Color of Law Custody Cases

Color of Law Custody Cases
Rhode Island and other states often violate civil rights in civil courts when officials threaten to separate children from protective parents who are their lifeline. These cases may include "color of law" abuses that push the boundaries of law. Judges who allow color of law abuse in their courtrooms are guilty of "color of office."

In Family Court, we give judges ultimate power over people’s lives while taking away their curiosity, concern, and even their ability to inquire about what is really happening in these cases. This transfers the power to guardians ad litem and lawyers. These officers of the court can convince a judge--through false allegations that are frequently off the record--to remove children, imprison innocent parents, then bankrupt them through years of frivolous motions, and forbid them to talk about it--all under color of law.

In domestic abuse custody cases, this enables the abusive parent to gain extraordinary power and control over the protective parent and the children.

Here is more information about color of law:

Friday, August 20, 2010

7. Governor Carcieri's Legacy in Family Court

The Parenting Project has set up a new blog to report on Family Court custody cases that illustrate systemic problems in this court:

We are urging Governor Carcieri to begin the process of reforming this burdened court by asking the five candidates for chief judge (Justices Bedrosian, Capineri, D'Ambra, Forte, and Voccola) about their proposals for change.

These five candidates represent nearly 90 years on this bench. We have much to learn from their recommendations for court reform.

Two of the candidates, Justices Capineri and D'Ambra, spoke in their public interviews before the Judicial Nominating Commission about plans they had submitted to the Governor. We have asked the Governor to release these and any other proposals as public documents. We do not need a chief judge who is satisfied with the status quo.

Rhode Island is the only state that gives judges life tenure with no review.

Governor Carcieri knows that successful businesses need good methods of performance review.

For Rhode Island to "race to the top," our schools must develop sound procedures to evaluate teacher performance.

Likewise, successful courts need reliable methods to evaluate the performance of judges and court officers. Performance review will help to assure greater independence of judges. If it is well designed and properly done, it will guard against conflicts of interest.

We have asked Governor Carcieri to select a chief judge with a clear vision for reforming Family Court. Which of the candidates would endorse a request for private funding to begin a pilot project on judicial performance review in Family Court? That pilot project could set an example for our other courts.

We need a chief judge:
• who is not satisfied with the status quo;
• who is committed to identifying systemic problems that place vulnerable children and families at risk;
• who possesses the managerial skill to implement a sound plan for reform; and
• whose strength of leadership can overcome apathy and entrenched resistance to reform.

We ask Governor Carcieri to select a new chief judge of Family Court who will make court reform a major part of the Governor's lasting legacy for Rhode Island.