Vincent Davis: Good morning. This is Attorney Vincent Davis, and you’re on with Get Your Kids Back Now! This show is dedicated to keeping families together, and to fighting the tyranny of CPS and DCFS social workers. A secondary purpose of the show is to educate parents and relatives, or to at least show them where to get the necessary information for their fight. The final purpose of the show is to remind the people that change can be effectuated at the ballot box, at the state and federal levels. Let us unite, vote, and elect those who will make the necessary changes.
Good morning. It’s Saturday, 8:00 AM, July 2nd — excuse me — 2016. Our show today, we are going to be talking about trials and how to prepare for trials. It’s always a subject that comes up and I’ll — it’s always a subject that I see — I see in court, and a lot of people are lost and confused. I was in court the other day, in a juvenile dependency court in San Bernardino County, and I was watching a trial. And I didn’t know anything about the case. I wasn’t on that trial, and it seemed as though, to me, that the participants in the trial, the parties, the mother and the father and the family who was sitting in back were very confused about what was going on. And I could tell that the case was set for trial, but they weren’t really having a trial. And that sometimes is a little bit concerning.
In most cases, and I don’t want to say ‘cases’, in most cases, when you have a trial you have to have witnesses. You have to have attorneys conducting direct and cross examination of witnesses. And in this particular case, there were no witnesses. What happened was was that the social worker’s attorney was introducing into evidence the social worker’s reports. And nobody put the social worker on the stand, and I believe the social worker was in the courtroom. Nobody put the social worker on the stand to cross examine the social worker. And the parents’ attorneys argued the case. And then the judge found against the parents and placed the children out of their care.
Now, as I said, I didn’t know anything about the case. And this may have been a strategic tactic used by the attorneys. However, in most cases, you don’t want to have a trial without cross examining and examining certain witnesses. So I’m going to use as an example a case where a woman came and spoke to me this week, and I have a feeling that her trial, which is coming up in Orange County next week, is going to be handled in the manner I just described. And the reason I have that feeling is because the mother told me that she was recently in Orange County for what’s called a settlement conference, where her attorney was telling her that they shouldn’t call any witnesses and shouldn’t call the children as witnesses.
It just so happen that she left me copies. We made copies of all her documents, and yesterday I was at the office very late and I happened to be — just — I was waiting for someone for a late appointment, and I just happened to start going through her paperwork and I realized something. I realized that she — it appeared from the paperwork that she had a very good defense for the allegations against her and that it was imperative that her children — I think she had four or five children — be called as witnesses. She had even been told that her children didn’t want to return home and had been told that her children might be testifying against her, which was completely different from her contact when she has contact with her children during visitation.
And I shared with her that — you know, that perhaps her attorney or the minors’ attorney had gotten confused or wasn’t reporting accurately, and unless they were going to give her her children back, you know, she should go to trial. She has been waiting several months, which is unfortunately not unusual to have a trial. As a matter of fact, I think she told me that they had passed the six-month date from when the children were first removed from her home and that she hadn’t had trial yet.
There are statutes that say that the disposition hearing must be conducted within six months, and the disposition hearing as part of that trial in most juvenile cases. So, it had been over six months, and she had asked me, she said, “Mr. Davis, can my case be thrown out?” since they had not, you know, had her trial within the statutory period of time. And I said that yes that I thought so, but that was something that she was going to have to talk to her attorney. And she shared with me that her attorney would not discuss that issue with her.
So, for the listeners out there, you do have a right to have a trial within a statutory time period. And that statutory time period could be as short as 15 court days from your first court hearing. That’s known around the juvenile court vernacular as a no time waiver trial. So you’re entitled to have a speedy trial which is like as if you were in criminal court. So, when you — or if you go to a hearing or your first hearing, make sure you ask your attorney about the no time waiver trial. Because if that right is not asserted at the first hearing date, you could waive your right to have a speedy trial and you could be caught, you know, not going to trial in, you know, two to three months.
I recently — well, many times, we come in on a case after the first court date. And what happens is the right to the speedy trial has already been waived. And so we’re stuck with having a trial at the time when it was set maybe two months down the road or six weeks down the road. And that’s very unfortunate because the family wants to get the child or the children back in their care, but it can’t be done without having the trial and the trial was already set, you know, six weeks from — or seven weeks from the date of the first hearing. That happened on a case recently. The family came in and wanted to hire us but they decided to go to the first hearing on their own and have a court-appointed attorney because they didn’t think that the judge, that any judge would keep the children back — keep the children away from them based upon the allegations of the social worker.
And so they went to the first hearing, the judge did not return the children, and then they texted me from the courthouse and they called me and they told me what happened, and they said, “Well, we’re coming to your office and we’re going to hurry because we want you to get the children back.” So, they came and then I had to explain to them that since the court date had been set so far out, we had to wait until the new court date. And then they said, “Well, didn’t you tell us that we have our — had a right to have a speedy trial?” and I said, “Yeah, I did tell you that, and, you know, I told you to discuss that with the attorney that appointed you.” And — unfortunately, they said that the attorney had not mentioned that to them or the attorney did. You know, it got lost in the translation. But I said, “There’s nothing that I can do until, you know, you have the court date.” Now, there’s a lot that can be done in preparing for the court and the trial, but that right to a speedy trial had already been waived by the client.
So getting back to our example. Our example is, is that there were allegations against the mother of physically abusing the children, and an allegation about domestic violence that had happened between the mother and the father. Now, on the domestic violence allegation, the one thing that I noticed from the paperwork with the allegation of — well, the actual incident, alleged incident of domestic violence had occurred about three years ago. And it was not the reason why the case came into the juvenile dependency system. But most social workers being the social workers that they are, trying to win a case, alleged domestic violence that happened three years ago.
So it was my opinion and my advice to the client that they didn’t necessarily have to worry about the domestic violence incident, because there was no connection to current risks of harm to the children. Now, that’s just my humble opinion. There are some judges that may be thinking differently, some social workers that may be thinking differently, some minors’ attorneys that must be thinking differently, you know, some county counsel who represent the social workers might be thinking differently. But that’s just my humble opinion. But I did tell the potential client that she did not necessarily have to worry about that allegation and, you know, that her — she and her attorney could argue that there was no current nexus between domestic violence and keeping the children away from her.
In her particular situation, the father of the children, who the alleged domestic violence incident had happened with, was living in another state back in the Midwest. And, you know, the client lived here in Southern California, and there was no likelihood that the children — that the mother and the father would be together any time in the future, because the father didn’t even visit the children; he didn’t even see the children. So, what happened was, in the initial interview, the social worker was asking the mother, you know, about the history of the family, et cetera, and the mother was honest and she mentioned domestic violence that had happened three years ago. And all of a sudden it shows up in the charges against her.
One of the — and that’s one of the many reasons why I tell people, “Do not talk to social workers without an attorney being present.” You know, because a lot of the things that you say will either be used against you, might be twisted or might be just turned around on you and reported incorrectly, either by accident, or in my opinion, sometimes intentionally. That’s my humble opinion. But, you know, if you don’t talk to the social worker, it can’t — they can’t use evidence out of your own mouth against you. So that’s why I give that recommendation to potential clients and people that call me. I know it’s different from a lot of attorneys that work in this field. But that’s just my own opinion based upon almost, you know, 20 — 30 years of practice as being an attorney.
So getting back to the — this trial that’s coming up for this mother. The allegations that she has to focus on are the allegations of physical abuse. Now, the stack of papers that had been generated in approximately six months without having any trial was I’d say about three inches. I mean, it was a lot of paper. And they were a lot of — there was a lot of discussion in the paperwork about whether the mother had physically abused the children. And it wasn’t clear from the child’s alleged statements by the social worker written in the reports whether there was any physical abuse. There had been a few, and I want to stress ‘a few’ reported incidents where the mom had taken her hand and smacked it against the child’s butt, with clothes on.
So, you know, I wasn’t there, I don’t know how reasonable or unreasonable that is, but that’s a pretty hard case for a social worker to prove physical abuse if that’s all that happened. In California, you are allowed to physically discipline your child as long as it’s reasonable. Now, a lot of social workers and a lot of juvenile judges would tell you differently. Maybe that they don’t want you to physically discipline while the case is before them, and that’s fine. They have the right to do that. But before the case starts, you do have the right to physically discipline your child. The question becomes between discipline and abuse is whether it was reasonable or not. And that term ‘reasonable’ is I think intentionally vague and it’s, you know, something that is defined from case-to-case. It’s one of those things where you may — where you know it when you see it, but you can’t necessarily define reasonableness.
So, it was imperative that — for this trial, that the attorney and the mother sit down and discuss strategy about how to question the children. Because what’s going to happen, and unfortunately I think what’s going to happen at this trial is that she’s going to go there thinking that they’re going to have witnesses, character witnesses, et cetera. And there’s not going to be a trial, there’s not going to be any witnesses, and they’re going to end up submitting on the social worker reports, and if that happens, more times than not, the mother is going to lose. And then the question becomes, what’s the disposition to the — to the case? Meaning, where the children are going to be placed.
So, in California in most courts these days, when you have a trial, they do the trial and the disposition hearing together. They’re actually two different statutes, and in my opinion, well, there really should be, and sometimes there are, two different two different trials. And in the old days, many, many, many years ago when I first started doing this, almost always the jurisdictional hearing and the dispositional hearing were done separately. And the reason is because at the jurisdictional hearing the social worker has to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the — that your risk, R-I-S-K, to the children and — by the way, it has to be a current risk — that your current risk to the children, and that the allegations are true.
Dispositional hearing, the social worker has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that you’re a substantial danger to the child, and that there are no less restrictive alternatives. That’s a lot different from the first trial because the first trial was a preponderance of evidence. The disposition hearing is by clear and convincing evidence. And at the jurisdictional, the first trial, they have to prove a risk to the children. And at the dispositional hearing, they have to prove that you’re — it’s substantial danger. Not a danger. A substantial danger to the children. If they don’t prove that you’re a substantial danger to the children, the children must be returned, even if you lost the first trial.
Now, a lot of people either don’t know this or don’t acknowledge it. And a couple of weeks ago I was doing a trial, a dispositional trial in a case, and I don’t think anyone but me and the judge knew the distinction. Because during some parts of the examination, there — of the social worker, there were arguments made by the county counsel and by the children’s attorney that the standard of proof that we were using and the test that we were supposed to be using was preponderance of evidence and that the test was substantial risk.
Now, there’s a — there’s a huge difference between risk and danger. So, the county counsel seemed to be arguing that the standards that the judge should be using was preponderance of evidence of a substantial risk. The minor’s attorney was arguing that it was supposed to be clear and convincing evidence, but it was clear and convincing evidence of substantial risk.
Both the judge and I opened up our code books and read, and the judge didn’t say anything. She kind of knew because we were reading the same thing and I thought, you know, “Did I forget the law?” You know, which was unlikely, but it says substantial — clear and convincing evidence of a substantial — excuse me — of a substantial danger. And, to top it off, the social worker had to prove at the dispositional hearing that there were no less restrictive alternatives.
So in that particular case, I was arguing and trying to show to the examination of the social worker which is the key point, because my argument is not testimony. All right? So, even if I have a really good argument, if I don’t bring enough evidence, I’m going to lose. In that particular case, I asked the social worker, I said, “Hey, is my client a danger to the child?” And she looked at me, thought about it, and she said something to this effect, “Your client is not a danger to the child but she is a substantial risk.”
Well, by definition, at the dispositional hearing, I should win. I should win and there shouldn’t be any question whatsoever, the children should be returned home. So I had already lost the jurisdictional hearing about the allegations. But if they can’t prove that there are, by clear and convincing evidence, substantial danger to the child and less restrictive alternatives, then the child has to be returned home. So even though the social worker said, you know, “She’s not a danger but she’s a substantial risk,” I then went on to ask the social worker about the many less restrictive alternatives that are rarely brought up in a juvenile dependency case. And I think the reason why they’re rarely brought up is because the county and the social workers don’t want to bring it up. And they don’t want to bring it up because it cost money to give services that are less restrictive than taking the child away. It’s less expensive to put the child in foster care than to give the parent the services to keep the child in the home.
Let me give you an example. In that case I was telling you about in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, as does every county, they — but they call it different things in different counties, they have a program where if the child is returned to the home, there’s — and sometimes they call them wraparound services or they’re — what they used to call it in Los Angeles was family preservation services, and those services meant exactly what it’s — what it was titled. It was services to keep the children in the home. So, for example, let’s say that you were a parent and you lost your child because of a domestic violence incident, because of a physical abuse incident or because of a drug use. If you are in a drug program and testing clean, they — the county can give you services where someone comes to your home, either one, two or three people come to your home, daily. Yes, Monday thru Friday. I’ve even heard of people coming out to the clients’ homes on Saturdays.
So if you’re coming out to the home five, six times a week or maybe even three or four times a week, you get to see the children and the parents together in the home. So, that would be better than placing these children in a foster home. And it would be less expensive than placing these — excuse me — and — but it would be more expensive than to place these children in the home because you actually have social workers, usually outside vendors, who provide services to county — to counties and the families. They come up to the home, three, four, five times a week and they check and they make sure that there’s nothing wrong. But you rarely hear that offered by the social worker or brought up. And when it’s not brought up, you rarely hear an attorney who represents a parent bring that type of suggestion up.
In a lot of cases where I think that it’s appropriate, I will not only subpoena in the social worker, but I will subpoena in the social worker or the director of that department who offers family reunification services. Excuse me, family preservation services. So I’ll give you an example. Again a case in San Diego probably a year ago, and I subpoenaed in the emergency response worker who initially took the children from the home, and I subpoenaed in the dependency investigator who wrote the jurisdictional and dispositional report because I wanted to cross examine them about their reporting and I had other witnesses that would contradict what these two social workers would say.
But I didn’t [0:24:56 inaudible] in the — I found out by making calls who was the social worker who was in charge of San Diego’s family preservation unit. Now, they don’t call it family preservation in San Diego, I can’t remember what they call it. But each county has this, because they’re given substantial federal money to offer these services. And I believe that when they don’t spend the money offering these services, that the county redirects the money and they will use it for different things.
So I subpoenaed in that person, and when we go to court we had a huge argument on the record by the county counsel about why I shouldn’t be able to call that person as a witness. And we went on and on and on about it, and I got the feeling the judge might — was going to rule against me at first. And so I finally told the judge and told all the attorneys, I said — you know, I didn’t say it like this but basically I said, “Look, the Code section says they got to prove less restrictive alternatives. I subpoenaed that witness so that she can prove,” and she’s a county witness, a county social worker, “that there are less restrictive alternatives that nobody’s mentioned to the court in these reports. And that the two social workers that I did subpoena, they don’t even know anything about the family preservation, how it’s assigned, how it’s given, what the services are.”
So in the end, the judge I think was forced to rule in my favor, which led, by the way, to the case being settled in my client’s favor, which led to the clients being — excuse me — the children being returned to the clients, to the parents, and without family preservation. So they didn’t even want them to get less restrictive alternative services because it was just too expensive for the county of San Diego to do that, and instead they sent the kids home and they made the clients jump through a lot of hoops, which they were willing to do, and it had been months since this — since they had — you know, since they had lost their kids initially, and they just wanted their children back. So they need to do I think it was parenting, I think they had to domestic violence counseling, they had to do — I think one of the parents had to do drug rehabilitation and drug testing, and the other — both of them had to do individual counseling and, you know, maybe a couple other things. But sometimes they give you these services, and they make it so onerous it’s almost as if, you know, you’re setting yourself up failure because they have you going to classes and counseling, you know, five times a week, and you’re going to something or doing something. And it’s, you know, it’s pretty hard to maintain a family, you know, with three or four kids, and to work a job when they have you do all of these, you know, family maintenance and family reunification services. But that’s a whole different topic for another day.
So, getting back to the example of the trial in Orange County, the client should make sure that they don’t just argue. You got to bring in witnesses. And in this particular case, and — you know, I told her, she ended up not hiring us — but I told her, I said — well, I gave her a game plan of what she had to do. And I was a little concerned because this particular client was very, very intelligent; college graduate. I think she even had a master’s degree. And she has read all the Code sections and she felt that she knew what to do and what not to do. And that was a little — you know, that perhaps maybe a little dangerous for her, because she’s not an attorney, she doesn’t know anything about the evidence code and how to prove things and the Code of Civil Procedure and that type — because sometimes when you’re just reading the Code, the Welfare and Institutions Code, you think, “Oh, I know the law, therefore, you know, I can — I can argue this and I should win.” It doesn’t work that way. Knowing the law is, you know, maybe 40% of the battle. You still have to prove stuff in court. And the only way you can prove stuff in court is by presenting witnesses and documentary evidence that is admissible.
So, documentary evidence that is admissible. Well, what a lot of people don’t know and don’t understand is, you know, that letter from your friend or your boss or your drug counselor, that’s inadmissible. It’s not admissible. So, just bringing those letters isn’t going to work. Now, the flipside, you know, it is admissible for the social worker. But what if the social worker — there’s an special exceptions that — you know, that they have for social workers that don’t apply to the parents, which I think is inherently unfair, but that’s the law. So what if your social worker doesn’t include that letter from your counselor that says, you know, you’re not a risk or danger to your children? Doesn’t come into evidence.
I once did a trial in Los Angeles where I had a — you know, maybe a half inch notebook that we had given to the social worker to investigate and include in her jurisdictional report. At the time of the trial, the judge didn’t admit them and didn’t let me cross examine the social worker about the documents that I had given to her to investigate. And then on appeal we lost. So there was no guarantee that — there’s no guarantee that documents are ever going to come in for a parent, unless you bring the preparer of that document to court and put them on the stand. And then they have to testify that they prepared the letter, that everything in the letter is accurate and perhaps you can get some other, you know, positive evidence against the — afford from that witness, and put them on the stand to illicit that information.
Hold on a second. I’m getting message from our producer. She’s asking me right now to take a call that’s waiting in queue. It’s area code 562, ending in 81.
Good morning. You’re on with Attorney Vincent Davis.
Female: Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Hello?
Female: Hello? Hello?
Vincent Davis: Hi. Who am I speaking to?
Female: My name is Carol Liggins.
Vincent Davis: Hi. We have — there’s some background noise. I don’t know if you have a TV on or something.
Carol Liggins: Oh, yeah, that’s my TV. I don’t know, I was following to a radio station. Can you hear me?
Vincent Davis: Yes, I can. Did you have a story you wanted to share with us or did you want to ask a question?
Carol Liggins: Basically — well, it’s both, really. I have a situation that’s going on. I’m not here in California. I had a DCFS case. As a — the judge [0:32:53 inaudible] jurisdiction to take my — detain my kid. And I reported her to the Commission on Judicial Performances. And after that I was illegally evicted from home, I was [arrested]. I got beat up by the police. When I got to court, she was like, “Well, Ms. Liggins, we have jurisdiction now” before she retired. But now, my daughter she’s 19 years old up under DCFS care. She got pregnant twice. Two healthy babies. And they took both of her kids.
And now — but it’s negligence on their part. And right now I’ve been — I’ve been trying — I’ve been reaching out fast to have people — have people help me file a civil suit and what would I do with it. Just like with the excessive use of force or all that situation with the police, in this case all in between. And it’s kind of hard being a single parent and fighting with Department of Children and Family Services, trying to get my family back. And it’s — and now my kids are all timed out, they’re all grown. I did everything I was supposed to do that they asked me to do. I did that.
Right now, I live in a transitional housing program, which is the program that I came to when I got out of prison, when I completed the program and stuff like that. And I’m still being harassed by Department of Children and Family Services. I still get — I had got my SSI disability. They took that from me. I’m under this radar of a lot of things that my [0:34:45 inaudible] so they said I assaulted the police. Now this — they said that I assaulted the police, this is the day that’s keeping me from being with my grandkids, but I thought it — I want the appeal. And this still showed up on my record and the social worker for my grandkids told me yesterday that, “You know, we have to investigate this.” I won the appeal. You guys have the documents. I won. I beat it. It never happened. They beat me up. I was —– they could not hold me, so they said I tried to escape, which was a lie.
And so, it’s just a lot that’s going on right now, and I really need help. I really, really need help and I know it’s — and it’s a few other women with the same situation and circumstances as I that is in need of help out here in California. And I just need someone to reach out and just be like a willing participant that wants to be involved. I don’t have income. I can’t — the lady beat me and the lady with the fire extinguisher. I can’t — I walk with a walker. Sometimes I can barely walk, but I don’t let that stop me from going to that courtroom, filing whatever type of petition I can. I just filed an appeal yesterday because they want to adopt my grandson out. I was there doing a 388 all in one day yesterday on the bus, you know, catching the bus. You know, so, I’m just like reaching out. I really need someone that can help me because the thing is when my grandkids turn 18 I want them to have something. So I want them to know that their grandmother tried. You know, that I tried my best to bring them home —–
Vincent Davis: Well, do you currently have any children that are in the system?
Carol Liggins: My kids are — they are aged out. They — DCFS made sure my kids didn’t come home. My son, he — my older son, he had — he — my older son is 26 years old. When he aged out at the age of 21, I have an exit plan for him. And I was like, “How do you know I have an exit plan for him? You guys never left home, you know, what — you know, at a timely manner. We don’t have the exit plan for him.” I did — I told my son, “At this time, you need to file a lawsuit against them because they did not do what they were supposed to do for you, you know.” But we have this big old fear because of what happened to us. We have a — I had a large fear because I was afraid because of what — when I reported that judge I was afraid — I’m still afraid. But I got to do what I got to do for my grandkids and my daughter.
My son [0:37:52 inaudible], he goes to [0:37:54 inaudible] University. He realized the system as — he listens to me and I tell him, “Do what you got to do,” you know, and he did that. My sons tell me they — they diagnosed my kids as ADHD, all this — whatever, to give them psych meds and stuff like that when they was placed in foster care — homes and stuff. I asked the kids, not my son, Tommy from the home, because when I went to visit him, every kid in that house was drugged up. And I took that chance and I took my son away from there.
I went through a lot just with that alone. And now my daughter, she’s the — I found her on a skid row. She was pregnant in a group home. They were beating her up, jumping on her. They wasn’t feeding here properly, so she left the group home so she can, you know, do what she had to do, and she had [0:38:59 inaudible] they wouldn’t have those drugs and that [0:39:02 inaudible] her baby was healthy. But my little child was living on skid row because when she will come to my house they will come looking for fear that we’ll have her AWOL on — different things. And the same thing, they took this baby and she end up getting pregnant again, living on the street. She’s still up under DCFS jurisdiction.
And it —– the social worker’s supervisor yesterday for my grandkid, for my granddaughter and she was like, “Well, Ms. Liggins, what do you want us to do?” I told her, “I want you to help my daughter. You guys — you guys –” they say, “This is the –” she said [0:39:45 inaudible] that can make with. Now, this is the thing that’s killing me. My granddaughter, she’s not even a month old, her case is in Lakewood, my daughter — her social worker is in [0:39:57 inaudible], and my grandson is in adoption stages and his is in Pasadena.
They haven’t — did — now, when my daughter was pregnant, they had her with a [0:40:06 inaudible], saying that she wasn’t mentally stable or whatever to be a parent. So now — so now, the — she didn’t have the kids. They, like, assisted her with everything. They just want to take them. And that’s not fair. That is not fair. The only thing that was — go ahead [0:40:29 inaudible]. I’m all over the place because that’s how my life has been, all over the place. Dealing with DCFS —
Vincent Davis: Well, yeah — Yeah. And that sometimes happens, dealing with the DCFS social workers. Do me a favor. Get a pen and a piece of paper. I want to give some information.
Carol Liggins: Okay, hold on for one second. Okay. I’m ready.
Vincent Davis: I want you to write this telephone number down. I want you —
Carol Liggins: Hello?
Vincent Davis: to call it — I want you to call it today after 9:30, and I want you to make an appointment to speak to me further about your case.
Carol Liggins: Okay.
Vincent Davis: Are you ready for the phone number? It’s 888 —
Carol Liggins: Yeah. 888 —
Vincent Davis: 888 —
Carol Liggins: Okay.
Vincent Davis: 65 — 6582. So that’s 888-888-6582. Call that number today after 9:30 and make an appointment to speak to me, and we’ll go over your case in detail, okay?
Carol Liggins: Okay.
Vincent Davis: And thank you for calling this morning.
Carol Liggins: Okay.
Vincent Davis: Right now — right now I’m going to take another call, area code 818, ending in 30.
Vincent Davis: Good morning. You’re on with Attorney — Good morning.
Male: Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Did you have a question or a story you wanted to share with us?
Male: Both, question and story. My — well, I don’t know what the questions are because — I need advice. My child was taken away from me and my current girlfriend, from the Department of Child and Family Services about September of last year. I have a criminal past under the [0:42:42 inaudible] code. The child is a prima facie evidence of danger because I have been convicted of a sexual crime, a 288.5, about 20 years ago. So, nothing that has been happening right now is actually because I’ve done anything with child is because of a previous conviction.
My girlfriend would say that she is — has placed the child in danger because she lived with me, and it’s her child and my child together, because I know I am a convicted sex offender, and that’s enough for them to take away the child and also that she suffers from depression, and that I should have known about that and that I had placed the child in danger because I had a child with someone who suffers from depression.
We’ve been fighting this for quite some time. No matter what I seem to do, there seems to be a bias just based only on my past. We have complied with all the court orders. We’re about two and a half months left from the final say so. We’ve already had the child. The child was taken away from us. We’ve been given stuff to do. But no matter what — no matter what I do it’s seems that there are just biases put in the system and I just can’t move forward with unmonitored visits or with liberalization of visits of my child. They are giving her more liberalization visits with the child, but it seems like — it seems like I’m going to lose them. I’m not going to have a chance, and most likely her attorney, my girlfriend’s attorney has advised her to leave me in order for her to get the child back. So, they’re also trying to destroy my family.
So, I don’t know what to do as of now. I wish I would have had an actual private attorney, but at that time I wasn’t financially able to do so. I’m in a better position now to hire up and to get advice, but I don’t know if it’s too late with only two and a half months time left and I don’t know what to do.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So what county is your case in?
Male: Los Angeles.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So you’re at the Edmund Edelman Children’s Court?
Vincent Davis: Who’s your judge?
Male: That is a good question. Elaine K. Bradshaw.
Vincent Davis: Bretchel or Blackshaw.
Vincent Davis: Bradshaw. Okay. Are you in Department 412, on the fourth floor?
Male: The fourth floor, yeah. 412 or 413, one of those two.
Vincent Davis: Okay. And when was your last court date and when is your next court date?
Male: My last court date was March the 12th. And my next court date is September 13th.
Vincent Davis: And how old is the child?
Male: He just barely turned one years old.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So, did you have a trial initially?
Male: Yes. We did have a trial initially. I had — I had my psychologist while on parole come in to testify on my behalf. Yeah, all good things. He said that I was — show remorse and regret. He said that I participated in therapy and that he felt safe with me living in the same neighborhood with him and with me having children around. He said that I am no threat. But that just didn’t seem to sway the court whatsoever.
Vincent Davis: Did you appeal your case?
Male: Yes. Unfortunately, I didn’t appeal it correctly. I didn’t know how and I couldn’t — and I couldn’t afford anyone to appeal it for me. So we — my current public defender lawyer just wrote out one sentence and say, “Here, put your name here, here and turn it in.”
Vincent Davis: Did you turn —
Male: Yes, we did — we did turn it in.
Vincent Davis: And what happened on the appeal?
Male: We’re still waiting for a request.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Did — were you appointed an —
Male: No, not yet. We’re waiting for — we had no —-
Vincent Davis: Did you —
Male: We went — Sorry?
Vincent Davis: Did your appeal get filed within 60 days of your last court date?
Male: Yes, it did.
Vincent Davis: And you haven’t been appointed an attorney yet?
Male: We haven’t been appointed an attorney and we’ve heard no one. We — I filed it within two days. That was — two days within the 60 days being over. Since I was trying to get, you know, whatever help I could. And we went in, they looked it over, they said it was good and we filed the paperwork.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So do you have a pen and a piece of paper?
Male: Yes, I do.
Vincent Davis: Okay. I want you to write this phone number down. I’m going to tell you some more stuff today, but I want you — you know, before I move on I want you to call this number, make an appointment to speak to me, excuse me, on Monday or Tuesday. And the number is 888-888, excuse me, 6582. You have to have your appeal processed fast. I may be able to help you do that. Also, where is your child right now?
Male: In the foster family.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So, second thing I want you to do, and you could mention this to the mother as well, you need to make a list of 25 people anywhere in the world — okay, so they don’t have to be L.A, they don’t have to be in California, they don’t have to be in the United States, they could be anywhere in the world — 25 relatives, name, address, telephone number, email if they have it, and their relationship to the child. Because you got to get that child moved to a relative ASAP.
Male: Yeah. I — yes, unfortunately, because of my past, I’m [0:49:19 inaudible] by all family members. And unfortunately — well, my girlfriend immigrated here immediately from a different country, and basically having no relatives out there.
Vincent Davis: If you were listening to me, I said relatives anywhere in the world.
Male: Yes. Yes, I did listen.
Vincent Davis: So —
Male: Her relatives are in a war-torn country right now.
Vincent Davis: Okay. And?
Male: And she has lost contact — and she has lost contact with them.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Well, if you want to take this child, you come up with the names.
Vincent Davis: All right. The third thing you have to do is you have to start focusing right now on preparing your case for trial because the social worker is not going to recommend the child be returned to you. And there’s a lot of things you can do to prepare. Too many to go over with you on this show. But take it from me, there’s a lot you can do. When you make that appointment to speak to me either in person or over the phone, I’ll go into detail of what you can do and what you should be doing. Okay?
Vincent Davis: So, today after 9:30, call that number, make that appointment to speak to me, and I look forward to speaking with you and helping you.
Vincent Davis: All right. Thank you for calling.
Male: All right. Thank you.
Vincent Davis: Thank you. Bye-bye.
I’m going to take another now, from area code 747, ending in 65.
Vincent Davis: Good morning. You’re on with — Hi.
Female: Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Did you — Good morning. Did you have a question or questions or did you want to share a story with us?
Female: Actually, I have a lot of questions. I have —
Vincent Davis: Let me ask you. Can I ask you a question first?
Female: Yes, of course.
Vincent Davis: Where is area code 747?
Female: That’s the new 818.
Vincent Davis: Oh, really? Okay.
Vincent Davis: So you’re in Los Angeles County. What’s your first question for me?
Female: Well, I have a restraining order against the kid of my father — of their father, reason is because he has been physically and verbally abusive against me. When I decided to call the cops on June 4, he did it in front of the kids. So I had to call the cops, reason is because we weren’t living together anymore, and he was just upset because he thought that I was talking to other people. And he just hit me on my head a couple of times in front of the kids.
He took my phone and my keys. So I called, then they gave an emergency restraining order. And he hasn’t seen the kids. He can’t see the kids. The kids miss him very much. And right now, I know he has a lawyer and he’s trying to make me look really bad as much as he can because his mom made an anonymous call to social workers, social workers came to my house at, like, 10 o’clock at night with police officers. I was not really happy about that. And I know he’s going to try his best to come at me and try to take away my kids.
That upsets me because I know that a foster home is not the best thing for my kids. I know — I’ve seen that violence is a lot higher, eight out of ten times at a foster home. And I’m just — I know that like any accusation against me is evidence. I know that I’m guilty right now, and I just — I want to fight for full custody. And that’s why I went looking for you guys and found you. Is there — oh, and also, I came out positive for marijuana, which just, you know — I don’t know if I’ll be able to fight full custodies for my kids. He’s going to make the best or do the best that he can to lie and do whatever he can to try to take away my kids.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So you basically — you don’t have a CPS case yet, a DCFS case. Your battle is going to be in the family law court, correct?
Vincent Davis: Okay. Now, were you and your husband ever married or no? Or excuse me, were you and the father ever married?
Female: We had — we just make cohabiting rights. Like, you know, he was going to be the father that works and I was a stay-at-home mom. I was a stay-at-home for three years. And so I was recently working.
Vincent Davis: Where are the children right now?
Female: With me.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Now, has he filed some type of paperwork to try to take the children away from you?
Female: That I know of, no. But I did recently go to court and there is a statement from him saying that I’m an abusive marijuana and that I do it in front of my kids and blah, blah, blah, which I don’t.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So do you have a court date coming up?
Female: I do. It’s Tuesday.
Vincent Davis: Oh, okay.
Female: And that’s through a restraining order.
Vincent Davis: He filed a restraining order against you or you filed one against him?
Female: I filed one against him.
Vincent Davis: Okay. And do you have an attorney that’s going to be representing you?
Female: Yes, I do. But I didn’t feel comfortable —
Vincent Davis: Okay.
Female: with her. Because the day that I was at children’s court, she had to go do something. I didn’t even get to discuss my case with her. She — they were — they assigned me another attorney. But there was not really much that she could do or say because she wasn’t the attorney that was going to handle my case. I mean, she could give me advice or whatever. I recently got a hold of my attorney. But I don’t feel like she — even though I’m paying for attorney’s fees, that she even as — that interested in my case.
Vincent Davis: Uh-hmm.
Female: Does that make sense?
Vincent Davis: Well — no. Where is your court hearing? Is it at a children’s court or a family law court?
Female: It’s at children’s court in Monterey.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So you do have a DCFS case in Monterey Park?
Vincent Davis: Okay. Right now there’s a lot to talk to you about your case but we’re running out of time. If I give you a telephone number, do you think you could call up later on today and perhaps we can speak and I can give you some more detailed advice about what you should be doing? And then a piece of paper?
Vincent Davis: Okay. Call 888-888-6582 after 9:30 today, and tell the secretary who answers that you spoke to me on the radio today and that you and I should speak either today, tomorrow or Monday, even though it’s a holiday, and maybe I can give you some insights and tips on what you should be doing for your case, all right?
Female: Okay. So it’s area code 888, and then 888-652?
Vincent Davis: No. 6582.
Female: 6582. Okay. Okay.
Vincent Davis: All right?
Female: Thank you.
Vincent Davis: Call again this morning. Alrighty.
Female: Of course. Thank you. Bye.
Vincent Davis: Okay, we’re running out of time this morning. I didn’t get to finish again the section on the trial. Suffice it to say if you any trial questions, please give me a call at my office. We do offer free consultation. That’s 888-888-6582, or check out our website, we have a lot of videos there, which is www.fightchildprotectiveservices.com. Also in the website there is book that I wrote, The Secret: How to Fight CPS and Win. You can download that at our website. We’ll see you next Saturday on the radio, and we’ll try to finish up the section on how to prepare for your trial. Thank you and have a good day.
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