Archive for September 23, 2010

Political Spin season is here

Ken Buck cannot be trusted to make decisions regarding women’s rights.  As a district attorney, Buck refused to prosecute an alleged rape, telling the Greeley Tribune that he thought the victim may have had “buyer’s remorse.” (Greeley Tribune, 3/1/2006). Buck’s appalling conduct in that case demonstrates extreme disregard for women who are victims of the violent crime of rape, and raises grave questions about his judgment.

That was from an e-mail sent to me from ProgressNow Colorado on behalf of a
Kjersten Forseth. It is almost an exact quote of what they sent me. What they didn’t send me was the link to the article that they were referencing. And after reading the article, you can see why.

The case ProgressNow is referring to happened back in 2005. An unnamed woman (and to be fair, the man was also not named) claimed to have been sexually assaulted in December. The woman invited her “ex-lover” over. The two had had a falling out over something, but apparently were still on talking terms. What happened exactly isn’t drawn out other than the woman was drunk (we don’t know whether the guy was drunk at the same time). But they had sexual contact.

Here’s the part that ProgressNow Colorado took some liberties with:

District Attorney Ken Buck told the woman he could not press charges against her attacker, despite the man’s admission to police that she said no. Buck said he must only prosecute cases in which he has a reasonable chance of convicting someone, and this was not one of those cases.

“A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse,” Buck said.

In other words, Mr. Buck is saying that the jury might think that this is a case of buyer’s (or lover’s) remorse. He’s not saying that this is the case. The article also mentions the fact that he sent the case to Boulder county, which has more experience prosecuting sexual assaults for their input.

The response?

“I thought, if there’s anything they can see in this case that I can’t, I want to know about it,” Buck said. “They sent back an e-mail saying, ‘We agree with your analysis that this case is not prosecutable.’ ”

And that’s where the case ended. Look I’m not saying support or oppose Mr. Buck based on this case alone. I’m not even saying you have to agree with his analysis that the case was unwinnable. But Mr. Buck was talking about the jury, something that he has to be mindful of. If he prosecutes a case that he thinks he can’t win and comes back with a not guilty verdict, that’s it for the case.

Unfortunately ProgressColorado can’t seem to make that distinction.

Twenty yards from child abandonment

Father slams council bosses threatening action for not walking his daughter to school bus stop 20m away | Mail Online

It is a 45-yard walk from school bus stop to front door and seven-year-old Isabelle McCullough’s parents were confident she could handle it alone.

Their home is in a quiet village and Isabelle had already been making the journey across the small 30mph road for the last year.

Unfortunately council officials disagree – and have warned the parents they face being referred to social workers if they do not escort their daughter to and from the school bus every day.

Twenty yards. That’s the approximate distance between Mr. McCullough’s front door and the bus stop. It’s approximately a 45 minute walk for the seven year old. But according to the Lincolnshire County Council, that qualifies as child abandonment. And they’ve sent a letter to Mr McCullough to that effect.

Mr McCullough, shockingly, believes that he knows what is best for his daughter and isn’t backing down. In this case, apparently the Council backed down. Kinda:

A spokesman later issued a fresh statement admitting that the letter ‘could have been drafted better’ and softening the council’s stance.

He said officials would not ‘go down the child protection route’ or take court action.

That’s all well and good, but the letter’s still there. And whether or not the letter’s been wiped off any sort of internal files for later use if somebody wants to rip custody.

We’ve seen this sort of political nannyism on both sides of the Atlantic. Back on August 26, Chris Gottlieb wrote about the CPA system and how the term neglect is broadly construed to cover things such as whether or not the parent used corporal punishment or gave the kid Chinese Food (and you never knew that Sesame chicken could land you anywhere but the toilet, let alone family court). While there is a legitimate place for courts to take kids out of clearly dangerous households, that power should be constrained to true cases of abuse and neglect, and not the situations like Mr. McCullough’s.

I think you meant “provide for me”, Ms. Meer

Amityville Horror’s Andrew Douglas sues ex-wife after she duped him over daughter | Mail Online

‘Of course I didn’t lie. I obviously didn’t think that he wasn’t her father,’ (Ameena Meer) said. ‘If he wants to be her father, he should provide for her. Isn’t that what’s fair?’

That’s Ms. Meer disputing that she lied to Andrew Douglas about the paternity of a child. DNA results revealed that the daughter, who Andrew had raised as his own biologically, was not. Mr. Douglas is now suing Ms. Meer for back child support as well as emotional damages. While I don’t think that existing caselaw will help him, the story that he tells is one that should not only be a warning for potential paternity fraud victims but a case for paternity fraud reform.

Mr. Douglas began his relationship with Ms Meer in 1989 when he did photographs for an interview she had with Salman Rushdie. The relationship continued for three years and then she told him that she was pregnant with his child and wanted him to marry her because her parents, being devout Muslims, would have been shamed by the prospect of a birth outside of marriage. So Andrew married her.

The marriage ended months after it began. No big shocker here; marriages founded on external pressures (not to mention internal deceit) don’t tend to last that long. Initially Andrew had little contact with his daughter until her tenth birthday, but started to change that around with no thanks to Ms. Meer, who had since married a second husband. This is where the story gets interesting. On her 17th birthday the presumed daughter called dad asking about his blood type. Andrew put two and two together and figured there wasn’t that much chance of him being her biological father. Sure enough, a DNA test confirmed that.

When Andrew confronted her, Ms. Meer said, sardonically, that the child was the product of an immaculate conception (something she disputes). According to the lawsuit, Ms. Meer had an affair with an unnamed British man. When the child resulted, she tried to get him to marry her. That plan fails, she goes to plan B, marrying Mr. Douglas. Since then she’s upped her demands for back rent and kitchen remodeling.

And now back to the quote, and a point that Robert Franklin made quite eloquently. Taking her at her word that she didn’t know who the father was, she most certainly knew who the possible fathers were (absent extraordinary circumstances). At the very least she knew that there was a chance that Andrew may not be the father. A simple DNA test could have cleared up the issue. At that point, Mr. Douglas could have made a reasoned, informed decision on whether or not to marry Ms. Meer and adopt the child. All of these could have been done if Ms. Meer just came forward with all the facts.

But the law does not require that. Indeed, some states put the onus on the father to figure out whether or not he is the father. And one final point: you recall that the presumed daughter called the father about blood typing information. I would surmise, based upon that, that the daughter did not know. Supposing this information was needed for a medical procedure or searching for a disease. And suppose the mother’s lies needlessly delayed or worse, invalidated any treatment. That would have made this more than a case of dollars and cents (or pounds and shillings, as the case may be); it could have become literally a matter of life and death. Paternity fraud goes far beyond money, ladies and gentlemen.

You can’t shame the shameless Mr. Mol

Canadian beats state in custody battle then gets a bill | – Portland News, Sports, Traffic Weather and Breaking News – Portland, Oregon | Local & Regional

Kirkman’s attorney, Daniel Mol, strongly rebuked the state. “So I want to say to the state of Oregon: ‘shame on you.’ We know you’ve got budget problems. Everybody knows that, but do you really think you’re going to fix them by coming after a single mother of modest means?” he said.

This is in regards to the state of Oregon trying to get child support from Lisa Kirkman. Lisa, if any of you recall, spent two years fighting the state of Oregon and former judge Kip Leonard to regain custody of her child after she sent him "unattended" down to Oregon by Canada. By unattended I of course mean in the custody of her husband. Lisa believed, and with a good bit of logic, that the real issue was her position as an outspoken cannibis activist. Nevertheless she jumped through numerous arbitrary hoops in order to get her child back.

And now this. Her lawyer linked in the budget. While it’s a cute quote I’d be more inclined to think that this collection is motivated by petty-mindedness and spite. And we’ve seen this before. Men who have been wrongfully convicted by the state of various crimes have been sued for child support by those states when they sued over those convictions. The state is well aware of the financial straights of these people so collecting the money is not the issue. The issue is getting the last slap in on the way off.

I wish Ms. Kirkman luck with both defending this lawsuit and the one she’s filing, but given sovereign immunity in this country she’d probably be better served petitioning her own government to tell the state of Oregon to go pound sand when it comes to enforcing any sort of judgment.


So this is what it takes to get jailed for a false accusation

Delaware courts: One-year sentence for fabricated rape | | The News Journal

Walsh said (Malinda) Kline’s serial fabrication of rapes and assaults dates back to at least 2001 across three other states. Since 2002, she has made at least 15 unfounded rape, assault or attempted burglary allegations to police in Delaware, according to Walsh. And between January 2008 and October 2008 alone, she went to the emergency room at Christiana Hospital 14 times claiming to have been assaulted. But on each of those visits, no evidence of an attack or crime could be substantiated.

That’s the background that netted Ms. Kline one year minus 36 days for filing a false report of a rape that has devastated a Delaware State Police trooper. I’d say that given her history that’s a bit light. This doesn’t even start on the civil action regarding child support (though I would guess that is an entirely new case altogether). However, it’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness, so to speak.

Ms. Kline’s lawyer tried to paint an image of a mentally disturbed young woman as far as he could (since Ms. Kline didn’t agree to it he couldn’t directly enter a plea of "guilty but mentally ill"). On that point I’d agree; anybody who strings together over a dozen false accusations of burglary, theft, and rape has something not functioning right. But that isn’t the court’s concern. The court’s concern should be upholding justice, which is put in serious jeopardy if anybody can walk scott-free after filing a false claim against anybody else.

And this is a claim that has devastated the life of a state trooper. The man, who was not named by the paper (more on that below), described how his life had been turned upside down and how he was ". . .innocent of multiple violent assaults and rapes of single individual despite her constant accusations to the contrary." That’s not something I think they train you for in any police academy.

And Malinda is sticking to her story that she was raped, even though she now "concedes" that it was somebody using this officer’s name. Even in conviction she is now attacking the state prosecutors and the DSP of not doing enough to investigate and capture the man who attacked her. Maybe she should ask OJ Simpson to investigate as soon as he straightens out the business in Nevada.

As I mentioned above, the newspaper has withheld the name of the officer who was accused because he was a victim of a crime. What is not addressed by the article (and something I e-mailed the reporter about) is whether the officer has been named in any stories in the past related to this issue. If he has then in some ways this is worse; now he has an accusation with his name in the papers but no follow up saying "Officer So-And-So was falsely accused by Malinda Kline". If he hasn’t been named, on the other hand, the newspapers did the right thing.

Update: The reporter contacted me and said that the police officer had not been named.  Had the officer been named, the reporter would have named the officer for vindication but as the was not naming him would have opened an old wound.  " But since it had not been, it seemed like the fair thing to do was treat him like all other victims and leave his name out of the story," was Sean O’Sullivan’s exact quote to me .  And I agree fully.

A bit of good news

Judge keeps Dauphin County in play in lawsuit –

Lawyers for both counties sought dismissal of the suit, but U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III refused to do so in an order issued this month.

Jones overrode part of a recommendation from a federal magisterial judge who had urged that both counties be released from the suit. However, Jones did dismiss two Montgomery County employees as defendants in the case and barred Sharpe from pursuing punitive damages against the counties.

In case you need a refresher on this whole story, check out the Article from the Patriot News. It is a testimony of bureaucratic incompetence and malice all rolled into one. Mr. Sharpe signs for a certified letter and ends up getting jailed four times for paying for child support. CSE changes the man’s name in the records in order to prove he is the father (and if that isn’t a basis for punitive damages I don’t know what is). And to top all of that off, the paper finds the kids real father, who is the custodial parent, in less than an hour.

Still the lawsuit stands. Should he actually win, CSEs will be on notice that it will be much more costly to make up a father than to take the time to find the real father. It’s a strange notion, I know, but it’s true.

Somebody doesn’t know DV in this country that well.

Matt Barnes disputes domestic violence arrest – Ball Don’t Lie – NBA  – Yahoo! Sports

Because this is 2010, Barnes also took to Twitter to defend himself, declaring in all-caps: “DON’T LET YOUR EARS WITNESS, WHAT YOUR EYES DIDN’T SEE!!!” Fair enough — there’s no way we can know what happened since we weren’t there. That being said, something happened and that’s bad enough. Maybe Barnes didn’t start it and maybe he was the victim, but it’s unlikely that he’d be taken in to custody if he didn’t respond in some way. However, the best move is to reserve judgment until all the facts come out.

Of course we all know that being a male (with a black multiplier) is enough to get you arrested in a domestic violence situation if you respond. . .to the police ringing the doorbell. Like Trey, I don’t know what happened there. I do know this, however: given the police training that we’ve seen the arrest means nothing at this point. We’ve seen men arrested and brought to trial only to have the jury find that the man was the victim, not the perpetrator. So Matt should get a fair day in court and the police should have to do more proving than “he’s a man at the place where we were called on a domestic disturbance. Case closed.”

Sean Goldman was netiher the beginning nor ending

Father: Ex-wife smuggled our kids to Egypt – Parenting –

Bower was granted sole custody of Ramsay and Noor following his divorce from their mother Mirvat el Nady in 2008. Bower handed the boys over to Nady for a visitation on Aug. 9, 2009, with Bower scheduled to pick them up from her home a week later. But on Aug. 11, she boarded a flight with Ramsay and Noor using Egyptian passports bearing the name “Power” to get them on the plane.

This is a case that echos deja vu all over again. Parental kidnapping, and in particular international parental kidnapping seems to be an easy way for one parent to cut the other completely out of the lives of their children, and Colin, Ramsay, and Noor Bower seem to be the latest victims of this horrendous crime.

Although Colin has spoken with US Senators like John Kerry and with the state department, it doesn’t look like his kids are coming home anytime soon. Egypt has granted (oh the chutzpah!) him visitation rights which Mirvat el Nady, the mother, has denied. Egype says that if she refuses a third time she will be in violation. Really? You mean other than the interpol alert of her as a fugitive and kidnapper which, Egypt, a member of Interpol should be enforcing in the first place? Oh yeah, I’m sure that will make her obey the “visitation” rights.