November 9, 2012.
Community leaders descended on the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange demanding end to the systematic judicial executions of another domestic violence victims. This may sound like a way out claim but it the frequent effect of decisions made in family law courtrooms in Orange County. Lamoreaux judges have been known to throw dying women into the street without access to blankets or medical care. Poor women usually survive better than rich women who never expected to be stripped of their savings and rights. Men know to file at Lamoreaux when they want to stick it to their wives.
The ad hoc civil rights group included people from diverse fields like politics, education, environmental engineering, psychology, medicine, real estate, religion, science, technology, and public service. Several gave up a full day of work to lend their support the cause.
What could have been so important?
A case in L60 held nothing less than the life of a disabled domestic violence survivor in the balance. That family law case has thrown the woman into third world type conditions likely to cause death. Her mother and daughter were also tortured by the same man. Her mother died. The husband told the daughter he would kill her too. Police in the county ignored more than a hundred verified 911 calls before the older woman died. The Judge in the case thumbed his nose at the law and allowed the perpetrator to seize the assets of all three of the tortured women and leave them in poverty.
Lamoreaux is the courthouse my male friends file in to give their wives the shaft. Judges there deny most restraining order applications and let men terminate their wives' medical care. Judges hold victims who come to court bleeding in contempt and award sanctions to the guys who did it. I was raised to believe women should be respected. If a woman gives up her career to take care of her man, her man owes her half his salary until she can earn an equal salary. That's fair. It's unheard of at Lamoreaux. A significant percentage of women at Lamoreaux are unrepresented with the percentages for men being the reverse. It's a tragic slaughter ground there.
Propelled with strong support from the community, five of these concerned citizens took the initiative to file an Amicus Curiae brief in the family law case. They served the brief on the attorneys before arriving at the courthouse to present it to the court. "Friend of the court" briefs are usually reserved for other areas and levels of law. The community felt action was needed here to save the remaining lives.
One of the leaders gave me a copy of the emergency brief for temporary support. It was a 34 year marriage. Records establish the husband's earnings at upwards of $150,000 annually. The fully disabled wife receives no support. The text from the brief is quoted below. I want to protect the privacy of the parties and the leaders. So I"ve changed the references to H for the husband, W for the wife and D for the daughter. The case can be looked up under 10D003328 if you want the actual names. The initials of the five who took the lead in demanding rights for the victims are TA, HB, ES, BF and BC.
"Dated this 8th Day of November, 2012,
"As friends of the court, we undertake to advise the court of a terrible injustice that is taking place in this case that is endangering the life of a participant and a non-participant.
"W is currently living in uninhabitable conditions with no heat and no hot water. She only has one working burner with which to cook water and no working refrigerator. H cut her garbage service. His prior actions caused holes in the walls and ceilings and the house is not secure against rodents and other animals.
"Our observations are that W is undergoing extreme emotional trauma. Her medical records call for likely heart surgery and her doctor has stated that any stress could set off a heart attack. She has been unable to obtain any health care coverage for her PTSD as her health insurance was cut while she was in the cardiac intensive care unit after she failed to agree with petitioner's demand that she pay to retain her insurance. The respondent received a tentative insurance quote in the amount of $2570/monthly.
"W is the support parent for the couple's D who is a full time college student. Because of this, her SSI check barely provides her with dollar food meals from fast food restaurants.
"W has been trying to get support based on H's high earnings and we have watched her go to court hopeful of obtaining that support. Without enough adequate support to turn on her heat and get coverage for both her heart condition and her PTSD this fall, she is in danger of dying. She is clearly traumatized and has frequent panic attacks.
"D is an abuse victim who is now being traumatized by a civil attorney her father has hired. W is trying to put together a retainer to help D get an attorney to protect herself against her father. D has accused her father of physical and sexual abuse and that is the subject of another proceeding in which H is represented and the D is not.
"H's attorney recently hired W's attorney to do work on one of H's attorney's cases and now we fear that W's representation is compromised. W has no funds to hire an uncompromised attorney.