Custody for Cash: A plea for help, when there is no place else to turn

This is the first in what will be a series of reports by the Independent Gazette chronicling the judicial systems and child custody practices of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and surrounding counties. Through exclusive Lackawanna County interviews obtained by the Gazette, a picture will emerge of a legal — not justice — system run amok, fueled by greed, kept intact through intimidation, and veiled in secrecy, a complex web in which the abuse of power is rampant, and lawyers routinely close their eyes to misconduct for fear of being blackballed — and losing their homes and practices should they dare to speak out. This is a fear of being severed from the “money feeding tube,” as one court insider observed.

Within the culture of the court systems of Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties jurisprudence victims, court officers, police, lawyers, and civil employees will only come forward under anonymity out of concern of retribution from the powerful and well-connected. Reports are emerging of bizarre behavior unbecoming of judges, constituting clear violations of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct and kept under wraps lest swift and damaging retaliation befall the whistleblower. These whistleblowers describe judges throwing objects from the bench in fits of rage and making decisions in street clothes before receiving any actual evidence or testimony. Theirs is a legal system run afoul, where justice is often based not on facts, but on “who you know,” and delivered only to the well-connected.

In the aftermath of the “Kids for Cash” scandal the courthouse climate seems to have remained similar in Lackawanna County to that which fostered the Luzerne County travesty. Behavioral patterns appear to coincide, given surfacing claims that individual lives and the families associated with them have been wrecked by an over-aggressive, power hungry, and greed-filled judiciary.

In this initial “Custody” installment the Gazette will begin to focus on the recent conviction of Attorney Danielle Ross, the admitted felon and at one time sole guardian ad litem (GAL) for the Lackawanna Family Court. We will also look at the Lackawanna Guardian Ad Litem Program Review.

In June 2012, the Lackawanna Guardian Ad Litem Program Review report was issued by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). The office’s investigation was launched in response to a request made by Judge Thomas J. Munley, related on page 10:

In May 2011, President Judge Munley and County officials conducted an investigation of the GAL program based on allegations the program is a “Kids for Cash” scheme, and complaints about Ms. Ross’s billing practices. Mr. Browning was the main investigator.

The full report can be found at www.pacourts.us.

The Review paints a glowing picture of Ross and her work, as well as Judge Chester T. Harhut, who on June 17, 2008, agreed to select Ross to be “the sole GAL appointed by the Court. . . . Several judges commented the GAL program was set up with the best intentions by Judge Harhut,” according to the report. Judge Munley noted, “This court deems the GAL’s work to be very favorable. . . . There was widespread agreement among the family court’s judges, staff and service providers, that Ms. Ross is extremely dedicated to her GAL work. . . . Her work is exemplary.” Commendations such as the following are found throughout the AOPC’s assessment: “[Attorney Ross] does a fabulous job.”

The characterizations found in the AOPC report clash decidedly with those being presented to the Gazette by its sources. One of the court insiders who contacted us asked to remain anonymous for various reasons, claiming the report was nothing more than a “dog and pony show. . . . You know it is not right. . . . We have the investigated investigating themselves.”

Page 9 of the report states that “twenty-nine in-person and telephone interviews were conducted with judges, masters, court and County personnel, family law attorneys, child custody litigants and GAL program family service providers. Nine follow-up interviews with court staff and judges were held in February and March 2012. While most of the interviews were selected by JPD [Judicial Programs Department] staff, several individuals contacted the AOPC to offer information.”

Custody_slideOne young woman very critical of the family court system as a result of her own interactions with it confided in the Gazette, observing, “It seems the only people interviewed were persons with involvement in the corrupt system, with the exception of litigants. Which litigants? The nine follow-up interviews were with the judges. Several individuals contacted mentioned in the AOPC report to offer information? Who are they?”

The report states the attorneys recommended by the Family Law Section, Lackawanna County Bar Association, asked to remain anonymous and that the JPD was “grateful for their candor.” Why would these professionals require anonymity if they had nothing but wonderful things to say about the Lackawanna County Family Court and its sole guardian ad litem? Were letters from child custody litigants reviewed? If so, where are these letters? Who sent them?

The Gazette investigated who specifically were interviewed — and how many — for the AOPC guardian ad litem review. We pressed Art Heinz, spokesperson for the AOPC report, but no specifics were available to him at that time, so he merely advised us to look at the Review to answer our questions. No other details were available to us at time of printing, but the Gazette will continue to pursue information concerning this important matter and will publish its findings in future installments of this ongoing story.

Bruce Levine, Kids Rights

Bruce Levine, Kids Rights

Longtime family court critic Bruce Levine, who was the first informant to approach the Gazette, is demanding transparent hearings. “We need open hearings. Let the people have a voice; let’s once and for all get this out in the open. These people are ruining lives and families.”

According to published reports Ross’s own attorney, David J. Solfanelli, stressed that her tax evasion plea “had to deal with reporting taxes, and had nothing to do with her job performance.”

According — once again — to Gazette sources, the plea had everything to do with Ross’s performance within the family court system. One despondent father recalled an incident during which Ross sent her secretary, Sue McIIwee, to perform a home inspection. Upon his questioning the qualifications of McIIwee, Ross allegedly responded, “If you ever wish to see your children again, shut up and pay $50.” The Gazette has listened to numerous similar charges of children being used as pawns for Ross’s gain. Custody for Cash.

Bruce Levine, at times during his experiences with Ross likewise despondent, said, “The damage was done, my boys’ mother was dead. We moved away for a year, to heal, for bereavement counseling. During this time I was urged to sue, sue for negligence. But this was not about money, this was criminal. I decided I must go to authorities, and tell them about Harhut, Ross, and others. I vowed to do whatever it takes so that this would never happen to a loving parent or child again.”

Levine continued, “I met with the DA, the FBI, and all they wanted to talk about was the money, exclusively, the money that Ross charged and extorted. They only cared about the money, [and were] not interested in the emotional and irreparable damage done to my boys caused by Danielle Ross and the court system. No, Mr. Solfanelli, this has everything to do with Ms. Ross’s job performance.”

Levine’s son Jordan, 19, was only 15 years old when he found his mother dying, and says of Ross, “She knew everything was going wrong, and did nothing. She let things go.”

Focusing again on the AOPC report, we find on page 10: “In May 2011, after numerous complaints were made, Mr. Pines is brought in for assistance. Mr. Pines had independently received complaints as well. After Judicial Programs Department JPD’s assessment began, it was learned that local and federal law enforcement was investigating the program and individuals connected with it.”

The JPD became aware that law enforcement was investigating the GAL, the GAL program, and others involved, yet did not act to remove Ross, who was allowed to remain the sole Lackawanna County guardian ad litem for two more years! Based on the JPD’s own figures, Ross was appointed to an average of 111 cases per year. In 2011, Ross claimed to have been appointed to 629 cases.

Judge Harhut states in the AOPC report that at least some of his reasoning when implementing the GAL system was that “PFAs were being filed in divorce cases and fathers were not seeing their children.” “Is there a reason Harhut didn’t research this phenomenon?” questioned another Gazette source. According to a 2006 report by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence titled 10 Custody Myths and How to Counter Them, studies show that 25–50 percent of disputed custody cases involve domestic violence. Furthermore, the ABA report claims that child sexual abuse allegations in custody cases are rare (occurring in about 6 percent of the cases). “If the GAL had bothered to properly investigate, and if Judge Harhut himself had bothered to hear testimony, rather than stifle it, perhaps these facts would have been clear,” observed our informant.

An inside source from the scandal-shaken Luzerne County Family Court system had this to say about the Lackawanna County allegations: “A lot of people are making a lot of money off children.”

The Lackawanna AOPC report claims several judges were “adamant” that Judge Harhut’s vision and passion for the GAL program was what brought them to family court — that they bore a lot of respect for both him and Ross.

To that claim a Gazette source commented, “Isn’t it nice that these other judges were adamant? The sheer volume of adamant parents is astonishing. Their opinions of Harhut and Ross were not included in this report. The report claims the AOPC received phone calls and letters from litigants — I’m certain they could have published an excerpt from a letter. The role of the GAL is to come in as an advocate for the child. Then why, when children begged for her help, did she fail them?”

As an Editor’s Note to this story, let it be known that the sheer volume of complaints and allegations received by the Gazette since launching its investigation into the local family court system has been overwhelming. Assertions of parents with disabled children being targeted by the system in an effort to collect state grants and Social Security payments. Tales of abuses by lawyers, judges, and the system as a whole. The fear of being bullied for speaking out. Accusations that very often cases are pre-judged with little or no testimony heard.

The Gazette has been very careful in our initial story not to name names of those involved until a full investigation can be made into each and every allegation. As more details become available and more informants come forward our readers may be assured that information will be reported in full, regardless of what connected or influential individual, group, or organization might be implicated. Follow our progress each week online as we first dissect AOPC’s findings at www.WilkesBarreScrantonIG.com, endeavoring to shed light and raise awareness on the local family court systems and the larger county judicial systems as a whole.

Could what began during the Clinton Administration with legislation widely viewed at the time as motivated by altruistic intentions — the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act — have become bastardized by a system that has come to care more about greed than the health and welfare of children?

 

Lou Jasikoff
  • Louis R. Jasikoff
  • http://www.jasikoff.com
  • Lou is the founder and producer of the WBIG family of publications. He's been active in politics most of his adult life, and is passionate in building the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette into an independent press organization that is respected for its independent journalism, educating the public on stories and issues often not discussed in today's biased and controlled media.




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113 comments
DistraughtParent
DistraughtParent

My case has been going on 9 years and we are attending our 74th Court appearance since 2008. There is documented proof that the father is physically and mentally abusing the children, who are diagnosed with anxiety and depression at ages 9 and 12 (1st diagnosis was in 2007). The father's mental health records were Ordered by 2 Judges, then myteriously "forgot about". The former GAL, John Bellino never had credentials to act as a GAL, demanded cash or he threated to remove my visitation (witness listened while the phone was on speaker) on a "here say seizure disorder"-a child can ONLY be removed is there is drugs,/alcohol abuse, criminal behavior or abuse.  Ironically, the father has documented mental health issues, an alcohol problem and proven abuse BUT has custody. We were Ordered to see a psychologist (John Bellino's personal friend) who has been introuble with the state on 2 occassions, his lisence is currently on probation for "gross incompetence in the field of psychology, failure to disclose vital documents in child custody cases, etc and ONLY takes cash. Ironically, he gets in trouble with the state for the 2nd time right when he generated a report full of lies and met with me for 20 minutes, the children for 10 minutes and the father isn't interviewed.  Ironic. Then my Neurologist report that's in my favor gets "lost lost" in the Judge's chambers.  Now the PA Judiciary Board is investigating.  The Judge dismissed 5 major Contempts' of Court and is ironically friends with my Attorney, who stated, "This will be 1 Hearing because Freemont's report in inadmissable and will cost $2500." $6500 later, dismissed another Contempt WITHOUT my consent and charged me $750 for him to file a Contempt is ironically dismissed.  The father has no exhibits and I present all emails, phone records, text messages and witnesses but the Contempt is dismissed.  Now he recused and we are going back to the Master, who has made unethical/illegal decisions in the past, is friends with the former GAL and fired Master Tom Collini and now the June Hearing won't be on record. There is so much more to this case in Luzerne County and it's the children that suffer! They ignore the PA Custody LAW that was passed in 2010 and signed by Ed Rendel. The FBI contacted me in 2008 when the former Judge Conahan was hearing the case and the father's former attorney states on record, "I have inside connections in Wilkes Barre.", I sat down face to face with an agent and I still have contact with them.  There is factualy someone behind this case as a Court system would NEVER give primary custody to a father with documented mental health issues, an alcohol problem, proven abuse towards the children, filings on a here say medical issue that doesn't exist (physician reports with testing) and an unstable environment for the children. Luzerne County needs advocates as every office doesn't know where to direct you, however, they receive calls EVERY day in Harrisburg and the Courthouse.

Moral Obligation
Moral Obligation

Don't stop!!!! Keep corrupt officials and abusers in the public eye!!!  Thank you

AnitaBracken
AnitaBracken

This is happening in Minnesota Le Sueur County Just kicked the crap out of a ptsd mom. The County Attorneys childless family members placed an order to keep the mothers kids.  judge approved all   county requests and was negligent to rule on the mothers requests. There were no state and federal laws that supported removal but the county worker broke into the home and removed them illegally. The ptsd parent started having physical reactions of terror while in court houses 



MadAngel1
MadAngel1

Every where we are facing this corruption that's affecting our families and children. Even some of use parents who can not be together anymore but wish to share equal custody are fighting against attorney and judges in our States (I'm in Portland Oregon) to try and force parents into bitter fights rather than mural understanding is all you can find within the family court system. None of this is in the family or children's best interest (not mine for sure) the only ones benifiting from all this is the courts and their cohorts.

reneeglo
reneeglo

Grand county, Utah is just like it.  Is it worthwhile to write my story even though I am not in that county or state?

custody4cashvictim
custody4cashvictim

My children and I are being victimized by Luzerne County Courts and the lawyers that LIE within this county. It is corrupt and heartless! I have vowed to my children that I will seek justice in bringing all of these MONSTERS to light...to save not only my children, but so many other families affected as well! IT MUST STOP! The children need to be heard and I hope one day soon this will happen! ~Time is our best friend ~

CharlesBombico
CharlesBombico

Why does Lackawanna County continue to pay a Senior Judge we do not need. The county is in financial trouble yet they may be spending over 170 thousand dollars to keep a part time judge . They need to retire him today

MarshaLynch
MarshaLynch

We also have a very serious problem in Erie County.   Any hope in bringing some awareness to this area?


CustodyForCashVictim
CustodyForCashVictim

I brought my parents to several hearings with me.  Each time they were promptly "kicked out."  GRANDPARENTS!  Very active Grandparents who are not only witnesses, but also a major piece of my childrens' support system.  They were not asked politely to wait outside, they were rudely KICKED OUT as if they had NO business in the courtroom!  Is that right????

chwatchbird1
chwatchbird1

All Lackawanna Family Court hearings should be covered by the press and any or all family members should be allowed to attend no exceptions. Also the public should be welcome if all is above board as claimed.

VickieCorrell Rick
VickieCorrell Rick

Aren't almost all family court hearings with juveniles?  They are never open as far as I have experienced.  That is why they get away with the corruption.  If children weren't juveniles there would be no need for family court.  

John Waldorf
John Waldorf

Generally Familt Court hearings are open to the public except I rare cases dealing with juveniles .

chwatchbird1
chwatchbird1

I have a question. Are family court proceedings in Lackawanna County open to the public? If not why? If these proceedings are legitimate then open them to the public!!!

TeranceHealy
TeranceHealy

When people are the most vulnerable, the Family Courts failure to follow law and procedures creates an environment which can only cause further damage to the family.  The "Confidentiality of Information" is not done to protect the child (it's clear the child is hurt by their actions) or to protect attorney client priviledge.  Confidentiality is done to protect the corrupt judges once they have been manipulated into misconduct by lawyers.  The system is designed to protect the juducuary.  

Once an act of misconduct occurs in a court, the judge's action causes a complete and absolute loss of constitutionally protected rights.  No one can help.  The litigants are left to be terrorized by issues which cannot be discussed.

It is Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information which causes the problem.  No lawyer, prosecutor, district attorney or Attorney General may prosecute a sitting judge within the state.  It requires a Federal intervention.  Typically Federal intervention only happens at the request of the DA or the AG.  

This is why Cash for Kids continued so long.  Even once the judge reported it to the FBI, SHE was disciplined for violating Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information.  They also alleged treason and sedition.  BUT she did the right thing.  She was not lawfully permitted to act because of Rule 1.6.

Listen to Kathleen Kane.  She follows the Constitution, the PA Constitution and the Rules of Professional Conduct.  It is Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which requires her to ignore judicial corruption.  YES, The PA AG cannot prosecute a corrupt judge.  Same LAW in every state.

The Constitutional Challenge of Rule 1.6 is attempting to address this unconstitutional law.  It allowed Cash for Kids, It allowed the Foreclosure crisis nationwide.  It causes extreme injustice in the US Courts.

The Challenge is in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.  JUSTICE IS COMING.  

chwatchbird1
chwatchbird1

People go to the Scranton Times Site read about GAL Ross

YouStoleMyKid
YouStoleMyKid

Without Bruce and many others including Lou change for the better would not be happening. They stole my CHILDREN and that will never change. 

YouStoleMyKid
YouStoleMyKid

The Cat is Out if the Bag. Rivers are flowing. 

amandalefort
amandalefort

PLEASE READ MY OTHER POST FIRST: If I do they will help me get my kids home. I got him to turn his self in. An they never helped me fight for them. Then had park ranger press charges on me for harboring. . An a few others. I just pleaded to the one in exchange of no jail time just probation an community service. Children an youth couldn't make it so they called an told the d.a Not to let me use my kids as an excuse to get out of jail. I said what I need to get out of jail so I can fight to get my kids home. I then got released an talked to children an youth my only court order was my visitation 2 Times a week. I asked how I go about getting into counseling Because I needed to talk to someone about what they ware doing to me over an over. Next thing ya no bam we found something else we can court order her to do. Any thing we can try to get her to mess up. So I started counseling. An they kept canceling appointment. An I got fed up with it An asked for new councillor. So that I can get started I had a preference of a female but went to male just to start. Then after 3 double sessions. Moved to female seen her about 3 Times an she moved to a different department. Seen another female 3 Times after an inbetween she cancelled about 10 visits do to her health problems. An now I was just switched again. Because of her health problems ain't no longer there. They wrote me a letter telling children an youth not to use counseling towards me! Now this is the only excuse they keep using to keep my kids. An now don't have it to use. So now here me An my kids are suffering because in two weeks they are trying to still adopt my children out. With nothing to have on me! I had an attorney but I ran out of funds an had to get public defender. An now my public defender advised me to get a paid attorney. Because with the corruption he don't feel he can help me. He believes I need to get in with someone who is in good with the courts. He believes that is the only thing that can help me. . children an youth put my children in harm's way several of times but that is ok.allowed. There is many times my little ones ware not in proper seating or no seating. There visiting rooms in summer are filled with crawling aunts. . Food in toy boxes food under an in couches.unworking broke or filthy toys. An in one of the larger room a sink sits with mold in it. Hard cold floors for the kids to sit an play on. . Small rooms they sometimes place me An my children in with no playing room. The list goes on an on. . I was never ordered to have my visits at center. They ware suppose to be at home. That stopped after a few weeks Because they owed kin ship money. They stopped an then the visits went to parks or my choice ware I decided. Then they lost that worker who did them. In May ever since I been having to do all of them at the center. An as posted in my picture on here my kids come with head brooses. An also another time supposedly tripped at foster home an nocked out two front teeth. An I was not notified about it when he went to hospital. An couldn't see him for visits till week after. As well as his head they claim he fell off bike an had Helmet on. He didn't have proper helmet on then. Because this bump would of been blocked by Helmet. My youngest in this photo I believe is adhd. An they have a single 67 year old lady raising them. He likes to try to run out door An try to hit when he don't get his own way. . How can she catch him if he does this. An I'm sure he has done it But was kept from me. My kids couldn't even go holloweening. Because she said it would be to hard on her. . I can keep telling yous more but I'm going to stop its a shame! ! What children an youth an these people Well do for cash

amandalefort
amandalefort

I am a mother of seven amazing children. An me An my kids suffer from this as well! This been going on for many years sence I was a child! Me an my kids now suffer me An some of my kids suffer from anxiety An depression over this! Also one with adhd.. it all started back when I was 17 an me An one of my children ware placed into foster home. Ware the corrupt foster parents got money from children an youth to buy me clothing. . The foster parent said I will get you smoke off I can use this to buy her own daughter clothing! A few days before my 18th b-day a false call from my foster parents ware made to children an youth an my school. That I had a knife in my purse I was called to office an was searched. Children an youth then called the school an said they ware in fear that I was not to return to the foster home. So children an youth kicked me onto the street when I was 17. I asked them if I can go get my son. They told me no he was moved to another foster home already. I then got visitation. . An had to meet 45 min away for my son. I am my mother sat in a parking lot weighting for my son. Children an youth called me up an told me to go pick my son up at the hospital an keep him until they can research other family members to take him. Because the foster parent threw my adorable son down the stairs at age 2 an broke his arm. Because he was excited an didn't listen because he was just happy to go see me! I haven't Hurd from them for a long time after. An they didn't remove him from me! An replace him like they said! About 5 years down the road I had taken my two year old daughter to the hospital. Because I was potty training her an she cried when she had gotten onto the toilet an shaking. I took her to hospital. They pulled pee out of her. An treated her with yeron track infection. An off we went Her aunt took her that night. Because I was sick. I then got a phone call from the aunt an said my daughter has a bump on her back She noticed when she was giving her bath. I told her not to give my child her medicine because the hospital falsely treated her then. An asked her to take it to get it checked out. Hospital called me An asked me to come down! I got my other 2 children dressed an went down. I went in they asked me ware my other kids ware. I said in car with there dad. They asked me to tell them all to come in. Next thing I new I was surrounded by case workers an police. While they took all my children from me. An tried saying I must of severely beat my daughter that she has a broken tale bone. . I was hurting that they would say that. . Cops told me calm down or they would half to arrest me An they don't want to do that. Watching them feed my son a bottle when I was suppose to be breast feeding him. Throwing up every ware me An dad because we ware so hurt! Off my kids went to foster home. A few days later they put my daughter in another hospital an let me go see her super vised.. while nurses gave me bad looks an fathers family put me down. I then left an received a phone call the next day. To come to hospital a.s.a.p that children n youth no I'm coming An they can't talk to me over phone. I get there An they apologize to me An tell me it's a cist an prepared me for Lucima. An asked to if to go to Danville with her in ambulance. We got to Danville they checked her an asked what was wrong with these Wilkes barre hospitals I said why they said did your daughter have even a little fall in the last two weeks. I thought about it An it clicked in.I took her to fair to enter her in contest. She tried to climb her brothers car seat stroller an I didn't grab it quick enough An she scraped her elbow. The hospital said thats it. . It healed So quick an didn't drain. An infection went up into her back. So they had to drain it. Children an youth called me An told me I can go pick up my other kids when I leave there. I couldn't even breast feed. Then again a few years later they get a false report I let them check the report. Then told them to leave after they checked to see it was false. A few months later after they dug an dug to try to find something on me they came with a court order removing one of my children. Saying he had a tumer in his eye an I haven't taken care of it. We went to court An court granted it. Now they new there self this was false. Because another case worker was with me when it was checked an told it was a birth mark. I left court they gave custody to my sister I was crying called eye place an they new I was in bad shape over this an told me An my sister to come right over. . Verified again on spot I took papers right down to children an youth. They said see told you it was a tumer there is that same word. I said you need to call doctor then. That word yous think means tumer yous need to look up Because it's not what use think! They confirmed an still made me wait till court to return him an they tried stopping it. But wasn't able to. Then now my ex boyfriend that I have kids with was released from jail to half way house. An took off came to my home an made us go with him I had no control over it. I had many pfa on him. Even put him in jail Because I tried leaving him an he had a gun an was trying to kill me An my phone was traced by police an they got him. So I had no choice he took my phone an made sure I couldn't call any one on him. So I played that I loved him an wanted to be with him until I can come up with a plan to get him caught. I found away an was able to send picture to someone of a street sign in background. So we woke up next morning at camp site me An kids had to go to bathroom. Me an my son went in. An he always kept my keys in ignition just incase. Me an my son came out of restroom an I said ware did Daddy go. To look an see him on a high speed chase. With two cars that ware probation officer. I hid my 7 year old behind a big tree an ran out toward the street I ran up toward the probation officer car an screemed to them to please stop I have kids in the car. I guess a few minutes later they lost him an came back an asked me ware they can find him I said how can I no I'm here. An that I was contacting police. Because there putting my kids in harm's way! Knowing there dad would smash before he would stop for them. So they said o Ya your losing your kids I'm contacting children an youth. They then asked me to report my truck stolen so other police can chase him I said not while my kids are in that truck. He then got my kids with family. I packed up an had family pick me up with my other son. Went home he got in contact with me An I went to my kids. In all plans to hope I can also find him an set him up. Children an youth called an asked ware we were. Came an took all my kids from me. Went to court probation lied in court An said I ran into street with my son An jumped in front of car. It was confirmed by my son that was false. An by other questions that ware brought up They didn't half to stop swerve or any thing Else. The master then said I'm sorry Amanda I know you love your kids very much An they love you. An your a good mom but sometimes people make bad choices an boom. Foster care remained. I got call from probation asking me to please help them get him. If I do they will help me get my kids home. I

Val Clark
Val Clark

I think these cases end up, across the board, in the most lucrative outcome for the unchecked family court system. We can all agree that families are not receiving the support money, healthcare or assets because the attorneys, judges, experts and GALs are taking everything a family may have had in order to move on. In my case, it was more lucrative to get straight fees from a surgeon who is living a good lifestyle while his children are and have been suffering, horribly. It makes more sense to get direct fees from him to attorneys and experts rather than use the DHHS bonus rewards since his income is off the chart. In other cases, they make more money collecting child support from men and women who have no income or they calculate and take more than half of their income, making it impossible for them to survive. I know of a case here in Allegheny County where a 21 year old making $20,000 a year at two minimum age jobs was paying the same child support as my ex husband, for one child, who makes over a half million a year. The worst part for the 21 year old is that he is behind $2000 on fake arrears for child care that was never used over the summer months. He is now in contempt and facing jail for the $2000 while my ex husband evaded paying hundreds of thousands in ordered child support that was "waived" in a fraudulent settlement agreement. Even when you can prove criminal fraud in these cases. law enforcement will not investigate or charge so what incentive is there to stop this fleecing of families? We can all agree that the only winners are the family court system and not families, at all.

John Waldorf
John Waldorf

Is This NJ Superior Court Judge Guilty of Political Bias?

I have been incarcerated in the Hunterdon County Jail for eight weeks, as a result of a bench warrant issued by Judge Hany Mawla, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, for contempt of court.Judge Mawla issued a judgment of divorce last year which was impossible to comply with.Mawla ordered that I pay 100% of my salary to my ex-wife for alimony.He deemed that I was underemployed when I had lost my job due to a business restructuring and 10 months later obtained new employment at a salary of 30% less that I had been making.Judge Mawla chose to punish me with an alimony award of $8,000 a month for the rest of my life.I had only been married for 11 years and my ex-wife is an attorney, perfectly capable of supporting herself despite her having Lupus.I am 60 years old and Mawla killed me financially for the rest of my life.Is this fair and equitable?I believe that most people would be outraged by this alimony award.Judge Mawla ‘s order did not take into account my income taxes, payment for my son’s and my health insurance or costs to keep a roof over my head and food in my stomach.This was an impossible order to comply with and wholly inequitable. He also ordered that if I missed two complete payments that an automatic bench warrant would be issued.I have tried to figure out why Mawla is biased and prejudiced against me and have determined the following.Judge Mawla was raised in the Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia and Egypt where women were not considered equal.Women do not have equal opportunity under Muslim law with regards to education and employment.In order to compensate for how his mother was treated, Mawla adheres to a political bias in favor of women and against men.This ideology would tend to balance the pendulum in a Muslim society, however in a western society, this negative prejudice against men results in inequities in our family courts.

This is just one example of judicial discretion at it’s worst.Unfortunately, this type of bias is predominant in the family courts all over the country, although not necessarily with the same motivations as Mawla.Our antiquated laws do not reflect 21st century norms.

I personally witnessed another example of Mawla’s negative bias against western men in his courtroom in 2011.Drew Foster was concluding his divorce trial before Judge Mawla when he interviewed Mr. Foster’s 15 year old daughter to determine who should be awarded custody of the child.Mr. Foster had testified that his daughter wanted to live with him because of emotional abuse by her mother.Typically, the court, when dealing with a child of this age, will let the child live with the parent that they prefer.Mawla once again exhibited political bias against Mr. Foster and awarded custody to the mother.After many more months of emotional abuse by the mother, as ordered by Mawla, Mr. Foster’s daughter purchased an airline ticket and escaped the abuse to go and live with her father in another state.This is truly another example of the complete systemic failure of our family court system.

These systemic failures are causing undue pain to men and women and more importantly our children.The family courts in the United States are the people’s courts and we should not stand for any type of inequity.We should enact new laws which curtail Judicial discretion and align the court with the 21st century.

CustodyForCashVictim
CustodyForCashVictim

@AnitaBracken This is terrible!  Courts do not consider the psychological damage their actions/decision cause and/or exacerbate!  Children suffer PTSD as well as a trauma response to having been abused for example.  The courts do not seem to care enough to review professional/medical testimony outside of their own contracted evaluators.  SO many things NEED to changed within the courts.  It is time to shed light on all of this and demand a REAL change!

VickieCorrell Rick
VickieCorrell Rick

@MadAngel1 Look for groups forming in your area and state.  If there are none start a facebook page and start getting people onboard to help make change.  We are all in this together.

VickieCorrell Rick
VickieCorrell Rick

@reneeglo It is worthwhile to share your story.  There are people meeting with Congress on April 10th to change the way these agencies and family court operate.  If you need further assistance contact me. vc9722@aol.com

Ron Shegda
Ron Shegda

@MarshaLynch Marsha, Please send me a PM on FB, if You are a Member.  We have a Coalition organized in PA against County abuse.  Ron Shegda

EagleOnTheTree
EagleOnTheTree

@chwatchbird1  There are legitimate safety issues involved with some of the family law hearings.  I know about this and to this day suffer extreme PTSD response (and was subject to one in court) even going near the courthouse when there's not a hearing.  


In an ideal world, all family members should be allowed to attend. Unfortunately in this world we have child abusers, molesters, and people who have threatened to kill others -- who end up, being parents, also in these courts.  As an adult (and a fairly courageous one) I was one time in a court hearing with the entire (well most of it) "tribe" sitting across the aisle from me, and the cause of action was my attempt to restore a restraining order. It was extremely intimidating.  I had no attorney, my ex (thousands in arrears on child support) somehow had one.  When the time came, everyone else was again thrown out of the courtroom, the judge went "off the record" (I think) and we were ordered to go "work it out' outside the courtroom.  No matter how diligent or brave someone may think they are in certain situations, I was not able to fully advocate for a "parenting plan" with the man who'd threatened to kill, threatened to kidnap (and later did) sitting across from me.   


It does sound like this particular court has some major issues; maybe video is another solution.  I"m just speaking from my own perspective here, and don't have a solution.  On the other hand, if how the courts work was better understood and some other issues addressed, probably half the cases wouldn't even be in the courtrooms to start with. Like, show us a legitimate cause of action, for starters!


chwatchbird1
chwatchbird1

@VickieCorrell Rick I have to agree with John. I was under the impression all family court proceedings were open to the public per the Pennsylvania Constitution, with the exception of Philadelphia & Pittsburg. I also read that the Philadelphia Bar Assoc. has a petition to make the family court hearings public.

EagleOnTheTree
EagleOnTheTree

@TeranceHealy  

I've been looking at this Rule 1.6 also.  Sounds like a built-in conflict of interest.  

However we still need to look at the funding (federal grants/contracts) influence.  But we already know that the judiciary is writing law through the administrative sector.


I've learned some things in the last few days alone (like about a week) on connections between some mediation centers (staffed/run by family lawyers doing business with the state) and what another whistleblower called (incorporating law firm, in the 1980s) an FBI/CIA front firm.  See defraudingamerica.com (I'm blogging).  Trying to fix the legal system from within the legal system just won't work.  



I say it has to do with the public's will to look at who's paying whom.  Unfortunately, that's a self-education task most aren't going to bother with; but IF you get enough of the basics, which become part of your understanding -- then your value just got multiplied -- 


I also feel that Kids4Cash (referring to Luzerne County) could've been avoided if more of us were tracking all the diversionary programming through the courts, knew about such things as "ModelsForChange" (MacArthur Foundation) of which the PA group that filed for the parents, was a participant.


http://familycourtmatters.wordpress.com  Operations, Analysis, History of the family courts (from client -- not provider -- point of view).  

chwatchbird1
chwatchbird1

@YouStoleMyKid What is Kids rights?? Is this a registered bona fide organization?? does it have a web site?? who is in charge?? what are their qualifications. Please keep in mind  I am asking these questions to be sure that anyone who contacts this site is protected. Why are you doing this where is Bruce??

Val Clark
Val Clark

@amandalefort  Everytime there is a mass shooting in this country, my first thought is, "I wonder what role the family court or CYF had in this horrible situation?" I know every abuse victim of child and spousal abuse is thinking the same thing. The government is focused on mental health at the heart of this issue rather than what caused the mental health issue...

CranthomRoberts
CranthomRoberts

@Val Clark  Kidnapping has always been lucrative.

When it is court sanctioned and legal kidnapping, it is all the more lucrative.

A loving parent will do anything to keep his child, and the family court system (and its minions) know this. And they extort money, assets, command arbitrary behavior, just about anything, under threat of taking away the child from the parent.

All under the guise of 'best interests of the child.'

When only the priests get to tell us what god wants, then the priests have subsumed the power of the people's connection to god.

Likewise when only the courts get to determine what is the best interests for the child, they have subsumed the power of the parents connection to their children

And in both cases anything goes - and that anything has nothing to do with the children or the parents, it is only for the best interests of the priests and courts..

AnitaBracken
AnitaBracken

@CustodyForCashVictim @AnitaBracken  I am studying human services I know they abused this poor mom to take away her kids the county violated state and federal laws. Then judge was in on it. The guardian ad litem and the caseworker. If any one is in minnesota I will help if I can. In the meantime i will fight and expose this corrupt inhumane abuse 

VickieCorrell Rick
VickieCorrell Rick

@chwatchbird1 @VickieCorrell Rick  My husband and I were kept out of the courtroom in a CYS case.  By law yes we were suppose to be in the courtroom by Schuylkill County corruption law they would not permit us in to witness and defend.  

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