Sunday, June 26, 2011

Twisted: Expert Witnesses and Their Ethics

This article reminds us of some of our less favorite Whores of the Court here in Indiana. Yes Virginia, it is happening all over the country.

Seattle Times special report: Twisted ethics of an expert witness

By Ken Armstrong and Maureen O'Hagan

Seattle Times staff reporters

June 25, 20011

Earlier this year, a four-page document with a bland title, "Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice," was filed in a civil matter percolating on the King County Courthouse's ninth floor. Hardly anyone took notice. Most everyone had moved on.

But that document — filed by lawyers tangled up in the estate of Stuart Greenberg, a nationally renowned psychologist whose life ended in scandal — signaled the end of a tortuous undertaking.

Greenberg had proved such a toxic force — a poison coursing through the state's court system — that it took more than three years for lawyers and judges to sift through his victims and account for the damage done.

For a quarter century Greenberg testified as an expert in forensic psychology, an inscrutable field with immense power. Purporting to offer insight into the human condition, he evaluated more than 2,000 children, teenagers and adults. His word could determine which parent received custody of a child, or whether a jury believed a claim of sexual assault, or what damages might be awarded for emotional distress.

At conferences and in classrooms, in Washington and beyond, he taught others to do what he did. He became his profession's gatekeeper, quizzing aspirants, judging others' work, writing the national-certification exam. His peers elected him their national president.

But his formidable career was built upon a foundation of hypocrisy and lies. In the years since Greenberg's death, while court officials wrestled over his estate, The Seattle Times worked to unearth Greenberg's secrets, getting court records unsealed and disciplinary records opened.

Those records are a testament to Greenberg's cunning. They show how he played the courts for a fool. He played state regulators for a fool. He played his fellow psychologists for a fool. And were it not for a hidden camera, he might have gotten away with it.

In summer 1984, Cathy Graden, a 27-year-old surgical nurse from Woodinville, was summoned to King County Superior Court for an emergency hearing in her child-custody case.

Her lawyer said a psychologist's report was behind the hearing. But Graden wasn't allowed to read the report. Nor was she allowed in the courtroom while the psychologist testified.

The psychologist, Stuart Greenberg, had been hired to help resolve a custody dispute involving Graden's only child, a 4-year-old boy whose bright, goopy finger-paintings Graden taped up all over the house.

Although appointed by the court, Greenberg was paid by the parties. He had interviewed the boy and both parents, and run a half-dozen tests with impressive names (the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, the Michigan Screening Profile of Parenting ... ).

Graden figured she had nothing to fear. She taught Sunday school; she did volunteer work; she had taken care of her son when the boy's father moved to Alaska after the couple's divorce. "I thought there was no way I could possibly lose this," she says.

Greenberg had arrived in Seattle five years earlier, hired by the University of Washington. A letter written by the department chairman called Greenberg a "last-minute replacement" for a psychology professor who'd resigned. Greenberg's credentials "were on hand," because he'd applied for some other position.

His credentials were acceptable but not extraordinary. He had a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, where his thesis was a word salad: "Stimulus and Response Generalization of Classes of Imitative and Non-imitative Behavior as a Function of Reinforcement, Task, Cues, and Number of Therapists." On Washington's psychology licensing test, one examiner marked Greenberg's professional judgment as "good," his knowledge and skills, "okay."

Teaching, Greenberg earned just $15,300 his first year. His second year, he was assigned only a single evening class. He left the university and moved into private practice. He picked up court appointments in Western Washington as a custody investigator, expert evaluator, arbiter, mediator, guardian ad litem, special master. He became enmeshed in the court system, buddying up to lawyers, judges, fellow experts.

On the stand, he radiated confidence. "He was just kind of a notch above the rest of us," says Nick Wiltz, a fellow forensic psychologist. "He was able to present reports and information in a very powerful way."

But Greenberg also demonstrated dubious judgment and a cavalier attitude toward his ethical obligations, which forbade even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Please go to the original article to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Daily Occurrence: More Blood on the Hands of Family Court Judges

Lauren McConniel

Another case, one of many mothers who lose their children for no reason. This little girl's last days on earth were hell, and thanks to the family courts, other children are still suffering this fate every day. Just look at the news.

Mother "broken" after five year-old daughter's death

The mother of a little girl in Muncie who died of malnutrition, has strong words for Central Indiana: "Do not let this happen to another kid."

Indianapolis — The mother of a little girl who died of malnutrition, has strong words for Central Indiana: "Do not let this happen to another kid."

That was the message from five-year-old Lauren McConniel's mother Amber Huggins. Higgins spoke via phone to Fox59 News Thursday.

Huggins made a desperate plea to the public saying, "To everybody, if you ever see a child that you think is being abused, even if you have your doubts, please contact Child Protective Services."

Huggins lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. She said she lost custody of Lauren to her ex-husband Ryan McConniel who is now being bars along with his wife Brittany. Both are charged with Class A Felony counts of neglect, causing Lauren's death.

According to Huggins, "The only reason that she [Lauren] ended out of my custody is because when I went to my divorce proceeding, I did not have an attorney to represent me. I mean you've got your children and you're a good mother of them and a judge says, 'Alright, we're going to give custody to the dad.' "

A detective with the Muncie Police Department said the custody battle took place in Arkansas. On Amber Huggins' Myspace page, she lists her status as "broken." She said her daughter was in perfect health before Ryan McConniel received custody.

"She was perfect. She had an upper respiratory infection once. Other than that, she was in perfect health from the minute of her birth," said Huggins.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No Way Out But One

This is an inmportant documentary in the works about Holly Collins, an abused mother who rescued her children from their abuser. She was the first refugee in the Netherlands to be allowed to seek refuge because of being a domestic violence victim. No family court or no family court judge in Minnesota would protect her children, even though courts acknowledged severe abuse had happened. Their response was to give the abuser sole custody and the abused mother supervised visitation.

Please consider helping the producers finish this important work by pledging to Kickstart for the film. The time is short to make a pledge so hurry! Thank you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Parental Alienation Scam

Mommy Hates Daddy, and You Should Too

The extraordinary fight over "parental alienation syndrome" and what it means for divorce cases.

Illustration by Robert Neubecker. Click image to expand.The competition to get your favorite disease recognized in the bible of mental health, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, can be as fierce as the talent contest in the Little Miss St. Paul Contest. The American Psychiatric Association is contemplating adding something called "parental alienation syndrome" (PAS) to the new edition of the DSM, scheduled to be published in May 2013, and the question has launched a national lobbying and letter-writing campaign on both sides. That angry letters and editorials might play any part in a debate about mental health and custody disputes probably tells you most of what you need to know about the validity of PAS.

What is parental alienation syndrome? William Bernet, a professor of psychiatry at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and an advocate for its inclusion in the DSM-5, describes it as "a mental condition in which a child, usually one whose parents are engaged in a high conflict divorce, allies himself or herself strongly with one parent, and rejects a relationship with the other parent, without legitimate justification."* There is no doubt that an ugly divorce can affect kids' relationship with their parents or cause children to choose sides, often in anger. In fact, that probably happens more often than not. But Bernet and others who argue for adding PAS to the Sears, Roebuck catalogue of mental health want to see it recognized as a legitimate mental health disorder in order to "spur insurance coverage, stimulate more systematic research, lend credence to [the] charge of parental alienation in court, and raise the odds that children would get timely treatment."

They want, in other words, to affix a name, some blame, and also a price tag on a broad range of child responses to a custody fight—some perfectly justified and some not—in the hopes of expanding its use in court.

And what's the downside to including PAS in the DSM? Well, for one thing, with a minimum of three participants needed to diagnose it, PAS starts to look less like a mental health disorder than an epidemic. It assumes that one crazy person (the mother) brainwashes a second crazy person (the child) into telling lies about a third person (the father). Just because a lot of parents have experienced blocked visitation and unreturned phone calls doesn't make every instance of that conduct the result of a medical "syndrome."

Joan S. Meier, a professor of clinical law at George Washington University School of Law, has explained it this way: "PAS is a label that offers a particular explanation for a breach in relationship between a child and parent, but insofar as that breach could be explained in other ways, it is not in itself a medical or psychological diagnosis so much as a particular legal hypothesis."

The most worrisome aspect of the legal fight over parental alienation syndrome may be that it divides supporters and opponents along strict gender lines: As a rule, this is classed as a women's sickness alleged by men. Fathers' rights groups are not solely to blame for the fact that an entire "disease" is predicated on the notion that women are lying liars; the inventor of the syndrome can take responsibility for that. But no hypothesis so rooted in gender bias should be credited by medical science. And because evidence of PAS is so frequently offered to counter maternal allegations of abuse, the experts testifying about PAS can be aiding and abetting a system that takes children from abused mothers and hands them right back to abusive fathers. Once again, this doesn't mean that some parents don't alienate their children in a divorce. It means that PAS is now used to discredit women whenever they claim abuse.

Much of the blame for the biased history of PAS can be laid at the feet of its originator, Dr. Richard Gardner, who developed the theory—from his own practice and without clinical studies—of mothers who foster hatred for their children's father as a ''powerful weapon'' to grab custody for themselves. This wasn't a theory born of objective empirical observation. It was a campaign against mothers rooted in the idea that they regularly lie and then "brainwash" their children into lying about paternal abuse. Because of Gardner's gender-freighted conclusions, it was probably inevitable that men, in the form of fathers' rights groups, would seize upon the battle to legitimize PAS. One of its most famous spokesmen became Alec Baldwin, who wrote practically a whole book on the subject in 2008, arguing paradoxically that corrupt judges and the courts have too much power over custody disputes and that by recognizing PAS, the courts could make the whole child-custody process more fair. (Here is Baldwin describing PAS as something women mainly do to men.)

Supporters of PAS argue largely from personal experience, and their stories are often compelling. But the theory of PAS is not recognized as valid by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, or the American Medical Association. And the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has published guidelines for custody courts clarifying that "the theory positing the existence of 'PAS' has been discredited by the scientific community. Any testimony that a party to a custody case suffers from the syndrome or 'parental alienation' should therefore be ruled inadmissible and/or stricken from the evaluation report."

Gardner's long-term scientific credibility was not helped by some of his kookier pronouncements about incest ("intrafamilial pedophilia … is widespread and ... is probably an ancient tradition"), or pedophilia ("It is of interest that of all the ancient peoples it may very well be that the Jews were the only ones who were punitive toward pedophiles."). But he still managed to become the David Barton of child-custody law, having written more than 250 books and articles, cassettes, and videotapes (often self-published) and testified as an expert in approximately 400 cases in more than 25 states.

There are a lot of websites, experts, and emotion invested in this debate. But there aren't two empirical sides. There is science, and then there is passionate non-science. As Paul Fink, a professor of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine and a past president of the American Psychiatric Association in Arlington, Va., once said of Gardner, "He invented a concept and talked as if it were proven science. It's not."

That's what makes the current debate over inserting PAS into the DSM-5, which has been going on for years, something of a red herring. It almost doesn't matter. Nobody really believes it's a scientific theory anymore, and Gardner has been all but discredited where it counts. That's what worries Meier most of all: "Courts and experts have stopped talking about parental alienation syndrome and started talking about parental alienation," she says. "By dropping the word 'syndrome' they purport to just be describing a behavior; and that's harder to challenge as inadmissible, even though Parental Alienation is used virtually identically to PAS, with virtually identical quasi-scientific claims and prescriptions." Back when it was a matter of science, opponents of PAS could advance arguments about admissibility and scientific legitimacy. Now it's a conclusory legal term that can barely be refuted.

Even without a scientific basis, parental alienation, like climate denialism, has its own language, passions, and saliency. Right or wrong, recognized or not, most family courts now take PAS extremely seriously. Experts testify, court-appointed advocates offer diagnoses, and family-court judges regularly adopt alienation explanations as a way of rejecting abuse allegations. As Meier wrote in a 2009 article: "Despite the palpably extreme and unbalanced quality of both the PAS theory and the thinking of its author, as well as the lack of scientific basis, the theory has for over a decade become virtually ubiquitous in family courts."

The science just doesn't matter now. Even though no appellate court has found evidence of PAS to meet the scientific standards for legal admissibility, courts admit evidence of precisely the same phenomenon all the time, and by calling it "parental alienation," they achieve the same effect: overlooking allegations of abuse by one parent in order to blame the other for "alienating" the child. In other words, whether science supports them or the DSM-5 ultimately validates them, the supporters of Richard Gardner and parental alienation may have already won. While nobody was looking, a mythical legal argument known as parental alienation may have already taken over family courts.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BMCC VIII: Author Lundy Bancroft Teaches Battered Mothers to Fight Back

Okay corrupt Indiana court whores! We ARE going to get things fixed in Indiana...we are going to FIGHT BACK!

From Suite 101
By Liora Farkovitz
Last Updated Jan 13, 2011, Published Jan 12, 2011

Leading author and therapist Lundy Bancroft teaches battered mothers to fight back at the 8th Battered Mothers Custody Conference in Albany, New York 1/7/11

The 8th Battered Mother’s Custody Conference featured author and activist Lundy Bancroft, who has for more than a decade addressed the issues of battered mothers who lost custody to their abusers in family courts. Well known as the founder of the Battered Mothers Testimony Project in Massachusetts, Bancroft is also the author of three books on the dynamics and subsequent effects of domestic violence. He was the winner of the 2004 Pro Humanitate Award from the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare, for his book, “The Batterer as Parent”.

Battered Mothers Fight Myths

The past seven Battered Mother’s Custody Conferences validated and quantified an emergent judicial and human rights crisis in our family courts. Judges are delivering abused children to the very abusers that their protective mothers painstakingly escaped. For the first time in the conference’s history, Bancroft introduced fighting back against this injustice as the theme for this year’s conference meetings and speakers.

The prevailing myth is that once out of an abusive marriage, the mother is now safe from her abuser. But the truth is that 75% of women who are injured or murdered by their abusers suffer the attack within the first thirty days of escaping the relationship[1]. Despite the divorce, many women endure ongoing torment by their former spouse and abuser because they are permanently connected through their common children.

An abuser stalking, threatening, and torturing the mother, and abusing their children in order to hurt her, are very common realities. The courts perceive repeated requests for protection as strategic chicanery and often fail to validate an ongoing threat to the mother.

Paradoxically, many battered mothers are in the unenviable position of being challenged by Child Protective Services to ‘leave their abusive marriage to protect their children’, despite the statistical odds of their own demise, and the unlikelihood that law enforcement will provide or enforce protective orders. Once embroiled in the family court systems, the battered mothers are marginalized and accused of lying to gain unfair advantage over abusive fathers.

No amount of presenting the actual facts and figures seems to gain these protective mothers and their children safe harbor. Judges and other legal participants routinely place children with their abusers. There are both domestic and international human rights implications to this issue with more than 1,000 families a week now facing this crisis; Bancroft’s expertise is needed more than ever[2].

Battered Mothers Fight Courts

The first shock a protective mother must overcome is the reality that the justice system does not exist within the family court system. On television, in our classrooms, and in the news, the myth that our legal system is fair and just is promulgated. Many protective mothers discover that the truth is that the rules which apply in a criminal court or in business related civil cases are not applied in family courts. Rules of evidence and consequences for challenging the status quo are harsh and unpredictable. Judges have unilateral discretion to define what happens, how it happens and whether she is even allowed to tell anyone else about the court’s orders.

A protective mother stripped of her children, is also stripped of her right to parent; her right of free speech; her right of protection; and her right to protest these injustices. Our Bill of Rights is frequently ignored, and the judicial system affords immunity for the legal participants including Judges, Child Custody Evaluators, Child Protective Services, and Law Enforcement Agencies. If they misjudge, and the battered mother or her children die, then no one is accountable. Do you risk contempt of a court order in an attempt to protect your children?

Battered Mothers Fight Child Abuse

Often the abuser begins to deliberately alienate the protective mother from her children, telling the children that she abandoned them, did not want to mother them, lies about his abuse, or fails to parent them effectively. The child begins to doubt their own ability to perceive reality. They may feel a forced sense of loyalty to their abuser. If the children do not follow his lead and mistreat their mother, what are the physical and emotional consequences they suffer at the hands of the abusers?

Bancroft advises protective mothers and their support systems to remember that the purpose of the fight is to keep as close to your children as possible. Keep things calm, remind them that you love them. Rather than debate which parent is “right” in a never ending battle for the right to exist without the abuser’s influence – ask your child, “What do YOU think?” Maintain the child’s ability to read the situation, assess it and come to an independent conclusion. When the abuser misrepresents a mother’s feelings or actions, correct the lie, and encourage the child to rely on their own personal experience with their mother.

Battered Mothers Fight Isolation

Many Americans erroneously believe family court dynamics are identical to other courts’ standard of evidence in the United States. Therefore they come to the conclusion that a mother who loses custody in civil proceedings must have done something to deserve the loss. The stigma of losing one’s child is an isolating experience. The battered mother finds the experience so painful that she abandons any attempt to explain what happened to her.

To overcome the stigma, the battered mother may attend conferences like the annual Battered Mother’s Custody Conference; join Facebook Causes; and support websites related to healing from and fighting domestic violence; connect with other people with like experiences; and research what is happening in other parts of the country. Books like those published by authors Lundy Bancroft, Mo Therese Hannah, Barry Goldstein, Amy Neuman, Michael Lesher, Wendy Murphy, Karin Huffer and others can provide specific legal, emotional and political strategies to effect change.

Battered Mothers Fight Human Rights Injustices

Political initiatives are reflected in the progress of landmark legal cases in human rights; follow the outcome of cases such as Jessica Ruth Gonzales v. USA, as well as other international cases concerning domestic violence under consideration by the Inter America Human Rights Commission. The U. S. Supreme Court upheld the Castle Rock, Colorado Police Department’s refusal to enforce a protective order against Simon Gonzales that resulted in the murder of their three children. Gonzales (now Lanahan) is protesting the violation of her human rights.

As the first U. S. Citizen to receive political asylum from The Netherlands, Holly Collins and her three children fled the United States in 1994 to be free of domestic violence when they could not obtain protection from family courts. Ms. Collins plans to return to live in the U. S., just as her youngest child reaches adulthood. How our country responds to the knowledge that a mother was forced to flee her own country for protection will be an important barometer of progress.

[1] Indiana Law School Protective Order Project, “What is Domestic Violence?” Website. Referenced January 12, 2011.

[2] Silberg, Joyanna, “How Many Children Are Court -Ordered Into Unsupervised Contact With an Abusive Parent After Divorce?”, The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, Press Release. September, 22, 2008,, referenced January 12, 2011

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Huffington Post and Dr. Richard Warshak: Supporting Child Abusers Through Censorship

From Rights for Mothers:

Everyone knows that the concept of “parental alienation” will not be in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), but this hasn’t thwarted those who make a handsome income off of it. Dr. Richard Warshak, who sells his testimony and services treating “parental alienation” in child custody cases, has apparently bought or scammed his way onto The Huffington Post and is not allowing comments on how others, including professional organizations, look at this excuse for protecting abusive parents. I, along with several other domestic violence advocates, posted comments on The Huffington Post in response to a new post by Warshak that touts his professional bread-and-butter, and they were apparently dropped in their bit bucket. Here is my first comment:

Many professional organizations recognize that claims of so-called “parental alienation” are used by abusive spouses to gain custody of children from their victims. Some of these organizations include the American Judges Association, the National District Attorney’s Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, with the latter warning family court judges not to accept claims of “parental alienation” or “parental alienation syndrome” because of it’s well know use by abusers. Research has shown that the number one reason children refuse to visit a parent is because of the behavior of that parent. Stop putting children in danger by placing them with the abuser. Dr. Warshak and others that push this so-called disorder make a lot of money selling their testimony in this family court scam. I would think The Huffington Post was above promoting such snake oil salesmen.

As of the morning after Warshak’s post appeared on The Huffington Post, there were twelve hand-picked comments on the post, which includes one by Warshak cheerleader “Monika” who is Monika Logan, a big “parental alienation” supporter in Texas. She is a regular commenter on stories that push this scam. Her blog supports these people who make lots of money off of promoting this “judicial tool of abuse.”

Warshak was involved in a case recently in Canada, in which he testified that two boys apparently “poisoned” by “parental alienation” would benefit being treated at his “treatment center,” a center that charges $40,000 per four day session. The recommendation was so ordered, but overturned in appeal because Warshak admitted that he had only interviewed the parent claiming “parental alienation” and not the other parent. Warshak failed to even interview the boys when he recommended them for his unproven program. Seems $40,000 is quite an incentive to recommend something to someone he hasn’t even seen.

Shame on The Huffington Post to allow these quacks and their supporters space to sell their wares, because that is exactly what they are doing. Then again, The Huffington Post has a history of censorship. So be careful what you read even if you think it is a respectable site. Apparently everyone has their price, and there’s a lot to be made in the “parental alienation” jackpot.

It was suggested to post comments on censorship on The Huffington Post, then share on your Facebook or Twitter account…this is an excellent idea!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just Another Day in Indianapolis: Man Beats Wife While Children Call 911 From Closet

Surprisingly, this was reported in the news. It isn't often these cases get noticed. Wanna bet daddy will get custody of the children, and mommy will get supervised visitation, if any at all? This is Standard Operating Procedure in most Indiana courts now, to give the abuser custody of the children and to limit's mother's contact so she cannot discuss the horrible abuse that the children witnessed. Instead, Indiana children can experience their own horrors of life with the abuser.

Man beats wife, kids call 911 in closet

Updated: Tuesday, 02 Nov 2010, 12:25 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 01 Nov 2010, 6:45 PM EDT

* By: AJ Colley

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) - A man was arrested in New Whiteland Sunday night after badly beating his wife in front of the couple’s children, police say.

The two children hid in a closet in a back bedroom while calling 911. The incident happened at about 11 p.m. Sunday.

According to police, Timothy Brown was holding the front door closed on officers. Three officers responded and two used a stun gun on Brown.

When police got inside, Brown’s wife was unconscious on the couch. She was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Brown was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital after making suicidal comments, but was later transferred to jail.

Police say Brown has had domestic issues in the past. New Whiteland Police Sgt. Dave Glaze said it’s the worst case of domestic violence he’s seen in his 23 years on the department.

Police escorted the two children out of the house with a blanket over their heads so they couldn’t see their injured mom or their dad in handcuffs.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Custody Evaluator Bingo!

Do you keep falling asleep during meetings and conference calls? Custody Evaluator Bingo is a way to change all of that!

How to play:

Before each meeting or conference call, visit Custody Evaluator Bingo and print one copy of this game card for each player, refreshing the page before each print, or have the players print their own bingo cards. These instructions will not be printed. You can also select card only and multiple card versions of this page when playing on line, or with a PDA.

Check off each block when you hear these words during the meeting or conference call. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout SHENANIGANS!

Click cells to mark them off. Get a new card or build your own card.

Phrases for "Custody Evaluator Bingo" randomly chosen from a list of 136 possible selections, last updated: Sep 19, 2010.

"Custody Evaluator Bingo" was suggested by, and initial phrase list supplied by:

This is YOUR GAME, make it better by sending new phrases to
Follow @buzzword_bingo at Twitter.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Victims of Dr. Richard Lawlor Support Group

Does one need to be created?

We are amazed at the number of people coming to this website accessing the posts on Dr. Richard Lawlor. More so than anyone else ever posted about.

Have you had dealings with Dr. Lawlor? Let us know at "" and we will see if there is a need to start a group!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

There's Nothing Friendly About Abuse

From the current issue of Ms. Magazine:

Children are at risk when custody cases rely on a meritless theory of parental "alienation"

by R. Dianne Bartlow

It's a statistic so unbelievable that it's difficult to wrap your head around: A research review by lawyer and domestic violence expert Joan Zorza found that in about half of the 100,000 contested child custody cases each year in the United States, custody goes to the father - even though at least one-third of these fathers reportedly committed domestic violence against the mother or the child. In fact, women are actually more likely to win custody if they do not allege abuse.

The force behind these rulings are the innocuous-sounding "friendly parent" statutes on the books in at least 32 states, which mandate that courts, in deciding custody, consider how willing each parent is to facilitate a "close and continuing" relationship between the child and the other parent. This is one factor in determining what custody arrangements are "in the best interests of the child."

"Friendly parent" statutes are a dressed-down form of a theory called Parental Alienation Syndrome. PAS theorizes that most accusations of child abuse (especially sexual abuse) made during a custody battle are actually fraudulent. Not only are the charges false, says the theory, but they are deliberately undertaken by one parent (in most cases, the mother) to "alienate" the child from the other parent (generally, the father).

Never mind that the American Psychological Association has said PAS has no valid merit, nor that PAS inventor Richard Gardner has also said that society "overreacts" to sexual abuse and that pedophilia is an honorable lifestyle choice. PAS lives on in "friendly parent" statutes and in the testimony of many court-appointed evaluators and mental-health professionals. Those who diagnose PAS often recommend that full custody go to the "alienated parent" (usually the biological father) and that unsupervised visitation with the "alienating parent" (usually the mother) be cut off.

Ultimately, these outmoded ideas maintain their grip because of a long-standing tradition of discrediting women's concerns and believability in comparison to men's, wrote Zorza in Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody (Civic Research Institute, 2010). Their effect is to lend powerful leverage to abusers.

"Severely abusive fathers may deliberately escalate their abuse to force the woman to complain, flee, or bargain away valuable marital assets, alimony or child support. They then retaliate by filing for custody, knowing they will likely be able to deprive the mothers of the children," writes Zorza. "Other abusive fathers use the "friendly parent" concept to force the mother to pay them child support and to deprive her of any visitation."

The consequences can be dire. According to the Center for Judicial Excellence, a court advocacy organization, an estimated 75 children nationwide were murdered between June 2009 and April 2010 by abusive fathers who won custody battles.

Currently, about half of the states in the U.S. have laws requiring courts to consider domestic violence on an equal basis with factors such as "friendly parent" statutes when making custody determinations. But family courts have wide discretion in how heavily to weigh domestic violence. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the American Bar Association recommend that abuse be given more consideration than other factors in custody cases - and that courts withhold sole or joint custody from anyone with a history of domestic violence.

It's high time for parents and the public to know what's going on in these situations, says Barry Goldstein, co-editor of Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody: "I believe that if the public was aware of the frequency in which courts make fundamental mistakes and send children to live with abusers, the practice would quickly end because it would not be tolerated."

R.Dianne Bartlow, PH.D., is associate professor of gender and women's studies at California State University, Northridge.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's Pretty Sad When Your Own Lawyer Screws You (Literally)

UPDATE (7/15/10): William Wallace drops out of race for Gibson County Prosecutor.

William Wallace, a family law attorney in Evansville, and currently a candidate for Gibson County Prosecutor, is a dirty, dirty guy. He'll probably get elected because he'll fit right in...

From the Indiana Law Blog:

William Wallace, a local attorney and the Democratic Party's candidate for Gibson County prosecutor in November's election, was indicted Tuesday for allegedly having videotaped sex with a former client to pay off a $550 debt to him for work he did in a civil case.

The woman said on at least one other occasion, Wallace offered to have sex with her and pay her for it because he knew she was having financial issues and needed the money.

Special Prosecutor Jonathan Parkhurst said Tuesday that the Gibson County grand jury heard from eight witnesses before deciding that Wallace should be charged.

He faces four charges that include obstruction of justice and possession of child pornography, both class D felonies; patronizing a prostitute, a class A misdemeanor; and false informing, a class B misdemeanor.

A class D felony carries a term of six months to three years; a class A misdemeanor is from no time to a year; and a class B misdemeanor is no time to 180 days.

Wallace was ordered by Gibson Superior Court Judge Earl Penrod to turn himself in to the county jail Tuesday evening and pay at least $500 of a $750 cash bond.

The attorney, who has worked in both Gibson and Vanderburgh counties, has been in practice since 1989 and is a former public defender for the Vanderburgh County Public Defenders Agency. He also has been an adjunct professor at Oakland City University and serves on a number of boards in the community.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dr. Richard Lawlor Worshipped at the Altar of Pedophile-lover Dr. Richard Gardner

The more I have dug into this father-loving Whore of the Court, the more I am sickened. During a case Dr. Richard Lawlor was involved in, which a child was taken from the mother and given to the father, he didn't even interview the primary people in the case. His bought-and-paid-for testimony was formed over looking at another therapist's notes. How nice!

Even though the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges have warned judges against accepting claims of "parental alienation syndrome" or "parental alienation" (pg.12 of 2009 guide), the appeals court upheld the trial court's finding. (This includes attempts at calling it something else too). Here is a section of the dissenting opinion, which in the view of the scientific community and professional organizations should have been the concurring opinion:

I respectfully decline to join in the opinion of the majority, however, to the extent that it validates the trial court's reliance on “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) evidence.   Admittedly, the trial judge never specifically used the term PAS.   It is clear from the language in his findings, however, that the trial court relied heavily on the testimony offered by Dr. Lawlor regarding this “syndrome” and all but used the exact term “PAS” when stating its findings of fact and conclusions of law.   I recognize the concept of “parental alienation” and understand that it is not uncommon for parents, during a dissolution proceeding, to make disparaging comments about their respective spouses in the presence of their children.   However, I am troubled by, and seriously question the existence of a parental alienation “syndrome”.

PAS is a relatively new theory created by Dr. Richard A. Gardner, M.D., and is explained in his self-published book, The Parental Alienation Syndrome (1992).   This theory, developed solely through Gardner's personal observations of his own patients in private practice, is defined by Gardner as a situation where children are not merely systematically and consciously “brainwashed”, but are also subconsciously and unsubconsciously “programmed” by one parent against the other parent.   Gardner, The Parental Alienation Syndrome p. 59-60.   Gardner further asserts, “PAS is a disorder of children, arising almost exclusively in child-custody disputes, in which one parent (usually the mother) programs the child to hate the other parent (usually the father).”   Richard A. Gardner, Dr. Gardner Defends Work on Sex Abuse, Nat'l L.J., Sept. 6, 1993, at 16.   Moreover, Dr. Gardner professes that in 90% of the cases it is only the mother who attempts to alienate the children from the father.   Gardner, The Parental Alienation Syndrome at 62, 106.   When questioned as to why women are programming their children against their fathers in nine out of ten cases where PAS is present, Dr. Gardner explains by quoting William Congreve:  “Heaven has no rage, like love turned to hatred.   Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.”  Id. at 62, 122.   This gender-biased generalization is ludicrous and an affront to all reasonable women and men.   This is unacceptable.

The record indicates that Dr. Lawlor, a clinical psychologist and attorney, testified as an expert witness in this case.   His testimony, elicited primarily through a series of one-sided hypotheticals, was replete with PAS language suggesting that Marianne was causing PAS to occur in M.S., but was not yet a “full blown syndrome.”  (R. 1917).   For example, Dr. Lawlor's responses on direct examination included language such as, “[Marianne is] systematically trying to convey through a denigration of father that he's evil, that uh he's dangerous, and that the child uh shouldn't be involved with [Edward].”  (R. 1887).   Dr. Lawlor also stated during his direct examination that he thought it was, “․ extremely detrimental to be in custody of a parent who's engaging in a pattern of alienation against the other parent” and that the research on parental alienation shows that the “․ prognosis [for the child] is poor once uh an alienation situation uh has developed.   Uh the success rate is almost zero and the failure rate is almost a hundred percent in cases like that once they get going.”  (R. 1880).   Furthermore, Dr. Lawlor admitted under oath that he is familiar with Dr. Gardner's syndrome called “Parental Alienation Syndrome” and described it as “․ a situation where you have a systematic uh attempt at denigration of the parent with with attempts at isolation of the child from the parent.”  (R. 1910)

Dr. Lawlor's “PAS language” is rephrased and woven throughout the trial court's findings, as can be seen in his specific finding number eight which includes statements such as:

8.  The Court Specifically finds that since the joint custody agreement in this case, Marianne, beyond a reasonable doubt, has engaged in a concerted bad faith effort to destroy any relationship the minor child, [M.S.], has with Edward.   It is not necessary to include the litany of vicious and false allegations made by Marianne against Edward ․ Marianne ․ made numerous trips to social workers and counselors alleging unsubstantiated allegations of Edward's conduct, his psychiatric condition, and a general vicious broadside on Edward's character.   Marianne met willing accomplices with her visits to social workers and counselors and continued to allege to the counselors false and vicious rumors.   Marianne established no basis in fact or believable testimony that would support her baseless claims ․ Marianne's false and disgusting behavior based on false allegations were beyond a doubt designed to destroy any relationship Edward has with Margaret.  (R. 1344-45).

There are also several other significant problems with PAS including “causation”, “scientific reliability” and “admissibility” as scientific evidence 10 .  Dr. Garner's PAS syndrome has no apparent objective criteria to determine its validity or its reliability.   Moreover, PAS has not been subjected to peer review and has not gained general acceptance by scientists in the relevant scientific communities.   Thus, it is my opinion that Dr. Garner's PAS “disorder” is a disturbing, inflammatory, unscientific and unsubstantiated theory which has no place in our courtrooms.   As the court in United States v. Brown, 557 F.2d 541 (6th Cir.1977) so eloquently stated, “A courtroom is not a research laboratory.   The fate of [a party] should not hang on his ability to successfully rebut scientific evidence which bears an ‘aura of special reliability and trustworthiness,’ although, in reality the witness is testifying on the basis of an unproved hypothesis in an isolated experiment which has yet to gain general acceptance in its field.”   Id. at 556.   The PAS syndrome described by Dr. Garner is analogous to “cult” theories like the “Peter Pan Syndrome” or the “Cinderella Complex”, and is more suitable in a pop psychology venue rather than in a court of law.

Finally, the record reveals that Edward has emotional problems so severe that he is totally disabled and unable to work.   Moreover, Dr. Lawlor, who never interviewed Marianne, Edward, or M.S., apparently formed his opinions based on notes from Dr. Crane, a therapist who also had never met Edward.   Thus, Dr. Lawlor and the therapist would be unable to determine the extent to which Marianne's allegations regarding Edward's conduct might be true.   Further, the lack of clinical research to substantiate the theory of PAS, along with the lack of evidence as to Edward's emotional health and the slender threads of evidence which supported the hypotheticals posed to Dr. Lawlor, make the apparent recognition of PAS very troubling.   This case poses a threat not only to the well-being of this small child, but also to any child with less than perfect parents who are divorcing.

CHEZEM, J., dissents in result, with opinion

Also see:

Battered Women Now Safe from Retiring Father-loving Whore of the Court Richard Lawlor?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lethal Trinity of Hoodlums: Fatherhood, Motherhood, White-hooded White Men in the American Midwest

I got my "Happy Father's Day" email this morning from Senator Evan Bayh. He forgot about, or decided to ignore, Mother's Day again. From Let's Get Honest:

Lethal Trinity of Hoodlums: Fatherhood, Motherhood, White-hooded White Men in the American MidWest

Custodial Dads & Stepmoms, Divorcing Dads, and Absent Moms… Not good for kids.

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. I’m going to pick on Indiana, as it has a prominent Fatherhood promoter in legislator Evan Bayh, and recent trouble with another Dad that won custody, 5 year old girl died, and he and STEPMOM tried to blame it (unsuccessfully) on the REAL (biological) mother, who is now down a child, just months after losing custody of (her).

In this one, the mandated reporters who had a chance to, DIDN’T, and the first who did report, just went along with blaming the real Mom.

New details emerge in death of 5-year-old girl at hands of custodial dad, step mom

(Muncie, Indiana)

The general public still thinks that mothers don’t lose custody unless they’re nuts or sluts. But this article tells you the truth: the protective mother lost custody because she COULD NOT AFFORD AN ATTORNEY. She was outgunned by a lawyered-up Daddy who could buy what he wanted. Which was basically a 5-year-old girl he could rape, torture, and systematically starve. Everybody happy now? In addition to CPS getting dragged through the wringer (again), are we going to see the names of the custody evaluators, judges, and other court officials who rubberstamped this custody arrangement? Don’t hold your breath. Even if a few CPS or medical workers get reprimanded or lose their jobs, the court people will stay golden. One of the few exceptions is Judge Robert Lemkau who got voted out of office after he gave a crazy violent father visitation of an infant, an infant who was murdered less than two weeks later. The public has got to start holding the courts responsible for these gross miscarriages of justice.,0,871744.story

New details emerge in death of Muncie 5-year-old
During a six-month period last fall and winter, more than a half dozen health care workers treated or observed serious problems with five year-old Lauren McConniel. It wasn’t until about a week before she died on March 9th from severe malnutrition, that her injuries were reported to . . .

Another century, and …..

Here’s MOTHERHOOD WORSHIP with the HOODED WHITE GUYS, same state (and supported by religious women, also….)

  • Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong – Google Books Result

    James W. Loewen – 2007 – History – 464 pages
    The Indiana Klan stressed law enforcement, motherhood, virtue, patriotism, In that year’s Democratic National Convention, the Ku Klux
  • (This is accessible to view by Googlebooks and shows that a large resurgence of this clan, pre-civil rights of the 1960s, happened in INDIANA. It’s worth a read. They had got the press, the governor, and were aiming for U.S. President, as I recall, and they emphasized MOTHERHOOD. How ironic, the pendulum has swung the otherway; same state (and possibly same practices), now it’s “Fatherhood.” In Indiana and, thanks to the internet and increasing centralization in the U.S., and a less and less diverse U.S. Congress (it’s EXPENSIVE to get elected), nationwide.

    I’m going to digress here, because the link to the “less and less diverse” article pictures Roland Burris, well-known in FATHERHOOD circles:

    Senate likely to be less diverse after elections

    By Deanna Bellandi, Associated Press Writer Fri Feb 5

    CHICAGO – That historically all-white club known as the U.S. Senate is likely to lose what little diversity it has after November’s elections.

    Two white men will be competing for President Barack Obama’s former seat in Illinois, now held by Roland Burris, the chamber’s lone African-American. Appointed by the scandal-tainted former governor, Burris won’t be seeking a full term.

    In contests in Florida, Texas and North Carolina, black candidates face daunting challenges to joining the august body, from difficulty raising cash to lack of name recognition to formidable rivals.

    Blacks comprise 12.2 percent of the nation’s population, but you wouldn’t know it in the 100-member Senate. Come next year, the total number could add up to zero.

    “It certainly is not a desirable state of affairs,” said David Bositis, a senior political analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

    Bositis noted that blacks don’t make up the majority population in any state and in states where there are large numbers of blacks, as in the South, there are racial divisions that make getting elected difficult.

    Florida is more likely to produce the next Hispanic senator than it is the next black senator…

    Notice that this article is only talking about the ‘diversity’ of skin color, not the ‘diversity’ of political thought.

    In truth, if the Republicans take away more seats from the Democrat super-majority, the Congress will be certainly be more diverse.

    But of course in the minds of the Associated Press, the color of one’s skin is far more important than the content of their character.

    {{Guess that was not a pro-Burriss based on his politics site. However, he’s no less “fatherhood” than white guys….}}

    Here’s to “Roland Burris fatherhood” google search:

  • U.S. Senator Roland Burris to Appear on a Special Father’s Day

    US Senator Roland Burris to Appear on a Special Father’s Day Edition of Chicago Attorney Jeffery Leving’s ‘Fathers’ Rights Legal Show’ on June 20th.…/us-senator-roland-burris-to-appear-on-a-special-fathers-day-edition-of-chicago-attorney-jeffery-levings-fathers-right…Cached
  • Attorney Jeffery Leving to Interview U.S. Senator Roland Burris on

    United States Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) will join Mr. Leving on his “Fathers’ Rights Obama’s proposed $500 million budget for Responsible
  • Fathers Rights: Jeffery M Leving-Leading Family Law & Divorce

    U.S. Senator Roland Burris to Appear on(etc., etc.)
    NOW, this is back about a CENTURY (almost) and talking about another kind of HOODlum (Pictured below, and self-described on the infamous site, below). Look at how it was sold — temperance, and motherhood.


    This exact figure was found in the book, “Inside Ku Klux Klan” by Paul Gillette ….. Women of the Klan in many Indiana counties met with township trustees to While girls were learning the virtues and tasks of motherhood and moral …. This meant stressing the virtues of Christian fundamentalism and temperance. …
    God,” I hate to quote this, or even VISIT this site – but notice — described (in this “KKK” site) as historically just nice, law-abiding, religious folk contributing to charitable, children’s oriented, and church/school folks. And that’s men & women BOTH…..

    The following was taken from, “Hoods: The Story of the Ku Klux Klan”, by Robert Ingalls.

    In Portland, Or., in the early 1920′s, the Ku Klux Klan pledged $50,000 to a children’s home and held a Christmas party featuring Kris Kringle. The Klan also organized a Klan Kommunity Kit to compete with the Community Chest, church visits became a kind of ritual. Typically, a small group of Klansmen would march down the aisle, hand the minister an offering of money, and silently depart. (page 39)

    Protestant ministers quickly found that the Klan’s emphasis on religion helped swell church attendance. (page 41)

    Similarly, the emphasis on DOMINATING women and keeping them in their “proper” roles is helping swell church tithes to this day, 2010….

    Most Klansmen were law abiding, church going family men. Klansmen also hoped to eliminate vice and corruption through the ballot box. One Klansman declared, “Everybody knows that politicians nowadays cater to all kinds of elements, mostly selfish, some corrupt, and some definitely anti-American. They cater to the vice vote and even to the violently criminal vote. What the Klan intends to do is make them pay some attention to the decent God fearing, law abiding vote.” (pages 42-43)

    wpe20615.gif  (130773 bytes) Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

    During the 1920′s, the Klan was subjected not only to verbal abuse but also to physical assault in some areas. Bootleggers, for example, did not take kindly to the Klan’s attempts to enforce prohibition. When New Jersey’s Klan declared war on local bootleggers, the rum runners formed a defense council and publicly threatened to “Shoot to kill” anyone other then a policeman who interfered with their illegal traffic in liquor. (page 68)

    The following was taken from, “Hooded Americanism, the History of the Ku Klux Klan”, by David M. Chalmers.

    In Minneapolis, the Klan presented bibles to Methodist Churches and stressed “positive Protestantism”. (page 151)

    In Indiana the Klan gathered contributions to build a new hospital. (page 165



    We (see blogroll to right) have blogged on this before. See Wikipedia for Son (Evan) and Father (Birch):

    Evan Bayh – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Birch Evans “EvanBayh III (pronounced /ˈbaɪ/, bye; born December 26, 1955) is an American Democratic politician who has served as the junior U.S. Senator hours agoCachedSimilar
  • Birch Bayh – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Children, Evan Bayh (born 1955), Christopher Bayh (born 1982) He is the father of former Indiana governor and current U.S. Senator Evan Bayh.
  • And see “MamaLiberty”‘s Sept. 2009 weblog for commentary on this:


    This is from the Indiana Mothers For Custodial Justice, covering the recently introduced Fatherhood Initiative Bill:

    Evan Bayh is Not His Father’s Son

    I heard this comment in a meeting yesterday, and how true it is. ” Evan Bayh is not his father’s son.”

    In Birch Bayh’s eyes, women should be given the same chances that men have. Women deserved equality and this was evident in his legislation.

    ‘Father’ Of Title IX Honored

    By Richard Veilleux

    Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana, considered the “father” of Title IX, the landmark federal legislation created more than 30 years ago that greatly expanded educational and athletics opportunities for girls and women, was honored during half-time of the women’s basketball game between UConn and Rutgers on Martin Luther King Day.

    . . .

    Sen. Bayh also played a leadership role in many other areas and in framing two Constitutional amendments: the 26th Amendment, which lowered the legal voting age to 18, and the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed Constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights to women, which has been ratified by 35 states, including Connecticut.

    AND, now, the son….

    na in the U.S. Senate from 1963 to 1981.But for Evan Bayh, the apple has fallen far from the tree…he supports fatherhood (not parenthood)…this being sent out in preparation of the reintroduction of a Fatherhood Initiative Bill into the U.S. Senate:

    Senator Bayh sent out this wonderful message for fathers on Father’s Day to the Hoosiers he represents. He missed sending out a message for mothers…tells you a lot, doesn’t it. He is up for re-election next year….Hoosiers mothers, are you paying attention?

    Watch out for these bill just introduced: S. 1309, introduced by Sen. Evan Bayh, (D-IN) and two co-sponsors.H.R. 2979, introduced by Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL-7) and 27 co-sponsors.President Obama told Senator Bayh last year he would sign the bill when he gets it.

    The 2006 attempt at this bill (with U.S. Senator Barack Obama as one of the two co-sponsors) died:

    The list below shows legislation in this and previous sessions of Congress that had the same title as this bill. Often bills are incorporated into other omnibus bills, and you may be able to track the status of provisions of this bill by looking for an omnibus bill below. Note that bills may have multiple titles.

    This one needs to die too.

    Is it fair for our government tax dollars to go help take children from mothers, to help fund a custody battle in court (among other ‘fatherly’ support things), help that is only available to fathers? These funds pay for dads to do this. All dads are not good (see Dastardly Dads).

    Abusive custodial fathers are constantly in the news, such as today [SEPT. 2009] : New Mexico Custodial Father Murdered Allegedly By 10 Year Old Son Who Couldn’t Take Anymore Abuse and Jon Pomeroy, Father of Seattle-area Girl, Pleads Guilty to Starving Her. Why should we help abusers take children from their moms? The American Judge’s Association knows this is a problem, why do you want to fund abusers to take custody of the children?

    Yes, Evan, your dad took time to be with you. He didn’t seek to take your mother out of your life though, did he? Yes, this apple has fallen very far from the tree.