Got Sexism?

I know this story is now a little old – I’ve been behind on posting – but, look, even the WaPo is late in the game! This is an article about a California milk ad that goes too far in portraying men as victims of women’s PMS. It’s one of those campaigns that make you groan, ugh…

PMS-themed California milk ad campaign shocks

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California milk producers have modified an eyebrow-raising advertising campaign that promoted their product to men as a way to lessen the effects of premenstrual syndrome in their wives or girlfriends. But some critics wonder if it’s time the dairy organization moved on to greener pastures.

Advertisements

Peter Jamison exposes horrors of family court

Peter Jamison writes an outstanding article detailing the horrors of the family court system:

California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody

Interviews with dozens of parents, activists, lawyers, judges, children, and former family court employees, as well as a review of hundreds of pages of family and criminal court documents, indicate that the system’s methods for assessing whether child sexual abuse or spousal battery has taken place — findings that are critical to deciding whether a parent should retain custody of or visitation rights with a child — fall short of the standards accepted by domestic-violence experts and the criminal-justice community.

And here lies the problem:

Still, advocates of reform say a few widespread problems lead to poor court decisions, such as inadequate procedures for investigating abuse; the use of controversial and potentially dangerous psychological theories about child welfare; and a prejudice toward joint parental custody, even when one parent is clearly violent. Compounding these issues, critics say, is a lack of accountability for judges, attorneys, custody evaluators, and other court personnel, who enjoy immunity from lawsuits even in cases where they make decisions that do obvious harm to children and parents.

And this:

Family courts have no juries, and litigants who lack the money for a private attorney have no right to counsel. (As a result, many parents without financial means must represent themselves.) In the place of the traditional fact-finding apparatus that operates daily in criminal and civil courtrooms — dueling lawyers, and jurors charged with determining the facts of a case from available evidence — family court substitutes a cadre of individuals who make decisions in concert. Foremost is the judge. And it is with the judges, in some ways, that the problem starts.

Few aspirants to the bench relish the idea of refereeing the roughly 20 percent of divorces that are hostile enough to end up in family court. As a result, many assigned to this branch of the judiciary are rookies — paying their dues for a year or two before moving on to the more genteel arenas of civil or criminal law — or lifers without the aptitude to move on. “Family courts are the ugly stepchild of the law,” Oakland family law attorney Kim Robinson says. “It’s considered the bottom of the barrel. Almost no one wants to be there as a judge. The judges come in with a major attitude about it from the get-go.”

Family law judges are aided by a range of subjudicial officials, including psychological evaluators and minors’ counsels, attorneys appointed to represent the children in disputed custody cases. The courts also rely on mediators, who attempt to arbitrate custody agreements between parents. Failing such an agreement, they have the authority in many California jurisdictions to make a recommendation about custody rights.

Complaints about how all these people do their jobs aren’t new, and in light of their high-stakes, high-conflict work environment, some amount of dissatisfaction among litigants is to be expected. But officials in state government have begun to take the sheer volume of those complaints seriously.

Another problem:

While the system’s mistakes affect both mothers and fathers, men are statistically more likely to be the perpetrators of the types of serious crimes that highlight the family courts’ shortcomings — as they are in all the cases, substantiated by criminal convictions, examined in this article. The topic of gender’s correlation with violent crime is hotly debated, but studies have found that only 6 percent of sex offenses and 5 percent of serious incidents of domestic violence are committed by women.

Sound advice:

“The way that the courts have to work is evidence-based, not theory-based.”

And more good advice:

Geraldine Stahly, a psychology professor at California State University at San Bernardino, likewise says that the family courts need to be revamped so as to devote more attention to evidence — as do other courts of law — rather than the opinions of individuals such as psychologists, mediators, or even judges. “I would like to see judges relying a lot less on psychological evaluations and a lot more on the facts of a case,” she says.


Press release: Teen videos show human toll of scathing CA audit report

 

 

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:

January 24, 2011 Scott Alonso- 415.747.4199 cell

Steve Burdo- 415.261.4784 cell

Teen Videos Show Human Toll of Scathing CA Audit Report

Thursday’s Report Slams Family Courts for Unqualified, Untrained Professionals

SACRAMENTO – Compelling video and written testimony from California teenagers about uncaring family court professionals ruining their lives and forcing them into contact with abusive parents shows the tragic human impacts of an official report released Thursday by the California Bureau of State Audits.

“These video clips show the tragic impacts of a broken family court system, said Kathleen Russell, Executive

Director for the Marin County-based Center for Judicial Excellence. “The American people will be stunned that this is going on. These untrained court staff and appointees yield tremendous power over the physical and sexual safety of children of divorcing parents, and their mistakes result in thousands of kids being held hostage and kept away from loving family members,” she said. The teen videos detail family court problems in California counties that were not audited, as well as one of the two counties that was.

The long awaited California state audit report slams the Marin and Sacramento Family Courts for failing to ensure that the court professionals who routinely make recommendations that determine the outcomes of contested custody disputes possess the minimum qualifications and training to perform their duties. The report also criticized the courts’ handling of litigant complaints, potential conflicts of interest and payments to minor’s counsel, among other issues.The audit was stalled for eight months until the courts were threatened with subpoenas because they refused to grant access to the records and personnel needed to conduct the audit. It was later discovered that the Marin Family Court shredded important mediator working files for more than two weeks during the standoff with the State Auditor, and the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts admitted to granting prior permission to theMarin Court to destroy family court documents during the audit. The California audit is the first government review of a family court system in many years, and its results have national relevance since the family court crisis extends far beyond California’s borders.

The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence estimates that 58,000 children per year in

America are being court-ordered into full custody or unsupervised visits with parents that the children claim are physically and sexually abusing them. The California report indicates that numerous mediators working in the audited counties lacked proof that they had completed even the basic required training in domestic violence.

The report validates ongoing complaints that have been filed for years by attorneys, litigants, child advocates and domestic violence groups that the family court culture is marked by a severe lack of accountability and even lawlessness. These claims have been repeatedly raised – and routinely ignored by courts nationwide– for more than a decade. Courts have routinely dismissed legitimate reports of due process violations as the handiwork of“a few disgruntled litigants.”“These are things we have been talking about for years, and we’ve been ignored,” says Connie Valentine of the California Protective Parents Association.

Contact Scott Alonso at 415-747-4199 or scott@kathleenrussell.com for access to the teens’ sensitive testimony & videos. Visit http://www.bsa.ca.gov/ to download the audit report; and www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org 

http://ca3cacaca.blogspot.com/ , and http://www.protectiveparents.com/cases.html for more information on the national family court crisis that is placing thousands of kids in harm’s way.

 

Abused victims become accused victims

Women in prison for killing pimp gets clemency

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A woman who was 16 when she ambushed and killed her former pimp in a Southern California motel room has been granted clemency by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sara Kruzan, now 32, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for the 1994 shooting death of George Gilbert Howard. Prosecutors said Kruzan was no longer working for Howard when she killed him.

Calling it “excessive,” Schwarzenegger commuted Kruzan’s life sentence to 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Her clemency petition to the governor, approved Sunday, cited years of abuse and psychiatric reports saying she suffered from battered women’s syndrome.

Sen. Leland Yee, who advocated for Kruzan, said she had turned her life around in prison and could be a role model for abused kids if released. Her case was the centerpiece of Yee’s failed bill to allow reduction of life sentences for minors.

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/01/02/2217148/woman-in-prison-for-killing-pimp.html#ixzz1AIyTC2zq

16 years old when she was a sex worker?! Where is the outrage when minors are being pimped?! The media is not helping by glamorizing pimps’ attire, pimping rides, etc.

Media Advisory: Placing Children with Batterers

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma
12th Assembly District
For Immediate Release: May 27, 2009
Contact: Catalina Hayes-Bautista
Phone: (916) 319-2012
Cell: (510) 499-9637 

                       

Media Advisory
 
ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN WITH BATTERERS
Assemblywoman Ma Holds Select Committee on Domestic Violence hearing to look at whether the interest of the child is taken into account
 

 

WHEN:         Thursday, May 28th at 1:30 pm
 
WHERE:       California State Capitol, Sacramento – Room 126

 

WHO:            Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Chair
                        Members of the Select Committee on Domestic Violence

 

WHAT:         Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Select Committee on Domestic Violence will convene an informational hearing into allegations that family courts are placing children with batterers.  The Committee will hear from victims, experts, judges and advocates on a child’s best interest in the family court system. The hearing seeks to shed light on stories shared with Assemblywoman Fiona Ma by mothers who are victims of domestic violence and have been in the court system for years, fighting for their children’s best interest.

 

 

###