Speaking of Family

Connecticut courts impose outrageous costs on disabled families

By , Communities Digital News

Special crib designed by engineering students at SMU/ SMU.edu
Special crib designed by engineering students at SMU/ SMU.edu

CONNECTICUT, March 11, 2014 —The US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division confirmed in January 2014 that it has opened up an investigation into whether Connecticut judges are unfairly singling out and punishing disabled litigants caught in the State’s divorce courts. The announcement came in response to parents who complained that if the family courts even suspected a family member suffered from an impairment, judges denied them equal access to due process, took away their children, and imposed outrageous costs and fees on their families that drove them into bankruptcy and financial ruin.


READ ALSO: Connecticut Task Force hears accounts of victimization by family court


“The costs courts routinely impose on families with special needs are not only outrageous, but the services are often questionable, unbeneficial, or just outright harmful the litigants ordered to pay for them,” says Peter Szymonek, a Glastonbury father with an autistic child who is also an administrator for UnitedHealthcare.

Last January, Szymonik and roughly 80 other parents testified before the Connecticut Legislative Task Force on Child Custody to voice their concerns about the misuse of mental health evaluations and legal service providers and demand meaningful changes to the way the courts do business.  Parents complained the courts failed to consider whether their families wanted or could afford these services, but also appointed questionable professionals onto their cases for frivolous reasons, then failed to properly oversee them.   Some said that although they were never diagnosed with an impairment, they still ended up childless and in bankruptcy court due to financially devastating orders requiring them to pay so many questionable professionals in order to see their children.

Litchfield mother Susan Skipp told the task force how the court repeatedly ignored her treating doctor’s testimony, then cited it’s own perception that she had an undiagnosed (and unspecified) mental health condition as a reason why it decided to effectively sever her access to the her children and award her ex-husband sole custody in 2012 without finding her dangerous or unfit to parent them.

Skipp testified that she was ordered to pay $2,700 per month in fees and spend several hours per week commuting to purchase a few supervised hours of time per week with her children, an arrangement she called “extortion.” Skipp said that the orders effectively severed her parenting rights and relationship with her children in 2012 when she was unable to afford to purchase parenting time from the vendors specified in the court’s orders.


READ ALSO: CT task force spars with parents over billing fraud in family court


Recently, Skipp received a letter from the DOJ confirming the agency had opened an investigation into the court’s handling of her custody case.

COURTS ADMIT SINGLING OUT CASES INVOLVING IMPAIRED

Whether or not the protocols implemented by the Connecticut courts explicitly name the disabled as target group for singling out, the methods the Judicial Branch is utilizing in the family courts are effectively screening out the disabled on the basis of their disability.

Judicial Branch protocols explain that the courts have a special process for screening out and handling “high conflict” divorce cases like Skipp’s, which are sent to the Regional Family Trial Docket (RFTD) where guardian ad litems, mental health and legal professionals intervene to attempt to resolve the case.  The Branch says this is necessary because unlike most cases which settle out of court, resolution of these highly contested cases tend to require a more resource intensive approach. Studies conducted by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts show approximately 10% of the divorce cases filed in Connecticut meet this criterion.

The benefits (if any) for troubled family court litigants who are ordered to spend their life savings to subsidize adversarial public debates about their mental health evaluations, diagnosis, and treatment plans are debatable. In the family court, refusal to “cooperate” or participate adversarial therapeutic services court can result in the loss of a litigant’s children, property, and freedom.


READ ALSO: Connecticut family destroyed by immunity granted to Guardian Ad Litem


“The family courts mislabeled my family ‘high conflict’ then took everything from us, but fighting for my rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act took the rest” says Henry Martocchio, a disabled father with an autistic son whose family court case has been open since 2006. “In a nut shell, you have no ADA rights in the Connecticut because judges will not let the ADA rights into court even to argue ADA rights.”

To understand why the court’s practices can often result in a disabled party’s exclusion or disadvantage, one first has to understand what a “high conflict” case is. The term “high conflict” refers to litigation that courts find to be persistent and contentious, but there is no standard definition. A 2007 study published in the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal on court mediation programs explains the components of a high conflict case:

“Several conditions appear to be quite common among high conflict couples and may cause custody disputes to escalate. While the presence of these characteristics will not automatically trigger high conflict behavior, at least one member of a high conflict couple is likely to lack basic psychological skills, be a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect, have a history of substance abuse, or struggle with a mental disorder.” 

The same study also cites the fact that psychiatric evaluations conducted on parents engaged in “high conflict” divorces often showed that at least one parent has had a psychiatric disorder such as borderline personality, depression, narcissism, paranoid schizophrenia, co-dependency, or sociopathy.


READ ALSO: Dying for custody (Part 1): DOJ announces investigation into Connecticut court program


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal laws prohibit “places of public accommodation,” such as courts, government agencies, and businesses from discriminating against people on account of their disabilities. The ADA extends not only to those who currently have a disability, but to those with a record of a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or who are perceived or regarded as having a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

In other words, “high conflict” litigants are the same persons Congress intended to protect under the ADA, regardless of whether they asked for accommodations or not.

Although the law does not provide “special rights” or an advantage to the disabled, it does require courts to provide disabled persons with the “reasonable accommodations” necessary to achieve equal access to any programs and services offered to the public, such as due process of law.

Although the Connecticut Judicial Branch has adopted protocols and procedures to accommodate litigants with disabilities, parents say the investigation is long overdue.

“The court ignored my doctors and denied my requests for simple accommodations,” says Skipp.  “Not only was the process unnecessarily degrading and humiliating to me, it gave my ex an unfair advantage.”

Studies cited by the National Council on Disability show the family courts often ignore the law and discriminate against disabled parents when it comes to child custody cases.  According to NCD, the courts remove children from the care of disabled parents as much as 80% of the time (depending on the type of impairment the parent has.) Those with psychiatric disorders are particularly at risk of losing custody with removal rates as high as 70-80%. Other studies have also found that mothers, particularly domestic violence victims, who sought mental health treatment for their impairments, were most likely to lose custody as a consequence.

These recent statistics are disturbing in light of the fact that Congress explicitly stated that it passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 to prevent the courts themselves from engaging in discrimination. Quoting Iowa Senator Tom Harkin:

“People with serious health conditions who are fortunate to find treatments that make them more capable and independent and, thus, more able to work may find that they are no longer protected by the ADA . . . . On the other hand, if they stop their medication or stop using an assistive device, they will be considered a person with a disability under the ADA but they won’t be qualified for the job.”

In other words, the court’s refusal to protect disabled parents rights actually discourages dangerous criminals who need help from getting it, sometimes with deadly results. But even when litigants do show up for such court ordered therapy, it may only benefit their adversary by effectively moving the legal deposition process behind closed doors and off the record.

DANGEROUSLY INEFFECTIVE, EXPENSIVE PROTOCOLS IMPOSED ON DISABLED FAMILIES

It appears that Connecticut’s family courts have subjected litigants with disabilities to irregular, expensive, and unnecessary barriers to due process that unimpaired litigants are not subjected to. Do the current protocols have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the court’s programs with regards to the disabled? Are these discrimination based programs falsely discrediting fraud victims?

Many parents told the task force that the mere unfounded suspicion of a mental health impairment was enough for many family court judges to appoint a plethora of expensive family court industry professionals onto their cases to evaluate and debate their private health conditions on the public record, such as guardian ad litems, custody evaluators, therapists, attorneys, and visitation supervisors who couldn’t agree with each other dragged their cases out for years on end for profit.

Skipp also says one of the reasons she lost custody was that the court relied on questionable testimony from controversial psychologist Dr. Sidney Horowitz, who was also referenced in the testimony of at least a half-dozen other parents at the same hearing.

“The court refused to address my concerns about professional misconduct and fraud on my case because I have a disability,” says Skipp.

Last year, the CT Department of Public Health confirmed it has opened an investigation into Dr. Sidney Horowitz in response to a complaint Skipp filed alleging that Horowitz had engaged in insurance fraud, discrimination, and other types of professional misconduct during his appointment onto her custody case.

Throughout the task force hearings, Connecticut parents have insisted that a culture of cronyism, fraud and corruption is to blame for the irregular outcomes in their family court cases. Few, if any, financial incentives exist to rescue these families from situations that sometimes turn deadly.

Perhaps the only value such “therapy” holds is for crooked professionals and litigants trying to manipulate judges by imposing threat therapy on their families, as not a single parent testified that their mental health had improved and were glad the that the court ordered them to liquidate their retirement accounts, their life saving, lost their homes, their families, and even gone to jail to pay for the treatment. They all said they missed their kids.

Over a year later after DPH opened the investigation, Skipp’s case against Horowitz remains open and Horowitz continues to ply his trade without restrictions. The Department of Justice has thus far declined to publicly acknowledge whether there is a criminal investigation into these alleged false billing scams.

“Disabled parents shouldn’t have to pay millions of dollars to get divorced” says Skipp. “There’s no excuse for it.”

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Live video of the hearing:

http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=9782

Written testimony:

http://www.cga.ct.gov/jud/ldcc/Testimony.asp

Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/life/dying-for-custody-part-1-doj-announces-investigation-into-connecticut-court-programs-4659/#9LjvRdLlFvcveFlC.99



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  • Marisa Ringel

    Thank you Anne. You are our favorite. It’s brutal here in Connecticut as you continue to reveal and we continue to live in it. Thank you for covering this atrocity.

  • Elizabeth A. Richter

    I know exactly what you are talking about, Anne. I was forced to spend thousands and thousands of dollars defending myself against false accusations of mental illness. This required me to be subjected to evaluations by two psychiatrists–one evaluation alone cost me $10,000 and another psychological evaluation by a psychologist. It is absolutely ridiculous that a litigant such as me who simply wants to divorce and be the good mother I have always been should have to spend years in trial court defending my mental health which is not under dispute anywhere else. Thanks for bringing this dirty secret which the family court hates to acknowledge out into the open. Of particular concern is the case of Joey Watley and Karin Hasemann who were falsely accused of having mental health disabilities they do not have and both their infant sons were removed from their care at birth based on the doctrine of “predictive neglect”.

  • Nina G Comedian

    Families encountering discrimination because of a disability should contact Through The Looking Glass in Berkeley, CA. This is exactly the kind of work they do. PLEASE contact them!

  • Pavel

    It is the family court scam game. The psychologist/lcsw quacks are used to make suspicions, ka chink$$$, another ten grand for each player. Look at the other specifics of the game. Judge Frankel decides a mom is not a ‘whole’ person. Sentences mom to two years of analysis by Dr. Strangemind, a.k.a. Eric Nicholson, MD, Ph.D. who not only tries to charge $4k for making copies of his file….s, but is rebutted by every other examiner, but the Judge and Nicholson keep the game going. No sense complaining to Department of Public Health, their complaint process relies on other whack nuts who volunteer their time to review DPH complaints….due process is to let the other foxes review the actions of the fox in the henhouse….Connecticut is wired and impenetrable. The other buzz words used by GALs and their pet LCSW clowns is ‘suspected undiagnosed mental illness’. Without examination these clowns make such statements, the gals tell the judge, the judge orders evaluations, the families are quickly bankrupted. One such GAL, Attorney Bozek used this trick, but turns out the so called ‘therapist’ had failed her LCSW exam and was practicing without a license, which is illegal…..but Bozek tells Judge Carbonneau that the court can still rely on the opinion…..the judge falls for the scam, takes the kids away, orders evaluation, supervised visitation, cha-chink…more money for more vendors, more billable hours for the lawyers….everyone is happy…..perhaps everyone has an undiagnosed mental illness that works in family court??? Needless to say the state can’t regulate its licensed thieves of therapy, psychology, the license complaint department is not functional….the system is designed to do nothing, but keep the money flowing out of family pockets and into lawyers/judges pockets.

    • Susan Skipp

      Frankel’s married to VIP in Hartford

    • Linda

      Curious as to what rule of law, state statute or other civilized determination Judge Frankel used to determine that this mother was not a whole person? Case law? Or is Judge Frankel just a neo nazi in a black robe? Perhaps a priestess in some satanic cult? A private league of evil operating the gavel for her own twisted psychologically demented reasons? Or perhaps it is simply because dad has lots and lots of money, a real crooked lawyer, feeds the GAL meter with c notes and funds the fun of which Frankel is collecting her cut…..no professional can make such half person statement from the bench unless there is an element of dementia, perversion or cold hard cash. Family Court is not law, it is not about kids, it is not about emotion or drama……just money.

  • Lynda

    The judges just broker work for their favorite pets. Judge Munro will take away your kids, order you to therapy, name the therapist, but not specify a diagnosis, not find medical evidence of a condition and leave the therapy open ended so there is no escape of her victim from the clutches of the fee for scam of therapists. But if you bring in a real doctor from outside the state to rebut her findings or even question her finding that has no basis in medicine she will tell you that the mental health community of Connecticut is ‘broad and deep’ so she does not have to listen to anyone from another state……because she is the mafia queen and no one is going to move in on her turf and displace the dollars she is doling out to her friends, along with a dividend that finds its way back to her. Connecticut family dollar scam run by judges for the benefit of anyone except the children or their parents. Welcome to the family horror chamber, Judge Munro presiding.

    • Susan Skipp

      This sounds just like what she did to me! No eval, no abuse, no neglect, no unfitness a gal who was not appointed nor a party joined in suit filed over 31 motions against me- due process? And all but two that my ex filed for modifications of my time with children. Who do these people think we are? Sure the corrupt judge bangs a gavel, but this is stupidity. 19 months I have not seen hugged or spoken to my beautiful children who now live with our abuser. No neglect, abuse or unfitness accused- not even a bogus psych eval.

  • Martin

    From a contractual point of view, there is no contract vehicle between the state and the vendors of therapy, psychology, counseling, supervision or any other cockamanie service ordered by the judge from the AFCC menu of judicial extortion. So how does the state authorities standby and let the judges pass out parent’s money to unvetted vendors who do not have a service contract with the state??? Governor Malloy getting his kickback on this abuse of citizens and denial of ADA protections? Vendors are under no contract meaning no terms and conditions, no standard of service, no references, background checks, surety or insurance to protect the victims. What a racket. State could not purchase these scam services for cause not shown, but one stroke of the judicial pen and instant million dollar state run industry funded with family savings accounts, college funds and credit cards……judges and vendors laughing all the way to the bank….while the state looks the other way….or is paid to look the other way. Victimizing parents and their children by judicial discretion? Sick society at best.

  • Liz

    Did you hear the one where Holly Wetstone appointed Rabbi Andrew Hechtman as a counselor/therapist for the parents. Needless to say the parents nor the kids were jewish, nor desired to be jewish, nor did scam artist Andy have a license in Connecticut to counsel anyone…..but he charges $150/hr and prefers cash at the door. Professional money laundering, orchestrated by Judge Wetstone. Is Wetstone jewish??

    • Susan Skipp

      I did here he was

      • Susan Skipp

        In undergraduate school. How many undergrads doing anything legal make 150 an hour?

  • Kathleen

    The legislature of the state of Corrupticut failed to enact laws that comply with federal ADA statutes. Pure and simple, there is no ADA protection in Family Court. The legislature made sure of this….they are mostly lawyers and divorce law is the biggest money maker for the legal biz in the state. The game is the game because it is such a money maker, the more drama, the more anger, emotions, the more money, pure and simple…..note that in Connecticut family court, if you don’t have money, you don’t have mental problems, just get you case file done and off the docket, no one can make money off of you and you don’t matter…..see how divorce in Connecticut is an income test…..if you have lots of income you will be closely examined for undiagnosed mental illness…..if you have no income, no one cares about your mental illness even if you really have one…….get the picture.

  • Linda

    Ever notice that it is all the same players, year after year, decade after decade, the same twisted judges clinging to the family bench, the same small group of therapists, clinging to the judges, the same plays out of the play books. The court reviews the financial affidavits and the judges decide who gets the spoils. Same attorneys, favorite judges, same play on different victims. Only thing that is consistent is the increasing amount of money taken from the parents and the kids before the divorce is granted. There have to be hundreds of therapists, but the same names keep popping up across the state, all are members of AFCC. There are lots of qualified GAL’s but the whales go to the same select few. There is also a pattern in courthouses of players as favorite judges with favorite lawyers…..like, well, a racket. The GAL brings in the psychologist, the lawyers don’t object as it is more billable hours for them, the shrink makes big bucks then recommends more vendor services of therapy, counseling, more evaluation, it never ends as long as there is money…..everyone needs counseling and therapy, everyone has a disorder, if you are normal, they will determine that under the circumstances you should not be so you have a coping or an adjustment disorder….more therapy, shrink, medication, embalming, maybe even plastic surgery because you are too ugly and might scare the kid. ADA is ignored by Family Court judges as is most civil rights protections and don’t even ask for due process or equal protection……this court does not do federal!!!!! Hitler would be proud of Connecticut…..a people left to govern themselves created a system Hitler could never achieve. As Senator Len Fasano stated, Family practices is a good ol’ boy network of lawyers. But Norm Pattis put it more succinctly, family court is inbred. The lawyers and judges are just wolves on opposite sides of the bench, the parents the sheep and the kids don’t matter.

  • kathleen

    Connecticut has a Department of Public Health that regulates the licensing of all the so called professionals that participate in the Family Court drama factory. There is no science involved in what these licensees do in providing personal opinions on matters of other people’s families. There is no cause of state intervention into the the lives of citizens who are forced to appear before these family court judges just to dissolve a marriage. There is no published papers or studies appearing in any recognized peer reviewed journal which supports the action of these wacko licensees who bill ridiculous fees for rather poorly written prose, opining of other people’s lives. The court has no foundation at law to consider these unscientific opinions as evidence on which to base a judgment. It is just court house fraud. The state DPH is a scam that lets this trade go on, unchecked. If anyone needs to be evaluated it is the State of Connecticut for running a racketeering scam on its own citizens. Of course if you live in Connecticut you already know your government does not care about your or your kids, just the money and they take it every way they can.

  • Jonathan Smith

    Jonathan Smith

  • Jonathan Smith

    What’s really going on here is that in CT the divorce industry has realized that it can exploit, often with the cooperation of the judges, families in difficult situations. There is no accountability for any part of the divorce industry in CT or for the judges. Huge amounts of money are available for unethical people to take. And they are taking it. They don’t care that your kid has autism or a parent is mentally ill. That just provides more avenues for exploitation and leaves the family in a worse position to defend itself. And the judges are happy to facilitate this. They just want your matter out of their courtroom. They don’t care if they get rid of the case by crafting a solution (which can require a lot of work for them) or by letting the divorce industry bankrupt the family. This is sick but true. And it won’t end until someone makes a dramatic change in the laws or the judges.

  • disqus_AX9OCwI5BL

    Seems to me what is being overlooked here is the best interest of the children. Unless these disabled parents have been proven unfit or negligent, their children are going to be better off having a loving parent in their lives. In my home state it is very rare for one parent to be granted sole custody while the other parent receives minimal and costly supervised visitation. Yet it seems like this is happening frequently in CT. Perhaps the problem starts with CT family court’s definition of a “high-conflict” divorce. When deciding to define and reroute cases that contain “persistent and contentious litigation” as a high-conflict case, where “at least one member of a high-conflict couple” has personal or mental issues, then they are setting those parents up for discrimination: we have decided that you are more trouble than you are worth, and WE are tired of dealing with you, so we will squeeze you out. Furthermore, I haven’t heard of too many divorces with children that aren’t contentious. If these couples agreed on parenting decisions and got along, they would probably still be married. Maybe CT family courts should work out how to better help couples through this difficult time so that the children can retain both parents in their lives, rather than taking the easy way out by effectively eliminating the parent THEY deem more high maintenance.

  • Susan Skipp

    Not my words, but too good to leave in cyber space:
    Anne, please be respectfully advised or aware that the Judicial Branch Disability Discrimination is not limited to be against just those individuals they the Branch suspects or perceives or even correctly identify or become aware of individuals with disabilities.

    The State Of Connecticut Judicial Branch is in non-compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Developmental Disabilities Act (sorry I forget the year) and The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    The Judicial Branch had and has an legal obligation and responsibility to implement fully the ADA and is legally prohibited from all discrimination. This is fact. This is not an option to the Judicial Branch, this is the LAW!

    My opinion, is that the Branch has learned over time to cover up things like Gender Profiling and discrimination. They learned how to get away with it. ADA and Disability, being that they have been caught with their pants down, today they attempt to cover up. But before one singles out disability discrimination, such discrimination HIGH LIGHTS other discriminations such as *gender or financial* or any, say like *religion*!

    There are still today many adults who have lived long years with unidentified Hidden Disabilities. These like all Disabilities affect all aspects of their lives AND affects the total number of people they know and community with. Primarily family members. And as such relationships often suffer.

    It is the Judicial Branch Responsibility to “*IDENTIFY”* such disabilities AND OFFER MODIFICATIONS TO SUCH INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR ASSOCIATIONS (SUCH AS SPOUSES IN FAMILY MATTER DIVORCE COURT), THAT SUCH INDIVIDUALS HAVE A RIGHT TO REFUSE; not to embarrass or place stigmas or stereotype or ignorant assumptions on persons or advantages to either. Both must benefit to equal and the same use and outcome of the Judicial Branch Programs, Services, Activities, and not be discriminated against, Both must be provided equal and the same “meaningful participation”. and both must be equal and the same not discriminated against.

    This identification must be non discriminatory and as such independent from all Judicial Branch criteria as best as can be, such as the choice to use stairs or wheelchair ramps. No documentation needed for either, and what’s needed by one is available to all. Disabilites must be integrated into the Judicial Processes much the same as children in schools. Yes, it may be helpful for such identification to be a part of the case file, but for benefit not discrimination. If a Judge is not specialize trained in his or her judicial responsibility as a impartial trier of facts that observes the parties, such as a untrained teacher not being really effective in teaching children with special education needs, such teacher is supplemented with a team of specialist. As you may see it is a big subject, but I give you the LAW not options and I give you the wheel is already made, no need to reinvent.

    Of more importance, is that the Disabled or those that are affected by another’s disability, are or do have some advantage in that the ADA (and related Acts) mandate certain “affirmative” obligations to such individuals because of the long time shameful history of discrimination against the disabled. Within lies a defense.

    The ADA provides the Right to remedy past discriminations, eliminate current discriminations, and prohibits future discriminations. Remedies in law and equity.

    Thank you; My reply is in attempt to eliminate the potential barrier your comments may create. Being that there are no less than 10 barriers already facing disabled individuals in Court, such as “The ADA, that’s a wheelchair law, don’t worry Mr. Mulready, if your in a wheelchair, we’ll get you into Court” Bob Capo, My Child Support Enforcement Officer in reply to request for ADA and 504 rights. Or how about, “He’s claiming disability, did he apply for Social Security, does he have a card. What do you want to do Ms. Mulready, I’m not getting anywhere here”. Magistrate Strada in reply to initial argument by court appointed attorney for me.

    We don’t need any more barriers, and I’m sure you where not being intentional, so again I sincerely write in respect.

    Yours For Barrier Free Courts With Sober And Honest Judges And Non Discriminating Attorneys

  • Susan Skipp

    Not my words but too good not to post: The Judicial Branch had and has an legal obligation and responsibility to implement fully the ADA and is legally prohibited from all discrimination. This is fact. This is not an option to the Judicial Branch, this is the LAW!

    My opinion, is that the Branch has learned over time to cover up things like Gender Profiling and discrimination. They learned how to get away with it. ADA and Disability, being that they have been caught with their pants down, today they attempt to cover up. But before one singles out disability discrimination, such discrimination HIGH LIGHTS other discriminations such as *gender or financial* or any, say like *religion*!

    There are still today many adults who have lived long years with unidentified Hidden Disabilities. These like all Disabilities affect all aspects of their lives AND affects the total number of people they know and community with. Primarily family members. And as such relationships often suffer.

    It is the Judicial Branch Responsibility to “*IDENTIFY”* such disabilities AND OFFER MODIFICATIONS TO SUCH INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR ASSOCIATIONS (SUCH AS SPOUSES IN FAMILY MATTER DIVORCE COURT), THAT SUCH INDIVIDUALS HAVE A RIGHT TO REFUSE; not to embarrass or place stigmas or stereotype or ignorant assumptions on persons or advantages to either. Both must benefit to equal and the same use and outcome of the Judicial Branch Programs, Services, Activities, and not be discriminated against, Both must be provided equal and the same “meaningful participation”. and both must be equal and the same not discriminated against.

    This identification must be non discriminatory and as such independent from all Judicial Branch criteria as best as can be, such as the choice to use stairs or wheelchair ramps. No documentation needed for either, and what’s needed by one is available to all. Disabilites must be integrated into the Judicial Processes much the same as children in schools. Yes, it may be helpful for such identification to be a part of the case file, but for benefit not discrimination. If a Judge is not specialize trained in his or her judicial responsibility as a impartial trier of facts that observes the parties, such as a untrained teacher not being really effective in teaching children with special education needs, such teacher is supplemented with a team of specialist. As you may see it is a big subject, but I give you the LAW not options and I give you the wheel is already made, no need to reinvent.

    Of more importance, is that the Disabled or those that are affected by another’s disability, are or do have some advantage in that the ADA (and related Acts) mandate certain “affirmative” obligations to such individuals because of the long time shameful history of discrimination against the disabled. Within lies a defense.

    The ADA provides the Right to remedy past discriminations, eliminate current discriminations, and prohibits future discriminations. Remedies in law and equity.

    Thank you; My reply is in attempt to eliminate the potential barrier your comments may create. Being that there are no less than 10 barriers already facing disabled individuals in Court, such as “The ADA, that’s a wheelchair law, don’t worry Mr. Mulready, if your in a wheelchair, we’ll get you into Court” Bob Capo, My Child Support Enforcement Officer in reply to request for ADA and 504 rights. Or how about, “He’s claiming disability, did he apply for Social Security, does he have a card. What do you want to do Ms. Mulready, I’m not getting anywhere here”. Magistrate Strada in reply to initial argument by court appointed attorney for me.

    We don’t need any more barriers, and I’m sure you where not being intentional, so again I sincerely write in respect.

    Yours For Barrier Free Courts With Sober And Honest Judges And Non Discriminating Attorneys

  • Gwaag Freebird

    Great article! Perhaps the next one should be on the professional ethics of the courts and the lawyers in this new up and coming “industry”. Would it be too revealing to report on how the legal community participates in the corruption of divorce and children’s courts?

  • Billy R

    I am shocked by the stories here. It is
    a La Costra Nostra-styled racket. Although I must warn you, even those GAL’s
    that are court appointed can be tainted even though paid through paltry state
    funds. Those individuals are subject to contracts issued by a state agency. The
    administered contracts are only as good as the state agency officer initiating
    the contracts. The specific officer initiating the contracts has anything but
    the best interests of the child—or the taxpayer in mind. You see, it is not
    fiction when one speaks of Blacklisting in the state of Connecticut. GAL’s that
    question, or perhaps are “too much of a social worker” in the eyes of
    a specific civilly immune state agency employee, can be blacklisted.
    Blacklisting comprises of withheld earned pay and non-renewal of a contract.
    Blacklisting is also confirmed to have been a utilized methodology in the realm
    of “Surrogate Parents.” Taxpayer money is played with as if it is a
    private pile of treasure reigned over by a few specific players within state
    agencies. There is plenty of blame to go around and the problem not only falls
    on private GAL’s (which I agree wholly with the assessments here), but more so
    on public GAL’s and surrogate parents—whose hands are TIED due to the
    corruption within the state agencies administering contracts. For example, at
    one surrogate parent meeting (in front of hundreds of professionals vying for
    positions as surrogate parents), the presenter gleefully stated that anyone in
    the audience would not have a contract renewed by her personally, if they
    angered her in any way. This power over tax payer money IS the corruption that
    needs to be dealt with.

  • Billy R

    No change will occur until the taxpayers are fully aware of how their money is being spent and issued out by the judiciary committee and senator Foxx specifically. You are bringing up only part of the problem when speaking of private GAL’s. the problem is not within Judicial, but is within that sacred agency, whose mission it is to help the poor within the state.

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