Friday, August 9, 2013

"Family" Law, or why child protection DESPERATELY needs juries

You know who is looked at as lower than criminal defense attorneys?  Divorce attorneys.

Yeah.  I said it.  I was actually taught that in law school.

My practice (and is it ever) does not include "family" law, just Child Protection.  Which is weird, because Child Protection is rarely about protecting children.  It's mostly about families.

Idaho is extremely interested in children, however.  This year they amended their law so that every kid over the age of 14 gets an attorney during a Child Protection case.  Yes, once they're over 12 I'm thinking the ABA says you have to treat them as normal clients, but Idaho doesn't want 12 and 13 year olds calling the shots?  I don't know.

Anyway it means CP cases just got a lot more crowded with attorneys.

If you want to see an attorney act like a total ass, watch a CP case.

There's no jury.  So an attorney is free to behave as badly as they would like, within reason.  If you think your judge is going to be as annoyed as you are, you can basically tear the witness apart.  If you're wrong, expect the judge to be an ass to you.  Which comes with the territory.  CP cases are full of asses.

So in a way they're fun.  But they also tend to make me want to shoot all the attorneys.  And since it's a judge, sometimes I just go ahead and say that on the record.  Because I know the judge is thinking it, too.

The worst cases, in my mind, are not the sex abuse cases.

They're the cases where the parents are going through a custody battle.  I want to scream every time I get one.  I try very hard to keep the client on task.

Me: I understand that he/she accused you of spanking/slapping/beating the child and leaving a mark, and you have said it was him/her.  But this is about the government taking your kid and placing him/her in foster care.  What can we do to bring her home?
Client: I just want to make sure he/she never goes back to him/her.
Me: That's your custody issue.  This is about the government.  You have shared custody for X years.  Nerves are frayed.  But don't you think your child is better at home than in a foster home?
Client: But he/she spanked/slapped/beat him/her like fifty times that I've never reported to anyone because I didn't want to start shit till he/she called the cops on me and I can't believe this! GAH!
Me:  I see.  Well.  We will tell the judge your position.

You know what CP actions rarely result in?  Perjury and wrongful prosecution charges.  You know what they mostly consist of?  Perjury and stupid, stupid reasons for thinking a child has been abused.

And then you have those Health and Welfare workers, who are the most despised creatures of all, whispering evil to your client, egging them on, BECAUSE THE OTHER PARENT IS THE DEVIL.

Fuck.  This poor fucking kid is going to be more scarred and fucked up by this insane battling and being forced into foster care than by anything you people claim is going on.

And can I just say that if leaving a mark is a reason to take a kid away, I should have been sheltered like a hundred times?  Who the hell decided this country has to be raised by sissies?  Kids are not so fucking dumb they don't get that sometimes parents fuck up.  They don't grow up to kill people because mom loses her temper over some dumb thing and gives the kid a good smack.  GROW THE FUCK UP.. COURT SYSTEM.

Folks, these are your taxes, now paying for at least FIVE attorneys per case (prosecutor/mom/dad/child/CASA).  Maybe you should tell your legislator this shit needs to stop.


1 comment:

  1. Five attorneys? Five? Only in America... And we're not including the case manager and, if mental illness is involved, the treatment team, half of whom are incompetent imbeciles for whom the story line of a prime time sitcom is a fascinating exercise in concentration and aesthetics. I suppose that leaves the other half, almost all of whom are cynical martini slurping government employees counting the minutes until retirement and a final sayonara to the entire child welfare system.

    That still leaves you with one in a hundred that hasn't become bitter and who are bright enough to actually make a difference.