing – AB 1749 (Whistleblower Protection)
Since 2001, court employees in the state of California have been exempt from Whistleblower Protection — meaning they could lose their jobs if they report wrongdoing. AB 1749 — authored by Assemblymembers Bonnie Lowenthal and Audra Strickland — proposes to expand Whistleblower Protection to judicial employees.

Remember to check CJE’s website often for updates about this hearing and other great opportunities to get involved! 

www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org.

SAVE THE DATE

California Protective Parents Association
and Incest Survivors Speakers’ Bureau invite you to the

16th Annual Northern California Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Conference

WHISTLEBLOWER CHILDREN:
What Happens When Children Report Sex Abuse 

April 9-10, 2010

Friday, April 9th (Film Festival

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A hasty Marriage in Domestic Violence Court makes a Mockery of the Law (MD) – of course

 

Another Judge who must go.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bal-ed.judge19mar19,0,6808039.story

Cupid on the bench

Our view: A hasty marriage in domestic violence court makes a mockery of the law

March 19, 2010

Judges are required to make all sorts of decisions from the bench, many of which have life-altering consequences for the parties before them. But rarely are judges tempted to play the role of Cupid in domestic disputes. That crosses a line where jurists should fear to tread.

Yet Baltimore County Judge G. Darrell Russell Jr. apparently felt no compunction about wading into matters of the heart where his court had no business. Confronted with a domestic violence case in which the alleged perpetrator sought to evade conviction by marrying his victim, the judge was only too happy to oblige. Not only did he briefly postpone the trial so the defendant could get a marriage license, he presided over the nuptials himself in chambers a few hours later.

You probably can guess what happened next. When the trial resumed, the bride – for reasons we may never know – invoked her spousal privilege and refused to testify against her husband. As a result, the charges were dropped and the groom left the courthouse a free man.

There’s a good reason the law in Maryland – as well as many other states – allows prosecutors to press charges in cases of suspected domestic abuse even when the apparent victim doesn’t want them to. Victims are often in no condition physically or emotionally to confront their abusers in court. They may fear retaliation, or they may continue to believe promises that the abuser will change, no matter how many times they’re broken.

We have no way of knowing the emotional state of the woman in this case, but it’s at least possible that she may have felt intimidated by the mere presence of her alleged abuser in court and fearful of what he might do if her testimony sent him to jail. It’s likely he had already pressured her not to testify. Judge Russell’s offer of a quick marriage to solve her dilemma may only have increased the pressure on her to remain silent.

How could the judge not realize such an extraordinary intervention from the bench was bound to color the victim’s perception of what kind of justice she could expect from the court, or that it flew in the face of the crucial protections the law was intended to provide? Judges may see themselves as possessed of the wisdom of Solomon, but it’s precisely in cases such as this that the law should act as a check on judicial overreaching.

Clearly that did not happen in this case. The defendant’s request for a postponement so he could obtain a marriage license should immediately have set off alarm bells for Judge Russell. But instead, he leapt to the defense of the alleged abuser and crudely joked afterward that he had "sentenced" him to "life married to her." In fact, she may be the one serving the sentence.

County Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn was right to immediately reassign Judge Russell to paperwork duty on civil cases after learning of the incident, but the matter cannot be allowed to end there. Judge Russell showed appallingly poor judgment and insensitivity in this case, rendering it almost impossible to imagine him ever serving as a fair arbiter of justice in cases of domestic abuse. Advocates for battered women were right to question whether he has the temperament to be a judge at all. At the very least, the public needs to know he will never be presiding over domestic violence cases again.

Readers respond

Judge Russell shouldn’t have authority over any civil cases, on paper or not, after this incident.

NotableM

Copyright © 2010, The Baltimore Sun

Related stories

From the Baltimore Sun

    Bad judgment

      From other Baltimore sources

        Judge, Lawyer ’Surprised’ By Interest In Marriage Case|wbaltv.com

        Judge Who Married Abuse Suspect, Victim Reassigned|wbaltv.com

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        Baltimore Judge Marries Accused Abuser to Victim During Trial to Avoid Testimony

        http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/TheLaw/baltimore-judge-marries-alleged-abuser-victim-trial/story?id=10126378&page=3

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        Judge Marries Alleged Victim, Puts Her on Stand Minutes Later

        Wood and his betrothed were excused for the 25 minute drive to the Towson court to get a marriage license and were married back in Russell’s chambers a short time later.

        Once the trial reconvened, his new bride was immediately put on the witness stand.

        "She invokes her marital privilege so there’s no evidence in the case. And the judge finds him not guilty," Ryan said.

        Whether anyone files a complaint against Russell remains to be seen. A spokesman for the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities said complaints against any judge are confidential until that judge is publicly charged.

        There are no public actions on record for Russell.

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        Maryland NEWS FLASH – Two dead in Carroll County murder-suicide

        NEWS FLASH –

        Wednesday, 17 March 2010 02:39

        http://investigativevoice.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3292:news-flash-two-dead-in-carroll-county-mudder-suicide&catid=25:the-project&Itemid=44

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        MAN ALLEGEDLY SHOOTS HIS WAY INTO EX-WIFE’S HOME, KILLS HER FIANCE THEN TURNS GUN ON SELF

        By Kevin Dayhoff

        (Hampstead, MD)  – Maryland State Police were called to the scene of an apparent murder-suicide in the late-morning hours of Tuesday just outside Hampstead in northern Carroll County that left two men dead.

        A 911 call came in to the Carroll County Emergency Operations Center shortly after 11 a.m. “from a woman in the 1200 block of Allview Drive," according to police. "She told the dispatcher that her ex-husband had just come into her home and shot her fiancé before shooting himself.”

        When police arrived they found two deceased males in a first-floor family room at the rear of the house, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley. 

        A subsequent investigation indicates that one of the males, identified as Michael L. Swift III, 45, of the 3600 block of Benson Avenue in Halethorpe, is alleged to have used a shotgun to shoot his way through a sliding glass door in the back of the house.

        At that point, police believe that Swift shot Zaidan S. “Steve” Asid, 51, and then turned the gun on himself.  A .12-gauge shotgun was still in Swift’s possession when police arrived. 

        The police investigation revealed that the woman who had made the 911 call is apparently Swift’s former wife — and was engaged to Asid. (Investigative Voice will not identify her because she is the victim of domestic violence.)

        Police indicate that she was in her residence at the time of the shooting, although no one else besides Asid was there. She was taken for a medical examination but found to be apparently unharmed physically. 

        The deceased were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsies as the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit spent the rest of the afternoon investigating the scene.

        Police said the investigation is ongoing. Check back with Investigative Voice for more details as they develop.

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        A man is in jail for beating his ex-girlfriend to death at an Albany motel. Her death marks the 3rd homicide in Albany

         

        Posted: Mar 17, 2010 6:05 AM CDTUpdated: Mar 17, 2010 6:05 AM CDT

        http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=12154240

        Video Gallery

        Three people murdered in Albany in 2010

        2:40

         

         

        By Christian Jennings – bio | email
        ALBANY,  GA (WALB) – A man is in jail charged with beating his ex-girlfriend to death at an Albany motel. Her death marks the 3rd homicide in Albany this year alone.

        A Cuthbert man is charged in 51-year-old Beverly Jean Williams’ murder. She was found dead in room 114 at the Dollar Inn March 15th. In February, a 20-year-old was killed in Albany outside a busy nightclub. And a month before that, another man was killed in a home invasion. Here’s a recap of their murders and the latest on the investigations.

        51-year-old Beverly Jean Williams’ body was placed on a stretcher Monday night. Police say her killer is 56-year-old Monty Caren Simpson of Cuthbert.

        "Miss Williams and Simpson have had a history of domestic violence. Several months ago he was arrested for assault, and she was the victim," said Albany Police Detective Terrence Whitlock.

        But this time investigators say Simpson beat her again this time his final blow. Williams died of blunt force trauma to her head.

        "Simpson called 911," said Whitlock.

        A month prior to her murder, 20-year-old LaSheldon Stanford was killed on Valentine’s Day morning in a shootout outside BrickHouse Productions. It remains unsolved. Although 20-year-old Henry Wallace and 17-year old Shacoby Seay are in jail for aggravated assault and gang participation no one is charged with Stanford’s murder.

        And back on January 15th, 24-year-old Dominic Lamar King was gunned down inside his Meadow Drive home. Police say Lekeisha White, Eugene Bell Jr, Tavaress Jackson and Kendrick Sanders entered his home and shot King multiple times. They are all charged with murder and police believe there is a possible gang connection.

        Three homicides in three months, forcing many people to question their safety in the "Good Life City’.

        ©2010 WALB News. All rights reserved. Feedback

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        Oh Okay, We Get It Now (Wink Wink)

         

        Dump Frank M. Conaway Jr.

        Delegate Frank M. Conaway Jr.: "Things happen between man and woman and the rearing of children"
        Things like smashing your wife’s face through a window.
        Now we get why the Maryland House Judiciary Committee soundly defeated it. They have a batterer among them.
        From the City Paper:

        By Van Smith | Posted 10/25/2006

        State delegate candidate Frank Melvin Conaway Jr., who with 5,889 votes was the top vote-getter in the 40th District Democratic primary in September, doesn’t want this story published. His father, Baltimore City Clerk of the Circuit Court Frank M. Conaway Sr., doesn’t either. In separate interviews, both used the same, emphatic words: "You don’t have to write the story."

        (…and it continues…)

        Conaway Jr.’s longtime wife, Latesa Elaine Thomas, 44, has had a Baltimore County domestic-violence protective order against her husband for more than three years. The order, dated Aug. 25, 2003, states that Conaway Jr. "threatened to kill" Thomas, placing her "in fear of imminent serious bodily harm," and that "one year ago [he] pushed her face through back door window." Thomas also convinced the court that Conaway Jr., 43, was a threat to himself and others as a diagnosed sufferer of bipolar disorder who had stopped taking his prescribed medications, so the court ordered police escorts to deliver Conaway Jr. to two emergency hospital evaluations in the summer of 2003. Thomas is in the process of divorcing Conaway Jr.

        "We knew this day would come," Conaway Jr. says. It’s an unseasonably warm early-October afternoon, and he’s standing at the foot of the Battle Monument, in the middle of Calvert Street between the two circuit courthouses. "Somebody’s going to ask that question," he remarks, "and it’s none of your business." At the time, City Paper did not know what had happened to prompt the protection order.

        We know the Father’s Rights folks love Delegate Luiz R.S. Simmons also. Does he have many of them as clients (he does practice in "family law")? Is he working for their interests? This is from a website recently:

        So we really are starting to get it. Let’s hope the voters do too. It’s all about the committee members…

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        REDUX: Maryland House Judiciary Committee — Vote these people out of office; and… is Frank M Conaway, Jr. a DV perp protecting himself?

        From: justice’s posterous

        "Maryland House Judiciary Committee wrongly killed a bill on Thursday that would have… brought Maryland into conformance with the practices of every other state in the country."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/06/AR2010030601948.html

        Is FRANK M. CONAWAY, Jr., one of the Committee members a domestic violence perp himself?

          See http://citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=12819 THAT would explain a lot!

        [photo, Frank M. Conaway, Jr., State Delegate]

        FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR.
        Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City

        Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore)
        Benjamin S. Barnes (D-Prince George’s)
        Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore)
        Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore)
        Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel)
        William J. Frank (R-Baltimore County)
        J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore County)
        Kevin Kelly (D-Allegany)
        Kevin Kelly (D-Allegany)
        Gerron S. Levi (D-Prince George’s)
        Tony McConkey (R-Anne Arundel)
        Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s)
        Samuel I. Rosenberg (D-Baltimore)
        Todd L. Schuler (D-Baltimore County)
        Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery)
        Michael D. Smigiel Sr. (R-C

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        Maryland ‘Batterer’ Delegate Frank M. Conway Jr. Now we know why he ‘Killed” the Domestic Violence Bill. He is a Batterer (Baltimore, Maryland)

        Just what kind of legislator opposes order of protection reform for domestic violence victims? This kind (Baltimore, Maryland)

        A BATTERER (just one of many) lurk in Maryland’s Pig Pen Legislature

        [photo, Frank M. Conaway, Jr., State Delegate]

        FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR.
        Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City

          House Office Building, Room 315
          6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
          (410) 841-3189, (301) 858-3189
          1-800-492-7122, ext. 3189 (toll free)
          email:frank.conaway@house.state.md.us

         

        FRANK M. CONAWAY JR. was one of many members of the Maryland Judicial Committee who crushed an effort to reform the standards under which protection orders are granted for victims of domestic violence (HB 700). This initiative was hardly a radical move–it would have simply made the standards consistent with the other 49 states. So what kind of politician votes this down? Find out.

        Seems that Conaway more than meets our basic qualifying criteria as a dastardly dad.

        And check out this blog:

        http://dumpfrankconawayjr.blogspot.com/

        http://citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=12819

        Star Power

        Frank M. Conaway Jr. Won an Election, Baggage and All

        John Ellsberry THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN: Frank Conaway Jr. is up for one of three 40th District delegate seats despite various personal problems.

        By Van Smith Posted 10/25/2006

        State delegate candidate Frank Melvin Conaway Jr., who with 5,889 votes was the top vote-getter in the 40th District Democratic primary in September, doesn’t want this story published. His father, Baltimore City Clerk of the Circuit Court Frank M. Conaway Sr., doesn’t either. In separate interviews, both used the same, emphatic words: "You don’t have to write the story."

        The story, though, may be of interest for 40th District voters, who on Nov. 7 will decide which three of the four candidates will go to Annapolis to represent approximately 110,000 city residents living from Pimlico and Rosemont to Woodberry and Mount Vernon. Simply put, Conaway Jr. isn’t a delegate yet, but he likely will be soon–despite having a decidedly thin résumé and embarrassing problems:a drug convict chairs his campaign committee, and his wife swore in 2003 that Conaway Jr. is mentally ill and abusive, prompting Baltimore County courts to step in for her protection.

        Conaway Jr.’s campaign-finance committee is chaired by Adonis Sanchez Johnson, 26, who in 2003 was convicted for possessing six quarter-sized chunks of crack cocaine with a street value of several hundred dollars. He received an 18-month suspended sentence and 18 months of supervised probation. At his sentencing, court records show, Johnson was an unemployed community-college student who previously worked construction.

        Conaway Jr.’s longtime wife, Latesa Elaine Thomas, 44, has had a Baltimore County domestic-violence protective order against her husband for more than three years. The order, dated Aug. 25, 2003, states that Conaway Jr. "threatened to kill" Thomas, placing her "in fear of imminent serious bodily harm," and that "one year ago [he] pushed her face through back door window." Thomas also convinced the court that Conaway Jr., 43, was a threat to himself and others as a diagnosed sufferer of bipolar disorder who had stopped taking his prescribed medications, so the court ordered police escorts to deliver Conaway Jr. to two emergency hospital evaluations in the summer of 2003. Thomas is in the process of divorcing Conaway Jr.

        "We knew this day would come," Conaway Jr. says. It’s an unseasonably warm early-October afternoon, and he’s standing at the foot of the Battle Monument, in the middle of Calvert Street between the two circuit courthouses. "Somebody’s going to ask that question," he remarks, "and it’s none of your business." At the time, City Paper did not know what had happened to prompt the protection order.

        Conaway Jr. dismisses the drug conviction of his committee chairman by asking, "Can’t a guy get a second chance?" He remarks that "in order to be one of the people, you have to help the people. I gave a person a chance."

        Conaway Sr., when asked about Johnson’s criminal record and committee chairmanship, says simply that "it is what it is." Attempts to reach Johnson were unsuccessful.

        Bringing up Conaway Jr.’s own court record prompts the candidate to assume a don’t-go-there attitude. "My children’s mother is a decent woman," he says. "That’s all you need to know. People understand that things happen between man and woman and the rearing of children."

        Conaway Sr., interviewed later over the phone after his son’s domestic violence record had been examined, says, "I don’t know about [Conaway Jr.’s] diagnosed disorder." He adds that he doesn’t "get into [his children’s] marital affairs" and therefore was unaware of the domestic-violence issues. He cautions that his son once took his wife to court, too, so "you should take what she says with a grain of salt."

        In addition to the injuries described in the protective order, Thomas, in her sworn statement in the case, mentioned a "tooth chip" and "bruises all over the body." She wrote that Conaway Jr. was "having a bi-polar accident. He has not taken his medicine for several months." She asked the court to help, writing that she and the three children she’s had with Conaway Jr. are "living in fear" because "he is bi-polar and I can’t deal or control his behavior," which she described as "unstable," "talking threats, keeping son in garage in fear. My entire family is afraid. He is in a manic state and is unreasonable."

        Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic-depressive illness, is described by the National Institute of Mental Health as "a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function" that "can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide." It estimates that 2.6 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from the biochemical illness. In September, the Harvard Medical School published a NIMH-funded study that found that the economic impact of bipolar disorder is measurable: "each U.S. worker with bipolar disorder averaged 65.5 lost workdays in a year." But it is treatable with medication–as long as sufferers stay on their medication.

        Keeping on the medication, Thomas swore to the court, was what Conaway Jr. failed to do. The result was abuse allegations severe enough for the court to order him to stay away from his wife, children, and in-laws, and their respective homes, schools, and workplaces, or be charged with a misdemeanor crime that could bring jail time.

        In the ongoing divorce case, Thomas no longer alleges abuse
        by her husband, and asks for divorce on the grounds that they’ve been separated since July 2003. Conaway Jr., though, brought up the issue of violence himself, writing in his response to her divorce filing that Thomas "failed to list when she was charged with domestic violence." That occurred in 1993, when Conaway Jr. swore out a complaint against her for assault, but prosecutors dropped the charge.

        Conaway Sr., when informed of his daughter-in-law’s sworn statements, says quietly, "I don’t believe these things. I don’t think he would lay a hand on her. And I know him."

        Thomas initially said she would meet with a reporter for this article but then stopped returning phone calls. "I’m just an ordinary woman looking out for my children," she said during a brief phone conversation.

        Conaway Jr. is a mail clerk in the Baltimore City Municipal Post Office, a job he says he’s had for about three years. For about six or seven years before that, he says he worked for his father’s travel agency. Back in the 1980s for three or four years, he says he had an insurance broker’s license while working for Conaway Sr.’s now-defunct insurance business. In the meantime, Conaway Jr. says he received an education–three years at Howard University, one year at Morgan State University, then three years at Sojourner-Douglass College, graduating in 1999 with a degree in business administration. He also wrote books, and started a replica kit-car business called "F" Dreams Inc. The business fell victim, he says, to the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994. His book Baptist Gnostic Christian Eubonic Kundalinion Spiritual Ki Do Hermeneutic Metaphysics, which combines biblical theology and martial arts, was published in 2001, and was followed by the ’04 release of his The 20 Pennies a Day Diet Plan. Both are available online.

        Conaway Jr.’s political committee, which was formed in May, raised and spent exactly nothing to get him elected in the primary. Yet at the polls he bettered all others–one well-liked, well-funded incumbent (freshman legislator Marshall Goodwin) and a number of other challengers with serious jobs and respectable campaign kitties. How? Conaway Jr. explains it this way.

        "I have been in this community all my life," he asserts. "I was raised up to have respect for everyone, to greet people every day–police officers, teachers, businesspeople–so every day I say good morning to people. I speak to people in the supermarkets, gas stations, whatever. That’s how I know people. That’s how I pulled it off, because I’m one of the people.

        "I covered the whole district," he continues, defensive at the suggestion that he was a no-show candidate, often missing at primary-season events. "I went door to door, I gave out toys, I gave out whistles, I gave out brooms, I spoke at forums. I tried to tell the truth. I tried to give a different answer than just rhetoric. I separated myself from the pack, because most of the people I was running against, they sound the same. You know, they sound good, but there are no answers [when they speak]. I spoke my mind."

        Conaway Sr. fills in the rest. "Everybody that gets elected gets elected by name recognition–everybody," he proclaims, explaining that voters tend not to vote for people whose names they don’t know. "If you don’t have it, you have to buy it, and it just so happened that [Conaway Jr.] didn’t have to buy name recognition because his name was well-known."

        The Conaway name has graced Baltimore ballots since the 1970s, when Conaway Sr. was himself elected a state delegate. He rose to chair the Legislative Black Caucus before his star arched into a scandalous investigation of his insurance business. By 1982, he’d vacated his seat in Annapolis and declared bankruptcy. The same year, his wife, Mary Conaway, was elected the city’s register of wills, a position she’s held ever since–though she’s made stabs for other offices, including for Congress and mayor. Since Conaway Sr. gained the clerkship of the city Circuit Court in 1998, he’s run for mayor, too. Conaway Jr.’s sister Belinda Conaway is the 7th District’s city councilwoman, and just ran and lost for state Senate in the 40th District. Conaway Jr. himself tried for a City Council seat in 1999. That’s a lot of Conaways on a lot of ballots over a long period of time.

        In order to keep the family legacy going, Conaway Sr. started Three Bears Slate, the campaign committee that raises and spends money on any and all of the family’s races for public office–including Conaway Jr.’s primary victory. Formed in July 2005, it had raised nearly $60,000 and spent nearly $50,000 as of late August.

        "All of those votes for four people with so little money," Conaway Sr. says, admiring the electoral efficiency of the family machine. "It’s not for power," he insists–though he allows that another organization he formed this year with a bevy of local political and business leaders, Metro Political Organization, is "about power–what else would it be?" But when it comes to the family slate and public service, "I’m in it to help people," he says.

        In this case, Conaway Sr.’s help came in the form of Conaway Jr. The son, since he hasn’t followed former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan’s recent example of withdrawing after confessing to a mental-health problem, is on the November ballot along with fellow Democrats Barbara Robinson and Shawn Tarrant. Green Party candidate Jan Danforth is on the list, too. While Danforth’s vote-drawing potential is as yet untested, she has made a name for herself by fighting vocally in recent years against Loyola College’s decision to develop forestland in Woodberry and serving on the boards of the Greater Homewood Community Development Corp. and Jones Falls Watershed Association. If Danforth, 56, comes in fourth, Conaway Jr. will be elected, making his father proud.

        "He’s not going to do anything bad," Conaway Sr. predicts of his son’s likely future in the state legislature. "He’s fine. He’s going to be a star."

        Email Van Smith

        Labels: bipolar disorder, drugs/alcohol, DV, Maryland, mental illness,Order of Protection

         

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