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(Dis)Order in the Courts — get a perspective!

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Actually, I’m not totally sure what went down with The Hon.Judge Henriod, (Utah), in his jailing a woman for texting in court. She did 2 days of 30 assigned, with the rest hovering.  Was it about Order in the Court?  Was it about her attempting to help her ex hide assets, and so protecting the case?  It APPEARS to include some violations of due process.  

But this is as good an excuse as any to note that “Disorder in the Courts” (2002), while not as old as the VAWA act, which I HOPE your Senator supports full funding for this time round, is still relevant.


Humor me, here are the lead-ins: 

(1)  Texting and Driving — Crash & Jail


There are laws against texting and driving for good reasons:  the distraction can be fatal to others.  When it does, jail seems appropriate.


“Texting death crash woman” jailed

{{I’ve been through family court, and one gets called names in there frequently.  Can you imagine writing the by-line for this item:  “texting death crash woman?”  What a handle, what a claim to fame.}}

A motorist who sent and received more than 20 text messages before she crashed into another car killing its driver has been jailed for 21 months.

Philippa Curtis, 21, from Suffolk, was texting before she hit the back of a stationary car at 70mph on the A40 near Wheatley in Oxfordshire.

Victoria McBryde from Northamptonshire, who was dealing with a burst tyre, was killed in the crash in November 2007.

Curtis, of Bury St Edmunds, was also given a three-year driving ban.

Judge Julian Hall said it had been “folly and madness” to use a phone while driving and it had been “disastrous” for Curtis, Ms McBryde and her family.

‘Various calls’

Curtis, who was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving in December, had told Oxford Crown Court she felt there were times when using a phone while driving was acceptable...


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


(2)  Texting in court – Citation and jail


Now, on reading the articles, I am not fully of one opinion or the other.  It raises a few issues…  If I wanted to lambast judicial irresponsibility, this judge might not be the textbook case or poster boy, there are worse for sure.  Also, some said this woman was texting AFTER the hearing….

Woman jailed for texting is released

TOOELE — A young mother who was sentenced to 30 days in jail for text messaging inside a courtroom — sparking an uproar that reached national media outlets — was released Wednesday after two days behind bars.

However, the judge who imposed the sentence for contempt of court defended his actions Wednesday and said he believed the woman was helping her husband hide assets in a complicated debt collection case before creditors could claim them.

I have an affidavit from a woman who was sitting behind her who heard her and her mother-in-law talk about hiding assets,” 3rd District Judge Stephen Henriod said Wednesday.

Henriod had found Susan Henwood in contempt of court for text messaging her husband, Josh, during an earlier court hearing in which the judge believed the woman was tipping her husband off about collection measures for debts. Josh Henwood had said he was sick and could not attend the court hearing.

At issue is a legal battle involving a plaintiff, Bob Wisdom, who is seeking financial compensation from Josh Henwood. Wisdom’s attorney, Gary Buhler, said all his client wants to do is get paid and make the case go away.

Buhler decried media attention that focused on Susan Henwood’s youth and four young children, which he suggested painted her as a victim, while ignoring efforts that he said have been made to conceal or transfer ownership of a long list of assets that should be used to pay off debts.

The witness who sat by Susan Henwood said in her affidavit that she observed Henwood continuously texting someone during the hearing and remarking to an older female seated nearby that “Buhler is not getting that” and “we will just move it, they are not getting it.

Other quotes on this case:


But Susan Henwood’s attorney, Alan Stewart, said she has no experience with courts and was simply reporting what was happening to her ill husband using a method she thought would be the least disruptive in the courtroom. Stewart also noted that Susan Henwood is not a party to the debt collection case.

“You’re using his wife as collateral,” Stewart told the judge. “You’re saying, ‘We’ll take your wife as hostage.’ A judgment debtor has rights, too.”

Hilder said individuals can be held in contempt if they willfully defy a court order, or if they assist someone else to defy a court order. Judges also are charged with maintaining order in the court, which does not mean simply the physical environment.


And from worldnet daily, a different viewpoint of the arrest process:

Judge reviews case of texting courtroom spectator
Woman freed although contempt ‘conviction’ remains

Posted: April 30, 2009
12:30 am Eastern





By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

It was at some point subsequent to the hearings on her husband’s case a woman notified the judge there had been text messages sent.

Susan Henwood said she never would knowingly violate the law but was startled when she was cited. Then when she went to court Monday on the contempt citation, she said she was refused permission to testify on her own behalf.  


Susan and Josh Henwood


The complainant, instead, was allowed to testify unchallenged that Susan Henwood had been texting more or less constantly through the hearing, which apparently had gone unnoticed by the judge, the lawyers and the bailiffs at the time.  {{alert:  Hearsay??  Violation of due process, much??}}

Then the judge announced the 30-day jail sentence for her actions.  {A transcript of this matter would settle what happened}

She thanked the news agencies that reported on her predicament and that of her husband, left at home with four children under the age of 10.

. . .Just a quick refresher (and I am no lawyer):

14th Amendment:

Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

“Josh Henwood’s stepfather and Susan’s father-in-law, Dennis Jackson, reported there were no notices or warnings posted about the use of texting, a statement contradicted by the clerk’s office spokeswoman, who told WND that visitors to court were told of the judge’s ban on text messages. However, when asked how the warning was delivered, by sign or verbal statement, she said, “I have no idea.”

Conversely, in another case, Henriod gave a former teacher probation for having sex nearly 50 times with a 16-year-old boy.

“What is of primary importance to me is that [the boy] is doing well,” the judge ruled.” 


(3) Sex and School  — Probation Only

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ (It was felt that the woman did not fit the profile of a pedophile.  Interesting, someone else said that about the Huckaby case in Tracy, California also — but that has a gag order, now that she’s on death row for “special circumstances.”)  (“equal” protection under the law?)

It appears to me that at least WNDaily is following up on this, and that possibly the Judge had some cause for concern, HOWEVER, before jailing, a person should be allowed to testify.  I will not pronounce on all this (hearsay).

By the way, the “teacher” above was a woman (hover cursor over link for short comment on the story)

Another Perspective on No Child Left Behind?

{{I know, I’m kind of merciless on the NCLB theme.  Sorry, but I think the mentality that drives that thinking was related to why I lost my kids.  Ignore the DV, target the oddball parent who doesn’t support the federal almost-monopoly (give it time….) on “education.”  ALSO, that mentality and dialogue (dare you to find it on Whitehouse.gov….) ignores cases like this: }

Former Utah Teacher Gets Probation For Student Sex

Written by: Doug G. Ware 
Email: dware@kutv2.com 
Last Update: 10/19/2007 12:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – A former Utah high school teacher avoided jail time on Friday, instead being sentenced to serve three years of probation for having sex nearly 50 times with a 16-year-old boy.

Christy Anne Brown, 33, had pleaded guilty to having sex with one of her students while she was an English teacher at Cyprus High School in Magna.  But despite a recommendation for some jail time by Adult Probation and Parole officials, the judge decided that a probationary term was enough…(the boy’s parents didn’t want her jailed, particularly, either, it goes on to say…)

(What IS it about Utah, eh??)

(Maybe this is a commentary that we ought to go back to attempting to have young people become reasonably morally, character-wise, and behavior-wise a little more mature by the time the hormones and this drive start pumping through them. . . But again, this is a family court blog, not a  schools blog, I will restrain myself here). 


(4) Due Process, DOJ and the U.S., holding tanks:

(according to Glen Greenwald — and all I did was search “habeas corpus,” which thought was provoked by the Henwood case, above….):

The Obama DOJ is now squarely to the Right of an extremely conservative, pro-executive-power, Bush 43-appointed judge on issues of executive power and due-process-less detentions.  Leave aside for the moment the issue of whether you believe that the U.S. Government should have the right to abduct people anywhere in the world, ship them to faraway prisons and hold them there indefinitely without charges or any rights at all.  The Bush DOJ — and now the Obama DOJ — maintain the President does and should have that right, and that’s an issue that has been extensively debated.  It was, after all, one of the centerpieces of the Bush regime of radicalism, lawlessness and extremism.

Can I argue this case coherently, and have I been following loss of habeas corpus in these matters?  Not really — I’ve been much more concerned much closer to home — in re:  men, women, children, and the family law courts.  My daughters’ habeas corpus was violated — they were falsely imprisoned for a month, and no enforcement of any penal code against this.  As minors, the purpose of my prior attempt to get all parties in involved (and there were far more PEOPLE involved in this, both in my family and throught the courts, than literal “parties” in the actions at hand.  Only TWO parties were in the action at hand, involving custody in a divorce and domestic violence dynamic.  Those two parties were the parents of the children.).  Therefore, to my pea-sized brain, if I were to put some ORDER into my personal life — including work life, associations, weekly schedule, and what not — the most sensible way would to insist that the court ORDERS be enforced, consistently (perhaps it was the teacher in me that wanted this order), so that something profitable and practical could actually get accomplished in our lives.  In my case, that entailed making a living (despite repeated interruptions to that process) and raising children, which if you’ve done this, you understand has certain requirements attached, and takes both time, energy, and also money (food, housing, clothes, transportation, what not).

Which brings me to:


(5) DIS-order in the Courts

The title I sought was a publication by CANOW which addresses the topics I, and many on the blogroll, have been.  It is now such a commonplace google term, that we get hits such as this:





Jim Kouri, CPP October 13, 2005 NewsWithViews.com

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Stephen W. Thompson, who traveled to Russia to have sex with a teenage boy, was convicted by a federal jury last week on a charge of sexual exploitation of children. The judge also produced a videotape of sex with a minor and then transported that videotape back to the United States. Judge Thompson is associated with the North American Man Boy Love Association, a group which promotes sexual relations between adult men and children. NAMBLA is currently represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

After merely 10 hours of deliberations, the jury convicted Judge Thompson, 59, of one count of traveling in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the sexual conduct. The jury found the defendant not guilty only by reason of insanity on count two, charging possession of child pornography.


This one got caught.  Finally.  Kind of undermines confidence in the judiciary, eh?  SUPERIOR court judge?  

When I taught music, it was a commitment/ a round the clock type of thinking.  I thought about it when not actually teaching or performing, although it is most certainly possible to dwell on other things, do other things, etc.  But for central passions in life, they influence you.  They are not just mindless occupations you pick up for some hours and put down.  I will say this for being a mother as well.  It’s not something a judge can rule that I have to cease being, and I can readily comply with that — internally.  It’s built-in, and a part of me, just like music.  Taking both of them out, that’s a rough call.  

So how about this judge having what clearly was a central passion (others, it’s money, others, I’m sure it’s “justice”)  – – this is going to cloud judgment.  Good thing he got caught.  How many were hurt, en route?  



“CA NOW recognizes that there is a crisis in the family courts.”  http://www.canow.org/ca_now_family_law/








Do you??

(Direct quote from the above page):

We have had hundreds of complaints from mothers whose divorce, custody and child support cases denied them their right to due process and failed to consider the best interests of the child.  CA NOW documented the results of analysis of 300 family law cases in our 2002 Family Court Report

About 40% of custody cases are contested today due to allegations of child abuse, molestation and domestic violence. Tragically, in some of these cases perfectly fit mothers are losing custody of their children to abusers. Pseudoscientific psychological theories are used as legal strategies to switch custody from or deny visitation rights to mothers of abused children.   In cases where fathers contest custody, they win sole or joint custody 40 to 70 percent of the time.


CA NOW published an e-book, Disorder in the Courts: Mothers and their Allies Take on the Family Court System, which is a collection of essays by mothers and their advocates addressing different aspects of the problems with the courts. 

Purchase your download of this e-book online, or contact CA NOW at 916.442.3414 x101.

We have lobbied for legislation that protects mothers and children, and against legislation that is harmful.  We have worked in coalition with other organizations to address the systemic problem of court injustice.  We have demanded accountability from officials, and utilized the media to bring attention to the issue. We have created and gathered resources for mothers, advocates and attorneys that you will find on the side bars of this page. 

CANOW does not provide legal advice, referrals, or funding for litigation. We are taking action for family court reform through political pressure and exposure, legislation, public education and working in coalition with other organizations. We encourage individuals to find others in their communities who can organize grassroots efforts to do court watches and to use public forums (speak outs, protests, media, etc.) to bring attention to the corruption in their courts.


So Does NOW NYS:


(From a link on this page:  This section refers to cronyism, misuse of taxpayer dollars, slowness to prosecute ethical violations, and it SPEAKS to the character of those who make crucial decisions in family’s lives.  Some of these cases (of judicial misconduct) do not just show one form, but multiple forms of horrible behavior, if not felony.  It BOTHERS me that people of this character still populate courts that I know (see post on “therapeutic jurisprudence?”) are an institution seeking to itself teaach and “reform” those on the lower spectrum of the socioeconomic radar, and make no bones about it either, with parenting classes, marriage promotion, batterer intervention programs of dubious efficacy, psychological analyses  as a short-cut to fact-finding, or at times even reading the court record/evidence already on it.  ):

The commission began probing Robin Garson four years ago after she told a grand jury that Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Garson – her husband’s cousin – confessed to improperly taking $100,000 from his elderly aunt.

Michael Garson, who resigned in December, has been indicted on grand larceny charges for allegedly looting the nearly $1 million fortune his Aunt Sarah Gershenoff saved over 50 years as a legal secretary.

His trial is expected in October.

Robin Garson, Gershenoff’s personal guardian, also testified that the power of attorney Michael and Gerald Garson used to pilfer Gershenoff’s money was forged.

Ethical rules require judges to report criminal acts. She did not at the time.

Gerald Garson is now serving three to 10 years for taking cash, cigars, free drinks and meals from crooked lawyer Paul Siminovsky in exchange for awarding lucrative appointments and fixing cases.

Last April, NOW complained that Robin Garson “exploited her official status to obtain special privilege” during her husband’s trial, passing notes to defense lawyers and entering the courtroom through special doors reserved for officials.

In the Aug. 1 letter, NOW exhorted the commission to pursue Siminovsky’s testimony that Gerald Garson asked him to help Robin Garson’s election campaign as part of their corrupt relationship. {{NOTE:  Simonovsky is testifying because he was caught himself; part of the plea bargain was helping to catch this crooked, divorce-fixing-for-pay judge!!  The crooked relationship in question was the Simonovsky/Gerson one, let alone any Garson to Garson ones}

“Please be transparent in your investigation,” Pappas wrote. “Judicial canons require that judges maintain ethical standards and avoid any appearance of impropriety. Please help us rebuild our public faith and trust in the state judiciary.”


I ask you to visit the link above.  I am going to put most of it as a separate post, and underscore personally:

Here’s SOME of it:

When women come to court because of abuse they need help, not harassment
by Tracy S. Simmons and Mary Frost, edited by Gloria Jacobs, Esq.
Stop Shooting the Messenger:  When women come to court because of abuse they need help, not harassment.
A. Women are often afraid to report incidents of violence and abuse to the police as the law is often not upheld properly at that level.  The consequence of this action at the court level is it often gets treated as either a false allegation when she finally musters up the courage to seek help in court, or she is blamed for not seeking help sooner.  The Court punishes the victim for not handling the matter as they see fit rather than offer support up front. 
B. Guilt, trauma and fear are often misinterpreted as weakness, hysteria, overly emotional, overly protective and out of control.  Women are punished by the courts for being protective and nurturing.  It is often used as the litmus test to their credibility whereas men are not judged by the same standard. 
C. Even when there is evidence of physical abuse, the court uses a psychological smokescreen/syndrome/theory to vilify the protective parent.  The courts responsibility is to uphold the law and not to make decisions on what new theory will be medically acceptable.  That job is for the AMA, who does not accept Parental Alienation Syndrome.  Therefore it must not be acceptable for any court to allow any non medically accepted theories/syndromes and other non medical legal tactics, which only serves to fuel the multi million dollar cottage industry it has created by removing children from their mothers while rewarding the abusive party.  

D. Judges need to meet with the children during an on-going custody suit prior to making any custody decision.  Further, there should be a periodic review.  Children need a venue to be heard that will be safe.  The meeting should be recorded and not sealed.  It should be noted that contrary to the position LG/GAL’s often hold, children are often empowered by the ability to communicate and will do so willing and honestly to a Judge, given the chance. 

I (blogger) wish to qualify this:  children who are coming out from abuse understand, quite often, that there is retaliation for reporting it.  I have had my kids tell me, “no way” were they going to open up to a (mediator) who is to them a stranger.  Conversely, our mediator expressed to me the concept that I had (per se) that the children would much more readily confide in him (note:  they were girls) than me, their mother, or their father.  That’s narcissistic and shows no awareness of either the dynamics of abuse.  This particular mediator already knew of the original restraining order, too.  Trust me, the children read the adults better than the adults read the children, in general.

It needs to be understood that the children’s safety OUTSIDE the courtroom is paramount. 

E. Stop using discriminatory processes against women in court.  We can not choose to isolate and punish one specific group of people and not another for the same thing.  So called Parental Alienation Syndrome, and its many incarnations, is not used in criminal cases nor is it used against the angry neighbor screaming nasty comments over the fence in front of children.  It’s not used where intact families berate each other in front of the kids.  Its ONLY purpose is as a legal tactic used against divorcing woman, to diminish the legal consequences of abusive behavior and up the ante on an already unleveled playing field.   
F. Equal protection under the law….That includes women and children.

Orders of Protection (OP)

A. Grant orders of Protection for the abused NOT for the abuser:  Train judges so they are not issuing retaliatory OP’s to angry abusive husbands who receive an OP against them. 

Grant permanent OP’s where necessary.  We’re not seeing any permanent OP’s, even for the most dangerous offenders. {{IF I’d known such were available…}}

C. Orders of Protection  must be strictly enforced  {{If-Only….}}
D. Battery , assault and sexual abuse is a crime and must be treated as such.  These matters should not only be heard in the family or supreme courts, and women should be informed that criminal court is available to them.    {{When I found it — a few years into the family court process.  When it was driven home — after the child-stealing.}}}  Hold abusers criminally responsible even if there is a custody or divorce matter before the court, criminal matters need to be directed to the correct authority.


I am not, FYI, a member of NOW, and not about to become one.  There are some issues and priorities on which I differ.  But i question why it takes a feminist group to state the issues so clearly?    Thank God for them, and their groundwork!


Feminists have been targeted and namecalled in many sectors, but some forget where they came from to start with, responding to some very real, and very outrageous discrimination and civil rights violation.  I remind the fathers viewing this, that women got the vote ONLY in the last century.  Talk about “equal parenting time” coming up in a decade or so only is simply not credible.  

If you think you have “identity” problems — or are tired of participating in the rat race society that, I would just about bet, women (if they’d been making decisions) — I mean, ordinary women, not foundation owning women — we would have understood to allow for some time with our children, but not having this be our sole identity or talent.  Our corpus callosus” is thicker than yours; we naturally multi-task (perforce, also!), and the place your kids belong, when they are young, is in our arms, primarily, assuming we are decent.  Our hips are generally speaking set to have a kid on them.  We live longer.  We have more body fat in general.  We are designed for this, and a lot of smarts are developed in these categories.  Give us a _____-ing break in express-pumping milk for two-year olds (Toronto judge) so you can get equal time with your former wild oats.  

I’ve been a professional, including teacher, and worked many fields.  I was a Mom, and instantly (late 30s) I was supposed to drop that identity and STOP what i was doing.  But also, bring home the bacon.  But, stay home, barefoot, kind of, and car-less.  Then that didn’t satisfy my confused mate, and towards the end, I was told to work nights, but this didn’t produce any more household cooperation, either in house OR child care.  When I didn’t come up with enough $$ to compensate, I was lectured.  helpers were flown in to lecture me, in front of my daughters, on how to be a wife (this was shortly before I threw him out).  I later did a background check on the particular individual flown in to do this, and it wasn’t pretty.  


I then (mid-40s) took legal action to protect myself (himself, given the context) and our children.  I began repairing and rebuilding, and taking care of the children AND working.  Child support was finally ordered.  I moved for a fresh start, and then the hounding me, advising, lecturing, and attempting to direct me (not how to be a wife, but how to be a single Mom), came in, from another male (who had never raised kids), the same one that wasn’t smart enough to help us get a restraining order, or intervene in the wife-beating.  When I deterred from this enforced “advice,” the punishments resumed – out of court, in the courts, and economically.  I therefore had to restructure HOW to provide for us, and I had only two hands, not three.  Work, household, children was enough.  Fending off intruders and learning legalese was not on the map.

It is now.

I was told, then (approaching 50s here…) I was TOO enmeshed with the kids, then (as child support was withheld and jobs were lost, around the family law system) I was “abandoning them at home alone” (approximate quote), which, apart from being untrue, referred to at most, perhaps 4 hours a week of evening work, in my profession, necessitated by the prior reversal of schedules brought on by the court actions.  This is called knee-jerk co-parenting. It’s impossible, and not good for kids.


Women, sirs, are generally short of time, and frequently finances also.  If you want something done right the first time, perhaps you ought to ask us.  I believe that, generally speaking, we know the value of our time, our $$ (and yours) and I find it hard to believe that a growing being that spent +/- 9 months inside us is just a piece of property, or a meal ticket.  When and where that has happened, whose institutions has that young mother come through to start with?

Individually, and collectively,

we are personally unavailable for scapegoating from here on out.


For a counterbalancing view, see Chesler’s “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman.”  It happens.


One Response

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  1. Yeah, I know, commenting on my own posts. But, it’s as though writing is a magnet that attracts related information (or, I notice it). This is about “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman”:


    From the Chesler Chronicles:
    “Although women depend upon each other for emotional intimacy and social stability, they are also highly competitive with, mistrustful of, or hostile towards other women. Like men, women have also internalized sexist beliefs. Are women really sexists? Of course they are. A study of 15,000 people in nineteen countries on five continents found that women hold sexist views just as men do. However, some studies suggest that women with low self-esteem are more likely to internalize negative views of women which may account for how such women treat other women: With cruelty rather than kindness.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “In addition, women are expected to compete mainly against other women, not against men, and they do so both directly and indirectly (through slander, shunning, and “backstabbing.”) In the Third World, especially in war zones, the female-female aggression is far more direct, often fatally so.

    “I have written a number of articles about Muslim mothers who have participated, both directly and indirectly, in the honor killing of their daughters; and about female Muslim suicide-homicide bombers who have specifically targeted other women and children.

    “For example, in 2008, in Iraq, one of four female homicide bombers entered a tent that provided shelter to weary female religious pilgrims. She sat down, read the Koran with them, and left a bag behind that, moments later, blew them all up. Please note that she targeted weary, religious Muslim women
    ~ ~ ~
    Please note:

    “Like Madam Jassim, when women are trapped in highly patriarchal cultures, they may gain the only approval and power possible for a woman by vigilantly policing themselves and other women to extol and support the patriarchal status quo. This is true in terms of issues such as veiling which, for women, is the visual shorthand for “jihad” and extreme religiosity. I fear that we will see many more Evil Stepmother/mothers like Samira Jassim and many more raped, traumatized, exploited, ideologically empowered, and ultimately suicidal-homicidal daughters”

    ~ ~ ~ ~
    The target and gist of this article is different than mine here; relatively speaking, in the U.S., we are seeing more suicidal homicidal MEN (responding to, I believe, disempowerment).

    The turning of women against each other is also happening in the US, and in these venues. I’m thankful for NOW and other organizations that at least address it. I have experience this personally, and when reading about other cultures, WONDERED why it felt familiar. I hope saying so does not trivialize the difficulties this article speaks of; it is not meant to.


    April 30, 2009 at 4:03 pm

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