Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Guardian of Truth Newsletter - Vol. 3/4



The Guardian of Truth
"GOT"
A PROTECTIVE MOTHERS ALLIANCE NEWSLETTER
"Ensuring the rights of children and protective mothers in family court."


Dear Protective Mothers and Allies, welcome to the July/August edition of "The Guardian of Truth" (GOT). In this issue, Attorney Richard Ducote will be put “Under the Microscope” where we get the opportunity to take a tiny glimpse into his soul. We have a heartfelt poem, which will leave you breathless, written by our NY State Chapter Leader. Once again, our co-director of “Hear Us Now,” Karli Singer, shares her most intimate feelings on what it is like to be separated from a loving mother. Karli’s Korner takes us on another walk together through an emotional journey, which looks at family court abuse through the eyes of a young child.

As PMA continues to evolve and grow, we are flooded with phone calls from desperate protective moms being terrorized by the corruption of family court. We are struck by the amazing strength, determination and resilience that these loving mothers possess. It is so ironic to us that most of these moms are being labeled with various forms of psycho-pseudo syndromes. We strongly feel that these so-called “experts” labeling them erroneously in this way, would quickly crash and burn themselves if placed in a similar situation.

It has also been gratifying for us when speaking with these moms to see changes taking place in these courageous women as we share with them the vision of PMA. We verbally open an inviting door and tenderly greet them as members of our PMA family. This is the moment that we feel their spirits transform. The change in the tone of their voice, the excitement, hope and empowerment coming from their hearts and souls as they make the switch from victim to advocate, is quite magical. Like a beautiful wave that we ride together, this feeling of hope and empowerment uplifts us on a quest towards change. We at PMA, extend to you, our deepest desire to help all protective moms feel this hope and empowerment for themselves and their children.

All members of the PMA family believe that by working together as a tight team, we can have an impact on dramatic change. We also recognize the individual deep healing that can take place as protective moms turn their anger into advocacy realizing that there is hope, and light at the end of a very long dark tunnel. The PMA family, hope that you enjoy this issue of GOT finding it informative, inspiring and entertaining.

Warm regards,
Janice, Lundy and the PMA Team… A family of advocates.


PMA continues to grow! Our latest international chapter leader joins
us from Canada, in the Province of Quebec. We have Chapter Leaders in CO, WI, NY, GA, VA, MD, MA, FL, PA, TN, SD, QC (Canada) and Rome (Italy). So if you want to join our fast growing family of advocates, please contact:

Janice Levinson lb.jlpma@gmail.com or by phone 941-822-5592.


Protective Mother and Child Reunion:
Gold Ribbon Campaign

“The beautiful memories that we have of our beloved children are
golden and can NEVER be erased from our hearts and minds.”

PMA is promoting our ongoing Gold Ribbon Campaign in an effort to
reunite protective mothers and their children who have been separated by the family courts. We encourage all advocates and their allies around the globe to wear gold ribbons and to tie gold ribbons around trees to symbolize the effort that protective mothers and their allies are making to reunite children with their protective moms.

Upcoming contest:" Where's the Gold Ribbon?"

In the spirit of the popular Where’s Waldo? books, PMA will be launching a "Where’s The Gold Ribbon?" contest. Your hunting skills will be honed as you participate. Somewhere in a beautiful graphic created by one of our talented artists, will be hidden a gold ribbon. Your job will be to find this Gold Ribbon and once you do, email us at lb.jlpma@gmail.com. The first one to successfully find our Gold Ribbon will win a gift certificate to a popular family restaurant. (Janice was going to auction off Lundy but he just blushed!)





Keep an eye out for this upcoming contest.

Meanwhile, please enjoy the Gold Ribbon photos submitted by our members.










Under the Microscope - WHO is Attorney Richard Ducote?

We all know Attorney Richard Ducote, but do we REALLY know Attorney Richard Ducote?

PMA Co-Director, Janice Levinson, interviewed the multifaceted attorney Richard Ducote in the style of “Inside the Actor Studio with Host James Lipton.” In keeping with the “Actor Studio” tradition, let us take a tiny peek into the soul of Attorney Richard Ducote.


JL: What’s your favorite word?
RD: Non-sense.
JL: What’s your least favorite word?
RD: Try.
JL: Try?
RD: I always say try is a word that should be used in reference to lifting heavy furniture.
JL: That’s good.
JL: What turns you on creatively, spiritually and emotionally?
RD: Encountering problems that affect many people and finding ways to solve it outside the box.
JL: What turns you off?
RD: Manipulative people who are users.
JL: Yes, me too.
JL: What sound or noise do you love?
RD: Crashing waves.
JL: What sound or noise do you hate?
RD: I once had an old typewriter and there was one key I’d hit and it would make a noise that would drive me nuts.
JL: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
RD: Furniture maker or pediatrician.
JL: What profession would you not like to do?
RD: Middle school teacher.
JL: Oh yes, been there, not good.
JL: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
RD: Free diet Pepsi.
JL: What’s your favorite color?
RD: Cobalt blue.
JL: What’s your favorite food?
RD: Grilled chicken.
JL: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
RD: Carlsbad CA and La Jolla CA.
JL: What is your dream vacation?
RD: N. California.
JL: If you had a magic wand to do anything with, what would you do?
RD: I would have the family court function as any other court, having it be based on evidence with no bias in abuse cases.
JL: Why did you begin this journey as an advocate?
RD: Reason 1: Because when I worked in juvenile probation, I saw that kids in the legal system were being mistreated and neglected by the entire judicial system and everyone in it I wanted to find a way to remedy this and I couldn’t understand why attorneys were not drawn to this type of law because it was very fulfilling to me professionally.
Reason 2: When I was 12 years old, my father died and my mom was left with 5 children. My father’s former boss continued to pay my father’s salary to the family for the next 18 years. Because of this, I want to give back.
JL: What motivates you?
RD:Seeing injustice and trying to correct it.
JL: Thank you so much Richard, we really appreciate it.

Be sure to visit our
“Get to Know Us” to learn more about Attorney Richard Ducote. Join us next time when we put our very own Co-Director/Founder, Janice Levinson “Under the Microscope” If you have any questions you would like to ask Janice, email us at lb.jlpma@gmail.com.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” -Edmund Burke


PMA Looks at the News:

Porn king's son captured after allegedly killing baby's mother and fleeing with infant.

Police say they have located the 1-year-old girl who was abducted by her father from her Novato home after he allegedly beat the girl's mother to death.

Novato police Sgt. Jennifer Welch said the girl was found unharmed and that 27-year-old James Raphael Mitchell, the son of San Francisco porn king Jim Mitchell, was arrested early today. She declined to give further details, but several media outlets reported the arrest took place in Citrus Heights near Sacramento.

The abduction had triggered a statewide Amber Alert.

Mitchell, who according to his grandmother had recently been kicked out of the military, is suspected of killing the girl's mother Sunday before fleeing with the baby, Samantha Mitchell. Police found the woman dead in a yard when they responded to a call just before 7 p.m. about a possible assault.

Welch said Samantha was found within the state, but refused to release any additional details. Mitchell had threatened to kill any law enforcement agents who came into contact with him, according to the Novato Police Department.

Jim Mitchell, the suspect's father, had developed a multimillion-dollar adult-film empire with his younger brother, Artie, and later was convicted of killing Artie. Jim Mitchell died at his ranch near Petaluma in 2007 at age 63 after serving a six-year sentence for manslaughter in San Quentin Prison.

From their San Francisco offices atop the O'Farrell Theatre, a Advertisement combination movie-and-stage-show emporium that opened in 1969 and was called the "Carnegie Hall of Sex," the brothers built an empire that at one time included 11 movie theaters as well as movie and video production.

The dramatic rise and fall of the Mitchell brothers was chronicled in books, the Showtime movie "Rated X" and in countless newspaper and magazine articles. In the 1960s and '70s, the brothers produced a string of adult-film hits, including "Resurrection of Eve" and "Sodom and Gomorrah: The Last 7 Days" and "Behind the Green Door."

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12823802?source=most_viewed


Hero-SHero of the Month: Susan Murphy - Milano

Susan Murphy- Milano was selected by PMA as this month S(H)ero for her years of dedication and advocacy work that encompasses everything Domestic Violence, including but not limited to criminal cases and family court corruption.

Susan was very gracious to allow a platform for PMA to address our experiences with family court, abused children and protective moms. We are very grateful to Susan for this opportunity and look forward to an ongoing partnership with her. To learn more about Susan, please take some time to enjoy her bio , visit her site and listen to her blog radio show featuring our Co-Director/Founder Janice Levinson.

Susan Murphy-Milano, an expert relationship strategist and advocate,has developed specific tools and techniques you need to safely leave a relationship. Her books, Defending Our Lives and Moving Out and Moving On address the life saving strategies on moving away from abuse and dealing with the many confusing situations surrounding a breakup or divorce. Susan is an adult survivor of her parents' violent marriage. Her father, a Chicago violent crimes detective, murdered her mother and then took his own life after the couple separated. Susan has vowed to make changes after finding their lifeless bodies and trying to make sense of this tragedy. Susan has worked tirelessly dedicated to meeting the individual needs of all women and children in crisis and advocating for them through the legal process. Susan’s quest for justice was instrumental in passing the IL Stalking Law and the Lautenberg Act. She is the host of a very popular and widely received blog radio show.

http://www.susanmurphymilano.com

Karli’s Korner:

Karli wants to share what she felt as a child, separated from her Mother. During the years of the custody battle which kept her away from her Mom, she kept a journal to record her thoughts. This is the second in a series of excerpts from Karli's journal. She was very kind to share this with us, so let's take a walk together as we venture along an emotional journey through the eyes of a child...




Attorney’s Insight:

PMA is delighted to have on our team a small handful of brilliant, competent, compassionate attorney’s who lend their knowledge and experience to our organization in several ways. In light of this, we have designated a spot in GOT just for them. This spot will be called Attorney’s Insight.

In this months issue, one of our famed attorney’s submitted this fascinating news article straight from Louisiana. Hope you enjoy.

2009-O -0736 IN RE: JUDGE TIMOTHY C. ELLENDER Retired Judge Philip Ciaccio, assigned as Justice ad hoc, sitting for Justice Chet D. Traylor, now retired. Accordingly, it is ordered that Judge Timothy C. Ellender of the Thirty-Second Judicial District Court for the Parish of Terrebonne, State of Louisiana, be and he is hereby suspended for thirty days without pay for violating Canons 1, 2A, and 3A(3) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and Article V, §25(C) of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974. It is further ordered that Judge Ellender reimburse the Louisiana Judiciary Commission $185.50, for costs incurred during the prosecution and investigation of this case. Additionally, Judge Ellender shall enroll in and complete instruction on addressing domestic violence cases. JOHNSON, J., concurs and assigns reasons. VICTORY, J., dissents and assigns reasons.

Click on the link for full document. http://www.lasc.org/opinions/2009/09O0736.opn.pdf



INSPIRATIONS FROM THE HEART:

Creative Writing from one of our members:

Baby Blue Tears

"Baby, you've got to trust in what I say."
She looked up at me in that innocent way
Her tiny eyes so wide and so blue
"If you tell the truth they'll listen to you."
Again and again, she bravely told
The story of a crime so heartless and cold
They turned their heads; then they looked away
They weren't willing to hear what she had to say
Surely, they had mistook what others could clearly see
Surely, if I explained they would listen to me
So loudly and clearly in my adult voice I decided to talk
But at everything I said they only would balk
And suddenly I was handing her over to him
Knowing this weekend would prove just as grim
Staring into her eyes filled with terror and tears I finally let go
The pain in my heart you'll just never know
I screamed and I cried and I counted the days
That my little girl suffered in such brutal ways
I held onto strength, and I held onto prayer
But wherever I turned there was nobody there
How could this insanity be such a real thing?
Who had died and made this judge king?
They all told me not to go over his head
But I knew if I didn't we'd all wind up dead
So, I marched on and shouted and saved her I thought
Not from him, but from the abuse, which was what I sought
Still, from the emotional beatings she wasn't quite free
And one day she told me, "Mom, he's killing me!"
Again I told her this time I was sure I could win
The one thing she wanted, which was less time with him
`But they still wouldn't listen, though she wanted to die
Once again I had no choice but to tell her goodbye
When I told her what the judge said she fell to the ground
"Seven years you have fought and are always knocked down!"
A knife cut right through me when I heard what she said
It was then that I learned we had more tears to shed…

Submitted by Bette M


Shout Out!
PMA Shout Out:

A warm PMA welcome to Attorney Leo Breznik, Assistant D.A. of Pennsylvania. We are privileged to announce that he has recently joined our growing attorney team. We look forward to working with this brilliantly, renowned and respected attorney and we are grateful
for his contributions to PMA and the cause. Be sure to keep a watch out for future issues when we highlight Leo.

PMA is pleased to announce that we have joined forces with a select group of exceptional paralegals to help protective mothers and their children. We welcome these committed and experienced professionals to our PMA family.

PMA has a very last minute shout out to one of our FL State Chapter leaders. the incomparable, unstoppable and truly reliable, Maddy Graves and her equally talented, reputable, save the day graphic artist daughter for picking up the reins on our runaway horse. PMA was almost left without graphics. Had it not been for their commitment and professional talent, we would not have had this issue for all our followers to read and enjoy. HATS OFF TO YOU TWO WONDERFUL, CREATIVE LADIES.

California’s Shout Out:

Center for Judicial Excellence
WE DID IT!!!

After 17 months of delays and procedural hurdles, California's Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) yesterday unanimously passed Senator Mark Leno's request to audit the Marin and Sacramento County Family Courts.

The 14-member JLAC Committee approved the audit request with a 12-0 bipartisan vote thanks to all of your hard work making phone calls, sending emails and turning out.

Note: Our audit presentation begins at 46:33 mins into the hearing, and ends at 1:10:40 mins, so it lasts about 24 minutes.

The passage of this audit is a remarkable victory that we have fought long and hard for. Please take the time to thank Senator Mark Leno for his work on this important issue. His leadership and commitment to transparency has made this audit a reality.

The Bureau of State Audits will begin work on this audit within the next couple of weeks according to committee staff. Please trust that we will provide you with more details as they become available.

Click here to read the Marin Independent Journal's coverage of this emerging story.

To learn more visit:
www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org -- and remember to check the site often for updates.

Together, we can rebuild public trust in our courts, reinforcing the the judiciary as a well-managed model of integrity, justice and equality.


“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the
Ocean, but the Ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” - Mother Theresa


Get to Know Us:
Who is Richard Ducote?

Richard Ducote has achieved a rare record of child advocacy successes in his 30 years of practicing law. Always conscious of the importance of the relationship between social services and the legal profession, just six months after his admission to the Louisiana Bar in 1978 he conceived, co-authored, and then directed a grant proposal submitted to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect to improve the court handling of child protection and foster care cases in the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Juvenile Court where he had served as a probation officer. The proposal was one of only four funded nationwide and created the Tulane University School of Law’s Juvenile Law Clinic.

The project jointly trained law students and School of Social Work students to vigorously advocate in teams for dependent children. In 1980 the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare chose the project to showcase nationally as an example of innovative and successful initiatives.

While personally representing hundreds of abused children from 1978-1981, he helped strengthen and unify the local and state fosterparent associations to reform the foster care system through legislation and administrative advocacy. Following the Louisiana legislature’s enactment of Mr. Ducote’s package of statutory changes, including three amendments to the termination of parental rights provisions, the state’s Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources was still frustrated that changes in the laws alone were insufficient to move children from foster care to adoption. His solution was to create a special post for Mr. Ducote to act, in essence, as the state’s TPR “czar” mandated to “do what needed to be done” to appropriately free kids for adoption. Starting from scratch and often confronted with a skeptical cadre of caseworkers who had little faith that anything would change, since promises of new initiatives were routinely broken over the years, Richard Ducote kept his word and exceeded all expectations. From 1981-1984, he traveled the state negotiating agreements with every prosecutor, compiling decision-making and referral packets, and conducting his motivational and training seminars for the social workers, lawyers, and mental health professionals involved in the cases. At every session he invited the workers to present their most troublesome cases, which he would then digest overnight while typing up TPR court petitions to present to the pleasantly startled case managers for filing the next day.


Several awards have highlighted Mr. Ducote’s career. In August 2000, he was presented a special ceremonial eagle blanket by the Northern Plains Tribal Institute in South Dakota for his participation in the training of over 350 Indian tribal and federal judges from over 90 different tribes on child sexual abuse issues. In January 2001, he was honored by the national child advocacy organization “Justice for Children,” for “Pro Bono Service With Sincere Appreciation for [His] Commitment to the Abused Children of Our Nation.” On May 10, 2001,he received the Louisiana State University School of Social Work Alumni Recognition Award for his contributions to the prevention of family violence through the legal system. On April 30, 2004, the advocacy organization Justice for Children presented him with the Harvey M. Houck Award for his work.

He has served on the boards of the Jefferson Children’s Council, Schools Combating Abuse and Neglect, and the Region VI Adoption Resource Center. In June 2002, he published Guardians ad Litem in Private Custody Litigation: The Case for Abolition, 3 Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law 106 (Summer 2002). In Miller v. Martin, 838 So.2d 761(La.2003), Mr. Ducote persuaded the Louisiana Supreme Court to hold that the State was strictly or automatically liable when children in state custody were abused in a foster home. In Turner v. Ostrowe, 828 So.2d 1212 (La.App.1st Cir.2002), he convinced the appellate court to more than triple a trial court’s award of damages to a woman who was circumcised by her physician husband without her consent. Recently, in Velardo v. Ovitt, 2007 Vt. LEXIS 170 (7/27/07), he won the reversal of a child custody/abuse case in the Vermont Supreme Court based on the relationship between the judge and the guardian ad litem. Also, in C.L.S. v. G.J.S., 953 So.2d 1025 (La.App.4th Cir. 2007), he and his associate Erica Burns successfully proved by clear and convincing evidence that a young girl had been sexually abused by her father, resulting in termination of all contact with him. In December, 2007, he won a case in the Nebraska Supreme Court, S.L. v. Steven L., 274 Neb. 646, 2007 Neb. LEXIS 171, which allowed an abused child to sue her father, a Canadian citizen, for the abuse in a Nebraska state court.

In September 2003, he again was a featured presenter at the 8thInternational Conference on Family Violence: Advocacy, Assessment, Intervention, Prevention, and Policy. His panel workshop was entitled, The Ten Biggest Mistakes Made in Family Court Custody Evaluations. During the conference he was presented in special plaque from the California Protective Parents Association in appreciation for his work on behalf of abused children. In November 2004, he trained legal services attorneys from throughout the United States on the cross-examination of custody evaluators in domestic violence cases and on other trial techniques. In December 2004, he was the keynote speaker at the New York State NOW convention, and addressed the crisis in the family court system in domestic violence/ custody cases.

In October 2006, he was invited by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to train FBI agents, federal prosecutors, and state and local law enforcement agents on the use of expert witnesses in child pornography cases.

In October 2005, he was featured in the PBS documentary Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories exploring the failure of family courts to protect abused women and children. He was also quoted by Newsweek Magazine in a September 25, 2006, article on PAS entitled “Fighting Over the Kids: Battered Spouses Take Aim at Controversial Custody Strategy.” Again, he was quoted by Oprah Magazine in the November 2006, article, “The Rapist At Home.”

He is admitted to practice in all states courts in Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 5th, and 9th Circuits, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western District of Louisiana, the Northern District of Texas, the Eastern District of Texas, the Northern District of Ohio, and the District of Colorado. He has been admitted pro hac vice in over 40 states.

Protective Mothers Alliance offers no legal advice. PMA does not endorse any individual attorney. You are totally and solely responsible for your own selections of attorney and actions.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the
silence of our friends” - Martin Luther King, Jr.


Please visit us in our various venues!

Until next time wishing you light, love and truth, The PMA Team...A Family of Advocates

©2009 by Protective Mothers Alliance. All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that permission be obtained in writing.

We do not necessarily endorse the views expressed. The information in this publication is presented in good faith. PMA does not guarantee accuracy or assume responsibility for errors or omissions.

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"The purpose of this Site is to give the visitor a general understanding of the law; not to provide specific advice. While a great deal of care has been taken to provide accurate and current information, the ideas, general principles and conclusions presented at this site may differ depending on local, state and federal laws and regulations and court cases. Because the law constantly changes and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and is subject to varying interpretations, the reader is urged to consult professional legal counsel in his or her state regarding the applicability any points of law discussed at this Site to any specific problem. This web site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice."

NO LEGAL ADVICE PROVIDED

Protective Mothers Alliance offers no legal advice under any circumstance. You are totally and solely responsible for your own selections of attorney and actions.

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