Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut:
A grim Barack Obama made a powerful speech tonight from the Sandy Hook Elementary School auditorium, where he told residents not to lose heart in the wake of the devastating shootings that last Friday took 27 lives, including 20 children, 5 teachers, 1 school psychologist, and the gunman aged 20.

He slowly read the names of these innocent children, just 6 and 7 years old:

“Charlotte . . . Daniel . . . Olivia . . . Josephine . . . Ana . . . Dylan . . . Madeleine . . . Catherine . . . Chase . . . Jesse . . . James . . . Grace . . . Emilie . . . Jack . . . Noah . . . Caroline . . . Jessica . . . Benjamin . . . Avielle . . . Allison.”

The speech, it should be noted, came from his own hand and heart.

He then turned his attention to the living, which is where this column usually heads. It  should be read and thought about by everyone, but especially by Family Court judges, Family Court “specialist” lawyers, Family Court “child evaluators”, the justices on the Courts of Appeal, the justices on the State Supreme Court, and the mothers and fathers caught up in the throes of divorce and the, always, always, unavoidable betrayal of their children.

Obama said “This town reminds Americans what should really matter. . . ”

He pointed out that the nation is failing at what he called “our first task,” which was to care for the children of the nation.  “It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.”

He then asked: “Can we truly say that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? . . . a chance at a good life, with happiness and with purpose? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We are not doing enough, and we will have to change.”

We can’t tolerate this any more. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”

I hope I will be excused for focusing my thoughts on our living children – all ages, from young to old. They are still with us, they are not lost, and we still have a chance to get it right. Let this be a way of making amends for the dead.

Here is the full speech and text.


The result of what Adam Lanza did was evil, no question about that.

But was his intent evil? I don’t think so, because I don’t think that children are inherently evil.



December 14, 2012:
With the terrifying news out of Newtown Connecticut this morning, it is now more clear than ever that psychological profiling of any student demonstrating possibly dangerous behavior be ordered, and to hell with their personal right to privacy. When lives and guns are involved, emergency methods must be taken. It seems that these perpetrators are seeking closure of some kind. When that involves mass killing and the taking of their own lives, society is at risk, remains unprotected, and learns nothing.

It’s time the American Psychiatric Association got its act together. Let the ruling body immediately review the latest DSM-5, and “clean it up” to the extent of including a requirement that any individual inflicted with the pain of Parental Alienation (PAS or whatever)  HAS A FORM OF MENTAL SICKNESS. Until this is done, students wracked with overwhelming conflicts lurking in their inmost family relationships will continue to seek relief. It is worth noting that the first victim of this latest outrage by a twenty-year old male student was his sleeping gun-loving mother, and then on to the elementary school to take down teachers and babies. This happened in the peaceful Connecticut countryside community of Newtown. 28 people have died, including himself, and still counting!

[Piers Morgan on CNN publicized his opinions on gun violence, and incredibly, the NRA is asking for his eviction from the shores of the USA! This column appeared in MailOnline on December 30, the end of the year. He says it better than I could have done]

December 13, 2012:
I see in an article in the current Time Magazine (Dec. 17), a report on the new guidelines for Mental Illness. It summarizes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), used by doctors for their purposes and insurance companies, on which to base their decisions. The new features of the DSM-5 have just been approved, and will be published in May 2013. They’re just “cleaning it up” until then.

The article tells us that in the world of mental health, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is more or less the bible. Doctors use the DSM’s definitions to diagnose depression, stuttering, fetishism, schizophrenia and more than 300 other conditions. Insurance companies use it to justify reimbursements; without a DSM code, mental-health patients usually don’t get a dime. And the manual carries enormous cultural heft: when it stopped listing homosexuality as a mental disorder–after a 1974 psychiatrists’ debate in which being gay was deemed sane by a vote of 5,854 to 3,810–gay rights received a crucial boost.

Among the many conditions listed, those with affects caused by Hoarding, Bereavement, Binge Eating etc. are allowed; Aspergers and Autistics is a maybe, and Parental Alienation Syndrome is definitely not in.

Much has been written and much has been discredited in the efforts of Richard Gardner, who came up with it back in the early 1980s. But I’ve had personal reasons to revisit and rethink the case of Parental Alienation, and whether it rises to the level of a syndrome. There is a storm of controversy attached to it.

But first, what is a syndrome? Wikipedia comes up with this definition:

In medicine and psychology, a syndrome is the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs (observed by someone other than the patient), symptoms (reported by the patient), phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one or more features alerts the healthcare provider to the possible presence of the others.

Let’s assume that you are a divorced or separated parent, and that your kid is firmly alienated towards you, one of the parents, and there is no underlying reason! By underlying reason, I mean that you, the alienated parent has no history of abuse, violence, or drunken behavior, and instead your behavior has always been loving and steadfast and caring, and, even better, you have always provided financial support for the kid without protest. And in fact, used to have an excellent relationship.

I believe that the condition has become hard-wired into the child’s mental processes, and is therefore a form of clinical sickness capable of being rectified.

Well, the DSMs say that, nevertheless, it is not an insurable condition. It may require medical intervention, or it may require counseling, but it’s only if you go along with their opinion and it’s your choice. As far as the courts are concerned, it doesn’t exist as a syndrome, or an identifiable medical condition, and will probably refer to the DSM protocol.

It is my view that, lacking any other probable cause, a syndrome IS operating. Professional intervention is not only advisable, but, bearing in mind the kid’s future workplace career and college education, should be required by any licensing authority, and even ordered to be tackled by the medical profession, the schools, and the courts. The official view seems to be that the individual’s and family’s right to privacy comes first, and the public’s right to be safe and protected comes second.

Whether the other parent, the one conditioning the child towards alienation, should be punished is a different issue, already in hand. That parent may well go to prison if the other one pushes for it, for the courts frown on that behavior. But if that happened, even such an order most probably will not release the child from his or her frozen mental state, might even make it worse (“So you put my Dad/Mom in prison? I HATE you”), and therapy will still be needed. Please, do everyone, and your child, a favor.

First we had the Catholic Church, then Penn State; now the Boy Scouts of America scandal is coming out, and next you will be hearing much more about the massive coverup of abuse going on in the family court system, supposedly our court of last resort, but in reality all too often, enablers of a continuing crime perpetrated on our children.

Continue Reading Fox News Blows the Whistle and Leads the Way

Me looking dazed after meeting Piers Morgan and Jerry Springer at the Britweek dinner at the Beverly Wilshire

Yes. It is now eight years since I started this site. My readers (I have a few, sustained without the help of advertisers) will have noticed that I am surrounded by eminent law-firms, and that this site is hosted by a very successful entrepeneur under the name of Lexblog. Why am I allowed to continue? They are not, after all, my peers, or at least, I am not one of them. So what am I? Do I serve a purpose, and why am I being allowed to continue? Continue Reading EIGHT YEARS ON! is it really eight years?

So another “great” law firm goes to the wall, and it just happened.  Readers can see it for themselves in most of today’s newspapers. The NY Times goes into detail with the filed document.

This has been an opportunity for me to direct people to this site in their comments sections, to read of the experience of Lynn (Redgrave) and me at the hands of Finley Kumble, and the malpractice litigation back in 1987. Only one LA Times journalist gave us a fair shake of an interview, as I remember, reporting on how Lynn was “waiting for her day in court“.

Find it by going to the topics pane on the left, A SPACE FOR REFLECTION, and clicking on “House Calls“. Much will be learned from our real life experience. Forget the textbooks of legal theory, drowned in the smelly waters of good intentions.

April 17, 2012

So a further 30 million dollars is to be slashed from our court system here in California, the largest in the nation? This is on top of the 70 million already taken away this last fiscal year. That’s, get this, $100 MILLION DOLLARS. This means that by the end of June, there will be:

350 fewer employees

56 fewer courtrooms

No court reporters for civil trials unless bought and paid for by the litigants (Appeal? Good luck with that. Shoot the wounded? They may now shoot the living dead)

Continue Reading Justice: always delayed, often denied – now it’s…..rationed?

Our friend Richard Fine, (ex-Esq.) sat in one of the worst jails, the Men’s Central jail in Los Angeles, alone and ignored for a year and a half.  He believed in a cause, the cause of honesty and fair dealing by the exalted arbiters – Judges – who hold sway on the lives and well-being of our citizens.

Continue Reading Richard Fine, Found Guilty of Moral Turpitude?

AUGUST 1, 2009
I feel bad that here it is, over 2 years since the previous entry on the subject. The reasons are 2-fold:
1. I have had an extended health problem, heart attack, atrial fibrilation, pace-maker, and the side effects of powerful medication to keep the blood flowing and the ticker ticking. And ever-present feelings of depression and failure, due to the lack of closure on my past marriages (only 2) and connected relationships, which others sort to benefit from, and did but really didn’t, and the weird action of the real estate and stock market. I began to feel like the victim in a Priestley play.
2. On the bright side, I couldn’t get justice then, given the players and tools which they used to such unfair advantage. Enforced patience took place, and behold, a whole new ball game is in play. The old actors are retired out of the picture, dead, gone, or disabled, and a new President is throwing in the air all the old precepts and practises, and we are watching where the pieces are falling. Many people don’t like it, don’t like it at all.
Me, I say give it a chance; the government is now getting into private enterprise, becoming the agency of last resort. Bleeding but leading. Making many entrepeneurs uncomfortable for good reason, claiming traditional first rights to that turf. But I don’t think what he’s doing should be confused with what many are calling creeping Socialism. That word, as I intimately knew it, meant Nationalisation British style after the 2nd World War. He’s no Clement Atlee, or Harold Wilson, and it goes without saying that industries will be able to buy themselves back when they clean up their act.
In this country, there are certain flagship enterprises that should not be allowed to fail, notwithstanding the incompetency of their operators. The Auto industry comes to mind, as does the Defense industry, the Aircraft industry, and the Airline industry (Pan Am, where are you, they saved Lockheed, didn’t they?) The Banking industry? Well, they were not just incompetent, they were to say the least, dishonest and corrupt in ways we’ll never know. Why? Because of the Regulatory industry, possibly partners in crime. And because of the Judicial industry, which is where I come in.
The Web has changed the conditions of blogging very swiftly, giving the public access to information in ways that make my efforts look like snail mail vs. email. Moreover, many old links have become dead links. Most newspapers are expecting us to pay for archived information.. What we need now is the original publishing entrepeneur, Benjamin Franklin. He’d have found a way. The L.A. Times? Bye Bye.
But Information, and transparency, is the most urgent need now, and from now on, I am going to pass along links and sites that ought to get the public interested and involved. I do believe that there is a groundswell of discontent in the land that in past years would have led to the thunder of revolution, rebellion, or civil war. Can’t do that any more. Check your History channel.
The upholding of the Constitution (the pursuit of… remember?) under Government Guarantees is soon upon us. Voices are being heard, and they should, must, be listened to. Enough from those who would say “let it pass. Get on with your life. It’s over now. Trust justice to take care of us. Everyone deserves what they get. Look in the mirror.” Well, I do. It’s my mirror, not yours, and I like what I see.
So, I give you links that may open your eyes, and get you involved. Let’s start with a lady who writes with clarity, flair, and elegance. I’m looking forward to meeting her.
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster (great name, grand-daughter of the famous photographer Arthur Pillsbury.) She advocates the return of Common Law Courts, the way it started back when. When judges were elected by you and me, and did not need to be trained liars, sorry, lawyers. It’s about returning the power to the people. She wrote this over a year ago. How to form Common Law Courts
MAY 18, 2007
This endless search is in grave peril in California.
We got a rare glimpse of what goes on, reading about yesterday’s celebrity-lawyer-filled training session held for Loyola law students in their legal lab. The program is named for Judge Larry Fidler who attended, and is otherwise currently presiding in the Phil Spector trial. In the interests of letting a little light into a tangled web of tactical deceit and see how it’s practiced, and at the cost of bestowing free publicity, let’s try to examine these much admired industry players; Gods, heroes, necessary evils or pond lives, depending on your courtroom experiences (if any) with them:
The celebrity attorney mentors of this new crop of law students included Paris Hilton‘s drunk driving specialist Richard Hutton. Then there was Thomas Mesereau Jr. who stood up for Michael Jackson in his famous molestaton case; Mark Geragos, who repped Scott Peterson and Gary Condit and Susan McDougal and Winona Ryder.
Harland Braun, who (for a while) worked for actor Robert Blake and director John Landis, and for a police officer accused of beating Rodney King, and at present Lane Garrison. Prosecutors included John Hueston who worked for the team against the Enron corp. Included too was K.C. Maxwell (a female), a rep for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and Richard Gabriel, a jury consultant in many high-profile trials. Oft-quoted Loyola Law School professors Laurie Levenson and Stanley Goldman were also on hand to throw in a few cent’s worth of observation.
I am unaware of any pro se’s being invited to sit in.
Braun made a stunning pronouncement. He said that as a general rule, it is better to keep your client off the stand and away from questions, for fear the truth might come out and destroy all the damage a skillful attorney may have done to the prosecution’s case.
So it’s now out in the open; we learn that TRUTH is not concomitant with JUSTICE!
Would that a few members of the public, prospective jurors and self-representing pro pers had been present to keep them honest with a few hard questions for the benefit of the students. But of course, they would not have been allowed in to monitor this clubby conference of celebrity’s highest paid beauts.
They might have been able to point out that ordinary middle-class members of the public would probably face bankruptcy were they to become clients and put themselves entirely in the hands of lawyers, none of whom are required to disclose their huge fees. But perhaps that is part of the attraction of a career in U.S. civil and criminal law.
It goes without saying that a defendant has the right to expect a judge will keep all the participants straight and in line when they are under his eye. But will it happen? I could not help hearing the ringing of a bell and recalling my own experience when I observed the mentoring of a bunch of Loyola law students by the judge presiding at my wife’s divorce trial against me. Actually in the courtroom, and it led to my pressing a 170.1 disqualification motion against Judge Arnold Gold (which was disallowed and failed – by him, of course.) Here’s how I did it:
My Motion to Disqualify