Most scams, such as sub-prime mortgages and email scams, victimize adults. But custody scams victimize children. When government fails to protect children it throws open the doors to private contractors—lawyers and clinicians—who enrich themselves at the expense of children. (More about this child and the mother who tried to protect her appears below.)
Monday, August 30, 2010
Governor Carcieri's Legacy in Family Court
We are urging Governor Carcieri to begin the process of reforming this burdened court by asking the five candidates for chief judge (Justices Bedrosian, Capineri, D'Ambra, Forte, and Voccola) about their proposals for change.
These five candidates represent nearly 90 years on this bench. We have much to learn from their recommendations for court reform.
Two of the candidates, Justices Capineri and D'Ambra, spoke in their public interviews before the Judicial Nominating Commission about plans they had submitted to the Governor. We have asked the Governor to release these and any other proposals as public documents. We do not need a chief judge who is satisfied with the status quo.
Rhode Island is the only state that gives judges life tenure with no review.
Governor Carcieri knows that successful businesses need good methods of performance review.
For Rhode Island to "race to the top," our schools must develop sound procedures to evaluate teacher performance.
Likewise, successful courts need reliable methods to evaluate the performance of judges and court officers. Performance review will help to assure greater independence of judges. If it is well designed and properly done, it will guard against conflicts of interest.
We have asked Governor Carcieri to select a chief judge with a clear vision for reforming Family Court. Which of the candidates would endorse a request for private funding to begin a pilot project on judicial performance review in Family Court? That pilot project could set an example for our other courts.
We need a chief judge:
• who is not satisfied with the status quo that rewards political connections and cronies;
• who is committed to identifying systemic problems that place vulnerable children and families at risk;
• who possesses the managerial skill to implement a sound plan for reform; and
• whose strength of leadership can overcome apathy and entrenched resistance to reform.
We ask Governor Carcieri to select a new chief judge of Family Court who will make court reform a major part of the Governor's lasting legacy for Rhode Island.
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About the mother and child pictured at the top
She is one of countless children in Rhode Island subjected to severe emotional and physical trauma by Family Court when it helps abusive parents to maintain control over their families after divorce. When she turned 18 in 2007, she gave the Parenting Project permission to publish her picture on behalf of all children who have been held hostage by Rhode Island custody scams.
About the Author and the Cause