Posts Tagged ‘Family courts’


One of the many problems of the American justice system is that it is unnecessarily clamorous. Take perp walks for instance. DSK had his. Perp walks are there for the media to share in with the crowd the shame of those who are indicted, like in the Middle Ages the populace could scream at and insult those who were sentence to death on their way to the scaffold. These practices add absolutely nothing to justice.  The American justice system is unnecessarily clamorous because, among others, some law-enforcement officers and magistrates are elected. This creates a serious conflict of interests between the superior interests of justice and theirs. These elected officials have an incentive to call in the clamor of the regular folks on easy victims to justify their job and advance their careers.

I just found out about one of these new knights of law-enforcement: Sheriff Dart in Cook County, Illinois. Dart is posting pictures of deadbeat dads on his website and encourage all noble delators to rat on the monsters. One can bet that Dart’s P.R. operation at the expense of deadbeat dads rests on an efficient cooperation with the family court of Cook County;  After all, that’s only in family courts that turnips bleed. Let us suggest one bolder move to Dart for his anti-fathers law-enforcement practices: Have family court provide him with the list of unemployed divorced fathers and arrest them preventively. These folks are about to default on their child support payments anyway!

The question that I cannot help but ask myself: were fathers, divorced and not, gone fishing when Dart was elected in Cook County?

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What do we want? My ranking goes this way: 1/ joint-custody of children (and the relegation of sole custodial parent status to an


exception); 2/ a fair division of the costs of raising a child that would take into account both parents incomes 3/ the disappearance of family courts- these unreformable, secretive gender-biased institutions- and the transfer of their functions to Supreme Courts.

Unfortunately, recent events lead me think that these most welcome reforms are not about to see the light soon, and the price might be many more Balls victims of the US family justice system. We live in times of fiscal imbecility: thanks to the deal just concocted by the President and Congress, the poor are going to pay for the costs of two senseless wars aggravated by the Bush tax cuts. In such a context, the US family laws have a crucial advantage: they are fiscally innocuous, hence the bastards -fathers mostly- pick up the tab for everything – education, health care –  that the scrawny U.S. social system lacks of. And there are no incentives for politicians to shake the stalemate: republicans, that wound up debt-aware when Obama became President-  care as much for fathers rights as they care for women or gay rights; invertebrate democrats won’t take the risk to alienate their female constituency, even if it would not be that hard to explain that fathers rights are not against mothers rights, except for some outdated feminists.

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The Closer (Kira Sedgwick)

The Closer (Kira Sedgwick)

I happened to watch “The Closer” (Kyra Sedgwick) tonight. The first episode of season 5, whose title I could not find. Frankly, at the beginning, I was scared that the show would  sunk in one of the worst cliche ever. Brenda and her squad discovered that an entire latino  family has been murdered: the mother, the two kids and la suegra. “Usual” suspect: the husband, Rivera.  Rivera has been charged with domestic violence in the past but he tries to fix his indomitable temper by going more to church. In addition, he has had a mistress. You have the whole latino male profile: the guy has intercourse with his wife, then his mistress, beats his kids, goes to church and have a few tequilas in between (change tequila for wine and delete church going and you get the French).  He has to be the guy.

But by chance, Brenda’s investigation stumbles into an FBI protected agent involved with a drug lord. The protected agent was supposed to be the victim instead of the entire family. The author of the tragic mistake: pregnant Dina (latina), who did not hesitate to kill an entire family to take her man out of jail. When Brenda gets her to confess, Dina utters that she wanted to have her family! What wouldn’t one do in the name of family…

In the end, Lieutenant Provenza does his best to comfort Rivera, who at least is cleared. Family courts goes for the easy scapegoat in less dramatic matters – the male brute-, while the “closer” looks beyond cliches.  The law is always two steps behind society.

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This Judge Judy’s case was on a recent Glenn Sacks’ posting. A 22 year-old man, Adrian Welsh, was suing his ex-girl friend,  Ashley Brawthen, for destruction and steal of property. On January 13 of this year, Ashley -with the baby she had with Adrian- leaves the conjugal apartment and go to her parents. On January 25, allegedly upon receiving a provocative phone call, she goes to her boyfriend’s, finds him with another girl and breaks the door of his bedroom.  Then, on January 30 – when Adrian is taking care of the kid!- she goes to court to get a restraining order and to file for custody.  This young lady has clearly understood the way to work the system: with a restraining order – that one can get without problem, one just wonders why they are not available with dispensing machines at the entrance of family courts- she will get the kid, most of the goods and revenge. Adrian Welsh was smart enough to take a break from  family court and knocked Judge Judy ‘s door. When Judge Judy asked Ashley why she filed for a restraining order, she repeats the sesame words: “he physically and verbally abused me,” but all the specifics she comes with is harassing text messages. Watch her having her ass properly kicked by Judge Judy:

Judge Judy regrets to see a Ashley Brawthen abusing a system that women have worked so hard to reform. Many non-custodial fathers wonders why the family court system let itself abuse so easily. Perhaps it would not be so if it was not  a behind closed- doors justice. Biases would not fly well in public.

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A week ago, like many other New York State employees, I received a letter from the Department of Civil Service stating that it has

Bureaucracy (josephbau.org)

Bureaucracy (josephbau.org)

 contracted BUDCO Health Service Solutions to administer the Dependent Eligibility Verification Project. Translation: there is going to be blood. BUDCO – whose clients includes Fortune 500 companies- will come up with sophisticated technicalities to slash a bunch of dependents of New York State employees from the list of eligible New York State Health Insurance Program beneficiaries.Of course, the Department of Civil Service letter does not tell the reader what BUDCO’s fee is. One can surmise from all of this is that in New York State, the much-needed reforms in health care system will not head in the expected directions.

I have one tip for BUDCO: take inspiration on biased family courts rulings. For instance, my daughters are eligible dependent, who are denied coverage because sicko ex-wife makes a point of not using my insurance. Manhattan family court affixes the stamp of the”law” on this denial of coverage by having me pay for these  “un-reimbursed medical expenses”. That’s one way for NYSHIP to explore: eligible dependents shall be custodial parent dependents only.

Seriously, there are better solutions for health care coverage in general,  which I presume, Budco is not promoting.  Single-payer systems for instance. In a single-payer system, what matters is care, not the caretaker: a waco like my ex-wife could not “choose” not to use my insurance because she has one (with less coverage): there is only one payer and hence  one insurance for everybody. Cost of care: down, because the government put ceilings on physicians fees and medication prices. Management costs: down. A big bureaucracy is more efficient that many small ones, public or private. Customer service: better. Employees of private health insurance companies have one thing at heart: maximize the profits of  the company they work for and deny your claim. Employees in big public agencies are not necessary caring and nice. But at least, they don’t care whether you are reimbursed or not.

As President Obama said, as far as health care is concerned, change cannot wait. Let’s hope it does not wait too long.

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Let's Get Honest! Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.