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Showing posts with label ELIZABETH A. RICHTER. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ELIZABETH A. RICHTER. Show all posts

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Karin Wolf, Director of WCLU

By Elizabeth A. Richter

Before I proceed, I just wanted to mention that I grew up in New Jersey and that I lived in Princeton, NJ for most of my life.  I am also a graduate of Princeton High School, Class of 1974.  So I have deep ties to New Jersey which have led me to see fit to respond today regarding the charges against Karin Wolf.

To be upfront, I also do wish to mention that I am on the Board of Directors of the Women's Civil Liberties Union, an organization Karin Wolf founded.  

According to a recent article, Karin Wolf was arrested a few days ago and charged with "abducting" her 14 year old daughter from Glen Rock, New Jersey.  I don't know why the authorities call this abduction since it is pretty clear to me that the child involved came along voluntarily.  After all, Karin Wolf is her mother.  

The article continues on to state that Ms. Wolf is currently being held in a correctional facility--York Correctional Institution in Niantic, CT.  From what I have heard, she is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail, which I consider an absurd amount of money.  That's enough money to secure the appearance of a murderer, and Karin Wolf is far from being that.  On the contrary, she is a loving mother, a victim of family court injustice, who simply wanted to be with her daughter; she is absolutely, by no means, guilty of child abduction.

It troubles me, therefore, to see that so many articles on Karin Wolf and her child published in New Jersey newspapers fail to mention essential facts pertinent to the story which would clear her of these charges. For instance, none of them mention anything in regard to the background when it comes to Ms. Wolf's case.  Let me take this opportunity now to fill you in.

Like many who are victims of domestic violence, in Family Court Karin Wolf lost custody of her children in a rigged court proceeding where she was denied the funds to pursue her legal case, denied the representation of an attorney, and denied the due process right to present evidence to the Court and have sufficient opportunity to prepare her case.  Further, like many Family Court victims, when Karin Wolf attempted to obtain relief from the Federal Court system, her case was dismissed on shaky and illegal grounds.  

Some articles mention that Karin Wolf was accused of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a quack theory developed by one of New Jersey's own--the late Dr. Richard Gardener.  PAS is widely disregarded by the vast majority of mental health professionals, and is a standard response abusers provide when they are caught in their wrong doing.  In short, there has been no commonsense basis ever for denying Karin Wolf access to her children, and yet she was denied access simply because she didn't have the financing, the influence, or the ability to rig the system that her ex had.  

In addition, Family Court systems across the country, including that in New Jersey, have a mandate to show preference to fathers in cases where custody is in dispute.  That is the context within which I think it is important for you to understand Karin Wolf's case.  It is also important for you to note that today the problem of injustice and corruption in America's Family Court system is a widespread issue and that millions of people throughout the country have been protesting and speaking out against the wrongdoing they have experienced in Family Court, particularly abused women, including Karin. This is why the rights of women and enforcing laws against discrimination play such an important role in the mission of the Women's Civil Liberties Union.

I also note that articles on Karin Wolf did not mention that the father of the children involved in this case is dead. They don't disclose that the children were placed in the custody of the non biologically related step-mother in a hearing Karin Wolf was never informed about, and where she never had an opportunity to present her case for taking custody of her children.  

When Family Courts act illegally and seize children from fit parents, it is a travesty for them to subsequently jail these parents when they attempt to defend themselves and their children. The corruption, injustice and--let's face it--outright misogyny towards women cannot be cloaked by terms as misleading as "abduction."  Karin Wolf didn't abduct anyone; she restored her daughter to her rightful place in her mother's arms.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


In a recent inquiry, one reader asked the following question, "Elizabeth, why do you promote an anti-semite like Paul Boyne? Your father was a Holocaust survivor. Shame doesn't begin to describe what you should feel." That is a good question for Elizabeth, although Cathy will be the person on behalf of the "Divorce in Connecticut" blog to respond, particularly since she formulated the "bigotry free" policy that is fundamental to this blog. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015



For those who are interested, Barry Goldstein will be on Channel 8, WTNH news this evening at 11:00pm to talk about the murder of Aaden Moreno. I hope everyone will take a moment to switch on their TVs and listen to Barry's remarks. The State of CT needs to learn from this completely unnecessary death and not sweep it under the rug. We must hold our representatives responsible for this terrible tragedy. We testified in droves last year about judges behaving exactly with this kind of indifference and disrespect in response to our pleas on behalf of our children and in return Senators and Representatives laughed at us and ridiculed us as "angry" and "disgruntled" and attempted to slander our spokesperson, Rep. Minnie Gonzalez. This is the end result of that kind of irresponsible and disrespectful behavior at a time when concerned citizens of CT sounded the alarm and warned Representatives that this day was coming.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Speaking for the Prouty Garden, Elizabeth Richter stated as follows:
"I READ your article online about the vote of the Boston Landmarks Commission to reject landmark status for the Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital. I, for one, can’t imagine why the commission voted this way, except for the fact that those who wish to destroy the garden have greater influence and money..."

Monday, April 27, 2015


Isaac Avilucea reports as follows:

"On March 20, 2014, state child welfare officials took three young children from the Simsbury home of two attorneys who were in the midst of a bitter divorce.

The Department of Children and Families had obtained an order of temporary custody even though there was no conclusive evidence that either parent had abused the youngsters, according to court documents. Now, more than a year later, the children remain in foster care.

That's the bare-bones outline of an unusual case working its way through the state's court system. It would, like most custody battles, be playing out in private but for a document erroneously placed on a public portion of the state Judicial Branch website last October..."

Read more: 

Thursday, April 9, 2015



Monday, March 16, 2015


TO:                         Senator Coleman, Representative Tong and Members of The Judiciary Committee

FROM:                   Elizabeth A. Richter

RE:                          In Support of Raised Bill No. 5505:  An Act Concerning Family Court Proceedings

DATE:                    March 16, 2015

Note:  This testimony is intended for public viewing

I am writing to support Raised Bill No. 5505:  An Act Concerning Family Court Proceedings which is written to eliminate some of the worst abuses going on in family court today.  The following explains my position:

Section 1:  Supervised Visitation

This bill would specifically dictate fundamental conditions which must be in place prior to imposing orders of supervised visitation on a parent.  Currently, many judges are imposing supervised visitation as a form of punishment or based upon grounds that are vague, frivolous, and unsubstantiated.  Furthermore, supervised visitation often ends up as a means for one or the other parent to gain an advantage during divorce.  

Item (4) of Section 1 is a violation of Federal ADA law which prohibits discrimination based upon disability; it is not proper to single out citizens with a specific disability for less than equal treatment under the law.  The language should be readjusted to state that any individual whose behavior, for which there is credible documentation, presents a potential risk to the safety or well-being of a child should be placed on supervised visitation.  It should be noted that psychopaths, for instance, are perfectly sane, however, their behavior could still place children at risk.   

Section 2:  AMC/GAL Civil Actions, Elimination of Judicial Immunity

Currently, GALs and AMCs believe that they are above the law and that they will never be held accountable for their wrongdoing.  In addition, Statewide Grievance and Family Court Judges are colluding with GAL/AMC shenanigans, so parents have no recourse.  This means the vast majority of GALs and AMCs are drunk with their power, bullying and arrogant.  On the rare occasions they get caught, GALs and AMCs label parents as “disgruntled” to divert attention from their own wrongdoing and succeed in doing so.

The two GALs in my family court case failed to protect two of my children who have a disability from medical neglect which has caused them permanent physical damage.  This is not frivolous.  

Also, the first GAL in my case, Charlotte J. Stamos, submitted a six page double spaced report to the custody evaluator and billed it in her invoice as “a letter” to the custody evaluator so I was unaware its existence until 3 years after it had been submitted.  This meant that I was unable to defend myself from her false accusations because she had effectively hidden them from my knowledge. 

For a year, the second GAL in my case, Attorney Jeff Mickelson, insisted that I obtain therapy from Dr. Donald Hiebel, despite my report that Dr. Hiebel’s behavior was inappropriate.  Last year, two former clients reported that he had sexually molested them, and he is now under investigation . 

Parents may be angry at each other, but this does not mean they are incapable of acting in the best interests of their children.  Too often, GALs and AMCs are directly responsible for stirring up the animosity between parents by pitting them against each other.  When this wrongdoing occurs, both parents and children deserve a legal remedy for this kind of GAL abuse.

Section 3:  Evaluations& Therapy

 A person’s mental health status should not be used as a weapon to bludgeon a fit parent in a family court matter and deny him or her custody.  Too often mental health data is misused in this way.

In my case, the opposing counsel made slurs regarding my mental health based on an incident that occurred 30 years prior to the court action.  As a result, everyone in my case from the GAL, to the attorneys, to the custody evaluator ignored my concerns and mishandled the case from beginning to end.  It did not matter that a psychologist and two psychiatrists cleared me of any mental health concerns that could interfere with my parenting.

I have also seen judges, attorneys, and GALs in family court cases coordinating together in order to obtain the mental health results they want as a means to insure an agreed upon outcome in a case. 

This includes refusing to allow a mental health professional from out of state, or outside the AFCC magic circle, treat or evaluate a family court litigant because it means the Court will be unable to exert pressure on that professional to obtain the kind of pre-agreed upon results they want.

It also includes refusing to accept statements from a family court litigant’s therapist into evidence because it does not go along with the predetermined outcome which the judge, the GAL/AMC and  opposing attorney have already decided upon.

Finally, we must require that evaluators submit their reports 30 days upon completion because so many of these evaluators deliberately hide their reports from the party who has been predetermined to lose, while at the same time giving the reports to the winning party well in advance.  Often, the predetermined losing party in a case will receive a copy of the report just as they walk into the courtroom on the first day of trial.  This is an outright violation of the due process right to have advanced notice of what you will be accused of.  This happens all the time and must be stopped.

Section 4:  GAL Testimony

It is well known that in custody disputes GALs will suppress or distort their report of the mental health or medical issues related to children.  Some of this is deliberate, but frequently this arises simply because the majority of GALs are attorneys and are not qualified to provide testimony in regard to medical or mental health issues.  Further, GALs do not have the experience or knowledge base to respond accurately to technical questions in regard to medicine and psychiatry and to pretend they do is absurd.  This is why GALs must not be allowed to provide their own hearsay testimony as a substitute for the direct testimony of the medical professionals in a custody case.

Opponents of this bill have expressed concern regarding the children’s confidentiality and therapeutic relationships.  Simply put, minors do not have a right to either—only adults do, and even those the Court does not always respect.   It is also important to note that if this legislation is passed, this does not mean that medical and psychiatric professionals always have to come to court in every case; such experts would only be required to appear if there were a dispute as to their testimony.  What this does do is eliminate any attempt a GAL or AMC might make to distort or misrepresent that testimony and then hide that wrongdoing behind privilege.

Finally, it is vital that legislators take steps to limit outrageous GAL/AMC fees which often result when such professionals sit around doing nothing for day after day of hearings when they aren’t contributing or benefitting their child clients one single bit with their presence in court.

Thank you very much for allowing me the opportunity to contribute to your thinking in regard to Bill 5505.   If you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch using the contact information below.

Elizabeth A. Richter
 P. O. Box 5

Canton, CT  06019



Tuesday, January 27, 2015


In the Fall of 2012, Elizabeth A. Richter filed a Federal ADA Complaint with the Connecticut District Court stating that she had been repeatedly denied accommodations for her disability and faced disability   based discrimination during her divorce case which took place in Hartford Superior Court and the State's Appellate Court from 2006 until 2012.  Ms. Richter's Federal Complaint was dismissed in March 2014 and has now been appealed to the Second Circuit Court in New York City.
Elizabeth Richter's original Federal Complaint was filed against the following Defendants: The Connecticut Judicial Branch, an attorney firm O'Connell, Attmore & Morris, LLC, and also an individual judge, Herbert Barall, the same judge who presided over the Linda Wiegand case. 
Ms. Richter brought the action in Federal Court to obtain redress for these Defendants' violations of Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and as Amended in 2008.  The Americans With Disabilities Act is a civil rights law which is intended to enfranchise the many millions of Americans who have disabilities throughout the United States.  Further, Ms. Richter also brought the action based upon Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, an early version of the ADA, and also based upon the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States constitution. 
As a result of the violations of due process and her right of access to state court legal proceedings, the Plaintiff, Elizabeth A. Richter requested that the Federal District court provide her with declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees.  She also requested the reversal of her state court judgments as well as monetary compensation for the intentional infliction of emotional distress which she endured as a result of the Defendants' actions.
Elizabeth Richter's struggles with discrimination began  over 30 years ago when Ms. Richter was misdiagnosed as having a severe mental illness she did not have and locked up in a psychiatric facility for a little more than two years.  Ms. Richter spoke of this incident before the Task Force on the Care and Custody of Minor Children which took place last year.  See the link below:
Despite the fact that this hospitalization was mistake, throughout her divorce the opposing side in the case repeatedly brought the subject up as the basis for denying Elizabeth Richter custody.  The opposing attorney in her case also repeatedly attempted to have Ms. Richter declared incompetent and to have a Guardian Ad Litem appointed to make decisions on behalf of Ms. Richter. 
Elizabeth Richter also brought up the fact that she experiences so much discrimination and stigma as a result of that incident that, over the years, she has had to have counseling for the stress and anxiety it has caused her. 
Despite this extensive history which qualified the Plaintiff for protections under Title II of the ADA, the Superior Court at Hartford where Ms. Richter's case was adjudicated, refused to acknowledge that she was a qualified individual under the ADA and refused to provide her with any reasonable modifications during the entire six years that her case was going through the Court. 
Elizabeth Richter also pointed out in her Complaint that the Connecticut Judicial Branch subjected her to a systemic pattern of discrimination and the denial of her ADA rights such that she was unable to obtain testamentary and participatory access to justice throughout her divorce.  Most particularly, the Connecticut Judicial Branch hid documents Elizabeth Richter had provided to the Court which showed evidence of her disability and explained what accommodations were necessary for her.   
Furthermore, Ms. Richter reported that she experienced discrimination from her own attorneys who failed to provide her with adequate representation and made statements regarding her which were intended to incite a bigoted response from the Court.  In particular, her attorney, Attorney James T. Flaherty, who was named in the lawsuit, failed to inform her of her rights under Title III of the ADA, failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations so that she could access the attorney firm's legal services, and also discriminated against her based upon her disability, and also based upon the firm's false perceptions of the disability they thought she had.  The attorney firm also refused to protect her from discrimination based upon the false perceptions that arose from the misdiagnosis she received over 30 years ago.  
During her post-judgment matters in her divorce, Elizabeth Richter complained that Judge Herbert Barall refused to provide her with reasonable accommodations, discriminated against her based upon the perception of disability, and interfered with her ADA advocate when he tried to do his job.  She also complained that Judge Barall used derogatory language while referring to her two children who have a disability and refused to acknowledge that they are legally blind although this fact was well documented and he was fully informed of their disability. 
In addition, in her Complaint, Elizabeth Richter brought to the attention of the Federal Court the fact that the Connecticut Judicial Branch does not have a publically identified ADA Coordinator as required by ADA law according to II-8.5000 of the Title II Technical Assistance manual.  Further, it has provided confusing and misleading responses when asked to identify one.  Also, the Judicial Branch does not have a meaningful grievance procedure. 
Finally, Elizabeth Richter complained that the Connecticut Judicial Branch has been restricting ADA law to Title I of the ADA, instead of Title II as required by federal law, in an attempt to avoid providing the broader based and more encompassing modifications it is required to provide under Title II. 
It is also important to note that since Ms. Richter filed her lawsuit in federal court, the Connecticut Judicial Branch has subjected her to interference and harassment in her role as an ADA Advocate in support of litigants with disabilities.  This is also a violation of ADA law.  
Ms. Richter's initial filing of her complaint was in November 2012 and then she Amended her complaint in April 2013.  Despite that, the decision of the Federal Court  dismissing her case was issued a full year later at the end of March 2014.  Apparently, according to Ms. Richter, this is quite typical of legal proceedings.  As she stated, "The Courts regularly drag out proceedings and delay responding to motions until the very last day because they hope that by doing so litigants will become discouraged and give up.  That way the Court can avoid taking proper action and avoid bearing the consequences for a wrong decision." 
And in this particular case, the decision really was wrong. 
As Ms. Richter explains it, "What the federal court basically did was declare that I do not have a disability which is just totally ridiculous.  I have been a person with a disability, and have a record of receiving treatment for anxiety over a period of many years, particularly since my misdiagnosis and wrongful hospitalization which ended in 1980.  Furthermore, during the divorce I was diagnosed with acute stress disorder as a result of the legal proceedings as well as legal abuse syndrome.  There is no way that I did not have a disability prior to the legal proceedings as well as during those proceedings.  And I am continuing to take a pounding as I pursue my legal rights in Federal Court." 
Ms. Richter continued on to say, "Even if you grant what the Federal Court said that I currently don't have a disability, that isn't even relevant.   Under ADA law it is recognized that a misdiagnosis such as the one I had many years ago still qualifies you as having a disability."  Nonetheless, the federal court decision of March 2014 denies that this is so. 
Not only  that, there is more to why the Federal Court made a completely misguided decision in Ms. Richter's case.  Apparently, to be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  Otherwise, a person must have a history or record of such an impairment, or be a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. "What the Court did," stated Elizabeth Richter, "was argue that I only had temporary anxiety and it ignored my statement that I'd basically had a 30 year history of anxiety on and off.  It twisted my words around and deliberately misinterpreted them." 
Also, the Federal Court essentially argued that a temporary disability is not covered under ADA law.  This is, in fact, untrue.  Many temporary disabilities are covered under ADA law.  Not only that, according to Elizabeth Richter, "The Federal Court simply refused to discuss the second and third categories under which I could have been held to be eligible for ADA protection, i.e. the fact that I had a record of a disability from my earlier psychiatric hospitalization, let alone my subsequent treatment for anxiety, and also my complaint that I was perceived as having a disability I did not have." 
"What this really amounts to," stated Ms. Richter, "is the Judicial Nullification of Federal ADA law on the highest level." 
This is particularly outrageous granting  the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  Essentially, Congress enacted the ADAAA of 2008 because it wanted to stop the mini-trials on whether a person had a disability or not and instead wanted to force attention on the merits of the case.  This means that the Federal Court's extensive focus on whether Elizabeth A. Richter did or did not have an eligible disability was completely in violation of the law. 
Furthermore, according to Chai R. Goldblum, a national expert on ADA policy, since the passage of the ADAAA in 2008, "The primary object of attention in cases brought under the ADA should be whether covered entities have complied with their obligations and whether discrimination has occurred, not on whether the individual meets the definition of disability."  In its decision in Ms. Richter's case, the Federal Court simply refused to address the fact that The Connecticut Judicial Branch failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations and it failed to consider any of her other complaints.  The Federal Court decision solely focused on whether Ms. Richter had a disability or not, in direct opposition to the spirit of the ADAAA.
What is even more ridiculous about the Federal District Court's decision in this case is that finally, after years of stonewalling, on December 7, 2012 a Judge of the State of Connecticut confirmed the fact that Elizabeth Richter has a disability that entitles her to the protections of Federal ADA law.  As Ms. Richter stated, "Given the fact that a State Court judge has already confirmed that [I have] a disability based upon the same information that District Court has before it, how can the District Court then contradict that decision?" 
This is not the first time that the Connecticut District Court has ruled that an individual everyone knows has a disability does not have a disability.  For instance, in a recent decision in Andrew Adams v. Fun Festival Parks (Lake Compounce), the Court ruled that Mr. Adams was not disabled despite the fact that he'd been developmentally disabled since birth and in special programs throughout his public school education.  In making its determination the Connecticut District Court cited exclusively pre-ADAAA of 2008 case law to justify its decision.  This is exactly the same thing it did in the Richter case. 

Even more troubling is the remark Elizabeth Richter made about the decision in her case in Connecticut District Court when it came out.  She stated, "I am not even sure that a Judge wrote this decision.  It shows such a profound lack of insight into Federal ADA law, it doesn't seem possible that a Judge wrote it.  My guess is that the Judge had her clerk write it and then just signed off on it with just a cursory glance.  That is a pretty outrageous way for our Federal Courts to be operating.  Of course, I have no proof, but that is the way the decision looks and reads."
In ruling as it did in complete violation of Federal ADA law in these two cases, the Connecticut District Court has essentially signaled to CT State Government and its Agencies as well as to businesses throughout Connecticut that they are free to violate Federal ADA law. 
People with disabilities better watch out, because it is open season on eliminating their human rights, their civil rights, and their constitutional rights. 
Still, Elizabeth Richter has not allowed her complaint to end there.  She has continued on with an appeal to the Second Circuit Court where she just submitted her final brief.  We will eagerly await the results of that appeal.