Friday, May 20, 2022

Is Alimony An Outdated Concept?

Dhrishni Thakuria believes alimony is an outdated concept and I wholeheartedly agree with her. She has an interesting take on the historical reasons for alimony which I have not heard in quite the same way before: 

Alimony has an interesting history, one that was basically a somewhat derogatory assistance for women who were seen as the “weaker sex.” The law in the United States is based on the laws found in Ecclesiastical Courts in England. Since the husband was the sole owner of all marital property, and the wife depended upon him to provide for her sustenance, the English Ecclesiastical courts consistently ruled that the husband had the duty to provide for the wife after divorce as well. Otherwise she would become, “a burden of the people.” Heaven forbid there should be any burdensome women around!

Most people who desire alimony are just looking for free money. They effectively claim they are so weak and incompetent they are unable to support themselves so need their ex-spouse to do so. And keep in mind it is usually the person who receives alimony who asked for the divorce. (Of course there are cases where long-term alimony is deserved - for example, imagine a person who has a debilitating disease and cannot work at all along with a n ex-spouse who wasted marital assets due to gambling or such, but these cases are quite rare) 

Receiving alimony when you are perfectly capable of supporting yourself seems not only immoral but, given that 98%+ of the time the man is paying, quite sexist as well. The funny thing is that that men who argue against permanent alimony are taking a strong feminist position.  

This reminds me of the move The Lost City with Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. In it, Tatum accuses Bullock of mans-planing to which Bullock states she can be mans-planing because she is a woman. Tatum replies that he is a feminist and believes a woman can do anything a man can. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Injustice

My case and this site are all about justice. Justice is about fair and equal treatment under the law.  What I have found out from experience is the reality of our judicial system is much, much different.  In some cases, such as mine, the people who break the laws and rules are richly rewarded while the victims are punished. In other cases, such as below, punishment for crimes committed varies, sometimes incredibly so, depending on who you are. (click on image to enlarge)


Justice is at best inconsistent in our legal system. Which, in the end, only creates contempt for the law. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Divorce Is Both Lucrative And Corrupt

Lucrative and corrupt are go hand in hand.

Here is an interesting new video from Dr. Brooks McKenzie on just how corrupt the divorce industry is. I like they way he handles an obviously hostile to men audience member. I'll have to check out Dr. McKenzie some more. He seems like a reasonable and even sided person. 


Friday, April 29, 2022

Morons

I sometimes watch Australian news as I like their direct and often humorous style. This video on the Russian invasion of Ukraine is both hilarious and disturbing.


Putin's FSB in faking evidence for a  fictional Ukrainian plot to assassinate one of his favorite journalists actually signed a document literally "Illegible Signature" because they were told to make a document with an illegible signature. This is what they presented to the world as evidence. 

I cannot help but compare the Russian FSB's actions to those of the Ramsey County Attorney's office who claim in writing that lawyers commit no crime when they commit fraud in court and the term "fraud upon the court" does not exist in Minnesota statutes. And then refuse to explain or even discuss their statements at all. Not just morons but dangerous ones. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Marriage Irritations

The Atlantic had an interesting article -  a man ruminating on his divorce

For a long time after his divorce Mathew Fray would say: 

My wife left me because sometimes I leave dishes by the sink.

He left dishes by the sink and it drove his wife crazy. It took Fray a long time to realize it wasn't about the dishes. He could have easily not left dishes by the sink and his wife could have easily not cared that he did. It was just their way of expressing an ever deepening alienation with each other.

I find the story interesting because I am one of those people who does not leave dishes lying around. But when others do it does not bother me - I just put them away. I always thought of it as building karma and a what would Jesus do type of action. I rarely get upset about little things. 

When people get upset by little things I do, I just don't do those things anymore. Unfortunately, that sometimes causes me to miss that it isn't the little thing that upsets the person, it is something deeper. 

Sometimes people get together for the wrong reason, or one person believes the other is different than they really are, or thinks they can change the other person, or the other person does change but not in a good way. Every failed relationship is different. Sometimes broke can't be fixed. Sometime it shouldn't  be fixed. 

Even long after Spring lost interest in me as anything other than a source of money, I tried to keep the marriage together. I failed to realize it was well beyond fixing. Maybe I would have realized this if I had paid more attention to the little things.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Women Who Pay Alimony

Although the vast majority of alimony is paid by men (+98%), there are cases of women having to pay it as well. They are none too happy about it. Sonia Delgado is one such woman who has written in support of Florida's proposed alimony reform bill. 

However, during the divorce, I learned a word I had never known — alimony. It never occurred to me that if I left this horrible situation, I would have to continue to work to pay a significant amount of my hard-earned income to a man who refused to work, abused his familyand still refuses to even look for work.

How could this happen to me in the land of the free? It happened because current Florida law allows it to happen and divorce lawyers drain families of all their savings and assets to get as much alimony as possible for their clients ... in this case, my ex-husband. The inconsistency of outcomes in court encourages lengthy and costly litigation. And, who really wins? Divorce lawyers do.

Exactly. 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

George Floyd & The Duty To Report

After the murder conviction of George Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin, the three other former officers who were present were convicted on federal charges of violating Floyd's civil rights and will be tried in June on state charges of aiding and abetting the murder. 

Because Chauvin was the senior officer present many people feel the other officers should not have been charged as they were only "following orders". This is a similar defense used by many German soldiers under the Nazis and will likely be used by Russian soldiers who have committed war crimes in Ukraine.  

Although I am not completely unsympathetic to the situation the officers, other than Chauvin, were in, the fact remains they took an oath to uphold the law and protect the public.  There was no "except if the perpetrator was an officer" caveat to that oath. 

Likewise, officers of the court, which includes all lawyers, are obliged to abide by the Lawyers Rules of Professional Conduct which includes a duty to report clause. Specifically:

Rule 8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct

(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

(b) A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of the applicable Code of Judicial Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.

(c) This rule does not require disclosure of information that Rule 1.6 requires or allows a lawyer to keep confidential or information gained by a lawyer or judge while participating in a lawyers assistance program or other program providing assistance, support, or counseling to lawyers who are chemically dependent or have mental disorders.

Yet, as far as I know, not a single lawyer or anyone else in the legal system who has read the evidence agaisnt Nellie Wince has reported her. Not one. Indeed I cannot find a single example in the state where a lawyer has reported another for lying in family court, a clear and egregious violation of the rules. It is just not how things work. Time to change that. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Licorice Pizza

I found the movie Licorice Pizza, which won several Oscars, very enjoyable except for one, naggingly disturbing thing - the romance part. You see the male lead, who is just 15 years old, falls madly in love, at first sight no less, with the female lead who is 25 years old. Although at first she resists, in the end she falls just as madly in love with him. This isn't unrequited love, it is fully requited. 

Again, in case you missed it, he is 15 years old and she is 25. 

Imagine if the genders of the two leads were reversed. A 15 year old girl falling in love with a 25 year old man and in the end she gets him. There would be outrage. It would be cited as typical male oppression of women. People would say the movie is exactly what is wrong with Hollywood. It would be viewed as sexist. It certainly would not have won any Oscars. 

Why is that true? I think the best explanation is that our society is so fundamentally sexist we believe deep down in our collective conscious that a 15 year old boy is more responsible than a 15 year old girl. 

Same reason we believe a woman who divorces a man to be with someone else, refuses to contribute anything to the upbringing of the children yet is able to make just as much as him, ends up with lifetime alimony. It would never happen if the genders were reversed.  Which is precisely the reason I am so in favor of equal rights. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

A Moral Holiday

The Atlantic has an interesting and relevant article about how the United States is currently going through a moral holiday

The United States is now in the midst of an extended moral holiday, in both senses. I see many manifestations of this moral holiday converging, and two in particular: first, the orgy of violence on display by supposed law-enforcement officers long before the current protests began; and second, the looting, vandalism, and other forms of public lawbreaking by rioters at the fringe of the earliest protests. This second form of lawbreaking, occurring over a period measured in days, is as nothing compared with the steady accumulation of police violence over decades. What these phenomena have in common is an implicit sense that we are in a time of accelerating change, making what was forbidden suddenly licit. Criminal acts that were heretofore shameful, such as beating unarmed, peaceful protesters or burgling a hair salon, are now performed in full knowledge that dozens of cellphone cameras are turned in your direction.

Although true, I disagree it is a new phenomenon. By many measures we are far more moral than in the past. Slavery and overt racism (when is the last time being in the KKK was considered cool?) are long gone. More recently I remember huge battles over gay marriage just a few years ago which quickly petered out to the point where it is widely accepted today. Nor do many people today argue women should be paid less than men for equal work.   

Although I think the legal industry is one where crime is rampant, I do not believe this is anything new. Unfortunately, reform in the legal system is well behind reform in other areas such as law enforcement as evidenced by the lack of reporting on the issue. Hopefully this changes. Soon. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Florida (Again)

Both the house and senate in Florida have again passed alimony reform legislation. Now it is up to Governor Ron DeSantis to sign or veto it.  I am not much of a DeSantis fan but I hope he does the right thing for once an sign it. 

It is difficult for me to believe that anyone in this day and age would argue against:

The bill, which Gruters has promoted as an improvement on past efforts, would repeal court-ordered permanent alimony — leaving bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative and durational alimony for all divorces going forward.

Two measures written in the legislation were the subject of the bulk of debate: a 50-50 time-share presumption and the elimination of permanent alimony on previous, modifiable agreements.

Those who argue agaisnt the bill I presume also argued agaisnt the Equal Right Amendment.  

To quote Jim Morrison from the Doors, "People are strange." 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Remembering the Equal Right Amendment Battle

In my younger days (grade school/high school), there was a huge debate over the proposed equal rights amendment. Even at the time I thought it bizarre that anyone would oppose it. It seemed to me that it would be down right embarrassing to oppose equal rights, something akin to supporting slavery.  Yet the amendment never passed. 

As the linked Wikipedia article above states it failed because:

the ERA seemed destined for ratification until Phyllis Schlafly mobilized conservative women in opposition. These women argued that the ERA would disadvantage housewives, cause women to be drafted into the military and to lose protections such as alimony, and eliminate the tendency for mothers to obtain custody over their children in divorce cases

No wonder I supported the ERA. 

Women should be drafted into the military, alimony should not be based on gender or better yet eliminated, and gender should not be take into account when determining custody. It is just has hard for me now to understand how anyone would think otherwise as it was understanding why anyone would be opposed to equal rights for women when I was a kid. 

The irony is that without obtaining the very things Schlafy feared would happen, we will never have equal pay for equal work nor equal representation of women in politics and corporate leadership positions. 

We have a long way to go to achieve a truly equal society. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

A Plea For Ethics

An article in California Legal Ethics is a plea for ethics in the legal professions.

Unfortunately there is a huge financial incentive for lawyers, especially in family practice, to not only violate their own professional rules but the law. This combined with the almost insignificant chance they will be held accountable has created a system where crime by lawyers has become endemic. 

Family law has always been difficult. Trends in society, the ongoing destruction of personal norms of appropriate behavior, the erosion of social trust, and the increased competition between lawyers for clients have made it more difficult. The lawyer-as-hired-gun meme still has currency, and it is often emphasized by lawyers themselves in their advertising, based on the idea that clients want aggressive lawyers. Many of my clients who are family law lawyers tell me that family law practice is uglier now than they ever seen it.
No, all is not fair in love, war or the practice of law. They all have ethical rules that must be followed if we are to live in a world not governed by brute force.

Only we can choose what kind of society we live in.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Perception

I have a friend who often makes comments about how oppressed women are by men. For example, she recently stated that the whole Viagra/Cialis/etc industry is about men dominating women. Which I found interesting because I had always thought of it as an industry whose very existence is to make women happy, After all I remember Elisabeth Dole, the wife of former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, and head of the American Red Cross response to her husband appearing in advertisements promoting Viagra.

The funny thing to me is that my friend, who is on her third marriage, is completely dependent on her husband both financially and in life. She doesn't even drive because, well she doesn't have to as her husband can do that for her. 

Everyone perceives reality in their own way. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Frank Serpico's Story Is Still Relevant

Although perhaps not as well known today, the 1973 movie Serpico about New Your City police detective Frank Serpico's effort to expose corruption in the police force, was at one time well known by virtually everyone. Maybe it should be again. 

In testimony before the Knapp Commissions, which was set up to look into his allegations, Serpico testified:

Through my appearance here today ... I hope that police officers in the future will not experience ... the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to ... for the past five years at the hands of my superiors ... because of my attempt to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist, in which an honest police officer can act ... without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated ... at higher levels in the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings ... is a conviction by police officers that the department will change. In order to ensure this ... an independent, permanent investigative body ... dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential ...

The commission concluded that Serpico's allegations were substantially correct. 

Corruption sadly still exists in many police departments today but no where more so that in the family court system.  

What happened to Frank Serpico? 

Serpico was shot during a drug arrest attempt on February 3, 1971, at 778 Driggs Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Four officers from the Brooklyn North police command had received a tip that a drug deal was about to take place. Two policemen, Gary Roteman and Arthur Cesare, stayed outside, while the third, Paul Halley, stood in front of the apartment building. Serpico climbed up the fire escape, entered by the fire escape door, went downstairs, listened for the password, then followed two suspects outside.

The police arrested the young suspects, and found one had two bags of heroin. Halley stayed with the suspects, and Roteman told Serpico, who spoke Spanish, to make a fake purchase attempt to get the drug dealers to open the door. The police went to the third-floor landing. Serpico knocked on the door, keeping his hand on his revolver. The door opened a few inches, just far enough to wedge his body in. Serpico called for help, but his fellow officers ignored him.

Serpico was then shot in the face by the suspect with a .22 LR pistol. The bullet struck just below the eye, lodging at the top of his jaw. He fired back, striking his assailant, fell to the floor, and began to bleed profusely. His police colleagues refused to make a "10-13" dispatch to police headquarters, indicating that an officer had been shot. An elderly man who lived in the next apartment called the emergency services, reporting that a man had been shot, and stayed with Serpico. When a police car arrived, aware that Serpico was a fellow officer, they transported him in the patrol car to Greenpoint Hospital.

The bullet had severed an auditory nerve, leaving him deaf in one ear, and he has since suffered from chronic pain from bullet fragments lodged in his brain. He was visited the day after the shooting by Mayor John V. Lindsay and Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy, and the police department harassed him with hourly bed checks. He later testified before the Knapp Commission.

The circumstances surrounding Serpico's shooting were quickly called into question. Serpico, who was armed during the drug raid, had been shot only after briefly turning away from the suspect, when he realized that the two officers who had accompanied him to the scene were not following him into the apartment, raising the question whether Serpico had actually been taken to the apartment by his colleagues to be murdered. There was no formal investigation. Edgar Echevarria, who had shot Serpico, was subsequently convicted of attempted murder. On May 3, 1971, New York Metro Magazine published an article, "Portrait of an Honest Cop", about him, a week before he testified at the departmental trial of an NYPD lieutenant accused of taking bribes from gamblers.

Speaking out agaisnt corruption is risky. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

When Lawyers Criticize Judges

What happens when a lawyer criticizes a judge for inappropriate behavior?  More often than you think they are retaliated against. Because of this, attorneys are reluctant to ever speak out against judges no matter how bad they are. Which is a clear violation of the lawyers rules of professional conduct as the rules obligate attorneys to report misconduct. It is a vicious cycle of every increasing ethical and criminal acts within the justice system.  It is fosters a culture of corruption which becomes self-perpetuating. 

At the very least, the state of free speech in the legal profession in 2022 strongly counsels caution before a lawyer criticizes judges for their political leanings, integrity, intellect or motivation. 

I talked to a lawyer once about my case who said reporting ethical or criminal violations by fellow lawyers or judges in family court was career killing. It just isn't done despite the rules and law.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Unreliability Of Memory

Most people believe memory functions like a recording. Sure the image may degrade over time but what is there is essentially a true representation of what happened. The truth is that memory does not work that way. Not at all.  Memory is a  or model of what happened which is recreated from sparse data stored in the brain each time it is brought into consciousness. Furthermore the model changes each time a memory is recalled. 

Indeed it is quite easy to change people's memory or even create entirely new ones.  

"We can easily distort memories for the details of an event that you did experience," says Loftus. "And we can also go so far as to plant entirely false memories - we call them rich false memories because they are so detailed and so big."

She has persuaded people to adopt false but plausible memories - for instance, that at the age of five or six they had the distressing experience of being lost in a shopping mall - as well as implausible ones: memories of witnessing demonic possession, or an encounter with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland. Bugs Bunny is a Warner Brothers character, and as the Los Angeles Times put it earlier this year, "The wascally Warner Bros. Wabbit would be awwested on sight", at Disney.

This is the reason I am so disappointed with our legal system. Not so much for its reliance on people's memories, but for its dismissal of hard evidence which does not rely on memory. I have unassailable evidence Nelly Wince committed fraud but this was totally ignored by the court. Furthermore both the county attorney and his criminal division director lied in writing in an attempt to cover it up. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Florida Tries Again In 2022

Florida is back at it with another attempt at alimony reform. This time with the support of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. However, the proposed bill still contains the presumption that parents will share time equally which is the main reason previous bills died. 

Here is the text of the proposed bill:

Dissolution of Marriage; Revises various provisions relating to dissolution of marriage & alimony; creates presumption that equal time-sharing is in best interests of minor child; authorizes separate adjudication of issues in dissolution of marriage under certain circumstances; provides for temporary orders to protect parties & their children.

I find it odd that joint custody is so conversational in this day and age. It seems, well, archaic. Someday, maybe. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

More Corrupt Judges

Continuing my recent theme of corrupt judges - one of most notorious cases of judicial corruption is the Kids for Cash scandal in Pennsylvania where in 2008 two judges were convicted of putting kids in jail, often for long sentences, after they committed petty crimes or, as was often the case, they were framed for committing such crimes. In return, the judges received million of dollars in kickbacks from the privately run prisons the children were sent to.

One of the judges was Mark Ciavarella who is about as bad a person as they come. Reddit had an interesting discussion about him earlier this month. 

Here is a heart wrenching confrontation of Ciavarella and his nearly equally bad attorney Al Flora by a mom who lost her son due to Ciavarella's actions:  

Friday, January 14, 2022

Slap On The Wrist

What happens when a lawyer takes money from a client for the purpose of bribing the police but then keeps the money for herself? Less than you would think. This is exactly what Woodburry, Minnesota lawyer Kristi McNeilly did. Her punishment was 180 days in the county workhouse, restitution of the money stolen and three years of probation from the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. That's right, she still gets to practice law. 

Given that Nelly Wince committed blatant fraud in court and was rewarded by the court for it, I should be surprised McNeilly received any punishment at all. The Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board is an open joke. 

Furthermore, imagine what would happen to a 25 year old black man who stole $15,000 stating he was going to bribe the police with it? No doubt he would be put in jail for many, many years. 

Equality and justice in our legal system is illusionary.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Occasionally Judges Are Caught

99% of the time judges who commit illegal and unethical acts get away with them. Occasionally they get caught, but most often it is not law enforcement or the legal system that catches them but public opinion. 

Michelle Odinet was a Lafayette, Louisiana judge who while witnessing a burglary outside her home used words that tell a lot about hwo she is:

“We have a n-----, It’s a n-----, like a roach.”

At first she claimed it was due to sedatives she was taking and tried to keep her job but public pressure forced her to resign. 

It isn't clear how the video of Odinet's words were released but given she was at home with her family, I am guessing one of her kids or husband was not too happy with her to begin with.