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Showing posts with label FAMILY COURT REFORM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FAMILY COURT REFORM. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

HOW CONSERVATIVE ATTACKS AGAINST SINGLE MOTHERS AND FEMINISM HAS IMPACTED FAMILY COURT!

On February 26, 2010, several CT State Agencies came together to sign a multi-agency agreement to coordinate efforts to further the interests of fathers over that of mothers. These Agencies were the Department of Social Services, The Department of Children and Families, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Department of Public Health. The beginning of this agreement made several statements in order to justify this promotion of father's interests over that of mothers in violation of the CT Constitution Article I, Section 20 which forbids discrimination based upon gender. One such statement was as follows, "Children who grow up in families headed by single mothers are five times more likely than two parent families to live in poverty." Subsequent statements continued on to blame single mothers for a high percentage of high school drop outs, juvenile delinquency, drug use, teen pregnancy and mental illness. 

If this is what they are being told, no wonder America hates single mothers! Conservative scholars and politicians are pretty much blaming single mothers for poverty and for every other social problem that exists!  In other words, they have taken one of the symptoms of social and economic injustice, and turned it on its head and made it the cause.

What I would like to know is where is the research these conclusions are based upon? How were these studies able to zero in with such exactitude on single mothers as the source of the problem without regard to other factors such economic policies and social injustice. Personally, I doubt that this is possible because such issues are so interdependent, and my guess is that if you investigate these studies further, they will be found to be flawed. I suspect they were conceived and formulated by conservative think tanks much as the numerous fake news articles we saw in the last election. As we all know, correlation cannot necessarily be taken as cause and effect. Further, did researchers consider the problems caused by motherlessness? I'll bet you that they didn't because from the look of the rhetoric, such as that in the multi-agency agreement, the misogynist minds behind the push to slander and devalue single women don't believe a mother's love is at all valuable.

In the age of outsourcing, globalization, and mass incarceration, it is just false and misleading to place the blame for all the social ills of society on single mothers who are among the most vulnerable citizens in our nation. Yet one of the most sweeping social re-engineering programs in the US today which is costing taxpayers billions and billions of dollars — the fatherhood initiative and the Healthy Family and Responsible Fatherhood program — does just that. Based upon such theories, the federal government distributes these funds through the Department of Health and Human Services to assist men in their custody battles in family court and to provide housing, employment, and counseling services. If you are interested in the extent of the fatherhood funding here in the State of CT, please look up the John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative online. Take note that there is no such thing as a Motherhood Initiative. Why? Because why help mothers, even though 70% of the people who live below the poverty line are women and children?

In my view, the attack on single mothers is an attack on women as a whole, and is integrally connected with an attack on the African American community and the Hispanic community as well. It is the result of political conservatives and the religious right carrying out a strategic initiative to roll back the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement and Women's Liberation as well which they blame for low marriage rates and number of other ills. It is an attempt on the part of these conservative and religious groups to reinstate the status quo of the 1950s where few people divorced, women were silent about domestic violence, father knew best, and African Americans knew their place at the very bottom of the social and economic totem pole. In short, it is a massive backlash, and I am here to say that it is absolutely unacceptable.

Instead of challenging the discrimination against women that relegates them to the lowest paying jobs available, instead of challenging the fact that women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, instead of ensuring safe and inexpensive daycare as well as parental leave, conservatives have decided that the way to solve the problem of poverty is to forcibly restore the two parent family. The primary area where conservatives have waged the war to reverse the achievements of feminism is in family court where funds that are provided to the fatherhood initiative to support fathers have been used to fund father’s custody battles and motivate legal professionals to favor the interests of men. This has gone as far as carrying out numerous custody switching schemes in which mothers are forced out of the lives of the children who are then given to abusers. According to the most recent estimates from The leadership Council, up to 58,000 children per year are handed over to their abusers.

The attack on single mothers originated from the Moynihan report published in 1965. Ironically, the Moynihan report, entitled "The Negro Family: The Case For National Action" was written by a political liberal, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who worked under President Lyndon Johnson. Mr. Moynihan concluded that in the Black community the high numbers of families headed by single mothers put the entire community at risk. He drew a direct link from women headed households to welfare and stated that as welfare expanded, divorce rates expanded because mothers relied upon the government for financial support and didn't feel they needed to remain married to the fathers any longer. He then associated single parenthood to a broad range of social ills including crime and poverty etc. while concluding that African-American couples who remained in a traditional marriage did not face these problems. Since this report was published, single parent families headed by mothers have risen in all ethnic and racial groups, although it remains highest in black families.

Moynihan stated that the problems in the black community were not caused by social injustice, but instead were caused by inherent flaws in black culture starting with the matriarchal structure of the black family. He felt that mother led households weakened the ability of black men to function as authority figures. As a feminist, my question is why should men function as authority figures any more or less than females should? The entire concept underlying the Moynihan report and all such theories, i.e. that women's self actualization and empowerment is, in some way, a threat to black masculinity and all black men as a whole, I find offensive. It is also important to note that in any culture, not just African American culture, where political and economic oppression exists, many communities end up being female dominated. For instance, Russian society to a certain extent, and also Irish Catholic society is traditionally matriarchal.

In 1986, Bill Moyer's television program entitled "The Vanishing Family -- Crisis in Black America" repeated the same conclusions as the Moynihan Report. It condemned Black society for being matriarchal and, therefore, the program concluded "rootless." But why? Why is a matriarchal society rootless? While these ideas were originally spoken of in connection to the black community, they quickly spread out into the overarching American society. Based upon these two reports, unfounded theories disrespecting single mothers spread rapidly and it soon became the norm for people to state that a mother can't possibly bring up her children properly without a father, that leaving children in the care of a single mother consigns them to a fate worse than death.

In this way, the misogynist drumbeat began that has fueled the backlash against women in the last few decades. It is this philosophy that has been used to justify the expenditure of billions and billions of dollars in the fatherhood initiative for the purpose of switching custody to fathers, or enabling abusive and controlling fathers to bully and torture their ex wives and children for years to come. In essence, conservative politicians and the evangelical right are using children within family court to coerce and blackmail women to relinquish their newly won civil rights. It is the inevitable culmination of the backlash which Susan Fahludi described so eloquently in her 1991 book “Backlash”. Religious organizations have been accessing this kind of funding through faith based initiatives since 2003 to the tune of approximately 2.2 Billion dollars a year.

Since 1996 when funding was shifted from feeding, housing and clothing poor women and children and poured into fatherhood programs, what has been the outcome of promoting traditional marriage as a panacea for poverty? For the better part, these programs have failed miserably. Why is that? Because despite what conservative politicians and religious leaders have said, the problem here has nothing to do with single mothers. The reality is that it all boils down to jobs. Studies indicate that men are considered more eligible for marriage, and are more likely to stay married when they have a good, steady job and can provide for their families. However, starting in the 1960s (yes the same time as the Moynihan Report), American Corporations began to outsource blue collar jobs abroad, for instance to Mexico, and in subsequent decades decent jobs with decent wages dwindled considerably. Manufacturing jobs were increasingly replaced with service positions. Then in the 1990s white collar jobs began to be outsourced abroad as well, and this trend became more pronounced with the passage of NAFTA in 1994.

Along with that the Republican party led an attack on the Unions beginning with the death of the Labor Reform Act of 1978. Then in 1981, when President Reagan took power, he launched the conservative attack on Unions, starting with the Air Traffic Controllers Union. Since that time, Union membership has been cut in half. The rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer. Instead of a good, decent paying Union job, many American workers have been forced to settle for working at two or three part time retail positions for minimum wage at a place like Walmart which doesn't give them any benefits. So the problem of poverty is not about single mothers; it is about economics, but the power elite want to distract people and blockade them from realizing the truth by playing upon their prejudice and hatred of single women. This is not only sad, but unethical.

Bottom line: what is the point of counseling fathers to be good role models when they can't even get a decent job with a sufficient salary to support their families?

In the Black community, not only is social instability caused by a lack of jobs, it has also been caused by Mass Incarceration. Currently, the U.S. has 5% of the world's population, but has one fourth of the worlds prisoners. Why is this? Because since 1980 when Ronald Reagan came into power, under the banner of enforcing law and order, our government has been rounding up massive numbers of men, primarily minorities, and incarcerating them. Thus, while in 1980 the Nation's prison population was around 300,000, it is currently at 2.2 million. Numbers like this represent a 500% increase in prison population from the 80s to the present.

The increase in prison population is not the result of an increase in crime rates, but is the result of the alteration of policies and legislation. An example of this would be President Reagan's Anti-drug Abuse Act of 1986, and get tough on crime legislation including zero tolerance policies and mandatory minimum sentences, etc. These policies disproportionately affect African-American men and Hispanics. In addition, there is the increasing militarization of law enforcement which has impacted Black men more than any other group. Currently, statistics indicate that one in five black males faces incarceration at some point in their lives. These kinds of numbers cannot help but influence the stability of the African American family. Thus, it isn't single mothers who are the problem; it isn't the matriarchy, or feminism. It is the outright attack of the American government on the African American community as a whole, and the targeting of African American men for take down.

While Corporations and the privileged 1% continue to push the racist and misogynist idea that single mothers are the cause of the breakdown of society, the reality is that it is the economic elite who actually bear responsibility for this state of affairs. These are the folks who have been exporting jobs, drastically cutting salaries and benefits for the remaining jobs available and conducting an all out attack on the Black community through mass incarceration. The solution to this problem is not to scapegoat single mothers or unnaturally shift the balance of power into the hands of men. The answer is not to waste billions of dollars on placing highly expensive fatherhood ads on television celebrating fatherhood, spending massive sums of money on unsuccessful efforts to return women into traditional marriages, or giving money to corrupt attorneys and mental health professionals to fund custody switching schemes that transfer abused children into the custody of their abusers. The answer is to restore the economy, to promote the return of decent paying jobs to this country, to provide safe and high quality child care for families, and to support the career goals of every American, not just men.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

FAMILY COURT INITIATIVES - ADDENDUM 2017! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CHANGES!

The CT Judicial Branch reports the following changes in their report on Family Court Initiatives.  Is this enough?  Should we have more?

  • Reducing the reliance on the Guardians Ad Litem
  • Waiving service of process for a marshal to deliver a complaint to a party in a divorce
  • Intensive Case Management
  • General Case Management - reducing delays
  • Individual Calendaring - Single Judge in a Case
  • GAL accountability - Creation of standing committee
  • Family Volunteer Attorney Program
  • Divorce Navigator - Website Assistance
For more details on these programs, please click on the link below:


http://www.jud.ct.gov/family/Family%20Initiatives%20-%20Addendum%20to%20report%20-%20April%202017.pdf

IS THIS ENOUGH OR DO WE NEED MORE?  SHARE YOUR VIEWS IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW!

Monday, November 30, 2015

CT LAW TRIBUNE REPORTS THAT GAL TRAINING HAS BEEN HALTED!

The CT Law Tribune reports as follows:

"Any attorneys who would like to add guardian ad litem work to their practice need to undergo training first, but the state hasn't offered it in two years and no new trainings are scheduled.

Attorney Tracey Russo, who has an office in Orange, said she would like to be a GAL, and has been trying unsuccessfully to take the required training class for about three years. A GAL represents the interests of children in family court matters, including custody, care, support, education and visitation.

 "I think parents are looking for there to be more guardians ad litem to choose from," Russo said. "I have been trying to do this for years. If you are going to require training, you should have training at reasonable intervals..."

Read more:


http://www.ctlawtribune.com/id=1202743088535/Court-System-Puts-Guardian-Ad-Litem-Training-Sessions-on-Hold#ixzz3t0r7roKB

Saturday, November 28, 2015

JUDICIAL BRANCH FAMILY COURT INIATIVES, FALL 2015!


"Prologue

The Connecticut Judicial Branch is committed to providing parties who come to court for family matters with the most expeditious, cost-effective way of resolving their cases. As such, the Judicial Branch has invested in various ways to manage these cases to achieve the best outcomes. Moreover, while it is important to note that every case is unique, an explanation of certain general areas will help highlight where improvements have occurred..."

This report is approximately 30 pages and can be accessed at the link below:


Saturday, November 7, 2015

THE POLITICS OF MENTAL ILLNESS WITHIN THE CT JUDICIAL BRANCH!

It was six months into my divorce when I finally realized that my attorney was acting in a way that was seriously incompetent.  As a result, I recognized that I had to find a new attorney and so I started the process of interviewing attorneys to see who would be a good replacement.  

It was then that I ran into Attorney James T. Flaherty who immediately asked me for a copy of my parenting plan. "Parenting Plan, I responded, "I don't have a parenting plan!"  Apparently, the fact that I had no parenting plan was extraordinary and Attorney Flaherty seemed truly surprised that I didn't have one. Why was Flaherty surprised?  Well, that was a bit of play acting, but more on that just a bit later.   

Apparently, in December 2002, the Report of the Governor's Commission on Divorce, Custody and Children came out.  This report was the basis for major statutory changes in the way divorces are supposed to be handled in the State of Connecticut.  Included in these changes was the requirement that divorcing couples submit a parenting plan to the Court within the early weeks of the divorce and obey a list of automatic orders which assures that the parties don't dissipate the marital assets, among other things.  

Nonetheless, as you can see, I soon learned that it was standard for attorneys to blow off parenting plans and allow their clients to violate the automatic orders at will. Attorneys did this intentionally to gain advantage in the case, to generally disrupt the process, and get as much money as possible from their clients.

In spite of that, if you then asked such attorneys, why do we have so many problems with family court, they'd never mention the ignored Connecticut Statutes I just talked about. Instead they'd blame the mentally ill--as per usual.  So goes the politics of mental illness within the Judicial Branch, i.e. if under fire, or facing criticism, put the responsibility on the shoulders of the "crazy people." This approach is, as we will see, a fundamentally feminist issue.

If you look at the discussion which preceded the results of the Commission Report--i.e. the Report of the Governor's Commission on Divorce, Custody and Children of December 2002--the Commission placed responsibility for the problems of Family Court squarely on the shoulders of "a small minority of parents [who] engage in persistent conflict because of anger, characterological or mental health problems."  

Twelve years later, another group gathered together to investigate problems with Family Court in Connecticut, i.e. the Task Force to Study Legal Disputes Involving the Care and Custody of Minor Children of 2014.  This Task Force published an additional report.  

Hearing about this Task Force, dozens of citizens came forward to provide their testimony in person during Task Force hearings while many others wrote letters and sent emails contributing information regarding their personal experiences of Family Court.  

However, instead of addressing the concerns these citizens spoke about, the Task Force Report  simply borrowed a lengthy quotation from the 2002 Commission Report in place of a discussion. The authors of the Report apparently did not even think to add one single bit of additional insight they might have acquired from lessons learned in the twelve years since the prior report.  Even worse, in a terribly short sighted manner, the particular section the report quoted was the one that put the blame on people with mental illness.

The fact that those responsible for writing the 2014 Task Force Report were so lazy they had not a single original idea to put into a discussion says boatloads about the lack of commitment of those individuals to the process of investigation that they were involved in.  

In that regard, I would like folks to recall that when the two co-chairs were appointed--Attorney Sue Cousineau and Attorney Sharon Dornfeld--there was widespread discontent with these appointments, but the legislators responsible didn't want to hear about it.  Thus, the careless,  derivative, negligent, and divisive report that the Task Force of 2014 ultimately produced is the outcome of these legislators' poor choices.  

Mental illness, the spotlight of both reports, is a feminist issue given that Family Court uses accusations of mental illness as a means to deny mothers custody.  Thus, another aspect of the original Commission Report of 2002 and the Task Force of 2014 which I find quite striking is how both are weighted to benefit the father's rights agenda.  

The Members of the Governor's Commission is practically a who's who of father's rights people.  Both Thomas C. Foley and Mr. Pat D'Angelo are long time father's rights people.  I believe Pat D'Angelo was among the original founders of the Divorced Men's Association of Connecticut. Other people such as Dr. Kenneth Robson, Judge Lynda B. Munro, Dr. Sidney Horowitz, and Judge Herbert Gruendel are notorious for their stands in opposition to mothers.  

Likewise, in the Task Force of 2014, members Jennifer Verraneault and retired Judge Thomas Weissmuller are both father's rights advocates.  I don't believe there is an abusive father that Dr. Elizabeth Thayer won't embrace. You have Stephen Grant in the Commission of 2002 and Joseph DiTunno in the Task Force of 2014 both responsible for the distribution of federal government fatherhood initiative money within the CT Judicial Branch.  We can assume they both support fathers in that role.  

The end result, of course, were reports on Family Court that largely support policies and programs that benefit the interests of men.  

For instance, in the Task Force of 2014 there is an extended section on how the CT State Legislature could establish a policy of shared parenting in this state. Shared parenting would be an absolute disaster for the women of the State of Connecticut, particularly those who are victims of domestic violence.  

It is typical of father's rights people that even though so many of the citizens who demanded a hearing on the abuses of family court and who came to testify were women, this Task Force, weighted with father's rights activists, simply took advantage of the political influence these women provided them and pushed forward a father's rights agenda in their final report, thus stabbing those women in the back.  

But this is not my primary point.  I want to address the issue that has now come up in two reports -- this business of blaming people with mental illness for the problem of Family Court abuse.  Can you imagine for a minute if these reports had said something like, the problems of family court arise because of the various character flaws of African-Americans (or whichever minority group is currently unpopular--the Jews, the Hispanics, the Muslims).  

If any group tried to publish a report blaming a particular group based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, class etc.  they would be stopped immediately.  So, why is it acceptable for these reports to make unfounded accusations at folks labeled with mental illness? Somehow this is acceptable?  Isn't this just like the whole gun discussion.  We know that people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence than perpetrators, and yet all these conversations in the media about stopping gun violence are all about taking civil rights from people diagnosed with mental illness, even though it has been proven that mental illness is not a decisive factor.  

I'd like to dig in a little deeper here:  who do we mean when we talk about parties who have mental illness? Aren't we really talking about women?  As you know, in our society where gender discrimination and oppression remain rampant, women have many more mental health difficulties than men, particularly depression as the result of the ongoing deprivation of rights and the disrespectful manner in which they are treated.  Not only that, women are far more willing to get the help that they need from mental health professionals because they feel more comfortable with caretaking and helping types of professionals.  

As a result, when women walk into Family Court, they are considerably more likely to have documented mental health histories than men are.  These histories are immediately used against women in family court when custody is under dispute.  

So what these two reports are saying--the Commission Report of 2002 and the Task Force Report of 2014--is that the problem isn't just folks with mental illness; it's those crazy women.  

Such attitudes accord well with what we know about the influence that the massive influx of fatherhood initiative money into Connecticut was having starting in 1996.  This money would have been flowing into Connecticut in a very healthy manner by 2002, just in time for the Commission report.  

But again, this is still not my entire point.  Ok, so the problem is this difficulty with all these women who have mental illness.  Here is what bothers me.   What this really means is that the CT Judicial Branch has no intention of adjusting its methods to address the needs of this very special population--cultural sensitivity be damned.  Instead, it prefers to exploit prejudice and social stigma and declare itself helpless to deal with this group, even though there is every evidence that with the proper accommodations and protections against discrimination, the outcome of legal proceedings can be quite successful with folks who have mental health challenges.

Instead, the way members of the Commission and the Task Force reported it, the Judicial Branch is helpless against this enormous, impenetrable monolith of mental illness that resists any and all attempts the Family Court system implements to address it.  

Based upon this bigoted attitude towards mental illness--in other words, that it is unchangeable and always a negative, family court has used mental health diagnosis as a litmus test for who should get custody, i.e. the fathers.  

But why?  Why this presumption of hopelessness?

Even the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has adopted the recovery model in the work it does here in Connecticut with people who are dealing with mental health and substance abuse problems.  This means that they operate with the underlying assumption that people can change and that they can improve.  

Unfortunately, the Connecticut Judicial Branch is far from having that approach. The Branch prefers to maintain this hopeless view of people with mental illness so they can use it to advantage in custody switching schemes perpetrated against women. The only reason that Family Court in the State of Connecticut orders psychological evaluations of parties in family court is so that they can find some kind of damning diagnosis (usually for a mother) so that diagnosis can be used to deny custody. For example, a fabricated diagnosis of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) usually does the trick!

The Connecticut Judicial Branch maintains a policy of discriminating against people with mental health disabilities because it works to their advantage in their war against women.  For years the record shows that the Branch has been rigorous in refusing to comply with the Americans With Disability Act, and particularly disregards its prohibitions against discriminating against people who have disabilities.  This means that people with mental health disabilities who face legal proceedings in custody matters routinely do not receive the accommodations they require under the ADA in order to access those proceedings.  The majority of these people are mothers who are essentially excluded from the process.  

You would think, under the circumstances, that mental health professionals could bring some equity to the situation, but this is not the case.  This is because a good many of these diagnoses are fabricated and pinned on mothers as part of custody switching schemes to transfer custody to abusive fathers.   But there are other reasons as well.

The Commission Report includes some of the history of custody and divorce in Connecticut and mentions how starting in the late 1950s, the Judicial Branch began to bring mental health professionals into the Branch to assist the Courts in custody matters.  This is also when the family services unit of the court was established.  

If mental illness were the problem, you would think that the influx of all these  mental health professionals into the process would eliminate that supposed group with mental illness that is causing the big problem.  However, this is not the case.  

Often, psychologists or psychiatrists hired to do this work produce lengthy and detailed investigative reports full of unsupported gossip and innuendo that simply adds another layer of lies and inaccuracies to the entire proceedings.  Since many of these mental health professionals are adherents of the father's rights movement or receiving father's rights money to write these reports, they are again, frequently weighted against the mothers and used to deny mothers custody.  

What is interesting is that no one tracks what these mental health professionals are doing and holds them accountable.  How can it be that even judges are subjected to performance evaluations, but not mental health professionals?  Is there any evidence at all, anything beyond an intuitive assumption, to indicate that the involvement of mental health professionals in divorce improves outcomes?  Where is the data?  

One guess I would like to venture, however, prior to any such investigation, is that the outcome will show that for the better part, particularly since the influx of fatherhood initiative funding into the family courts, Judges have used older, white male psychologists or psychiatrists such as Dr. Kenneth Robson, men in their 60s and 70s to trash women and transfer custody to the fathers.  

These women who lose custody are the "mentally ill" of the two reports, because, as we all know, mothers will fight for their children to the bitter end and thus "inconvenience" the Court.  Of course, those mothers have to be crazy.  

What this means is that when the two reports talk about people with mental illness causing the problems in family court, they are really talking about mothers.  But what these reports do is describe them in code language that professional insiders within Family Court immediately recognize.  Essentially, this means that women haven't benefited from either of these two investigations into family court abuse.  As per usual, our voices and our life experiences remain absent from the public discussion, as we are labeled as mentally ill and not considered worthy of consideration.  The time has come to change that dynamic.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

BRITISH NEWS ORGANIZATION REPORTS ON CORRUPTION IN FAMILY COURT IN AMERICA!

Peter S. Green and John Mazor of "The Guardian" report as follows:
"When Margaret Besen, a 51-year-old nurse from East Northport, Long Island, filed for divorce from her husband in March of 2010, she believed justice was on her side.
Judge William Kent’s preliminary ruling seemed like a first step toward compromise. Margaret and Stuart Besen, who agreed their marriage was beyond repair, would remain in their suburban Suffolk County house, living in separate rooms – and keeping away from each other – while sharing custody until a resolution could be reached.
But within weeks, the situation deteriorated. Stuart Besen, a politically connected attorney for the town of Huntington, had an anger problem, Margaret told authorities. The couple’s screaming matches left Margaret feeling intimidated and their children – a daughter, 11, and son, 7 – terrified, she said. So in August of that year she obtained an order of protection prohibiting Stuart from harassing her. Three weeks later, Stuart entered Margaret’s bedroom and hovered over her as she slept, she told police. They arrested him for violating the order, reporting that Stuart had stared down at Margaret with his arms folded on three consecutive nights. She got temporary possession of the family home.
In the years that followed, Besen’s hopes for an equitable settlement dwindled as she battled a series of harsh and hard-to-explain decisions against her..."
READ MORE:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

MICHAEL VOLPE COMMENTS ON THE INCOMPETENTS INVOLVED IN THE TSIMHONI CASE!

Michael Volpe of "Communities Digital News" reports as follows:

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2015 — The individual chosen to implement a five-day reunification therapy in an explosive Michigan custody case had little more than a high school education, was working with a suspended psychiatrist and revealed an inherent bias toward the father.
A Michigan judge ordered three Tsimhoni children to engage in controversial “reunification therapy” after they refused to spend time with their father, Omer Tsimhoni. Judge Lisa Gorcyca of the Oakland County Family Court had previously sentenced the children to juvenile hall after refusing to have lunch with their father, who they say has been repeatedly abusive toward the children.
CDN has now learned that the three Tsimhoni children completed the five-day reunification therapy with Dorcy Pruter, who runs the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute. Pruter stated in a Wyoming deposition for another case that she ran the Tsimhoni children’s reunification therapy, despite statements on her web site that “this is not therapy.”.."



Read more at:

Friday, October 16, 2015

PEOPLE MAGAZINE REPORTS CHRISTIE BRINKLEY SUPPORTS KELLY RUTHERFORD, CRITICIZES BROKEN FAMILY COURT SYSTEM!

Michele Corriston of "People Magazine" reports as follows:


"After getting the attention of A-listers like Kim Kardashian West with her international custody battle, Kelly Rutherford has the support of another major celebrity: supermodel Christie Brinkley

Brinkley, who endured her own bitter fight for custody of her children with architect Peter Cook, posted a goofy photo of the stars posing by a pool Thursday. 

"I'm using this fun picture to catch your attention to a serious issue that every good parent needs to be aware of," wrote Brinkley, 61. "The problem with our broken family / divorce court system and how the person with the slickest lawyer can wreak havoc on our children, their lives, and their future." 


READ MORE:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

JENNIFER VERRANEAULT: VICTIM OF THE CT JUDICIAL BRANCH'S DEVIOUS STRATEGY OF DIVIDE AND CONQUER!

On November 14, 1996, police in Canton, CT received a phone call from a Jean Eichelman of South Windsor.  She was worried about her parents who had called her earlier stating that their son, Neil Cretney, and Jean's brother had been threatening them.  Neil, who was 44 years old at the time, had an extensive history of schizophrenia and had not been taking his medication.  

Eventually, Neil Cretney barricaded himself in his room with an axe and refused to come out.  Canton Police who had already managed two earlier violent incidents with Mr. Cretney, instead of doing something personally, decided to hand the situation over to the North Central Regional Emergency Services Team--a 20 member SWAT team--that stormed Cretney's room and shot him dead after he swung at one officer with the axe, cutting through his bullet proof vest.  

Subsequent to Neil Cretney's death there was a lot of soul searching.  Why did Canton police decide to call the SWAT team?  Would it have been better if the Canton police had tried to talk Neil Cretney down before storming his room?  Could anything have been done to prevent the tragic outcome?  I can recall feeling very saddened by this situation at the time and I am aware that everyone concerned--the police, Mr. Cretney's family, members of the community--felt devastated by what happened.  I believe that after that incident, the Canton police voluntarily participated in additional training to learn how to deal more effectively with people who have mental illness who are in crisis.

Why I am telling this story now is to say that when Jean Eichelman, Neil Cretney's sister, called up the police in order to safeguard her parents, it was never her intention to get her brother killed.  She was in an impossible situation where if she did nothing, her parents could end up being injured.  However, if she made a phone call to police, there was a considerable risk that her brother could end up manhandled, handcuffed, and carted off to a psychiatric hospital as had happened before.  

I'm sure it never crossed her mind that Neil Cretney would end up dead, but that is always a possibility in any encounter that a person with a disability has with police.  According to statistics, over half of the incidents of deadly violence that take place between police and civilians occurs in cases where people with disabilities, particularly individuals with mental illness, are involved.  As soon as you pick up the phone to call for assistance from police, the fire department, or ambulance services, etc., pretty much the situation is out of your hands and there is nothing you could do about it.  

Should we blame Ms. Eichelman and call her a murderer?  No, she was in an absolutely difficult position where anything she did had the potential for harm.  In the end, she chose the better of the two evils which was to safeguard the wellbeing of her elderly parents.  

Likewise, with Jennifer Verraneault, who made the difficult decision to report Ted Taupier to authorities, she was similarly in a very difficult position trying to decide between the better of two evils, and with no absolutely fool proof way of determining which was better.  

There were aspects of Ted Taupier's statements in the email for which he was arrested that were laughable, i.e. the quotations from Charlton Heston and the comments about the space station on the moon, or whatever that was.  On the other hand, Mr. Taupier's other remarks were very intense and potentially very upsetting to anyone who didn't know him that well.  

Thus, Jennifer Verraneault's concern about Ted Taupier and his wellbeing and the Judge's safety, from her perspective, made absolute sense.  

It also made sense within the heated and intense debate that has been going on in the state legislature, in the streets, and in our court houses regarding the corruption of CT Family Court.  

As Jennifer stated, "Try to put yourself in my situation and understand how scared I was for this family and for others."  

believe Jennifer's expression of concern is absolutely genuine.  The problem is that once Jennifer reported her concern to other people and the situation snowballed, she had no control over the outcome and no control over the outrageous and excessive manner in which the State of CT chose to handle the situation, any more than Jean Eichelman did when that SWAT team went after her brother. 

Jennifer had real fears regarding Ted Taupier and his wellbeing and that of Judge Bozzuto that should be taken seriously.  As she states, "At the time I was alarmed and felt a tremendous amount of sadness for a father trapped in this unjust system.  I immediately replied to his email prior to contacting anyone.  I sent him an email to say I am worried about you.  Do you have your children this weekend?  The goal I had at the time was for Jerry and I to meet him on our way back from Mass. But he didn't reply to me at all.  I felt so sad for him, his children and his family.  For anyone to write what he wrote was extremely alarming to me.  I am not used to having anyone share that type of information with me."  

That is the thing.  Some people, depending on their background and experience, would find what Ted Taupier said alarming, but many would not have found it alarming.  I read that email and read all that stuff about Charlton Heston and I was like, don't be silly.  In my own life, I've spent a good deal of time with people who have mental health challenges or who have dealt with extremely difficult life circumstances, so my radar for violence has a much higher threshold than for most people.  

So there is this continuum in terms of how people assess situations of this kind and when it comes to understanding how Jennifer responded, we should be charitable and keep that in mind. She just saw things differently than other people did who were copied on the email. As Jennifer stated, "I was torn about what to do with the email from day one."  And she states further, "When I saw the video where Ted's kids were taken out of school.  I didn't know all the details.  I was unaware that Ted had taken the video himself and it was only a month later I found that out. I thought OMG a judge ordered the police to take the kids out of school? I didn't know it was the ex-wife who had brought in the police.  I thought how horrible!  I thought, if I was disturbed by this image, how will Ted feel?  His kids are crying and being taken out by police...I thought in the light of the email he sent five days earlier, he might possibly carry out what he put in the email...You see reaching out to let others know what was going on with Ted was not a calculated and evil thing that I did.  I was sincerely worried about everyone."  

I believe Jennifer 100 percent when she says this.  

As with Jean Eichelman, once the report had gone out, there was nothing Jennifer could do to prevent what happened with Ted.  Who could anticipate the kind of vicious, vengeful and excessive response to Ted Taupier on the part of law enforcement and on the part of Judge Gold.  At the most, I would have thought that Ted would have been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and to cooperate with a treatment program to address his anger issues.  But six years of jail, fines, house arrest, major legal expenses, etc., etc.  That would be far beyond my ability to imagine, and I'm sure the same is true for Jennifer.  

When it comes to the Family Court Reform movement here in Connecticut, everyone brings something different to the table.  It is remarkable the broad range of economic, cultural, religious, ethnic, gender, and disability based backgrounds we all have.  It seems as though the Family Court Abuse has been an open opportunity for pretty much everyone--it's a very democratic experience!  In my earlier blog regarding the Ted Taupier Case, I spoke about Jennifer as having mixed motives, and I'm sure people were like, "Yes, we know, she's such a terrible person!" 

This, actually, was not on my mind.  

In our movement, because of her experience on the Task Force last year regarding child custody, Jennifer has the unique perspective of understanding not only how we feel as victims of the corrupt family court system, Jennifer has also heard extensively from people who work within that system in regard to the frustrations they experience from their perspective.  I know everyone wants to say, yeah, from their criminal perspective, but that would not be fair.  There are many good people within the CT Family Court System who are working hard to ensure just and proper outcomes for the litigants who make their way through Family Court.  These are the people we need to learn to connect with and work with in a productive way.  

I am sure that with this recent situation, those who are responsible for the criminal activities within the CT Judicial Branch are feeling overjoyed.  First of all, they are probably really thrilled they finally nailed Ted Taupier who was such a pain with his honest and incisive testimony regarding the abuses he and his family endured in family court.  But most of all, they are probably as delighted as can be that Jennifer Verraneault, who has been such a dynamic part of the Family Court Reform movement, is now crippled and undercut by these attacks on her character and on her motivations for working in the Family Court Reform movement.  

Ha ha, all the corrupt attorneys, GALS, judges, and court personnel are probably saying--we've killed two birds with one stone!  

I have to say that I do not agree with Jennifer in a lot of areas, particularly in regard to her support of theories of Parental Alienation.  I think everyone knows that I'm not everyone's favorite player in the battle for Family Court Reform.  As a general rule, it is true that my focus is considerably more on supporting the welfare of women than men.

But if there is one thing I want to say emphatically, it is that we need to stop fighting among ourselves and stand together shoulder to shoulder to fight for justice within the Family Court system.  Let's focus on what really matters.

Of course, we are not going to agree on everything, but if there is one thing I constantly hear about from pretty much everyone it is that we all believe in fairness, we believe in justice, we believe in due process; we protest lying, cheating, and stealing, and we all believe that we need to get the children out of the line of fire so that they can live happy and fulfilling lives devoid of trauma and heartbreak.  

We cannot allow ourselves to succumb to the temptation that our opponents in the corrupt CT Judicial Branch dangle before us to fight among ourselves, to backstab one another, or to smear each other's reputations.  

I also want to say that I personally saw members of the that task force attack Jennifer and attempt to undercut her success.  There is no doubt that she suffered a lot and gave a lot while she was in that role.  If she stumbles and falls.  If she is not perfect all the time.  If she makes mistakes, in that, I believe, that she is no different than any one of us.  

Under the pressure of the abuse of family court, who cannot say that they haven't said or done things that they regret.  So what I'm urging everyone to consider is that we need to support one another, no matter how flawed we are, and reserve our challenges, our criticisms, and our calls to arms for the real enemies, those within the Family Court System who have exploited and harmed family court victims.  United we stand.  Divided we fall.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

THE CT JUDICIAL BRANCH, DESPERATE TO DEFLECT ITS CRITICS, HIDES BEHIND LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO TO CONVICT FAMILY COURT REFORM ACTIVIST TED TAUPIER AND NULLIFY THE FIRST AMENDMENT!

On August 29, 2014, a SWAT team of 75 officers along with two armored vehicles stormed Cromwell resident Mr. Ted Taupier's house with their weapons drawn, threw him to the ground and arrested him. [I am hearing that there was no need to throw him on the ground; he was apparently quite cooperative and just stood there!  Anyone else is welcome to comment!] 

The basis for this arrest?  

Apparently, late in the night on August 22, 2015, Mr. Taupier sent an email to six other friends which appeared to threaten the life of Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto, some of it couched in the language of movies and science fiction and other parts of it appearing to be more serious.  One of the recipients of this email, Jennifer Veraneault, was frightened by the email and so after consulting with a friend, and a failed attempt to reach Mr. Taupier, she reported the email to authorities.  

The result was the absolutely dramatic arrest scene which I have described, and subsequent charges filed against Mr. Taupier for 1) threatening in the first degree; 2) threatening in the second degree; 3) two counts of disorderly conduct; and 4) breach of peace in the second degree.  He was released on bail of $75,000, was required to wear an ankle bracelet and was put on house arrest.  

Did Ted Taupier deserve this dramatic response to his late night diatribe against Judge Bozzuto?

On June 11, 2015, Attorney Norm Pattis, a highly regarded civil rights and criminal attorney blogged about the Ted Taupier case on his website stating, "Just how the state perceives [the email Ted Taupier sent] to be a threat to anyone is beyond my comprehension.  The speech is certainly ugly, even irresponsible, but if there is a specific intent to cause alarm or harm to Judge Bozzuto in the email, I can't see it."  

Commenting on his observations regarding the subsequent trial in the case, Attorney Pattis stated, "there's little doubt that the state failed to prove Taupier guilty of threatening.  His reckless bluster among folks he thought were friends and fellow travelers cannot be construed as an intent to threaten the judge.  No evidence suggests that he intended, or foresaw, that anyone would forward the email to Judge Bozzuto."  

At the very worst, Attorney Pattis anticipated that Ted Taupier would be acquitted of threatening and perhaps be convicted of disorderly conduct or breach of peace.  Instead, much to my surprise, on October 2, 2015 Judge Gold found Ted Taupier guilty of all charges in a 56 page decision that at times comes across as rambling and at other times obscure.  

While I never expected that Ted Taupier would get off scott free from these charges, it does appear excessive and vengeful that the Court convicted him on all charges and he now faces a six year prison sentence simply for speaking in an exaggerated and hyperbolic manner about a family court judge.  This is particularly true when you consider that Mr. Taupier never directly addressed Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto with any vituperative language and anything he said was written in an email sent people he believed were likeminded friends.  

Make no mistake, this Judge's decision was a purely political act, a blatant attempt to silence and intimidate current and potential critics, and has nothing to do with the law.  

I say this because in the last few years there has been escalating political unrest directed towards the CT Judicial Branch, particularly in connection to accusations that the family court system is corrupt. Along with many others, Mr. Ted Taupier, who has played a central role in advocating for reform of the legal system, has faced systematic retaliation from the CT Judicial Branch.  I myself have reported that this blog has also been the focus of vicious retaliation from the legal profession in the last year.  

What can be done when the judges of the CT Judicial Branch use their power within the judiciary to wreak revenge upon their critics?  

First of all, it should be noted that Tanya and Ted Taupier are typical of the kinds of successful couples that the CT Family Court likes to exploit and that in the course of obtaining their divorce they suffered the full gamut of the kind of corrupt behavior standard in family court.  

Tanya Taupier has a high level position at Aetna Insurance Company and Ted Taupier, prior to his arrest, had a solid position with Citicorp.  They have two children -- a son and a daughter.  Ms. Taupier filed for divorce in the fall of 2012 and had sufficient income to hire two divorce attorneys--Attorneys Geraldine Ficarra and Michael Peck--who continue to remain her attorneys.  At the same time, she also hired a criminal defense attorney Chris Morano formerly a prosecutor in the Michael Skakel case, no doubt also highly expensive.   

For his part, Ted Taupier hired in succession Brown, Paindiris and Scott, a highly regarded divorce attorney firm, then Attorney Henry B. Hurwitz, and then finally Lobo and Associates, LLC and then went pro se.  

In addition, the parties hired Attorney Margaret Bozek as the guardian ad litem for the children--Attorney Bozek has been associated with other problematic cases.  Attorney Bozek quickly racked up a bill of $30,000 and counting.  

It took three years before the divorce was final and, from what I've heard, a whole bunch of legal professionals cashed in before the case was over.  

So what happened specifically that so deeply radicalized Ted Taupier and ultimately led him to express his anger so strongly in regard to Judge Bozzuto in a private email to fellow advocates.  We just don't know because there is no information regarding Mr. Taupier's perspective in the entire October 2, 2015 decision. 

This is true despite the fact that Judge Gold stated on page 3 of his decision, "the determination of whether a defendant's allegedly threatening statements may be prosecuted and punished under the law requires that they be examined and considered in the light of their entire factual context and with reference to all surrounding events."  We got something in the Memorandum of Decision of October 2, 2015, but it certainly wasn't the "entire" story.

Instead, the Court summarized two very sanitized and edited stories in which Ted Taupier's perspective is entirely eliminated--one in regard to where the Taupier children would go to school and the other in regard to Mr. Taupier's disposal of his antique gun collection told from the perspective of the prosecutors.  

I certainly experienced this kind of repeated editing in my case and I know many others have experienced this.  What Judges do when they write Memoranda of Decision is simply pick and choose among the facts they like, and ignore or suppress the evidence they don't want to hear or acknowledge.  Along the way Judges often invent several extra stories for good measure just because it fits in with the legal picture they are attempting to develop.  

So even while making pompous and high minded sounding remarks about how all the evidence must be heard, Judges regularly edit or eliminate essential information from the record.

Not only do Judges tamper with court cases by suppressing the defendants side of the story, they also refuse to listen to witnesses at will.  Thus, in Ted Taupier's case, the Court simply dismissed as not credible the witnesses who came in support of Mr. Taupier and put their testimony in footnotes.  Meanwhile, inexplicably the Court stated that the one witness who felt threatened by Mr. Taupier's remarks was credible, even though we all know that she acted out of mixed motives that everyone is well aware of.  

This is not justice.  This is not the "entire factual context." 

What it actually adds up to is a legal exercise in judges using their superior status and the benefit of the doubt they receive from people who have watched too many episodes of "Law and Order" to smear the reputation of a vulnerable citizen who doesn't have anything like the same social and financial resources.  

We should also be troubled by Judge Gold's heavy reliance on the Supreme Court case State v. Krijger which came out on September 2, 2014.  For one thing, the State V. Krijger involves a defendant who made a direct verbal threat to the complainant (an attorney--surprise, surprise!).  In contrast, Ted Taupier never made a direct threat towards Judge Bozzuto--he was merely speaking with several friends in a private email.  And while Judge Gold from his standpoint thinks it was inevitable that one of those friends would communicate with authorities regarding the content of Ted's email remarks, that is not a given in my view.  Despite Judge Gold's insistence that all his conclusions were purely objective, reasonable people cannot help but think that subjective biases might have influenced Judge Gold's thinking process.  Therefore, what we have here are two very different circumstances, yet Judge Gold is treating them as if they are identical, which makes no sense to me.

Another point to keep in mind is that this case wasn't even the law at the time the alleged criminal act had taken place.  In many respects, the timing of when the decision in this case was issued, immediately after Taupier was arrested, bears the mark of case law especially formulated to target a particular individual such as a political activist.

What is additionally troubling when it comes to the State v. Krijger decision that acted as the basis of the Judge's determination in this case is that it essentially eliminates our first amendment right to freedom of speech in the State of Connecticut.  Take a look at the content of this decision on page 24 of Judge Gold's decision: "a state may punish those words that by their utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace....Furthermore, the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except when such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."  

This language is so broad that it really encompasses and identifies as illegal, even criminal, pretty much any meaningful political action that is time honored in most democratic countries.  For instance, with a definition of this kind, what would happen to someone like Malcolm X who stated that he intended to gather together an army to defend African-Americans "by any means necessary."  

What happens to someone like Martin Luther King who advocated acts of civil disobedience, i.e. the freedom riders, lunch counter sit ins, thus "inciting or producing imminent lawless action."  What about my friends in wheelchairs who have protested violations of their ADA rights by blockading intersections with their wheelchairs in violation of the law.  Are the discussions they held planning that political demonstration a violation of the law?  If they are, all of us who hope to create social change for the better are in serious trouble.

The bottom line is that when the Judicial Branch of the State of Connecticut becomes so afraid of its critics that it creates laws that eliminate CT citizens' first amendment right to free speech and then uses that law to jail possibly for six years the first innocent man it can find, we have a problem!  

More seriously, I question the focus here.  Why are we looking at a citizen's potential threat to a judge, when what we really need to do is look at the threat that is leveled upon many citizens by the actions of that judge.  

Further, we are not just concerned about a single judge; we are concerned about the entire CT Judicial Branch.  As Mr. Michael Nowacki pointed out succinctly a few years ago, the CT Judicial Branch has been creating law for several decades in violation of CT General Statutes 51-14, and in violation of the Constitution which mandates the separation of powers.  

Further, investigative journalists have discovered serious RICO violations within the CT Judicial Branch.  One commentator stated, "We know that an unregistered, sub regulatory corporation has been running through the CT Judicial Branch for 30 years, with member and directors in all positions of administration, from grant writing, program administration, and even regulation and oversight.  We know the judges and professionals they appoint onto cases they preside over are tied in profitable business relationships.  We know that numerous CT agencies, departments, and branches (DCF, DOC, judicial and others) are beholden to an agreement to collude in order to fix case outcomes to maximize funding over all other factors, including constitutional rights, due process, and human rights.  We know that judges are deliberately placing children in the most dangerous homes available to them, including violent pedophiles and murderers, in order to generate endless billing hours for their business partner lawyers, evaluators, and treaters, all of whom judges are appointing in the first place.  We know that many judges have non-profits that contract with the judicial branch, some even list a business address in their chambers.  We know that hundreds of millions of dollars are running through each of some of those non-profits per year.  We know that the Office of Inspector General audited some official judicial accounts in 2010 and found $13 million missing and unaccounted for." 

I'd forget chasing an insignificant (ok maybe not to himself!) individual like Ted Taupier around the block.  What about our State government that fails to protect its citizens? 

I am also aware that there are a considerable number of family court litigants and their children who have spoken about experiencing discrimination against them based upon their disabilities.  They have talked about how the CT Judicial Branch is completely non-compliant with federal ADA law as well as the ADAAA and denies people their reasonable modifications which are required for them to be able to obtain testimonial and participatory access to legal proceedings.  

Yet nothing has been done about any of these illegal activities--not a thing--despite the CT Department of Justice major announcements that they intended to investigate.  

Further, the CT Department of Justice specifically stated they would have a report on the compliance of the CT Judicial Branch with the ADA at the end of August 2015, and yet they still have not produced one and it appears have no plan to produce one. Further, they have broken the back of this so-called investigation by stating that they have no intention of looking at the specific complaints that people with disabilities have made against the CT Judicial Branch.  Aren't those complaints with their associated documents essential evidence in regard to whether the CT Judicial Branch has complied with the ADA or not?  Basically, the refusal to investigate complaints represents a complete indifference to the many disabled victims of the CT Judicial Branch's indifference and disregard of their fundamental civil rights.

How is it that all these State resources--police, a 75 man SWAT team, prosecutors, etc. etc. and CT Judicial Branch resources could be used to persecute a single man who made a few off color remarks in a bad moment, yet law enforcement personnel disregards and ignores the widespread human rights and civil rights violations and corruption for which the CT Judicial Branch is responsible?  

How is it that within only a few months of denying Adrianne Oyola a protective order which could have stopped Tony Moreno from tossing Baby Aaden off a bridge to his death, Judge Barry Pinkus is apparently back on the bench in Middletown adjudicating complex DV cases which he is clearly incapable of handling.

Someone please explain this to me.  What can we do as citizens to protect ourselves from the foolish and negligent actions of the Connecticut Judicial Branch when it is that very Branch we are supposed to turn to in order to obtain relief!

I am also surprised that Mr. Taupier's attorney did not argue self defense in this case.  Of course, there could be a very clear cut answer to this as I am not an attorney.  But consider the various ways in which CT Family Court destroyed Ted Taupier's life and cut him off from his relationship with his children.  Yes, it is true the Court made sure none of that evidence made it on the record.  Still, I am pretty sure that what this family went through was pretty devastating.  

Under the circumstances, couldn't Mr. Ted Taupier's remarks be construed as self-defense.  I was reading the 2008 OLR Research Report entitled "Castle Doctrine and Self Defense in Civil Cases."  This report describes the  Castle Doctrine by stating that the doctrine "establishes the circumstances under which a person can use physical force and deadly physical force to defend himself or someone else without being convicted for assault, manslaughter, or murder."  These are so called "stand your ground" laws.  Could stand your ground law apply to verbal defense as well as physical defense?

Wouldn't it be fair to say that a good many family court litigants have reported that the CT Judicial Branch is corrupt and that its employees are doing violence to their families and children, destroying their lives, bankrupting them, putting them out to live on the streets, snatching their children, allowing their children to be medically neglected or physically abused.  

Under these circumstances, couldn't we argue that the true threat here is not to Judge Bozzuto; the true threat here is to Ted Taupier and his family and to all the many family court litigants who have been exploited and taken advantage of in CT Family Court?  Yes, Ted Taupier made a statement which could be considered a threat, but wasn't he grievously provoked?  

Yet I don't believe this Castle Doctrine was ever raised, because the Court System carefully crafts the grounds upon which it will prosecute a defendant; it excludes anything it doesn't want it or the public to hear and then sets out to orchestrate these highly sophisticated show trials carried out as public relations gambits and media spectacles intended to divert attention from their own sordid crimes.  This is how a case which should be about a family court victim attempting to defend himself gets transformed into legal debates over whether a few exaggerated comments made in private to close friends is a true threat to a judge who wasn't even a part of the conversation.

One last point: if you look at the Memorandum of Decision of October 2, 2015 in the Taupier case and attempt to understand the Judge's explanation of the CT General Statutes and the case law which he used to justify convicting Ted Taupier, the more convoluted and incomprehensible it gets--after all it is 56 pages, plus an additional 12 to discuss the recent U.S. Supreme Court Elonis decision.  

If the average person makes the simple assumption that he or she has the right to freedom of speech--and most people do that---how could they possibly comprehend or even know of the Judge's extensive listing of the broad and extensive exceptions he and his pals have made to our Constitutional right to free speech.  Doesn't that make any one of us subject to entrapment within any context that we express ourselves--on social media, in letters to friends, on blogs--pretty much anywhere--because we aren't aware of the many exceptions.  Personally, I consider that thought chilling as should any reasonable Connecticut citizen.