Archive for March 31, 2010

Way to go Abbott, way to go.

Texas Attorney General

Gregg Abbott put out yet another “beat dead” update in Tomas Roman. The guy owes about $160,928 for 2 children. Damn, you might think. He must be a raking in the cash. So what does this guy do for a living?

Last Address: Houston, TX
Occupation: Bus Driver/General Laborer

You guessed it. the man’s a general laborer and bus driver. Just to give you some perspective, here is the average bus driver salary in the United States courtesy of Salary.com

Bus Driver 25th%ile Median 75th%ile
the United States $16,154 $18,663 $22,287

Giving Mr. Abbott the benefit of the doubt, Tomas owes 8.6 times his annual salary. Of course, not even child support demands 100 percent of all income (yet). Texas has a statutory limit of 25 percent for two children. So that number can be roughly multipled by 4 to 34 and a half years. Somehow, unless those children are still receiving support in their thirties, I’m guessing there’s a lot of imputed income, penalties and fees, or both in that figure.

Does any of this make Mr. Roman father of the year? Hardly. The point is to say that there is a lot more to those figures that Abbott marches out and slams non-custodial mothers and fathers with. But this isn’t analysis you’re going to read in any newspaper articles, let alone Abbott’s press releases.

A very troubling case

Law.com – Domestic Violence Victim Fights for Her Name at the Supreme Court

Family law experts say the private right to prosecute gives teeth to restraining orders — or civil protection orders, as they’re called in the District. Victims can file the paperwork and argue at the hearing that the judge should jail a tormentor. They don’t have to convince a busy prosecutor to add to his or her workload.

Before we begin. Let’s review what we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about civil contempt procedings, which have no lasting impact on a person’s criminal history and can usually be purged by the accused themselves.

We’ve talked about rogue prosecutors in the past and I doubt that we won’t in the future. But public prosecutors, as opposed to state prosecutors, have a distinct advantage to private prosecutors: they are a third party and thus can weight the evidence and decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to trial. And they also have to follow certain rules that private prosecutors cannot, something that the DV advocates themselves point out:

But victims’ advocates warn of consequences, too. They’re concerned a Robertson win would render private prosecutions nearly impossible. If the Court rules these cases must be brought in the government’s name, the argument goes, the next step will be to require private prosecutors to meet the heightened standards that govern state prosecutors, such as Brady disclosure obligations. Victims, who usually bring contempt cases pro se, couldn’t shoulder the extra burden.

what they are referring to is the disclosure requirements laid out in Brady v. Maryland. In that case the state prosecutor had deliberately withheld a written statement indicated that a co-conspirator had actually done the murder Brady was found guilty of. So in other words, the DV advocates are saying that disclosing exculpatory evidence is a “burden”. If they think that’s a burden, what about the burden of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Isn’t that more of a burden? Why not get rid of that and just go to a standard of preponderance of the evidence?

Because of the Constitution, that’s why. Which is why I’m hoping that the courts decide that criminal prosecutions should be done only by the state.

Uh, Ms. Chambers, other counsel’s table please

Carol Chambers goes with the prostitot defense–and she’s the DA

"With the low-cut jeans that girls wear, she could have picked up anyone’s DNA off any surface her panties touched while they may have been riding up above her pants. I hate those low-cut pants," Chambers said Friday, swear to God. "Depending on how long she had been wearing those panties and where, they could have rubbed up against the back of her chair at school, a restaurant, the couch at home that someone else had been sitting on, a bus seat, someone’s toilet seat if she did not pull them down far enough — there are many ways to get unknown DNA on clothing. Another kid could have snapped the elastic on her underwear — kids do that sort of thing."

Before I get into a scathing of Ms. Chambers I have to give the devil her due–she’s not completely out of line. There is more random DNA going around there than you may think. That it was found on her underwear is a bit more troubling, but defense lawyers use that a lot of the time.

And that’s the key, defense attorneys use that line of reasoning because they don’t have to prove jack shit. It’s the prosecutor who has to prove a case against a specific person with a specific crime. They don’t have his DNA, period. And backed up by the fact that police spent 17 hours over 38 (the tape of which mystereously vanished, by the way) questioning Tyler Sanchez–a person who is both deaf and mentally-retarded–who didn’t match the initial description, toss the case and go home. But not Carol Chambers. She not only blames the "prostitot" but subjects all of us to the mental image of a DA walking around in Daisy Dukes since apparently she’s done it enough to "hate it".

And by the way, this isn’t the first time Ms. Chambers’ has been in trouble for Losing evidence. And you thought Mark Hurlbert embarassed our state.

I really hope that is the case

Father of Baby Gabriel plans move to Texas.

He’s spent the last several months hunting for Gabriel. He believes the baby is alive and may have been illicitly adopted.

I think that there is not a single person reading this blog who doesn’t hope the same thing. I hope the baby shows up tomorrow safe and sound and that the father gets to reunite with his son. And it is not something that is completely out of the picture. But I just don’t see it happening. Put it this way: if you were one of the alleged “adopted parents” would you be able to keep quiet for all this time? If you were a neighbor of the parents would you not notice that something funny is going on?

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it

Doesn’t Texas already mandate health insurance?

Abbott asked for and received the authority to order divorced parents to purchase health insurance for their children from a vendor of the state’s choosing if coverage was not otherwise available," says Democratic strategist Glenn Smith. "It is state-mandated insurance. Abbott clearly is not politically or ideologically opposed to such programs, further exposing the hypocrisy behind his cynical and dangerous lawsuit."

While I’m not a fan of mandated health insurance, as a non custodial parent I’m already required to carry health insurance (now, whether or not I tell the federal government about it on my tax forms or pay the penalty and tell the IRS where to shove their noses is a question for four years from now). So why should I be bent out of shape that other adults are now required to do what the government has been forcing me to do for years? And anything that exposes Abbott’s hypocricy is fine by me.

Now what Abbott will argue is that this is not an expansion of any political authority, since all parents are already required to provide health insurance coverage for their kids. But let me ask you something: when was the last time you saw the government announcing a sweep of all married or custodial parents who didn’t have any health insurance? When was the last time the boss came to any of these parents and said, "I see that you have kids so by law you have to buy the health insurance."?

And note in the article that Abbott mentions that this is a requirement to provide health care coverage to children "through employer-provided coverage, a private plan, or cash medical support " This choice of cash medical support is not provided to non custodial parents. If they don’t get the health care through the workforce, they are forced to choose their poison from Abbot’s list without regard for religious or philosophical beliefs.

Funny that they are coming to THAT conclusion in tihs case

Prenuptial agreements are one of those things that comes with a society where access to divorce is easy and quick. Most of the time I’m of the opinion that as long as both parties went into the process voluntarily and freely and that the language was not fraudulent or misleading it should be enforced much the same as any other contract. A deal is a deal. That’s the accepted view in much of the Western world.

Much, but not all. Take England, for example. Generally speaking English law does not recognize prenuptial contracts. As a result, divorce proceedings usually start from 50-50 and go up from there, making London the "divorce capital for wives". But that may change considerably. Anybody want to guess the reason why? Don’t click on the link just yet. What could possibly change Britain’s refusal to apply prenuptial agreements?

That’s right; a man sued to get the courts to declare that the prenuptial agreement was "null and void" and he should get more.

Nicolas Granatino, a French investment banker, married Katrin Radmacher, a 40-year-old heiress in 1998. The two married, lived and divorced in London, but signed a prenup in Germany. Had they stayed in Germany the end result would have been most likely that the prenup would have been enforced as is, no ifs ands or buts. A divorce settlement gave him almost 6 million pounds, above the agreement. The prenup stated that Nicolas wouldn’t lay claim to any of Katrin’s fortune. But they were living in London, so the prenup shouldn’t matter, right?

Think again. A Court of Appeals slashed the settlement because of that statement in the prenup. It held that the prenup should be given decisive weight, which is exactly what Radmacher’s lawyers are aguing. Granatino’s lawyers, on the other hand, are accusing the courts of reverse sexism. Now he isn’t asking for half of her estate, but he is saying that the settlement as is would leave him financially destitute (a lump sum of 1 million pounds and a 2.5 million pound loan for a house that will be returned whent he youngest daughter turns 22).

Here’s the thing. I don’t dispute that Granatino is the victim of sexism (sexism is sexism whatever the direction; let’s get rid of this reverse nonsense). If the roles are reversed I can hardly see the courts in England coming to this conclusion. At the same time, however, I have to side with Radmacher. A deal is a deal. Unless something significantly changed or there was some sort of fraud on Rachmacher’s part, Granatino should be held to what he signed. It states that he’s a financial investor, so I would presume that he knows how to read a contract better than the average citizen.

And there have been rumblings in Britain to change their view of prenuptual agreements, in light of the divorce settlement of John Charman and the McCartney-Mills divorce (even though that one didn’t result in a 50-50 split). And long term I think it will be more helpful to husbands for Britain to start enforcing contracts signed by citizens regardless of nature.

Short term, though, you can’t help but wonder what would have happened if it had been the divorce of Nicole Granatino and Karl Radmacher.

 

Sepaking of cads. . .just not only the one you think of

If Tiger thought that the reaction to his infidelity was bad, the texts that Josylin James just made the abstract notion of him sleeping around look like no big deal.  Josylin pretty much threw him under the bus in order, “to force him to come forward and take personal responsibility.”  What?  You mean this wasn’t a publicity grab by Josylin and TMZ?  That the timing of this release, just after Tiger announces he will be going to the Masters is just one funny kawinky-dink?

And while we’re talking about  personal responsibility, why not jump out there with him and release your own texts to Tiger Woods?  Lead by example, Josylin. 

Jesse James, attorney at law?

GlennSacks.com » Blog Archive

So what does Jesse James do? He apparently had an 11-month affair with tattoo model/stripper Michelle McGee while Bullock was on location filming The Blind Side. What a nice way to reward a good wife.

It also reopens the custody battle, as James should have known it would. Lindermulder has now filed for custody as a result of the alleged affair, possibly putting their daughter through more turmoil.

Let’s get this out of the way: I agree that Jesse James is pretty much the definition of a “cad”. Not only for the fact that he stepped out with somebody other than his wife, but that he went for somebody like Michelle McGee, a woman who has posted with nazi gear (and supposedly has a tattoo marked “WP” for White Power). True, that sounds like I’m defending his behavior but questioning his choice.

That all being said, I don’t think that we should impart the fact that he knew that this would cause Jamie Lindemuller to go back to court and seek a modification of custody. Or, any sort of knowledge that it would more likely be the cause of a change of custody. We’ve known people (male and female) who have had affairs on future wives and haven’t had any custody problems whatsoever.

There’s more to this story, however. Apparently some cops decided to pay a visit to Mr. James motorcycle shop. The article doesn’t say what they were interested in, but 9 times out of ten it isn’t gonna be a good day for you if it involves cops showing up where you are. I have some guesses, but I’m not going to speculate out loud.

Sandra Bullock deserves a hell of a lot better, and Jesse (from his actions) deserves a lot less.  But I’m not going to let that sway me as to whether or not he should have known the end results.

Why this has important implications for non custodial parents

Editorial – Ex-Offenders and the Vote – NYTimes.com

There is no good reason to deny former prisoners the vote. Once they are back in the community — paying taxes, working, raising families — they have the same concerns as other voters, and they should have the same say in who represents them.

One story that is told about Ulysses S. Grant involves his acceptance of Lee’s surrender at Appamatox Court House. According to the story, Ass Lee walked through the victorious Union Army they soldiers started cheering, whooping, and hollering. Grant ordered them to stop. His words? “The war is over; our enemies are our countrymen again.”

This restoration of the franchise to people who have paid their debt to society and are now back in their homes. They are now our countrymen again, and as such should be entitled to the right to vote. This article makes an excellent point of the fact that by denying them the right to vote we are only hindering their reintegration into society.

So how does this play into non-custodial parents As this article explains, Tennessee child support payments are routinely used to deny parents the right to vote. Because these parents cannot vote, they have almost no voice when it comes to changes in child support guidelines (many of which place a greater burden on them in the first place). I cannot think of a greater description of taxation without representation.

It’s not looking good

Lost baby’s mom loses court fights

On Feb. 22, Johnson filed a handwritten motion with the court asking that her attorney, Vanessa Smith, be removed as her attorney because “she does not file motions I request and pressures me to do what she wants.”

On questioning by Ryan, it turned out that the “pressure” to which she alluded was her attorney passing on questions from police.

I’m not saying that lawyers are always right and there is no reason to fight with them. But usually when you start squabbling with the person who is supposed to represent you against some charges that make you very, very unpopular, chances are that it isn’t going to end well.

Glenn Sacks has been covering this case and has a pessimistic stance on the outcome. I don’t like to think of it this way but with every passing day I am tempted to agree with him. If the child was alive it would be hard to believe that somebody didn’t come forward with information, unless they were in on the kidnapping in the first place.