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

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Classic AFCC Combos, Collaborations, and Commonalities (Ret’d California Judge/Consultant Leonard P. Edwards, Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra H. Lehrmann) and What’s WITH Middletown, Connecticut? (Written May 12, Daytime. By Sundown, Another Mom Was Gone. Published May 18).

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Classic AFCC Combos, Collaborations, and Commonalities (Ret’d California Judge/Consultant Leonard P. Edwards, Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra H. Lehrmann) and What’s WITH Middletown, Connecticut? (Written May 12, Daytime. By Sundown, Another Mom Was Gone: Dead. Supplemented, Published May 18). Updates to follow, not here.(shortlink ends “-9T3,” material written by and moved on Mothers Day 2019, that’s May 12), at under 5,000 words.  With updates on events starting May 12, and some on upcoming post, now 7,500 words.

Re: Writing about Another Mom Gone:

I tried to include my take on the information on the case, which I found out about Sunday evening after writing this (draft) post.

I found I can’t, at least right now. It’s too raw.  I was not even directly involved with the mother, and I had some personal (phone, on-line) contact with at least one other mother who was, who was herself hurting badly over this and questioning whether there was anything else she could’ve or should’ve done which might’ve saved that life.  I also have been in some contact with some of the public figures  over the years** (including at least one expert witness) who “helped” her report child abuse, resulting in (or followed by, whether or not it was the “proximate” cause) a custody switch, substantial child support arrears wipeout, ordering HER to pay HIM an exorbitant amount (possibly not for her profession, but for a woman owed so much arrears and in trauma over it all) and put her on supervised visitation — not very often — which I’m sure she was also charged for.  I heard (third-hand) she was getting a room ready for herself in a homeless shelter. Didn’t make it that far, however, now she’s in a cemetery.

**To clarifymostly asking questions from the floor/comments/email, not as personal friends or ongoing associates. I have seen some in action in person but doubt they’d remember me from those situations long ago. However, this blog and my position is known to several. 


Whether or not this was actually suicide remains “sketchy details” according to people closer to her. It’s possible this was not the only mother gone over this holiday, but it was a high-profile and escalating situation. It pisses me off that these situations continue while information about how they “JUST MIGHT” be engineered is withheld by the self-described thought-leaders and advocates in this field.  Responses fall into patterns, and the predictable responses of the advocacy groups (involved or involved with/referring people (via websites or otherwise) to those involved) have already begun.  I certainly will not stay mute this time for this response from the same “characters.” But it will take some time to speak in a way that could be understood and perhaps register — THIS time — with others who haven’t yet drunk all (that) Kool-Aid, so to speak.  


I have heard, read everything I could get my hands on it, and written up some, including my response, but it will have to be a separate post.  The case is in a geographic area where my prior research is relevant, across many lines although I have much less knowledge of the military, not being involved in it, and it was a factor in this high-profile case which spanned both military and civilian courts.  Two little (still) boys now have no mother, and they cannot get her back, ever.. //LGH.


Below, you’ll read, as I said on the post this also came out of, why awareness that an organization such as (the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, a.k.a. “AFCC”) exists and influences/ connects/ conferences/ collaborates with other organizations whose membership includes judges, family lawyers, children’s lawyers, and/or (key employees of) domestic violence advocacy agencies (federally funded) is so essential, yet it’s been left up mostly to lone bloggers (I’m one of how many — a dozen even sustained reporting more than five years in a row? If there are more, where are they?) who will actually talk about it.  We keep talking possibly because we’ve already lost so much, and come close enough to losing our own lives previously that we just can’t or won’t shut up, or BE shut up.

But we have been out-maneuvered and out-sponsored.  We can’t buy the interest of others seeking to make a name for themselves who, in doing so, can’t rock the boat TOO hard….

So, I said…

Taken as a whole, such an organization and others it may network with, while small, can leverage major influence, not always perceptible to those not alerted to its presence, which “not alerting (others) to its presence” habit brings (me) to a second and much more recent set of collaborative/collaborating groups whose “reason for being” and primary output seems to be addressing custody decision-making problems of the family courts.


My prior posts were on the “second and much more recent set of … groups” “not alerting others to its presence.”

Written May 12:

Basically two former judges, one is “former” because she’s now a justice, not a “judge.”

Writing this post brought up the theme of “Inns of Court.”  Justice Debra Lehrmann has been a “Master” member of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court in Fort Worth Texas since 2004 (that chapter was organized in only 1992). (Link provided below in context of her professional  activities (“bio blurb”) posted on-line).  {{and, see below: “She is the immediate past president of the Lloyd Lochridge Inn of Court in Austin,” which I information I hadn’t gotten to yet.//LGH}}:

AUSTIN, TEXAS (February 19, 2010) – Eighteen esteemed lawyers and judges have formed Central Texas’ second American Inn of Court and named it in honor of McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore partner Lloyd Lochridge.  The 64 members of the Lloyd Lochridge American Inn of Court, led by Hon. Robert Pitman, held its first meeting in the United States Courtroom where Judge Yeakel presides on January 19, 2010.  An American Inn of Court is a private organization for members of the legal community – attorneys, judges and scholars – that fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. Members meet monthly to learn from each other and serve as mentors on those principles and the practice of law. Membership is by application only.

A part of the national American Inns of Court Foundation, the Lloyd Lochridge Inn of Court is the second Central Texas Inn that is named for an attorney from McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore. The other Inn is named for former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Robert W. Calvert, who joined McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore after his retirement from the bench in 1972.

Quick excerpt and two images from that Central Texas Law firm (same website), mostly to show size (See also FN3 & FN4 below), and a second one to show recruiting for applications to this American Inn of Court at UTexas School of Law (in 2016).  Click either image to enlarge as the font will be small.

Our attorneys are drawn from the ranks of top law school graduates, as well as experienced lawyers with a proven record of client-focus and exemplary service. We’re proud of the caliber of attorneys who’ve walked these halls over the years. Familiar names such as Judge Ben Powell, Texas Governor John Connally, Texas State Senator Alvin Wirtz and U.S. Congressman Joe Kilgore have made a difference for McGinnis Lochridge clients, our state and our nation.

“…The Lochridge Inn is a highly selective Inn of the top litigators and judges in Austin…”UTexas Austin School of Law (Sept. 1, 2016) seeking applicants from 2L and 3L students to apply to the Lochridge Inn of Court for its selective opportunities (Note: names which judges one can hang with)…

Also at University of Texas School of Law, Lochridge Father/Son honored:

Texas Legal Legends:  Lloyd & Pat Lochridge Induction, April 18, 2017
“At 3:30 p.m. on April 18, 2017, the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas will induct Lloyd Lochridge and Pat Lochridge as Texas Legal Legends at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Lloyd and Pat both practice at McGinnis Lochridge & Kilgore LLP.”

You can also see promotion of the Inns of Court (3 different ones named here) in “Austin Lawyer, Vol. 23, No. 4, May 2014”  I’ll add images to FN4.



I’m likely to also pursue the “inns of court” theme a little further now that I’ve separated this content to its own post.  I hope it registers with concerned readers who give a damn.  The Inns of Court theme comes up from the background of one of the two judges (Judge retired, but for many years a “Judge-in-Residence” at the California Judicial Council (AOC/CFCC, top state ruling body of the courts in this state)  and Texas State Supreme Court Justice, not retired)

That upcoming post: Conflict of Objectives in the Courthouses of America?  (Inns of Court vs. AFCC | …]. (Shortlink ends “-9X2,” started May 12, not published yet). 


Added May 18 just before publication – Inns of Court /  Another Mom Gone:

I read so many “bio blurbs” of various individuals, the “inns of court” come up periodically as a sign of privilege and accomplishment.  I also remembered from many years ago another point of view on the same, from “TulaneLink.com,” (New Orleans) called “The Inns and Outs of Court” which pointed out the special privilege (and conflicts of interest) the extra-judicial social gatherings can set up, with the “outs” being the independent lawyers (often NOT associated with wealthy law firms) who are NOT invited — and sometimes end up in jail.

Reading this again briefly so many years later, it’s more meaningful, and sheds light on some of the perhaps mimicking behaviors of the AFCC (1960s forward) in setting up similar situations (but — multi-disciplinary and international).  I hope you will at least read two images I’m posting in footnote form.  I’m posting it as “Footnote 3,” (which was a pre-existing blank spot.)

  • American Inns of Court were started in large part by a conservative Supreme Court Justice and first piloted (in the 1970s) with oversight and pilot at Brigham Young University, Utah.  US Ninth District (J. Clifford Wallace) (<~~Oct. 2014.  Short read — please read it!)  was also involved, and the AIC’s own History page is less than upfront that he was a) on the Judicial Conference Executive Committee and b) also just so happened to be Mormon, and c) a Nixon appointee. [US Ninth District is the largest District].
  • American Inns of Court refers to a private society (foundation) with chapters intentionally modeled after English common law and Inns of Court.
  • American Inns of Court Foundation, Inc. (1985ff) had to be approved by (and was) the Judicial Conference of the United States (formerly called “Conference of Senior Circuit Judges,”) which had been formed by an Act of Congress in 1922, under Pres. Wm. Howard Taft (who succeeded Theodore Roosevelt in 1909, and later became Chief Justice in 1921).
  • An original concept of the Judicial Conference had to do with federal courts backlog and (as a result) having “at-large” judges who could be transferred to other districts to help with it.  Promotion of “alternative dispute resolution” was featured.  Sound familiar?
  • Besides the innate “Anglo-phile” and extra-judicial aspects, there are now new inter-connections between the existing specialty inns of court formed only in the 21st century (2007ff) of which Family Law seems to be one.  We already have extrajudicial, private, tax-exempt associations focused on family law with membership overlaps.  This is not exactly good news from the consumer (and representative government) point of view!

Some fine-print below will detail more of the above bullet points. Definitely food for more thought.

By the way I found American Inns of Court advertising in a 2016 AFCC Monthly Newsletter (Vol. 11 No. 6, June) along with the usual type of reporting (Alienation, Abuse Allegations) and sponsorship by Reunification providers (Stable Paths, Transitioning Families) and the JAYCFoundation.**

The next fine-print section, extended comments with images, represents what’s on my mind regarding those Inns of Court for several days and as I’m getting ready to publish a post written May 12.  (I did post, see sidebar or Archives, separately on May 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16th this past week…)

Consider top section then, a preview of coming posts, followed by the original one below (bottom half, and about half the footnotes) written Mothers’ Day as a natural continuation from from “Apparently Common Family Court Practice,” handling one topic which would otherwise detract from that post’s main points

Published May 12, with its own inset showing one published May 6. We are talking about “Family Court Reform Practices” and strangely absent major missing gaps of information (see also Footnote 2 on “Classic AFCC Collaborations…” post, published May 18).

(THIS SECTION IS A MAY 18th INSERT)

**(see “Jaycee Dugard NON-parental kidnapping, repeated rape, held hostage and raised two children for 18 years in Contra Costa County, California, rescued by an observant UCBerkeley campus cop (a woman) who said her mother instincts kicked in on the odd behaviors of Phil Garrido and his two children (the product of raping Jaycee), leading soon after to their (Jaycee and her two daughters’). (See next 4-image gallery; click to enlarge any image). It appears that the NCMEC had Bailey on its “to-call” list on recovery of abducted children.  Leveraging the publicity on the rescue from NON-family abductions added to promotion of reunification camps for parental abductions which are (much!) more likely relate to parental than stranger abuse.

“AIC” in the following paragraphs means “American Inns of Court.”

The American Inns of Court Foundation, Inc. (D.C. legal domicile | Alexandria, Virginia entity address)  is the parent organization (it has a “Group Exemption Number” from the IRS; see “FN4” below) of a system of private societies with restricted and by-invitation-only memberships are organized to ensure proper mentoring and tutellage.

One AIC difference from AFCC (started in the same generation, apparently) is that AFCC invites in the other non-legal, non-judicial professionals and features its “international, interdisciplinary nature,” the American  Inns of Court do not. There seems to be also an innate conflict in that the AIC claims “promoting respect for the adversarial form of dispute resolution” as a key objective, while those at all familiar with AFCC rhetoric know that a key feature is OPPOSING the “adversarial” process and pushing for their brand of collaborative alternate justice systems as better because it’s “NON-Adversarial” (while still pushing ADR, mediation) which inherent conflict I’ll further document in upcoming posts.

“By the way” also, by looking for short summaries to present this information, I also learned that the AIC is now forming (and has so far three) “Specialty Inns Alliances” among its specialty (subject-matter focused, geographically dispersed) existing Inns of Court chapters (the AIC ARE by definition, chapters of the original Foundation).

The American Inns of Court Foundation began in 1985, but was being discussed in the late 1970s, at the urging of then United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nixon appointee, 1969-1986, and a conservative, and who ALSO before the AIC started the NCSC (National Center for State Courts) which I’ve posted on also.  The AIC had to be approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States (1922ff) (Which began as an Act of Congress establishing it in 1922, with backing and encouragement of US President (until 1913) and then Chief Justice (1921-1930 ), (and Yale graduate), William Howard Taft (1857-1930)

Warren E. Burger came from “humble midwestern roots” (Swiss/German background, or per Wiki, Austrian/German) and by the end of his tenure as chief justice was the longest-serving one. (from “Oyez.org” a project of Cornell Law focused on making information about the Supreme Court free to everyone; combining some other resources I can see by the logos at the bottom).

When Burger retired in September of 1986, he was the longest serving Chief Justice of the 20th century. He was also a fundamental proponent of Alternative Dispute Resolution, citing its ability to alleviate an overburdened judicial system.

In looking up the AIC origins (see image caption) I learned that the Judicial Conference of the United States promoted by William Howard Taft (who served as both US President then, later, Supreme Court Justice) was organized in part because of the backlog in the federal courts was because of (A) the war, but some also (B) because of Prohibition.  …  Now we have AFCC further / still pushing alternate dispute resolution [mandatory mediation, referrals to community services, etc.] and family courts (generally) because of backlog in the family courts.   Another website I was reading in recent months explained how Prohibition helped set up organized crime (i.e., black market liquor) early in the 20th century.  I don’t agree with all of that site, but the explanation sure made sense with what I’m seeing about how deep, wide, far, and high up such interests seem to go, and what kind of structures are preferred to make sure it can’t be fully “gotten at” through normal means.

Main link to the AIC is InnsOfCourt.org. See also About Us / History page to confirm that it was conceived of by a conservative Chief Justice (Warren E. Burger) /Nixon appointee (following the “Warren Court” (Chief Justice Earl Warren) + US Ninth District (J. Clifford Wallace) and the “pilot run” done at Brigham Young University with its President, who then became Utah Supreme Court Justice. And notice that the existence of “Specialty Inns Alliances” aren’t exactly advertised as of 2019

SO, now the AIC has been around a generation or two it has been, this century, developing Specialty Inn Alliances for the pre-existing Specialty Inns of Court, where “specialty” I gather refers to subject matter.  There are only three:  Intellectual Property (Linn), Banktruptcy and guess what else?  Family Law. (SEE NEARBY IMAGE & CAPTION).

The American Inns of Court encourages the formation of alliances of Inns of Court that focus in a particular area of practice” Link Here

This is, basically functionalism.

The “Family Law Inn Alliance” lists member inns.  One in Massachusetts (Family & Probate) claims to have been one of the largest (it was founded in only 1998 — hey! RIGHT after welfare reform passed in 1996). They just had a banquet this week (May 16, 2019) Massachusetts has also long had significant AFCC professionals (judges, psychologists) and a chapter.  I see so far about 24 individual specialty inns (Family Law) listed around the country (see link provided).


HOW MANY private, nationalized or internationalized societies of judges, lawyers, psychologists (and, like AFCC, all of the above) organized around special interests and privately shared agenda, can we handle while being left to “take it on faith” that the collective and respective interests is just professionalism and protecting all the vulnerable, especially young children and the poor?  I will certainly continue to keep the Inns of Court (American-style, modeled intentionally after “English common law and Inns of Court” on my personal radar and begin incorporating more information on it to the blogging… All tax-exempt of course; many unincorporated associations also.

That ends my pre-publication comments//LGH, May 18.  What’s below was written (including most footnotes) by May 12.


Now, about “Classic AFCC Combos, Collaborations, and Commonalities (Ret’d California Judge/Consultant Leonard P. Edwards, Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra H. Lehrmann) and What’s WITH Middletown, Connecticut?

So, not including (as usual) the above introduction, I developed (compiled) this information over only about two days; May 12 is when I moved it here.  It’s been in my awareness (most of it) for several years, but picking just two individuals in high judicial position I feel will help make the point. Or at least illustrate it…


Just a little bitchin’ here first:

The other Mothers’ Day- related festivities or admissions that I am actually, technically speaking, still a mother, are so long gone now… Everyone knows this, but the family members have had an issue with my functioning as a mother for so long that it’s become a forbidden topic, at least to my face.  Protective = stands up to abuse and calls it what it is = “bad.”  Puts up with it, forever, from a multitude of sources, under whatever excuse provided = “good.”

I don’t share those values, don’t believe I ever did but KNOW I don’t now.  Back to work.

I made a promise to myself, a pledge, many years ago, to dismantle any system which would so harm my daughters and steer them back in harm’s way when I had them steered towards college and expanded social, academic, personal, and in general, positive connections with people OUTSIDE the dysfunctional immediate family line I’d discovered I’d been born into.

I still don’t feel I can even freely say their names, and am not even revealing (at least voluntarily!) what state I’m now living in.  There are perhaps 4 people in my life who know, maximum.  I have not even told those daughters (though have informed that I’ve left the state).  I’m hoping that this country is big enough for all of us (only perhaps six survivors of this generation around counting in-laws, that is my siblings and one cousin.  No parents, no aunts and uncles although we are not collectively THAT old such that all our elders would normally be dead by now.  Some lived to 70s.  Some only 60s, and some 80s, one into her 90s.

Globally, I guess that’s still pretty good.

Well, let’s get to it!

My prior post was addressed to and addressing “Apparently Common Family Court Reform Practice” less by this group, but a separate, loosely connected one.  (See inset):

“You are Here”~> Apparently Common Family Court Reform Practice (Why my Uncommon Approach is less “Flawed”) [Published May 12, 2019] (Case-sensitive short-link here ends “-9Qq”) (Produced earlier, moved here to shorten “More about these perspectives and key concepts (and actors)…,” published May 6, 2019. Its shortlink ends “-9MU”).  About 13,600 words including footnotes.

In order to distinguish the two “loosely collaborating” family court reform groups / contingents I had to describe them.  First, I briefly characterized this one, using a few classic examples.  In the process I ran across the “Wesleyan University” (United Methodist Church) commonalities, as well as another look into Inns of Court per se, and the one in Fort Worth, Texas Justice Lehrmann’s resume mentions.

Regarding two loosely collaborating (it can be deduced but isn’t established as related organizations shown on tax returns, etc.) groups and how the more recent and smaller, widely dispersed one simply won’t show and tell about the far larger one (or who’s backing it) …


This post illustrates what I summarized as:

Taken as a whole, such an organization and others it may network with, while small, can leverage major influence, not always perceptible to those not alerted to its presence, which “not alerting (others) to its presence” habit brings (me) to a second and much more recent set of collaborative/collaborating groups whose “reason for being” and primary output seems to be addressing custody decision-making problems of the family courts.

I have still not ruled out that the second and much more recent set of collaborative/collaborating groups” whose “apparently common family court reform practice” I’m so critical of may not be or have been spearheaded (led) by a subset of UNidentified members of the AFCC (or NCJFCJ or NACC, for some typical examples) charged — by their respective true loyalties, i.e., with the profession-protecting/profession-creating AFCC/NCJFCJ/NACC private societies (associations) — with getting under the skin and inside the heads of protective mothers / battered mothers / biological moms struggling for their lives and their children’s by way of the family court system — and ensuring that we do NOT organize around the material (said subsidiary group) has systematically censored and refuses to deal openly with — and put a stop to abuse — for good.  Permanently.

It does seem that they (smaller newer group/subset) are taking their proposed business model  for the courts from the “unmentionable” (groups featured IN THIS post, and largely, in this blog..) because they’ve seen that, for those participants, it works.  It makes money, it keeps that money coming — sure, yeah, it hurts kids, gets people killed, but that’s GOOD FOR BUSINESS** so long as it’s not so far beyond the boiling point as to actually get the business/system operators killed and what’s worse (for the group), along with the business model, “outed.”…  [[i.e., more, but slightly differentiated Technical Assistance/Trainings and Consultancies]]


In other words, the secondary smaller group behaving so oddly might be functioning as moles into a situation which they otherwise just would not have inside information on: the impact of the public/private partnership-funded policies of the:  AFCC/NCJFCJ/NACC (et al.) upon survivors of abuse and parents traumatized directly by their own abuse, indirectly by dealing long-term with failed attempts to stop the abuse of their children, or both of the above.

Can that possibility even be ruled out?  What else might explain the odd behaviors, then?

And all of this played to the wider public (see “mainstream media” and even “sponsored nonprofit investigative journalism organizations”) as utter bewilderment and outrage that a system could be so corrupt, excuse me, broken, flawed and dysfunctional and need of heroes (such as — guess who…) and more oversight…  {FN2 below continues these thoughts…}



AFCC Summer 2006 Newsltr (Member News). Image references Czutrin at top, but included here for the center reference. It seems that a special “judge-in-residence” position was created, possibly for its first occupant, the (ret’d) Hon. Leonard P. Edwards. Not referenced — the AOC/CFCC and its predecessor agencies (under the California Judicial Council) has had long-term AFCC members in key staff positions, making me wonder who nominated, and who made that decision, which has had negative consequences for abused women with children in their care ever since..


CURRENT, CLASSIC EXAMPLES:

Classic AFCC Combos, Collaborations, and Commonalities (Ret’d California Judge/Consultant Leonard P. Edwards, Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra H. Lehrmann) and What’s WITH Middletown, Connecticut? (shortlink ends -9T3, material moved Mothers Day 2019)

 

Notice Judge Edwards’ C.V. posted there, on Page 2, has no problem listing his NCJFCJ board memberships (1999-2003 or so), and (“About” page) has a tiny logo saying “lifetime member” of “NACC” (National Association of Children For Counsel) but downplays AFCC, although AFCC claimed him as member, which I’ve posted in here before (see nearby image) (I see it’s on Page 3, Member since 1983. The “Professional Associations” list is a bit jumbled:  at first glance it appears to be vaguely reverse-chrono order, but isn’t really.  Nor is it alphabetical, and there’s repetition (NCJFCJ appears several places, AFCC only once).

I am from Northern California (as a battered wife and parent, not native-born there), so his influence in that state and in the SF Bay Area Santa Clara County, has been noted — kept coming up — as I studied California family court operations and publications, including many on the state judicial council court website.

Or, when one is, as is still the case in Texas, a State Supreme Court Justice (Justice Debra Lehrmann.~~>This Wiki doesn’t mention her AFCC involvement, although it does her political party (Republican) and church (United Methodist; see below re: Judge Leonard’s undergraduate college) and background in Tarrant County, Texas.

Like retired Judge Leonard P. Edwards, Justice Lehrmann maintains power-positions relating to families, children, child access and visitation, mediation, lawyer professional discipline, etc.  Identifies as a conservative. This “About Judge Lehrmann” does mention, but only in passing, her “past-President of Texas Chapter of AFCC” and “AFCC Liaison.” As I recall she was instrumental in bringing parenting coordination or access/ visitation programming to the state, closely associated with fatherhood programming as is, in fact, Tarrant County Texas in general.

She’s also sitting on a new “inaugural” (2018) State Bar of Texas  Child Protection Law Section.

But first, more on Judge Leonard Edwards (from link already provided above):

Judge Leonard Edwards is a retired judge now working as a consultant, educator, and trainer.

(My color schemes in quotes are arbitrary and often do not reflect their original appearance).

As a retired judge after all that many years, he certainly has a major pension benefit. Guess the consulting and training work might be considered “moonlighting” or retirement supplements.

He served as a Superior Court Judge in Santa Clara County for 26 years and then for six years as Judge-in-Residence at the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, a division of the Judicial Council of California. As a judge he worked in the juvenile court for over 20 years. As Judge-in-Residence he served California’s courts as a consultant specializing in juvenile and family law, domestic violence, drug courts, mediation, judicial ethics, and other issues relating to children and families within the court system.

Issues which the private organization AFCC has an identifiably consistent positions on and agenda towards obtaining desired outcomes reflecting their positions.  Among other things, this agenda prioritizes “access and visitation” services and parent education, mediation / alternative dispute resolution / community service referrals when low-income parents attempt to approach the courts, etc.  Services which their friends colleagues, or just other people who really, really love and care about children, seem to form nonprofits to get steady judicial referrals for.

A graduate of Wesleyan University (1963) and The University of Chicago Law School (1966), Judge Edwards has dedicated his professional life to working in the court system to improve outcomes for children and families.

([I just learned that Wesleyan University is in Middetown Connecticut!  It is small (under 3,000 undergraduates) with an 8:1 student/faculty ratio.
Read about its roots in Methodism, emulation of European models of study, accepting women 1870-1912, then blocking them out again, detaching officially from the Methodist Church in 1937, but it was still thirty more years before admitting, let alone recruiting, students of color (male) and finally in 1970, women as entering members of the freshman class. Historically then, this retired Judge Edwards attended as an undergraduate a basically all-white and all-male college until 1963.  Sounds like the other heavy-weight historically dominant Ivy League Universities in the NorthEast (Yale, Harvard, Brown, Bowdoin (Maine), (late on admitting FIRST, men of color, THEN, women). During those thirty years (see the link) Wesleyan began expanding its studies into interdisciplinary areas before admitting freshmen women.]

John Wesley (1703-1791), {{“short sweet summary” from GCAH.org (General Archives & History of the Methodist Church)}}

“He was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1725, elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1726, and ordained a priest in 1728In 1738 at a meeting of a small religious society in London, Wesley experienced conversion while listening to a reading of Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.  This experience of salvation through Christ alone was the burden of his message for the rest of his life.  He soon entered upon evangelistic work, in the course of which he is said to have preached 40,000 sermons and to have traveled 250,000 miles.  Wesley undertook open-air or field preaching, first in Bristol, then elsewhere …In 1784 Wesley executed the deed of declaration by which the Methodist societies became legally constituted and which was in essence the charter of British MethodistsIn the same year he became convinced that he must ordain clergy to serve the Methodist societies in America, although he had long hesitated to assume the authority of ordination.  Wesley ordained two preachers as pastors and Dr. Thomas Coke as Bishop.  Francis Asbury was to serve as co-Bishop in the newly-planned church”

Britannica.com on John Wesley has more, including the impact of his (failed) expedition to an American colony — Georgia — which preceded his spiritual awakening and conversion, repudiation from the Church of England, and from there going to the “unchurched masses” and seeking lay leaders to help, as well as later ordaining in America, outside the overt control of the Church of England.  It also mentions the charitable work he was doing with the poor, with others, while at Oxford.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra H. Lehrmann: (Same as second link shown above, which seems to be her campaign for Supreme Court Justice):

In addition to her national work, she currently chairs the development committee of the State Bar of Texas Child Protection Law Section and has been elected to serve as the inaugural chair of the section when approved by the State Bar of Texas in January 2018. She is the immediate past president of the Lloyd Lochridge Inn of Court in Austin, is a past president of the Texas Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), is an emeritus member of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court in Fort Worth, served on the Advisory Board of Tarrant County Dispute Resolution Services, is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation, is a charter member of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation, and is a past president of the Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association. She enjoys judging moot court and mock trial competitions for law schools throughout the State of Texas on a frequent basis.

In 2003, she received the Texas Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Journal Article Award for “The Child’s Voice—an Analysis of the Methodology Used to Involve Children in Custody Litigation.” As part of her dedication to the practice of law and training of lawyers, she speaks frequently at continuing legal education events on a broad variety of topics throughout the state and country, and she is the author of Texas Annotated Family Code

American Inns of Court Foundation, Eldon B. Mahon (quoted below), and the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court (established by him in 1993, named after him 1995) are important understandings.  Feel free to read!  Who they are and how they operate is important.  An “Inn of Court” listing in any judge’s biography is never a minor detail.  Membership in any chapter is by invitation of that chapter’s Executive Committee only and that invitation is an honor.  They are specifically OUTSIDE the jurisdiction of any court, but by definition judges can be and are expected to be members.

I also noted here the respected Eldon B. Mahon’s appointments by both Lyndon B. Johnson (1968, U.S. Attorney Northern District, Texas) and later Nixon (continuing him in that role, then recommending in 1972, for U.S. District Judge, Northern District, Fort Worth), his earlier military service in World War II, and his religious affiliation: United Methodist, and an honorary degree from Texas Wesleyan University …

..In 1972, President Nixon recommended Judge Mahon for United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas in the Fort Worth Division. Mahon took the oath as Judge on July 14, 1972, less than one month after President Nixon submitted his name to the Senate for confirmation.

During his 20 years as an active District Judge, Judge Mahon presided over an astonishing variety of civil and criminal cases; he authored over 175 published opinions. For several years Judge Mahon served as the sole active judge in the Fort Worth Division …. Judge Mahon took Senior status in 1989 and continued to serve the Northern District in a near full-time capacity until October 2002, when he took inactive Senior status.

Judge Mahon served as an active member of the United Methodist Church and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Texas Wesleyan University and the Harris Methodist Health System. In 1974 he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from McMurry University [his alma mater]. He received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree from Texas Wesleyan University in 1990.

In July, 1997, the Tarrant County Bar Association honored Judge Mahon with a reception to recognize his 25 years of service on the federal bench.

And under the “leader and scholar” tab above, which lists her positions one per line, versus in a prose paragraph, her AFCC personality becomes clearer.  This section shows her as the AFCC liaison to the Texas Bar Association, Texas AFCC Chapter Board member since 2000, references to “high-conflict” “therapeutic jurisprudence” and (throughout that tab on the above website) it’s clear her focus has been on almost anything dealing with children, especially vulnerable ones, from mediation (1980s), dispute resolution, domestic relations court, etc.

Again, the “About” page just skirts AFCC involvements, but a closer look shows it might just be intrinsic to what she’s doing  as a judge and thereafter Supreme Court Justice.  Though not all AFCC judges become Supreme Court Justices, the positions and types of activism listed there seem typical. They are fanatics about steering the family (and foster care) court systems and processes!

From this link: http://75.103.78.169/wp/leader-scholar/  Look at the top part of “Professional Associations and Memberships” here (copied as text) then, if I can get the image uploaded, an annotated snapshot of the section showing ABA (American Bar Association) Family Law Section responsibilities 2000-2009 (Chair, 2009) and the position “AFCC LIAISON 2004-2005” below which, a listing of her AFCC Leadership positions from about the same period, below which some of the associations dating back to the late 1980s…

She has been on the UNIFORM LAWS COMMISSION (a very big deal).  Look at subject matter focus on the ULC (bullets added to the indented lines).

Uniform Laws Commission (ULC)

  • Commissioner, 2004-2010, appointed by Governor Rick Perry
  • Chair, Drafting Committee on Relocation of Children, 2006 to 2009
  • Chair, Study Committee on Relocation of Children, 2005-06
  • Member, Drafting Committee on Uniform Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect and Custody Cases, 2004 to present

Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court, Master member, 2004 to present

Co-Chair, Texas Legislative Ad Hoc Ad Litem Committee, 2000 to 2007, which drafted legislative amendments to Texas Family Code Chapter 107

American Bar Association, Family Law Section


Yep. See “History of Tarrant County’s Partnership with the Fatherhood Initiative

(IRS search results, then two content-overlapping images for one web page).  For explanation, see FN1 AFCC-Affiliated Supreme Court Justices and Fathers Rights (per PPC for Change, Tarrant County Texas) (“Protective Parents Coalition.”)

PPC “Protective Parents Coalition” page shows role of (then Tarrant County Family Judge) Debra Lehrmann locally and statewide.

Image filename: “About Judge Debra Lehrmann (TX State Supreme Ct Justice) + PPCForChange (TX) incl about Judge Lehrmann + TarrantCountyFatherhood ~~Screen Shot 2019-05-11…”

Per the IRS, EIN#46-4486775 (filing Form 990Ns – receipts under $50K — coincides with my memory of about when this group started).  The IRS details don’t acknowledge (that the group acknowledges) it has a website.

As the image notes, Lehrmann has more connections and has fulfilled more roles at the Texas Chapter of AFCC than is acknowledged in her “About” page.  The image reminds me that she was also possibly instrumental in bringing Parenting Coordination (an AFCC-specific/promoted field) to Texas and making sure legislation was immunity-friendly for such coordinators.


Alternately, presiding judicial members can in effect, executive-order (administratively rule) that court-connected business goes directly to specific service providers who happen to be (although this is rarely noted in the ruling) also members of this same private, tax-exempt association…  on which I’ve also posted (search “Cuyahoga County, Ohio” on this blog). I don’t know whether the presiding or administrative family court judge who made that rule in 1994? 1998? was AFCC, but it’s clear the beneficiary of its application to one out of only two specific authorized providers of the mandatory parent education classes (and Spanish-speaking) was (Jack Arbuthnot, Donald Gordon, Center for Divorce Education).


Taken as a whole, such an organization and others it may network with, while small, can leverage major influence, not always perceptible to those not alerted to its presence, which “not alerting (others) to its presence” habit brings (me) to a second and much more recent set of collaborative/collaborating groups whose “reason for being” and primary output seems to be addressing custody decision-making problems of the family courts.


FOOTNOTES:

FN1 AFCC-Affiliated Supreme Court Justices and Fathers Rights (per PPC for Change, Tarrant County Texas) explaining “History of Tarrant County’s Partnership with the Fatherhood Initiative

Another link from the same website explains some more of the elements.  I don’t agree with it 100% but it at least raises several points.  It’d be yet better with more links to support the various statements and prove them.  “Texas needs to Redefine the State’s Role in Family Court.”  The following paragraphs explain some of what I know (knew) about this organization and who started it up; I have not maintained contact meanwhile for some years.  I am not referring to this organization in general on this post (either large group) in criticizing “Family Court Reform” practices.  I also don’t know how active it still is and cannot tell readily from the website.

They know (or its founder knows) where this blog is and has known from the start, so anything I report could be known by them.


While looking for a specific documentation of Justice Lehrman’s involvement in bringing the access and visitation grants to Tarrant County Texas  (significant involvement of “fatherhood” initiatives in the state is probably better known), I ran across a concise “history” involving this justice at “PPC for Change.”  PPC for Change is a nonprofit whose founder (a mother) I was in touch with as it and its logo were being formed, and with whom I shared information (including some which may be seen on the site mentioning the American Humane Association).  Because of that personal contact, I understood that the PPC for Change founder was also good at looking up grants and contracts (she’s very smart!), and had met this Justice Lehrmann.  At the time we were also looking up/for the actual registrations of the county bar association, and to locate more exactly what was the “Office of Family Initiatives” run by Michael Hayes under the Texas Attorney-General.  That’s why I included those images, to show (at least according to this individual or whoever posted this) the sequence of steps which introduced father-focused custody outcomes (via access and visitation grants) to that county.As I mentally review my own life events and involvement with another custody-challenged Texas mother going through hell (known to PPC for change founder) who I retained contact with over some years (and considered also a friend; phone help through PTSD incidents and general moral support, by phone or email), I estimate this was around Spring – Fall 2012 or somewhat before.  We have since fallen out of touch (it happens!).  I wanted to help this organization and individual mother more, but was at that time going through some very hard times on this end, including at least one very frightening stalking incident (i.e., an old pattern resurfacing).

FN2: “How Come?” (Commentary, cont’d.)

I’m still puzzled by professionals, especially woman professionals, and even more so those who seem to be historically associated with what’s called “feminist” movements politically —  who have the arrogance and guts to look us in our face (so to speak — really, I mean, to publish) and keep talking as though what we have seen, and know does exist — doesn’t, and mustn’t be considered while planning political solutions to the dangers attendant from leaving abuse, or engaging in any way with the family court systems.. . . .and then to seek continual new indignant, and “hot-to-trot” after trauma recruits (mostly mothers made noncustodial or about to) to get them to do the basic dirty work (social media “dissing” etc.) so they can continue their line of work: developing certifications, curricula, trainings and publications to replicate the oversight and omissions. And ideally, getting women to file more “doomed to dismissal” lawsuits they can go amicus brief to, and tell others about (organizational c.v. building, in other words).

Something “off” and “odd” must be in place for this to continue, year after year after year.

Women in the United States of America actually often do vote.  We can speak, many of us are actually (despite general portrayals) literate — can read — and when given our own private spaces and safe places to meet without “trained facilitators” or “navigators” who make sure we don’t think TOO objectively or independently, compare situations using objective standards of measurement — and have a good time doing it too.  And I’ll bet have fun at it, too.  Women who’ve been battered, who’ve had children who are being harmed, or who have been even injured, lost, or died, can actually speak.  We can think, too. We are not necessarily “damaged goods” but because of how long those court cases last, we also have to exercise wisdom in HOW we speak and how or whether to plaster our children’s names on billboards or websites mid-litigation.  I made my choice not to.  When it eventually came to a crisis point (and they were no longer minors) I did, BUT, I didn’t feature it on this blog.

If they are genuinely missing, that’s one thing — but if those fathers know where they are, and are still apt to retaliate on the children, it’s no easy choice.  We already know the courts may not and probably will not treat it like a missing child situation when the abduction was by strangers.

[The original reference to “FN3” on this post was moved and no longer exists. It was just a reference to the American Pledge of Allegiance history and now has been replaced by.]

FN3, “The Inns and Outs of Court” (Tulanelink.com)

(Note various dates on any image or page).  Three large images (slideshow-format) and a quotation or so to this footnote.  Note:  some articles are written by people who have named certain lobbyist groups (J.A.I.L. and others).  My quoting this doesn’t mean I endorse them.  I don’t, particularly.. Slideshow format means that only one image displays at a time.  Pls. see all 3 posted). I’m including an image.  As referenced above, they sometimes end up in jail.  I don’t know all the names, but several I do (Richard Fine, Doris Sassower — whose daughter Elena, not a lawyer was jailed separately for six months, for speaking just a single paragraph (a very few words) in a public meeting for a judicial confirmation, as I recall) and have brought up on this blog — early on:

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American Inns of Court (from “Tulanelink.com” above)

National and regional bar associations, and numerous other organizations that represent legal subspecialties, conduct activities for their members that include conventions, educational seminars, open forums, and semi-private retreats.  Less well-known, and more exclusive, are groups such as the Inns of Court, whose objectives are more narrowly focusedJudges are integrated into the activities of all these organizations.   There are 14 American Inns of Court in Louisiana (twice the national average), and three in New Orleans [2].  A member of the law firm of Chaffe, McCall Phillips, Toler & Sarpy directs the Inn of Court for the New Orleans Bar Association; a judge from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana directs the Inn of Court for Tulane Law School; and a member of the law firm of Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis and Egan directs the Inn of Court for Loyola Law School [2]. … …


The principal aim of the Inns of Court is described as: “a forum, outside the courtroom, where judges and lawyers can meet to discuss issues of concern.”  Its motto, “Reclaiming a Noble Profession,” is not clarified with respect to from what or whom the “noble profession” is to be reclaimed.  However, the subtext of the organization’s promotional materials suggests a dissatisfaction with liberal judges and zealous plaintiff’s attorneys and a desire for a more orderly system of jurisprudence, perhaps controlled by an elite consortium of judges and lawyers who hammer out amongst themselves what would comprise justice in each case.

and, from the same page:

The exclusionary fee structure of its dues helps define the economic status of Inn members and contributes to the establishment of a legal aristocracy in which the meeting of minds between judges and attorneys can have a profound effect on the outcome of any proceeding, to the prejudice of an opposing side.   This impact of political influence on judicial outcome is not lost on savvy lawyers whose purchase into the system is part of the cost of winning their cases.  The fact that this practice goes against the grain of democratic fairness and would change the ending of the Pledge of Allegiance to “…with liberty and justice for some,” illustrates the contempt of these Lords of the Law for the very ideals they hide behind.


FN4, “American Inns of Court Foundation, Finally Found

  • (EIN#521405650, Group Exemption Number 3249, 1985 ff, D.C. Legal Domicile (per 990)
I eventually found its Virginia Address (DC legal domicile), EIN# and, say also many of the chapter returns, “Group Exemption #3249,” but the main AIC (showing the same website and a “1985” founding) is “Not a Group Return.”  FY2016 (Year Ending June 30, 2017), EIN# 521405650.  Their main revenue is Program Service (not Contributions), and these On Part VIII (Statement of Revenues) Line 2 are labeled “Membership Dues” although “Membership Dues” is a pre-printed category under Part VIII, Line 1.  Thus in their “Schedule A of Public Support” (showing types of support and the last five years’ worth) only the minimal contributions (under $100K each year) show, not the over $2M membership dues annually.  Part X (Balance Sheet) shows, last few years, most assets (about $2, $2.7M or so) are under “public traded securities” and in general, it’s a kind of boring tax return.  No independent contractors, no grants to speak of… Claims only 14 employees being paid (per Page 1) $1.5M…
Adding this regarding Lochridge Inn of Court because I’d overlooked (or not handled) that reference also in Justice Lehrmann’s background before publishing.  The link is above, but the page promoting three different inns of court I felt should be imaged, too as well as the first page of an Austin Lawyers (“AustinBar.org”) magazine.  If you read the fine print, there are now “Specialty Alliances Inns of Court and it was said that the “Linn Alliance” (for intellectual property) was the first one formed.  This image doesn’t mention “Specialty Alliance” but does mention the Linn Inn of Court.  It also mentions that the Lochridge Inn was founded by members of another, the Calvert one.  I saw this in the charter for the Eldon B. Mahon as well — there is an agreement to cooperate in reproducing (helping establish more similar Inns).
Austin Lawyer, Vol. 23, No. 4, May 2014 (Two images added 5/19/2019 to this post)

. . . .


Written by Let's Get Honest

May 18, 2019 at 7:04 pm

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