It has been awhile since I have posted an installment in this series but apparently by raising the ire of enough losing attorneys I have gained more credibility and requests for assistance. I am now getting back to a level of cases that affords me some leisure time again.
In propounding support for his effort to have the Indiana Supreme Court order me to stop assisting parents engaged in high conflict child custody battles mitigate their conflict Michael Witte has claimed that the public needs to be protected from my advice. Particularly he has claimed, “The public interest requires that Showalter be enjoined from the unauthorized practice of law.” Such a claim sounds innocuous enough and I would gladly go along with it. However, it is Witte's implication of what constitutes UPL – acting as a watchdog over attorney's actions – that will have a chilling effect on child advocates who wish to reduce parental hostilities. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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On 13 May 2014 G. Michael Witte, Attorney No. 1949-15 filed a Verified Petition to Enjoin the Unauthorized Practice of Law against yours truly. In this series of postings I will present to you some information about Mr. Witte, why Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David denied my motion to reinstate a felony charge against myself, what Indiana judge recently said I am smarter than most attorneys, and why attorney Vanessa Lopez Aguilera complained. More significantly though I will demonstrate how Mr. Witte and his ilk are attempting to harm children and deprive parents of opportunities to amicably and efficiently resolve their child custody disputes consistent with the policies of the State of Indiana.
Witte's claim that the “public interest” – which he purportedly represents – “requires” that I be enjoined from further reducing parental hostilities and neglect of children implicitly states that those who feel that my assistance is of benefit are in error. Those who declare their support of a service through a recommendation are said to endorse that service. A common marketing strategy is the use of an endorsement. This occurs in politics through other politicians or activists, products through the use of celebrities and sports stars, and academia through peer review. If Witte is correct in his assertion then let's see who is incorrect – in his view.
Previously in this series I have mentioned the Craig Scarberry case. Witte alleges specifically that it was my input to the attorney representing Mr. Scarberry that is illustrative of from what the public needs protected. That attorney, Ken Falk, who is the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, considered my recommendations, followed those and when success was achieved in the Indiana Court of Appeals told Mr. Scarberry “Don't thank me, thank Mr. Showalter because it was his ideas that got your children returned.” Subsequently while in Mr. Scarberry’s care his daughter was again able to receive necessary medical treatments that the mother refused to allow while she had custody. Mr Witte considers that a negative result.
Bryan Ciyou is a well known and respected family law attorney who specializes in appeals. A client of his was embroiled in a hostile relationship with the former spouse. Much of the hostility was the result of the client’s personality issues and the other parent’s refusal to communicate. This client is now enjoying a better relationship with the children, has a more productive life, has nearly eliminated any depression indications, and is becoming more financially secure. Additionally, the litigation has nearly come to an end although we expect some new attack to come at anytime. The parties’ children now appear less anxious and are feeling fewer effects of high conflict parenting. Mr Witte considers these negative results.
Recently I attended Justice Steven David's In-Service program and was speaking with Judge Jeffrey Edens of the Boone Circuit Court. Edens replaced Judge David when he went to the Supreme Court. Interestingly, Judge Edens represented my former wife during our dissolution proceedings. We were less than friendly with each other at that time as I felt his actions exceeded the ethical bounds by which one should adhere to when advocating for a client in a child custody proceeding. As we were discussing some of the points made during the In-Service I made reference to my continued frustration that so many of these college educated professionals don’t appear to understand what is going on with these children from the child’s perspective yet I, who didn’t attend college, is capable of doing so. Edens acknowledged that I provide valuable input on public policy and am a benefit to children. Mr Witte considers that a negative result.
Judge Edens also said not to think any less of myself because I don’t have any college training and that I am much more intelligent than many who do have college degrees. I do assure you that I have always thought highly of myself and won’t think any less of myself because I lack some worthless piece of paper.
When Craig Scarberry was desperately seeking assistance on regaining the relationship with his children after Magistrate George Pancol ruled Scarberry unfit to parent because he was “agnostic” Scarberry contacted the Office of the Governor, Mitch Daniels. While no one in the executive or legislative branch could intervene on his behalf to reverse such a miscarriage of justice Scarberry was given the name of someone to contact who could help in child custody matters. The person recommended to him by the governor’s office was yours truly. Mr. Witte considers the governor or his staff to not be intelligent enough to recommend someone of competence to Indiana citizens whose children are being harmed as a result of inappropriate or, as in Scarberry’s case, illegal court orders.
Mr. Witte has not produced one Indiana resident who has alleged that he or she has been harmed by the assistance provided by me. No one has come forward to allege that he or she needs protected from the information I offer or questions I ask. Quite to the contrary parents and children throughout Indiana thank me for providing the insights, guidance, and motivation that have improved their lives and relationships. The recommendations that I have made to Indiana legislators or judicial officers have become part of the Indiana Code, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, and the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. Additionally, schools and other institutions in direct contact with children have adopted my recommendations. Children throughout Indiana are experiencing better outcomes because of my actions.
That is precisely what I want. I don’t want awards, I turn down offers of acknowledgement, and I don’t want the State or anyone else providing emolument for my public policy input. The only reward I seek is the personal satisfaction of knowing that the effects of high conflict parenting and divorce are being mitigated for the children.
That also is precisely what Mr. Witte doesn’t want. He wants to see litigation continue, parents bitter and hostile towards each other, parents emotionally and financially devastated, and ultimately for children to suffer the adverse consequences which result in more legal proceedings and presumptively the use of attorneys. Mr. Witte is all about the money -- money going to attorneys. The only threat I pose is lose of revenue for attorneys. It is Witte from whom the residents of the state of Indiana need protected.
I have received a settlement proposal this week from the Disciplinary Commission. It is currently being reviewed by interested parties. I will do a post about it soon.
Upcoming segments in this series will include
XII - The Response Filed
If you would like to also contribute any information about this matter or participate in the Response then please contact me.
Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.
Connect with me for the latest Indiana child custody related policy considerations, findings, court rulings and discussions.
In propounding support for his effort to have the Indiana Supreme Court order me to stop assisting parents engaged in high conflict child custody battles mitigate their conflict Michael Witte has claimed that the public needs to be protected from my advice. Particularly he has claimed, “The public interest requires that Showalter be enjoined from the unauthorized practice of law.” Such a claim sounds innocuous enough and I would gladly go along with it. However, it is Witte's implication of what constitutes UPL – acting as a watchdog over attorney's actions – that will have a chilling effect on child advocates who wish to reduce parental hostilities.
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