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My response to Wayne County, MI issues: Behind many issues is often an AFCC judge…. (and what “AFCC” entails)

with 4 comments


 

Review Time – who/what is the “AFCC”?:

“AFCC JUDGE” — Briefly, by this, it means all that AFCC believes, entails and habitually DOES.

  • What is AFCC?

AFCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.

This is not necessarily what the US Court systems are in place for, nor civil codes of procedure, nor the bill of rights, nor the criminal law.  AFCC views “conflict” as bad — seemingly worse than criminal behaviors by individuals in families towards others in the families.   I can’t think of any field of human endeavor or growth that doesn’t have some built-in conflict, which can be resolved either by reference to an agreed-upon-standard, or by separation.  However, in AFCC language, whoever has conflict (including with these dedicated professionals) is the bad guy, and court-ordered punishment can be meted out.

In this system, parents are required / forced to work it out being treated and viewed as a “family” whether or not they are one any more.  Even if one has threatened to kill the other, to kidnap the kids, has caused serious injury to the other partner and/or their children, or has interfered with court-ordered visitation, the problem is viewed of conflict PER SE as being wrong, rather than there being an identifiable position of truth (and from it, some justice) on various matters.

Naturally it also sees its membership as an association of dedicated professionals who are going to resolve family problems.

  • Who are AFCC members? – WHICH dedicated professionals, in what fields?

AFCC Members are:

Judges Lawyers
Mediators Psychologists
Researchers Academics
Counselors Court Commissioners
Custody Evaluators Parenting Coordinators
Court Administrators Social Workers
Parent Educators Financial Planners

It seems to me this list of professions keeps expanding, which is another thing AFCC as an association does.  We note that while there are some people as direct public employees/ servants who work in the justice system (judges, mediators, court administrators, court commissioners, and some categories of attorneys — i.e., child support attorneys, county-paid GALs, etc.) — some are not.  The category “researchers” & “Academics” is definitely broad.  Although many of these people certainly have been through divorce or custody issues, or are themselves parents please notice that “parents” is not a category.

In this worldview, then, the “PARENT” (regardless of what profession(s) any parent is in, including sometimes even some of the above categories) is the plebian, the novice, the uninstructed, the person that the professionals must handle.  One thing many parents are definitely “uninstructed” in is that this organization exists and runs conferences to strategize how to handle THEM and their flawed selves.

AFCC personnel, when judges, are often highly placed (including state supreme courts) and activist.  A look at the membership in this 2007 conference brochure shows an opening PLENARY session hearing;

The Presumption for Equal Shared Parenting: Pros and Cons There seems to be increasing support throughout the United States for a rebuttable presumption for equal shared parenting. Proponents say that such a presumption brings the best interest standard into comportment with parents’ protected and privileged status under the Constitution and will apply only to those situa- tions in which 1) parents cannot reach agreement; 2) both parents can present realistic parenting plans for the responsibility they seek; and 3) neither parent can present convincing evidence that the other parent is unfit. They say that this presumption will change litigants’ and practitioners’ expectation that gains are produced by proceeding to adversarial judicial hearings, will decrease post divorce conflict, and will uphold each parent’s fundamental liberty interest in the care and custody of his/her children. Opponents, while often sympathetic to shared parenting, argue that the presumption would seriously impede the Court’s ability to tailor custody determinations to the needs of each particular child.** Presenters: Michael McCormick; Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D.; Honorable Robert Schnider

 

[The 2003 link points to an article from a Journal of CFCC (Center for Families & Children in the Courts, put out by Ca. Judicial Council:    

Effective Intervention With High-Conflict Families / How Judges Can Promote and Recognize Competent Treatment in Family Court “The emotional and psychological risks to children resulting from conflicted custody disputes and the varied needs of separated families have led to the increased involvement of mental health professionals in child custody cases. …But though treatment services can be expensive, high-quality treatment may be a more cost-effective intervention than continued litigation. …   Courts can also maximize resources by appointing a forensically sophisticated therapist to fill a child- centered role (e.g., to provide the child’s treatment or child-centered conjoint or family therapy) and by allowing the therapist to confer with other therapists about the case. “

Sorry, but actually AFCC was founded to bring on the mental health professionals.  It’s typical to talk in passive terms of needs that arose and demanded their services, however, this is a very aggressive organization that lobbies for constant expansion of the involvement of its professionals, as does this particular article.  Some of the topics of conflict include economic depletion by constant involvement of custody evaluators and therapists to start with …

The Hon. Robert Schnider apparently one of the originals in Los Angeles area, born into a family law practitioner family — or at least working in his father’s practice.  Purely for entertainment purposes, here’s a 2004 article in which this judge was going to possibly unseal (unsavory) parts of a divorce record affecting an Illinois Republican Senatorial race — Jack Ryan against . . ..  Barack Obama.   The author questions why any judge would be allowed to do this for high-celebrity cases, and notes that “To Unseal or Not to Unseal” (My terms) would either affect a political race, and might be called “child endangerment.”  Jack Ryan was being compared to Bill Clinton as to his sexual habits at the time….]

((**including totally eliminating contact with the mother, in “interventions” when she has alienated the children — which would mean sole legal & physical custody to the father, i.e., “Tailored custody determinations” The fact that no opponents UNsympathetic to shared parenting (presumptions) are mentioned tells us how unlikely that either feminists or people advocating for domestic violence victims’ viewpoints were considered).

Many of the conflicts within marriages and sometimes causes of separation actually can come from violence by one partner towards another; it can be a dealbreaker in any relationship (and can and does sometimes turn lethal).  AFCC positions itself at the crossroads and in this little paragraph above, has borrowed? the phrase “rebuttable presumption for equal shared parenting” from the rebuttable presumption AGAINST custody going to a batter” legislative language in many states.

 

“Rebuttable Presumption” talk:

For example, a quick search comes up with Delaware Code.  Even this Delaware Code, as strong as it is, has several loopholes to allow joint or sole custody of a child to go to a perpetrator of domestic violence — but even so, AFCC and others wish to change this to presumption for equal shared parenting (see above):

DEL CODE § 705A : Delaware Code – Section 705A: REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION AGAINST CUSTODY OR RESIDENCE OF MINOR CHILD TO PERPETRATOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Search DEL CODE § 705A : Delaware Code – Section 705A: REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION AGAINST CUSTODY OR RESIDENCE OF MINOR CHILD TO PERPETRATOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

(a) Notwithstanding other provisions of this title, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that no perpetrator of domestic violence shall be awarded sole or joint custody of any child.

(b) Notwithstanding other provisions of this title, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that no child shall primarily reside with a perpetrator of domestic violence.

(c) The above presumptions shall be overcome if there have been no further acts of domestic violence and the perpetrator of domestic violence has: (1) successfully completed a program of evaluation and counselling designed specifically for perpetrators of family violence {{aka “Batterers Intervention Program” — a thing marketed by the Duluthmodel.org philosophy}} and conducted by a public or private agency or a certified mental health professional; and (2) successfully completed a program of alcohol or drug abuse counselling if the Court determines that such counselling is appropriate; and (3) demonstrated that giving custodial or residential responsibilities to the perpetrator of domestic violence is in the best interests of the child. The presumption may otherwise be overcome only if a judicial officer finds extraordinary circumstances that warrant the rejection of the presumption, such as evidence demonstrating that there exists no significant risk of future violence against any adult or minor child living in the home or any other family member, including any ex-spouse.

(i.e., RISK ASSESSMENT PROPHETIC UTTERANCES.  How can anyone demonstrate no significant risk fo future violence when people have walked out of batterers intervention programs, with flying colors, and gone on to murder the same person that got them in there?)

Along with “best interests” is of course if the other parent might “alienate” the child, allegedly.

An AFCC judge is going to oppose anything “high-conflict” and be favorably inclined towards shared parenting.  Note presenter Mike McCormick, whose bio is:

Michael McCormick. Mr. McCormick is Executive Director of the American Coalition of Fathers and Children and has written exten- sively and spoken throughout the United States on family law reform.

No presentations by NOW members or feminists in this association, that I’ve seen.  Mr. McCormick is MORE than active in fatherhood issues, and complained that even Obama’s and Evan Bayh (Indiana) fatherhood and healthy marriage promotion just didn’t go far enough.  It was too little carrot and too big a stick.  He hangs out with Glenn Sacks and friends.  I note that the acronym “ACFC” (below) is “AFCC” re-arranged.  Coincidence?

 I (Glenn Sacks) co-authored the column, which appears below, with Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood Bill–Not Enough Carrot, Too Much Stick
By Mike McCormick and Glenn Sacks
Wisconsin State JournalBuffalo News, 6/30/07

U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) recently introduced the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2007, which they say will address our “national epidemic of absentee fathers.” Obama and Bayh are correct that fatherless children are dramatically more likely to commit crimes, drop out of school, use drugs, or get pregnant than children who have fathers in their homes. The Responsible Fatherhood Act is explicitly a carrot and stick approach. The problem is that the carrot is too small and the stick is already too big.

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(Note he’s not complaining about fathers being treated like animals & mules, which is where the “carrot & stick” reference comes from.  He wants the bribe, the incentive, and less regulation.  Personally, being a mother, I’d be offended — and have been — when anyone came to me implying or saying that I needed federal intervention to attempt to maintain work to support my kids.  This article was written 5 months after his presentation at AFCC, same year, or published then.

So one factor to remember about AFCC — they have no problem with conference presentations run by activities fathers’ rights leaders.  They are definitely a father-friendly organization, at least certain kinds of fathers.   They are also typically influential within the courts they preside over, when judges:

Another factor is that they are quite interested if not obsessed with redefining (and narrowing the definition) of domestic violence; they are going to discredit domestic violence as having primarily male perpetrators upon females, even though homicide data consistently shows this is who kills the most.  This is consistent with Mr. McCormick (above)’s membership on a group called ‘RADAR’ who pushes this theory.  Read on, same conference:

PLENARY

Rethinking Domestic Violence

This presentation will review research studies on the relationship between domestic violence and custody assessments. The domestic violence paradigm presented in many studies consistently suggests one model of domestic violence, that of male perpetrator and female victim; the argument is then made that this male-abuser model will extend to child abuse.

In other words, let’s consider a different paradigm, the “theory” (“argument”) that male abusers often extend to child abuse is just theory ……just an argument…

The data on gender differences in both intimate personal violence and threats to children indicate, however, that the male-perpetrator model is only one of several models of domestic violence, and that risk to children occurs equally from mothers and fathers. The ethics of presenting a gender biased perspective for custody assessors are discussed.

Presenter: Donald G. Dutton, Ph.D.

I have posted on the Dueling Duttons (just for fun — there is a Donald Dutton, of this premise, and a Mary Ann Dutton also Ph.D., who deals more with the resultant trauma from abuse).

FINALLY as to “AFCC JUDGES” , AFCC is a very activist organization seeking to reform family law and lobbying for changes in laws, practices etc.  They also have foundation sponsorship for conferences on “Domestic Violence and the Courts” as below:

Task Forces and Initiatives

Child Custody Consultant Task Force

Child Custody Evaluation Standards Task Force

Family Law Education Reform Project

Parenting Coordination Standards Task Force

Domestic Violence and Family Courts Project

Child Welfare Collaborative Decision Making Network

Brief Focused Assessment Task Force

Court-Involved Therapist Task Force

And, of course, I believe I have made the case that many AFCC members are actively promoting their own products, curricula, and nonprofits are not at all above utilizing their positions as judges to direct traffic (through court-ORDERED participation into the programs, for example, see posts on Kids’ Turn. Questionable financial practice appears to be part of the territory..  See Johnnypumphandle on some of the Nonprofit Organizations:

Many non-governmental organizations exist to reap profit from the Family Law system. Most are identified as Non-Profit and are exempt from taxation. You may have contacted some of these organizations for help, only to discover that help is not available – particularly if you are seeking justice.

Many organizations have been established by professionals in the Family Law system for conspiracy and protection of these professionals. Thus we have many Bar Associations, whose members are lawyers and judges; Psychological Associations for classifying family members syndromes, so that none will be overlooked; and other associations established merely to act as a conduit for family member’s money collected in the process.

The Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association is a good example of one of the latter Non-Profit organizations whose stated purpose is “promotion of judicial profession pursuant to section 501(c)(6)”. (see form 3500 – Exemption application). The Association boasts a budget of over $100,000 – none of which will be received from members dues – and most of which will be funded by “Professional Education programs for the legal community“. Unlike most professional organizations, this organization was granted(?) the use of County premises, complete with facilities for it’s office space and management of it’s business within the County Court facilities at 111 North Hill Street.

He is talking about private and/or nonprofit associations with judges as members using public buildings and premises to run their own businesses.

It appears that this “Los Angeles Superior Court judges Association” is quite likely the predecessor of the AFCC. See this:

Update 4/11/99Published in Washington, D.C.. . . . Vol. 15, No. 16 — May 3, 1999 . . . .
http://www.insightmag.com

Insight Magazine

Is Justice for Sale in L.A.?

By Kelly Patricia O’Meara

An alleged slush fund for the L.A. Superior Court Judges Association {“LASCJA”} is at the heart of a scandal involving possible income-tax evasion and gifts that may affect judges’ rulings.

Dozens of checks, obtained by Insight, deposited in the LASCJA account were made out to several other institutions, including the Judges Miscellaneous Expense Fund, the Judges Trust Fund, the Family Court Services Special Fund and the Family Court Services.These organizations are not registered with the IRS or the California State Franchise Tax Board, and if the Bank of America has accounts for any of them, the checks were not deposited in those accounts.

So, what was up with that?
. . . . Not only were attorneys who argue cases before the family court making payments to the judges’ fund, but so were the court monitors — appointed by the judges and paid a professional fee of as much as $240 a day as observers during child visitations.
 Bringing in the topic of supervised visitation, and what’s up with tracking usage of those funds.
These monitors qualify for their jobs by paying to take a training and certification course from the judges, with the check going to the fund, whereupon they are placed on the exclusive list the judges use when assigning monitors.
Sounds like kickbacks to me.  That’s definite conflict of interest.  The supervised visitation monitors paying the judges’ account  and those judges funneling them business from the courtroom, from the bench….

“. . . . The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s contributions to the fund were payments to the judges run through a joint partnership with the court on MCLE classes. They split the proceeds from legal and professional seminars. . . . . So, in addition to the ethical issues involved in how the bank account has been maintained, its funding also raises numerous legal issues, according to attorney Richard I. Fine, a taxpayers’ advocate. “If a private group [the LASCJA] is using a public building and everything associated with that private group is being paid for with taxpayers’ dollars, then it is clearly fraudulent,” Fine contends. He adds that “unless the public entity has passed an ordinance specifically allowing the private group to exist and specifically stating that the public will bear the costs — separate phones, leasing office space, furniture, computers, etc. — then it should be paid for by the private organization.”. . . . According to Fine, “If the judges have provided false information on official financial statements submitted to government agencies or financial institutions [the Bank of America account], then they have defrauded the Internal Revenue Service and the county and the people of Los Angeles by receiving tax-free status under fraudulent means. … This would be the same as if a person lied on their tax return. It is incredulous to me that something like this could have happened and the IRS, state attorney general, county district attorney and auditor have not acted over all these years.”

Unless they, too, were in on it somehow.

OK, now I think we’re ready to consider why, when a judge that Wayne County, MI child support workers want OUT goes to privatize child support contracting — although I realize this issue is larger, and different (child support collections is multi-million$$ business within most states) the behavior of doing this is common to AFCC personnel from the outset.  “BEWARE AFCC” “Court Cancer Metastasizes” summarizes it in this timeline (to review):

History of the AFCC – Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

COURT CANCER METASTASIZES Metamorphosis of the Conference of Conciliation Courts into the Association of Family Conciliation Courts (“AFCC”)

A Guide to Destroying Children BY MARV BRYER

1939 Judges, lawyers and mental health professionals got State law passed (SB 737).

The 53rd Session of Legislature. The court became a lobby group. Each and every county {the public} would pay for marital counseling to help unclog the court system from divorce cases. The Family Law code • Section 1740 et seq formed The Children’s Courts of Conciliation, which was later repealed. • Section 1760 Article III Whenever any controversy exists, disruption of household with a minor child, the Court of Conciliation takes jurisdiction: to create a reconciliation. Evidence: Senate Bill and Family Law Code Lukewarm reception

1955 A Los Angeles judge formed the first Conciliation Court as per this law in Los Angeles.

1958 The Los Angeles County courthouse at 111 Hill Street was dedicated.

1962

The Conference of Conciliation Courts (CCC) established a bank account at Security First National Bank (which later became Security Pacific Bank)

Evidence: CCC 1968 Financial Statement. A balance from 5th Annual Conference is described. This indicates the account probably began 6 years before in 1962.

1963

Conference of Conciliation Courts, a private organization, was formed. The address of record was 111 N Hill Street, Room 241, which is the LA County public courthouse. 

No incorporation documents on file, and no registration with Secretary of State, Franchise Tax Board or IRS. Evidence: Statement from IRS that there is no such entity and corporation papers in 1969. The founders of CCC were Los Angeles judge Roger Pfaff and Meyer Elkin.

(Meyer Elkin awards and memorabilia are all over AFCC entitities and spinoff organizations).

(NOTE:  Visit “AFCCnet.org” History page and you’ll see it claims to have begun in 1963.)

I continue to be amazed how little reported this powerful lobbying group is even spoken about. It’s like talking about the air — taken for granted, you inhale and exhale it, with little consciousness of the content.

OK, NOW — My RESPONSE TO THE MICHIGAN POST:


My last post:   Privatizing Child Support (and the courts) in Michigan; County Workers picket.  Judge was AFCC

Showed county workers picketing against the privatization and outsourcing of Child Support Enforcement, particularly as the companies bidding on the contract already had a history of fraud and other legal issues.  Particularly as it would reduce workers’ salaries to $8 to $9 per hour, and more.  People in Wayne County MI picketed to remove the judge (Marybeth Kelly) that did this.

This response shows how simple it can be to look up some basic data on a court situation.   I’m simply pasting what amounts to a fast-track search of some information on the judge in question.  I did not handle the issue of grants systems possibly going to county workers to bring marriage, fatherhood, or other program funding to them rather than the custodial parents, which may have been involved in part.  This is an “off-the-cuff” response, minor phrasing perhaps re-arranged for this different format.

I wrote:

I’m not a Michigan native, and came to this posting because I am investigating some of the privateering in the child support industry, particularly Maximus, but in the course of this, Lockheed-Martin and Tier Technologies do come up.

RE:

 As Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Clifford Taylor noted in a statement thanking Kelly for her service, “What about the children whom the Wayne County Friend of the Court is supposed to serve? What about the families for whom a timely child support check makes the difference between survival and not being able to buy groceries?” ***
Excellent questions. 
{{** this reply doesn’t address what the picketing and rally did– that at least one of the firms bidding for the contract had a known history of corruption, including fraud and conflicts of interest. }}
Actually nice appeal, but wrong questions.  The child support system probably needs to be shut down at this point, because it is so corrupt whether done through public agencies OR farmed out.  I have been blogging at http://familycourtmatters/wordpress.com, and if you search OCSE (or read 06/29/11 posts), it’s clear that Federal Funding (HHS — and OCSE is under it) has been co-opted by special interest groups, and is a $4 billion-a-year industry.  
In California, where I live, a respected attorney (Richard Fine, Esq. at the time) with a record of confronting fraud and taxpayer waste, took on “Silva v. Garcetti” where the L.A. District Attorney was sitting on $14 million undistributed, collected child support.   In return for exposing this, and other financial corruption, Mr. Fine was tossed into coercive solitary confinement (age, 69) and of course disbarred, and his settlement monies compromised, his family had to foreclose on the home, etc.   
Whether it’s done through the Friend of the Court, Administrative Office of the Courts, or otherwise, these grants carry incentives to the states, which impacts custody outcomes, and also provides a wide range of action for various money-laundering and other corrupt practices.  
Tier Technologies is (I think) run out of a Northern California area where the local child support agency  literally advertises and recruits commuters  (targeting at the noncustodial parent) to open a child support case.  Title IV-D child support cases are handled differently than others, and the entire system is I believe more of a public burden than a public waste.  It has undermined the family law process entirely, and introduced outside agents into play, which only ONE party is informed of.   
PRIMETIME AFCC BEHAVIOR IS TO PRIVATIZE AND DIRECT BUSINESS TO CRONIES:
I note that Judge Kelly (Whether she be good, or not so good, I hold no opinion — don’t know her.  I know systems) — reduced the budget by $30 million and added family law judges.  Just check which of these judges are AFCC members.  If so, this is going to expand, not contract, services needed ,and introduce more players into individual court cases.
Maximus sounds horrific, and I REALLY thing anyone else who lands on this page should check out my blog in it.  I am a DV survivor and custody wars survivor.  I am sure there are hardworking, honest, decent office and administrative people throughout the child support system — but when it injected promoting marriage and fatherhood into divorce court, or social science demonstration projects, etc. — it has created a system parallel to the IRS (and working alongside it), and it’s polarizing our society.  I KNOW that without the influence of this group, my court case could’ve closed much sooner, and I could’ve as a single mother handled life without child support and allowing the father regular contact.
Because of these incentives our case, and many other moms cases (I now advocate and report) went south; the children were switched to the non-caretaking parent, many times an identified abuser or molester — and thereafter there is no “Shared parent” or anything close to it.  Child Support gets immediately eliminated if the switch was after a considerable arrears ran up (in my case it was about $10K).  Everyone BUT the children literally gets a piece of the action, and some of the grant moneys.  Double-billing exists.  Like the national debt, one cannot forever support a nationwide infrastructure this large — who will be left to pay the IRS to pay them?  Or are the poor just going to be starved out, or left to kill each other over money from the pressure. 
My judges are on this courthouse forum too, but I’m not commenting on them.  I comment for example, HERE:  
https://familycourtmatters.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/lets-talk-child-support-hhs-series-90fd-grants-to-states-research-and-demonstrate/
Plenty of links and data on the blogroll to others who follow this.
Judge Marybeth Kelly I see (at least 2002) was on the child support leadership council appointed by a governor, and is AFCC — meaning, she has an agenda.  Mothers (=/= 2nd wives stepmothers) should be alert to this.   There are fathers’ activities on that council too it seems.    
Even a brief look, 2010 article about her run for Supreme Court, shows AFCC tendencies (read article, pls):
http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/10/judge_mary_beth_kelly_family_l.html

Judge Mary Beth Kelly: Family law bench stint aids high court bid

Published: Sunday, October 03, 2010, 3:13 AM 
As she is Republican & Right-To-Life, she is probably not too sympathetic to women leaving violence, few religious groups are.  While she’s boasting about dealing with runaways, including from kids in foster care, a lot of those children I bet were inappropriately placed there (bet MI gets incentives like others states, see Georgia, Nancy Schaefer).  Notice:

She came under fire for acting too independently and trying to privatize the Friend of the Court.

That privatization effort was among the issues that prompted a labor-led coalition in 2007 to call for her resignation. Lawyers representing children under the supervision of the county’s juvenile court sued her the same year.

The lawsuit alleged Kelly violated the children’s right to counsel and effective representation when she removed hundreds of individual attorneys and replaced them with hand-picked “attorney groups.” **The lawsuit argued she created a “fixed-fee” system that resulted in far fewer attorneys for a growing number of children.

(**hand-picked, aka sounds like cronies to me. Association of Family & Conciliation Courts (AFCC) is a PRIVATE trade association of judges, mediators, evaluators and the type of personnel who mean courthouseforum sites have plenty of horror stories to post.  They get positioned in high places, including state supreme courts, or Friends of the Court associations, and then influence policy, try to and do get laws passed to direct more business to themselves, meaning it’s harder for people to conclude their own court cases.     PRIVATIZING — the complaint is that the courts are jammed, overwhelmed, but the logic behind that fails to say why.  Privatizing removes protections including oaths that Judges are under as to not having conflict of interest, and their required statements to disclosure that have to be filed. )

The suit was filed in April 2007, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case three months later.  (Who is on the Supreme Court?)

Julie Hurwitz, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said changing the system was politically motivated and leaves her concerned if Kelly is elected to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t think that political ambition has any place on the bench,” she says. “One has to look at the history.”

Kelly says she wanted to reduce deficits and improve services and wasn’t motivated by politics. And even as a conservative endorsed by Right to Life, she says she aims to keep partisanship off the bench.

{{ANYTHING BELOW HERE NOT IN “{{…..}}’s” is quoted material:}}
Article from Aug 2010, from RIGHTMICHIGAN (note: this isn’t a left/right political issue when it comes to this venue):

Judge Mary Beth Kelly a Rule of Law Judge? Obviously not.

By Maryland Farmer, Section News
Posted on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:28:35 PM EST
Tags: Judge Mary Beth KellySupreme Court (all tags)

~ Brought out front, as it is good debate. ~

I believe that the rule of law requires judges to be impartial and not decide cases based on their own personal, social or political views. Judges must take the law as it is written: we should neither add to it nor subtract from it, and apply it equally to everyone alike.

When the State of Michigan seeks to terminate parental rights, it is more than a mere temporary disruption of relationships: it is the forced, irretrievable, destruction of family life. It is an awesome power. “When the State moves to destroy weakened familial bonds, it must provide the parents with fundamentally fair procedures.” The Constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection apply with full force to parental termination cases. See Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 758-759, 102 S. Ct. 1388, 1397, 71 L. Ed. 2d 599 (1982)

The Role of A Judge in A Parental Termination Hearing

A parental termination case is essentially no different from any other kind of case. Both the parent and the State are entitled to a “rule of law” judge who faithfully applies the Constitution and the plain language of the statute, one who is unbiased, impartial, fair minded, and principled. The judge must give each party a fair opportunity to present his evidence. The judge should consider the evidence with an open mind. The judge must render a decision that is just, according to the evidence viewed against the plain language of the law.

In the Matter of Felicia Alicia Clemons, Minor – a Chilling Story of Abuse of Judicial Power

When Tamara Alicia Clemons appeared before Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Kelly in August of 2007, Judge Kelly was no rookie; she had been on the bench for eight years.

The Court of Appeals opinion details a chilling abuse of power, an abuse that conservative Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan later labeled, “disturbing.” See In re Hudson, 483 Mich. 928, 938, 763 N.W.2d 618, 627 (2009) (Corrigan, concurring)

A Petitioner had requested that the Court terminate Tamara Clemons’s parental rights to her daughter, Felicia. The Petitioner, that is, the person who filed the complaint against Ms Clemons, did not appear for the hearing. Neither did an attorney for the State of Michigan. Although Tamara appeared, she did so without a lawyer to represent her. Astonishingly, Judge Kelly did not dismiss, or even adjourn the case. Instead, she decided to abandon her role as an unbiased judge and take on the role of accuser.

Judge Kelly called witnesses to the stand. Instead of being fair minded, her questions displayed, according to the Court of Appeals, “an accusatory or prosecutorial bent.” Judge Kelly only elicited information that could be used to support termination. She assiduously avoided obtaining information that might help Tamara’s case.

After compiling the one-sided evidence, Judge Kelly refused to allow Tamara to introduce any evidence of her own. Judge Kelly used her power as a judge to deny Tamara the right to even defend herself!

At the conclusion of this inquisition, Judge Kelly wrongfully terminated Tamara’s parental rights to her daughter.

The Court of Appeals naturally reversed the decision. But the Court went one step further: the Court of Appeals, appalled by Judge Kelly’s lawless conduct, actually removed her from the case:

Given the egregious violations of respondent’s constitutional rights that occurred in this case, this case shall be assigned to a different judge on remand to preserve the appearance of justice.

This action by the Court of Appeals, removing a trial judge from a case, is extraordinary. It is reserved for conspicuously bad conduct on the bench.

These are not the actions of a Rule of Law judge. 
Here is the case:http://www.lexisone.com/lx1/caselaw/freecaselaw?action=OCLGetCaseDetail&format=FULL&sourceID=bcehb&searchTerm=eUiQ.GeLa.UYGU.IbTY&searchFlag=y&l1loc=FCLOW

2008 Mich. App. LEXIS 1652,*

In the Matter of FELICIA ALICIA CLEMONS, Minor. CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES OF OAKLAND COUNTY, Petitioner-Appellee, and LATRECHA ADELL FOX, Guardian, Appellee, v TAMARA ALICIA CLEMONS, Respondent-Appellant.

No. 281004

COURT OF APPEALS OF MICHIGAN

2008 Mich. App. LEXIS 1652

August 19, 2008, Decided

– – – – – 

[ENDQUOTE / start LGH comments]:

Again, the thing is the systems; get a grasp of that, and how individual judges act will be clearer.  California, alas, is responsible for spawning that AFCC organization decades ago, and a lot of the trauma now going, plus excessive removal of kids from one parent or both parent is going to include 2nd and 3rd generations of people affected by policies run through the child support & welfare system, and pushed by AFCC judges in their conferences.  This is privatizing not just the Friends of the Court, but in effect, the entire family court system (and associated ones), court proceedings are seen as problem-solving rather than being subject to justice, and new generations of law students are being coached and trained into this line of thinking, but highly placed AFCC judges, as in UBaltimore School of Law’s “Center for Children & Families in the Court.” (“CFCC”).   Just check out their conference agenda and materials, under-reported situation.

I’d have to side with the county workers in the Wayne County issue because, their being public employees, I can do FOIAs and get payroll information, have a shot at any money trail in individual cases (if I were living in Michigan).  Besides, no low-paid FT employee should lack benefits – if they didn’t have benefits, what’s the motivation for FT employment?  It’d be better to work somewhere else…..

No charge for this PSA.  If you read it, please pass it on, I doubt this is a high-traffic post!

I attach 2008? Annual report (from IN) of a private nonprofit group entrenched in the court system:  Fathers & Families.  Scrutinize who is on corporate donors (Indiana Dept. of Child Support services).  Look at how many court officials and public employees are on the board of this group — which is focused on ONE out of TWO sides of the parents in most custody issues.  Conflicts of interest, much?

Other states (Ohio, PA) have noted copying practices from Indiana.  I even found Ontario, Canada, copying some US practices — the link was AFCC membership (international).

The courthouse forum where I found this had a “reply” button, but my reply has not shown up yet (that I can see), so here it is:

4 Responses

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  1. I have rasied my son every since he has been born we moved away from his mother when he was 18 months old she has not given him anything he is 23 years old now I still pay for college and he has always lived with me she had a child by someone else and tricked me to thinking that he was mine thats why my son and I moved I get childsupport taken out of my paycheck every week I tryed talking to everyone down there at the wayne co freind of court and they give me nothing they have took thousends of dollars from me it is wrong and my rights have been exceedling vilolated who helps a person that does what a parent suppose to do as a dad and the courts vilolate a righthous person knowing and aware of this to turn to this type crime and unjuisted act of takeing from dads that do take care of there kid like me who is really breaking the law this court has robbed me out of not just money but me and my sons life how and who will pay for
    for what we lost thank you .

    Richard Vaughn

    December 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm

  2. FYI a blog called “Carver County Corruption” which was recently featured on a (fairly new) blogtalk radio show (google “Athena Phoenix”) I just discovered completely plagiarized this post (omitting the title — which refers to Michigan, and the end section, which again refers to Michigan) and did not acknowledge my blog or authorship.

    FYI, sweetheart, some of my blogs take an entire day to research and write, but they are developed from a number of years of building my expertise and knowledge of the subject, which also translates into work.

    I also have a “snapshot” function on my laptop to get a picture of the blog as it exists. You need to correct this situation, and have lost my potential trust as a co-worker in the same field. It ain’t going to happen. Your head is in the wrong place, at least now.
    * * * * * *

    People who complain about dishonesty in the courts should know better than to practice it in their blogs. I left a message, expressing the sense of betrayal and, moreover, this was the second warning on that post I’d issued, the first, on behalf of someone else’s work that was posted, using personal pronoun “I” in it, as their own.

    Assuming the person has at least the equivalent of a GED (and the radio show related that this was a professional mom, real estate, prior to marriage) (and a Christian) then she is intelligent enough to know it’s wrong to steal. Someone who deals with real estate has to understand some of those basics.

    It would’ve taken only a few seconds to include a link to my blog; she didn’t, so I”m presuming this was intentional, for bringing focus to a certain county in MN. Would the same thing submitted for a high school report on which a “pass” grade depended qualify?

    NO.

    Out of all people who should understand Truth in Reporting, it ought to be parents in a custody battle.

    Here is the link, followed by all the social media to Twit, Like, Facebook, Stumble, WordPress or otherwise publicize it — as coming from the person, who put no more effort into the blog than, it seems “Select all // Copy // Change Windows — and Paste.”

    Nor did the person contact me at the time to establish any line of communication to work on similar problems. Nope. She just stole!

    I’m pissed, too!

    http://carvercountycorruption.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/whowhat-is-the-afcc/#comment-1357

    Starting right here:

    Review Time – who/what is the “AFCC”?:
    “AFCC JUDGE” — Briefly, by this, it means all that AFCC believes, entails and habitually DOES.

    What is AFCC?
    AFCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.
    This is not necessarily what the US Court systems are in place for, nor civil codes of procedure, nor the bill of rights, nor the criminal law. AFCC views “conflict” as bad — seemingly worse than criminal behaviors by individuals in families towards others in the families. I can’t think of any field of human endeavor or growth that doesn’t have some built-in conflict, which can be resolved either by reference to an agreed-upon-standard, or by separation. However, in AFCC language, whoever has conflict (including with these dedicated professionals) is the bad guy, and court-ordered punishment can be meted out. . . .

    In this system, parents are required / forced to work it out being treated and viewed as a “family” whether or not they are one any mor

    familycourtmatters

    January 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

  3. […] is (still) at:  https://familycourtmatters.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/my-response-to-wayne-county-mi-issues-behind-many…/ […]


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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

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

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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