I wanted to take some time out of my schedule to discuss Turner v. Rogers while it’s still recent and I remember my thoughts on the matter. First, I will provide some basic background on the case. Then, I will discuss the basic legal and policy arguments of the case. Finally, I will turn attention to my predictions and the importance of this case for indigent advocacy in general.
I. HISTORY OF THE CASE
What is this Turner v. Rogers case I’m talking about? The answer, thankfully, is rather straightforward. This case involves two indigent parents involved in a dispute over child support. The mother, Ms. Rogers, brought a straightforward court claim against Mr. Turner for child support he owed to their daughter. So far, nothing out of the ordinary.
The noteworthy aspect of the case is that Mr. Turner is indigent, a formal term for a person who is poor; presumably below the poverty line. In terms of full disclosure, both Ms. Rogers and Mr. Turner were indigent parents.
The court in this case held Mr. Turner in contempt for failing to pay for his child support obligations. A proper defense to this failure is an inability to pay based upon lack of necessary income. If that’s the case, why did the judge hold Mr. Turner in contempt? There is both a broad and specific answer. The broad one is that the poverty defense is an affirmative one — one that a defendant must prove in order to avoid being held in contempt. The specific answer is that Mr. Turner lacked an attorney, who would have certainly asserted this defense.
In these situations, a person can typically be held in either civil or criminal contempt, the specifics of which vary by jurisdiction. This case occurred in South Carolina, where a person facing civil contempt may be incarcerated as a result. That’s what occurred with Mr. Turner, who was sentenced to serve jail time for being what most us know in lay terms as being “a deadbeat dad.”
Mr. Turner appealed his case all the way up to the South Carolina Supreme Court on the grounds that he was entitled to have an attorney appointed for him since he could not pay for one on his own. The South Carolina Supreme Court disagreed with his claim and, as a result, he petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear his case.
Family law is not for the faint of heart, and institute teaches best principles and methods ~ Tulsa World
Family law is a tough practice.
Children’s futures are at stake. Homes and any monies involved are being divided. Cases turn ugly in a moment, and attorneys representing their clients must be prepared for these sometimes unexpected mood shifts.
Some Tulsa attorneys admit they would rather try a number of heinous murder cases rather than one family law case.
The researchers predicted that, after the children whose parents weren’t divorced, the children who lived with one parent would exhibit the fewest issues. However, these children were actually significantly more likely to experience various health problems
Judges have been heard to say they dread the controversial and contested family law cases because no one clearly is the winner and everyone loses when all cards have been played.
Even attorneys involved in a family law practice have difficult times because of the twists and turns a case might have. Shane Henry, who practices family law with the Fry and Elder Law Firm, said he consistently lost cases during his first three years in practice and knew he needed additional training.
As many of you know, we just had a magnificent conference on men’s issues in London, England. It was a brilliant event that went off without a hitch. Thanks to the work of Mike Buchanan it was a full house, wall to wall with amazing people.
The only downer of the entire event was that I had to make the announcement during my speech that the A Voice for Men Facebook page was deleted by the management there. Also, at this point I can say that my appeal to have the page reinstated has gone ignored. 35,000 followers dismissed by Facebook for not towing the feminist, politically correct line.
This is part of a now quite familiar trend of social media platforms, which are essentially the modern equivalent of what we used to call telecommunications companies, controlling the expression and even the ideas of their customers.
Every time one of these events happens on Twitter, (and again) Facebook or other popular outlet, we see people in the comments lamenting the dogmatic discrimination and suggesting that “someone” needs to create an alternative platform.
…so are judges, attorneys, and especially psychologists. So don’t worry, you’re not alone…
“Best Interests of the Child”
– Fact or Lyrical Poetry?
Family Court Professionals Disclose the Truth – Weightier Matter
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. So are judges, attorneys, and especially psychologists.
At AFCC’s 2006 national conference in Tampa, FL, family court professionals gathered to discuss whether “family” or “parents’” rights were compatible with the “best interests of the child” standard. But in comparing “rights” to “best interests,” the discussion took an unexpected turn to a more fundamental question:
What does “best interests” really mean?
Does it take a Ph.D. to know the answer?
Do judges know any better than lawyers, psychologists, or parents themselves?
Does anyone really know what “bests interests” means and how to determine it for any child or family?
On June 6, 2012, DCF (Department of Children and Families) came to my house with yet another one of multiple false DCF calls alleging that my whole family, my parents, my brother, my new wife and I were mistreating our children. That afternoon, I called my children and prayed with them a prayer I had taught them and had posted on my refrigerator, and which I even use to teach Sunday school children with, The Spiritual Armor of God found in Ephesians 6. To my surprise, my ex-wife that same night was delusional and called police and DCF around midnight alleging that I was scaring her and my children by telling them that an evil spirit would come and kill them all, and that she was scared that I was the evil spirit that would come and kill them (see denied Domestic Violence petition).
Judicial Conduct Commission Renamed Kangaroo Corruption Commission | Leon Koziol.Com
It’s been awhile since Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas depicted family courts in America as “Kangaroo” operations, see In re Gault, 387 US 1, 27-28. But Abe never came across New York’s Commission on Judicial Conduct. Now that’s a kangaroo commission if there ever was one. Its members are appointed by corrupt politicians such as Sheldon Silver (now in federal prison), Dean Skelos (convicted of federal crimes) and Andy Cuomo (currently under federal investigation). Governor Andrew Cuomo prematurely dissolved his own corruption commission when testimony (i.e. me) began implicating the politicians who created it.
Another entity, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, was created by the same trio of politicians in 2011 as part of a “Clean-Up Albany Act.” By 2015, state legislators were decrying it as “J-Joke” for its impotence. The chair of that Commission was recently named Chief Justice of New York’s high court by the same Governor Andy Cuomo who created both commissions. That should have all people visiting or doing business here very concerned.
Yeah there are so many taxpayer financed commissions these days that the public cannot figure them all out. Hell they all sound good, but what are they accomplishing? The third one (featured here) has kicked legitimate complaints against judges to the curb faster than its kangaroo sister commission in California (reported to have rejected more than 90% filed). It’s a nationwide epidemic calling upon the citizenry to make a stand. A rally has been set for September 17, 2016 at Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Be there !
As a result, this Judicial Conduct Commission has been renamed the Kangaroo Corruption Commission (KCC) by victimized litigants to accurately describe the entity’s true character. Okay it’s not official yet, but we commoners who pay taxes and put up with their circus show like to be graphic with what’s really going on. We’re not so easily duped into believing that a catchy title with elite law firm members verify a genuine commitment to public service. They’re the foxes watching the chicken coup. So we call it as we see it.
Today I received yet another letter from “Jean M. Savanyu” clerk of the Commission advising me once again that Lewis County Family Judge Daniel King (“Dan King” as he introduced himself to my family court opponent on the phone) is just a-okay. Now for our 6,000 followers, you all know this can’t be right. Dan King has committed so much misconduct that anyone coming into “his” court should bring along a recorder (since he caused one of my secret custody proceedings to be unrecorded so his misconduct could be concealed).
Appealing such clear misconduct is equally impotent. In my case, the “honorable” Nancy Smith of the Fourth Department denied recourse against King when he issued a support violation order impossible to comply with because it required support payments to an agency without legal authority to accept it.
Dan King was simply abusing judicial office in retaliation for my (accurate) public criticisms of his incompetence (see listing below). Nancy is the only judge above trial level ever to be slapped on the wrist by the KCC for giving a glowing reference to a person she never met for personal and political gain as a judge. Does anyone seriously think she could be impartial here?
Why Lawyers & Politicians Actually Want You and Your Children To Suffer
You might have noticed that the theme of our most recent publicity messages center around “sharing the truth”.
And there’s a reason for this: we’ve been seeing a rather robust effort on the part of our opposition to blatantly lie to the Public in an attempt to thwart Family Law reform.
In reality, this is not new. Because they’ve been doing this for the last forty years or so.
Never the less, you’re probably seeing a ridiculous talking point come up a lot lately. I’ve seen it all over, and it’s probably best described by a Facebook post I saw in the Love and Iron newsfeed from NC Fathers. Here is the opening post:
I then followed up with a post to that thread describing my disgust with National Organization for Women (NOW) and other anti-equal parenting lobbying groups; because it’s become apparent that this is one of the universal talking points that’s being injected into the public commentary – I’m simply seeing it all over. Basically, here’s what they’re saying:
in Entry #5, we talked about the Tipping Point and how the most powerful thing that we can all do to stamp out family legal abuse, even if you’re where I was a year ago, homeless and living with your kids in a car, is to spread, spread, spread the word and organize, organize, organize.
However, in the past, you may have been trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone about family rights when they say something truly asinine, such as:
“Well, someone has to pay for all those deadbeats.”
Say, what? What does something that happened in someone else’s family situation, in someone else’s life, have to do with me? Even if there are millions of authentic deadbeats out there (and, there’s not, but even if there were), that’s not a justification to indenture me and kidnap my children.
If you try to ask what “all those deadbeats” have to do with you and your children, the ignoramus will probably spout some pseudo-intellectual claptrap, replete with circumlocution, about how the status quo (i.e. family legal abuse) somehow works out to the betterment of society in the big scheme.
This is just one of the many ignorant things that you probably have encountered while trying to get through to people. Well, for all their pseudo-intellectual attempts at philosophical fencing, there are two things you have going for you that cannot be overcome with fancy words and a smug attitude, two things that absolutely grind any opposition to a halt. These two things simply cannot be argued with. They can, of course, be denied, but that’s different. They cannot be argued with.
One of these things was covered in Entries #3 and #4, Our Rights as Parents (Parts I and II). Our rights, of course, can not be debated. They are self-evident. Check out Entries #3 and #4 if you haven’t already.
What’s your testimony? It’s what you and your children have lived. It can’t be debated. YouLIVED it! It can be denied. You can be called a liar, but you can’t be debated. You LIVEDit!
So, when I tell people about living in a car, homeless, as a single parent family of four, in spite of having a full-time job because so-called “child support” did not leave us with enough money to pay rent. When I talk about crying as a grown man while I put my children’s beloved toys in a dumpster as we downsized our worldly belongings so that we could fit them into a car instead of an apartment, that’s my family’s testimony. We lived it.
When I talk about sitting on my then-5-year-old’s bed at 3:30am watching him try to sleep as he practically coughed up a lung, knowing that so-called “child support” had made my bank account negative so that I couldn’t even go to the store to get him cough syrup, it’s my testimony. All I could do was wonder if he was really serious enough to take to an emergency room, knowing that if I did, that would cause ANOTHER financial crisis.
No one can debate these things. They are testimony. They were lived, and that’s powerful!
I have even given my testimony to so-called “child support” workers over the phone when I have had occasion to have to communicate with them. Once, one of them even said she was “sorry my family had to go through that”. Yes! It really happened ladies and gentlemen. The lady actually said she was sorry. (But, I hope, since all those phone calls are recorded by her Orwellian masters, I hope she didn’t get in trouble for expressing some humanity.)
No one can argue with your testimony.
I know other people’s testimonies that include:
Being sent to prison simply for having Parkinson’s disease. (This man used to make six-figures, but his disease advanced until he was 100% disabled and unable to work. His case’s judge refused to lower the victim’s so-called “child support” so-called “obligation” by even one penny.)
Being told by Family (dis)-Services themselves that they don’t care if your children cannot go to school if they suspend your driver’s license.
Being told by Family (dis)-Services themselves that they don’t care if your children’s mother now has a live-in, violent felon boyfriend, because all they want is their money. Yes! They actually said this!
Being imprisoned without actually committing a crime in case after case after case after case.
Being homeless and sleeping in a truck (in spite of having full-time work) in the middle of the winter at below-freezing temperatures. At least, in my own case, it was seven of the warmer months of the year. The man I am referring to now was doing it in January!
So, when people want to debate, when they want to argue, don’t! Just give them your testimony.
Don’t take the bait to debate! Just give them your testimony. The only way they can fight your testimony is to accuse you of lying and that just makes THEM look bad.
So, remember, keep discussions about you and your children’s rights and your testimonies, and you can’t lose.
Ultimately, it will be the sheer weight of our combined testimonies as a persecuted underclass that will finally topple the Berlin Wall of Family Legal Abuse that has been erected by the courts between us and our children, between us and our life’s earnings.
I will traveling to Jefferson City, Missouri this summer to visit with state legislators and those august individuals need to see YOUR testimonies by the thousands! By the tens of thousands! They need to be buried in dump trucks of them! If you have even a little time, send your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’re doing all of us and your children a favor when you do.
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, along with numerous short stories, poems and articles.