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:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10.E. Accommodations in an incivil court

Attorney Cynthia Gifford was gleeful after court two weeks ago. She had rattled Tracy into giving long, involved answers that exasperated Judge DiSegna enough to scold her: "But I'm giving you accommodations!"

Not quite, for the judge does not allow Tracy's ADA assistant (under the Americans with Disabilities Act) to sit close enough to touch Tracy during cross-examination. How can the assistant overcome a nervous system that grows frantic under aggressive questioning?

The assistant's touch could break through the panic. She could slide a card into Tracy's view that reminds her: YES or NO. Touch is essential for someone with a neurological disorder.

Seating this assistant so far away is like saying to a sign-language interpreter for the deaf: "Just don't use your hands." What kind of accommodation is that?

Judge DiSegna asks repeatedly: "Do you need a break?"

The Mean Girls take charge on the breaks like troubled sixth graders--Gifford's partner, Cherrie Perkins, and her posse. They shadow Tracy if she leaves the room.

In the courtroom, Perkins clatters her bangles, smirks and stomps. Outside the courtroom, she points her finger at her head and turns it in circles.