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:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

6. A Grandmother's Testimony

A grandmother who testified to the Judicial Nominating Commission gave me a copy of her comments Tuesday night that tell the story of another "trophy child." Here is her testimony.

Good evening, my name is Louise Monroe. Thank you for allowing me to address this committee this evening and to share my story with you. I was here last week to listen to all the interviews of the candidates vying for the position of Chief Justice of the Family Court.

I am searching just as diligently as all of you for the best qualified candidate to bring about change to our broken family court system. Each and every candidate had something that was very likable about them and I do not envy your position to choose the right person to fill this very important and powerful position.

In 2005 my daughter married. On Valentines Day of the following year, they had a child. In October of 2006 she filed for divorce. I tried to help my child sort things out in her marriage to make it more stable. Marriage is an adjustment and you both need to work at it I told her.

I wondered what had changed from the courting days to the birth of their child. It was not until the day when she came to me with her body covered in bruises so colorful that I could actually feel her pain. I had no idea that she and my grandson were the victims of domestic violence. I did however recall incidents that I witnessed personally of the father taking the baby by the feet and flinging him down through his legs and then up into the air over his head several times at the age of four months or the time that he grabbed the child by the neck pulling him out of his baby tender and flinging him at my daughter.

I became very scared for the well-being of this child. And the time when I received a frantic telephone call begging me to please come. I ran to her apartment as he was assaulting his wife in front of their child—her possession smashed all over the floor and the look of terror on the child’s face. When I asked him to leave, he turned his violence on me and came after me, a senior citizen, with a closed fist and I thought to myself that if he does not kill me with that first blow and I am able to get up, it will be all over for him.

The husband is a man who holds a lot of power in our community through the attorney who represented him, and among the police and at the attorney general’s office and the courts. This man is a psychopath but the psychological evaluation by the psychologist has been sealed by the court.

The judge assessed and labeled our case “high conflict” when it was really a domestic violence situation. There was no protection for the victim or her child. Everyone involved in this case prospered at the expense of this child.

My daughter has been arrested twelve times and has spent 217 days in prison and away from her child even though she has not committed any crime. She has lost her employment of thirteen years working for DCYF, she lost her health, she has lost all of her possessions and she lost her child.

The spouse, his girlfriends and mother fabricated stories to have her arrested and perhaps incarcerated for a long period of time in order to use the criminal justice system to deliver the final devastation—to take her child away from her forever.

I now have a grandchild who is being raised by a psychopathic father who was given placement by the family court because the judge on our case failed to recognize a domestic violence/abuse situation. The judge could have looked beyond what was happening in his own courtroom, he had all the tools available to him and had he used “common sense” instead of “dollars and cents” to come to an understanding of what was really going on in this case, he would have easily recognized the control the father wielded in this situation.

In my estimation, I believe the Honorable Laureen D’Ambra expressed some very important ideas when she said that she had a computer at her finger tips so that she could immediately research other courts to find out if there is more of a history in the case before her. Had she been the judge involved in our case she would have found out that my daughter had been arrested on numerous occasions by charges brought by her spouse and his family. So the court history would not have told the whole story but it would have alerted her to the fact that there is more to this story because she took the time to go the extra mile and connect more of the dots.

As you work your way through all the testimony given here this evening to decide which candidates should be submitted to the governor, it is really important for Justice D’Ambra to be on your list. Thank you, all of you, for your hard work here.