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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Yesterday, outrage. Today, puzzled.

In all fairness, the Judge's actual ruling has not been made public.  We have been given large pieces of information from the media that is pretty damning, but we don't have the entire story until we have read the ruling in it's entirety which may or may not be made available.  I am hoping that there is other information in that document that will make this decision seem less egregious.

I have testified on family court cases and I have never envied the judge who presides over such complex cases because when that Judge makes a decisions they are making a decision that will impact a developing child's mental health and future relationships, which is a very powerful role to assume.  Every Judge that I have testified before has taken these cases extremely seriously because, they are.  I am just so puzzled about how the decision was made in this case and how moving and 11 year old and a 5 year old 600 miles away from their Mother who has been their primary caretaker since birth and may not have much more time left with them could be in the best interest of the children' mental health needs.   It seems like playing God and it seems like taking their Mother away from them before she is actually taken away from them by her illness thus stealing precious time.  It is so utterly puzzling.

Yes, she is ill, but doing well due to the team she has a Duke.  Asking her to move to Chicago after finding a competent team of doctors that are helping her and with whom she feels comfortable seems incredibly insensitive, but perhaps the Judge does not realize the significance of this incredibly important component in the case.  It was also cited that she does not have a job, but do you think it's easy to find a job when you are going through treatments once a month, may have side effects of the treatments and don't have a clear sense of your future?  And, if the children were to move to Chicago, what are the realities of their visiting their Mother.  There is a huge cost associated with their visiting or Mom visiting them.  I question whether that was fully explored and whether she considered the financial aspects of visitation.  I have seen long distance custody cases work out quite poorly when it becomes a financial strain, kids don't get to see their parents.  It's a reality.  And in the event that Alaina is not doing well and cannot make it to Chicago, how often will the children be allowed to be with her. 

Yesterday, I was outraged.  Today, I am just so puzzled.  I want to understand this decision, and I cannot wrap my mind around it.  I have been involved in many custody cases and in my wildest imagination, I cannot come up with a reason that would support this ruling being in the best interest of these children.  I spoke with many colleagues yesterday by phone and email,  all who have a tremendous amount of experience working with children and families and not one of us could come up with a scenario that would make this ruling seem like the best possible decision in the interest of the family.  We tried!

Asking Judge Gordon to be removed from the bench may be extreme as some people have commented because we do not have all of the information.  However, that being said, it is not unreasonable for her to be asked to step down while her decision is reviewed and to determine whether she is competent to make the complex decisions necessary in the Family Court System.

1 comment:

Douglas said...

Translation: "I don't like this decision. Ergo, the judge is out of her element."