OF ALL the ways in which America is exceptional, its practice of electing judges is one of the least obvious and most striking. The spectacle of someone who has the power to hand out death sentences making stump speeches, seeking endorsements and raising funds has long seemed odd to outsiders. Alexis de Tocqueville, whose travels around the country coincided with the spread of judicial elections, predicted that “these innovations will, sooner or later, have disastrous results.” It is a view shared by many of the judges running for office around the country.
Judicial elections are becoming a lot like any other. Tennessee’s recent race was a good example. A few days before the poll Gary Wade, the chief justice on the state’s Supreme Court, sat in his office, a room enlivened by a bearskin rug on the floor, complete with paws and snarling mouth. Mr Wade had faced the voters five times before, but this election was the first time he had to do any actual campaigning. Tennessee’s race became unexpectedly political: the three judges up for retention were hit with adverts denouncing them as Obamacare-loving liberals, though their court has never ruled on the subject. The judges responded by raising over $1m to buy adverts of their own.
This means, if the state-as in a judge- wants to infringe or terminate this fundamental liberty interest, he or she had better apply the process due to a parent first. Otherwise, its action is explicitly forbidden. Id. at 721. If the state cannot show that it has a narrowly tailored compelling interest, then the state cannot touch the fit parent’s right at all. Ibid. No other avenue is constitutionally available to accomplish state action, which will adversely affect a parent’s fundamental liberty interest.
If a parent appeals an adverse action by a state which has affected his or her fundamental liberty interest, the reviewing Court must apply the Strict Scrutiny standard of review, to determine whether the state action was indeed achieved without the state showing that it had a narrowly tailored compelling interest to take the action it did. Id. This is a compulsory standard. It’s not an option. Nowhere does it say that if the reviewing Court has sat down and collectively decided, for whatever arbitrary reasoning, that it should apply a lesser standard, that it can do so.
That being said, tell me. Where exactly do Grandparents’ “Rights”, come from? When a parent is brought before a Court and his or her fundamental liberty interest is at stake, there are only TWO competing interests here- the parent’s and the state’s. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 759-60 (U.S.N.Y., 1982). If the parent is fit, then the child’s interest, coincides with his or her fit parent’s. Id. at 745, 748, 760-761 (1982). The child’s interest does not stand alone. As such is the case, where exactly-constitutionally- does the Grandparent’s so called “interest” fit into the equation? I can tell you where-nowhere- because they don’t have any “rights”- not under these United States’ Constitution..
The Justices who decided Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), deliberately failed to apply the Strict Scrutiny standard of review, to the threatened fundamental liberty interest of the mother in that case for this precise reason.
Instead, it applied a less stringent standard, having nothing to do with the 14th Amendment, so that it could leave room for the individual states, to concoct their own particular processes by which each could infringe or even, as in my case, terminate the liberty interests of fit parents, by averting the Due Process Clause. In other words, applying the wrong standard gave state legislatures the power to enact laws granting such “rights” to grandparents to intervene into divorce and custody disputes. Under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, this “standing” does not exist.
Because of the Troxel Court’s “instructions” as the state of Georgia refers to the case, Clark v. Wade, 273 Ga. 587, 603-604 (2001), this state claimed that it had the power to sever my custodial relationship with my child, remove her from my home, terminate my legal rights to her and “award” “custody”, to her paternal grandparents- all without finding me unfit. Isn’t that something? After serving my country and vowing to die if need be, to defend the United States Constitution, my own rights were snatched right from under me. It said that it had the parens patriae power to do what it thought was “best” for my child. It had and has, no such power. Neither does any other state.
Number 1., Washington, 521 U.S. at 721 says the state can’t do anything with a child without first proving that it has a narrowly tailored compelling interest.
2. The state can’t achieve such interest without following the bifurcated steps established in Santosky, 455 U.S. at 745, 748, 760-761 .
3. Before we even get to any of all this, the state is explicitly prohibited from applying the best interest standard between a parent and a third party to begin with. Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 303-304 (1993).
Nevertheless, there are parents across America whose constitutional rights to their children have been deprived by state action, under color of law. This has been a collective, nationwide violation, extending from the top of our judicial system, to the bottom. This is the state of America today.
But for the United States Supreme Court’s decision in 2000, I would not have been robbed of my right to continue to have the home that I had established for my child, or my right to continue to raise her, so long as I was fit.
I know that such willful deprivation is actionable under federal civil and criminal law against state officials. I also know that one must request relief from the very defendants and perpetrators who have violated him or her- a futile effort that I learned the hard way. My question is, what happens when the willful deprivation comes from the top?
***I am a paralegal. I am not a licensed attorney. Anything I’ve posted here or on this site, may not and should not be construed as legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney. If you are in Cobb County, Georgia, good luck.
A billboard in St Boni, MN is the first of a series for exposing corruption in Minnesota courts. Many are unaware of the horrors inflicted daily in family court across the state.
Minnesota currently has no avenue for help when you have a judge out of control – not following statutes and laws set in place to protect citizens. A law in Minnesota was discovered (link: canon 4 codes of judicial conduct) that actually allows bribing of judges. Minnesota`s Constitution states in Article 6 Sect 9 that the Legislative Branch is to oversee the Judicial Branch. Minnesota gave this up in 1979 allowing the Judicial Branch to start up the Board of Judicial Standards. This Board is overseen by the judges. If you think on this – this is recipe for disaster. You have the fox watching the hen house. The Minnesota Constitution states clear oversight needed for the judicial branch – for very good reason.
We are seeing the disaster unfold from the lack of oversight as these numerous stories get out about judges siding with wealthy and abusive spouses, leaving the other destitute and children without one or the other parent. According to the courts these cases have everything to do with money – nothing to do with the well being of the children. Below are examples of a handful of these horror stories coming out of Carver and Dakota County (neighboring counties in the First District Court), along with a few from other counties. We have four new horror cases posting shortly. If you have questions, ideas or a story to expose – please contact Dale Nathan at 651-454-0506. We would like to point out that although the majority of these stories are of mothers losing all rights to their children and left destitute – this is not exclusive to mothers.
A million sports fans are descending on San Francisco to celebrate the Super Bowl and so are Family Rights and Father’s Rights activist, homeless advocates, Black Lives Matter protesters and dozens of other activist groups.
If the issue has ever made headlines, expect to see a protest about it in the Bay Area next week.
The protesters hope to use the national spotlight from the Super Bowl to draw attention to everything from immigration and urban farming to police brutality and the rights of African Americans.
“A lot of people are upset, and having millions of eyes on San Francisco is an opportunity to get national and international solidarity with the people and causes here.”
Earlier this month, Black Lives Matter protesters shut down the San Francisco Bay Bridge during rush hour by chaining themselves and their cars to the freeway to protest the city’s handling of the Mario Woods police shooting.
Now, in the lead up to the Super Bowl, some law enforcement officials are worried about copycat rallies that could disrupt traffic and hamper week-long festivities.
“It would behoove organizers who want to get the message out about the atrocities happening to black and brown people to utilize that weekend when there will be so many people here from around the world.” Read more
Injustice against one American is injustice against all Americans. Help us put the Justice back into Child Protective Services and get them focused on finding and saving abused children. It’s time we removed them from the profitable business of tearing loving non-offending families apart.
A few years ago I was working behind-the-scenes on a film with Janks Morton. I grew up with a loving father in our home. This issue of child custody and how men are treated in the Family Court system was distant and foreign to me. And then, I heard the stories and saw the pain firsthand from 23 men of all races and walks of life.
Segments of this movie were filmed in my office. One evening we were filming late in the evening. It was cold and dark outside. I welcomed these men as they entered the office. They were strong and confident with firm handshakes. Moments later, sitting several feet away, I watched some these men break down emotionally, some in tears when talking about how the court system has treated them in their effort to be a part of their children’s lives. I stood motion-less with tears in my eyes.
Some of their stories were gut wrenching. When their segment was complete, each guy took a minute to compose himself, before stepping off the set. One gentlemen looked at me and said, look at me and say, “Thank you.” I replied to one dude, “What are you thanking me for?” He said,
“For most of us, this is the first time that we’ve been given a platform or a voice to share our frustrations and challenges in a way that may matter. We’re good guys. We’re not criminals. All we want to do is see our kids.”
These men did not know each other and yet, they hugged each other knowing that they were part of a brotherhood. This movie created by Janks Morton, the man I affectionately describe as coming to this earth from Mars because of his ability land and place topics before us with facts and figures that require a national conversation.
This film shows that custody is not a RACE issue. It’s a FATHER issue!
Has a judge violated your constitutional rights? Have you been discriminated against by being treated differently than other people in similar situations by reason of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference or political opinion? Have you lost certain rights without a meaningful hearing or even an opportunity to be heard?
Have you been deprived of any other constitutional protection? Have you been subject to Court action for the purpose of intimidating you from exercising an opinion, or practicing your faith? Don’t let them get away with it.
Although it is almost impossible to recover monetary damages from a judge (unless you can prove he or she acted ultra-vires beyond his or her legal jurisdiction) it is in fact possible to obtain relief in equity against a judge through civil rights actions. Equitable relief includes:
declaratory relief – (rulings by another judge in the form of opinions establishing the constitutionality or lack of constitutionality of another judges actions.)
injunctive relief – a command or order to do something or refrain from doing so.
As a general rule, however, judges cannot be held liable for money damages for acts done in the exercise of his judicial function, within the limits of his jurisdiction, no matter how erroneous, illegal or malicious his acts may be. (48A Corpus Juris Secundum §86) A minority of decisions have held that if an inferior judge acts maliciously or corruptly he may incur liability. Kalb v. Luce, 291 N.W. 841, 234, WISC 509.
Federal Civil Rights statutes, and possibly Bivens actions, appear to offer the best path for redressing constitutional grievances with state and federal judges, respectively, in Federal Court. As a practical matter, such cases will usually be brought by pro se litigants. Neither the politics nor economics of law practice permits lawyers to pursue such cases nor makes them affordable except to a small elite of citizens.
However, lawyers who do successfully sue state judges in federal court in Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 cases can recover attorney’s fees from judicial defendants provided they can show time sheets kept contemporaneously with their work.
Who is going to have custody of children when the couple separate or divorce? This decision has to be made along with, how the children will be taken care of and the visitation, the how of each parent spending time with the children. Relationships cause connectedness and there are orders to abide by. There are two types of custody orders.
Award-Winning and Prize-Winning Author of Access Denied, The Wretched, The Roots of Evil, The Ghost of Clothes, Omonolidee, First Words and Unzipped: The Mind of a Madman, The Deeper Roots of Evil, UFO, Cinema, Realm of Rhyme along with numerous short stories, poems and articles.