Friday, December 31, 2021

Robed In Secrecy

Core to the United States is the idea that we have three branches of government, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, working in a way that provides a check and balance system to ensure no one branch has too much power. That is the theory anyway. In practice it doesn't always work that well. 

Judges have almost all the power in court. Usually they can get away with blatant discrimination, favoritism and even, as my case shows, openly rewarding crime. 

But once in awhile even judges go too far. One judge who went way too far is Michael F. McGuire from New York

That wasn’t his only concerning behavior, according to an ethics complaint filed in 2018 by a state watchdog agency, which accused McGuire of berating court staff members; making “undignified” comments, such as suggesting that people in his court would date a “drug dealer” or a “slut”; presiding over cases in which his impartiality could be called into question; and representing family members and friends in personal cases. The watchdog agency, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, said he “lacked candor” during its investigation.

McGuire was removed from the bench. But that was his only punishment. Indeed, he went from the bench right into the position of county attorney. I am not surprised. 

Misconduct findings are rare in the judicial complaint process. Legal ethics experts say the minuscule share of judges punished every year isn’t necessarily indicative that all is well in the judiciary — it suggests a lack of accountability.

Sadly the only thing unusual about McGuire is that he was caught. Judges, like lawyers in general, are rarely disciplined for misconduct or criminal actions they commit. Which only serves to attract the very people who should never be judges to the bench. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Accountability vs. Justice

Right after the manslaughter conviction of Kimberly Potter for the death of Daunte Wright, Minnesota attorney general, and former congressman, Keith Ellison stated

With the jury finding Kimberly Potter guilty today of manslaughter in the first degree and manslaughter in the second degree in connection with his death, we have a measure of accountability for Daunte’s death. Accountability is not justice: justice would be restoring Daunte to life and making the Wright family whole. Justice is beyond our reach for Daunte. But accountability is an important step on the long road to justice for all. 

Ellison stated something similar after Derek Chauvin's murder conviction for death of George Floyd.

That long, hard, painstaking work has culminated today. I would not call today’s verdict “justice”, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice. And now the cause of justice is in your hands. And when I say your hands, I mean the hands of the people of the United States.

I find find the distinction between accountability and justice interesting. I had not quite thought about it that way before but it does make sense. 

In my own situation, accountability, at least for some of the guilty, is primarily what I am working on now. That is what this site as well as LegalReformMN.org is all about. 

But what about justice? What would that entail. I would be trilled to just get back what I lost financially. But that wouldn't really be justice. Justice would be undoing all the pain and misery I and especially my children and loved ones have experienced throughout the entire nightmare. I suppose a financial value could be put on that but even if that miraculously happened, it would never undo all the damage. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Attorney View On Lying In Court

The Texas law firm of  Bryan Fagen has an interesting article on lying in family court.  The article itself is, as far as I can tell, accurate but it does exclude some key items, namely.

  • It only discusses clients lying in court not attorneys. 
  • Although it does mention that attorneys have a duty to report to the judge if they know their client is lying, in reality this almost never happens. 
  • The article states that judges will take into account if they determine someone is lying. Sadly, this is by no means assured or even common.   
The reality is in family court lying by clients and lawyers has become just another tool. Indeed, probably the most commonly used tool. If such crimes were prosecuted or negatively taken into account by judges they would never have become some prevalent. 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Judge Admits To Problems In Family Court

 

Connecticut judge Thomas Moukawsher has admitted that Family Court “isn’t serving the public interest very well." 

Judge Thomas Moukawsher:

In some cases, over-analysis by costly experts and guardians-ad-litem has unfairly delayed cases from getting decided or has even financially broken the parties with enormous expenses. Judges traditionally don’t police this aspect of a case, so it has too often gotten out of hand…,  Sometimes the lawyers tie up a case for years with frivolous motions, harassing discovery, and baseless accusations that divert the court in custody cases from where it should focus like a laser: on getting a decision about the best interests of the children.

Investigative journalist Keith Harmon Snow has exposed the corruption that exists in family court which is enriching many lawyers and other involved in family court while greatly harming children and honest parents who are only thing to do the right thing. 

It is difficult to overestimate the amount of corruption that goes on in family court. Crime has become normalized and perjury/fraud just legal tactic. 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

A Feminist Tries Out Being A Man

What happens when a feminist tries out being a man? She learns a lot!  Norah Vincent  went undercover as a man to expose just how bad male chauvinism is. After joining a men's bowling team she found out to her surprise that the guys on the team were just a great bunch of dudes. Not only that, but she couldn't wait to get back to being a woman as being a man wasn't quite the privileged life she expected. 

Now the point isn't that female privilege exists and male privilege doesn't, it is that both do and both are wrong. Women should make as much as men for equal work, be equally represented on boards of directors, in executive level position, and in the political arena. Men should not have to do virtually all the dying and being injured in wars and dangerous positions nor should they be expected to be the breadwinner for the family. 

Unfortunately many people cannot even have a rational conversation on the matter as they simply gravitate to the extremes on either side. 

Kudos to Ms. Vincent for being intelligent enough to change her position. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Novel Alimony

A reader informed me of something I had never heard of or even suspected existed - In Florida you can get alimony without a divorce

"This form may be used if a dissolution of marriage has not been filed, and you are requesting alimony. If a petition for dissolution has been filed, you should file a Motion for Temporary Support with No Dependent or Minor Child(ren), Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.947(c), instead of using this petition. Also, if you are requesting that an order be entered for you to pay support to your spouse, you should not file this form."

Now I can imagine that one spouse might drain all a couple's bank accounts and hide the money (Spring was quite good at hiding money from me) so he or she has to go to court to gain access to those joint assets but that isn't alimony. 

Family law is very strange indeed. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Policing The Lawyers

I ran accross an interesting article from 1998 in the Fordham Law Review titled, The Criminal Regulation of Lawyers, by Bruce A. Green. 

It is interesting because Green examines the often blurry border between criminal law and professional codes. Green concludes:

The criminal law has significance in regulating lawyers' professional conduct both because it provides an effective means of enforcing certain professional norms and because it establishes or influences the content of certain professional norms. The criminal law's regulatory role is most interesting, and potentially troubling, in situations where the criminal law points lawyers in one direction but other professional norms, such as those embodied in the lawyer codes, appear to point lawyers in the opposite direction. This problem has drawn attention from the American Law Institute, the criminal defense bar, and courts, among others, without anything approaching a consensus emerging. This Article has offered two modest, and by no means complete or completely satisfying, responses. First, courts should interpret open-textured criminal provisions to accommodate professional conduct that is consistent with a reasonable understanding of the professional norms, thus putting the burden on the legislature to manifest its intent to forbid such conduct. Second, prosecutors should exercise restraint in conducting criminal investigations and prosecutions of lawyers based on factually or legally ambiguous conduct.

I agree with Green but believe he vastly understates the problem. Lawyers and others who work in the legal system, especially family law, commit or cause to commit the majority of crimes in our society. Fraud has become just another tool lawyers use to win cases. And winning ceased to mean justice long ago.  Sadly the gap between criminal law and legal norms is a vast canyon filled with crime and corruption. Lawyers' rules tend to be well written but poorly followed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Not Understading

The current National Geographic has an excerpt from an upcoming book, Fauci: Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward. Fauci, in discussing those who do not understand or even deny the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, is quoted:

"It’s just the way life is. Unless you’re connected with something directly, it doesn’t mean much to you."

This struck a note with me. It is so frustrating to have so much evidence of crime and corruption within the legal system yet to be ignored by nearly everyone. How can this be? I think the answer is that there are relatively few people who are harmed by legal corruption but many who benefit. 

In my case I have lost something on the order of $15-2 million due to crime within the legal system. Note that I am not talking about the divorce settlement. Divorce laws are certainly unfair and archaic but they are the law. What I am talking about is crime over and above the settlement. 

Who benefited from the money I lost to crime? Spring for sure but also a host of lawyers, mediators, testimony coaches, and others working in the divorce industry. Also judges, not only because they receive a salary, but longer term as when they make law firms money that money often comes back to them via campaign donations or future employment. 

If the ratio of people who benefit from a crime is high compared to the number of victims, crime will tend to persist. If those who benefit are the ones who control the legal system, such crime will be nearly impossible to stop. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Holding Family Law Judges Accountable

ParentAdvocates.org has an article on  Holding Family Law Judges Accountable which does a good job of explaining the current reality of family courts in the U.S. 

The key points made are:

  • Family Law Judges Rubber-Stamp Civil Rights Abuses
  • Family Law Courts Reward Criminals, Punish Victims
  • Typical Family Law Abuses Include “Kick Out” Orders
  • Courts Encourage Financial Victimization by Aggressor Spouses

Judges often complain they are overworked but the the truth is many family court judges encourage litigation and fraud because they themselves so handsomely reward it. 

The reality of our family court system is that all too often it rewards crime, encourages more crime, harms innocent people, and costs an immense amount of money which taxpayers have to pay. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Butterfly Wings?

An article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper highlights issues in the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (OLPR). According to the article many issues have been raised regarding the toxic work environment created by the agency's head Susan Humiston. 

Susan Humiston - Now that is a familiar name

Humiston vehemently opposed my petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court  to change the Lawyers Rules of Professional Responsibility to include: 

The investigator assigned, if a lawyer, shall not be in active practice in the same area of law that the lawyer under investigation practices in. The investigator assigned, if not a lawyer, shall not be a person who works in a profession which commonly receives referrals from lawyers who practice in the same area of law as the lawyer under investigation.

I created the petition because the investigator assigned in my Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (LPRB which is part of the OLPR)  complaint against Nelly Wince case was a divorce mediator, a person who received the bulk of their business from lawyers in the same field as the lawyer being investigated.  

I subsequently wrote a letter to Ms. Humiston expressing my dismay at their opposition to my petition and asked her to forward my letter to all assistant directors of the LPRB. When she failed to do so, I sent a copy to each assistant director myself. 

I  admit to having a small hope that my action in some way contributed to the present turmoil at the OLPR and LPRB. 

Apparently others are not fans of Susan Humiston either

Thursday, October 21, 2021

What The Constitution Means To Me

I recently saw the play What the Constitution Means To Me written by and starring Heidi Schreck. The show is currently streaming on Amazon Prime for those who want to check it out. I encourage you to do so.

The play was interesting, often funny, and to be truthful often exasperating. In many ways it seems a bit, well, sexist. 

Let me explain. Here is an excerpt from the script:

HEIDI:

What does it mean if this document offers no protections again violence of men? Sorry, I don’t

mean to— I really have no desire to vilify men. I love men. I do, I fucking love you. I’m the

daughter of a father! But the facts are extreme. Here’s one statistic, just one: This century, the

21st century, more American women have been killed by their male partners than Americans

have died in in the war on terror — including 9/11. That is not the number of women who have

been killed in this country; that is only the number of women who have been killed by the men

who supposedly love them.

That’s such a staggering figure that I just kind of have to… forget it to get through the day.

Except, I think you can’t forget it about. Even if you don’t know the statistics, I think you can

feel the truth of that underneath everything… humming. (Unsure) Right?

What is wrong with this? Nothing technically. But if she had mentioned that 78.7% of homicide victims  are men, it would put those statistics in a different light. 

Even worse, throughout the play I could not help thinking that you substituted "white" for "women: and "black" for "men" the statistics would not only hold but be even more compelling. Yet, if you did the whole play would be, rightly, decried as racist. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

I Could Save The FBI A Lot Of Work

I find the recent espionage case against Navy engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana interesting. Apparently the FBI had an agent posing as a representative of an unnamed foreign power to entrap Toebbe. Sensitive information was delivered via dead prop on SD cards hidden in a peanut butter sandwich and a pack of gum.  (I wonder if the FBI agent had Toebbe use a pack of gum as a bit of a joke as a slang term for detective is gumshoe - I like to think so anyway!) 

What is most interesting, and a bit infuriating, is that I have sent the FBI conclusive evidence Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and his criminal division director Richard Dusterhoft have committed crimes but the FBI  took no action on the information. They didn't even reply to me. Note that one of the FBI's core missions is to investigate local government corruption. In essence, I did the FBI's work for them. I gathered all the evidence necessary to prove Choi and Dusterhoft acted corruptly.

My guess is the FBI just doesn't care much about local government corruption as it is so ubiquitous. Until people demand change there will not be any change. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Setback in South Carolina

 Sadly, alimony reform looks like it has died this year in South Carolina

Despite progress made in other states on alimony reform in 2016, a group of family court lawyers managed to block reform in South Carolina. While some lawyers want to see fair divorce settlements, others say the system is not broken, presumably because they are lining their own pockets. They opposed bills that would establish clear alimony guidelines and make reasonable divorce mediations possible. These are the lawyers who encourage expensive, protracted lawsuits and clients who go for their ex-spouses’ jugular.

All the bills ask for is that permanent alimony no longer be treated as the preferred form of alimony, so the elderly can retire and the middle-aged can help send their children to college. Imagine being married to someone for less than 10 years, but paying your ex-spouse as much as a third of your income for the rest of your life.

Justice is often an agonizingly slow process. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Life Expectancy - I Learned Something New

I learned something new this week. Something unexpected. The gap between male and female life expectancy has only existed for since the late 1800s. I had always thought it was biological. 


Why? I can only speculate. It could be because of:

  • Greater advancement in women's health care vs. men's.
  • Higher level of smoking by men.
  • Reduced stress for women due to societal pressure put on men to be financially responsible and protect the family and society. 
Or maybe all three. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Bad Or Just Nuts?

Sometimes I wonder about people. Are they bad or just nuts? A reader sent me an article from Jezebel titled, Here Are Some Good Reasons To Divorce Your Husband This Fall. The last sentence pretty much sums up the article:

Now, imagine spending a year and a half working full-time, caring for your child largely unaided, and doing the majority of chores while your husband occasionally congratulated himself on putting the dishes away. Wouldn’t you want a goddamn divorce too?

If I thought like the author, I might say something like: "Hey guys divorce your lazy non-working, non-working out wife who is a slob at home you are always picking up after and never does anything for or with the kids. It would be cheaper and better for the kids if you hire a nanny."

One annoying trait most humans have is to inaccurately and inappropriately judge a group based on limited, often single, experiences. Maybe the author of the Jezebel article had as bad of a husband as I had a wife but there is a huge difference between how it affected us. It hasn't made be an advocate for hate and prejudice. Hating men is just as bad as hating women (or blacks, Jews, Catholics, etc.) 

The reader who sent me the article said it would really get my motor running. Perhaps a bit but mostly it just makes me profoundly sad that people think this way. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Non-Client Lawsuits Against Attorneys

Although I mostly am resigned to never achieving justice for myself, I do occasionally fantasize about doing so. Mostly because when it comes down to it I do have a pretty clear cut case agaisnt Nelly Wince. Both the evidence and law are clear. As approximately 20% of lawsuits against attorneys are brought by non-clients and in my case there is no statue of limitations on the crime, the door is at least not slammed shut. 

The biggest obstacle against me is the legal system itself. Lawyers don't want to take the case. Prosecutors openly obstruct justice to shield lawyers from the consequences of their crimes. And no one in the legal system cares. 

Someday maybe. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Why Do I Keep Trying?

Given that my ex-wife's divorce suit is now fully settled, some question why I continue to work on reform. The simple answer is to help others who may face the same types of crimes and corruption I did. I am fully cognizant of the fact that I have virtually no chance of recovering any of the money I lost due to crimes. But I can help others. To be clear, it is not so much the individuals I am concerned with (there will always be bad people) but the culture of crime and corruption which exists in our legal system, especially within the area of family law.  

Clearly my ex-wife committed fraud and perjury but far more concerning is every single lawyer I dealt with violated the lawyers rules of professional conduct and most committed criminal actions. This includes my ex-wife's lawyer, my lawyers, the judges, the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (including many individuals), and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and his criminal division director Richard Dusterhoft. 

Don't be fooled into thinking the crimes and corruption I am talking about is somehow restricted to divorces. It isn't. A county attorney who obstructs justice to shield a lawyer from their crimes will just as likely do the same for a law enforcement official, family member, or political ally. Our society needs to do better. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Sometimes The System Does Work

Out of Georgia comes a report that former district attorney (which is the same as county attorney in Minnesota) has been charged with interfering in an arrest.

A former district attorney in Georgia has been charged after allegedly interfering with the arrest of a man involved in the 2020 shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

Former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been indicted on charges of violating her oath as a public officer and obstructing a police officer.

It is quite rare for district attorneys to be charged like this. Even blatant offenses have historically been ignored by federal officials who prefer to let voters decide if the official should stay in office or not. Which I find ridiculous. Knowing that a district attorney obstructed justice and not doing anything about it only encourages them to commit more crimes.  Needless to say, crime in the office of the chief prosecutor of a county is not a good thing. Yet, it goes on unchecked as we have seen with Ramsey County Attorney John Choi in Minnesota

Friday, August 27, 2021

Sex-Trafficking

A bizarre sex-trafficking case has come to light in Minnesota. Anton "Tony" Lazarro a top Republican operative and fundraiser as well as close associate of Jennifer Carnahan, the now resigned Republican party chair, has been arrested by federal officials on sex-trafficking charges. Also arrested was Gisela Castro Medina, the 19 year-old head GOP chair at the University of St. Thomas. Median has been accused of recruiting girls, often underage, for Lazarro. 

Oddly, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi who has made sex-trafficking his signature mission seems to have totally missed the Lazarro ring despite it happening right under his nose. Possibly that is incompetence but I have my doubts. Given that Choi clearly committed obstruction of justice when I presented evidence of a crime by a lawyer to him, I have no doubt he would cover-up or at least ignore crimes by the politically powerful as well. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Lying In Family Court

I ran across a great article on why people lie in family court titled, Yes Virginia, Judges, Lawyers, Custody Experts, Accountants and Realtors  Lie In Family Court.

In essence, it argues that people lie in family court because there is no negative consequence in doing so yet much to gain.     

One point I disagree with it is that lawyers are legally immune. Lying to deceive is fraud and lawyers hold no special immunity when it comes to fraud. At least in law but sadly in practice it is quite different. 

Interestingly, toward the end of the article the argument is made that the only way to change the system for the better is to publicly call out the corrupt lawyers, judges and others who commit crimes in family court. 

​The only way for all of this to change is for the public to start naming the judges and removing the bad ones from their communities, by way of vote, so that future families are not harmed.  Judges who stop paying crooked lawyers and experts to keep the fighting parents in court longer, will succeed in resolving family law issues, not personally profiting from them. Judges have become bullies and villains , not the heroes we once thought them to be. Good judges need to speak up.

 I came to the same conclusion recently which is why I created the site, LegalReformMN.org

Friday, August 13, 2021

Do We Need Civil Marriages?

I have often wondered whether we as a society should abolish civil marriage. Often this concept is known as marriage privatization, which has support, as well as opposition, from across the political and religious spectrum. 

In 2002, Wendy McElroy in an essay for Ifeminists titled "It's Time to Privatize Marriage."

Marriage should be privatized. Let people make their own marriage contracts according to their conscience, religion and common sense. Those contracts could be registered with the state, recognized as legal and arbitrated by the courts, but the terms would be determined by those involved.[2]

McElroy has also said:

Why is marriage declining? One reason is that it has become a three-way contract between two people and the government.

In reality it is already happening. Marriage has become less common and there has been a decoupling of marriage and parenting in many countries. Note that although being single has increased slightly, most are still partnering up just not getting married.  One of the greatest benefits of eliminating civil marriage would be the cost savings. All that money wasted in divorce suits could be put to productive use to benefit the economy as a whole not just a few lawyers and litigants. 

  



Thursday, August 5, 2021

Hilarious!

Well, hilarious and painful. Sometimes comedy is the best way to tell the truth. 

Although different the video below reminds me of Johnathon Swift's essay A Modest Proposal where he proposes selling children as food to rich ladies and gentlemen as the solution to the "Irish problem". 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Old Comments Still Stand

I was looking through some old comments on an MPR article from 8 years ago regarding lifetime alimony and ran into several that are quite poignant. Here are a few:

Jeffrey Dobkin • 

Not only is it time to scrap lifetime alimony, the whole so called "Family" court system in New Jersey needs an overhaul. A complete overhaul.

And frankly, so do the matrimonial lawyers. My brother who divorced his abusive wife in NJ, paid his lawyer over $300,000. He now pays over $5,000 each month in lifetime alimony. He works three jobs to do this.

Here's what happens: First, the lawyers look at your assets to see what is being split up. Whoa, did someone just let the fox into the hen house? Now the lawyers know how much they can bill you. Yes, really.

Then, the lawyers bring your case before a judge or arbitrator, and your lawyer brings up a fictional point: "Oh, he dropped his salary over the last few years..." Now both sides argue this fictional point back and forth — bringing up new motions, bringing up added motions as each side adds to their bill, getting ever farther from staying on point - resolution - which by the way is never re-addressed till you - the client - starts to run out of money. I watched my brother pay over $30,000 in one month in attorney fees. I can only surmise they had the whole firm: an entire bank of lawyers, working on his case on non-existent, non-matters.

ElvinaBergmannKallett • 

I strongly urge all to support alimony reform to abolish permanent alimony. At the conclusion of a divorce both parties should walk away in an equitable manner. Prior to the marriage they were individuals with separate lives, during marriage they merged, and upon divorce they should be allowed to return to their separate lives. One should not leave the marriage permanently tethered to the other.

One should not reap the benefits of a free lifetime of alimony, while the other spends a lifetime wearing a financial yoke. By providing permanent alimony, Florida’s law today does just that. The current law rewards one spouse at the expense of the other. It took two people to make the marriage, and two people to make the divorce. In Florida, a no-fault divorce state, the permanent alimony provision certainly runs counter to the fairness and equality that is the spirit of the law, punishing the person forced to make lifetime alimony payments. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It needs to change!

Naturally there are comments taking the other side but virtually all of them assume the wife sacrificed her career to take care of the children. In my case that absolutely was not the situation and the court even agreed so. 

Lifetime alimony is ridiculous and misogynistic in virtually all cases. Women should not be treated like children who are incapable of responsible behavior. 

Spring was rewarded with lifetime alimony by the court despite the fact that she was not the primary parent during the marriage (according to the court appointed custody evaluator), could earn as much money as me (according to the vocational evaluator) and clearly committed fraud numerous times during the proceedings. Family court is a court where crime and unethical behavior is rewarded. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Duty

Police have a duty to act when a crime is occurring. They cannot ignore it. Even if the perpetrator is a fellow police officer. Yet, rarely, if ever, are police officers punished for failure to act when the person committing the crime is a fellow officer. 

Lawyers have a duty to report violations of the lawyers rules of professional conduct. Yet, rarely, if ever, are lawyers punished for failure to report when the person committing the violation is a fellow attorney. Indeed, as far as I can tell, no lawyer in Minnesota has ever been punished for failure to report a violation of the lawyers rules of professional conduct. 

If cops and lawyers are above the law and their own rules, is it any wonder why we have bad cops and lawyers?  

Sunday, July 18, 2021

New Site - LegalReformMN.org

I have created an offshoot site to DivorceInjustice.org called LegalReformMN.org which has the narrow purpose of informing the public of the unethical and criminal actions of several public officials related to my case. I dislike calling people out by name but the people in question, namely Ramsey county attorney John Choi, his criminal division director Richard Dusterhoft as well as judges William Leary III and Mark Ireland, have all acted with callus disregard to the law and principles of justice and equality under the law. They deserve to be removed from office for their actions if not outright prosecuted. Note that unlike Divorceinjustice.org, LegalReformMN.org uses real name. 

The problem with corruption in the legal system goes way beyond family law. It is the reason bad cops like Derek Chauvin can remain as police officers despite a long history of using his position to abuse people. It is the justification people use to commit crimes - after all if the judges and lawyers who are suppose to ensure justice are themselves committing crimes and getting away with them why would we expect anyone to follow the law? Corruption in the legal system undermines the very foundation of our society. Sadly such corruption is so common it has become normalized within our system of justice. 

I hope my efforts will shed some light on how bad the situation is and motivate at least a few people to change the system for the better. Time will tell. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Rudy Giuliani Suspended

Rudy Giuliani has now had his law license suspended in both New York and Washington. D.C.  According to the New York state appellate court said there was "uncontroverted evidence" that Giuliani "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statement to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer" for Trump and his campaign "in connection with Trump's failed effort at reelection in 2020."

It is quite rare that a lawyer's license to practice is suspended without at least an arrest if not a a criminal conviction. It is nice to see that it sometimes does happen. I only wish it happened for less prominent figures such as Nelly Wince when they just as clearly and egregiously break the lawyers rules of professional conduct. 

In the immediate aftermath of 911, the vast majority of Americans had a positive impression of Giuliani. He was even named Time's person of the year. Yet there as always something a bit off about him. His own aides said the most dangerous place in New York was between a microphone and Giuliani's mouth. 

About 8 years ago Giuliani gave a speak at a leadership conference at work. At the time I had a fairly favorable impression of him. However his speech was a bit strange. Quite egotistical and not very respectful of the law. So even though I was shocked by his total meltdown over the last few years, I was perhaps less so than many. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Attorney Gives Advise On How To Get Away With Murder

I have often talked about the fact that Lawyers Professional Responsibility Boards more often work to shield lawyers from violations of the law and their professional rules than actually enforce the rules and discipline lawyers for misconduct. Well, surprise surprise, in Nashville a lawyer named Winston Bradshaw Sitton was actually disciplined. He was suspended for giving legal advise on how to get away with murder. His suspension? A measly four years. Four years for offering legal advise on how to actually get away with murder in our legal system. I guess something is better than nothing but really four years?  The kicker is that Sitton thought he did absolutely nothing wrong. 

ABC reported on the case. Here is the summary:

Attorney Winston Bradshaw Sitton reportedly wrote that if the woman wanted to kill her ex-boyfriend, she should "lure" him into her home and "claim" he broke in with intent to do her harm and she feared for her life, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court judgment.

Sitton, whose Facebook page described him as a lawyer, also emphasized in the comment that his advice was given "as a lawyer" and that if she was "remotely serious" she should delete the thread, because it could be used as proof of premeditation against her in trial, the court documents state.

"If you want to kill him, then lure him into your house and claim he broke in with intent to do you bodily harm and that you feared for your life," he wrote. "Even with the new stand your ground law, the castle doctrine is a far safer basis for use of deadly force."

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Persistent Misconceptions About Alimony

There is a persistent misconception that alimony is compensation provided to a wife for her raising the children while the husband pursued a career. There is little, if any evidence to support this. Indeed, there is much to refute it. 


The book, The Marriage Buyout: The Troubled Trajectory of U.S. Alimony Law by Cynthia Lee Starnes (which I have not read) seems to support this notion if you look at it's conclusion posted online:

Many  of  the  primary  caregivers  at  work  in  today’s  homes  are  going  about their business unaware that if their marriages end they are likely to become the law’s suckers, set free to alone bear the long-term costs of  the  role  they  thought  was  part  of  marital  teamwork.  Archaic  alimony  laws  are  to  blame.  Alimony  is  often  the  only  available  tool  for  ensuring that divorce does not impose all the long-term costs of marital  roles  on  caregivers  while  freeing  the  other  spouse  to  enjoy  all  the  long-term benefits. Yet in its current incarnation, alimony is not up to the  task  before  it.  Beset  by  myths,  disdain,  and  neglect,  the  law  of  alimony  inspires  orders  that  are  unpredictable,  inconsistent,  short-lived,  and uncommon. Alimony’s problems are exacerbated by the absence of any contemporary rationale to justify its existence in an age of no-fault divorce and supposed gender equality. Concerned commentators have offered  an  array  of  alimony  theories  and  reform  proposals,  but  none  has  carried  the  day.  Meanwhile,  grassroots  alimony  reform  groups  in  numerous  states  are  working  hard  to  publicize  alimony  horror  stories  and promote legislative reform to limit alimony, most recently succeeding in Massachusetts

In my own case the court ordered custody evaluator concluded that Spring was not the primary caregiver during the marriage and the vocational evaluator concluded she could make just as much money as me. Yet she was able to walk away from the marriage with well over half the assets (none of which represented her earnings), no responsibility for the children whatsoever, and massive alimony income. 

96% of alimony payers are men. Women do not stay home to raise children 96% of the time. 

As I stated, Spring, received far more than half of marital assets at the time of divorce with no responsibility for the children. Even if somehow she deserved more why was that not handled as at the time of the divorce rather than through alimony? Two reasons:

  1. Lawyers and the whole divorce industry make far more money if the divorce drags on. 
  2. Misogynistic beliefs that women are unable to handle money so need an income rather than a settlement.  

Friday, June 18, 2021

A Thought

Most people I know, and I suspect most readers of this site, would agree that the reason blacks are over-represented in prison is due to societal racism not because blacks are inherently more likely to commit crimes. Yet, how many people would say the same about the male population being over-represented vs. females?

Food for thought. 


Friday, June 11, 2021

Divorce Statistics

A reader sent me some really interesting divorce statistics:

  • 900,000 people divorce each year nationwide;  18,000 avg. per state/year.
  • 600,000 ex-spouses pay alimony (IRS 2017**); 96% are men, 4% women estimated.

    • 19,000 alimony payers have $0 annual income.
    • 351,000 alimony payers have annual incomes $1 - $100,000.
    • 210,000 alimony payers have annual incomes over $100,000.
    • $12.7 billion annual alimony payments (IRS 2017), calculates to $21,200 avg. alimony payer/year.
    • A majority of alimony payers live on 1/3rd or less of their gross income in a subsistence life style.
    • Big picture, there are so few alimony payers in the US with 12,000 avg. per state, no meaningful alimony reform is likely in the foreseeable future.

  • 300,000 couples over age 50 divorce annually, and in 2030 will balloon to more than 400,000 busted marriages.
  • 16% of divorce cases request alimony; given in 6-15% approx. or 150,000 cases per year.
  • 85% of the time wives begin the divorce proceedings as they want out, and some do it for the security of the money while getting rid of you.  The result after divorce, most parties get screwed.

    • Post-divorce 100% of alimony payers experience a drop in their lifestyle standards.  Those with incomes less than $100,000/year really suffer as they cannot afford to live on 1/3 of their gross salary.
    • The recipient ex-spouse who was fortunate enough to divorce a payer spouse with an income over $100,000/year, generally may have an increased lifestyle (as 25%+/- cohabitate) often with another mate on $100K plus, with a nicer house, more expensive food, and nicer vacations after the divorce.
  • Child Support:
    • 85% of custodial parents are mothers, and 45% of children living with a divorced mother live at or near the poverty line. 
    • Only 50% of custodial parents are awarded child support, and only 45% receive the full amount.
    • $28.8 billion annual child support collected for 15.6 million children (2017 OSCE report), or $1850/ child in IV-D program.
    • $7 billion (27%) of the money collected annually for child support is spent by federal and state Child Support Enforcement agencies for enforcement.  (2009 OCSE report).
    • There is $89 billion in uncollected or past due child support.
    • 11,000 approximate child support-related suicides annually, and alimony-related suicides TBD.

Divorce is a $50 billion/year nationwide business spent on CS/alimony payments and legal expenses, with the courts spending $21 billion/year of the total.  This is why the avg. divorce costs $50,000.

**   The 2017 IRS archive records show 600,000 alimony payers who listed alimony as a tax deduction on their 1040 tax form filings, but this count includes both permanent and limited term alimony payers.  To clarify, the 600,000 payers we are considering are alimony only, and do not include child support.  So let's say of the reported total paying alimony, the best low estimate is that 50% of the 600,000 are permanent payers, so there are 300,00 - 500,000 permanent alimony payers nationwide.

Great, although quite disturbing information. 

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Friday, June 4, 2021

Robert McNair

I love the story of Robert McNair. He was kicked out of a library when he was 9 years old because he was black. He went on to get a PhD in Physics from MIT and then became an astronaut.  Now the library is named after him. 

The old adages apply:

It's not over until it's over

Hope springs eternal

The truth is the truth is the truth. And as long as you tell the truth, you'll be okay in the end.

and good old:

It's not over until the fat lady sings. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Half Of Americans Believe Courts Are Corrupt

Half of Americans believe courts are corrupt. I suspect that family court is a big part of that. I would hazard to say most people who go through family court in contentious divorce cases learn just how common crime and corruption is. It is simply ubiquitous. Litigants commit perjury and fraud to garner money from there ex-spouse or harm them physiologically. Lawyers and judges encourage endless litigation in order to maximize the amount of money they receive.  Lawyers who commit crimes are virtually immune from punishment. Indeed, as my case shows, judges often reward lawyers for committing crimes and honesty is penalized. Evidence of lawyer malfeasance is simply ignored by judges and law enforcement because it is "just the way the system works". 

This needs to change. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

A Non-intuitive Relationship

Although my experience in family court and the experience black men have with the police may seem worlds apart, there is a commonality that leads me to conclude they are but two aspects of the same societal problem. 

Let's look at some of the similarities

Laws

Although there is certainly room for improvement in both areas, it is clear that current statutory law does not give either law enforcement  officers or lawyers any immunity from crimes they commit. The laws are simply ignored. 

Wall of Silence

Although many members of law enforcement and the legal system may not have themselves committed a crime directly. they have committed a crime by remaining silent when they know of a colleagues who committed a crime. Not reporting a crime constitutes covering up a crime, which is a crime itself. Many, if not most, law enforcement officers and lawyers have turned a blind eye to crimes by their colleagues. 

Evidence

Evidence is supposed to matter. Often it does not. 

Public Outrage

The conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd only happened because of the public outrage that erupted after the event. Sadly, it is unlikely there will be any similar public protests against lawyers who commit crimes. Crimes, I may add, which kill just as many if not more innocents as crimes committed by law enforcement officers although in an indirect manner. 

Institutionalized Crime

Both  law enforcement and the legal industry have institutionalized crime. It has, in many areas, become normalized.  Like government racism in a small town in Alabama during the 1950s, they probably don't even know it is wrong. That is the most dangerous thing. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts (FCVFC)

The  Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts (FCVFC) is a non-profit fighting for the rights of children who have been victimized by family court. Just the fact that such a group exists is an indication of just how corrupt our family courts have become. Their mission is:


In this regard, FCVFC assesses the legal needs of protective parents and their children and strives to bring together expert professionals that address those needs through the following areas: forensic analysis, analytic evaluation, strategic intervention, litigation and attorney oversight, and financial forensics.

The Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts also serves as an advocate for the health and socioeconomic wellbeing of clients, and advances the cause of child protection through research, education, publishing and speaking.  In every aspect of FCVFC’s organizational operation, the following Pillars of Excellence are adhered to: Fairness, Compassion, Victory, Faith and Courage.

Interestingly, they have a "Rogue" Gallery" listing at least some judges it deems corrupt. 

Note that their services are not free and I cannot comment on their value. 

When legal systems become corrupt, justice disappears.  

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Non-Equal Protection

You might think that the death penalty is strongly related to the homicide rate. You would be wrong. What it is strongly related to is previous death penalty convictions in the county.  This is similar to permanent alimony in Minnesota. Although statistics are lacking due to there being no proper tracking mechanism in the state, the lawyers and legislators I have talked to all agree that in Minnesota, permanent alimony varies widely by county. In some counties it is virtually unknown, whereas in others it is quite common. 

For those who are well versed in numbers, I think our repeated events model will be very convincing and show that the numbers cannot be squared with equal protection of the law.

There is a common root here - it is a legal system which operates inconsistently depending on who you are, where you are from, what you do, or who you know. 

One of the key tenets of a just legal system is fairness. If I lived two miles away in another county I very likely would never had to pay any alimony let alone permanent alimony. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Pay For Justice?

Despite the fact that I am basically a socially liberal type of guy, I do find it a bit exasperating when I hear stories in the media that utterly fail to get to the heart of the matter. For example, a recent story on NPR is about how beneficial it is for renters going through eviction to have an attorney. The conclusion, for some, is because having an attorney has an "incredibly strong evidence base" we as a society should provide free attorneys to people who receive eviction notices. The only question is who should pay for the lawyers, renters or the general public. 

The real question is why do you need a lawyer at all? Think about it. If having an attorney makes so much difference it means one of two things:

  1. Either you should be evicted and the lawyer got you out of it in which case having a lawyer serves to unjustly punish the landlord.
  2. The eviction notice was unjust and the lawyer prevented an unjust eviction. Which means... you have to pay lawyers to receive justice. Seems like a shakedown to me.  
In either case, lawyers get paid. They always do. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Guilty But Is It A Trend?

Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. Yes! Some see the conviction as a seminal shift away from police being allowed to get away with, well, murder. I would like that to be true as well but I think although it is real progress, it is incremental.  In the end, I do not believe Chauvin was convicted so much because of what he did but because of the long, painful video showing exactly what happened. If there was no video, I doubt Chauvin would even have been charged let alone convicted no matter how many eye witnesses there were. With the video, everyone was able to watch the murder. There was no reasonable doubt that Chauvin thought his life was in danger. Even the police testified against him which is highly unusual. 

The reality is the greatest tool we have to reduce crime, harassment and violence by the police is the smart phone. But that tool needs to be used and and if its evidence is ignored, people need to protest. That is the way to better world. 

Reform of our legal system, unfortunately lags far behind. As my case has show, evidence alone is not enough. I have evidence as good as it gets but it is simply ignored. Some day there may be protests agaisnt bad lawyers, judges and prosecutors but will be a painfully slow journey getting there. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Dads Surviving Divorce

I recently discovered the YouTube series Dads Surviving Divorce  (DSD) which offers tips on dealing with a toxic divorce. I wish I had know about this site earlier. I encourage you to check it out. 

Interestingly DSD has been around about as long as DivorceInjustice.org has. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Purple Wall Of Silence

In the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin's killing of George Floyd there are currently many media reports about cracks in the "blue wall of silence" due to several police officers testifying against Chauvin. Historically, police officers have been reluctant to testify against or report misconduct by fellow officers. 

There is another wall of silence which exists in our society. It is what I have termed the "purple wall of silence" which is when lawyers knowingly turn a blind eye to crimes and ethical actions committed by other lawyers. (Why purple? Because it is the traditional academic color for law as well as the color for royalty - royalty often being considered above the law.)  

The Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (LPRB) is the attorney run entity tasked with enforcing the lawyers rules of professional conduct in Minnesota. The reality is the LPRB operates mostly for show as it only takes action in a minute fraction of the complaints it receives and has never as far as I can tell disciplined a lawyer for lying in family court. The county attorney has stated in writing that lawyers only commit fraud when they are under oath and the term "fraud upon the court" does not exist in Minnesota statues. Both are not only false but outrageously false. Despite my repeated attempts the county attorney's office has refused to clarify their statements. 

Furthermore, In my case many lawyers have seen the evidence agaisnt Nelly Wince but none has reported it as is required by their professional rules. They chose silence over duty. To my knowledge no lawyer in the state's history has ever been disciplined for failure to report a violation of another lawyer. 

Not only is the purple wall of silence similar to the  blue wall of silence but it is intimately intertwined with it. Police officers also have a duty to report crimes by fellow officers but failure to do so is rarely if ever prosecuted. One of the primary colors that make up purple is blue. 

Although there are many good police officers and lawyers when a defined group becomes above the law in practice, it will attract bad people to the group. Once members, these unsavory people are not easily removed because the group acts to protect their own, no matter how abhorrent or even outright criminal their behavior is. 

The Chauvin trial will hopefully begin the process of tearing down the blue wall. I can only hope the purple wall goes with it.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Well Said

A very articulate and well-informed father confronted the California judicial council on corruption in family court. Wow!


Here is the quote he gave at the end:


Friday, March 26, 2021

The Myth Of Justice

There is a myth perpetrated by many people in the legal and divorce industries that the court system is just. Here is an article on NOLO which would lead one to believe that lying in court has negative consequences.  It is just not so. Even lawyers believe it is common and call family court a court of lies.  My case certainly support this. And one only need to look at the statistics. It is exceedingly rare that perjury is prosecuted in family and, at least in Minnesota, a lawyer has never been disciplined for committing fraud upon the court in family court despite it being considered so serious it has no statue of limitations.  

Here is the reality:

  1. Perjury by litigants is common. 
  2. Fraud by litigants and lawyers is common. 
  3. Rarely if ever are either of the above prosecuted. 
  4. Crime has become so endemic in family court that judges rarely hold it against you. Indeed, they often openly reward it as they did in my case. 
  5. In short - crime pays in family court. It is at best naive and more often disingenuous to state otherwise. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Everet v Williams

Corruption in the legal system certainly is not new. Just take a look at the English case of Everet v Williams in 1725. John Everet and Joseph Williams were two highwaymen (in other words robbers) who had entered a partnership to rob people and split the gains equally. Shockingly Everet believed Williams was not sharing equally. So what did Everet do? He took him to court of course. 

Now the judge seemed to be an honest sort and decided that both defendants should be arrested and hung. Which was done. Interestingly he also had both lawyers arrested as well. 

So in 1795 corrupt lawyers existed and at least in the case of Everet v Williams were held accountable. It is sad that today there is far less accountability for lawyer malfeasance. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

My Case Has Been Finalized

It was ugly but my case had been finalized. I went back to court but the judge, somewhat unsurprisingly to me given all I have been through, basically doubled down on rewarding crime and corruption. Regarding the evidence agaisnt Nelly Wince he, without denying her actions or even that they constituted fraud, stated they did nor rise to the level of intent. Seriously? She repeatedly committed one of the only crimes without a statue of limitations by accident? The prevalence of crime in the the legal system is truly incredible. 

In the end, however, I did agree to a buyout so I am free. I am out an additional $165,000 which brings the total non-present cost since Spring took more than half the money at the time of the divorce to a little over $700,000. Do not forget that the custody evaluator determined she was not the primary parent during the marriage, the vocational evaluator determined she could make as much money as me and she has never used a dime of her earned income to benefit the kids, Oh, yeah there are also the clear crimes her and her lawyer committed. So much for justice. 

The worst thing about the buyout is that I have a nagging feeling that I am enabling crime and in doing so makes it more likely that crime will be committed agaisnt others. To counter that feeling, I intend to continue the battle for legal reform. 

Although I am still in the planning phase, at this point I believe I will keep this site going, possibly start a separate site aimed at litigants, lawyers, judges, and others in the legal industry who want to act ethically, and increase my lobbying of the legislature (which might be easier now that I have nothing to personally gain from an new legislation) 

I am free but it is a bittersweet freedom. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

People In Prison Are Not Always Criminals

Since 1973, over 167 people who were on death row have been determined to be not guilty. That is only people in the 30 states plus the federal government and military that have people on death row. How many other innocents are on death row as well as in the general current or former prison population is unknown. In addition to this are people who had to pay fines or other costs yet were innocent. 

How does this happen? The number one reason is prosecutorial misconduct. Yep, bad lawyers. 

The framers of the U.S. Constitution put citizen participation at the very heart of our criminal justice system in the form of jury trials. With coercive plea bargaining, prosecutors have ripped that heart right out of that system and made sure that ordinary citizens have almost nothing to do with the administration of criminal justice in America.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

In The Intermin

While I await the (ugly) finalization of Spring's divorce case agaisnt me I will return to regularly scheduled programming...

Quora is a site where a person can ask a question and then people answer. If you search Quora for "family court" you see some pretty interesting questions and answers. Many question are along the lines as to why is family court so corrupt? Many of the answers are by people trying to deny it. Likely such answers are coming from people with a vested interest in preserving corruption. 

The reality is that an honest and responsible person is at a huge disadvantage in family court when the other party is not so honest and responsible.  Family court does not just ignore unethical and criminal actions by litigants, lawyers and others in family court, it rewards them. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Update

Sorry,  I have not posed in a few weeks. The reason is because of the crazy things surrounding my case. The good news is that an agreement has been reached for a final resolution. The bad news is that my freedom is costing an immense amount of money and, in some ways, rewards crime and corruption in the legal system. Part of me feels like an enabler. I'll post more once everything is over. 



Sunday, January 17, 2021

Injustice And Identity

All injustice has a sort of coherence. It doesn't really matter if the injustice is identity based or not. Don't get me wrong -  there is clearly injustice based on race, ethnicity and religion but there is also injustice against individuals not based on such criteria. At its core, injustice is due to people seeking power and money. It may, however, be convenient for those bad people to group victims together in some way because it is both easier to identify the victims as well as get supporters for your abusive actions (this is where, for example, racism comes from) but it is not necessary. You see, those who want to commit evil will find a way. 

You could categorize me as having a group identity in several ways; however, none of these are currently (historically it would be certainly true) widely thought of as being a disadvantaged group. I suppose if you were to categorize the disadvantaged group I am in, it would be people going through a divorce who are "responsibly, hard-working and honest" as that group has the worst outcome in family court. You could probably add "male" just because if the only thing changed in my case were the genders, I almost certainly would not be in the situation I am. 

It is a rare bad person who is only bad in one area or agaisnt one group. Racists are not likely to be loving, empathetic parents. Lawyers who commit fraud in court no doubt commit crimes in other areas just as easily. Which is a good reason to not tolerate by inaction the crimes of others. Not identifying with a victim should give no cause for comfort. Next time it could just as easily be you who is the victim. Power and money remember?

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Message

Actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a video message regarding the attack on the capitol last week which is incredibly good. It literally sent shivers down my spine. I had no idea he was so articulate and intelligent. If you have not seen it yet, do so and share it with your friends and family. I had my kids watch it. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Just the Facts, Ma'am

It musing about my last post, it seems to me there is something fundamental about people's understanding of facts. 

There is a spectrum. At one end is a person whose grasp of reality is so tenuous they simply have no conception of a fact outside of what they believe. Think of a severely mentally ill person. Recently a mother left her daughter on the side of the road in freezing cold weather with no shoes because she believed God had told her to. Her "facts" are what she thinks in her head.

At the other end are people who understand that facts are external to what they think. Quite importantly, they will freely change their views based on facts. These people have a good grasp not only of reality but logic. 

Let's look at some cases. If a person came to you and said, without providing any evidence, that  Bill and Hillary Clinton, other high ranking Democrats as well as Hollywood stars were all involved with a Satanic, child molestation ring run from a pizza parlor you would rightly state they needed mental help. So what are we to think of Qanon whose adherents believe just that? Are they all mentally ill? I am sure some are but when it comes to followers, I think many people simply just do not care about facts. Their truth is what they want to believe not what is real. 

Or how about the 70% of Republicans who believe Trump actually won the election. Not only is there no evidence for this but all the facts refute it. But they do not care about facts. I should probably point out that these people fall into two categories. One are those who know that Biden fairly won in a clean election but just lie about it for political reasons. I would guess most Republican members of Congress who objected to certification fall into this category. A larger number, I think, are those who just simply believe what people who they want to believe tell them. They think with their emotions not their brains. 

I see the same thing in the legal system. Some litigants, lawyers and officials who lie and commit crimes know exactly what they are doing but most I suspect just ignore or mentally block inconvenient facts because it threatens their power and income. They are not going to let facts get in their way. Or truth. Or justice.