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RESPONSE TO THE RECORDER ARTICLE,
"KAMENA RECALL EFFORT HAS A WEIRD MIX OF BEDFELLOWS" by Cindy Ross © 2001

Editor,

I am the California director of the National Alliance for Family Court Justice (NAFCJ), a support and advocacy group seeking accountability and  reform of courts, judges, attorneys and social services. NAFCJ has  identified a Family Court corruption scheme involving the misuse of federal parenting  and custody grant programs. The legal strategy used to accomplish the fund  diversion in individual cases is the "Parental Alienation Syndrome" (PAS)  custody switching program devised by incest advocate Dr. Richard Gardner.
PAS calls for the Court to suppress evidence of family violence and child  sexual abuse when the father is the perpetrator. Blame is shifted to the  mother by dismissing her reports of abuse as attempts to "alienate"
children  from their father. The mothers' (and children's) silence is ensured by  court-ordered PAS "threats" which include supervised visitation, loss of  custody, jail and institutionalization. (See Family Therapy of the Moderate Type of PASS Click to read. http://www.rgardner.com/refs/ar2.html" )

When PAS is used, domestic violence and child protective laws are violated and mothers and children are placed in danger by and through the Court. Perpetrator fathers avoid both criminal prosecution and child
support obligations and mothers are prosecuted for trying to keep themselves and their children safe. The Court steers the case in the guise of children's  "best interests," while the actual agenda is for the Court and
court-appointees to receive and divert funds intended for "Access to Visitation," "Responsible Fatherhood" and "Child Support Enforcement"  programs.

 The Recorder article "Kamena Recall Effort Has Weird Mix of  Bedfellows" (4-3-01 Click to read. http://www.callaw.com/stories/edt0403b.shtm) states that the DA's office has "little, if any, contact with the
 family court," and "no authority over family court issues."

These statements  are misleading. While it is true that the DA has no jurisdiction over family  law cases, the PAS strategy specifically depends on collaboration between the DA's office and the Family Court in turning domestic violence and child  molestation crimes into "custody disputes."

When the Family Court "identifies" PAS, it depends on the DA's refusal  to prosecute perpetrator fathers and collaboration with the Family Court in criminalizing mothers. This is done by giving the Family Court
jurisdiction  and enacting the "Conciliation Court Law" (CA Codes 1800-1852), so that the abuse becomes a "custody" dispute rather than a crime. The more a mother complains or seeks assistance, the more her attempts to rescue her children  are used against her in both the Family and Criminal Courts. The courts
work  together to label her an alienator* and a "vexatious litigant" to justify threatening and punishing her through the legal system and in jail. * (PAS  is  not a legitimate psychological disorder and other fabricated syndromes may be  used instead of or in addition to PAS. These include: "Munchausen Syndrome
 by  Proxy", "Malicious Mother", "Domestic Predator" and "Access Interference."  Sometimes legitimate disorders are inappropriately applied, e.g.,  "Borderline  Personality Disorder" and sometimes the mother is simply labeled  "delusional" or "crazy.")

The PAS strategy also depends on the DA Family Support Division's participation in abating rather than enforcing fathers' child support obligations. This is done through programs which recruit fathers with
"child  support payment issues" and provide them with free benefits, including legal services from contracted attorneys and mediators. While the stated goal of  these programs is to "enhance the well-being" of children, in fact these  programs do exactly the opposite. "Responsible Fatherhood" program evaluation documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) show that  TANF/Welfare funds are used to reduce or eliminate fathers' child support  payments and to "resolve" "access to visitation" issues using PAS  methodology. NAFCJ has received information regarding DHHS-ACF-OCSE  (Administration for Children and Families-Office of Child Support  Enforcement) "Incentive/Hold Harmless" funding, which shows that  approximately one half billion dollars is granted out to states based on a performance schedule.  Preliminary review of program documents suggests  that  Incentive Fund payment is based on factors such as child support  pass-throughs -- with GREATER bonus money for LESS child support collected  and passed through.

In Marin County, the Superior Court/Family Law Facilitator, and the  DA/Family Support Division collaborate through a project called the "Focus  on Fatherhood Program" and the Court is the recipient of an annual Title IV-D  Child Support Enforcement Grant. All of the attorneys and evaluators  contracted by the courts are those that use and teach PAS methodology,  especially through their affiliations with the Association of Family and  Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and/or the Children's Rights Council (CRC). CRC is the primary FR group working directly with Richard Gardner, DHHS, OCSE and other government officials and agencies, and is heavily cross affiliated with AFCC.

Court contracted and appointed AFCC affiliates do PAS custody switches and fund diversion through the "conciliation court" by calling themselves "mediators" who practice "Collaborative Law" and "Alternate Dispute Resolution."  After receiving appointments as attorneys for children, custody evaluators, special masters and therapists, they rig the cases so that  fathers avoid child support obligations and the funds are redirected back to themselves and the Court. Often this means that the father will get custody in arrangements that are both illegal and detrimental to the children and mothers. However, because the DA participates in the scheme, any requests for investigation are dismissed as "family law matters" over which the DA
claims lack of jurisdiction.

In Marin County, virtually all of the attorneys and custody evaluators  identified in the Karen Winner report are those connected to the PAS scam.  Most of the cases documented in the Winner report involve attorneys
affiliated with Judge Verna Adams' Dornan and Adams law firm. Adams has been the director of the Center for the Family in Transition which spawned all of the PAS proponents who are cross affiliated with the Northern CA Mediation Center (NCMC). They have reconfigured their group as the "Northern California Task Force for the Alienated Child" and give training seminars in PAS,  including at AFCC conferences.

Verna Adams is the judge who convicted Carol Mardeusz in a PAS scheme that involved collaboration of the courts and DAs in Sonoma and Marin Counties. Her partners Terence Colyer and Mary Halbert are the attorneys for  the father of Hannah Stone, who were planning a PAS transfer of custody.  Now that the mother has fled with the child, the DA is handling this as an  "abduction" by a "noncustodial" mother. (Click. to read. http://www.pollyklaas.org/stone.htm)  The  same investigator from the DA's office, is involved in the Mardeusz and the Stone cases. Mary Halbert is the attorney appointed for my own son, who  diverted funds to herself and an evaluator who was also involved in the Stone case.

When I approached DA Paula Kamena as a litigant whose case was in the Winner Report, she refused to investigate claiming a "conflict of  interest."  When I approached her as a member of the Marin County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) concerned about the PAS victimization of mothers in family court, I received a letter from her stating, "...I will not be  available to discuss your concerns with you, nor will any other staff members in this office." This was especially inappropriate, as I routinely attend and work with DA staff through the DVCC. What was even more inappropriate,  however, was that the head of Family Court Services, who had been present  with Paula Kamena at one of my meetings, illegally inserted himself as a
mediator in my case, after it had been disposed by the court. In Judge Sutro's chambers, I was threatened for my association with the Recall, even though I was not involved at the time and had even previously told the
press  that I thought the recall effort against the DA was "a really bad mistake."  (Ross Valley Reporter June 7-13, 2000)

Perhaps the Kamena recall effort has a "weird mix of bedfellows," but that does not mean that there are not legitimate concerns about the DA's office and the Superior Court. Considering the atrocities that have been perpetrated on custody litigants and our children, it is no surprise that a  few people have "cracked" under the pressure. Paula Kamena as District Attorney is adept at throwing out "red herrings" that accuse innocent
citizens and take the focus off of her own actions or lack thereof.  Instead of "flinging mud," Kamena should address her own role in the Family Court debacle.  I hold Paula Kamena responsible for incurring an unnecessary expense to the citizens of Marin County. The recall election would not have been necessary if Paula Kamena did her job properly and was not busier covering for her political allies than she is serving her constituents.

I am presently organizing a campaign with NAFCJ national director Liz Richards to address court corruption on a federal level. We are contacting top leadership US Senators and Representatives to relay our complaints and  evidence of serious misuse of family programs and funding by the FR groups and their court allies. Please contact me for further information.

Cindy Ross
CA Director
National Alliance for Family Court Justice
PO Box 744
Fairfax, CA 94978-0744
Fax: 415-459-5742
e-mail:

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