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

Identify the Entities, Find the Funding, Talk Sense!

What kind of choices are THESE for women!?! 1. Marry, legally WIN custody of child from former partner, and possibly die, possibly with others. 2. Due to “unhealthy alliance (marriage?),” Get a domestic violence restraining order and possibly die. 3. DON’T seek a domestic violence restraining order, and possibly die.

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Or, 4. like I did

a.  Obtain a domestic violence restraining order,  in hopes NOT to die.

b.  See ex given almost immediately (Search this blog for “Access Visitation Grants” or “SAVP”) liberal, unsupervised overnight visitation.

c.  Comply with it, consistently, and try to insist he does also

d.  After warning authorities and all involved of one’s concern about abduction, (and seeking child support enforcement), have them abducted an overnight unsupervised visitation to nearly permanently (or permanently) lose contact with them.

That at least beats some of the ALTERNATE version of Choice 4 (Obtain a Restraining Order)

4.d.1  REISER:  YOU go “MIA” on an unsupervised visitation exchange of the children, and show up years later (as part of a plea bargain of DA’s with husband who murdered you, with kids present), a few (less than 6) feet under — Google “Hans Reiser,”  only a moderate tweak of too many others to categorize, where MOM was either murdered, or an attempt was made to murder her, during an exchange.  

4.d.2. CASTILLO, GONZALES, CONNOLLY, OTHERS, SOME OF THEM NOW BEFORE AN INTERNATIONAL COURT:  After warning the courts and others that you feel visitation is unwise (or he just failed to return them at the appointed time), have your children drowned, shot, hung, or gassed to death – on an overnight visitation.  Note, like some of the driving theories behind families, this is now international in scope.

4.d.2.a.  Possibly go homeless from inability to retain work after so many years in the system, and so much prolonged exposure to stress and trauma that chronic PTSD, plus the unstable job history renders one unemployable.  

(I know currently two women who became homeless after the custody switch following domestic violence, and many more who are impoverished and unemployed, but thankfully not yet homeless).  


There are endless varieties of option 4, and sequential consequences to it, none of them, for the most part, helpful for the children, or society at large, so long as the current AFCC-run, Mediation-focused, due-process eradicating family law system continues to be the next step after domestic violence restraining orders.  The venue, players, and stakes just get higher, if this be possible, than when they were originally.  And are likely to remain so until one of these 3 possible consequences follows, at which point, there simply is no more money, or press, or government program to be squeezed out of the situation, just possibly a few press headlines for the first one below:

1.  Someone is killed.

2. Someone, or both parents — and their allies — are destitute.

3. All children have turned 18.




Some readers may  wonder why the motto (top right, button) on this blog reads:

Not a private matter —

 why “family” “law” hurts us all

Just another two sunny Mondays in Sunny California

illustrate the under-publicized dangers of actually

WINNING in court:


1.  Under, “win custody and possibly die”:

Monday, 07/06/09  San Jose

No independence week for her:



Bitter Ex Loses Custody, so “Wins” with a Gun.

THEIR Daughter, Her StepDad, the Neighborhood, and everyone else involved, LOSES.

Two reported dead at San Jose townhome after shooting and hostage situation

By Mark Gomez and Lisa Fernandez 


Mercury News

  • Shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, a neighbor bleeding from a gunshot wound ran by Anthony Gallardo’s San Jose townhouse shouting that a man had shot his wife in the arm and taken her hostage.
  • A relative who asked not to be identified said Coffman was wounded in the earlobe by a gunman who had entered his home and taken his wife hostage.    Gallardo let the neighbor and a hysterical 9-year-old girl into his garage to call police.
  • The woman had recently won a drawn-out and bitter custody battle with her ex-boyfriend over the 9-year-old girl, the relative said. 
  • That was how a  5 1/2-hour standoff started in the upscale Montecito Vista townhouse development Monday. It ended when San Jose police, failing to make contact with the gunman, entered the townhouse and found the bodies of a man and woman.
  • Police declined to identify the victims but said the shooting appeared to have stemmed from “a family dispute.
  • Damon Cookson, manager of an evacuated mobile home park near the townhouse, said mobile home park residents were let back into their homes at 2:45 p.m.
  • Police had evacuated homes in the townhouse complex and a mobile home park located next door so quickly that some left their homes shoeless, without money or cell phones. Other residents were picked up by friends or relatives so they didn’t have to stand outside in the sun.

According to the “Healthy Marriages and Responsible Fatherhood” advocates, she did the right thing.  She had a man in the home and was married to her; possibly she ran across one of their ubiquitous classes and, or had a religious conversion, and  realized that having children with boyfriends (as opposed to committed and financially self-supporting, faithful spouses — like, say, Steve McNair?) was not the upright thing to do for herself, health, or her daughter.  Perhaps there was even a child support order in place on the Dad, which may or may not have contributed to the bitterness of the divorce.  THAT 9 YEAR OLD GIRL WAS IN A HETEROSEXUAL 2-PARENTS, MARRIED HOUSEHOLD.  HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES WOULD’VE HAD  NO ISSUES OR INTERVENTIONS IN PLACE FOR THIS HOUSEHOLD.


History of domestic violence, stalking, or other criminal activity, or NO history of domestic violence, stalking or other criminal activity, her attempt to pursue child support on behalf of the child, the answer is:  YES.  Being stuck in family court is rough on everyone.  Rules of evidence are weakened in this venue (See link in my last post), making hearsay accusations easier.  Psychology reigns, and there are people who profit from this.  Money trades hands for sure.  

YES, in the fathers rights vs. feminists (supposedly this is the war) climate overall, it was probably predictable, though maybe not perhaps not the timing of it.

Will people sit up and take notice, and change policies because of this death?

I doubt it.

She was married to Coffman, who texted the relative short updates all day long.  The woman was a respiratory therapist at a local hospital.

(More detailed background story, and link, on this case at bottom of today’s post)


This case was not a week old before another one in Northern California hit the press, and the late-night TV stations:

2.  Monday, 07/13/09Novato (not including multi-county Amber alert)

File Under, “Win a temporary domestic violence restraining order, and possibly die, leaving your infant with Child Protective Services,

after she experiences a nice little kidnapping.”

(Did the infant witness her mother being beat to death with a baseball bat also?)

Actually this was a SUNDAY, and the father was caught, apparently on Monday.  Good thing, being as  he was a murderer, son of a murderer, a child-stealer, his brother had a drug habit and he himself was in the family porn industry (makes one question the advisability of the match, for sure).  I wonder if Access Visitation Grants funding would’ve come into play under THIS one.  Maybe when he’s been in prison long enough, they will come after him to make contact with his daughter, after all, there IS a plague of fatherlessness, and he WAS (apparently) his little girl’s father.

Which is likely what he was thinking when he killed the Mom and kidnapped her, too.  How DARE that woman separate me from my kid and accuse me of violence!  I’ll show her what violence is!

I cannot stand to read every report on this one…


Porn King’s Son held in Baseball-Bat Beating Death


NOVATO, Calif. — A 1-year-old girl was safely recovered early Monday and her 27-year-old father in custody after he allegedly brutally beat the girl’s mother to death with a baseball bat, authorities said.

He was suspected of beating Danielle Keller several times with a baseball bat before fleeing with the girl — who was celebrating her first birthday — and threatening to kill any law enforcement agents who came into contact with him, according to police.


The baby has an age.  The murderer kidnapper father has an age.  Is there any particular reason why the Mom in this story doesn’t merit one?

Family members told KTVU that there was a history of domestic abuse and restraining order had been issued against Mitchell in both San Francisco and Marin. Keeler’s mother, Claudia Stevens, said Mitchell had stormed into her Novato home three weeks ago and threatened violence.    He also had been making threatening phone calls, she added.


…And this did not result in his IMMEDIATE arrest and incarceration for violation of restraining order WHY?

Mom didn’t know?  Courts didn’t function?  Mother still traumatized, didn’t register the importance of this?  Police were called on the violation, but didn’t do anything?  Police weren’t called? Police reported, but no one prosecuted?  No precedent that this was a danger sign existed?

3 weeks.  Hmmm.  Was the case was in family court?  Had they been to the mediator yet?  Did the mediator say to them, as the mediator did to ME (shortly after I filed domestic violence restraining order with kickout, AFTER the violence had escalated to the guns, knives, serious injury phase,putting this “family matter” at a clear domestic violence, felony, not misdemeanor)  “just peaceful communications about the (children)” — and totally failed to specify:  Place of exchange.  TIME of exchanges around holidays.  Or child support, resulting in the soon thereafter need to resort to welfare, until I could rebuild some income.)  

Excuse me.  File under,

Another needless death, another burden on California taxpayers, another traumatized little girl,

family, and neighborhood”

(I imagine it also might be filed under, don’t hook up with men involved in the porn business.  What are women, desperate these days?  Was she attracted to his testosterone?  There are down sides of too much of that, I suppose….)

This is a cruel thing to say, but I am searching about for WHY this bloodshed just doesn’t stop, no matter how many policies or laws are in place.  There HAVE to be a few consistent reasons.  Added to my concerns are, why is that our nation is raising  — or inhabited by — so many dysfunctional adults of criminal nature.  

Perhaps the problem is with the concept of the Nation (as opposed to individual families) raising them.  But, as I say sometimes, this is a family law blog, not an education blog.  Perhaps the problem is religion, as I KNOW this is a factor in many domestic violence cases.  Perhaps the problem is LACK of religion (morality / common sense // ethical behavior).  Perhaps the problem is an alienated populace — from each other as well, except within the various cliques.  Perhaps the problem is fatherhood vigilanteeism (actually, I think this is VERY close to the truth, and filed, at least in part, under religion).  Perhaps the problem is that reaction against feminism, AND against the perceived lack of religion nationwide, breeding neo-con and worse versions of what went before.

OH — PERHAPS it’s that we don’t teach women how to defend themselves, or that this is a feminine and desireable life skill.

PERHAPS it’s that we don’t teach women boundaries, and how to defend themselves.

PERHAPS it’s that WE think someone else is teaching or doing something else that, in former centuries, “we” had to do ourselves.  Like, raise and prepare food, learn to read, teach our kids to read, and so forth.


Amber Alert Novato, Search Results 48,000

Perhaps some of these will telll how she ended up with the dude…., that, for a first birthday celebration, clubbed Mama, to death with a baseball bat.  
Last week’s femicide/suicide?  
Old news:  Only 600 results

Brewer, Victoria E. & Derek Paulsen (1993, November). A Comparison of U.S. and Canadian Findings on Uxoricide Risk for Women with Children Sired by Previous Partners. Homicide Studies, 3(4), 317-332.

Bunting, Helen. (2008, February 19). Women and Daughter Killed in Chile’s Latest Femicide. The Santiago Timeshttp://www.santiagotimes.cl/santiagotimes/news/feature-news/woman-and-daughter-killed-in-chile-s-latest-femicide.html 

Bunting, Helen. (2008, February 6). Femicides in Chile: 10 So Far This Year; Three in 24 Hours. Santiago Times, http://www.santiagotimes.cl/santiagotimes/news/feature-news/femicide-chile-10.html 

Bunting, Helen. (2008, January 24). Three Femicides Recorded So Far in 2008. http://www.valparaisotimes.cl/content/view/296/1/ 


And the well-known, and still not part of policy in family court matters, studies by Jacquelyn Campbell:

  • Campbell, Jacquelyn C. (2004, December). Helping Women Understand Their Risk in Situations of Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(12), 1464-1477.
  • Campbell, Jacquelyn, Carolyn Block, & Robin Thompson. (1999). Femicide and Fatality Review.  Next Millennium Conference: Ending Domestic Violence. http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/184570.pdf
  • Campbell, Jacquelyn, Nancy Glass, Phyllis W. Sharps, Kathryn Laughton & Tina Bloom.  (2007, July).  Intimate Partner Homicide: Review and Implications of Research and Policy.  Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 8(3), 246-269.


Oh, Mea Culpa.  The word “femicide” is for a specialized field of study.  Maybe it’s under “homicide/suicide.”  Better also be more specific, since “homicide/suicide” would jam my software again, too large.

San Jose homicide/suicide— Google results


Was THIS one avoidable?  Answer:  YES!

“San Jose man recounts murder-suicide that left wife dead.”

Mercury News, 07-10-09 8:49am updated

The couple had long been leery of Liang and worried he could be capable of violence. A 2003 stalking charge was dismissed against Liang for threatening to kill the two of them, even though Coffman said neither he nor his wife were called as witnesses.

Ying He and Liang came to the United States from China in 1999, Coffman said. They had a baby girl in the Bay Area on June 14, 2000. Liang sent the girl to live with his wealthy parents in Guangzhou, and because Ying He had pending immigration status, she couldn’t freely travel between the countries.

In 2006, Ying He discovered her daughter and Liang were living in Southern California. She also discovered, Coffman said, that her ex-boyfriend, a gambler, was short on cash.

“They made a deal,” Coffman said. “Brandi said she’d give Nelson some money and he said he’d give her their daughter.”  {{NO CONTACT WITH MOM FOR SIX YEARS…..}}

But Liang reneged on his part of the deal, Coffman said, and disappeared with the girl. Coffman and his wife hired an attorney to find Liang and fight for full custody. After about two years, Liang and the girl surfaced again in Southern California. In March, Liang didn’t pick his daughter up from school one day, and police reports show Liang told school officials in Arcadia that he no longer wanted to care for his child. He was soon arrested and pleaded no contest to child endangerment. The girl was put in state care


Let’s get that timeline again:

2000 — baby born

Shortly thereafter — Dad sends baby away, no contact with mother.

2003 Dad found stalking and threatening to kill Mother AND her new husband.  (SOUND FAMILIAR?)  Doesn’t apparently even make the DA’s radar, although there are anti-stalking laws in California, and stalking has been listed for many years among lethality indicators. Perhaps he also had some concept of maybe extorting the new couple (in re: gambling habit?).

Also (sounds like my own case in this regard), stalking as seen as irrelevant to child’s welfare.  Dad retains custody, and this couple is not really on the map, or the child, legally speaking??

Unclear (here) whether they still thought daughter was in China (no mail or phone contact?)

2006 – child is located, and mother and new husband invest money and time attempting to get her in their household.

Father receives money in exchange for daughter, obviously they were trying to settle out of court.  Father agrees, takes money, and doesn’t turn over daughter.  Possibly the FBI should’ve been involved here?

2008?– Father, changing his mind again, abandons daughter (note:  that he sent his daughter back to China MIGHT be an indicator he didn’t want custody, right?) and the state picks her up.  It MIGHT be deduced from the court records, by “the state” that a parent who wants the daughter, and is in a stable situation, exists.  However, that parent was a mother….

2009 – April.  State figures it out, and gives child back to mother.  Child-endangering, stalking Dad still has visitation rights:

Liang still had visitation rights and weekly phone calls.


Why doesn’t that surprise me?  You still in favor of shared parenting, frequent visitation, fathers — ANY fathers — return day?  If not, find out which Congressmen (and if any women) voted for this in 1998 and 1999 in the U.S., and write them why they should re-think the resolution — what WAS that about, opting for population control by homicide/suicide??

Which tells you about family court in California:  Far be it from Family Law Judges to notice that trivialities such as sending kid back to China, where her own mother couldn’t nurture or see her for YEARS, while staying here and racking up a gambling debt, stalking and threatening to kill the mother and her new partner, and child endangerment by abandonment, should be taken into account in designing a custody/visitation order!


On Sunday, the day before the shooting, Liang called to speak with his daughter, asking her strangely specific questions about her schedule. Coffman believes Liang was casing the family for the attack.


My question:  WHEN did Coffman or his wife hear of those strangely specific questions?  Was the daughter alarmed?  DId no one catch the anomaly.  That instinct of “this is strange, isn’t it?” can save lives — in a family, even if the state misses the boat…  I suspect they hadn’t processed that information yet, and didn’t think that Liang would act so quickly.

ALWAYS play it safe!

I see we bloggers are going to have to work harder at getting the news out:  Before entering family court situations with difficult custody battles, get martial arts training — and exerrcise your second amendment rights.


ENDNOTE:  China is known for not valuing girl babies as much as boy babies.

 But the U.S. ought to have understood when children are viewed as poker chips in a high-stakes custody battle.

I think this one might be more gambling debt as much as jealousy contributing to the problems



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