Saturday, September 23, 2006

Domestic Violence Homicide

"Teri Lee feared her ex-boyfriend would kill her. After he was arrested in July and charged with attacking her with two butcher knives, she predicted it.

"Ms. Lee stated she was afraid for her life and was very afraid that the defendant would make bail and come to her house and kill her," an investigator reported in July.That was two months ago, before Friday morning when, police say, Steven Van Keuren broke into Lee's Washington County home and killed her and a friend. Police shot and wounded him. Lee's four children, ranging in age from 6 to 12, were home at the time of the shooting about 4:30 a.m., but there are no indications that the suspect went after them." By Howie Padilla and Tom Ford, Star Tribune Link to Article (last visited 9-23-06 NVS)

September 23, 2006 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Case Law Development: Sufficiency of Grounds for Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Husband went to the business he jointly owned with Wife in the evening and, in the course of an ensuing argument, yelled, "Would you like to hurt me? Would you like to kill and hit me? Would that make you feel better?", banged a stapler on the counter, threw a water bottle in her direction, and refused to leave the jointly-owned business during the late night hours. Wife called the police who refused to make Husband leave because it was a jointly-owned business.  When she returned to the business the next day to find Husband there, she sought a protective order, testifying that she was afraid of Husband, that there had been prior explosive episodes and that she thought Husband was "out of control." The North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's decision to enter an order based on its finding that Wife "was placed in fear of continued harassment that rose to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress" and that Husband's actions amounted to domestic violence.

A dissent argued that the trial court had failed to make sufficient findings of fact on the record.

Wornstaff v. Wornstaff, 2006 N.C. App. LEXIS 1975 (September 19, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited September 21, 2006 bgf)

September 22, 2006 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Developmetn: Statute of Limitations in Child Support Actions

The Supreme Court of Montana held that the statute of limitations barred an action for premarital child support in a case in which the parties had two children in 1981 before they were married in 1986 and then sought divorce after 17 years of marriage.  The trial court granted the ex-wife retroactive premarital child support, as well as a portion of the ex-husband's retirement benefits. On appeal, the court reversed and remanded. The 10-year statute of limitations in Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-201 barred the ex-wife's claim for premarital child support. At no time between the birth of the child in 1981 and the parties' marriage in 1985 was an order of child support issued, and while the ex-husband might have had a moral obligation to support the child, under the laws in effect at the time, he did not have a legally-imposed obligation. The child for whom support was sought was 23 years old at the time of the parties' dissolution trial and was no longer residing with the ex-wife. The court also reversed the trial court's division of the ex-husband's retirement benefits. The trial court erred in using the "self-only annuity" benefit amount and the trial court was to recalculate the ex-wife's marital portion based on the ex-husband's net annuity.

Momsen v. Momsen, 2006 MT 233, 2006 Mont. LEXIS 445 (September 19, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited September 21, 2006 bgf)

September 22, 2006 in Child Support (establishing) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: Realignment of Parties in Divorce Actions

Here's an interesting case for exploring some of the practical aspects of timing in divorce actions.  Students sometimes ask: "what difference does it make who files the divorce action?"  This case from the Georgia Supreme Court, affirming the trial court's realignment of the parties, provides one fine answer to that question:  The husband filed a divorce action against the wife. The wife filed an answer and counterclaim for divorce. Later, the wife moved to add the corporation and paramour and to file an amended answer and counterclaim setting forth claims of fraudulent conveyance and conversion against them. After granting that motion, the trial court realigned the parties, making wife plaintiff and all others defendants. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed, holding that becuase wife had the greater burden of proof regarding alimony, adultery, attorney's fees, and fraudulent transfers and had brought the additional claims, the procedural rights that a plaintiff typically exercised at trial, including the important right to make opening and closing arguments, belonged to the party bearing the greater burden of proof.

Moore v. Moore, 2006 Ga. LEXIS 579 (September 18, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited September 21, 2006 bgf)

September 22, 2006 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Warrantless Searches of Family Homes To Determine Welfare Ineligibility Constitutional

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upheld the constitutionality of a program adopted in California in 1997 to cut down on fraud.  The program, called Project 100%, involves sending  unarmed investigators from the district attorney's office to arrive unannounced at the homes of welfare applicants to verify assets and look for other disqualifying information.  They conduct interviews, determine if eligible dependents live there and certify an "absent" parent does not live there. The ACLU had challenged the program as a violation of the 4th Amendment rights of the families thus investigated.

The majority in the 2-1 decision said the case was controlled Wyman v. James, 400 U.S. 309 (1971) In which the court had allowed social workers to visit homes in New York to determine eligibility.  Using sworn peace officers "does not cause the home visits to rise to the level of a search in the traditional criminal law context," Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote for the 2-1 panel.   The court also cited a 2002 California Supreme Court decision upholding a home visit program in Los Angeles County and said the "underlying purpose of the home visits is to verify eligibility for welfare benefits, and not for general law enforcement purposes."

In dissent, however, Judge Raymond Fisher said it was unlawful for an investigator from the district attorney's office to go "walking through the applicant's home in search of physical evidence of ineligibility that could lead to criminal prosecution either for welfare fraud or other crimes unrelated to the welfare application."  He went on to argue that "Nor do I agree with the majority's improper discounting of the Appellants' heightened privacy interest in their home. In the majority's view, even if the home visit is a search, it is reasonable because the Appellants' relationship with the state as potential welfare recipients "reduce[s] the expectation of privacy even within the sanctity of the home." Maj. Op. at 11517. To support this conclusion, the majority relies on Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U.S. 868, 107 S. Ct. 3164, 97 L. Ed. 2d 709 (1987), a case that upheld the constitutionality of a warrantless search of a probationer's home. By suggesting that welfare applicants may be treated the same as convicted criminals, the majority ignores the limits implicit -- and explicit -- in Griffin."

Sanchez v. County of San Diego, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 23788  (September 19, 2006 bgf)
Opinion on web

September 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Parents Kidnap Daughter To Force Abortion of Mixed-Race Child

A Maine couple accused of tying up their 19-year-old daughter, throwing her in their car and driving her out of state to try to force her to get an abortion were doing so because the baby's father is black.  The daughter escaped and called police, who arrested her parents.  The parents were apparently taking their daughter to New York to try to force her to get an abortion there, police said.  The parents were arraigned Monday on kidnapping charges. The judge set bail at $100,000 each and ordered the Kampfs to have no contact with their daughter. They posted bail Tuesday afternoon.

Read the whole story in the New York Times (last visited Sept. 22, 2006 bgf)

September 22, 2006 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sex Selection in Fertility Clinics

The New York Times reports that "Almost half of U.S. fertility clinics that offer embryo screening say they allow couples to choose the sex of their child, the most extensive survey of the practice suggests.  Sex selection without any medical reason to warrant it was performed in about 9 percent of all embryo screenings last year, the survey found. Another controversial procedure -- helping parents conceive a child who could supply compatible cord blood to treat an older sibling with a grave illness -- was offered by 23 percent of clinics, although only 1 percent of screenings were for that purpose in 2005. For the most part, couples are screening embryos for the right reasons -- to avoid passing on dreadful diseases, said Dr. William Gibbons, who runs a fertility clinic in Baton Rouge, La., and is president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, which assisted with the survey."

Read the whole story in the New York Times (last visited September 22, 2006 bgf)

September 22, 2006 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Conference on Race, Class & Culture in the Child Welfare System

St. John's University School of Law is hosting a symposium on race, culture, and class in the child welfare system on Friday, November 17th. Professor Barbara Bennett Woodhouse will be the keynote speaker. The conference will address the question of how race, culture and class impact the child welfare system and will explore alternatives for improving child welfare. Those who are interested in presenting a paper at the symposium must submit a draft by November 1, 2006. The paper must not yet be published. If your paper is selected, it will be published in a dedicated issue of the St. John’s Law Review. If you have questions regarding the symposium please contact Theresa Hughes, Director and Assistant Professor of Clinical Education, Child Advocacy Clinic at hughest@stjohns.edu or (718) 990-1424. Deadline for Submissions: November 1, 2006 —submissions can be e-mailed as an attachment (word documents are preferred) to lawreview@stjohns.edu

September 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conference on Race, Class & Culture in the Child Welfare System

St. John's University School of Law is hosting a symposium on race, culture, and class in the child welfare system on Friday, November 17th. Professor Barbara Bennett Woodhouse will be the keynote speaker. The conference will address the question of how race, culture and class impact the child welfare system and will explore alternatives for improving child welfare. Those who are interested in presenting a paper at the symposium must submit a draft by November 1, 2006. The paper must not yet be published. If your paper is selected, it will be published in a dedicated issue of the St. John’s Law Review. If you have questions regarding the symposium please contact Theresa Hughes, Director and Assistant Professor of Clinical Education, Child Advocacy Clinic at hughest@stjohns.edu or (718) 990-1424. Deadline for Submissions: November 1, 2006 —submissions can be e-mailed as an attachment (word documents are preferred) to lawreview@stjohns.edu

September 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Conference Reminder

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Seventh International Symposium on Child Custody Evaluations: Great Debates in Child Custody Evaluation is being held October 19-21, 2006 in Atlanta.

AFCC's Seventh International Congress on Parent Education and Access Programs is being held on October 22-23, 2006 in Atlanta.

Link to Conference Information and Registration (last visited 9-21-06 NVS)

September 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AFCC Call for Presenters

The 44th Annual Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) will be held May 30 - June 2, 2007 in Washington, D.C. The deadline for proposals for potential presenters is October 1, 2006.

"Children of Separation and Divorce: The Politics of Policy, Practice and Parenting
Discussion of the impact of separation and divorce on children often focuses on the role of the parents and ignores the bigger picture. How do policy makers influence practice? Do the politics of practitioners change post-separation parenting? How does research influence policy, politics, practice and parenting? Join AFCC to unravel these complex issues." By AFCC http://www.afccnet.org/ (last visited 9-21-06 NVS)

September 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conference: ABA Secction of Family Law Fall CLE Conference

The ABA Section of Family Law Fall CLE Conference is being held in Santa Fe, New Mexico October 25 - 28, 2006. Early bird registration ends on September 22.

"Plenary Sessions:

  • Efficient Divorce Practice in the 21st Century:Using Financial Advisors With Any Budget. A panel including financial advisors will explore strategies to use advisors in domestic relations matters and approaches to business valuation and lifestyle.
  • Phoenix Rising: Rebirth of a Family Law Practice.
    Learn to use new technologies to prepare for office and community level disasters and rebound quickly when disaster strikes.
  • The Art of Persuasion
    This panel will teach you how to effectively present your client's position, both in oral and written form."

Link to Information and Registration (last visited 9-21-06 NVS)

September 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Man Jailed for 11 Years for Civil Contempt in Divorce Case

"Slight, scholarly and enigmatic, H. Beatty Chadwick is doing this day what he has done for the past 4,093: He is sitting in a county jail outside Philadelphia. It is a place meant for run-of-the-mill crooks just passing through on their way to comparatively luxurious state prisons. Certainly not for anyone to stay 11 years -- not for the central figure in one of the most bizarre divorce battles in American history. It hinges on a charge of civil contempt designed to force Chadwick to turn over $2.5 million the courts say he hid overseas all those years ago. Except he won't. Or can't, depending on whom you believe. So Chadwick sits.

"He's an anomaly," says his lawyer, Michael Malloy. "They don't know what to do with him."

The case has produced an Everest of court papers -- a dozen pleas to the Delaware County courts, nine to state appeals courts, nine to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 12 to federal courts, two of those to the U.S. Supreme Court." AP, CNN.com Link to Article (last visited 9-19-06 NVS)

September 19, 2006 in Contempt | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Matrimonial Banquet"

"So here's the thing about speed dating for Muslims. Many American Muslims - or at least those bent on maintaining certain conservative traditions - equate anything labeled "dating" with hellfire, no matter how short a time is involved. Hence the wildly popular speed dating sessions, at which single people are encouraged to meet a large number of prospective partners in a short time, at the largest annual Muslim conference in North America were labeled with an entirely more respectable sobriquet. They were called the "Matrimonial Banquet."" By Neil MacFarquhar, N.Y. Times, International Herald Tribune  Link to Article (last visited 9-19-06 NVS)

September 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Paren't Charged with Kidnapping Pregnant Daughter

"A New England couple is under arrest on kidnapping charges. The alleged victim? Their pregnant daughter, who investigators say they were driving to New York for an abortion.
According to police, Nicholas and Lola Kampf of Maine, are upset their 19-year-old is pregnant by a man who's now in jail and told the teen she had to have an abortion." By Danielle Fink, wkyc.com Link to Article (last visited 9-19-06 NVS)

September 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Campaign to Repeal India's Ban on Gay Sex

"A group of eminent Indians have put their weight behind a campaign to repeal India’s ban on gay sex, adding to activists’ hopes that the colonial-era law will be overturned when a critical court case is heard next month. Opponents of the 1861 law that criminalises consensual same-sex acts between adults say it violates human rights and stifles efforts to battle HIV/Aids in India, which has the world’s largest number of people infected by HIV. The law “has been used by homophobic officials to suppress the work of legitimate HIV-prevention groups”, according to an open letter signed by more than 150 Indian luminaries, including the author Vikram Seth, Nitin Desai, a former UN undersecretary-general, and other officials, academics, artists and activists." By Amy Yee, Financial Times Link to Article (last visited 9-19-06 (NVS)

September 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)