by Virginia McCullough © 2004

There is a bloody war waging in the family law courts of California sanctioned by the black robed judges who authorize and fire the salvos that destroy families.  Fathers are killing children and their mothers.  Mothers are killing children and their fathers.  The ammunition being used is a little known excess of power called a "no contact" order.  Judges repeatedly employ this device while the clients' attorneys laugh all the way to the bank.  When such a entity is used no one in a family wins, least of all the children.

The end of the war far too often ends with one of the parents murdering the other, as happened last Thursday afternoon, March 25, 2004  in San Mateo, California  when Lawrence May forced his estranged wife, Sharen into an elevator and allegedly knifed her to death.  The couple had just left the office of a mediator where they had argued over custody of their children.  On March 12, 2004, Sharen had filed an ex parte application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)  in San Mateo County Superior Court  seeking to limit the father's contact with her and their children.  The application cited his history of abuse, alcohol and drug abuse.  But the application was filed ex parte which means that there was no notice to Lawrence May.  He was, therefore, not able to respond and present his position.  Citing that reason, Judge Rosemary Pfeiffer denied the TRO.  Thirteen days later the father meets the mother in the office of a mediation counselor and Lawrence is now aware that Sharen has filed the TRO paperwork without notifying him.  He must have wondered what other paperwork was being prepared to separate him from his children.  He explodes leaving the office fifteen minutes before his wife leaves.  Now the father is in jail for allegedly killing his wife and the mother of three children is being mourned.  The children were orphaned by the abortive attempt to employ two common practices used by the Family Law Courts: a no contact order and a failed mediation.

 In April of 2002 a 38-year-old software engineer, Ulrich Schiefer, his five year old daughter, Jessica, and his step daughter, Elsa, age 11,  were gunned down in their home in Santa Clara, California.  The mother, Tae Young Schiefer, was the sole suspect but she will never go to trial because she took her own life.  After an eight year marriage, the couple had been separated for two months with the father living with his 5-year old daughter in a two bedroom apartment in nearby Sunnyvale. Sources close to the family say that the couple had been arguing bitterly over who would retain custody of their daughter.  Although no civil cases involving the family had been filed in Santa Clara County, neighbors said the couple were headed for divorce.

In the early months of 2002 various groups were demonstrating in front of the Santa Clara County Courthouse condemning the corruption strangling the Family Law Courts. Press releases invited newspapers and television to expose the tainted verdicts the conflicted judges in this court were issuing.  Regularly employing no contact orders that doomed families by forever eliminating one parent from children's  lives,  the blacked robed ones ignored criticism and  continued issuing ultimatums that often result in murder.

All California counties are notorious for the corruption in their family law courts where judges socialize with and favor the attorneys appearing before them.  The judges and the attorneys, in turn, socialize with and favor the various "experts" whose cottage industry keeps the wheels of "justice" turning.  As long as there is an ounce of blood to be bled from the turnip, the draining by the family law court and its cronies never stops.  Money feeds the machine.  And when the money no longer exists,  the ultimate weapon of war is hauled out --- the no contact order.

Judges started the war when they decided to begin making orders depriving parents of ALL visitation rights regarding their children including the right to call them on the telephone or share a brief supervised visit.  These no contact orders usually accompany an order granting one party sole physical custody of a child, even though joint legal custody almost always remains intact.

It is hard to believe that a parent who was never convicted of a crime and had never suffered any severe mental illness would be deprived of any and all contact with his or her child.  Yet countless such cases exist.  Many no contact orders occur because a man or woman claims that their child is sexually, physically or mentally abused and the opposing party will do all it can to convince the police, Child Protective Services (CPS) and the judge that they are innocent.  If the opposing party succeeds they request that a judge remove the child permanently from all contact with the accusing parent.  In these cases where the evidence of abuse does exist yet may not,  in the opinion of some District Attorney,  be sufficient to result in a prosecution, judges often step in and take the child or children from one parent permanently depriving mother or father of all contact with their offspring.    CPS and District Attorneys have to prove specifics before bringing legal action.  These agencies supposedly investigate the allegations being made and examine any declarations people present to arrive at their determinations.  Judges, on the other hand, make up the rules as they go along, case by case, depending on the advice of "experts" ranging from psychologists to visitation supervisors.  These underlings,  paid for by taxpayer dollars, are at the beck and call of the courtroom cronies for their livelihood.   Judges seldom, if ever, do any investigation on their own, relying exclusively on the experts' advice, reports or declarations.  The judges act like God and are immune from the consequences of their actions, even if their rulings are so harsh and psychologically damaging that they become the motivation for murder.

A recent report by California National Organization of Women (NOW) found that many women who level accusations of abuse against spouses lose all custody and visitation rights.  This has also happened to men who make such accusations.  Whether the parent "divorced" from their child is a male or a female, one outcome is clear.  When a no contact order is made it extends to the maternal or paternal side of the family as well.  The extended family of siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles are also made victims of the custody battle.  It is standard procedure that the losing side's family be barred from all contact on the theory that their visiting the child is just a way for the parent, who has no contact, to re-establish contact through a family member.   Again the children are the losers.

Usually no contact orders occur only when the level of accusations by one parent reaches the point where sexual, physical or mental abuse is alleged.  These accusations can be either true or false.   Who would falsely make such accusations to  obtain a no contact order and why?  What  attorneys would push these orders to judges and what judges would issue these orders? 

Historically the killing of the family unit begins with the age old war between the sexes.  Males feel that females use abuse allegations to gain advantage in the custody litigation or to garner more child support or perhaps just out of spite for a failed marriage or love affair.  Females believe that males who abuse get away with their behavior because they are male, earn more money and can afford highly paid attorneys, who are also  usually male.  

Birds of a feather flock together and the male and female soon find themselves in warring camps.  Some women's groups believe the entire court system is run by father's right groups.  The militia and some fundamentalist groups also believe in "father's rights" or the so-called patriarchy.  It is an acknowledged fact that some pedophiles, self announced and sometimes convicted of sex offenses,  have joined the father's rights, militia and patriarchy groups.  On the other hand, women have joined together to fight off these male oriented groups and the female groups have been attacked as Femi-Nazis or man haters.  Pedophiles have also joined the feminist groups to have access to the women's children for their own purposes.  The women's groups have discredited parental alienation syndrome, Munchausen syndrome and false memory syndrome.  These three syndromes are favored by the father's rights groups.  However, some of these women go so far as to believe that almost every case, which is contested or litigated is dominated by fathers who are abusers, and that male and female judges overwhelmingly favor these abusers.  These women are unlikely to admit that any women ever abuses her own child.

The man or woman who is new to the family law courts and who faces a custody and/or visitation dispute may not know of the polarized camps involved, but they soon learn.  He or she must educate themselves quickly.  No where else is it more obvious that time is money. 

Judges themselves are very familiar with the polarization because they helped to create it.  They accelerated the war between the camps by issuing no contact orders.  Why do the judges make such orders when they know they are emotionally damaging the children involved by cruelly separating them from one half of their heritage.  After all, California law emphasizes the "best interest" of the child and gender neutrality in decision making.

While the process of obtaining a no contact order begins with the disintegration of a love affair and the beginning of a war, the true fire is found in the greed of the lawyer.  Attorneys depend on their paycheck for the continuation of the war.  Therefore, the lawyer advises his client to gain control of the litigation, and through that control of their former spouse or partner.  The good counselor advises his client that control of the offspring is directly proportional to the amount of child support that must be paid to the opposing party.  Repeated motions and court hearings soon drain even the richest client dry and then the war must come to an end because the money has dried up.  The no contact motion is drawn up by the lawyer and usually obtained through the court house social club and good connections to an agreeable judge.

Winning a sole physical custody order and no contact order means the winner will not have to pay child support every again nor will the winner have to deal with his or her ex-spouse ever again regarding visitation or any matter regarding the child or children such as schooling or medical care.  In most cases the winner will also get child support from the loser.  The no contact order is now the top prize in family law litigation.

Within the past five years, however, the judges who issue such orders are finding an ever increasing amount of blood on their hands directly attributable to the rulings they issue.   When the black robbed thieves steal a father's legacy or rob a mother of the child she carried for nine months and gave birth to, they strike at the core of an individual's immortality.  Hitler's Third Reich believed they could rob children of their heritage and institutionalize and indoctrinate all the country's youth in the interest of the father land.  Now America has its own form of Nazism enforced by family law judges who operate with absolute immunity.

The judges counter that all critics of their courthouse social club are "disgruntled family law litigants" and, as such, are not credible.  One fact cannot be disputed and that is that the "disgruntled family law litigants", devastated by no contact orders, have absolutely nothing left to lose.  When these parents are placed in this position, several options are open to them.  The parent may try to kidnap the child or children and run.  They may try to place the child or children in a safe house for the offspring's protection if they fear true abuse to their babies.  The parents often resort to violence because they feel trapped by forces beyond their control, and they then lose control.  The mother or father may suffer a mental or physical breakdown.  It is acknowledged that stress contributes to and accelerates any disease.  The victims of the court house clique seek out support for their beliefs and become active in groups that offer advice and support.  These groups charge fees that are disguised as "contributions" to keep the group alive.  Often the group operates under several non-profit names acquired or stolen from legitimate organizations to launder the money solicited from the blackmailed parents.  Sometimes these support groups help their members, but more often the members are betrayed and turned over to their enemies.  If such a group was a law firm,  the jail house term for them would be "dump truck attorneys". 

The problems with no contact orders are never ending because parents who feel totally violated by the system may return to court every few months to try to get a visit with their child or children.  Judges rarely undo their no contact orders because no judge likes to admit a prior order he made is in error.  The judges see only increased bitterness in their courtrooms,  year after year, as the same litigants appear before them protesting the no contact orders.

When a parent reports that a child is being abused police departments and CPS workers many times fail to do a thorough investigation into the  allegations.  When a thorough investigation is done  and the investigative report is turned over to the District Attorney for prosecution, the DA has the sole right to make the decision regarding which parent to prosecute.   In a  high percentage of cases the district attorney chooses not to prosecute the child abuser.  Inevitably that person then appeals to the court to obtain sole custody so that the child will not be able to report child abuse and  the abusive parent will not have pay child support.  The judge, before deciding the case, often appoints a "special master" for the child or children.  The judge's appointment order usually states that the accusing parent can no longer report abuse directly to the local law enforcement and/or CPS,  but must funnel such accusations through a court appointed "special master".  That individual is almost always a court insider dependent on the court for income.  Failure to follow this court ordered reporting structure will result in a contempt of court charge and the offending parent will be jailed.   The effect that this court conspiracy has is to silence the child's allegation of abuse, to muzzle the reporting parent, and to cleanse the tarnished reputation of the child abuser.  The final court decree is the no contact order that leaves the child alone and isolated.  The sole custodial parent now has possession of a child whose reports of abuse have cost the parent time and money through a lengthy court battle.  It is not unreasonable to assume that a parent that has previously abused a child will increase the amount of abuse based on the anger and revenge they now feel.

In the past decade, District Attorneys have tried to establish centers where children who are allegedly abused are taken for examinations.  Typical of these are the Prandi Center in Marin County and the Redwood Children's Center in Sonoma County.  When the child is taken there, a deputy district attorney, a police officer, a therapist, and a CPS worker often watch through a one-way glass while the child is interviewed by one of them.  These centers were supposed to inspire confidence and give integrity to the process of interviewing abuse victims.  However, this process has backfired.  The video and audio tapes of such interviews are usually kept strictly confidential unless they are used for the rare prosecution of a child abuser.  Most often the parents of the child do not participate in the process trusting instead in law enforcement and child abuse "experts".  The use of hospitals and pediatricians and family medical doctors is discouraged because these centers do this work.  When parents later try to obtain copies of the tapes made of their own children's interview, they are prevented from doing so.  It is, after all, a secret star chamber conducted by a group of insiders.  Only a small number of child abuse cases are prosecuted based on these interviews.  It is difficult to know if the centers are protecting the child or the perpetrator.  The use of these centers has caused many parents to have zero belief in the system.  Protective parents place more faith in a doctor or hospital they know and can visit themselves, than they do in the secretive centers dominated by law enforcement.  Judges have been known to employ reports from some centers to influence their decisions when they issue a no contact order in a custody case.     

At an ever increasing rate judges are making no contact orders ex parte or without notice to the opposing side who, by law, has an  absolute right to proper notice and a hearing.  Some of these harsh decisions occur because judges rely on certain therapists who are courthouse insiders and these "experts" employ unique theories to paint one parent as totally unfit.  These therapists and court appointed experts write opinions which seem so similar in their language and ideas that one might surmise they are using the same software program off the same word processor to write their pabulum reports.  These write-ups appear to regurgitate a pre-determined decision on cases before the family law judge.  In addition to using these studies to issue no contact orders, judges often base their decisions upon hearsay, double hearsay or triple hearsay.  A neighbor, a newfound friend, or a visitation supervisor may make a declaration, which is accepted at face value by the judge.  Such declarations are, more often then not, "he said - she said" observations.  Visitation supervisors, who often make these declarations, do not have to be licensed in California.  It is a fairly high paid job that anyone can apply for because few, if any, background and/or education checks are required.  Visitation supervisors are present when parents, often angry at each other, exchange the child or are present when one parent is actually visiting the child.  A review of court records shows that visitation supervisors are often pressured to spy for one parent or the other.  Judges permit this conduct and base their no contact rulings upon declarations and reports submitted by such unqualified and often unreliable sources.   

If the parent who has been severed from the family decides to take his or her children in spite of the court's no contact order, they will discover the same district attorney, who failed to prosecute for child abuse, vigorously pursuing them for child abduction.  In the vast majority of cases the issues of alleged child abuse will not be allowed to be brought up at the parent's trial for child abduction.  The only method around this court cronyism Catch 22 is what is called a necessity defense. [Click to read California law]  Desperate parents seeking to defend their children will probably be skeptical of employing this law because it requires the disassociated parent to supply the new location of the parent and child within ten days to the very system that failed to protect the child and prosecute the abuser.

Depriving a child of any contact with one of their parents and that parent's extended family is court ordered child abuse.  In the Golden State of California,  family law court judges thrive on such child abuse as though they enjoy the practice.  Once the court issues such an order,  the parent with custody may subject the child to a nanny, partner, lover and/or new spouse who is unfit to parent but that issue will probably never come before the  court who eliminated the natural parent from the child's life. 

Sometimes when a child,  who has been deprived of one parent,  reaches adolescence they will demand to see their other parent and will run away to do so.  The use of no contact orders is resulting in an army of children with deep emotional problems that have never been addressed.  The court system that has so damaged these children refuses to take any responsibility for their actions.

How will the war waging in California's Family Law Courts end?  As long as no contact orders are issued by irresponsible judges, it will only end with more bloodshed and more broken hearts.

by Virginia McCullough
© 3-28-04


   [Click back to article above]

California Penal Code 278.5 - Child Abduction from "custodian"

278.5.  (a) Every person who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds,
or conceals a child and maliciously deprives a lawful custodian of a
right to custody, or a person of a right to visitation, shall be
punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, a
fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine
and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16
months, or two or three years, a fine not exceeding ten thousand
dollars ($10,000), or both that fine and imprisonment.
   (b) Nothing contained in this section limits the court's contempt
   (c) A custody order obtained after the taking, enticing away,
keeping, withholding, or concealing of a child does not constitute a
defense to a crime charged under this section.

California Penal Code 278.5 - Necessity Defense re: Child
Abduction from Custodian.

278.7.  (a) Section 278.5 does not apply to a person with a right to
custody of a child who, with a good faith and reasonable belief that
the child, if left with the other person, will suffer immediate
bodily injury or emotional harm, takes, entices away, keeps,
withholds, or conceals that child.
   (b) Section 278.5 does not apply to a person with a right to
custody of a child who has been a victim of domestic violence who,
with a good faith and reasonable belief that the child, if left with
the other person, will suffer immediate bodily injury or emotional
harm, takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals that child.
"Emotional harm" includes having a parent who has committed domestic
violence against the parent who is taking, enticing away, keeping,
withholding, or concealing the child.
   (c) The person who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or
conceals a child shall do all of the following:
   (1) Within a reasonable time from the taking, enticing away,
keeping, withholding, or concealing, make a report to the office of
the district attorney of the county where the child resided before
the action.  The report shall include the name of the person, the
current address and telephone number of the child and the person, and
the reasons the child was taken, enticed away, kept, withheld, or
   (2) Within a reasonable time from the taking, enticing away,
keeping, withholding, or concealing, commence a custody proceeding in
a court of competent jurisdiction consistent with the federal
Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (Section 1738A, Title 28, United
States Code) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (Part 3
(commencing with Section 3400) of Division 8 of the Family Code).
   (3) Inform the district attorney's office of any change of address
or telephone number of the person and the child.
   (d) For the purposes of this article, a reasonable time within
which to make a report to the district attorney's office is at least
10 days and a reasonable time to commence a custody proceeding is at
least 30 days.  This section shall not preclude a person from making
a report to the district attorney's office or commencing a custody
proceeding earlier than those specified times.
   (e) The address and telephone number of the person and the child
provided pursuant to this section shall remain confidential unless
released pursuant to state law or by a court order that contains
appropriate safeguards to ensure the safety of the person and the