What is ethical dilemma
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what is an ethicist
Our movie, Divorce Corp, featured a disturbing scene in which Judge William Adams of Aransas, Texas, beat his handicapped daughter with a belt. The original video had been taken by his daughter when she was 14 years old, but not released until she was able to move out of the household. Because so many years had passed, the statute of limitations for child abuse had long since expired.
We showed this video not to condemn Judge Adams (it had already been posted on the internet), but to illustrate that family court judges have failings, and sometime serious flaws. Should an individual capable of beating his handicapped daughter with a belt, and threatening to beat her in her face, be presiding over custody cases where allegations of child abuse can form the basis for determining parental competence? Should parents who go to family court be subject to the whims of a single human being? Of course not, yet 2 million Americans must navigate this flawed system every year. This failing of our judicial system is one of the factors that motivated us to make the movie Divorce Corp.
Even more disturbing to us is that the Texas judicial oversight process did not remove Judge Adams from his position, regardless of whether the criminal statutes of limitations had expired. Clearly someone of this temperament should not have been deciding cases without a jury to moderate his disposition. Yet they let him keep his job. This illustrates the extreme cronyism rampant within the judiciary. And it is not just Texas. We will be featuring some data soon that shows the lack of oversight common in our judicial system.
Judge Adams recently lost re-election. Unfortunately, it is very rare for the general public to throw out an incumbent judge. It is almost impossible for the general public to know about tyrants in the family courts. It should not take an extreme case like this for common sense to prevail. Judicial elections are not sufficient protection for the public against our dysfunctional family court system. Our book, Divorce Corp, outlines the many flaws of the system and offers solutions to fix it. We hope you will have an opportunity to read it.
California has a similar opportunity to replace an abusive judge this June 3, 2014 in the San Diego judicial election. Sitting judge Lisa Schall has suffered three state Commission on Judicial Performance public admonishments and dozens of complaints from litigants in recent years. She’s facing a rare challenge from an Assistant United States Attorney, Carla Keehn, who has broken ranks from politics as usual by challenging judge Schall. WeightierMatter.com has carried the story of Ms. Keehn’s campaign and the coordinated effort of the entire San Diego judiciary to derail her campaign support base. June 3 is looking to be an opportunity for real change through the election process that is rarely used effectively. California Coalition for Families and Children is pleased to see voters wake up to the problems in family court. We hope San Diegans will carry their civic duty to carve out the bad apples when government itself won’t. We encourage everyone to vote for change on June 3, 2014. Your voice is wind in the sails of families nationwide.
Let’s cull another bad apple from the barrel! There is a lot of work to do!
it would be amazing to see more of the regime taken out that has been running the family court system over the past 2 decades. Get rid of the good ole boy system and put people in there that truly care about the children and not the money gotten from the federal government!
I say that all judges should be held accountable for allowing the lawyers to slander in the court rooms, file false orders of protection, and abuse someone just because!
It was incredible that he was able to keep his position at all. This is but the tip of the iceberg as they say for the cronyism, corruption, and more on the Family Court System.
I hope this is just the beginning to uncover the really bad apples in our judicial system…Most judges are fair people but you do have situations where the person (Judge) definitely does not fit the job…
There also needs to be many changes..In Massachusetts three years ago (March,2011) we (With the help of Alimony Reform movement) got the law changed…Enough people need to get involved and then things seem to happen..
For more information go to Alimony Reform.org….
Its not easy to get the message to voters of the need to remove a bad incumbent judge.
Mr. Stuart brings up the matter of U.S. Assistant Attorney Keehn, breaking ranks and running against incumbent Judge Lisa Schall. Schall is a family judge of dubious distinction in San Diego.
Keehn is a Democrat. Schall is a Republican. Two of the Democrat sitting judges have gone to the local Democratic Party to lobby against the party’s endorsement of Keehn, in violations of their Canons of Judicial Ethics:
Judicial Canon 2 “A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge’s activities. B. Use of the Prestige of Judicial Office (2) A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office or use the judicial title in any manner, including any oral or written communication, to advance the pecuniary or personal interests of the judge or others.”
Judicial Canon 5. “A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.”
As a result of the sitting judges’ unethical yet effective lobbying; and telling their party to stay out of this election by not endorsing Keehn, they have in effect given a passive endorsement to Schall.
Besides a race where there are two Democrats running, Keehn is the only Democrat in San Diego County not to have the endorsement of her party.
This makes it appear that there is something unacceptable about Keehn and/or her qualifications — when all she did was exercise her right to run for public office.
See Democratic Party endorsement page where only Keehn has no endorsement check next to her name, inferring she is not qualified to hold office. http://www.sddemocrats.org/democratic_candidates.asp
Keehn is highly qualified and has put herself out there to help restore some integrity in the courts. But the voters will never know this, if something isn’t done to get some broadscale media attention on this race. Schall will remain in office with the help of Keehn’s own party, via the coersion of sitting judges from Keehn’s party.
The voters and violated families are the real losers from these political games by sitting judges. They could care less what is good for the families, voters rights to freely chose a candidate, or the promotion of their party’s ideals.
They just want to assure that sitting judges do not get challenged via election, and are therefore appointed to office for life no matter how unethical they are. Schall’s website claims the endorsement of every single sitting judge in the county.
Without support, Keehn has a real uphill battle. The voters are not made aware of this perversion of justice of why she does not have her party’s endorsement; and are not made aware that they can and should vote a bad judge, Schall, out of office.
I wrote about corruption in our county courthouse. Our most rotten judge finally died, but others are carrying on his legacy. I mention the misconduct of Judge John Fitzgerald in my book, “Nightmares and Secrets: The Real Story of the 1984 Child Sexual Abuse Scandal in Jordan Minnesota”.
Come to Texas which keeps on giving! Judge Sheri Y Dean assigns her friend attorneys as amicus ad litem almost on every case that comes to Harris County 309th court. Every case!! And court appointments are ordered so her buddies who contribute to her campaign get a stead stream of income at $300/hour. God forbid you fail to recognize that they need to eat too and try to shake off the leaches, as Judge Sheri Dean quickly contempts you for failure to pay up. Cases drag on forever. She turns small petty claims of litigious ex’s into big ass court drag lasting for years and years. And you are never free because in her court, she slaps you with court appointed coordinator (uneducated version of parenting facilitator) and at her discretion the family is at her beck and call until kid is 18. 5 more effing years. Sheri Dean run unopposed. Openly puts down women of minority and gay couples. Bc you see, she had 5 or 6 kids her hog looking high school sweetheart. Ain’t it nice!!