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.)
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
IACHR calls for U.S. "to conduct a serious, impartial and exhaustive investigation into systemic failures."
IACHR PUBLISHES REPORT ON CASE JESSICA LENAHAN OF THE UNITED STATES
Washington, DC, August 17, 2011 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) made public today its merits report on Case No. 12.626, Jessica Lenahan (formerly Jessica Gonzales), United States, related to the duties of the State to respond to situations of domestic violence with diligent protection measures.
Jessica Lenahan, a victim of domestic violence along with her daughters Leslie, Katheryn and Rebecca Gonzales, ages 7, 8 and 10, obtained a restraining order against her ex-husband from the Colorado Courts in May 21, 1999. Not knowing the whereabouts of her daughters, Jessica Lenahan had eight contacts with the Castle Rock Police Department during the evening of June 22, 1999 and the morning of June 23, 1999. In each of her telephone calls and discussions with the police agents, she requested efforts to locate her daughters and she informed them that she possessed a protection order against Simon Gonzales. Her contacts were met with a police response that was fragmented, uncoordinated and unprepared, and it did not respect the terms of the restraining order. That morning, Simon Gonzales drove his pick-up truck to the Castle Rock Police Department and fired shots through the window. There was an exchange of gunfire with officers from the station in the course of which he was fatally wounded and killed. The deceased bodies of the three girls were found in his truck.
The restraining order was the only means available to Jessica Lenahan at the state level to protect herself and her children in a context of domestic violence, and the police did not effectively enforce it. The state apparatus was not duly organized, coordinated, and ready to protect these victims from domestic violence by adequately and effectively implementing the restraining order. These failures to protect constituted a form of discrimination in violation of the American Declaration, since they took place in a context where there has been a historical problem with the enforcement of protection orders; a problem that has disproportionately affected women since they constitute the majority of the restraining order holders.
The Commission established that the State did not duly investigate the complaints presented by Jessica Lenahan before the death of her daughters. The State also failed to investigate the circumstances of their deaths once their bodies were found. Consequently, their mother and their family live with this uncertainty, and the law enforcement officers in charge of implementing the law have not been held accountable for failing to comply with their responsibilities.
The Commission encourages the United States to comply with the recommendations contained in the Merits Report, which include to conduct a serious, impartial and exhaustive investigation into systemic failures that took place related to the enforcement of Jessica Lenahan’s protection order, to reinforce through legislative measures the mandatory character of the protection orders and other precautionary measures to protect women from imminent acts of violence, and to create effective implementation mechanisms, among others.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
Useful Links--for live links, click on the title above or post this link in your browser:
Admissibility Report on Case No. 12.626
Merits Report on Case No. 12.626
IACHR Webpage where the Reports on Cases are published
IACHR Press Office
Website of the IACHR
(Look below for a prior posting in August on this IACHR report.)
September 18, 2011
Controversial Judge at the Center of A Tragic Death: Citizens Protest
Sacramento, CA - On Thursday, September 22, 2011, community members will hold a protest from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Sacramento Superior Court, 720 9th Street, Sacramentoregarding the abject failure of Sacramento family court to protect children in custody disputes. The protest will begin on the corner of 9th and H Streets.
One judge, Sacramento Family Court Judge Peter McBrien, has been a focus of community scrutiny for over a decade for his lack of judgment and destructive decisions. He destroyed ancient oak trees on a nature preserve to obtain a better view from his home which earned him the moniker of "Chainsaw" and resulted in a felony charge that he pled down to a misdemeanor. Additionally, he received a public reprimand from the Commission on Judicial Performance. He then became personally embroiled in the divorce case of Ulf Carlsson, and went far out of his way to destroy Mr. Carlsson by ensuring he was fired from his job. Judge McBrien committed numerous ethical violations along the way and earned another reprimand. Battered mothers report that he consistently places children with substantiated molesters, batterers, violent alcoholics, and drug addicts. Now, Judge McBrien failed to protect a toddler, who was then murdered.
After a statewide AMBER Alert, two-year-old Madeline Layla Samaan-Fay was found near Placerville, CA in her father's vehicle. She and her father Mourad Samaan were both dead.
Samaan had a pattern of not returning his daughter Madeline from visits and had told her mother that he was taking the child to Oregon against the court order. Prior to the toddler's death, Judge McBrien had refused to grant an ex parte request by Madeline's mother to order law enforcement to locate the father and child, and to place Samaan on supervised visits. Judge McBrien had a perfect opportunity to prevent this tragedy, but refused to assist the mother Marcia Fay, a California Deputy Attorney General, in locating and protecting her child.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has sharply rebuked the United States for failing to protect women and children in the Gonzalez v. United States decision in August 2011, stating that the U.S. practices discrimination and violation of the right to equality.
We can begin changing these destructive patterns by demanding that Judge McBrien be removed from family court and from any position that gives him authority over vulnerable children.
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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