On today’s Radio show, we talk about .
BEGIN TRANSCRIPT (Radio Show Transcript from January 9, 2016 Air Date)
Vincent Davis: Good morning. This is Attorney Vincent Davis and we’re on the show Get Your Kids Back, How to Fight CPS and Win. Today, we were going to be talking about a lot of things. We only have an hour. I’m going to try to give you some tips today on two different segments for the juvenile dependency case, tips for parents and relatives. And also, we’re going to be having a special guest at the 8:30 hour, Attorney Sherman Amazon.
The first tip that I want to speak about today and it’s going to be on the topic of the six-month review. In juvenile dependency cases after the disposition hearing and that’s where the court makes an order to either return your children or keep in them in foster care, keep them with relatives. The law requires in California that the case be reviewed every six months. So generally, that’s governed — those parents are governed by California law. And the two laws that I’d like you to look at and read on Google are California Welfare and Institutions Code 366.21E and then 21F. They’re different sections but they’re generally the same type of hearing and it’s important that those hearings that you and your attorney confer and strategize about the witnesses you’re going to call to that hearing, how your testimonies is going to proceed at that hearing and the exhibits that are going to be used at that hearing.
So the typical case, what you would want to do is you want to make sure that your attorney has subpoenaed in the witnesses that need to testify. Actually, for example, you and/or the other parent, the children and then the service providers [0:02:14 technical difficulty] you have been taking certain classes, going to certain counseling, you want those people to be there because necessarily or not necessarily, there are letters or reports will not be admitted into evidence.
The first person you might want to have is your counselor. The second person you might want to have is your parenting instructor. And then there are certain types of counselors that you may have with respect to domestic violent counseling, drug abuse, rehabilitation counseling, sexual abuse counseling, you want to have those counselors there and you want to make sure that you and your attorney contact those counselors and make sure that they’re going to say favorable things. It would be helpful for you to get a letter or certificate of completion from these counselors so that you can also present that to the court as well.
The next thing that you want to do is you want to make sure that these people are subpoenaed to court and your attorney can arrange for that to happen. Subpoenas are generally one page in California or one-page form. You can also find those on Google and you can help your attorney fill those out and give them to your attorney to have them serve on the witnesses or your attorney can instruct you on how to serve the subpoenas or to get the subpoenas served as a [0:03:50 inaudible] to the case. You cannot serve those subpoenas yourself.
The next thing that you want to go over with your attorney before the hearing and this should be two days before the hearing, not the morning on the hearing, is that you should sit down with your attorney and discuss your testimony. Now, you’re required to always tell the truth and that’s what I require of my clients. We don’t want anybody to lie and get penalty of perjury. It is [0:04:19 technical difficulty] in California. You should [0:04:21 technical difficulty] and we want you to tell the court exactly what you’ve been doing since the last disposition hearing and show the court that the children should be returned to you or in the alternative that your visitation schedule should be changed, in other words, that you should have more frequent visitation, the longer duration and that it should be perhaps unmonitored or it should take place not in the social worker’s office, it should take place at the local McDonalds or even at your home.
So a lot of times, the social workers will recommend a very conservative and very strict visitation regimes and that may not be supported by the law, so it’s one of the things that you want to bring up in court.
Now, the other thing that I like to bring up in court at this six-month hearing is I like to get the kids placed with relatives, friendly relatives. Many times, I come in on case after the disposition hearing [0:05:33 inaudible] and evidence about relatives placement should have taken place and many times with families — with many members of the families all over the United States, all over the world who could take these children, and yes, I said all over the world. I used to hear someone tell that many people do all the time, “The social worker told me we can’t place the children with relatives because they live outside the county. The social worker told me we can’t place the children with relatives because they live outside the state. The social worker told me we can’t place the child or children with relatives because they live out of the country.” All of those are false.
children can be placed anywhere
In California law and federal law, children can be placed anywhere. So a lot of times here in Southern California, we get relatives who live in Central or South America countries. Children can be placed with these relatives and sometimes social workers rather return the child to the parent or place the child with what is called a questionable relative because perhaps they have some criminal background than have the child place in another country. It’s always been my theory that since the money follows the child, social workers in counties want these children to stay within the county and they have control of these children when they’re in the county. When children are placed outside the county, other social workers in other counties, states or countries have control over supervision of the child. So always remember that always bring up the fact that you can request and almost require the social worker to place your child outside of the county or outside of the state or even in another country. And in a lot of cases, that’s better than having the child adopted by the foster parents if you’re not able to get that child back in your home.
Before I go on to the next topic, I’m going to take calls because it’s getting kind of backed up. The first call that I’m going to take is area code 951 and it ends in 26. Good morning, you’re on with Attorney Vince Davis.
Irene: Good morning. My name is Irene.
Vincent Davis: Hi, how are you?
Irene: Good. How are you?
Vincent Davis: Good. Did you have a question or a story you’d like to share with us?
Irene: I have a story I like to share. I am, almost a year probably last March, we’re at my grandma and CPS tried to come over there and they told — the allegations weren’t on me but they came in, they pretty much told me that I couldn’t [0:08:39 inaudible], they weren’t on me but they end up wanting to drug test me and so I refused and my boyfriend was really at my grandma at that time because he was a caregiver. And he had [0:08:50 inaudible]. And she pretty much — I told her I won’t drug test because the allegations weren’t on me and she says that I have to.
Anyhow, they called the police out there and I told the police, “Well, I’m not on probation on parole so I’m not going to give you any test.” Anyhow, I asked the social worker and she talks to the person that made the allegations before she came talk to me and she said she has to. She harassed me throughout the house. We were outside, she’s harassing me and she asked me we were doing drugs and I said no. My boyfriend had stated that he just smoked marijuana and she said, “Well, it’s okay. We’re not here for you.”
Anyhow, because I was red flag, I felt like my rights were violated. She took the kids. They were placed with the other grandmother who was the one that made the allegations and they’re in the process of giving my kids up to the grandmother like for adoption. They’re already going to adopt the kids. And then they end up taking my boyfriend’s kids and called another social worker and they took his kids.
Anyhow, up to Columbus Day, they are still harassing — they still came to my house harassing me to give me drug test. They said they didn’t want it, so I told them I need a warrant. And they came already prepared with police officers and two social workers. Then they made my boyfriend drug test. I think I lost my kids for about three, four months. They made me do some drug test and classes which I didn’t have. They weren’t going to give my kids back. So I had — in June, I had went and get them. But the whole time that like the grandmother have them, we were allowed to talk to them or see them for an hour or two but she would always call the police on [0:10:44 inaudible] the kids. So I had to pretty much take my own kids, send me warrant to get me for kidnapping. And they were stereotyping me that I was on heroin and methamphetamine but none of that was true.
So anyhow, as soon as I walk on [0:11:04 inaudible] each time which is, you know, it’s been like so many allegations made and I still don’t — you know, I feel like they tore my family apart, like I stopped talking to my father, my boyfriend still hasn’t have his kids back yet and, you know, it’s just a mess, so.
Vincent Davis: Let me ask you a question, when did all of this happen?
Irene: Excuse me?
Vincent Davis: When did all of this happen to you?
Irene: It happened in March of last year.
Vincent Davis: Okay, so…
Irene: And I finally had it caught…
need warrant to enter home
Vincent Davis: Okay. Well, it’s not too late to get your children back. Let me tell our listeners and you this, when a social worker comes to your house, unless they had a court order or a warrant which they have to show you, you do not have to let them in your house. I don’t care if they show with 10 policemen and 5 social workers, unless they have a warrant, they cannot get into your house. Do you understand that?
don’t have to drug test
Vincent Davis: Okay. Now, you could agree to let them in, that’s a whole another thing; if you don’t agree, they can’t come into your house. The second and most important thing I want to tell you about your call and I keep sharing this all the time, when a social worker shows up and says to you you have to take a drug test, you do not have to take the drug test ever for the social worker. Now, the social worker can say, “Well, if you don’t take the drug test, I’m going to [0:12:44 technical difficulty] take the children,” she can do that but that doesn’t mean she’s going to be successful in getting the warrant or court order to take your children. So you don’t have to drug test under any circumstance.
need warrant to take children
Three, the social worker in the majority of cases cannot take your child unless she has a warrant or a court order. Now, there are some situations, very rare situations where a social worker can take your child without a court order or a warrant but it has to be what’s called in the law an emergence or emergency circumstance. And that tantamount to the social worker’s thing, you know, the alleged abused occur on the child. A social worker could get a warrant for several other things. A social worker could get a warrant to come in and inspect your house. A social could get a warrant to inspect your child or children. A social worker, of course, could get a warrant to take your child or children into custody.
And guess what, a social worker cannot get a warrant to make you talk to them. So it’s always my general advice that you don’t talk to social workers when they come out. Now I’m not saying be mean and be unreasonable or uncivilized to the social worker, you just don’t have to talk to the social worker and you can tell the social worker, you were advised to do that by an attorney.
The next thing that I wanted to ask you is, you know, what has happened in your case sounds like a travesty of justice. Do you have an attorney that’s working with you right now?
Irene: I’m talking to one I meet with on Monday.
Vincent Davis: Okay. In the past though, did you have an attorney representing you in court?
Irene: No, it wasn’t a court — it didn’t become a court case on mine. It was just investigation.
Vincent Davis: Have you talk to that attorney and strategize with that attorney?
Irene: Yes, I have.
Vincent Davis: Okay. And have they been successful? Does it sound like they’ve been successful in your case?
Irene: No. Well, we talked to them and like I’m supposed to meet with them Monday to see if they’ll pick up the case.
Vincent Davis: Okay. I want to tell you that since your case started in March, in my opinion, you still have sufficient time to turn this case around and get your children back. So never give up. All right?
Vincent Davis: And thank you for your call today. I appreciate it.
Vincent Davis: Before I go to the next call, I am going to talk about the detention hearing. This is the first hearing that you attend at the juvenile court and generally, it’s a hearing where [0:15:54 technical difficulty] children to your custody even though the social worker keep the children. And in some cases, the court on its own may take the child into custody even if the social worker didn’t. I’ve seen a couple of those cases in the past six months, very unusual situations.
At this hearing — well, first of all, this hearing is governed by California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 319. Google it. Read it. You have the right to cross examine the social worker. You have the right to present evidence at that hearing. Now I’m not saying that in every situation, you should do that, but you should consult with your attorney who’s representing you, if you got an attorney who you have hired or a court appointed attorney but you need to know that you have that right. And in some situations, you know, you can take the social worker who take your kids on the witness stand and you can get testimony from that social worker. And even if you don’t get the children back at that hearing, you at least have that social worker’s testimony locked in under oath because they had actually get on the witness stand, sworn the penalty of perjury pertaining about your case. So it could be beneficial for you to have or to at least present some evidence to the judge or at least cross examine that social worker who took your child.
I’m going to take another call before I get to our next set this weekend and the caller has area code of 626 and the phone number ends in 69. Hello, you’re on with Attorney Vincent Davis.
Vincent Davis: Hi, how are you this morning?
Female: I’m okay.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Do you have a question or a story you’d like to share with us?
Female: Yeah. Second November, my children were detained based on a report that was given to the social worker by son’s therapist office. The report was that — the report was false. The report was that I had somebody driving me and my children with alcohol on their breath. However, they did not detain that person because that person was never there. They used that allegation to detain my children. And then at the jurisdictional hearing which we actually asked for contested hearing, I do have a private attorney, that attorney — or they actually told me that we were going to do mediation redef for contested hearing, they said, “Oh no, we’re not going to do any contested hearing, we’re doing mediation and then an argumentative if you want an argumentative.”
Well, an argument, just my word against the social worker which obviously they believe the social worker made many allegations on alcohol abuse which doesn’t exist. I had received an assessment from a Dr. Sultani in Orange County stating that I do not have an alcohol dependency. That was shown to the social worker as well. They dropped those allegations, dropped the allegations from the counselor’s office but did not allow for any kind of hearing. No evidence has been represented to the judge and have now moved forward with the six-month care plan requiring me to go to rehab, counseling, domestic violence classes, parenting classes, et cetera prior to the six-month hearing and monitored visits. They actually removed my kids from San Bernardino County and put them in Orange County with the person that actually was a claimant in the family case.
So at this point, we’re looking at the six-month review but I’m trying to find out if there’s something I can do in the [0:20:14 interim] because of what occurred because I’ve not been allowed due process.
Vincent Davis: Yes, there is something that you can do. First of all, let me ask you this, when is your six-month review hearing?
Female: June 22nd.
Vincent Davis: Oh, so you just had you disposition hearing recently then?
Female: December 22nd, yes.
Vincent Davis: Right, right, right. And where was your case? What county?
Female: San Bernardino.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Just out of curiosity, there are four judges in San Bernardino Juvenile Dependency Court, Departments 4, 5, 6 and 7, who is your judge?
Female: I don’t have that in front of me but it’s a female judge and apparently she’s new. But we’ve really not presented any evidence in an actual hearing, all they’ve done is present the social worker’s report and then we argued in the mediation, the verbiage itself and got the verbiage reduced drastically. But in doing that, they forced me to waive my right to a hearing because otherwise it would have been an argumentative hearing or we could ask for the contested hearing which we were supposed to have that day but it would be pushed out another two months or so.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So let me tell you what you can do. Is that your phone ringing?
Female: It’s okay.
Vincent Davis: We wait and turn that off because we’re all hearing it.
Female: Yeah, it’s done. Go ahead.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So here’s what you have to do and you probably are not going to be able to do this with your attorney, you may have to get another court appointed attorney or — did you say you have a private attorney?
Female: I do.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Vincent Davis: Okay. Or get another private attorney. You’re going to have to make the motion to set aside your what they call plea in the judgments and orders that were made at the last hearing based upon several things and, you know, whether you can use these or not, I don’t know, because I don’t know enough about the case. But one of the things that you can argue is that basically that you were misled and number two, there’s something a related topic called Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, IAC, and that’s where your attorney didn’t do his or her job the right way. So you can file that motion and you can set it on for hearing. Generally, the motions are heard very quickly in that court house.
The other thing that you can do is you can file what’s called 388 petition and that to change the orders that have been made with respect to you. And the last thing that you can do is, since you have recently had your hearing, like it hasn’t been 60 days, you can file what’s called a notice of appeal, you could appeal what happened to a higher court or you could file what’s called writ W-R-I-T to a higher court to have everything set aside.
Now I’m not telling you have all or any of these things would work for you. I just don’t know enough about the case, enough about the facts. You’re asking me what could you do and those are things that you could do. If you want to, you can give me a call, you can call my office today and make an appointment just on the phone, on Skype or in person and we can meet and we can talk about this in more details and I can give you some maybe better more specific solutions that can fit your situation.
But I would tell you this, in case none of those things work, you should make sure that you’re participating in that plan even if you disagree with it, even if you thought it’s bogus and, you know, that you’d done wrong in the case because if none of my suggestions work, you’re going to be stuck at having to do that plan in order to get your children back.
One last thing I want to ask you is where are your children right now? Are they in a foster home? Okay. I think we lost that caller? Before I get to the next topic, these calls are backing up, I’m going to take another call. The area code is 562 and the — hello, this is Attorney Vincent Davis.
Male: Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Good morning.
Male: Good morning. How are you, Mr. Davis?
Vincent Davis: Hi. What’s your first name?
Vincent Davis: I could barely hear you, sir.
Daniel: Okay. Can you hear me now?
Vincent Davis: I can hear you loud and clear now.
Vincent Davis: Did you have a question or story you’d like to share?
Daniel: Yeah, I just like to share a story.
Vincent Davis: Okay.
Daniel: I’ve had open case now for 23 months and did all the mandates that was asked of me and I’m not, if any, parent again and fortunately had your law office to help. I had a private attorney previous and just seemed to drag on and on and on and on and on. And, you know, it’s really a challenge and people really need to look at your website to gain some knowledge about what they can do because this is a specialty and for individual to go in and think that they’re going to challenge the system or find work with them that doesn’t quite work out. I was granted a detention release order on December 18th with my daughter.
Now the grandparents on the other side are trying to fight with me which they have no rights. The mother’s rights were terminated but the grandmothers on the other side are now calling in false allegations, had a social worker come in and they’re doing a review now. It was allegations of abuse with my daughter and the social worker looked and at my daughter, there’s nothing wrong with her, my house is clean, there’s food in the cabinets, her shoes, her clothes, everything are clean. She’s happy and I’m doing what I’m supposed to as a father to take care of my daughter. Supposed to have a review on the June 17th and they’re supposed to close the case out.
I don’t know how long, these are going to keep dragging on after that. I hope that this is the end of it but I appreciate your help and you [0:27:21 inaudible] into this thing and think it’s something simple. They really need to hire a private counsel that’s extremely experienced in this area because — and watch kids back. This whole thing it’s about the children. Everyone was pointing their fingers at me, criticizing me, ridiculing me, I’m like it’s not about me, it’s about my little girl, it’s about my daughter, she’s going to be two next month. And it seems the DCFS they kind of lose focus on what the whole thing is about, you know. I would be amazed if someone was offering, hey let me help you, you’re doing a good job, let me offer this or that. They know. And I don’t care about all that but when people are pointing fingers at you, I kind of ignore it but you can’t ignore it. It’s there and you got to do the best things that you can to get your child back, choose your words wisely. You may say thinking you’re doing okay can completely get pushed and turned around. So there it is, sir.
Vincent Davis: Well, thank you for your call. I appreciate your call and your advice to our listeners. I am going to take another call but before that I do that, I’m getting messages from my office. I want to tell you about free seminars that we do once a month, sometimes we do it twice a month and we have a seminar coming up on Saturday, January 16th, 2016 at 10:00 AM to about 1:00 PM at a Residence Inn in Manhattan Beach. The seminar is at different places every month and this month, Saturday, January 16th at 10:00 AM is going to be at the Manhattan Beach Residence Inn. At that seminar — the seminar actually is titled The Secret, How to Fight CPS and Win. You can register for that seminar by going online to www.helpfightcps.com that will take you to the event price registration page and you can register for that seminar.
Please go to the seminar early. It is limited to the number of seating and once it’s sold out, it’s sold out and you probably have to wait until our February seminar. Okay. I’m going to take one more call and it’s area code 213 and the phone number ends in 11. Good morning. You’re on with Attorney Vincent Davis. Good morning. Okay. Perhaps you’re not hearing me. So I’m going to go to our next topic, our third topic for the show and that’s the topic of relative placements.
California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 309
Relative placement is extremely important and you think it’s extremely important for all of you parents and relatives to bring it up immediately once the case starts. And in addition to talking to the social worker, you must do these two things. Number one, Google California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 309, Google that, inform yourself of what are the rights of the relatives. When you talk to social workers, let them know that you read that section.
Judicial Council Form JV-285
In addition to talking to the social worker, I want you to Google California Judicial Council Form JV-285, Judicial Council Form JV-285. Read that form carefully. It’s only two pages. It requires you to fill it out and file it with the court of the courts. This form will give official notice to the judge and to the attorneys that you want to do something with this particular child. And on page two, list of things that you should check with respect to the child. It’s page two out of number 9 says, I want to have telephone contact with the child, I want to write letters to the child, take the child on outings or on visitations, take the child to and from school, take the child to visits with brothers and sisters, take the child to therapy, take the child to family gatherings. Help the social worker make a case plan to the child. Take the child to visit with the parents, take the child to medical appointments. Supervise the child during visits with brothers or sisters. Watch the child after school. Have the child live with me, that’s an important one. Generally, I get relatives who will say, “Hey, I told my social worker, you know, months ago that I wanted the child to live with me.” And then the social worker reported to the courts, “No, that relative never told me that they wanted to have the child live with them.”
So then this form, because it’s filed and served on the judge and on all of these attorneys and all of the parties tells it and make it official that you requested to have this child live with you. If your relative also talk to the social worker tried to convince the social worker that the child should be placed with you, but let the social worker know that, you know, you talk or you’ve heard an attorney say that I JV285 should be filed. Do not let the social worker talk to you out of having that child placed with you or without you filing this JV285 on your own.
Special Guest – Attorney Sherman Amazon
Okay, right now, I’m going to bring on a special guest. He’s an attorney. Actually, currently, he’s an attorney with my office. His name is Sherman Amazon. Sherman, are you there?
Sherman Amazon: Yes, I am. Good morning, Vince.
Vincent Davis: Good morning. How are you this morning?
Sherman Amazon: Good. How are you doing?
Vincent Davis: Good. Thank you for calling in. Sherman, this morning I want you to — I’m going to ask you a few questions for our listeners and maybe you can share your thoughts, it’s called the practice of law. We always do things differently and perhaps you have cases and do things differently than I do, that doesn’t make you right or wrong, it’s doesn’t make it right or wrong that’s why they call it the practice of law.
Sherman, first tell us a little bit about your background and your experience as a lawyer?
Sherman Amazon: Sure, my background, ethnically I’m Indian and I live in Russia and I come from a family of professionals. My parents are both [inaudible 0:34:47] so, I didn’t want to be a doctor, so I became a lawyer. Legal background, I went to Arizona State University and when I came out — excuse me — I was actually at minor’s council at the Children’s Law Center of Monterey Park for roughly about seven or eight months, so I did a lot of cases with that. After that, I practiced correction’s law mostly creditor’s rights for a little bit and then I started my own law firm. And I was fortunate enough to come to work for the law office Vincent W. Davis & Associates where I currently practice.
Vincent Davis: Well, you’re too kind. How long have you been a lawyer?
Sherman Amazon: I’ve been a lawyer for roughly — this is [inaudible 0:35:27] this is roughly my fourth year of practicing law.
Vincent Davis: Okay. And now that you’re with me, what type of cases do you primarily work on?
Sherman Amazon: Oh, the only ones I work on are juvenile dependency cases. That’s my area of expertise and I feel very comfortable with juvenile dependency.
Vincent Davis: Now, you said that in your legal career, you worked as a court appointed child’s attorney?
Sherman Amazon: That’s correct, yes. I did worked on Monterey Park having a case where I had roughly 335 children who were my clients at that time.
Vincent Davis: Wow, that’s a lot of clients.
Sherman Amazon: Typical actually. Unfortunately when you work for them or you work for LADLs, Los Angeles Dependency, that you live with a [inaudible 0:36:16] parents you’ll have roughly 300 to 350 clients.
Vincent Davis: I see. Tell me something, is the minor’s attorney an important figure in the juvenile dependency case?
Sherman Amazon: Oh, I think it’s very important. When you minor is trying — you’re supposed to look at the child’s best interest. So often in a case where if they’re at, we have the department on one end that’s usually very conservative, the ones that, you know — the petition of course is filed against the parents sustained. And once that reached a certain end and the other end, you have parents and their attorneys whether they’re court appointed or you know, they’re privately retained council who are fighting for the release of the child back to the parents and kind of the middle is the minor’s council and often the minor’s council I think almost — functions almost like an advocate to the court where they’re kind of thinking of best interest of the children and they’re kind of neutral until they lean one way or the other.
And often as I’m representing the parents, I often want to try to get the minor’s council to at least see my side of the back pattern because if you can get them on your side, you know, having them argue as well, I think that opens up the judge’s eyes, otherwise the judge, you know, he or she will believe in the narrative that the department and the social workers are kind of spinning with the case.
Vincent Davis: I see, very interesting. Do me a favor, tell me what is the most troubling case you’ve ever been on or seen?
Sherman Amazon: Well the most troubling one that I personally was representing, a child I was involved in the same case, that was on national news were some parents in Colorado had — I think they had either murdered or one of the children in their care had died somehow and they had buried them underneath the house. They made that [inaudible 0:38:07] California with fugitives. They had been caught here in Southern California and the two children, the older brother, both of them entered the juvenile dependency system. So just that back pattern is terrific, but personally I feel like any case in which a child is taken away, and a lot of times the parents are just kind of shocked by having the juvenile dependency system functions and they feel like they’re in some kind of nightmare scenario because a lot of times they feel like, you know, these allegations are untrue and the social workers make me look like this horrendous monster when I’m in fact not or this is just preposterous.
And I think the fact that children are involved and that’s a very touchy subject, it just makes it a really horrific case. So I think every case is difficult especially for certain one of my clients who are involved in it.
Vincent Davis: Now, you were actually involved in that case?
Sherman Amazon: I was briefly. I bet I entered — so they have — when you are a minor’s attorney, sometimes if there’s a conflict in the case, they’ll split up the representation of the children. And the older brother, I believe he had almost come to the age emancipating out of the system, but he was a great older brother. I think once he turned 18, he gotten back to the younger brother who was at least, about, you know, almost like two or three years old. I had represented the younger brother in that case and the older brother was trying — his whole thing was I want to go to college, but I also want to be able to get on my own two feet and he wanted to adopt the younger brother because he loved him that much.
And he’s actually — I forgot to mention, he’d gotten a tattoo of themselves, interesting case where the parents were obviously incarcerated. And yeah, so I was involved briefly in that case, but just the fact [inaudible 0:39:46], but you see a lot of really bad cases and especially involving children. But I feel like children are, you know, some of the most at risk members of the society to those who are not able to speak up, they’re dependent on the parents, so you know, there’s a lot of bad cases unfortunately on juvenile dependency.
Vincent Davis: Since you’ve been with my office, what’s the most troubling case you’ve seen?
Sherman Amazon: The most troubling case I’ve see. I’ve seen allegations against clients and I won’t name names actually, and I have a client who was a literally a hero. He’d been in all the services, I’m not going to say which branch, but literally this gentleman had a problem and you know, his daughter had made a statement in class one day, I think being influenced by another child that spent time with who the other child was a friend’s adopted child who have been sexually abused. So I think this little girl kind of parroted some of the things, so that the department kid have made the accusations that this client who has just gotten back from a tour of doing overseas especially even recently given with ISIS and everything, really defending our country even subject to being out of the house, protective order for two months. Couldn’t see his children — he couldn’t see his wife and for me, I thought to myself this is very troubling because here’s a man who had almost decades, in military service not a single complaint, not his record, but he was still being treated like, you know, he was some kind of abuser or sexual molestation thing.
For me that was very troubling because he had not one mark on his character to many years of service, but he was still treated like everybody else.
Vincent Davis: So tell me what were you able to do for him?
Sherman Amazon: Oh, we were able to get the children returned. First thing I did was I made sure to get them out of foster care because they were unfortunately being treated very poorly in foster care. One of the children had ring worm after only three days in a foster care. The mother, who is my client, had multiple complaints so we were able to get the case closed out to terminate at the jurisdictional phase and have the children returned home.
And that was, you know, I love getting a positive result and affecting positive change in all my client’s lives especially like that one because I tried a little bit harder for brave men and women who go overseas and really help us sustain this way of life that we love as Americans.
Vincent Davis: Very good, very good. Now, as you sit there thinking about representing juvenile dependency clients, parents and relatives, what’s the best tip you can give to parents who are involved in these types of cases?
Sherman Amazon: My best tip would the interaction with social workers. I tell them, number one, proceed with caution because I think a lot of times social workers come across and they, you know, try to pretend like they’re your friend or something like that and I try to remind clients and said, “Don’t be unpleasant. We want to show them we’re going from a spirit of cooperation.” But at the same time be careful what you tell social workers because a lot of times — and I think you Vince have taught me this was that if you go into a meeting, sometimes if you’re not getting the answers that they have in their head that they want to hear that they will sometimes pencil with you and write these things in importance where you would think that preposterous and that we didn’t even have the same meeting that occurred because that’s not what I said, so I always tell my clients, number one, be pleasant to our social workers or, you know, after that at least keep a poker face. And I know that’s sometimes frustrating dealing with this almost like, you know, all well proceedings.
But go home and hit a punching bag or scream, go work out, do whatever you do, but we don’t want to be those people that yell or curse at social workers but at the same time be careful what you tell them because they are kind of the contact point for the court and they hold a lot of power in the proceedings and a lot of times of course, we’ll defer to them much like courts will defer to police offerings in criminal proceedings.
Vincent Davis: That’s a very good advice. My grandmother once told me, you get more bees with honey, and I didn’t understand that until I turn about 45 years old.
Sherman Amazon: That is very true, yeah.
use your words against you
Vincent Davis: And, you know, you’re absolutely correct. When your clients, if they are going to talk to social workers, they have to be extremely careful, social workers will use whatever the parent tells them in reports and generally use it against them. In addition, if the case involves any type of criminal proceeding, the social worker can be called as a witness against the client in the criminal proceedings as well. So they have to be extremely careful. (TAG: use your words against you)
You know, I may have told you this, but I’ll share it with our listeners. Probably a year, a year and a half ago, I was sitting in the chambers of a judge who was doing one of our juvenile dependency cases. And the other attorneys on the case were in the room and we were having a conference about how we are going to proceed in this case. And I think I was being some credibility with this judge during this conference. And then a very experienced county council told the judge, “Hey judge, Mr. Davis won’t let his client talk to the social workers.” Now, that actually wasn’t correct. What I had told him and told the social workers was that they can talk to my client only if I am present which is their right in this country, representation [inaudible 0:45:40] authorities, but that had turned into Mr. Davis won’t let his client talk to the social workers. It is only half truth.
And the judge looked at me and said, “Mr. Davis, I think you are playing games.” And I was a little bit taken aback by that because I’m a defense attorney. I don’t want my clients saying anything that will hurt their case. And I mentioned to the judge in a very professional way. I said, “Judge, this is how I defend my clients and I’ve been doing it for a very long time.” But I lost some credibility that day with that judge because of what was said. And I tell clients this, “I said look, if you don’t talk to the social worker, will it be used against you? Yes, probably. On a scale of 1 to 10, it will probably be a 5 or a 6. But the only alternative is that you talk to the social worker and potentially on a scale of 1 to 10, that could be an 11 against you and it can be used against you.” So your left taking the worst or the best of two possibilities. And so I always tell my clients as a general rule don’t talk to social workers unless I’m there. (TAG: don’t talk to social workers)
Now, unfortunately, all of my clients and all of our clients don’t follow that. And many, many times they talk to the social worker and then it’s written down in the report and the client inevitably says, “That’s not what I told the social worker.” They took that out of context. I hear that over and over and over and over in many cases no matter what county we’re in, you know. This is could be a Riverside case, it could an Los Angeles case, it could be a San Bernardino case, it could be an Orange County case, it could be a case in San Francisco, it could be a case up in Shasta County, a case down in San Diego, I see that all the time.
So at least we need to believe that maybe this is a general practice and since in a lot of situations, these interviews aren’t taped, that people either have different recollections and it’s, you know, some people may be mistaken and they both may be mistaken or sometimes, I get the impression sometimes that the social worker may have outright not been completely truthful, not been truthful at all.
It reminds me of a case that I did where the social worker wrote in a report that a witness, the child’s therapist said something to the effect that the mom was emotionally abusive to the child. I called up that counselor and I’ve talked to the counselor and he talked to me and he said, “I never said that.” I brought the counselor in and put the counselor on the witness at the trial, the counselor said, “Hey, I never said that.” And, you know, it was just unbelievable. The social worker stuck to her story claiming that the counselor did say that.
I wasn’t there. I didn’t — I can’t tell you what happened. All I can tell you is what the social worker is saying and what the counselor is saying. That same thing happens to parents when they talk to social workers. So parents against social workers and sometimes or a lot of times social workers are believed over parents, not all the time, but a lot of times.
Sherman, I want to thank you for calling in this morning and sharing those thoughts with us. I really appreciate it and I get that we’ll see you next week.
Sherman Amazon: I’ll see you next week, sir. My pleasure. Have a great morning.
Vincent Davis: Okay, we’re getting towards the end of the show. There was one caller that I think I cut off. Let me go back to her. Her number is area code 213 NZ11. Hello, ma’am? Hello, hello?
Vincent Davis: Hi, this is attorney Vincent Davis. Did we get cut off before?
Vincent Davis: Hello, this is attorney Vincent Davis.
Female: You can hear me?
Vincent Davis: I can hear you loud and clear and so can you?
Female: Oh my goodness. I did not know I was actually going to get in. Hold on one second if possible. I’m inside of a store, so I’m going to step out really quick. Let me know [inaudible 0:50:41] basket. Hi. This is my basket, I’m going to step out right there. Thank you very much.
Okay, thank you for taking my call. I registered for your seminar on Saturday or next Saturday.
Vincent Davis: Yes.
Female: And my situation is basically claiming that I have a mental health, they are diagnosing me a bipolar. They basically made me surrender the children to my ex-husband off of reports that I gave them access to talk to my psychiatrist and I guess they told them that I never came back for my — for him to reduce the doses of the medication he was giving me. And I did not go back because my insurance was ending at that time and I told the social worker that.
The next thing I know I get a call on October 21st, please rush down to the office and I go down there because I’m thinking, “Okay, whatever is going on with my children, I will need to be there.” She basically said, you either surrender your children to the dad or we’re going to file a warrant. So out of my fear, I surrendered the children to the dad and said we’re going to have seven-day meeting.
Now, if you backtrack, social workers are calling to my home back in May 26, I had no idea who called. Then five months past and they come held an investigation and then they come, I thought everything was going to be called. They come to my new home. I moved. I have another job and they come to my new home and interviewed me and my children and my current significant other and the social worker verbally told me that she was going to close the ER referral and have apologized to me for being open for so long. Then weeks later, I’m being asked to surrender my children.
Then we go to the first hearing — and no, first thing I have a VSN case, a voluntary salary notification case after the family decision meeting, they’re willing to issue a warrant. Then they decided we’ll do a VFR case. I do the VFR case for one week. I went to my children’s school so that I could register them for the next school year and I was told I violated the VFR plan by going to the children’s school and then being allowed to see them in their classrooms. And then they immediately issued a warrant and I had to take off work that following — that same Friday of that week and then that’s when they decided well, we’re minimizing visits to four hours a week and then come back December the 11th for a child hearing. We get to the child hearing and the doctor doesn’t show up. They subpoenaed the doctor, he doesn’t show up, so the judge continues the hearing till February 1st and then they want to subpoena my employers because they interviewed the people at my job. And I’m like, is that even legal? Like I said, they go to my job interviewing them, so now I have a hearing on February 1st.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Let me just say a couple of things. As indicated that you signed up for the seminar next Saturday, one of the benefits of having, coming to the seminar is that after the seminar, I sit down with you and I give you — I go over your case with you in detail. So we’re going to be doing that if you are coming to the seminar, we’re going to be doing that next Saturday.
Vincent Davis: The second thing that I want to tell you is that in certain circumstances, well, I would say in most circumstances, any attorney or any court on a case can subpoena in anyone that they believe would help their case and then in this situation, they can subpoena in your employers. Now, what you can do is that you should speak with your attorney, sit down with your attorney and see if a motion to quash the subpoena is appropriate because if it’s definitely a type of subpoena that is going to be harassing and just trying to hurt you because you want to go to trial for instance, your attorney may be able to quash that subpoena where your employers or your co-employees would not have to be subpoenaed into court.
I want to thank you for your call this morning and I will [inaudible 0:55:31].
Female: Thank you.
Vincent Davis: We’re running out of time. I can’t take any further calls. And in closing, I want to remind you folks about the seminar next weekend. It is — you can register at www.helpfightCPS.com. The seminar is going to be in Manhattan Beach Residence Inn and it’s going to be from 10 to 1. And then after that, I sit down with the participants in the seminar and I go over their case in detail one on one privately with them, probably worth the price of the seminar alone.
In closing, I want to remind everyone that it is important if you are involved in this type of case that you can experience an expert, legal representation. These cases as the caller earlier said, are very, very unique legal cases. They’re unique legal rules and different laws at time. Not all attorneys are qualified to represent clients in this type of hearing — these types of hearings. It’s important for you to work with your court appointed attorney and if you have any reservations or any doubts, you are entitled to get a second opinion. So give us a call.
The second thing I want to inform you is you need to get the necessary information about the type of case you are involved with. That doesn’t mean you are going to be an expert. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to come up with a legal strategy that’s going to work. That doesn’t mean that you should be representing yourself because you shouldn’t, but you need to get the necessary information to give you a framework about these cases so that you can — so that you can assist your attorney.
Download our free legal eBook at our website, helpfightCPS.com and you meet with your attorney, your court appointed or your private attorney, you meet with them, meet with them in person, meet with them on the phone, exchange emails. You need to be strategizing with your attorney before you work for the court, not the day of the court.
The last thing I want to tell you is and remind you is vote. Exercise your power. Vote. Help change the laws. Help elect family friendly judges, help elect family friendly state legislators and most importantly let’s organize county and county and state wide to have our votes, to have your voices heard.
My name is Attorney Vincent Davis. We’ll see you next week and on the radio.
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