A mother begs relief, charging parental alienation. Michigan Judge Lisa Gorcyca shows damaging, and uneven, enforcement of family law that favors fathers
CHICAGO, January 9, 2016 – A third case involving the controversial Oakland County, Michigan judge puts in doubt her commitment to stopping parental alienation.
Judge Lisa Gorcyca cited parental alienation for much of the drama in the Tsimhoni custody case. Before sentencing the three Tsimhoni children to juvenile hall for refusing lunch with their father, she said, “I see kids who have been physically abused, tortured, raped, that still want to talk to their father; that still respect their father. Your kids have none of those things,” and this case is “tied for my worst parental alienation case.”
On Sept. 29, 2010, Jannell Eagan also walked into Gorcyca’s courtroom complaining of parental alienation. She said her children had been poisoned against her and that her ex-husband was not allowing her to spend time with them during her custody time.
“I was supposed to have seen my third daughter for two periods one hour at a time. A week: and I have not seen her,” Eagan said at this hearing. “I’ve been trying to be heard by you to assist with reuniting me with my third daughter…The kid’s been alienated. The father’s not doing anything,” Eagan said before being cut off by Gorcyca.
“What is your proof of alienation? You just can’t say it; you have to have proof. What is the proof?”
This statement appears to contradict Gorcyca’s stand in the Tsimhoni case. In that case, the Tsimhoni children said their father was abusive and Gorcyca didn’t believe them. Gorcyca switched custody in the Tsimhoni case, forced the children into reunification therapy and has forbidden any contact between them and their mother, all without an evidentiary hearing.
In Eagen case, Renee Gucciardo Eagan’s ex-husband’s attorney, also claimed that the reason the children rejected Jannell Eagan was abuse.
“She has no relationship with (her daughter) because of the abuse perpetrated… She communicates with the child. Now, for whatever reason the child isn’t communicating with her for whatever she’s done, it’s not my clients fault.”
“While driving her to swim practice, I took her face in my hands and told her to look at me while I spoke to her. This turned into an ‘exaggerated assault’ that her father was thrilled to report to CPS,” Eagan said of one of the complaints.
Eagan said Child Protective Services employees came to her home later that day and took her daughter to Children’s Village, where the Tsimhoni kids also spent time, but an investigation of both complaints ultimately cleared her.
Eagan said she was investigated by CPS twice, including this incident, and cleared both times.
Just before she sentenced him to juvenile hall, one of the Tsimhoni children said nearly the same thing to Judge Gorcyca,
“I do not apologize for – for not talking to him because I have a reason for that, and that’s because he’s violent and he – I saw him hit my mom and I’m not gonna talk to him.”
In the Eagan case, unlike the Tsimhoni case, Gorcyca did nothing to force a relationship.
“Judge Gorcyca has served on the Family Court bench for nearly eight years and has gained a reputation as being a conscientious and even-handed judge. She treats litigants and attorneys with courtesy and respect.”
A message left at Gucciardo’s office was left unreturned. Gucciardo previously represented and was dismissed by Maya Tsimhoni, local media made some hay of Maya Tsimhoni’s having 16 attorneys during the course of the custody.
But Eagan said rather than being abusive, she was the strict disciplinarian while her ex-husband didn’t discipline the children.
In the Tsimhoni case, CPS concluded that Omer Tsimhoni threatened to kill his children in 2011 and was forced to see his children only in supervised visits after that.
Despite that evidence, Judge Gorcyca forced the three Tsimhoni children to spend time with the father they all said was abusive. In one extreme March 2015 order, Gorcyca took on the role of parent, instructing,
“The children shall lose TV, electronics, friends, etc if they do not communicate with their father.”
Eagan said Gorcyca showed her none of that consideration and demanded she hire a psychologist to prove parental alienation: an impossibility since Eagan was representing herself and couldn’t afford a lawyer, let alone a psychologist.
Eagan’s children were never forced to appear to explain why they refused to see her, never had electronics or other amenities removed for refusing to see her, and certainly were never detained for refusing to see her.
Gorcyca appointed several court professionals to study parental alienation in the Tsimhoni case, in sharp contrast with her behavior in Eagan’s case.
Bill Lansat, the guardian ad litem in the Tsimhoni case, was also the GAL in this case. He championed Gorcyca’s conclusions of parental alienation.
“At today’s hearing Gorcyca and the children’s court-appointed guardian, William Lansat, blasted Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, for alienating the children from their father. Lansat asked Gorcyca to send the kids to the camp,” a Detroit Free Press story stated.
Lansat made no such pronouncements in Eagan’s case.
“I was continually baffled by Bill Lansat’s incompetency in helping to manage my family’s problems. He watched as each one of my children disappeared from my life. He was supposed to be looking out for their best interests and instead seemed to be following their father’s instructions and actually aided and abetted in keeping them from me,” Eagan said of Lansat.
Kurt Schnelz is a principle at the firm where Lansat is of Counsel, and he too signed on to the letter in support of Gorcyca. Gene Schnelz, of the same firm, performed Gorcyca’s marriage in Florida.
An email to the firm was left unreturned.
Lansat didn’t respond to an email to respond to this story. There is a gag order in the Tsimhoni case but not in the Eagan case, so Lansat is free to comment on this case.
In Eagan’s case, rather than trying to reunite her with her children, Gorcyca placed extra obstacles. Part of a Feb. 23, 2011 order states, “Defendant mother’s parenting time is suspended with (her son) until defendant mother gets into treatment with (her son).”
Eagan told CDN that she violated that order about nineteen months later and went to see her son perform at a recital. As a result, she was jailed for six nights.
“Yes, my offense today is that I disobeyed a court order. Somehow a legal document was put into place that prevents me from interacting with my youngest child, who is now 13. I have not seen him in more than 19 months,” Eagan said shortly before she was sentenced.
Judge Gorcyca has jailed another female litigant, Debra Flowers, five different times, including once during cancer treatment.
In all three cases involving misdeeds by Gorcyca, it is the female who is the target and in two cases the target has little or no funds. In all three cases, mothers were kept away from their children for months, and sometimes, years at a time.
Judge Gorcyca’s chambers declined to comment though this case is no longer active.
Eagan said three of her four children are over 18, and she sees all of them sparsely.
Gorcyca is a facing a hearing after the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission (MJTC) found several problematic things in her handling of the Tsimhoni case. Her lawyer, Tom Cranmer, declined to respond to an email.
Gorcyca recently asked for and received an extension to respond to those charges.
The three Tsimhoni children have not been allowed to have any contact with their mother in nearly six months though Gorcyca recently recused herself from that case, citing the appearance of impropriety after the complaint from the MJTC.Click here for reuse options!
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