Lawyers & Judges
Linda's Opinion on Public Defenders
(Yes, I realize there are a few exceptions but way too many
fit this description when it comes to child detention cases.)
These court-appointed lawyers are usually horribly lame in child detention cases. They apparently see their role as being to stand by your side and teach you how to "cooperate" so you can be processed through the court and system and your family exploited, abused and used just like anyone else.
You see it is an advantage to the lawyer to get your case processed through the system as easily and quickly as possible - then he can go out to lunch with his buddies and have a good time and forget about you. They have processed so many of these cases they really don't feel your pain, couldn't care less, and don't want to do the work of a REAL defense if they can get away without doing it... so you must light a fire under your lawyer to get him to do some real defending.
Well, if I were you I'd write a letter to the lawyer telling him that I no longer want to be processed through the system, and that I expect an active defense of my case. YES you should complete the case plan but ALSO prepare some good legal documents telling your side and see that they are presented to the court. Your lawyer should be doing more than just teaching you how to cooperate like a good little victim. If he is too lazy and incompetent to prepare legal documents for you, then create them yourself and take them to him.
Lawyers who don't do their job of defending can be sued for
M A L P R A C T I C E
How To Represent Yourself In Court - by Attorneys Paul Bergman & Sara Berman-Barrett
Good primer on how to go about suing you-know-who in case you can't get an attorney to represent you properly. Hey, maybe you can sue your incompetent court-appointed pretender while you're at it!!
Discipline A Lawyer - send in an official complaint about the lawyers who didn't help you!!
Judicial Misconduct Investigators - this is a state-by-state list of organizations that investigate judicial misconduct complaints.
How To Find An Attorney - advice from the National Association of State VOCAL Organizations.
Judicial Watch - this organization wants to hear about your experiences with corrupt judges.
I do not recommend any of the attorneys listed below. I have heard that some of the fees charged are extremely high and some parents did not win their cases no matter how much was paid. However I list the websites as sources of information for those researching child welfare services and false child abuse charges. Some of these attorneys are well-known for having done a lot to help defend people in child welfare cases. They are to be commended for their compassion and effort.
Chase Law Group - false accusation defense group based in California.
Aaron R. Larson - a Michigan lawyer.
Paul R. Shunatona - this Texas attorney will take cases involving the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
Mass Outrage: Gregory A. Hession - excellent website of a Massachusetts attorney who takes CPS cases.
Michael K. Astrab - this Ohio attorney outlined the typical course of a dependency case.
Leslie A. Christensen, Attorney at Law - this Omaha, Nebraska attorney takes juvenile law cases.
Self-Representation Educational Videotapes - Attorney Bob Hirschfeld's four tapes on self-representation in court, appeals, and more. He is a fathers-rights advocate so if that offends you, don't go there, but he also has worked on behalf of CPS victims in his home state of Arizona.
Legal Help For the Poor - a listing of pro-bono organizations
Martindale - attorney search forms and ratings.
Lawyers.Com - find attorneys in your area.
False Allegations - excellent legal resources for fighting false accusations, from Massachusetts attorney Barbara C. Johnson.
Gary A. Preble - Washington attorney; excellent information.
Paula Werme - New Hampshire attorney specializing in helping falsely accused parents. Her website is very helpful for anyone wanting to know more about DCYF defense.
Accused - lots of helpful information, especially for those facing criminal charges in false accusation cases. This website is put up by a San Francisco Bay Area law firm. It contains lots of information on defense of false accusations, plus state-by-state support group information.
Bernard Schwartz - this attorney will consider your case only if you live in Southern California. Excellent website.
Child Protective Consulting - where you can have your case evaluated by an informed consultant.
National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center - an Ohio non-profit organization that helps with finding and advising attorneys nationwide. Also provides referrals to expert witnesses.
Marsden Hearing - how to ask the judge to let you change attorneys.
Suggested Arguments Against GAL's + Parenting Advisors - lots of good ideas here for discrediting antagonistic Guardian Ad Litems in court.
Allen Cowling, PI - false allegation defense specialist. Good site!
Defense of Child Sex Abuse Cases - if you've been falsely accused of sexual abuse of a child, you will want to read this!
The Problem With Plea-Bargaining - it is coercion... read this if you might be considering a plea bargain.
Custody Source - state by state list of resources, including pro-bono attorneys, to help with custody matters. I found a lot of broken links but there still may be good resources here.
Witches Against Religious Discrimination - if you are pagan and believe your CPS case is based on discrimination, you can ask WARD for help.
Big Class Action - a resource for people wanting to start or join a class action lawsuit.
Lawyers Representing a Child
in Abuse and Neglect Cases - ABA Standards of Practice - includes rules for attorneys acting as Guardian Ad Litems
Code of Conduct for United States Judges - what you should expect from the judges.
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges - Permanency Planning For Children Dept. - geared towards placing children for adoption.
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges - website for the judges that decide child welfare service cases.
Taint Hearings - a way for lawyers to challenge the credibility of interviews with children.
My Rights In Foster Care - print this page out to give to foster children! This is from the National Center for Youth Law.
FAQ: What is a Grand Jury? - what they can do. You can ask for their help in investigating CPS, the public defender's office, etc. - and while you're at it, consider making appearances to speak to your local County Board of Supervisors!
When Child Protection Investigations Harm Children - the ACLU's take on what happened to children during the Wenatchee, WA CPS scandal a few years back.
PRO-BONO Constitutional Legal Services - cases must have Constitutional merit to be accepted.
Nichols Consulting - help for victims of false accusations of child sexual abuse.
|Do you know this judge?|
|" ... he sits as judge, and condemns the innocent, and lets the guilty go free: for being spiritually blind, he calls evil good, and good evil ... " (James Nayler *)|
|Juvenile courts thrive on secrecy:|
|"And men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)|
The caseworkers have a "one size fits all" solution to getting evidence to use against you: the Psychological Evaluation process in which all parents are forced to submit to invasive questioning. Their hired help relies on CPS funding for an income so will invariably find something wrong with your psychological makeup. The solution is to realize this is a violation of Fifth Amendment privacy rights and to resist such an invasive ruling in every way possible while you're in court. Inform your attorney that you intend to fight for your Constitutional Rights to be upheld and as a sworn officer of the court, he has a responsibility to act on your behalf. Getting rid of Psychological Evaluations knocks the feet out from under the corrupt child welfare industry! One at a time we will win this battle against family intrusions and pop psychiatry.
[Note: If you are already court-ordered to complete a psychological evaluation, consult your attorney if you want to go back to court to ask that the ruling be changed. If you are court ordered to do something, then don't do it, CPS will use that against to to keep your children from you. Fight CPS And Win recommends that you complete all court-ordered activities on your reunification plan as quickly as possible.]
* James Nayler
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