Thursday, April 2, 2009

Illinois Judge Didn't Listen to Mother's Concern for Her Sons...BAM! They are Dead Now

About the murder-suicide that happened recently in Illinois, a father killing his two young sons and himself during visitation...from NBC Week:

Family and friends of two slain LeRoy boys say a McLean County judge is just as guilty as the boys' father in their deaths. More than a thousand people have signed a petition calling for Judge James Souk to resign.

Online Petition for Judge Souk To Resign

Amy Leitchenberg believes her boys would be with her now if it weren't for Judge James Souk granting her ex-husband unsupervised visitations. She pleaded with the courts to keep her boys away from their father, Michael Connolly, because she says he was abusive to her, depressed and suicidal.

Now, there are calls for the courts to change and consider those risk factors in cases like this. "If those risk factors are high for a parent to parent, then is there a way to put that protective factor in place," Kim Wells, Executive Director for the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, says.

"There is a lot of protection and I doubt very much that the judge failed in this case," Longtime Peoria Divorce Attorney David Lynch says. Lynch says even though Michael Connolly violated orders of protection, he believes the judge followed the law because he showed no specific harm to the kids. "A court cannot stop a visitation unless it finds the visitation would be dangerous to the child's mental, moral or physical health," Lynch says.

Still, family and friends of the boys are frustrated saying Jack and Duncan's deaths could have been prevented. That's why they're also planning to file a complaint with a Judicial Board in Springfield about Judge Souk's decision. "I do believe this family was failed. That these children were failed and we need to take a long, hard look at what we can do," Wells says.

"A judge is going to say look at what happened to those two kids. Should I be overly restrictive to a very good parent because they might be that one in 10-thousand or one in 100,000. It’s a very nerve-wracking business," Lynch says.

Judge Souk's decision in November does include a psychiatrist report that states Michael Connolly was not a threat to himself or others. Authorities say they believe the father Michael Connolly hanged himself. Meanwhile, the cause of death for his two boys found in the back of his car is not being released because their mother does not want to know.

Funeral arrangements for Jack and Duncan Connolly will be at the LeRoy Christian Church. A visitation will be Thursday from four to seven p.m. The Funeral will be Friday morning at 10 a.m.

No comments: