Where Do The Children Play: When the Greater Good of the State Takes Precedence Over the Best Interests of the Child
Whether there are any child custody problems associated with the relocation of the witness or adult family members.
It is the responsibility of the prosecutor or case agent to obtain the necessary court orders or affidavits concerning child custody. If the non-Program parent cannot be found, the case agent must submit an affidavit advising that a thorough search for the individual was conducted and he/she could not be located. All above-mentioned child custody required documents must be submitted to OEO or to the USMS prior to the child being relocated.
An individual entering the Program must have court-ordered custody of a child in order for the child to enter the Program. If the child’s non-Program natural parent has court-ordered visitation rights with that child, that parent would have to agree (via affidavit), to the child being relocated, the child’s name being changed, and modification of the existing visitation arrangements in accordance with the USMS visitation requirements, which allow twelve visits per year (usually one per month). The USMS will arrange for these court-ordered visits and pay the travel costs associated with the visits. If the non-Program parent does not have court-ordered visitation rights, the parent needs to be notified, and must execute an affidavit confirming notification, that his/her child is being relocated and receiving a name change. If the non-Program parent is unapproachable (either a defendant in the investigation or dangerous), then notification can be waived by OEO until after relocation of the child. If the non-Program parent who has court-ordered visitation rights is unapproachable, as indicated above, a Federal court order must be obtained, which would allow the child to be relocated. However, if the non-Program parent chooses to fight the order through the State courts and wins custody, the child will not be allowed to remain in the Program.
Section 701, Point M. USAM 9-21.400, Procedures for Securing Witness Protection
I was recently contacted by a fellow Blog Talk Radio host who asked me to have a look at a case in which an upstanding and respected doctor was being denied access to his 5 children, even though the mother has a problem with an addiction to cocaine and, had in a previous marriage, absconded with her 2 children from that relationship when the husband was away in Europe. The 2 children from the previous marriage has since been returned to their father and resides with him now.
The timing of the request is interesting in that I had recently spent 20 plus hours researching the subject of parental alienation and its implications in a custody battle in which the children presently reside with the mother.
Based on this effort, which produced some very interesting insights as well as data, the one constant is the fact that the best interests of the child must take precedence over all other factors.
So this leads to an interesting question . . . if a respected and upstanding doctor has expended tens of thousands of dollars in an effort to see his children but has been met with legal roadblocks in the form of four judges recusing themselves from adjudicating the case, and the current judge expressing a certain degree of hostility toward him, what is wrong with this picture?
Now I have to tell you, that based on the experience of many years – when you pass the 50 mark you can legitimately start to espouse Will Rogers type witticisms and wear sweaters with patches on the elbows, instincts kick in. So when I received the first waive of information on this troubling case the immediate thought that came to mind was . . . witness protection.
Even though it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in this initial flurry of text, it just seemed to be a logical conclusion based on the facts that were being presented. After all, you have a mother who has a history of serious drug abuse and, who also has a propensity to arbitrarily pull up stakes and remove and keep the children from the father without any legal accounting or consequences.
Sure enough, in the second wave of information, a passing reference was made to the mother claiming that she was part of the witness protection program when she left her first husband. The frequency of name changes including, without going through the legal process, her decision to have the children of her first husband go under the second husband’s name re school records etc. is also telling.
Now, if the mother in question is indeed part of the Witness Protection Program, it would be safe to assume that she has delivered an important service to the State and society in general in that she has likely provided both evidence and testimony that have put some pretty bad people behind bars. This service would of course warrant special consideration in a number of areas, as well as an easing of the rules re mobility.
It may also explain why 4 judges have recused themselves from the case, why the husband as been told to back off in terms of placing a full court press re access to his children or risk not seeing them for another 2 years, as well as being exposed to a level of treatment that is more befitting one of the low-lifes his ex may have helped to put away than an upstanding doctor.
In short, and as I outlined in my original opinion after digesting all of the information – which I will be reviewing again probably multiple times, you can only blame bureaucratic inefficiencies and procedural fowl-ups within the justice system for so much before it starts to appear as if there is another agenda at play.
Or to be more blunt, how can a system place five children within the sole care of a mother whose drug habit has not been disputed on any front, while in the process deny access to a father who has always been an upstanding citizen and is a doctor to boot (meaning that he can obviously provide for his children financially)?
The above referenced example is perhaps an extreme case, and while it is one that is likely played out many times across the country every day, societal interests can also include adherence to a system that is poorly managed or laws that are not serving their intended purpose.
On Friday, November 12th at 10:00 PM EST I will welcome to the show TV’s Cop Doc, Dr. Richard Weinblatt and real-life Criminal Profiler Pat Brown to talk about this case in particular, as well as delve deeper into the larger question which asks at what point does the greater good of society trump the best interests of the child?
I of course encourage you to call in with questions and comments using our toll free number which is 877-503-5036, as well as visit our live chat room which will be open for the entire broadcast.
Link to both the live and on-demand broadcast “Where Do The Children Play: at what point does the greater good of society trump the best interests.”