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:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FLASH 2: Listening to children

Last Friday, California's Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1050 into law. This will allow children 14 and older to testify in Family Court, giving them a much needed voice in proceedings that greatly impact their lives once the new law becomes effective on January 1, 2012.

Congratulations to the Center for Judicial Excellence, California Protective Parents Association, Courageous Kids, and many others who worked tirelessly for 18 months to secure this right.

In Rhode Island, some judges already recognize the importance of listening to children. In the case I described below (FLASH 1) Justice Shawcross will hear testimony from a teen who feels strongly about the decisions controlling her life since her parents went to Family Court in 2008.

I wrote about our need to listen better to children and youth in Family Court and offered some suggestions for doing this in 3.E. Case Study: Listening to children, below. (Click on 3.E. in the Blog Archive, right.)