Time for Canada to embrace equal shared parenting.


Subject: Re: [CEPC_Members] Law Times- Speaker’s Corner: Time for Canada to embrace equal shared parenting

Speaker’s Corner: Time for Canada to embrace equal shared parenting

Monday, 05 May 2014 08:00 | Written By Brian Ludmer | Print | Email

 

From the 1998 Senate special joint committee recommendations to the present, numerous reports and statements concerning the family law system have recognized the need for fundamental reform as it relates to contested custody cases.

Bill C-560, a private member’s bill proposed by Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, is a reasonable and balanced proposal to address the current broken system. Parliament will debate bill C-560 on May 7, followed by a second reading vote.

The principal change to the Divorce Act, with the goal of reducing incentives for bitter and expensive litigation over children, is the proposal for a rebuttable presumption that equal shared parenting would support the best interests of the children unless a party can establish that some other parenting plan would substantially enhance those interests.
Section 16(10) of the Divorce Act, as amended in 1985, calls for a consideration of maximum contact with both parents. However, experience with reported decisions to date has shown that the great majority of decisions are still following a primary and secondary parent model with secondary parent time-shares running from 16 per cent (alternate two-day weekends and some mid-week contact for a few hours) to 35 per cent (alternate three-day weekends and one mid-week overnight) after accounting for equal vacation time.
However, social science research overwhelmingly supports the more current understanding that children need, benefit from, and want two primary parent relationships after separation rather than one parent and someone they go to visit. Among the leading experts globally is Prof. Ed Kruk of the University of British Columbia. He recently published a book with a synthesis of the rationale for equal shared parenting and a listing of the leading global peer-reviewed research.

There’s wide acceptance that children deprived of meaningful relationships with one of their parents are at greater psychological risk even when they’re able to maintain relationships with the other parent and that shared time and parenting between two parents works. Shared custody agreements have also been shown to reduce parental conflict and increase co-operation over time.
Bill C-560 recognizes that the current effort to specify with precision a specific time-share between a primary and secondary parent isn’t logically or empirically justified. Custody litigation seeking to marginalize one parent has no discernible benefit when measured against the financial and emotional cost and the impact on the children of litigation.
Public opinion polls over many years have consistently shown up to 80-per-cent support for equal shared parenting across all demographics, regions, and political affiliations. Support among Canadian women is indistinguishable from men, and a global group called Leading Women for Shared Parenting is assisting in efforts in Canada and elsewhere. Perhaps this is because, according to Statistics Canada in 2012, the employment rate for women with children under six years old was 67.8 per cent (up from 31.4 per cent in 1976) and 79 per cent for women with children from six to 15 years old (up from 46.4 per cent in 1976).
Despite the development of both permissive and mandatory mediation, collaborative law organizations, and parent education programs, the family law courts remain overburdened with substantial backlogs due to child-related disputes. This problem, together with the associated costs to taxpayers and parents, has only gotten worse over the years. The cost of litigation has led to significant advantages for wealthier parents and those more able to represent themselves.

The opposition to equal shared parenting frequently comes from divorce industry professionals who might have difficulty reviewing bill C-560 objectively since one of the main goals and likely effects of the Divorce Act amendment is to reduce the current plague of custody litigation. However, many studies identify the very existence of the custody litigation itself as the primary concern regarding the effect of divorce on children.
In response to the active discussion in the media and on behalf of several shared parenting organizations, I prepared a document on the myths and facts about bill C-560 that dispels the rhetoric and confusion put forth in opposition to it.

In addition to the public support and strong social sciences empirical support, there are several key facts to consider:
Bill C-560 will foster settlements and reduce litigation due to the requirement that a parent seeking primary parent status must establish that disproportionate parenting time will substantially enhance the best interests of the children, a principle that remains the focus under bill C-560.
Bill C-560 focuses on the right of the child to know and love two primary parents in accordance with the leading research on the best outcomes for children of divorce and Canada’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mediated, consensual or, if needed, adjudicated custom solutions are still available under bill C-560 where there is demonstrable merit in light of the unique aspects of the particular family. The proposed legislation does not impose a one-size-fits-all solution; it merely provides a starting point for adjudication based on what works for most children and then still allows for an examination of the unique aspects of a family to see if a disproportionate time-share is justifiable.
Decision-making powers can fall to one parent for good reason even though child time-share is equal or close to equal.

Bill C-560 is an urgently needed, balanced response to a significant social problem that is familiar to anyone with exposure to child custody litigation. The public overwhelmingly supports the equal shared parenting solution. Parliament will soon speak on the issue.


Brian Ludmer of LudmerLaw is a business and family law practitioner and was among the drafters of bill C-560.

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Barbara Kay: Stephen Harper’s last chance to make life fairer for suffering fathers


Barbara Kay: Stephen Harper’s last chance to make life fairer for suffering fathers

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Barbara Kay | May 26, 2014 | Last Updated: May 23 4:52 PM ET
More from Barbara Kay | @BarbaraRKay

In litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/05/26/barbara-kay-stephen-harpers-last-chance-to-make-life-fairer-for-suffering-fathers/

Peter J. Thompson/National PostIn litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.

Tomorrow, May 27, will feature the conclusion of parliamentary debate on Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott’s private member’s Bill C-560, which proposes an amendment to Canada’s Divorce Act that would protect children’s right, in the absence of proven neglect or abuse, to love and be loved equally by both parents after separation.

Our now-superannuated paradigm — one primary, one secondary parent — is based on the flawed assumption that judges can somehow arrive at the “right” distribution of parenting time. Current social science overwhelmingly deems this an impossible task. Litigation necessarily triangulates the children into their parents’ divorce, encouraging drawn-out, financially crippling and emotionally devastating scenarios from which nobody but lawyers profit. It is an unethical and counterproductive model most Canadians firmly deplore.

All informed critics give our system a failing grade. No other alternative proposed over three decades has proven effective. Mediation has not reduced bitter custody litigation. Neither have collaborative lawyers, costs sanctions, parenting education or any other initiatives. Why? Because litigation remains the ace up the sleeve of the less collaborative parent. Sociological research tells us that what children want after separation is two parents, not one parent and a visitor. But once in litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: Lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.

Related

If the bill were to make it to the Justice Committee of the House of Commons for further study and review, parents, social scientists and others who understand these issues far better than our elected representatives would have an opportunity to speak to the issue. But from a reliable government source, I am informed that cabinet ministers have been instructed to vote against Bill C-560, which will vitiate the substantial number of caucus votes in favour. This decision would be an unconscionable insult to Mr. Vellacott and a repudiation of the party’s erstwhile platform position. Add the mass NDP nays and the paucity of free-vote yays from Liberals, and a good and necessary reform will founder.

If I thought the bill were failing on its merits after a thorough public airing and debate, I could accept it with grace. But there has been no public debate, and I know from discussions with intelligent people — even those who claim to grasp the principles involved — that misconceptions about equal shared parenting as a default abound. One such friend said he disagreed with the bill because “I think mothers should have a larger role in parenting after separation.” He apparently thought the bill would force all parents to hew to the equal-time model. On the contrary: collaborative parents could make any arrangement they liked. The default would avoid litigation in high-conflict cases.

A document called “Myths and Facts” to correct such misconceptions was circulated to everyone in Parliament. It fully responds to every concern raised by the opposition. But it seems very few MPs have read it.

If mothers were the main victims of our failing system, would this bill not have passed by acclamation many years ago?

The fact that 30 cabinet ministers, many (most?) of whom are not really familiar with the parameters of the proposals, can shoot down this excellent, deeply researched and judicious principle — one approved of by 80% of Canadians — without an opportunity to inform themselves thoroughly on what it actually means, is cruelly arbitrary and unjustified by any reasonable criterion.

It is also personally embittering. I am familiar with hundreds of personal stories of literally ruined lives, tales of children anguished by forced separation from beloved parents because the “winner” took “all.” The “losers” are virtually all dads. Can we speak plainly here? If mothers were the main victims of our failing system, would this bill not have passed by acclamation many years ago? Why are politicians so afraid of ideologues? They don’t represent Canadian women, a majority of whom want to see gender fairness entrenched in family law.

Tomorrow will be the last chance for the Conservative government to do the right thing. I call upon the Prime Minister to allow his ministers a free vote in accordance with their individual conscience, and to send Bill C-560 to committee for the meaningful consideration it deserves.

National Post

bkay@videotron.ca

Ending the feudal family law system is the aim of C-560 in Canada


Scott Brison,

We urge you to vote for family equality on May 27th. Vote for Bill C-560.

Live Free,
Connie Brauer
1061 Mines Rd. RR2
Falmouth, NS B0P 1L0
Phone, 902 791 0958
Email, cbrauer@eastlink.ca

From: ‘Glenn at Cheriton.ca’ glenn@cheriton.ca [CEPC_Members]

Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:43 PM

To: CEPC_Members@yahoogroups.com

Cc: EPOC_NEWS@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [CEPC_Members] Contact your MP before May 27th to end the feudal family law system and vote for Bill C-560

Ending the feudal family law system is the aim of C-560

The foundation of British law is the “Magna Carta” which for the first time, effectively restrained the judgment or discretion of the king.

Parents across Canada have organized to reform family law with latest efforts resulting in a bill in Parliament, C560, expected to get a second reading in May, 2014.

In April, 2013, Supreme Court Judge Thomas Cromwell released a report, commissioned by the Chief Justice, which called for a complete overhaul of family courts, bemoaned the failure of 30 years of “reforms” controlled by the legal profession, and slammed family law for inaccessibility, dismal outcomes and creating disrespect for the legal system. The report called for “consensual decisions” by parents.

Bill C560 aims to implement selected best practices from other jurisdictions to encourage parents to make such “consensual decisions”, to reduce conflict and costly legal battles, and also to ensure that both parents have the option of equal time with their children unless proven unfit.

These reforms are long overdue: A joint Senate-Commons report accepted by Parliament recommended shared parenting and equality of parents in 48 reforms in 1998. Every single recommendation was blocked by legal profession vested interests, who make billions of dollars from the current adversarial system.

When legal profession advocate Nicholas Bala says the system needs more “resources” – he means more money. Thus the choice is clear: either taxpayers pour further dollars into the current dysfunctional system, or we implement a selection of practices which have reduced costs to parents and children in other jurisdictions. Those practices make up Bill C560.       

Advocates of the current sole custody system don’t seem to be able to avoid making two claims: that more money to the existing “stakeholders” will fix the system and promoting unfounded prejudicial stereotypes against fathers. The Supreme Court report dismissed the first claim, so let’s examine one of the unfounded stereotypes:

Claims that large number of abusive fathers are gaining custody are belied by research which consistently shows that children are safer with fathers than with sole maternal custody. Social science also shows that joint custody or equal parenting reduces both conflict and abuse outcomes.

It is time to move beyond simplistic gender stereotypes and do what social science overwhelmingly shows is in children’s best interest: keep both parents unless clear proof of unfitness.

To argue over which is more disadvantaged, the “winners” or the “losers” of child custody cases is pointless: let us agree that a child who goes into family courts with two fit parents and ends up with only one is the real loser. Let us agree that legal and other adversarial professionals who exploit that process to line their pockets are the winners, pious claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Bill C560 is a good initiative to reduce legal incentives to remove a fit parent without substantial evidence. In his book, “Equal Parenting Presumption”, custody expert Edward Kruk shows that at least 40% time sharing (preferably 50%) is the key to making real reforms work and improving outcomes for children and parents. Equal time as the starting point means both parents need not fear arbitrary loss of their kids and in practice most often work out their own parenting plan (which need not be 50/50).

A key point of Bill C560 is to define “best interests of the child” as keeping both parents unless one is proven unfit.

The last reforms parents successfully pushed for (1986) included the “friendly parent rule” which was supposed to presume joint custody by giving preference to the parent who would most encourage parenting by the other parent. Judges generally “read out” this provision of the Divorce Act, inserting the presumption that existence of conflict meant they could exercise judicial discretion and order sole custody. Worse, judges often presume that removing the parent seeking joint custody or equal parenting will stop conflict. It is a feudal system when the decision maker has complete discretion/decision rights without any responsibility for the outcomes. Social science research shows that sole custody generates conflict and disadvantages children, yet judges claim this is in “best interests of the child.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Parents say that outcomes from the adversarial system have not perceptibly changed over the last several decades. Vested interests oppose changes since they make money from adversarial divorce and sole custody.

Bill C-560 brings long overdue non-adversarial reforms to a broken system. It should be supported by all members of Parliament as such reforms are supported by over 80% of the Canadian public.

Parents and supporters of these reforms should can call their federal MP and ask he or she to vote in favour of C-560. You can call in to radio or contact other media and make the point that your MP ran on the shared parenting policy in the last election and that your vote in the next election depends on how they vote May 27th for second reading.

Glenn Cheriton, President, Canadian Equal Parenting Council

p.s.  Here are some links to help you support equal parenting reforms:

http://canadianepc.org/donate

http://canadianepc.org/membership/advocate-signup/

__._,_.___


Posted by: “Glenn at Cheriton.ca” <Glenn@Cheriton.ca>


Make judges accountable for their corruption in Canada


Ideas for State Legislation to deal with Judicial and Government Dishonesty and Corruption

Thursday, 07 April 2011 00:00
William M. Windsor
map_outline_91914-200w

America, we have a lot of problems.

Our best hope of fixing some of our problems now is at the state level.  So, GRIP (Government Reform & Integrity Platform) and other organizations are drafting proposed state legislation to deal with dishonesty and corruption with judges and other government officials.

Please review the points that have been submitted thus far, and add your comments to the article below….

The Problem: Dishonesty and Corruption in Government.

A Solution: State Legislation

GRIP and other organizations are combining forces to draft proposed state legislation that will enable We the People to fix many of the problems with the judicial system and dishinest and/or corrupt government officials.

  1. Corruption must be minimized in government. [The government has not been able to effectively deal with corruption in government.  We must put the power to deal with corruption into the hands of the people.  The provisions of this law are designed to do just that.]
  2. Each elected official and every government employee in the state, including all federal elected officials and federal employees operating in the state, shall be required to sign a Contract with the Citizens of the State and the United States.  This Contract requires those signing to be honest at all times while performing their duties and to protect our fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Violation of the Contract will be presented to a Special Grand Jury.  [This makes our government officials ACCOUNTABLE to the people; they are essentially accountable to no one at this time.]
  3. Each county shall have grand juries, and citizens will be able to directly present charges of government misconduct and corruption to a Special Grand Jury.  [Article of Amendment V of the Bill of Rights gives grand juries the power to deal with judicial and government wrongdoing through the power of Presentment.  Not all states have county grand juries, but they are needed in every state in every county.  Where grand juries do exist, government officials may block a citizen’s access to the grand jury, and this will be fixed through this clause.]  A complaint for criminal conduct of a judge may be brought directly to the Special Grand Jury upon all the following prerequisites: (1) an affidavit of criminal conduct has been lodged with the appropriate prosecutorial entity within ninety (90) days of the commission of the alleged conduct; (2) the prosecutor declines to prosecute, or one hundred twenty (120) days has passed following the lodging of such affidavit and prosecution has not commenced; (3) an indictment, if sought, has not been specifically declined on the merits by a county Grand Jury; and (4) the criminal statute of limitations has not run.  Investigative grand juries may compel evidence and subpoena witnesses; may compel production of documents filed under seal; may inspect records, documents, correspondence, and books of any department, agency, board, bureau, commission, institution, or authority of the state or any of its political subdivisions; and may require the production of records, documents, correspondence, and books of any person, firm, or corporation which relate directly or indirectly to the subject of the investigation being conducted by the investigative grand jury. Each Special Grand Jury shall have exclusive power to retain non-governmental advisors, special prosecutors, and investigators, as needed, who shall serve no longer than one year, after which term said officers shall be ineligible. Notwithstanding the one year, a special prosecutor may be retained to prosecute current cases in which they are involved through all appeals and any complaints for judicial misconduct.  [This provides terms for the impmentation of this clause.]
  4. Special Grand Juries shall be responsible to ensure that government officials are honest above all else.   The Special Grand Jury shall require active investigation of politicians for corrupt behavior. [This is essential if we are to minimize corruption.  The power must be in the hands of the citizens.]
  5.  All judicial misconduct complaints will be handled by a Special Grand Jury.   The judicial system will cease “policing” itself.  All judicial complaints will be made public.  [Expecting judges to discipline their friends (fellow judges) is not at all right.  Complaints are also kept confidential.  A Grand Jury composed of citizens from the county will ensure fair consideration of the issues.  Making the complaints public will allow others to see the complaints that have been made, and it should serve as a deterrent to those who might commit misconduct.]
  6. All attorney misconduct complaints will be handled by a Special Grand Jury. The association of attorneys (Bar Association) will cease being the sole means of “policing” attorneys. All attorney complaints will be made public.  [Just as with judges as discussed immediately above, expecting the association of attorneys to discipline their members isn’t the independent way that complaints should be handled.  Citizens probably are not aware that the Bar Association is nothing but an association; it isn’t a government entity.  Attorneys do massive damage to people, and the way to minimize this is to make attorneys accountable to a jury of citizens from the county.]
  7. Judges may be removed from office for cause.  Cause shall include deliberate violation of law, fraud, conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts, using erroneous law, ignoring valid precedents, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking of a lawful conclusion of a case, or any deliberate violation of the Constitutions of the State or the United States and the Bill of Rights as well as dishonesty. [The reports of proven judicial corruption nationwide are staggeing; the scary part is all the corruption that the judges are able to hide.  The only way to keep judges honest is to have a Grand Jury and the power to remove judges for cause.]
  8. Judges must address all points raised by all parties in every court decision with a clear explanation with citation to determining facts, statutes, and case law. [One of the dishonest/corrupt techniques used by judges is to ignore the issues, facts, and law.  By forcing judges to address the issues, facts, statutes, and case law on each issue in their orders, judges will either treat the parties fairly or expose their corruption for all to see.  When judges violate this provision, an aggrieved party will now have the ability to take the matter to a Special Grand Jury.]
  9. Appellate judges must address all points of error in every appellate decision with a clear explanation with citation to determining facts, statutes, and case law. [Appellate judges are even more dishonest that lower court judges when it comes to ignoring the issues, facts, statutes, and case law.  By forcing judges to address the issues, facts, statutes, and case law, judges will either treat the parties fairly or expose their corruption for all to see.  When judges violate this provision, an aggrieved party will now have the ability to take the matter to a Special Grand Jury.]
  10. Parties may present claims of attorney misconduct, judicial misconduct, clerk’s office misconduct, and law enforcement misconduct to a Special Grand Jury. [Attorneys, judges, judicial staff, clerks of court, and law enforcement all commit misconduct, and a Special Grand Jury provides the independent tribunal that the citizens need.]
  11. Perjury is a cause of action that will be allowed in a civil suit. [Currently, people can lie repeatedly in court, and those damaged by the perjury have no recourse, and judges do nothing.  Citizens need the ability to seek damages against witnesses in court who commit perjury.]
  12. Judges must insist that people tell the truth in court with extreme consequences for those who don’t. [There are rules that will make the legal process infinitely more fair and less expensive.  Judges must honor and enforce the rules.  It is one of the only ways to get witnesses and attorneys to be honest.]
  13. Attorneys must go by the letter of every law and every professional rule.  Judges must subject attorneys to onerous consequences for violations. [There are rules that will make the legal process infinitely more fair and less expensive.  Judges must honor and enforce the rules.  It is one of the only ways to get attorneys and judges to be honest.]
  14. Attorneys who violate their Code of Professional Conduct shall be referred to a Special Grand Jury. [Attorneys are a big part of the problem with the legal system.  If they followed their Code of Professional Conduct, the legal system would be much fairer, and the expense of litigation would be dramatically reduced.  Accountability by an independent Special Grand Jury should have amazing impact.]
  15. “Motion practice” must be minimized.  Judges must hold conferences and allow attorneys and pro se parties to communicate important issues directly to judges.  [In federal courts especially, judges avoid all contact with the attorneys and parties.  They force the parties to file motions, responses, and replies to motion after motion.  This runs up massive legal fees and provides infinite opportunities for misconduct and mistreatment of the parties.]
  16. Judges may not enter summary judgments when a jury trial has been requested. [Judges corrupt the judicial process by depriving parties of a jury trial.  Juries must make the decisions in legal matters — not judges.]
  17. Judges may not ignore or change the rules of civil procedure.  [Judges may favor one attorney or party over another by selectively ignoring the rules or independently making their own after-the-fact rules.  There are rules, and everyone must adhere to them.  Judges must not be given the power to deprive a party or attorney of the published rules.]
  18. All court decisions shall be published.  [Courts do not publish many of their orders.  This keeps others from seeing their wrongdoing and mistakes.  By publishing every decision, judges will have to do a better job, and they will be exposed to criticism by other judges and attorneys who identify their mistakes.]
  19. All orders must be signed by the judges involved. [In many cases, the judges do not sign the orders.  There is no way to know if the judges actually participated in the decision.  Every order must be signed by the judges involved to prove that they participated in the decision and to make the orders valid.]
  20. The votes of each judge involved in a decision shall be made part of the public record. [When multiple judges are involved, the parties and the public deserve to know how each voted.]
  21. All pro se parties shall be given the ability to make electronic filings, if they choose.  [In most courts, only attorneys are allowed to file electronically.  This also enables them to file just before midnight on a due date.  Pro se parties are forced to print everything, and they have to file by the time the clerk’s office closes (usually 5 pm or earlier).  This inflates the cost for pro se parties, increases the costs of judicial personnel, and gives an unfair advantage to the attorneys.  Pro se parties should take online training on how to use the electronic filing system, and they should have the option to save money and time by filing electronically.]
  22. There shall be no requirement of a legal degree and legal experience for judicial positions in cities, counties, and states. [Lawyers are a big part of the problem with the legal system.  Lawyers as judges come to the position with a built-in prejudice for their friend attorneys and may have a bias against attorneys they faced.  If the participants in a case go by the rules and the law, any intelligent person can serve as judge.  It is unfair to limit judge positions to attorneys.]
  23. Judges must adhere to sentencing guidelines. [There must be rules, and the place for a judge in the process is to go by the rules.  We must minimize interpretation and freedom for judges to do whatever they want, because that is what has made our judicial system so unfair and corrupt.]
  24. All family court trials shall be by jury. [Family court abuse and corruption is one of the most widely-criticized.  Judges and their friends involved in the family court process create a situation ripe for injustice and corruption.  We must remove the judges from this life-altering process for so many people.  Let a jury of local citizens with their own families make these serious decisions.]
  25.  It shall be a child’s right to be raised by his parent(s), free from government intrusion; have an attorney of his choice; be heard in court personally; be allowed to report abuse and know that the system will protect them; be protected from mental and physical abuse by guardians as well as the judicial system; and receive justice. [Currently, the way children and their families are treated by the judicial system is a crime in and of itself.  We the people must protect families and the children.  These rights must be mandated because the existing system is hopelessly broken.]
  26. No child may be taken from family without evidence and a hearing. [Children are being removed from their homes at the whim of people.  This life-altering decision must first be made in court and decided by a jury.  We cannot allow families to be torn apart by people who should have no authority to take such serious action.]
  27. All children deserve to live a childhood free from abuse, exploitation, and government interference during custody litigation. [Custody litigation is devastating to many.  The children must be protected not damaged by the system.]
  28. Campaign contributions are not allowed for funding judicial campaigns. [Campaign contributions create the perfect opportunity for corrupting the judicial system.  Elections for judges should be done with no contributions of any type allowed.]
  29. Complaints about CPS and other state agencies may be presented to a Special Grand Jury. [Government corruption may take place in any agency.  Child Protective Services (CPS) is an area where abuse is often alleged.]
  30. Complaints about foreclosure fraud may be presented to a Special Grand Jury. [Foreclosure fraud is a form of government-assisted corruption.  Those in danger of losing their biggest asset need help and fast.  We the people need to protect them.]
  31. The statute of limitations shall be eliminated in cases of sexual assault against children.  The statute of limitations shall be eliminated in cases of perjury and fraud upon the courts. [Laws must not be used to deprive citizens of recourse for wrongdoing.]
  32. Parties may represent themselves in all legal proceedings in the State.  Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and other legal entities may also be represented by an officer of the corporation in legal proceedings, and representation by an attorney shall not be required. [Statutes say that parties may represent themselves, but all of the attorneys involved in the law-making and judicial processes have twisted the intent of the law to force legal entities to spend zillions of dollars on attorneys.  Pro se parties (those individuals who represent themselves) are generally discriminated against by judges, and this must not be allowed.  Allowing legal entities to represent themselves will save billions of dollars in legal fees and will dramatically reduce the costs of operating the judicial system.]
  33. A spouse may represent his or her spouse in legal proceedings if there is a properly executed power of attorney granting such right. [Once again, judges ignore the law and refuse to allow an individual to be represented in court by someone pursuant to a power of attorney.  This must be stopped.  When a power of attorney grants a person to handle legal matters, it must apply to anyone in any legal matter, especially litigation.]
  34. Pro se parties now represent approximately one-third of all parties in lawsuits. Each county in the State will establish an office with at least one staff attorney to assist pro se parties at no charge. [Pro se parties usually cannot afford attorneys.  Some courts provide assistance, but most don’t.  One-third of the citizens involved in the legal process must be helped.]
  35. Judges must recuse themselves in specific circumstances, including if they are party to a lawsuit with a litigant.  Bias can be demonstrated by actions in a lawsuit. All complaints of judicial bias will be resolved by a Special Grand Jury if a party chooses to pursue the matter after a judge refuses to recuse himself/herself. [One of the areas of great abuse by judges is their refusal to recuse themselves.  Once again, if judges went by the rules, the system would be fair…but they don’t.  Judges rarely recuse themselves when outsiders would feel the judge has bias that should require them to recuse themselves.  Judges must be encouraged to abide by the rules and the intent of the recusal process, and if they fail to recuse themself three times when a Special Grand Jury says they should have, they should be removed from office.]
  36. No immunities shall be extended to any judge in this State except as is specifically set forth in this Law.  The theory of judicial immunity is to protect judges from frivolous and harassing actions.  However, deliberate violation of law, fraud, conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking of a lawful conclusion of a case, or any deliberate violation of the Constitutions of Florida or the United States and the Bill of Rights and dishonesty are violations by judges that are not frivolous or harassing. A Special Grand Jury’s responsibility shall include determining, on an objective standard, whether a civil suit against a judge would be frivolous and harassing, or fall within the exclusions of immunity as set forth herein, and whether there is probable cause of criminal conduct by the judge complained of.  Special Grand Juries shall also have the power to independently pursue charges against any government officials through the power of Presentment. [Judges have manufactured claims of immunity for themselves using a case from the 1800’s that is archaic and not really even applicable.  Judges must not be allowed to corruptly, maliciously break laws, ignore laws and the facts, andf abuse parties.  They must be held accountable for their wrongs just as each of us is held accountable.  If judges don’t like this risk, then they should get real jobs like we all do.]
  37. Any judge or government official removed from office shall not thereafter serve in any government or judicial position.  Retirement for such removed officials shall not exceed one-half of the benefits to which such person would have otherwise been entitled.  [We must cease giving outrageous benefits to those who commit wrongdoing.]
  38. Should the Special Grand Jury find probable cause of criminal conduct on the part of any judge against whom a complaint is docketed, it shall have the power to indict such judge except where double jeopardy attaches. The Special Grand Jury shall, without voir dire beyond personal relationship, cause to be impaneled twelve special trial jurors, plus alternates, which trial jurors shall be instructed that they have power to judge both law and fact. The Special Grand Jury shall also select a non-governmental special prosecutor and a judge with no more than four years on the bench from a county other than that of the defendant judge. The trial jury shall be selected from the same pool of jury candidates as any regular jury.  The special prosecutor shall thereafter prosecute the cause to a conclusion, having all the powers of any other prosecutor within this State. Upon conviction, the special trial jury shall have exclusive power of sentencing (limited to incarceration, fines and/or community service), which shall be derived by an average of the sentences of the trial jurors. [This procedure is essential for the effective implementation of this Law.]
  39. No judge complained of or sued civilly shall be defended at public expense or by any elected or appointed public counsel, nor shall any judge be reimbursed from public funds for any losses sustained under this Law. [Currently, the government office responsible for taking action against a judge is also the office that provides counsel to represent judges at the taxpayer’s expense.  Judges should have to pay for their own legal counsel, or represent themselves, just as we the people have to do.]
  40. All court cases involving the government or a government employee must be trials by jury, and summary judgments will not be allowed in such cases to avoid the prejudice of a government employee judge having bias for another government employee. [Bias must be protected against at all costs.  It is only human nature for us to “protect our own.”  This must no longer be allowed.]
  41. This Law applies to federal courts as well as state, county, and local courts, because federal courts and federal judges are allowed to operate in the state as a guest of the state. [Federal courts must not be allowed to operate in a dishonest or corrupt manner.  Federal employees functioning in our state must abide by our state’s laws.]
  42. Attorneys and government employees will not be eligible to serve on a Special Grand Jury. [Attorneys and government officials have an automatic conflict of interest and a natural bias for one of their own.  Attorneys may also be risking their careers due to reprisals from a judge or government official that they take action against.]
  43. All elected officials in the state and all government employees in the state must sign a Contract with the Citizens of the State that requires them to be honest at all times and defend the fundamental rights protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. [This Contract makes all elected officials accountable to the people.]
  44. All Bar documents must be public record. [Nothing in the legal world should be secret, especially complaints about participants in the legal process.]
  45. All attorneys and judges must pass a competency exam on constitutional principles, particularly rights. [States must ensure that qualified people are in place.]
  46. Impose requirements for bonds on all attorneys and judges, which they pay for out of their own pockets, and make it easy for their victims to file complaints reviewed only by a grand jury. [This will clean up a lot of corruption and dishonesty.]
  47. Open video and audio recording by public shall be allowed at all court proceedings. [Judges and attorneys get away with murder; this will be another excellent tool to make them more accountable.]

Your thoughts, ideas, additions, deletions, etc. are welcomed.  Please just add a comment below.

Thanks

 William M. Windsor

We, Canadians could use this too!

Connie Brauer