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Despite a mother’s cry for help, San Diego Judge DeAnn Salcido signed a court order in 2003 giving a father custody of his six-year-old daughter. He still had custody six years later when he was arrested and convicted of child molestation.

Salcido told me in a phone interview this week she wants to apologize to Joyce Murphy, the mother she did not believe. “I tried to reach out to her but she was not receptive,” said Salcido, who left the bench in 2010. “She is justified. All I can do is change my practices and try to change the system.”

Desperate to protect her daughter, Murphy fled with her child but was caught, pleaded no contest to felony kidnapping and lost most contact with her daughter. In 2009, the child’s father, Henry Parson, was convicted of molesting other young girls and Murphy was given full custody.

Recalling when she first learned of Parson’s arrest, Salcido said, “I was horrified. I had been trained to be suspicious of abuse claims during divorce cases. Child Protective Services said the allegation was unfounded — as a new judge I thought ‘We’ll just do 50-50 custody and move along.’”

Today, Salcido is working to change America’s justice system because she believes it has developed a culture of discriminating against women and children. “It’s absolutely a civil rights issue,” she said. “Whether it is family court or criminal courts, the system is designed to protect those with political power or wealth. Women who are going through a divorce are normally financially struggling and children don’t vote.”

Salcido will be speaking at the first Convention on Rights for Women and Children in the Family, which is being held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. September 7 at San Diego Woman’s Club, 2557 3rd Ave., San Diego, California.

Wendy Murphy, a civil rights attorney who teaches at New England Law in Boston with a focus on sexual violence, also will be speaking. Murphy, who is no relation to Joyce, is a frequent cable news guest on legal issues who wrote the book And Justice For Some, which has the subtitle “Exposé of the Lawyers and Judges who Let Dangerous Criminals Go Free.”

Safe Kids International founder Cindy Dumas organized the event. “Women’s and children’s rights to stay together and stay safe are being violated in epidemic proportions,” Dumas wrote on the event’s Facebook page. “Children are being routinely placed into the custody of abusers and molesters, and mothers are being retaliated against when they try and protect their children. It is time to come together and demand these human and civil rights be enforced.”

Dumas also organized the effort on Daily Kos where mothers and children who have been victimized by the justice system tell their stories.

The convention will work to change how family courts resolve contested custody cases. “We believe we are talking about less than five percent of the cases in family court — but that is a lot of children not being protected,” Dumas said in an interview last week. “We’ve gotten the right to vote, we have the right to work but we haven’t gotten the rights in the family. When we try to enforce our rights in the family in the courts it doesn’t work. There is an agenda to keep the fathers in control.”

One potential proposal is to move these custody cases into civil court where a jury will decide the verdict, Dumas said.

The convention is collecting signatures from people who support their Declaration of Rights for Women and Children that should be enforced by the justice system.

For Salcido, the conference is a chance to try to make a difference now that she is an attorney who appears in family court. “I’ve changed my practices and tried to open my eyes,” she said. “I was told not to believe people in divorce when they make claims about sexual abuse or domestic violence.”

When she was a judge, Salcido learned that the attitude judges had towards women was often one of distrust. She said that during a meeting of judges discussing misdemeanor domestic violence cases, “One fellow judge told me that a woman in his case wasn’t complaining about crimes, she was just on her period.”

In 2010 Salcido resigned her judgeship after California’s Commission on Judicial Performance censured her for making inappropriate remarks during hearings in hopes of landing a TV deal. She claims the punishment stemmed from her complaints against other judges. “I was accused of playing to the camera,” she said. “Truth is, I am who I am, camera or not. I was tarred and feathered.”

One problem in family courts is the large number of cases that child welfare officials declare unfounded without adequate investigation, such as the case involving Joyce Murphy’s daughter. “A box was checked that showed the allegations were unfounded,” Salcido said. “I thought that meant the case was investigated. I found out later that could mean there was no investigation because when CPS learned the case was in family court they wouldn’t devote resources to it. They would leave it to family court to sort out.”

Another issue is judges using the court as a springboard to high-paying work for lawyers who appear before them. “They are hoping to be hired as a private mediator by lawyers representing rich clients,” Salcido said.

While family court is not considered a prestigious posting, often judges close to retirement will volunteer to go back in hopes of landing a lucrative private industry position, Salcido said. Those judges are financially motivated to rule in favor of law firms where they would like to work. “They don’t want to antagonize attorneys who could turn out to be a future paycheck.”

Salcido said that judges should not be allowed to go from the bench to doing work for a private law firm — just like government officials are not allowed to become lobbyists for the first year after leaving their job — nor allowed to work for mediation companies without a waiting period.

The public also should examine its attitude toward domestic violence. “I often got more protestors when I was hearing a case about animal abuse than when the case involved the abuse of a child,” Salcido said. “When you can find a reason to blame the victim then you don’t have to burden yourself with compassion.”

This is the 12th in a series of articles for Daily Kos about the treatment of abused children in the U.S. family court system. M.C. Moewe is a former criminal justice and investigative reporter for several newspapers with a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Texas. Email m AT moewe.com or use this link.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (132+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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  •  Wow, the system works! (6+ / 0-)

    In mysterious ways, but the important thing is she's no longer a judge.

    In 2010 Salcido resigned her judgeship after California’s Commission on Judicial Performance censured her for making inappropriate remarks during hearings in hopes of landing a TV deal. She claims the punishment stemmed from her complaints against other judges. “I was accused of playing to the camera,” she said. “Truth is, I am who I am, camera or not. I was tarred and feathered.”

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:17:07 AM PDT

  •  Sad case (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, RabidNation, CA Nana

    unfortunately - every time a Judge releases a criminal - the potential for something like this is there - look at recidivism numbers - they're not good.

    This case in particular shows total lack of competence  - it's amazing that someone with such poor judgement could become a Judge.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:28:47 AM PDT

  •  They have a sex offfender in Ferguson (0+ / 0-)

    That live next too the police station and have sex  offender living near schools  and   playground in Ferguson    

  •  That poor girl, sent back to a molester! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, FarWestGirl

    so terrible.

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:34:38 AM PDT

  •  the maddening, scary part: (27+ / 0-)
    Salcido said, “I was horrified. I had been trained to be suspicious of abuse claims during divorce cases.

    “I was told not to believe people in divorce when they make claims about sexual abuse or domestic violence.”

    but no investigation.

    the sexist meme lives on that women make false accusations as revenge when we end some relationship with a man. a woman scorned and all that.

    New website: NDN Silver by Wings "Beauty, magic, and the mysteries of the earth and sky connect" in his jewelry art. Please visit his silverwork galleries, share with friends. Gifts from the heart.

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:52:49 AM PDT

    •  the very next sentence (4+ / 0-)
      Child Protective Services said the allegation was unfounded — as a new judge I thought ‘We’ll just do 50-50 custody and move along.’”
      Presumably CPS based their recommendation on an investigation.
      •  oh sorry (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        denig, Cassandra Waites, grover, PeterHug

        disregard.  Though to be fair if the agency in charge of investigating says something, I'd probably assume they'd investigated as well.

      •  Probably they didn't. As evidenced by this quote (14+ / 0-)

        further down the article:

        One problem in family courts is the large number of cases that child welfare officials declare unfounded without adequate investigation, such as the case involving Joyce Murphy’s daughter. “A box was checked that showed the allegations were unfounded,” Salcido said. “I thought that meant the case was investigated. I found out later that could mean there was no investigation because when CPS learned the case was in family court they wouldn’t devote resources to it. They would leave it to family court to sort out.”
      •  Child protective services (4+ / 0-)

        is another failed, "hey-politician(s)-whom-ive-payed-handsomely-give-my-private-firm-a-contract" scenario like charter schools, prisons, etc.  There is never an incentive to actually be effective.  The intention is to turn profits, as huge as possible.  Cause government is inefficient, esp. BIG government.  Please identify intented snark.

        There is no such thing as a conscience to the ones perpetuating the machine.  They sleep well, thank you.  How, I dont know.  

        Save a child's life. Please sign and share. www.signon.org/sign/sarasota-sheriffs-office Save a child's life. Please sign and share.

        by kmfmstar on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:15:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Btw, CPS has been called on my (4+ / 0-)

          granddaughters parents a number of times.  They just dont care.  The house where her father lives has no air conditioning, large mold infestation on the walls and no locking doors.  Her grandfather is an alcoholic and drug addict, as is her father.  Two weeks ago they had neither plumbing nor clean dishes in the house.  The dad and granddads drug buddies raid the fridge on a regular basis so there is no food for my granddaughter to eat.  I have been permitted to visit her now...she has gained 7 lbs. in 4 months.  If my daughter knew her coworkers could see where she allows her daughter to spend 24 hrs once a week she would die of shame.   CPS did not care 4 yrs ago and they dont care now.

          How many other kids are living like this with no relief?  Our tax dollars fund something, CEO salaries.  Not effective caseworkers, more caseworkers.  And since CPS has unlimited authority, like our militarized police, there is no excuse for not yanking kids out of homes and placing them with relatives.  Then tell the parents to get clean if they want their kids back.  Simple, yet impossible for them.

          Sad, so sad.  Our most innocent and vulnerable are truly alone and all we have is prayer.  I am eternally grateful for every minute I have with my granddaughter, and praying my daughter will snap to her senses and heal.  God knows there is no help from anyone else.

          Save a child's life. Please sign and share. www.signon.org/sign/sarasota-sheriffs-office Save a child's life. Please sign and share.

          by kmfmstar on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:26:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah the CPS ought to be (4+ / 0-)

          sued. That was irresponsible as hell.

          A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

          by onionjim on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:27:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Any evidence in this case that CPS investigatio... (0+ / 0-)

          Any evidence in this case that CPS investigation was outsourced?

      •  Child Protective Services workers are not experts (0+ / 0-)

        at determining whether child abuse has occurred or not when they are not witnesses to such conduct.  

        Psychologists and psychiatrists are the experts who, by examination and interview of a child can determine with the greatest reliability whether some types/events of abuse has occurred.

        The judge apparently did not rely on such expert evidence before making the custody ruling.  

        •  Psychologists who protect children are targeted (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kmfmstar

          After I reported the child abuse, the child victim threatened suicide, because she was not being protected by Child Services (CYS).  
          CYS deliberately released confidential identity of the abused child and mandated reporter and solicited false complaints, to help the abuser, instead of protecting the child.
          State Police summary confirmed ". . . . Violations (by government officials) of the Crimes code. . exist.” Law enforcement quashed investigations and misrepresented in writing.
          Please note Mary Moewe's excellent article. http://www.dailykos.com/...

    •  not just a sexist meme (9+ / 0-)

      Men make false allegations against women for abuse and neglect a great deal of the time, too. The sword cuts both ways.

      The sad fact is that a lot of people who have children, male and female, are hopelessly unqualified to be responsible adults, let alone parents. In a culture that exalts narcissism and selfishness, people are prone to treating one another as objects, commodities, or bargaining chips; the drive to win at all costs in an emotionally-fraught (and sometimes counsel-exacerbated) conflict situation such as a divorce provides an avenue for ethically and emotionally stunted individuals to lie like hell about their ex-spouse enemy for purposes of gaining advantage.

      In my opinion, allegations of abuse in that context, whether originating from a father or mother, DO need to be viewed with a measure of skepticism - but they also need to be thoroughly, thoroughly investigated and their veracity conclusively determined before custody is awarded.

      •  there is a history of men using "woman scorned (6+ / 0-)

        defense" when accused of rape, abuse and many other actions that the man wants to accuse the woman of lying. The woman scorned "defense" is used in trials and discussed in court opinions in variety of contexts, such as to prove a woman must be an unreliable witness who seeks revenge against a man for hurting her in some way.

        It's NOT just a sexist meme. It is sexism/misogyny embedded into our justice system and society and institutions.

        and in this case, the judge said trained to be suspicious. and that's ok as long as sexism is not used when assessing the facts and provided there is fair investigation.

        New website: NDN Silver by Wings "Beauty, magic, and the mysteries of the earth and sky connect" in his jewelry art. Please visit his silverwork galleries, share with friends. Gifts from the heart.

        by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:07:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps not suspicious, but sceptical (0+ / 0-)

      A judge should be sceptical.   When considering testimony, they should consider the credibility of the witness.   If they don't, they are not doing their job.   I would be shocked if judges were not advised to take testimony with a grain of salt.

      •  But they dont consider evidence. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, samanthab, nocynicism

        In many sexual abuse cases, the written reports are not even considered, a judge can disregard it.  Who knows if theyve even read it.  

        The judge is not held accountable.  That is why this is so common.

        Save a child's life. Please sign and share. www.signon.org/sign/sarasota-sheriffs-office Save a child's life. Please sign and share.

        by kmfmstar on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:29:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have heard that evidence is ignored (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          samanthab, nocynicism, kmfmstar

          That is very troubling.   There are some parts of the country where courts are run by men with very misogynistic views.   Some of the escaped FLDS members have told terrible stories of reporting rape to the police, only to have police tell them to stop lying, and then call their husbands or fathers (who raped them) to come pick them up from the police station.    

          •  I fear it may be worse even than that. (0+ / 0-)

            Many of these people are pedolphiles (sp) themselves and actively support the crime.  I will never believe that Jimmy Saville, Jerry Sandusky, thousands of clergy, etc. operated cleverly under the radar by their own wit and charm.  

            Many professions attract people who crave power and control.  Their victims are the weak and vulnerable, of course.  Imagine how uncomfortable it would become for them to attempt dominating someone like themselves.  Rape and torture are about control.  Forcing people into torture repeatedly is the ultimate in control.

            Save a child's life. Please sign and share. www.signon.org/sign/sarasota-sheriffs-office Save a child's life. Please sign and share.

            by kmfmstar on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:20:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  power and control tactics of CPS (0+ / 0-)

              http://www.nkmr.org/...

              Persecution strategies in a child care order investigation

              Linda Ärlig

              Department of Social Science, the Psychology Section, University of Örebro, Sweden

              In every case i ever worked on these were the tactics used by the power hungry god like agents of the family court system.
              Once people know this pattern you can fore write the conclusion before hand and children and mothers suffer.

              People say its the child that suffers - Yes- but if his /her mother is suffering then She is so traumatized and living in a permanent state of anxiety, the child also suffers.

    •  stats prove (0+ / 0-)

      yes and stats prove the tiny% of mothers who make false allegations.

      But Eve Ill Eve lies in the minds for over 2000 years now.

      Its always Eve's fault and never poor Adam

      A good read is Eve was framed. Helena Kennedy QC where she shows the incredible discrimination against wombmen.

  •  this is one problem with the system (13+ / 0-)

    when my daughter was in court to sever her daughters' biological father's rights and allow her husband to adopt them, the biological father found out (he was in jail awaiting trial in kidnapping and AWDW charges), he was able to file complaints with DSS against my daughter and her husband.  Worse, he was able to persuade his family to also file complaints.  While all were found to be unfounded, it was still an abuse of the system as each complaint had to be investigated  

    •  At least those complaints were investigated. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RabidNation, Sunspots, NoBlueSkies

      This POS judge couldn't be bothered to investigate. Thank god she's no longer on the bench.

      •  But it says (9+ / 0-)
        I was horrified. I had been trained to be suspicious of abuse claims during divorce cases. Child Protective Services said the allegation was unfounded — as a new judge I thought ‘We’ll just do 50-50 custody and move along.’”
        It seems that CPS fumbled the ball  and as result the Judge made the, now in hindsight, erroneous  call.

        Judges are no experts on Child Abuse. They are not psychologists and they cannot replace the processionals at Child Protective Services.

        Queror Ergo Sum. -- Rene Descartes Shakshuka

        by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:34:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

          She had a responsibility to think critically and ask the questions that would serve the child best. She failed at that and now regrets it with a due to a very public screwup. All she had to do was ask the question "what does this checkbox mean?"

          Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane. - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

          by SocialRazor on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 05:44:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Most judges will decide in favor of CPS (0+ / 0-)

            recommendations.  It makes their jobs easier.  And the prevailing wisdom is that CPS investigated; the judge doesnt visit the home, look at the child, etc.  It is not,  therefore, unreasonable for a judge to accept the caseworkers word as truth and move onto the next case.

            The biggest problem is that caseworkers are paid peanuts, overloaded with cases, and probably couldnt pass a psych eval if they were required to be evaluated in the first place.  I was told by caseworkers that there are children "alot worse off" than my granddaughter, so I should just shut up and go away.  If I could get a caseworker who somehow cared, the father and grandfather wouldnt be permitted anywhere near her until they were clean.  And my daughter and the dads mother would be threatened with a no contact order for taking the child into that house to begin with.  So really, the caseworkers hold all the cards.  They have a great deal of power, which is frightening to everyone who has ever crossed one.  Dont  ever piss them off.  

            But thats another diary.

            Save a child's life. Please sign and share. www.signon.org/sign/sarasota-sheriffs-office Save a child's life. Please sign and share.

            by kmfmstar on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:42:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Ya think? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, samanthab
    I tried to reach out to her but she was not receptive.
    Stupid ass.
    •  So apologizing for doing something wrong (4+ / 0-)

      is just stupid?

      An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.
      Gandhi

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:56:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not convinced she's interested in... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samanthab

        ...apologizing for doing something wrong. She seems more intent on seeking attention. Not sure what prompted that "eye for an eye" non sequitur, but whatever.

      •  Good for you, Mohanas. (0+ / 0-)

        Troll #10 - "Aww, can't we allll just get alooooong?" said by the unaffected to the abused.

        NO ONE owes forgiveness to someone who's wronged them. That woman has every right to refuse to let this former judge try to assuage her own guilt in this matter.

        There's a reason I call "forgive" the real F-word. It's used like a club, especially on women, who are often ordered to forgive their abusers because It's the Christian Thing To Doooooo.

        “[Sir Arthur Conan Doyle] created Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson - which proves he was way ahead of his time on gay marriage.” - Bill Maher

        by gardnerhill on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:39:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  only the judge can forgive herself (0+ / 0-)

          This christian belief that we the wronged HAVE TO FORGIVE those who wronged us is crazy.

          Why do we have to? Who said?

          No, one can only forgive oneself as this judge now learns.

          To forgive in the Christian way is actually to give away your own power to the one who wronged you.

  •  This is a story that could use some data. (0+ / 0-)

    Once a divorce winds up in court, in an adversarial system, with attorneys on both sides trying to win, with a profit motive, it does not seem unreasonable to me to think that false accusations from both sides might not be uncommon.  Do you have any data on how common/uncommon a false accusation of this nature might be?

  •  It's a very difficult issue (8+ / 0-)

    In custody cases, I can never make a judgment unless I know the facts.  Was there evidence of abuse?    I don't mean some wacky psychologist or psychiatrist giving his "opinion" in court.   I mean real evidence.    

    There is a problem with the standard of evidence that they use in custody cases in the United States.    It is sometimes "reasonable cause to believe" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt".    I believe that the very highest standard of evidence should be required when making a decision to strip a child and her parent of their human rights -- because that's what we are doing.  We are stripping a child of her human right to access to her parent, and a parent of the human right of access to her (or his) child.     To me, it is on par with depriving a person of his or her liberty, and that the decision should be treated with the utmost care.

    In the Justina Pelletier case, two doctors argued on a diagnosis, and two parents and one child were stripped of their human rights, and a child was deprived of her liberty for over a year, and two parents had to watch their child suffer without having any influence at all in what happened to her, partially on the basis of a psychiatrist's "opinion" involving her case.   The standard of evidence used was "reasonable cause believe", which is an extraordinarily weak basis on which to deprive a person of their human rights.      Justina, the young woman that they were purporting to "help" has stated this opinion publicly -- that no child should ever have their human rights stripped from her in the way that it was done to her.

    It is horrific if, in cases where there is actual evidence of abuse, that the child is still placed in the custody of the abuser.   It is equally horrific if a child and parent are deprived of their human rights where there is no evidence of abuse.    And, it is heartbreaking in cases where abuse occurred but insufficient evidence is presented in court.   However, I really don't know how a court can function properly and dispense justice without evidence.  

    I've met children who were abused, and women who lied and manipulated to create an impression of child abuse or domestic violence, and women who were so paranoid that they believed abuse had occurred when it was not true.     When they walk into a courtroom, the judge has no way of knowing what they are dealing with.   The only way that a court can sort a case out and dispense justice is through facts and evidence.  We should never strip parents or children of their human rights unless we are sure beyond a reasonable doubt.   So, I am not surprised if this issue is addressed in the training of court officials, that while testimony is one form of evidence, the credibility of a witness must be considered.    

    Many of these cases just aren't handled very thoroughly or professionally because the litigants are poor, and if the case arrives in a courtroom inadequately prepared, it leaves a judge with very few alternatives.  

    And, some of these cases are improperly influenced by money.     Money does have an corrosive effect on our legal system, as it has in every level of government.   We should not be able to "buy" the service of stripping human rights from a child and the other parent.

  •  Is it the judge's fault? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    Are these cases arriving in the courtroom adequately prepared with effective representation?   I believe that many of these cases are not, and I do not fault the judge for that.

    •  A point worth investigating (3+ / 0-)

      would be the number of cases on the docket in a single day.  How much time does a judge have to consider all the evidence?  

      A child in peril is a house ablaze.  If the case is new and there is not much to go on, someone could easily err on either side.  Conversely, if the file is full of testimony spanning several months or years, and there is no time to consider it all, a weighty decision must be made in less time than that consideration deserves.  Either way, the child needs relief yesterday and ultimately pays.  

      Save a child's life. Please sign and share. www.signon.org/sign/sarasota-sheriffs-office Save a child's life. Please sign and share.

      by kmfmstar on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:38:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Children grow up. The child in question is an (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jilly W, Meteor Blades

    17 now and will be of legal age soon. If she should choose to come forward the truth will be confirmed.

    I'm having a hard time accepting Salcido's contrition as anything but self-serving.

  •  These issues always strike home to me (5+ / 0-)

    You'll have to forgive me. This is completely unacceptable, of course, there's no doubt about it, but when I hear people talk strictly of women and children needing their civil rights paid attention to, instead of everyone- sigh.

    I was a single father, my daughter's mother walked out on us just after she was born, not sure she wanted to be a mom yet. Little by little, though, she came back into her life, which I encouraged as much as possible, since a little girl needs her mom, IMHO. But then, eventually, the mom decided she wanted full custody. She didn't tell me this, though- all she said we should go to court and normalize things, and I agreed. Like a fool, I went without a lawyer, and showed up only to go from one moment, having de facto sole custody since she was born, to the next having every-other weekend only.

    The judge quoted the tender years doctrine, said that little girls without their mothers ended up being delinquent, and that I'd had "enough time" with my daughter anyhow. When I finally got an appeal almost nine months later with a lawyer, the book got thrown at her- but by then, he said my daughter had been living mostly with her mom for the last nine months, so we shouldn't "rock the boat" and let her retain primary custody, though I get an enormous amount more time with my little girl.

    So, it's a civil rights issue, for sure, but it's not restrained by gender. The whole system needs a revamp. I'm glad this judge had the self-recognizance to get things done the right way. I wish mine could have been the same, even if it wasn't nearly as urgent as the example here. But it goes to show across the board, we need to fix things.

  •  I'm having a real problem (0+ / 0-)

    with this judge's story. First of all: "I had been trained to be suspicious of abuse claims during divorce cases." By whom? When and where and how? She gives no citation for this allegation and we are supposed to believe it? She then goes on to say “I was told not to believe people in divorce when they make claims about sexual abuse or domestic violence.” Well, that may be so, but again, she gives no citations about who told her that or where she learned it. Was it in law school? Was it back room talk from other lawyers, cloakroom talk with other judges, what? This is just self-justification and buck-passing as far as I'm concerned.

    Then she says she tried to apologize to Joyce Murphy, whose case she so badly mishandled in 2003, giving the child-molesting father custody. The mother is not receptive. Gee, I wonder why?! I guess Ms. Salcido gets it; if she doesn't, she's dumber than I give her credit for. However, I'm not disposed to be any fan of hers now, just because she is supposedly on the side of the angels. She still sounds pretty self-serving, and until she really comes clean I'd be very cautious around her.

    And don't even get me started on CPS.

    Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

    by Jilly W on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 11:12:58 AM PDT

    •  teach your judges well (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jilly W, samanthab, gardnerhill

      I suspect that this judge may have learned to suspect women's accusations against their former partners from "experts" who were impressed with the idea of "parent alienation syndrome" first promulgated by Richard Gardner MD in the early 80s. As a child psychiatrist practicing in a rust belt community, I still hear this idea, which has been disavowed by most professional organizations, used as a rationale for dismissing mothers' testimony and giving undue weight to fathers' positions in custody hearings.

      I agree we'd be better served if this judge told us more about her training and how she came to disbelieve abuse claims

  •  It's too bad that we can only learn from our own (0+ / 0-)

    errors, and not from others' experiences, so much of the time.

    Came for the politics, stayed for the pooties.

    by DreamyAJ on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 11:21:05 AM PDT

  •  I have no doubt this egregious thing happened. But (4+ / 0-)

    I have a lot of doubts that divorce courts are bastions of widespread discrimination against women and children.  In my line of work I have seen way more men put through the ringer by false and frivolous accusations of abuse and been on the receiving end of attempts to estrange their kids from them by the kids' mothers than the other way around.  One accusation and the assumption is guilt.  Suddenly you have guardians at litem monitoring visits, you have police standing by for hand offs.  You have special instructions for the father picking up the kids at school or church events.  When the mother refuses to abide by court orders the courts will not enforce it but the father has to work his tail off to avail himself of his rights at great expense.  More than a few times I have seen fathers just go away because it is too traumatizing for the kids.  One kid was strip searched by court appointed officials to look for bruising after every visit with his dad.  The only contact they have is sending a check once a month or having it garnished from him.    

    Government works when you elect those who want it to. --askyron (2013)

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:02:11 PM PDT

  •  "It made sense at the time...?" (4+ / 0-)

    My bf's sister went through a nasty divorce... character assassination comes STANDARD with or without evidence. Fortunately, she had the support of her dad and his wife... because his wife has a loooot of experience in the courts working in the insurance industry. The gal is lucky she got that kind of support and parents who can obtain the best lawyer for that stuff in the state. A video recording of abuse/neglect is best... pictures are still not quite enough. Easy to say, hard to do.

    She had 2 children from previous relationships... and 3 with the guy she just finished up her divorce with.

    She went into that relationship knowing the guy was a liar, a drunk and a cheater. He's still the same guy.

    And the straw that broke the camels back was that he fell asleep with a porno vid on and the kids learned to do sexual acts on each other.

    I don't blame my bf for not wanting to be involved or wanting to be anywhere near his sister... but we agreed that knowing she was going to go through a divorce.... we gave her some Meijer/Walmart gift cards so that her kids can get the things they need. While a divorce is ongoing, there's not much of public assistance you can get because technically, you're still married to the fucker.

    I can get on a soapbox and yell at her about having those 5 kids and sucking her parents dry... it still won't change the fact the kids came to be and they're still suffering. If I'm around them and they need something, I will try my best to provide it.

    My parents? Oh, they'd leave me for dead if I made the same decisions she did. Dispatched with a shot gun hella quick no second thoughts. They think they'd be putting me out of my misery.

    Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

    by Future Gazer on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:04:05 PM PDT

  •  Glad she finally figured it out and is trying to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD

    do something to address this issue.

    it's rather rare to hear someone in her position speak publicly about such an egregious mistake and express remorse.

    Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

    by UnaSpenser on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:01:16 PM PDT

  •  every woman who lied about this to get an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kerplunk

    Upper hand in custody battles shares blame

  •  So as the survivor of an abusive mother (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muskegon Critic, kerplunk

    I have a question:  What group will defend the interests of a child in a divorce when the woman is the abuser?

    "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    by Glinda on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:09:14 PM PDT

    •  Groups That Help Mothers Also Help Fathers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kmfmstar, Meteor Blades

      The groups that are trying to help mothers also help fathers in the same situation. They are focused primarily on mothers because they're most often the ones reporting the possible sexual abuse of their child and being ignored in family courts. (Statistics show that 80% of sex offenses against children are committed by males.)

      But if you attended the Battered Mothers Custody Conference or similar gatherings, you'd find that fathers are being helped as well.

      So if you're asking out of concerns for your own situation or someone you know, I encourage you to reach out to one of the groups mentioned in M.C. Moewe's articles here on Daily Kos.

  •  There are so many things in here that set me off (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kerplunk, montanaguy

    First of all...kidnapping your kids is a dumb ass thing to do and it ultimately condemned the kids to live FULL TIME with this guy. What the hell did she think was going to happen?

    Post Office kiosks are FULL of the faces of people who kidnapped their own children.

    DON'T DO THAT! NOBODY DO THAT!  This person is a living example of why you DON'T DO THAT.

    And no...men don't have priority in custody cases. Often we have to scrape and claw uphill just to get 50%.........I have no idea what is meant by IOWC's statement "Children are being routinely taken away from safe, loving mothers and court ordered to live with fathers who are not the primary bond, many of whom are physically violent or sexually abusive."

    REALLY?!? "MANY" man are violent and sexually abusive and NOT the primary bond?

    If this IOWC thing was asking for more a more attentive custodial review, that would be one thing. But a more attentive custodial review to prevent men from having contact with their kids really gets under my skin.

    •  I Agree There Is Something Haywire With This (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Muskegon Critic

      diary and the majority of commenters.  They don't seem to have a grasp on how the courts view fathers and mothers and the reality.

      I suggest that those thinking that mothers get a raw deal in family court should go spend some time watching the cases and reading the documents and writing down how many time mom is given primary custody and how many times fathers are given primary custody.

      "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

      by kerplunk on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 04:14:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a friend who had to fight to get the kids (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kerplunk, Beelzebubs Brass Bs

        because the mother was abusive and neglectful and constantly took the young, YOUNG children to wild parties and left them alone there....finally he had enough proof of danger to the kids that the courts awarded him primary custody.

        What he did NOT do was KIDNAP the kids cuz that would have put the nail into the coffin for any chance of custody.

        This whole crap about the presumed purity and special connection with Mom and the vile, abusiveness of Dad is total bullshit.

        •  There are plenty of parents (0+ / 0-)

          who played "by the rules" and their kids remained horribly abused.  Many of them eventually lost custody and visitation altogether.  Im sorry you feel that your solution is the best.  I will tell you that, knowing what I know, I would have zero problem chancing kidnapping.  Your child is being tortured on a regular basis, and if the court system does the right thing by you and your child and the innocent protective parent eventually gets custody, irreparable damage has still been done to the child.  As adults, the first thing they will ask you once they can is, why didnt you protect me?

          People take chances everyday with far less at stake.  Either way the kid is the ultimate loser.  So, stupid to run?  Just your opinion.  And if the system worked, gender wouldnt be an issue.  For those of you who think that men always get the raw deal, statistics prove you wrong.  There are crappy parents of both genders, but the majority of abusers are men.  

          I dont support "mens rights" groups anymore.  Eventually they turn out to be sour misogynists.  

          Save a child's life. Please sign and share. www.signon.org/sign/sarasota-sheriffs-office Save a child's life. Please sign and share.

          by kmfmstar on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:10:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  These Articles Are About Sexual Abuse ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kmfmstar

        ... not about every disputed custody situation between fathers and mothers in family court.

        Parents who have credible reasons to believe their child is being abused and air those concerns in family court are often getting an enormously raw deal in court. Some lose all custody of their children for reporting abuse, even when the child says that he or she is being abused.

        Read the past articles in this series for more details.

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