Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why Judicial Impartiality is Tantamount - Assault on Judicial Integrity by Child Custody Evaluators - Part XIII

We all feel better and more secure when there is transparency in decisions being imposed upon us. Most of us have felt “ripped-off” by the small print or the hidden details that languish in oblivion somewhere behind the shroud of the hype and marketing headlines. As far as I am concerned the two Washington factions can make sequester and budget deals behind close doors and ram it down our throats. I don't care. What I think is of much greater importance and gets much less attention is the welfare of children and the necessary transparency to ensure that their best interest are met.

We know intuitively that when someone tries to hide the details from us that they are up to no good. Precisely what attorney Cynthia Dean wanted to do in the Moore v Moore case was to keep the public from being able to access the GAL report prepared by Del Anderson also of their mutual employer, Child Advocates, Inc. Up to know good is apparently what Child Advocates Incorporated has been doing. Del Anderson lied to the court, Cynthia Dean tried to get Brian Moore to violate the court's order and she has also opposed any efforts to end this litigation.

Cindy Booth the Director of Child Advocates, Inc., appeared in court yesterday with Cynthia Dean. Obviously something has occurred to make her take interest in what Cynthia Dean has been doing. It is somewhat of a consolation to see Cindy Booth taking an interest in the actions of those people operating under her in the name of the organization she directs. It is still possible that Dean and Anderson are rogue players. It would be comforting to hear that and that the relationship of each with Child Advocates, Inc., were being terminated. Sadly, I don't think that is happening. I continue to look at this situation objectively and desire a healthful and productive resolution to this clear violation of the public trust. At some point the objective and open mind must give way to intuitive conclusions with the passage of time. Although one month to the day since Del Anderson lied in court and about two weeks since it was confirmed through the responses to my public records requests has passed, nothing has been done. The longer period of inaction is attributable to the activities of Cynthia Dean. In August I wrote a series of articles about how she lied to Brian Moore in an attempt to get him to violate the court's order and inflict further disruption and hardship upon the children. Yet, over six months later, she is still getting paid to do similar harm. More disturbing though is that I have made repeated requests to Child Advocates Incorporated for comment. I will send a printed copy of this posting to Cindy Booth and again plead for a response. This is an organization that, although privately funded, is integrated into our public court system and as such when their representatives bring our court system into disrepute then the public is entitled to an explanation.

I have great respect for our judicial system and the judicial officers have dedicated their lives to the service of the judiciary. While an out-of-control youth I was sentenced to prison by US Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Last year I thanked her for that as she likely saved me either from a long life in prison or from the certain demise of the deadly course in which I was entrenched. Yet during that period I mowed former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard's yard when he was on vacation travels. He lived just down the street from me. So did another judge whom I still see and helped out back then.

The status conference yesterday was called by the judge who had recently accepted jurisdiction over the case after Judge Heather Welch disqualified herself. Once it was disclosed that I would likely be called as a witness, that judge, Robert Altice, made all parties aware that he and I knew each other. This was a procedural requirement as our relationship could give the impression that because he and I know each other socially that he would tend to give greater weight to my testimony. I don't believe that he would and I don't expect to be treated any different by him than that of other witnesses. Knowing judges or other public officials is part of the routine.

I dedicate my life to working with the judiciary, attorneys, legislators and parents to ensure that courts are recognized as the venue that does resolve parental disputes over custody in a manner that is in the best interest of our children. Essential to that mission is ensuring that our judiciary performs its duties impartially. Here again is the Preamble to the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct;

An independent, fair and impartial judiciary is indispensable to our system of justice. The United States legal system is based upon the principle that an independent, impartial, and competent judiciary, composed of men and women of integrity, will interpret and apply the law that governs our society. Thus, the judiciary plays a central role in preserving the principles of justice and the rule of law. Inherent in all the Rules contained in this Code are the precepts that judges, individually and collectively, must respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust and strive to maintain and enhance confidence in the legal system.

I implore you to take the time to read and digest those words and grasp the awesome power of them. It is truly remarkable that we have a system where any two parties in a dispute may have their conflict resolved by an impartial arbitrator. Essential to that sense must be that the judicial system is truly an impartial venue free of bias. That is likely why I am so incensed, relentless in my verbal assaults and disgusted by those judges like, Justice Steve David, who violate this trust.

To ensure that a judge remains impartial and based judgment upon a valid application of the evidence those who come before the court have an obligation to the integrity of the court. Lawyers are advocates and therefore have no obligation to be impartial. They would actually be violating their ethical obligation if they were impartial. Yet, they are still bound by rules. Similarly, witness affirm upon their oath that they will be truthful with the court while they are often objective in their presentation. The third party evaluators and “independent witnesses” should, much like the judge, be impartial. In some cases, such as Moore v Moore, it is the court who seeks input from these evaluators to assist in making a custody decision and ensuring that the best interest of the children are met. This is a rather common occurrence in high conflict cases where hostilities have replaced most objectivity and conciliation is viewed as defeat. These evaluators act in a quasi judicial manner in their capacity as a collector of evidence and advocate for the child's best interest. In maintaining the integrity of the judiciary there are also standards established to guide the actions of these third party attorneys. I've selected a portion of the American Bar Association Section of Family Law Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Children in Custody Cases that applies to the “Best Interest Attorney” such as Cynthia Dean;

Pretrial Responsibilities
Take any necessary and appropriate action to expedite the proceedings.
Participate in, and, when appropriate, initiate, negotiations and mediation. The lawyer should clarify, when necessary, that she or he is not acting as a mediator; and a lawyer who participates in a mediation should be bound by the confidentiality and privilege rules governing the mediation.
The lawyer is in a pivotal position in negotiations. The lawyer should attempt to resolve the case in the least adversarial manner possible, considering whether therapeutic intervention, parenting or co-parenting education, mediation, or other dispute resolution methods are appropriate. The lawyer may effectively assist negotiations of the parties and their lawyers by focusing on the needs of the child, including where appropriate the impact of domestic violence. Settlement frequently obtains at least short-term relief for all parties involved and is often the best way to resolve a case. The lawyer’s role is to advocate the child’s interests and point of view in the negotiation process. If a party is legally represented, it is unethical for a lawyer to negotiate with the party directly without the consent of the party’s lawyer.
[emphasis added]

Dean did the exact opposite though. She opposed, mediation and has engaged in numerous actions calculated to prolong litigation. Her reason for doing this, I believe, is motivated by pure greed. The more time she spends sitting in court doing nothing the more she gets paid. The more that Child Advocates, Inc., pays her the more they can seek from sponsors based upon the “increased need”. Their sponsors are more than willing to contribute and satisfy this need. In the next posting I will start with an explanation of how harming children can be profitable to the sponsors of Child Advocates, Inc.

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