March for Family Court Reform in New Orleans, LA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PARENTS GATHER TO PROTEST ENTRENCHED CORRUPTION IN THE FAMILY COURTS AND CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES. THEY SAY THE GOVERNMENT IS KIDNAPPING THEIR CHILDREN. STARVING FOR JUSTICE – A MARCH TO REFORM

NEW ORLEANS, LA – October 20, 2015 – On October 21, aggrieved parents from across Louisiana are gathering in New Orleans, at the corner of Chatres and St. Peter in the French Quarter, to express their frustration and anger at a justice system they say, is unjust, largely because of the failure of judges and other court professionals to afford due process or respect fundamental rights of parents in cases involving custody and the safety of children. The group will begin gathering at noon at the northwest corner of Jackson Square. At 1:00 PM, they will walk with signs 3.5 blocks to the steps of the Louisiana Supreme Court, where the group will briefly gather to hear speakers and personal accounts from some brave parents of what many often refer to as “family court abuse.”

“The family court is the gatekeeper of [children’s] safety,” says Richard Ducote, Esq., a nationally renowned attorney who has dedicated his 34 plus career to representing victims of domestic violence and abused children in contested custody cases. “[We must have] accountability and scrutiny for those judges, custody evaluators, guardians ad litem, and lawyers whose misguided and often misogynistic nonsense jeopardizes generations of children and compounds their misery.”

Richard Ducote will briefly address the group at the event. There will also be an open microphone for other parents who, among other abuses, claim that they were bullied and coerced by their own attorneys and judges into “agreements’ that were unfair and did not reflect the facts or evidence in the case, upon threat of being jailed, fined, or worst of all, losing all custody and contact with their children, simply because they were trying to protect them.

Many of those parents point to the popular theory sometimes referred to as “Parental Alienation Syndrome” or simply “Parental Alienation” as the excuse judges and psychologists rely upon to discount a parent’s claims that the child is being abused by the other parent or step-parent. The theory, they say, is “junk science” and reflects the teachings of discredited Richard Gardner, M.D., who wrote in support of pedophilia, which he characterized as “a natural phenomenon that likely enhanced the survival of the species.” To diagnose a parent with “parental alienation” or “parental alienation syndrome” requires that first the possibility that the child is actually being abused be ruled out. Once that is done, all of the evidence that would otherwise support a finding of abuse is used as evidence that the protective parent – usually the mother – is lying about the abuse in order to gain an advantage in custody proceedings.

Parents and other experts point to the fact that the first step in the diagnostic process is flawed – and many parents say – rigged. According to many experts there is no definitive way to “rule out” sexual or physical abuse without a confession, something that is unlikely to occur in a custody proceeding. At best, trained professionals can look for different behavioral and emotional clues that may or may not support a finding of abuse, but there is no way to say for certain. However, once alienation is diagnosed in a custody proceeding, all the evidence a parent has that the child is being abused becomes evidence that the parent is “alienating” the child.

The march is being sponsored by Bridge to Justice Foundation, a not-for-profit organization formed in 2014 by recently disbarred Nanine McCool. The LA Supreme Court disbarred Ms. McCool on June 30, 2015, finding that she had engaged in ex parte communications and made false misleading statements about two judges. Ms. McCool says that she exercised her 1st Amendment Rights to expose corruption and abuse of power in the judiciary and merely publicly charged the judges to “look at the evidence and apply the law before they made a decision.” She says her disbarment was retaliation for being critical of the judiciary and refusing to apologize for it. “I naively thought when I first spoke out that my fellow attorneys and other judges would be horrified by the abuse of power and denial of due process that these two judges were engaging in. But instead of being concerned about the judges’ transgressions, the Judiciary and the State Bar came after my license.”

Ms. McCool has been on a hunger strike during the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness month, to raise awareness about the trap domestic violence coalitions are setting for mothers who are victims of abuse. “The set up this big expensive campaigns and assure battered moms that there is help out there, but the reality is, that’s a lie. The courts might let the mom get away, but she isn’t going to get away with her kids. “

End DV

For more information, contact Nanine McCool at Bridge to Justice Foundation, 985-231-0036, or email her at bridge2justice@gmail.com

42 United States Code § 5105a. Protective Parent Reform Act

  

42 United States Code § 5105a. Protective Parent Reform Act

 

December 19, 2010

by Julia Fletcher

Randy Burton, former Chief Prosecutor of Family Offenses in Houston picked up the phone when I called the Texas Office of Justice for Children to ask for help with my child’s case a few years ago. 

Now I understand that what I told him was the same thing he’s heard from hundreds – maybe thousands – of other mothers who have also tried to protect their children in family courts in this country.  I told him that my child reported abuse, the criminal investigation began and the abuse was substantiated. After the family court evaluators got involved, all the evidence of child abuse was purposely left out of the family court case or simply ignored.  

After the family court evaluators got involved in the case, the attorneys, the social workers and the judges didn’t care anymore about whether or not the abuse occurred. After the family court evaluators got involved, all of the signs and symptoms of domestic violence and child abuse didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was the degree to which my child and I were willing to act as though the abuse had never occurred. (Click here to see what legislators in Australia are doing to protect children in their family courts.)  

We were subjected to Richard Gardner’s “threat therapy” for a year and a half. Guardians ad litem, attorneys, court appointed “therapists” and various social workers told my child and me that if we did not willingly cooperate, I would be thrown in jail and my young child would go live with the man who abused  her.

That’s what happens in these cases. So, what are abused children and protective parents to do? 

Erase the memories. Pretend it never happened. That’s what’s happening all over the country when family court evaluators write bogus reports and new rules are established according to Richard Gardner’s depraved and twisted practices and theories.

How do the court evaluators get away with ruining thousands of lives every year? 

Mr. Burton’s explanation was simple: Those who get away with it get away with it because no one is stopping them.  

Good legislators in a few states have pushed forward various forms of the Protective Parent Reform Act, but what about the rest of us? How are the rest of us supposed to protect our abused children in family court in states where there’s no good legislation, no oversight and no accountability? 

While we wait for the Justice Department to investigate the “parental alienation syndrome” scam, let’s all make sure that every state finally does something useful with the following legislation that was proposed almost a decade ago:  

 

Conceived and Drafted by:
Richard Ducote, Esq.
1 Allegheny Sq # 455
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 322-0750

Ducotelaw@aol.com 

 

42 United States Code § 5105a. Protective Parent Reform Act

This Act shall be known as the “Protective Parent Reform Act.” The purpose of this Act is to correct the trend in child custody and visitation cases wherein abused children, and children in homes where domestic violence exists, are placed by courts in the custody of the abusive or violent parent with the protective parent’s custody, visitation, and contact with the child limited.

For any State or public agency to receive any assistance under the provisions of §§5106, 5106a, 5106(c), or 5116, for fiscal year 2005 and any year thereafter, the State or the State in which the public agency applicant is situated must demonstrate that effective June 1, 2005, the following safeguards have been effected and implemented either by statutory enactment or court rule promulgated by the highest court in the State, with such enactment or court rule applicable statewide in every court having jurisdiction over child custody, parental visitation, parenting time, parenting plans, conservatorship of children, or any other issue involving the residence of a child and the contact between the child and his or her parents, incidental to or following separation or divorce, or in connection with a paternity case where the parents have were not married, to ensure that a parent who reasonably believes that his or her child is threatened by child abuse or domestic violence, perpetrated or allowed by the other parent is not punished by the court, or otherwise penalized by loss or limitation of custody, contact, or visitation with his or her child, or the child denied the custody and contact with that parent, for that parent’s having such reasonable belief and for acting lawfully in accordance with such belief:

(1) The prohibition against ex parte contacts with the judge hearing a child custody or child visitation case, as defined and controlled by state law, shall be specifically made applicable to child custody and child visitation cases, and shall, in addition to the general applicability of the prohibition, specifically include contacts between judges and guardians ad litem, minor’s counsel, custody evaluators, mental health professionals, mediators, screeners, and other such persons traditionally participating in child custody and visitation cases.

(2) The roles of guardians ad litem, minors’ counsel, and children’s attorneys shall be limited to advocating for the wishes of the child at issue, and to participating in the court proceedings by presentation of evidence and argument in the same manner as a parent’s attorney. Such persons shall be prohibited from substituting their own opinions and judgments for the wishes of the child, submitting evidence which would be excluded under the applicable evidence law if tendered by any other party, and in no case shall such person be deemed a quasi-judicial officer or be granted any fact-finding role. This provision shall not require a State to mandate an attorney to represent any child in custody or visitation cases, but shall only be interpreted to the limit the role of such person when provided.

(3) Parents shall be provided full and timely access to all custody and mental health evaluations and reports which are to be considered in any custody or visitation proceeding, including all underlying data for such evaluations and reports, and shall be afforded the opportunity to depose prior to the trial and to cross-examine at trial any and all mental health or custody evaluators who will testify in a custody or visitation proceeding.

(4) No expert opinion or expert evidence attempting to discredit a parent’s motivation for asserting that his or her child is abused or at risk of the effects of domestic violence committed by the other parent, or attempting to discredit a child’s report of such abuse or violence, shall be allowed in a custody or visitation case unless that opinion or evidence is based on concepts and theories generally accepted by the scientific community and supported by credible and admissible evidence of facts which can be established independently of that expert’s opinion.

(5) Due process shall be afforded all parents in such custody and visitation cases, and such custody and visitation decisions removing custody, visitation, or contact from a parent who believes or asserts that his or her child is the victim of abuse or the effects of domestic violence perpetrated by the other parent shall not be made on the basis of written declarations or affidavits, or without adequate written advance notice and the opportunity to be heard as defined by state and federal constitutional law, even on a purportedly emergency basis, simply because that parent holds that belief. Furthermore, no such parent shall lose custody, visitation, or contact with a child based only on the opinion of a mental health professional that such parent is at risk of unlawfully fleeing with the child, unless credible and admissible evidence independent of the professional’s opinion establishes that parent’s plan or intent to flee.

(6) Court sponsored mediation, conciliation, and intake screening programs shall not make recommendations or fact-finding reports to the judge regarding child custody, visitation, or contact unless all parties freely agree in advance of the transmittal of such report, and any parent shall have the right to contest the report.

(7) No findings by any child protection agency shall be considered res judicata or collateral estoppel, and shall not be considered by the court unless all parents are afforded the opportunity to challenge any such determination.

(8) Whenever child abuse or domestic violence is an issue in a child custody or visitation case, no mental health professional or child custody evaluator who lacks specialized training and experience in child abuse or domestic violence relevant to the specific allegations shall be appointed by the court to conduct any evaluation in the case.

(9) Admissible evidence of child abuse or domestic violence shall be considered in any child custody or visitation case.

(10) No parent shall be deprived of custody, visitation, or contact with his or her child, nor restricted in such custody, visitation, or contact, nor shall such a child be placed in foster care, simply because that parent reasonably believes that his or her child is the victim of child abuse or the effects of domestic violence, and acts lawfully in response to such reasonable belief to protect the child or to obtain treatment for the child.

(11) No valid final order of protection or domestic violence restraining order rendered pursuant to the State’s domestic violence or family violence protection statutes and filed with the State’s protective order registry shall be violated by the award of custody or visitation to the perpetrator of domestic violence where such is prohibited by the domestic violence order of protection then in effect.

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