A Blogsite with News and Thoughts about Family Law, The Divorce and Children Industry, and what many are now calling "The War on Families and Children". Family Courts have become battlefields resulting in massive casualties that include Moms, Dads, Children, and Extended Family Members. The Federal Gov't, States, their Agencies and Officials involved, including Attorneys and Judges, that profit from destroying us are the only winners. "We The People" must wake up and stop this abusive war now!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday November 26th, on Larry King Alec Baldwin will be discussing Parental Alienation and his new book "A Promise to Ourselves." ACFC Executive Director, Mike McCormick will also be on the program.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Since they treat non-custodial parents illegally this way, THEY SHOULD JAIL ALL THE CEO'S AND MANAGEMENT OF ALL THESE "IN DEBT" BANKS, INSURANCE AGENCIES, MORTGAGE CO'S, ETC. ETC. ETC...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
INSTEAD THEY JUST BAIL THESE BASTARDS OUT AND LEAVE THE REST OF US TO ROT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THIS IS WRONG, WRONG WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
People need to invoke the Insolvent Debtor's statute in each state. They spent time in jail for the debt. The debt is absolved. The jail acted as the remedy/punishment for owing the debt and not paying it. If the courts keep jaililng, it becomes multiple punishments of Imprisonment for Debt, and Double Jeopardy implications attach.
Moreover, if the court continues to jail, it is IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT in violation of each state's constitutions, the Thirteenth Amendment, and the Anti-Peonage Statutes, U.S. Criminal Code Title 18 U.S.C. Sections 1581, 1583, 1584 and 1589 (forced labor).
It seems that no one goes to jail for causing financial collapses in the economy, for failing to pay off mortgage debts, failing to pay credit card debts, and failing to pay auto loans. This arresting and jailing men for owing a civil, commercial child support debt is therefore a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, as well as the First Amendment Right to Associate/Right to Work/Right to be Free from Governmental Interference and Oppression, as well as Fifth Amendment Due Process/Double Jeopardy/and taking private money/property for public use. Also, the Ninth Amendment Rights to Privacy and all other numerated and unenumerated rights are implicated here (Right to Freedom of Choice not to pay, maybe--Roe v. Wade?).
At this point, the Judges and state child support workers should be getting an earful from fathers about felony official misconduct for violating oaths of office to uphold, support and defend the US Constitution and respective state constitutions, felony bias crimes, felony kidnapping (and false arrest, false imprisonment & assault when they put the cuffs on you without cause). Judges should be getting an earful that their conduct of arresting people for a civil, commercial child support debt, and not arresting people for other civil, commercial debts warrants criminal charges against these judges as well as letting them know that they are setting themselves up for Impeachment.
Time to start going after judges for official misconduct and impeachment. If enough fathers in one state target 1, 2 or 3 really bad judges and continually file judicial complaints against them, or file local criminal complaints for official misconduct, and file impeachment petitions with their state legislators, we will start to see the judiciary fear the fathers' rights groups (as they said about the NJ fathers' rights groups in the March 4, 1996 New Jersey Lawyer legal paper.
Some astute father is going to set these clowns up for false arrest and false imprisonment (being arrested in a CIVIL matter without having probable cause to arrest) lawsuits, and the suits will be flying all over the place. Maybe we need to start training fathers to put together simple lawsuits for false arrest, false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution and malicious abuse/use/misuse of process. They can be less than 10 pages, and be somewhat "boilerplate" and fit the facts of each case simply. Start filing enough of these in the state courts against the sheriffs and child support caseworkers and it will not be worth their while financially.
"Others insisted that a previous or current jail sentence had caused their non-payment.
"I can't pay this because I'm already in jail for not paying it last time," said one father.
"You think being incarcerated erases the debt you owe?" snapped [Judge] Young."
Most were sentenced to more time, increased judgments and fines, as well as court costs that began at $300.
Doesn't any citizen, let alone legislators, find it disquieting that we are rounding up men and throwing them in debtor's prison because they were previously in jail for the same crime and unable to pay while in jail -- and having our judges "snapping" at them too? The judge isn't snapping at him because he is intentionally did anything wrong -- he is snapping at him because it is chic to hate and malign males whose children we have stolen and whose circumstances we have created.
We should be ashamed and if the reporting is accurate, this Judge (Young) should be removed from the bench.
Raid nets alleged deadbeats
42 arrested reportedly owe more than $600K in delinquent child support
As alleged deadbeat parents lay sleeping in their beds, cops were fanning out to apprehend them.
These men and a few women owed more than $600,000 in child support, police said. So early Saturday morning, 38 deputies started knocking on doors. In their hands were more than 300 bench warrants 200 less than the 500 outstanding ones. They arrested 42, but county officials called the operation a "huge success."
"Oh yes," said Barbara Williamson, court coordinator, who worked in conjunction with the sheriff's office, Family Court, the clerk's office and the state child support enforcement office. "It was one of the best we've ever done."
Their last raid took place in the spring, she said, but this time, they allowed the season to guide their timing.
"There are children out there who need this money, and a lot of the reasons we did this now was so that they would have something for Christmas," said Sumter County Family Court Judge Jeff Young.
"We felt like it was a good time of year to get money for the custodial parents," she said.
"These are the habitual offenders here today," Young explained. "We get no joy out of putting people in jail, but we have to do it. People need to know that there are consequences for not paying child support. See how thick these files are? Most have been in front of me a couple of times and held in contempt of court already."
By 1 p.m. on Saturday, the inmates had been escorted to the Sumter-Lee County Detention Center, where they spent two nights. They appeared in family court on Tuesday afternoon.
The amounts owed varied from $273 to more than $17,000, but the excuses were usually the same an injury, an incarceration, an overlooked deadline.
One claimed a chopped-off finger and a collapsed hip had created a disability, but Williamson quickly countered that his request for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) had already been denied for the injuries.
"So you haven't been able to work because of your finger?" Young asked.
"No, sir," he responded. "That don't bother me none."
Others insisted that a previous or current jail sentence had caused their non-payment.
"I can't pay this because I'm already in jail for not paying it last time," said one father.
"You think being incarcerated erases the debt you owe?" snapped Young.
Most were sentenced to more time, increased judgments and fines, as well as court costs that began at $300.
After the hearing, Young explained that sentencing depends upon a non-custodial parent's willingness to pay what they owe.
"They hold the keys to the jail," he said. "If they pay the money, they can get out in time for Christmas."
Contact Staff Writer Annabelle Robertson at email@example.com or (803) 774-1250.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
GA Child Support Enforcement used by Mother as a tool to Punish, Harass, and to
Further destroy a Father!
During a Pending GA Superior Court Child Support Modification Case.
This is a living testimony about how the system is set up to give custodial Mother's power over non-custodial Father's. To not sound bias myself, I must now state that I am sure this may happen occasionally to women/mothers, but I would have to bet my last dollar (if I had one) that this article probably and most likely pertains to mostly men/fathers. Many studies prove that mostly women get custody and mostly women are awarded child support.
As some of you are aware, I filed for Modification of Child Support in February of 2008, which was delayed time after time and I did not receive a ruling until recently on November 4th, 2008. Also during this period of time due to economic meltdown and an outrageous original child support order, I was forced to file bankruptcy and my wife and I have almost lost our house and both of our businesses.
The original order in which I was trying to modify had me paying $200.00 a week for one child, which was over 70% of my income at the time, hence the reason for filing for a downward modification. I received a 32% reduction 10 months after filing this motion and arrears amounted during this stretch of time.
Here's where this story gets interesting and shows that the system is totally sided with Mother's and Father's do not get due process.
Back in September 2008 while this Modification of Child Support Motion was pending, my daughters Mother and her unethical attorney sensing a downward modification, filed a case against me with Georgia Child Support Enforcement. I received a letter from CSE in September threatening me with license suspension, arrest, and incarceration if I did not immediately start paying them not only $200.00 per week, but also an added $40.00 per week for arrears. This was done without a hearing with them and the only legal records they had were a sworn affidavit from the Mother (that was fraudulent). I was given no due process what so ever. So at that time I was waiting for a Superior Court decision about an order making me pay $200.00 per week in which I couldn't pay and then I had a totally different entity ordering me to pay $240.00 per week in which I had no ability to pay. Of course the Mother and her sick and demented attorney were probably laughing as they watched me squirm with stress over this matter. I am still stressed over this ongoing issue! This is really unnecessary considering I have always paid the mother support, even before I was court ordered to do so.
I had my attorney write CSE a letter explaining my circumstances and that the mother was using their department to intervene and undermine a pending Superior Court Child Support case. Of course Father's have no right to due process and Father's actually do not matter to these people and the terroristic, threatening, and harassing letters continue from child support enforcement. I have just recently sent them another letter explaining the situation, but of course I am a man and a father and my words fall on deaf ears.
So, as it stands, I currently am paying child support accordingly to a Georgia Superior Court Order and looking to go to jail for not paying an order from Child Support Enforcement, which they claim I must pay them over $400.00 more a month in child support from the Superior Court Order. The superior court order states I am to pay $550.00 per month, the CSE order states I am to pay $960.00 per month. Where is the justice in this? How can this be? However it may be, it is actually happening. I also have contracts pending with my business and if I am incarcerated I am looking to lose money owed to me and face litigation from these clients for breach of contract. This woman is downright out to destroy me and the harassment instigated by her and her attorney will not stop. CSE have already taken my rights away to have a passport, they are about to have my drivers license suspended. What's next? An arrest warrant?
All of this was done from only a sworn statement to CSE from the Mother, no hearing, no due process, and during a pending Superior Court Child Support case. They are 100% going by the word of a mother and nothing else. The mother gave them wrong information and even used a wrong name for our daughter because she cannot stand the thought that our daughter has my last name. There is more, but I don't feel like writing a book!
This situation is proof that the system favors women/mothers and that Father's are not allowed due process!
This situation is also proof that the system allows Mother's to use and manipulate the system to harass and punish Father's.
I am being punished for modifying an "unfair to begin with child support amount" and the possibility of losing my drivers license and being incarcerated is a very possible reality. Why? Because of a Mother that is purposefully using the system in attempt to destroy a Father..........why is this? Because this system allows this Mother to do so!!!! I am sure hate and revenge is a factor that must be also considered....
By JEAN HOPFENSPERGER, Star Tribune
September 6, 2008
After her divorce two years ago, Kathy Danielson assumed she would receive child support for years from her ex-husband to help raise their two daughters. So she was shocked to learn when her case was reopened this summer that now she might have to pay him.
The reason: Minnesota launched a new child support formula last year, for the first time considering the income of both parents, not just the dad. It was hailed as a fairer system that would be more acceptable to embattled parents.
But women such as Danielson, who earn more than their ex-husbands, are watching with apprehension as a growing number of fathers seek to reopen their cases.
If the goal was to cut the acrimony among parents of the 255,000 children receiving support, it's not working. Mothers' rights advocates charge that the formula punishes custodial parents -- nearly 90 percent of them women -- who struggled to get ahead financially only to see their support reduced. "A lot of times men do get a bad deal," said Danielson, a nurse from Andover. "But it has to be fair for people like me, too. I pay for a house, cover medical and dental [insurance] and everyday expenses here. I work hard, a lot of double shifts, to make this happen."
Fathers' rights groups say orders still are set too high and the formula is based on unrealistic child-rearing expenses.
With the economy struggling, and food and fuel costs rising, more noncustodial parents are seeking a financial break by reopening their cases.
"It's worth a try." said Joe Tuthill, among a dozen men at a Minneapolis workshop on how to do just that. "I'm going broke."
New formula, new problems
For decades, courts set child support based on two criteria -- the net income of the noncustodial parent (usually the dad) and the number of children. Most noncustodial parents paid 25 percent of their net income for one child and 30 percent for two children.
Now parents click on a Web-based "child support calculator'' to figure out their likely payments, starting with both parents' gross incomes, with deductions for parenting time and other child-rearing costs.
The theory is that if support orders seem more fair, parents will be more likely to pay. Parents who are deadbeats and/or financially strapped owe more than $1.8 billion to Minnesota children. It's too early to know if the theory is panning out.
"In some cases, it's a much more fair payment and doable for the parents,'' said Mary Madden, a Minneapolis family law attorney and child support magistrate. "In some cases, it's not."
For middle-class parents with similar incomes, such as a teacher and an accountant, the formula seems fair, said child support attorneys. But in cases where a father is earning $12 an hour and a mother is earning $22, the orders don't seem to strike either party as fair.
"There's a shock to a lot of people in that income range," said Julie Voigt, a Hennepin County child support magistrate. "The custodial parent says, 'I need a break.' The non-custodial parent says, 'What am I supposed to live on?'''
Meanwhile, mothers who weren't expected to work full time under the old system, now are expected to with few exceptions. When and how much income to impute to an underemployed or unemployed parent remains "problematic,'' said family law attorney Pamela Waggoner.
Still, on the surface the new formula at least appears more fair than the old one, said lawyers, judges and magistrates. They describe how hard it was to defend the old system's fairness when only one parent's income was considered. The change lines Minnesota up with 37 states that consider both incomes.
"I've found that the process is as important as the outcome," said Patrick West-Hest, an assistant Ramsey County attorney. "Does everyone agree with it? No."
Both sides complain
Kim Tomek, a registered nurse from Lake Elmo, said she worked hundreds of holidays and double shifts to pay the basic needs of raising four children, now ages 15 to 24 and all living at home.
But when her child support order was reopened under the new formula, she was told to pay 72 percent of the total costs of raising the children. Her ex-husband was ordered to pay 28 percent. That meant her child support order of $702 a month was reduced to $369.
At a six-month review of that order, the magistrate decided to impute income from her former husband and the order was raised again to $708, she said. She warns parents to be vigilant if their case is reopened, "because I basically shot myself in the foot by working harder and harder.''
Tomek belongs to the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support. The Twin Cities chapter's founder, Jen Peterson of Cottage Grove, says she hears that mothers are getting less child support under the new system, compounding their financial struggles to raise children on their own.
But from her small office in a Little Canada strip mall, Molly Olson hears very different complaints. The founder of the Center for Parental Responsibility, a fathers' rights group, said the new law is no fairer than the old one.
Basing the support on gross income, instead of net income, "is the wrong place to begin a formula,'' Olson said. The amount of money that children allegedly need for support is way too high, she said.
"It's all about lifestyle support, not the true cost of raising children,'' she insisted. "And they [the court] are still calling parents voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, when they've simply just lost their jobs.''
Jack Ehrlich, a center member, is among those using the new law to reduce support. His payments dropped from $2,183 a month to $1,639, but he said that's still "wildly high.''
A flood of appeals
When the law kicked in last year it applied only to new support orders. But starting this year, parents can try to modify existing orders if incomes or expenses could change the order at least $75.
Requests for changes spiked 25 percent the first six months of this year compared with the last six months of 2007, according to a Minnesota Supreme Court analysis.
Three days a week, parents such as Tuthill take a desk at workshops at the Family Justice Center in downtown Minneapolis to learn how to file their own orders. There are also crowds at the Child Support Self-Help office down the hall.
In Washington County, a hot-line recording tells parents that the volume of requests to reopen cases means it may be "several months before we can review your request."
Despite the instant discontent with the new system, some legal experts counsel patience. Tanya Manrique, the chief Hennepin County Family Court judge, said it's simply too soon to tell if the new formula is an improvement.
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner agreed. "Just because someone isn't getting as much money as they want or is paying more money than they want, doesn't mean the system is unfair. The guidelines are about distributing resources to the maximum benefit of the child.''
Tuthill is keeping his fingers crossed that considering both incomes will give him a "more fair'' order: "They should have been doing that in the first place.''
Jean Hopfensperger • 651-298-1553
© 2008 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
By Rachel Ferreira
It’s a sad fact that in political campaigns the truth is maligned and mud is thrown in an effort to discredit the other party. What’s sadder is that this is a reality in divorce. A modern effort to discredit loving parents in the name of revenge and greed.
What defines truth? What makes truth evidence? To what extent does a court accept hearsay evidence as fact? Courts have a demonstrated bias to side with the mother. Why is this? Maybe in the days of our grandparents when mothers were the sole nurturer in the nuclear family while fathers served only as material providers - but not today. Today we see mothers stuffing newborn babies into microwaves or throwing them into dumpsters because their new boyfriend wasn’t interested in someone with a child. Today we see premenopausal women leaving young ones alone at night while they relive their teenage party years. How the paternal families grieve for the loss of these children - children who they had fought for custody of and were denied because the court sided with the mother just because she was a woman. Giving birth does not make someone a mother, it makes them a donor.
Teenage girls who get pregnant before maturity so that they can live off the system - is this a mother? Why do donors, women who do not really care for the well being of their children, stoop to lies and conspiracy to keep their kids? Money and greed: they make the world go round, after all. Misappropriation of child support payments used to benefit not the children, but the "donors" themselves with regular spa treatments and new shoes. Meanwhile, fathers are left to visitation every other weekend living from paycheck to paycheck in poverty because of these child support payments.
They go without because they think their children are benefiting instead. They eat and breathe only to make it to those weekends to see their children. They never miss a Little League game or a school recital, and at home a finger-painting hangs proudly on the fridge. There is no life for him without his children. Yet the courts’ ears are closed. They are closed to the needs of the father, they are closed to the needs of the children, they hear only the theatrical exaggerated pleadings of greedy women who want revenge on their ex. Why do we assume that all women are mothers? And why do the courts listen only to them?
How many times will we, as communities and as a nation, allow our youth - our future - to endure indignities of being treated as pawns and not individuals in a game where only the mother/donor wins? Children need to be protected - children need to be in loving homes. The gender of the parent is inconsequential. Gender does not make a parent.
Why do pleas from faces running with mascara in theatrical courtroom displays have more credibility than faces who sit respectfully quiet? How many courts will accept unverified testimony from mothers as fact and deny fathers a chance to be heard? How many children have to suffer because the court granted custody to a "donor" and not a "parent"? When will the judicial system recognize these miscarriages of justice and prosecute these liars for contempt? What about slander and defamation of character? What about miscarriage of justice?
In a nation that can see beyond skin color to elect a sincere president, can we not also see beyond gender to reveal a loving parent? Is this not in a child’s best interest?
This is the age of the father - give him a chance to be heard!
Rachel Ferreira of Centennial is a student at Queen's University in Canada.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
And Rules According to the LAW!!!!!
After 5 years of continuous abuse towards me and my daughter from four previous Judges, numerous unlawful rulings and obvious bias, a Judge finally rules according to the law! The abusive "not in the best interest of my daughter" treatment from the opposing attorney and her "Pocket Judges" has not prevailed for once. In this case an act of justice by a "non-manipulated and unbiased" Judge has benefited my circumstances and benefited the best interest of a child, my daughter.
After 2 years and 2 months of an extensive conspiracy of extortion by opposing attorney, my daughter’s mother, and involving a couple other Judges, I have finally received a 32% reduction in child support payments. Obviously this Judge seen the corruption and these ridiculous acts committed against me and my daughter and thought it was his duty to correct injustice with a lawful ruling. I believe the economy has also played a major factor in this Judges decision, but all in all, he followed the Georgia Child Support Guidelines and ruled according to the law, unlike any other previous Judge I have been in front of….
This is a major victory for me and my daughter but yet my war is not over, OUR war is not over. I feel it may never be over considering the hateful mother and her notorious lying and child abusive attorney. This unethical attorney still has pull with another bias and controllable Judge here in this circuit and this will be explained further in a future writing.
For now, I am spending the weekend with my daughter (it's my weekend) and enjoying the victory and the quality time "I am allowed" with my daughter.
I just wanted to inform you about my case that has been pending for 10 months now and that a victory has been achieved. With so many negative stories I run across and hear about on a daily basis, this ruling in my case is a testimony for every one to not give up hope and never to surrender. Positive outcomes ARE POSSIBLE!!! This is only one small correction in a sea of many needed corrections and the battle is far from being over.
It actually surprised the hell out of me! After 5 years of being hammered by this system, it was truly difficult for me to believe that anything but a negative result would amount from this motion I filed......I was beginning to believe “fair and lawful rulings” no longer existed..........never surrender, anything is possible!
Stay tuned for more on this story....
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Woman Shames Judge out of the Courtroom
From OREGON - Corrupt Judge shamed out of the Courtroom
by woman victim - Wishon - KTVZ Ch- 21 spins the story. READ:
Bend courtroom chaos erupts over property case
Patricia Wishon of La Pine confronts judge, others in courtroom after reading lengthy statement
Court-watch group is known for courthouse outbursts
By Nina Mehlhaf, KTVZ.COM
A major disruption in a Bend courtroom Friday brought an army of Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and ended with the entire noisy crowd thrown out of the building.
Yelling, name calling and questions of judicial corruption - it was a mess.
Only NewsChannel 21 was there for a motions hearing over a La Pine property seizure that started off calmly. But sheriff's deputies knew from the past history of this group, things could soon get out of hand.
"This is the citizen's courthouse people! This is the citizen's courthouse, and they're throwing people out of the courthouse!" yelled Patricia Wishon.
It made for quite a sight on the steps of the Deschutes County Courthouse.
It took more then a dozen sheriff's deputies to slowly escort the La Pine woman and her group of supporters out the front doors.
"These folks are very verbal, and these folks want to make sure they get their point out. And sometimes they do things out of regular function that hinder the ability of the court and cause a disturbance," sheriff's Lt. Kevin Dizney told NewsChannel 21 after it was all over.
But to understand why it started, we have to go back. It began almost normally, with a motions hearing to dismiss a case regarding a piece of La Pine property that Wishon says was stolen from her and auctioned off.
Helping her is Roger Weidner of Portland, a former lawyer and the vice president of Oregon Judicial Watch, a citizen's court-watch group, who travels the state confronting judges he believes are corrupt. After Wishon read her motion aloud for 30 minutes, the judge denied it - and that's when things got out of hand.
Judge Morgan said, "The hearing is over." And immediately Wishon launched into a verbal tirade.
"You will be named also in the document, and anyone that interferes will be named and you will answer!" she yelled at the judge and others in the court.
But when the dozen or so plain clothed deputies started trying to get the whole group to leave the courtroom, Wishon began shouting, "I don't have to leave the courtroom. These are the people's courtrooms! These are the people's courtrooms!"
While disruptions like that are rare, sheriff's deputies were ramped up for this one.
Just Thursday, Weidner was thrown out of the Multnomah County Courthouse in Portland for an outburst over a child custody case. He says he's spent over 300 days in jail for contempt of court.
"Some folks were making some statements that were going out of hand," said Dizney. "And ultimately, we just had to help clear the court and to avoid any further disturbances that would hinder the ability of the court to perform."
Nothing ever got physical at Friday's hearing. But the group says they won't rest until the court system becomes constitutional again.
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News from California…
From: Marc Angelucci [ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Yesterday the Memphis Commercial Appeal had a front page story on battered men and a small group of activists who are seeking to increase services for them. The story quotes our friend Jan Brown of DAHMW.
Then, in the same issue, a column called "Chick Chat" had a subsection called "Men win equal rights" that mentioned the above article and also mentioned and linked the Woods decision. I pasted and linked the article below. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/nov/11/a-pie-might-just-heat-up-your-punkin/
Last week a reporter from Scotland called for an interview for a story he's doing on the decision. He said they have the same problem in Scotland, involving the same ideology, and he was very supportive of us.
On Monday (11/10), three things happened: (1) NBC News interviewed David Woods and me for a story on the case, which will air in L.A. the next couple of weeks; (2) five of us, including David Woods, spoke out at the L.A. City Domestic Violence Council on the decision, which went well; and (3) UCLA School of Law also had me as a guest speaker on behalf of NCFM, which went very well and we discussed the Woods decision and its implications.
Men win equal rights
Today's M section cover story describes two activists' frustration over the shortage of support services for battered men. But the tide could be shifting. A recent court case will make it harder for domestic violence shelters in one state to turn away abused men.
In October, the California Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento ruled that domestic violence programs in California that receive state funding must provide services to men and women.
The case of Woods v. Shewry challenged the legality of some state-funded initiatives that assisted only battered women and children.
The unanimous ruling said, "We find male victims of domestic violence are similarly situated to female victims for purposes of the statutory programs and no compelling state interest justifies the gender classification." To read the full verdict, visit courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents /C056072.PDF
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This is unreal!!! Where is Justice????
Dena Schlosser, Plano mom who cut off baby's arms, moving to outpatient care
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Dena Schlosser, the Plano mother who killed her baby by cutting off her arms, will soon be a free woman.
State District Judge Chris Oldner on Thursday ordered that Ms.Schlosser be released from Rusk State Hospital to continue her treatment as an outpatient.
The judge, who in 2006 found Ms. Schlosser not guilty by reason of insanity, determined that her needs "and the safety of the community can be met with outpatient services," according to court documents.
But Judge Oldner's ruling set strict conditions for her release –which probably will occur within a month – and her freedom will be revoked if she doesn't comply. The judge ordered that she have no unsupervised contact with minor children; comply with a birth control regimen that's supervised by a doctor; attend weekly mental health appointments; and continue her medication.
"She's not released to go anywhere and do what she wants to do," her attorney, David Haynes, said Friday. "She'll be under the supervision of the court and the doctors at the hospital where she's been treated."
Ms. Schlosser's release was opposed by the Collin County district attorney's office, said Curtis Howard, an assistant district attorney who prosecuted Ms. Schlosser n 2006.
"We felt she needed to be in [the institution] longer because her last psychotic episode was under two years ago," said Mr. Howard,referring to a nonviolent incident that occurred when she was at a mental institution in Vernon. He said that her medication was changed as a result of the episode, but that he is concerned she might have another one.
Mr. Haynes said reports and testimony from mental health professionals who have been treating Ms. Schlosser convinced the court that she's not a threat to herself or others.
Ms. Schlosser is prevented from seeing her two surviving daughters under the terms of her January 2007 divorce from John Schlosser, who moved with his children to the Weatherford area.
"She appreciates the enormity of the death of her child at her hands, and she's going to spend the rest of her life living with that," Mr.Haynes said. "She's gotten away from a relationship and a church that were bad for her, and she's fought hard to regain her mental equilibrium."
The terms of her release seem reasonable to George Dix, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "I don't know what more you could do," he said. "If we had the resources to require home visits, that might be more effective."
Mr. Dix said there is no typical period of institutionalization in cases like this. However, he added, most mental health professionals agree that once a patient reaches "maximum receptivity" to treatment, they should be released.
"The more time you spend in one of those places, the less able you are to survive outside," Mr. Dix said. "You're looking at a balancing process between the public interest and the ability to maximize the chance that the person will adjust to the community."
In November 2004, Ms. Schlosser was arrested after she reported cutting off her 10-month-old daughter's arms with a kitchen knife.She told psychiatrists that God had told her to sever the child's limbs. Ms. Schlosser was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and depression after the child's home birth.
Ms. Schlosser's first capital murder trial ended in a hung jury. In April 2006, Judge Oldner found her not guilty by reason of insanity.
In June, Ms. Schlosser wrote a typewritten, one-page letter to Judge Oldner, requesting her freedom. She said several mistakes in her medical records had been corrected.
"I am confident that in light of the corrected documentation, my current mental health needs can be adequately met by community services and that I am no longer in need of institutionalized care," she wrote.
No action was taken as a result of that letter. Thursday's hour long hearing was her routine annual review of her commitment.
Ms. Schlosser's cousin, Jerry Huston, who lives in Illinois, said Friday that his family was not aware of her impending release. He said this will be the first time she's lived on her own because she's always been sheltered – first by her mother, then by her husband.
"She wants to start her life, to get a job and get her own place," Mr. Huston said. "When we were growing up, you could tell she was different. She was always under her mother's thumb. My aunt always dressed her like a middle-aged woman. She didn't have any friends in high school."
Mr. Huston believes his cousin will succeed as long as she has support.
"I'm 99.9 percent sure she'll never do anything like this again," he said, "unless she's off her medications and is not under psychiatric care."
Ms. Schlosser, who has a degree in psychology, has expressed a desire to work in mental health and has made friends in the Rusk area, said Mr. Haynes.
While he understands that the public may hold little sympathy for his client, Mr. Haynes hopes people will give her a chance to move on.
"The actions she took on the night her daughter died are not the sum total of this woman," he said. "Without taking anything away from the
extremely serious nature of this crime, I would hope that people could find it in their hearts to have a little compassion for her."
Staff writer Tiara M. Ellis contributed to this report.
•Andrea Yates, 44, of Houston drowned her five kids in June 2001, believing she was protecting them from Satan. During her second trial in July 2006, a jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity, and the former nurse was ordered to stay in a state mental hospital.
•Lisa Ann Diaz, 38, drowned her daughters – ages 3 and 5 – in September 2005, wrapped them in a blanket and laid them on a bed in their Plano house. A jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity, and she was released from a West Texas state hospital in late 2006.
•Valeria Maxon, 34, of Mansfield drowned her 1-year-old son in the family's hot tub in June 2006 because she thought she was a witch and her son was the Antichrist, according to court testimony. During her capital murder trial, the judge declared her legally insane and ordered her to receive treatment at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon.
•Deanna Laney, 44, bludgeoned her three sons with stones, killing two and seriously injuring the other in 2003, believing that God was telling her to do it. At the end of her 2004 capital murder trial, Ms. Laney was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She was sent to
a state mental hospital, where she remains.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Rates At Which Batterers Recieve Custody
by Joan Meier, Esq.
[Note: I found this article at an Obama website and blog. Could it be propaganda to further Joe Bidens VAWA program and the agenda of further warfare against men and Father's???? Of course it is! This article is totally bias against men and fathers and is available for comment at the website link at the bottom of the article. Lets do a study about the history of false alleghations in custody cases!]
One statement in Breaking the Silence: Children's Voices that has provoked controversy was my statement that "the studies are showing" that up to 2/3 of accused or adjudicated batterers receive joint or sole custody in court. While no empirical study can definitively determine a universal statistical rate, the key point is that the research consistently shows that accused and adjudicated batterers receive joint or sole custody disturbingly often. This confirms the anecdotal experience of domestic violence attorneys and victims around the country. The following research supports this perspective.
I. A History of Domestic Violence is Common among Contested Custody Cases.
The remarkably consistent research on this issue is compiled in my previously-issued statement , Research Indicating that the majority of cases that go to court as 'high conflict' contested custody cases have a history of domestic violence (Nov. 9, 2005).
One good example is a study cited by Janet Johnston, a leading researcher of parental alienation, which found that, among custody litigants referred to mediation, "[p]hysical aggression had occurred between 75% and 70% of the parents . . . even though the couples had been separated. . . [for an average of 30-42 months]". Furthermore, [i]n 35% of the first sample and 48% of the second, [the violence] was denoted as severe and involved battering and threatening to use or using a weapon."
- Janet R. Johnston, "High-Conflict Divorce," The Future of Children, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1994, 165-182) citing Depner et al., "Building a uniform statistical reporting system: A snapshot of California Family Court Services," Family and ConciliationCourts Review (1992) 30: 185-206
II. Domestic Violence Perpetrators are More Likely to Contest Custody than Non- Abusers.
The American Psychological Association's Presidential Task Force on Violence in the Family, the leading review of the research as of 1996, found that men who abuse their partners contest custody at least twice as often as non-abusing fathers. They are even more likely to contest custody if the children are boys.
- American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence in the Family (1996) at p. 40.
III. Accused and Adjudicated Batterers Receive Joint or Sole Custody Surprisingly Often.
The research on this has only emerged in the past few years and most studies have been small and local. Nonetheless, they document disturbing trends, which surprised even me when I first discovered them.
A. Multiple studies have documented gender bias against women in custody litigation.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom that women are favored in custody litigation, both the experiences of battered women and the empirical research are showing that women who allege abuse are deeply disfavored in custody courts.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Task Force was one of the first states to document the gender bias against women in family courts. This court-initiated study expressly found that "our research contradicted [the] perception" that "there is a bias in favor of women in these decisions." Moreover, it found that "in determining custody and visitation, many judges and family service officers do not consider violence toward women relevant." The Court's study further found that "the courts are demanding more of mothers than fathers in custody disputes" and that "many courts put the needs of noncustodial fathers above those of custodial mothers and children."
- Gender Bias Study of the Court System in Massachusetts, 24 New Eng.L.Rev. 745, 747, 825, 846 (1990)
More recently, and since the evolution and widespread adoption of "parental alienation syndrome," a multi-year, four-phase study using qualitative and quantitative social science research methodologies by the Wellesley Centers for Women found "a consistent pattern of human rights abuses" by family courts, including failure to protect battered women and children from abuse, discriminating against and inflicting degrading treatment on battered women, and denying battered women due process. Histories of abuse of mother and children were routinely ignored or discounted.
- Wellesley Centers for Women Battered Mothers' Testimony Project, Battered Mothers Speak Out: A Human Rights Report on Domestic Violence and Child Custody in the Massachusetts Family Courts (Nov. 2002)(hereafter "BMTP"), Executive Summary at 2.
A comparable study by the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that most of the women surveyed felt the history of abuse was not taken seriously and that they were ignored, disrespected and discriminated against by court personnel.
- Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Battered Mothers' Testimony Project: A Human Rights Approach to Child Custody and Domestic Violence (June 2003), pp. 47, 49, 6.
A study of the Domestic Relations Division of Philadelphia Family Court conducted by the Philadephia Women's Law Project in cooperation with the court, found that litigants are often denied due process, and that applicable legal standards are "not always observed, particularly in the consideration of abuse in custody proceedings, leaving families at risk."
- Tracy, Fromson & Miller, Justice in the Domestic Relations Division of Philadelphia Family Court: A Report to the Community, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REPORT, Vol. 8, No. 6 (Aug/Sept. 2003), p. 94.
B. Studies show Accused and Adjudicated Batterers Receiving Sole or Joint Custody Surprisingly Often.
My own survey of the case law in 2001 identified 38 appellate state court decisions concerning custody and domestic violence. To my astonishment, 36 of the 38 trial courts had awarded joint or sole custody to alleged and adjudicated batterers. Two-thirds of these decisions were reversed on appeal.
- Meier, Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and Child Protection: Understanding Judicial Resistance and Imagining the Solutions, A.U. J. Gender, Soc. Pol. & the Law, 11:2 (2003), 657-731, p. 662, n. 19, and Appendix.
These cases included a case in which the perpetrator had been repeatedly convicted of domestic assault; in which a father was given sole custody of a16-month old despite his undisputed choking of the mother resulting in her hospitalization and his arrest; in which the father had broken the mother's collarbone; had committed "occasional incidents of violence"; and had committed two admitted assaults. More such instances can be found in Meier, supra.
The American Judges Association has found that approximately 70% of batterers succeed in convincing authorities that the victim is unfit for or undeserving of sole custody. Another way of saying this is that 70% of batterers obtain sole or joint custody.
- American Judges Association, "Domestic Violence and the Courtroom: Understanding the Problem . . . Knowing the Victim" http://aja.ncsc.dni.us/domviol/page5.html (at "Forms of Emotional Battering. . . Threats to Harm or Take Away Children")
A survey of battered women by the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that courts awarded joint or sole custody to the alleged batterers 56-74% of the time (depending on the county). Many of these cases involved documented child abuse or adult abuse.
- Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Battered Mothers' Testimony Project: A Human Rights Approach to Child Custody and Domestic Violence (June 2003), pp. 33-34, 47-49
A study of 300 cases over a 10-year period in which the mother sought to protect the child from sexual abuse, found that 70% resulted in unsupervised visitation or shared custody; in 20% of the cases the mothers completely lost custody, and many of these lost all visitation rights.
- Neustein & Goetting (1999), "Judicial Responses to the Protective Parent's Complaint of Child Sexual Abuse," Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 8 (4): 103-122.
The Wellesley Battered Mothers' Testimony Project found that 15 out of 40 cases resulted in sole or joint physical custody to the fathers, all of whom had abused both the mother and the children.
- BMTP, supra at Appendix A.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Task Force found that 94% of fathers who actively sought custody received sole or joint custody, regardless of whether there was a history of abuse. While fathers received primary physical custody 29% of the time, mothers received primary physical custody in only 7% of the contested cases. The Study also cited other research which similarly found that fathers who sought custody received primary physical custody 2/3 of the time, with mothers receiving it less than ¼ of the time; and another study which found that fathers seeking custody received joint or sole custody 79% of the time, with mothers receiving sole custody in only 15% of those cases (compared to fathers' sole custody in 41% of the cases).
- Gender Bias Study at 831-832 and citing Middlesex Divorce Research Group relitigation study and Phear et al., 1983.
While the Massachusetts study and those it cited were not able to identify what proportion of the contesting fathers were batterers, the studies cited in my other Statement indicate consistently that 75% of cases have a history of domestic violence, with a substantial proportion of severe violence. Hence, it is likely that a substantial proportion of the fathers receiving joint or primary physical custody in this study had committed domestic violence.
- Meier Statement, Research Indicating that the Majority of Cases that go to Court as 'High Conflict' Contested Custody Cases have a History of Domestic Violence (Nov. 9, 2005).
Article Link: http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/indianashameteardropsforkatelynn/gGxZx4/commentary
The privatizing of child support collection agencys and incarceration agencys (prisons) are totally a scam to generate huge profits in the private sector and to make a select few very rich! (see earlier post today about the prison system scam).
The state Attorney General's Office is looking at a Nevada operation that takes money meant for kids
Mandy Locke, Staff Writer Comment on this story RALEIGH - Parents seeking help collecting child support payments are being lured by a private company that pockets a third of the monthly payments meant for the care of the children.
Some parents assume that the Nevada-based company, Child Support Services, is a government agency. At least one customer said she inadvertently signed a contract with the company that would have cost her more than $10,000 in lost child support payments. The local government agency that handles child support would have charged her no more than $25.
The company's practices infuriate Lillian Overton, who runs the child support enforcement program for Wake County.
"This money is supposed to be for children," said Overton, whose office handles roughly 20,000 cases. "This is unconscionable."
The scope of Child Support Services' operation is unclear, but authorities in three states are aware of hundreds of clients complaining of being scammed in their dealings with the private company. The company and its owner, Stuart C. Cole, have already been ordered to shut down in Florida. Georgia authorities are also scrutinizing Cole's practices.
The North Carolina attorney general decided last week to begin investigating Child Support Services of Wake County; the N.C. State Bar has also launched an investigation to determine whether Cole and his company are practicing law without a license.
Cole did not respond to numerous telephone messages, e-mail and a letter; a Florida lawyer who represented him in 2006 in a lawsuit brought by the state said he no longer represents Cole and is not in communication with him.
To Paulette Turlington of Raleigh, the company's pitch sounded legitimate and appealing.
Turlington was caring for her two teenage daughters with the help of a $650 monthly child support payment she negotiated in 1999 when she divorced their father. This summer, as gas prices climbed along with the cost of everything else, Turlington struggled.
In August, she searched for a phone number to the county child support office to ask whether it could help increase her support. She navigated the Internet to "Superpages," an online phone directory. She typed in "child support Wake county." She called the first listing: Child Support Services of Wake County.
Quick work promised
The woman who answered promised swift action. Turlington said she was assured that any fees would be passed to her former husband. The woman faxed Turlington a form and advised her to sign it so a case manager could begin work.
What Turlington signed was a contract locking her into their services for four years. The company would keep 35 percent of her monthly payment as a fee, regardless of whether they managed to increase her payments.
"I feel so stupid, but I was totally lied to. I was scammed," Turlington said. After she faxed in the contract, she said, she couldn't get anyone on staff to take or return her calls.
Meanwhile, Turlington's former husband, Mark Snyder, received a letter from Child Support Services of Wake County ordering him to appear at an address on Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh for a "review" of his support. If he had gone to the address, he would have found that it belonged to a UPS store.
The letter also offered an easier option: Just call a toll-free number to avoid the hearing.
Snyder called the number, thinking it was the county's child support enforcement office. When the woman who answered advised him to redirect his same monthly payment to the company, Snyder agreed.
"I didn't want to go to jail," Snyder said. "I know I have an obligation to my daughters."
Soon, Turlington's checks stopped coming altogether. She fretted over her mortgage payment, forbade her daughters to go to the movies. She canceled one daughter's eye doctor appointment. At wits' end, Turlington and her new husband hired an attorney.
Turlington's attorney alerted the state Attorney General's Office; a lawyer there told Child Support Services of Wake County to void Turlington's contract. The company has complied; Turlington and Snyder have returned to their previous arrangement.
In North Carolina, even licensed lawyers negotiating child support payments are forbidden to take fees out of the support payment. The government-run child support agencies in North Carolina charge at most $25 to handle a case -- less if the parent has limited income. That fee is not deducted from the payment itself.
It's not clear with how many clients Child Support Services has contracted in North Carolina. Overton said she heard from another parent last week whom she suspects had hired Child Support Services of Wake County. The Attorney General's Office has received complaints only from Turlington and a woman in Charlotte, who called directory assistance for a number to Mecklenburg's child support office but was given the private company's number instead.
At the UPS store where Child Support Services directed Snyder to appear for a hearing, owner Marlene Wynkoop since April has been receiving undeliverable letters that the company sent using her store as the return address -- even though the company has no relationship with her store. She threw some of the letters out, but has kept nearly 20, apparently addressed to parents the company couldn't reach.
Wynkoop doesn't know anyone at the company and doesn't know why they are using her address. She called the company once but didn't receive a coherent explanation.
Hard to find
Cole, the owner, is elusive. Child Support Services of Wake County is registered as a Nevada corporation with a man named Scott Burnett as its agent. Burnett, a lawyer in California, declined to comment when reached last week.
Burnett wrote a letter to the N.C. State Bar in October saying that he has nothing to do with the business. He directed a lawyer with the State Bar to Cole. Three different sales representatives at the company gave different explanations on how to reach Cole. One said she didn't know him. Another suggested a reporter track him down in Oklahoma. The last offered a post office box in Nevada.
The State Bar has not heard from Cole and can't figure out where he lives. The phone number Burnett provided is a Georgia number. The address Burnett offered for Cole is in Florida.
Cole first appeared on the radar of Florida officials about three years ago, soon after he was released from a five-year prison stint for mail fraud and money-laundering associated with construction firms up and down the East Coast. His probation ended in February, but Cole still owes more than $800,000 in restitution to the homeowners he defrauded, according to federal court records.
Florida officials are also trying to collect more than $250,000 in fines against Cole for violating a 2006 court injunction ordering him to cease his child support collection agency in the state. Sandi Copes, spokeswoman for the Florida Attorney General's Office, said it has never been able to collect restitution for the more than 300 single parents whom it thinks Cole bilked out of child support.
In 2006, a judge had ordered Cole to turn over his records and bank holdings to the attorney general. Florida officials never received those records, and Copes said they think Cole cleared out his bank account before the attorney general's staff could freeze it.
email@example.com or 919-829-8927
News researchers Brooke Cain and Denise Jones contributed to this report.
Child support offices in North Carolina are authorized to help establish a court order for collection from the parent not caring for the child. They can also help establish paternity. Typically, the parent ordered to pay does so through a centralized system and can even have automatic withdrawals through a check or debit card. Some parents have their wages garnisheed through their employers.
These local child support programs can collect a one-time $25 processing fee. The fee is reduced for those with low income. No fees are taken out of the child support payments themselves.
Only judges can order a review of child support arrangements. Be suspicious if you receive anything in the mail ordering an appearance anywhere except a county courtroom. Also be warned that in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, directory assistance offers the private company as the listing for the local child support office.
Anyone who has hired Child Support Services of Wake County or Mecklenburg, or any other similar private collection agency, should contact the state Attorney General's Office toll free at 877-566-7226.
SOURCE: N.C. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
ACCESS TO SERVICES
Residents in all 100 counties in North Carolina have access to a local child support enforcement service associated with the state. To reach your county, call the state's customer service call center at 800-992-9457 or visit www.ncchildsupport.com.
These services are overseen by the state Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly half a million North Carolina children are assisted by child support payments collected by these agencies; in Wake County alone, nearly 20,000 cases are being managed.
Article Link: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1289964.html
[Note: I have mentioned before in a few articles that I wrote about how "federal incarceration incentives" were going to be the next wave of injustice sweeping this nation for big gov. to rake in more profits. This article basically says it all and explains how this plan has been around for a while and is growing at an astonishing rate. It seems that the divorce industry and the incarceration industry is working in sync and generationing huge profits and making a select few very rich. I wonder exactly how many inmates in this country are falsely accused through VAWA legislation and how many are locked up for child support arrears? Scary stuff!]
Incarceration Nation: The Rise of a Prison-Industrial Complex
by Andrew Bosworth / November 8th, 2008
In a nation originally founded on personal liberty, almost two and a half million Americans are behind bars. No doubt, violent criminals should be in jail, but most Americans are not aware that well over half of the inmates are jailed for non-violent offenses, many of which are extremely petty: possession of marijuana, public intoxication, street hustling, prostitution, loitering, bouncing checks, failure to produce identification, and even writing graffiti.
Consider this fact: The United States has less than 4 percent of the world's population but almost 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Amazingly, the US has a higher incarceration rate than China, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe and Burma. Out of 1,000 people, more Americans are behind bars than anywhere in the world except in Kim Jong-Il's Neo-Stalinist North Korea, which is basically one giant Gulag.
Why is this happening? Inmates have become the raw material for a prison-industrial complex, shoring up perpetual profits for McJails. Corporate prisons are paid on a per-prisoner/per-day basis, and thus they lobby hard for longer mandatory sentences. Inmates also provide cheap labor, and they are about to become, once again, guinea pigs for pharmaceutical trials. All of this signals the conversion of people into valuable "bio-mass".
Incarceration makes sense, politically. Prisons provide jobs to rural and small town Americans who would otherwise be unemployed. These workers and their families represent votes, especially in the South, where electoral majorities are White and electoral minorities are Black. The drug war is, in large part, a race war by other means.
Study after study documents the following: African Americans are disproportionately stopped and searched; African Americans are disproportionately arrested; African Americans are disproportionately charged; and African Americans are disproportionately convicted. And all felons are disenfranchised, never to vote again.
Texas is the most enthusiastic jailer in the nation. The Lone Star State has become the Lock-Down State. It has the highest incarceration rate in the nation (which in turn has the highest rate in the world). Texas insists upon locking up people like Rodney Hulin, a 16 year old African American who was convicted of setting a dumpster on fire. His sentence was 8 years in an adult prison. Despite pleading to be removed to another section, prison officials refused to extract him from the general population. Hulin was repeatedly raped and infected with HIV, and he ended the nightmare by hanging himself in his cell. But what is a 16-year-old doing in an adult prison? It is not that uncommon:
The United States has 2,225 adolescent offenders incarcerated and serving life without the possibility of parole. The United States is the only country in the world that continues to sentence children to life without the possibility of parole….
Florida has 713 child inmates who have received adult sentences of 10 years or more for crimes committed before their 17th birthdays. 1
Even "progressive" states like California are pushing mass incarceration, locking up the hapless and the marginal. Billy Ochoa, for example, is serving 326 years in a "Supermax" (super maximum security) prison for welfare fraud. Billy is an addict, an inept burglar, and not-very-good trafficker of food stamps. Under California's "Three Strikes and You Are Out" law he is locked up in a tiny cell for 23 hours a day.
In Arizona, among other places, incarceration fits into a Blood-and-Soil subculture: anti-immigrant, anti-minority and neo-fascist. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for example, delights in humiliating inmates, making them wear pink and sleep in tents in 100 degree weather. Arpaio even reduced inmate food intake to sub-human levels:
Arpaio makes inmates pay for their meals, which some say are worse than those for the guard dogs. Canines eat $1.10 worth of food a day, the inmate 90 cents, the sheriff says. "I'm very proud of that too." 2
Arpaio, as America's Uber-Jailer, even puts women in chain gangs and then boasts about obtaining "free labor" for the State. Stalin would have been proud. Instead of being jailed for human rights abuses, Arpaio enjoys high approval rates in the Phoenix area.
So the prison-industrial complex gets fatter and the prisoners get thinner. Both private and public prisons are cutting corners on guard training, libraries, education centers and even food. From Florida:
Mushy bland broccoli stems accompanied by a greasy mystery meat endowed with undercooked rice is as good as it gets for inmates behind bars.
The Senate has proposed slicing $6 million from the current prison food budget, while the House wants to cut $11 million.
Basically, Florida wants to lower the quality of prisoner food from this already-miserable level:
"˜The quality of the food is substandard," said a relative of an inmate at Marion Correctional Institution in Lowell, who asked not to be named because she feared retaliation against the prisoner. ˜The preparation is haphazard. They're supposed to wear hairnets and gloves. You find hair in your food and you find a Band-Aid in your food. Things are so overcooked it's mush, or it's not cooked at all." 3
Texas, Florida, California and Arizona have vast quantities of prisoners. Of course, we'll never know how many prisoners are even guilty. They've been locked up through mass "plea bargaining" agreements. Here's the deal: Plead guilty to a lesser crime (to something you might not have done) and go to jail for 3 years or risk a trial and the chance of doing 10 years. It's a no-brainer.
Plea bargaining runs against the grain of the Fifth Amendment's right to a fair trial. It specifically contradicts the US Constitution, Article III, Section 2: "The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury." That seems pretty clear. Theoretically, an individual can choose to forfeit his or her own civil liberties, but the Constitution is degraded when plea bargaining becomes standard operating procedure, when it becomes a conveyor belt for mass incarceration, feeding inmates to hungry corporate prisons.
At this pace, the US is in danger of witnessing the development of a Gulag to jail the entire lumpenproletariat, the flotsam of society, a large and growing segment of the population, under-educated and under-employed. (But don't fret too much, since news about jails seldom makes the mainstream press.).
Women are now the fastest growing population of inmates, and many of them are young mothers with babies. Sarah B. From, with the Women's Prison Association, explains:
Nearly two-thirds of women in state prisons are there for nonviolent offenses; most are mothers. Their children face the emotional and developmental effects of separation, and the public incurs additional costs related to the child welfare system.
Most women in prison report histories of substance abuse, mental health issues and past trauma — factors that contribute to the crimes thhey commit. Prison does little to address these issues or to decrease the likelihood of recidivism. 4
Immigrant women and their children are beginning to experience long-term detention. This too has been privatized, as Steve Watson and Paul Watson report:
The federal government is accepting bids on the contracts from county governments or private companies to build and run the "family detention centers…"
The T. Don Hutto detention center, which is privately run by a company called Corrections Corp. of America, currently interns political asylum seekers who came to the U.S. on legal visas. Most of them are families including pregnant women and children who have never been accused of any wrongdoing but are forced to endure squalid conditions inside literal internment camps… 5
Every major human rights group condemns family detention centers as sites of "collective punishment" (which might be classified as "concentration camps" under international law). Of course, the federal government promotes a sanitized image of detention centers in order to hide the fact that the Hutto center, for example, is a retro-fitted prison.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is selling the concept of detention centers as miniature cities, models of healthy living. As Anna Gorman reports for the Los Angeles Times:
The agency calls for minimum-security residential facilities that would provide a "least restrictive, nonsecure setting" and provide schooling for children, recreational activities and access to religious services. 6
This ICE propaganda is reminiscent of the Nazis, literally. Several years before the Nazis began their extermination campaign, they invited film crews onto concentration camps to show how happy the residents were with their schools and facilities…
Work Shall Set You Free
In the 1970s, a Supreme Court Justice, Warren Burger, proselytized for more leeway as to what kinds of "projects" prisoners could work on. Before too long, Congress amended the laws. In a Great Leap Backward, the US Congress has repealed two federal laws (the Hawes Cooper Act and the Ashurst-Sumner Act) that virtually outlawed prison labor, making it a felony to move prison-made goods across state boundaries. Stamping state license plates for cars was generally acceptable, but these Acts tried to end the leasing out of prisoners to private companies; they tried to eliminate prison-plantations and "factories with fences."
By 1990 it was permissible for prisoners to produce products entering the stream of interstate commerce. Many of the largest corporations in America have exploited prison labor in what might be called "Operation Sweatshop." Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, Victoria's Secret and other companies have participated in prison labor programs.
Now, the federal government is taking the entire concept of prison labor to a new level: The Federal Inmate Labor Program. Details of the program can be found on the Pentagon's own website. Documents released as far back as 2005 establish "Procedures for establishing a civilian inmate prison camp on Army installations." Sample text from the Federal Inmate Labor Program:
b. The Army is not interested in, nor can afford, any relationship with a corrections facility if that relationship stipulates payment for civilian inmate labor…
(3) No photograph, film, nor video may be taken or made of any inmate labor detail or member for any reason without prior written permission from both (name of the Army organization) PAO and (name of local federal corrections facility) officials. 7
In other words, the federal government is seeking unpaid laborers from among the pool of prisoners who would not be incarcerated long-term in other nations — non-violent and petty offenders who do not need constant guard. Just as in the Third Reich, federal authorities wish to convey their good intentions; in this case, they seek to enrich the life of prisoners:
"(2) Providing meaningful work for inmates…"
So it is not surprising that inmates are becoming guinea pigs for medical experiments and drug testing. Big Pharma faces a shortage of experimental subjects. Ian Urbina, in the New York Times, explains how the pharmaceutical lobby is on the verge of changing — or reversing federal law:
An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse…
The discussion comes as the biomedical industry is facing a shortage of testing subjects… 8
(My Note: You can thank the leftist animal rights wackos for now causing humans to be test subjects).
In fact, it is precisely because of pharmaceutical experiments that federal law began to protect prisoners in the late 1970s. Technically, under a Department of Health and Human Services regulation (45 CFR 46), prisoners are supposed to receive the same "protection of human subjects" as children and pregnant women. As the law currently stands, the only research that may be conducted with prisoners has to be material to their lives. Prisoners may not be used, under current law, as a "population of convenience." But all this may soon be rolled back.
The profit motive worms its way into all aspects of prison life. The executives of these for-profit prisons sponsor "tough-on-crime" legislation and even line the pockets of politicians who back "mandatory sentencing" laws. It's all profitable. On correctionscorp.com there is a separate section for investors.
Corrections Corporation of America is the nation's largest owner and operator of privatized correctional and detention facilities and one of the largest prison operators in the United States, behind only the federal government and three states.
A recent analysis of the prison industry by Leslie Berestein is telling:
The industry leaders' stock prices have rebounded. Since 2001, CCA shares have split twice and multiplied tenfold, closing recently at $26.17. The GEO Group, which changed its name from Wackenhut Corrections in 2003, has also completed two stock splits and seen its stock value jump from roughly $2.50 a share in early January 2001 to $26.76 recently.
Meanwhile, the industry has broadened its political influence, spending more to lobby agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Prisons. 9
A nation that once represented personal liberty, the United States, has become the world's most ardent incarcerator, turning the hapless and marginalized into inmates, cheap laborers, and guinea pigs for pharmaceutical trials.
Call your broker…
Maria E. Castagliuolo, "State Metes Living Death Penalties to Children," Florida Issues, 5 April 2008. [ â†©]
Dara Kam, "Vendor, Lawmakers Suggest Cutting $11 million from Prison Food Deals," Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau, 29 March 2008. [ â†©]
Sarah B. From, "Letter to the Editor," New York Times, 24 April 2008. (Sarah B. From is Director of Public Policy and Communications Women's Prison Association). [ â†©]
Steve Watson and Paul Watson, " Federal Government Taking Bids On Construction Of Internment Camps," Infowars.net, 19 May 2008. [ â†©]
Anna Gorman, " Immigration Agency Plans New Family Detention Centers," Los Angeles Times, 19 May 2008. [ â†©]
Andrew Bosworth, Ph.D., is author of Biotech Empire: The Untold Future of Food, Pills, and Sex, & Profit, Power, and the War on Your Health. he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read other articles by Andrew, or visit Andrew's website.
Article Link: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/11/incarceration-nation-the-rise-of-a-prison-industrial-complex/