Skip to comments.Need Father's Rights help in DuPage County, IL (Please help!)
Posted on 12/09/2012 8:16:02 AM PST by TitansAFC
I am dealing with a woman who is willing to falsely accuse me of harassment and being a threat to abuse my children. She has used denying visitation of the children against me, and is doing so now by filing an Order of Protection based on false allegations, which denies me visitation until our court date later in December.
My current attorney, who was also my divorce attorney, is very passive. He has talked down any ideas I have come up with, and when I push for better advocacy from him, he is quick to mention that he will require another retain of such-and-such before he begins. In other words, he does not want to fight for me, and instead basically threatens me with costs to deter requests for any more aggressive representation. Every time she does something awful or accuses me of something awful, he talks it down calling it "pretty standard," implying it is no big deal. But each time around now, she gets bolder and does even worse.
I have depleted my funds through the divorce and legal fees. I am desperate for help. If any Freeper anywhere can help me or point me to someone who can, I beg you to do so. Please don't just send links to organizations; I am already trying those routes. What I am looking for is somebody who can really help.
Thank you for your attention
Best of luck!!
Just make sure that secret recordings are not illegal in your state.
Just make sure that secret recordings are not illegal in your state.
I wouldn’t mess around, you need competent legal counsel or you run the risk of getting yourself in deeper doo doo. When I listen to Rush on WLS I hear ads for this Jeffery Leving “Dads Rights” all the time. Realize the financial aspect is a problem but I’d urge you to give them a call and explain your situation and how your present lawyer is treating you. All lawyers do a certain amount of pro-bono (free) work, and since this firm specialized in fathers rights, you’d be right in their wheelhouse. Good luck!
stoopid finger forgot to paste the link: http://dadsrights.com/
I am so sorry to hear about your family issues, TitansAFC. I don’t have much experience with these type of legal matters but it doesn’t sound like your attorney is truly working for you. You are his client. He isn’t doing you a favor. May I ask if there is any type of father’s advocacy group in your state? If so, they may be able to give you better information or advice (possibly completely free of charge). In the meantime, I will pray for you and your children.
If you want to switch Attorneys you can try these guys:
It sounds as though your attorney has depleted your funds and has no use for you now. Get a new one.
Try searching the net for “Fathers Rights”, and “Mens Rights”,
and you should find a lot of groups which address this problem.
They have some good ideas to help you
Sorry to hear of your problems....I’m not sure that I can offer anything meaningful in terms of condolences...you have not seen the worst of it, yet.
To schedule an appointment with a Saint Louis divorce attorney, call 314-725-0000 or 1-866-DADS-LAW. One of our representatives will be glad to speak with you. Cordell & Cordell St. Louis Divorce Lawyers - Located at City Place 3, Suite 600, Creve Coeur, MO 63141. Phone: 314-725-0000
Sorry to hear of your troubles. Other than another lawyer all I can do is offer advice.
Cool off and don’t fight. Bitter and contested divorces are for the Rich and Famous. Your ex-wife has been given the upper hand by the legal system many many years ago.
I was slapped with similar TROs at the onset of my divorce. It was all lawyer language of “possible threat”, “possible violence”, “possible abuse”, but I convinced my ex-wife to voluntarily change the language.
You can probably ask for and compel family counseling (even if divorced) and try and work it out there.
BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE on all issues. You will lose if you have no money and try and confront her head-on. If you establish a record with the court of behaving, not making waves .. you will prevail over time.
And remember this: “The best revenge is to live a long and happy life”.
They don't have to say a word, just sit next to you and listen. It's not about being physically threatening, just letting the attorney feel that others are seeing his inactivity. Don't let him chase them out of the room. Tell the attorney they are there for moral support, to help you remember what is said, they are family, they are your ride home, whatever. See if he acts a little different when there are three pairs of eyes staring at him while he dismisses your fears.
What you must do for self preservation
A timeline and tabulation of who’s who in your case is essential
1. A timeline is not a narrative! It is simply a note including date, time (if important), a brief (two or three sentences at most) description of the event, and names of individuals involved. An example and instructions are provided here.
Do not include narratives, transcripts, recordings, pictures, documents, etc., relating to your case in your timeline. Put such information in a separate looseleaf binder with labeled tabs so that it can be quickly referenced. In your timeline refer to these items as Attachment A, B, etc.
2. If you find yourself in this situation keep accurate records and document every interaction with her or her attorney. However, most people in these situations develop PTSD and that condition makes it almost impossible for them to develop a timeline on their own. Our suggestion is to get help from a relative or good friend to put together the events. Even notes with date and time and brief summary of event on a 3x5 card will be a big help in your defense and talking about the problems with a friend or relative will help the PTSD. It is virtually impossible for another individual, e.g., an attorney, to understand your situation without a timeline of events and tabulation of who’s who in your case.
3. A tabulation of who’s who in your case must include contact information for every individual involved in your case and a brief note about what role they play. That includes judges, prosecutors, case workers, witnesses, “victim,” children, etc. If an attorney or paralegal have to assemble this information it will typically cost you several thousand dollars in fees and they are likely to overlook someone critical to your case.
4. Don’t trust anything she says or does to you or anyone you know. The no contact order applies only to you and you are the one who will be punished if she calls you up or comes to see you. If she is calling you, get a tape recorder for your phone, and make notes of when and why she called in your timeline. Politely refuse to talk to her when she calls. Let the answering machine take all calls until you’ve identified the caller. Don’t call her back for any reason. Don’t threaten or argue with her if she calls. Remember, she is probably recording anything you say and it will be used against you. The same goes for your children if they are, and they usually are, included on the restraining order.
5. Even if the protection order permits it, never see or talk to her without a witness present, preferably your attorney. Even with your attorney present it is a good idea to keep a video or audio tape recording of all contact with her, her attorney, or any authorities involved. See the section on surveillance methods for further information on recording these interactions.
6. Many men and women are turning to surveillance methods in order to obtain evidence against their accuser if the harassment continues after charges are filed.
7. Signed and notarized affidavits from witnesses may be of use in a later trial. The affidavit should be taken as soon after the event as possible to demonstrate the matter is still fresh in the witness’ mind. Be sure to keep an original signed copy for yourself, give one to your defense attorney, and be sure your attorney gives a copy to the prosecutor to complete discovery requirements. If the prosecutor doesn’t get a copy, the affidavit may be barred from trial. If you mail it, use certified mail and get a return receipt so that they can’t claim it was “lost.”
8. Roughly half of the married men who have contacted the Equal Justice Foundation for help were charged with domestic violence after they found evidence their wives were having an affair. If you are married and suspect infidelity, but have not yet been charged, you should begin collecting evidence for your defense using one or more of the surveillance methods outlined. Be sure you keep that evidence somewhere you can get to it after she files charges and the mandatory protection order is imposed. Hiring a private detective may also be advisable if time and circumstances permit.
If you have children, you must get DNA paternity testing done at the earliest possible time, preferably when her child is born. Fully 30%, nearly one out of three such tests show the husband, or the man the woman claimed, is not the father of her children. Getting such testing done after she charges you with DV will be extremely difficult and often DV charges are made to forestall or prevent DNA paternity testing.
9. Girlfriends or ex-wives often begin stalking their male partners and then claiming the reverse. Again, the surveillance methods presented may help you collect evidence for your defense.
It has become increasingly common for a woman to get a protection order on a man and then stalk him until she has some pretext to call the police and have him arrested for violating the protection order.
Always remember that in these cases you are guilty until, and unless you can prove your innocence.
Even if you are found innocent of the criminal charges against you she can, and often will get a civil protection order against you that carries the same penalties if you violate it.
Get an attorney!
1. If ever in your life you need a lawyer, now is the time. If you have not been able to obtain an attorney while in jail, and the court does not, or will not, assign you a public defender, then you should make every effort to obtain your own counsel.
Current (2012) attorney fees are about $7,000 to $15,000 for defending a domestic violence charge through trial. If you plead guilty, or no contest, court costs and mandatory therapy for an indefinite period will cost you in excess of $4,000. The difference in cost is small when compared with the lifetime penalties incurred.
2. We find a large percentage of bottom-feeding attorneys who take a retainer, typically $2,500, and then enter a plea bargain often without consulting with their client. This problem is particularly acute with military men. Remember, 99 out of 100 attorneys give the other one a bad name. Thus, you are much more likely to encounter an incompetent, corrupt, arrogant ass than an honest, competent attorney.
Good criminal defense attorneys seldom lose a DV case in a jury trial. Note that many men are innocent until they prove themselves guilty by committing diarrhea of the mouth with police and prosecutors as the video illustrates. Unless you are blatantly guilty or run off at the mouth, with a good criminal defense attorney, and you demand a jury trial, there is a better than 99% chance the charges against you will be dismissed or you will be acquitted at trial.
Before you pay any attorney a retainer ask them if they routinely take DV cases to a jury trial, what percentage of DV cases do they take to trial, and how many have they won. Also, it is wise to make it absolutely clear to your attorney that you will not accept a plea bargain. And despite what prosecutors may tell you (they lie), a plea bargain, no contest, nolo contendre, a deferred sentence, diversion, or any other creative lie they tell you, is a conviction, plain and simple, and will appear on your record for life.
Unless you are unequivocally guilty, a plea bargain is not in your best interest, and certainly not at your arraignment. Always plead Not Guilty and demand a jury trial. In the unlikely event a plea bargain does prove to be your best option, you can enter a plea at any time up to and including during the trial.
3. It is strongly recommended that you take an hour to watch the video Don’t Talk To Police! at your first opportunity, preferably before you get arrested.
4. We are finding that most men (~80%) convicted of domestic violence, who accept a plea bargain, or a deferred sentence, end up losing their jobs and professional licenses. Domestic violence can reasonably be regarded as a crime of moral turpitude and, as such, a conviction is grounds to deny or revoke a professional license, e.g., teaching credential, law license, medical license, or any other professional license. With a DV conviction you may also encounter difficulty crossing an international border and may well be denied entry.
A conviction on a charge of domestic violence will certainly mean loss of your job if you work in a profession that requires use of firearms, explosives, or other dangerous agents, e.g., police, fire, military, construction that involves blasting, truck drivers who haul explosives or hazardous materials (hazmat), etc.
The loss of your Second Amendment rights is for life if you are convicted.
A domestic violence conviction will permanently deny you a security clearance under DoD Directive 5220.6 (PDF) and any current clearance will be revoked. You will also be unable to obtain a financial bond, jobs in a casino, or a securities license.
You probably cannot hold any government job, including teaching.
If you are not a United States citizen you will be deported.
Medical doctors and others who require a professional license, e.g., stockbrokers, with domestic violence convictions often find they cannot continue working in their field.
Custody of any children you may have will almost certainly pass to the mother and she will be awarded child support and possibly maintenance (alimony). The convicted father will most likely only be able to see his children during supervised visitation periods for at least one to two years. He will also pay from $20 to $80 per hour of supervised visitation.
There are also many other hidden penalties to a domestic violence conviction that the prosecutor won’t tell you about. You may never be eligible for welfare, food stamps, or public housing, be able to obtain a student loan, hold public office or a government job, get a hunting license, hold a commercial driving license particularly for hauling explosives or hazardous materials, voting rights may be lost, and you may lose any military pension.
If you have children, custody will be given to her and you will likely only see your children, if ever again, under supervised visitation, that you pay for, for at least one to two years.
The penalties make the cost of an attorney look cheap.
5. You will eventually be given a hearing before a magistrate or judge. If(?) you have been released on bail before the hearing, you must show up in court or you will lose all future rights. It is strongly recommended that you plead innocent and demand a jury trial at the hearing. But the prosecutor will do everything possible, commonly including lies and intimidation, to get you to plead guilty. Very commonly the prosecutor will levy additional criminal charges against you, often far beyond what the police report states.
A guilty or no contest plea at this time, or failure to appear, is a lifetime sentence in Colorado regardless of what lies the prosecutor may tell you about a deferred sentence, deferred prosecution, deferred judgement, or other nonsense they may try to con you with.
Neither the court nor the district attorney will dismiss the case regardless of how ridiculous the charges are against you under the no drop provisions of Colorado law.
If you were arrested based on hearsay because a neighbor or stranger called the cops, and your wife or girlfriend doesn’t want to prosecute, she may want to try filing a Motion to Dismiss (Word) . Otherwise she cannot get the charges against you dropped as it is the State vs. you, although the Crawford v. Washington decision in March of 2004 may give the woman some additional options. See the article by David Feige on domestic silence for additional information. But such actions must be taken voluntarily by her and, remember, you can only communicate with her if the mandatory protection order permits it. And obviously it is better for an attorney to file any such motion.
Do not try and make any statement at the hearing other than “Not guilty.” Don’t talk to the police or the prosecutor as you can only hurt your case by doing so. Any attempt at explaining the circumstances of the incident can and will be used against you.
You are presumed to be guilty until you can prove your innocence.
6. If you plead guilty or nolo contendre (no contest) at any time you will lose all rights of appeal. Also, if you and your accuser have children, you will never be able to obtain normal visitation rights or acquire custody in family court under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
7. The court may require a bond or release you on your own recognizance. If you have previously posted a bond and you are released on your own recognizance you may ask to have the bond lifted.
8. With luck and a competent criminal defense attorney you may be able to have some terms of the automatic protection order against you lifted or modified at the hearing, e.g., the no contact order may be lifted so that you can go home again, depending on the circumstances.
9. The lifetime cost of pleading guilty is infinite. And, unless your guilt is clear, any defense attorney who suggests you accept a plea bargain or deferred judgement should be dismissed instantly for cause. Corrupt defense lawyers love plea bargains or deferred judgements because they get the same fees but don’t have to do the labor of going to trial.
Discovery Get copies of the evidence against you
1. Within one to two weeks after your arrest or arraignment the district attorney is required to assemble the evidence against you and make it available for a small fee. However, you must go to the district attorney’s office and make a formal request and pay any costs. It may take an additional two to four weeks for the district attorney to complete and compile the documents, recordings, etc. for you so do not put this off until the day before trial.
2. Never ever accept a plea bargain until you have seen the evidence against you after discovery is complete. And if you are going to challenge the lies, misrepresentations, distortions, and outright fabrications being used as evidence against you, you must prepare your defense before trial. You, or your attorney will probably want to ask that some of “evidence” they are using against you be ruled inadmissible. All of that, of course, takes time so begin the discovery process as soon as possible after your arrest. In many cases the evidence against you may be so weak or blatantly false that you or your attorney can get the case dismissed at your arraignment, but don’t bet on that.
3. When requesting discovery from the district attorney present as an inclusive a list as possible, and always add a note to effect that you want any such other evidence as it becomes available.
4. You will need to get copies of at least the following from the district attorney: a copy of the recorded 911 call, the police report, any witness statements including the “victims.” Copies of all emails and other correspondence are essential. Credit card, hotel, or gas station receipts are often useful in establishing time, dates, and locations of events as well as copies of surveillance or other videos. Clear copies of any and all photographs particularly if pictures were taken of scratches, bites, bruises, or other injuries on either or both parties. Also any evidence from analyses the prosecutor may make of such things as blood, DNA, soil, clothing, etc. Ofttimes cell phone records provide tracking information when location at a given time is an issue.
5. Discovery must include a list of witnesses the district attorney intends to introduce at trial against you. Usually they will list more witnesses than are actually called and you may want to challenge the relevance or expertise of the prosecutor’s witnesses, which is particularly true if the DA intends to introduce an “expert” on domestic violence.
6. Note that you or your attorney must reciprocate and provide the district attorney with a list of any witnesses you intend to call in your defense at trial.
7. The prosecutor, you, or both may conduct an investigation of the facts. Be sure to get copies of any such reports the DA intends to produce as evidence at trial. Conversely, be certain to provide the prosecutor copies of any such reports you intend to introduce as evidence in your defense. Note that in DV cases the mandatory restraining order prevents you from having any direct contact with the “victim” or indirectly through any third party. That generally prevents you from making any investigation yourself so be certain to have your attorney do it or hire a private investigator.
8. Be sure and keep any and all emails, letters, etc., the “victim” may send you. Also record and keep a log of any telephone calls made to you, any relatives, or friends by the “victim.”
9. Signed and notarized affidavits from witnesses may be of use in the trial or beforehand. Affidavits should be taken as soon after the event as possible to demonstrate the matter is still fresh in the witness’ mind. Be sure to keep an original signed copy for yourself, give one to your defense attorney, and be sure your attorney gives a copy to the prosecutor to complete discovery requirements. If the prosecutor doesn’t get a copy, the affidavit may be barred from trial. If you mail the copy use certified mail and get a return receipt so that the DA can’t claim it was “lost.”
10. All evidence should be referenced in your timeline and kept and indexed in a separate looseleaf or folder where it can be easily found. If you have an attorney you will need to make an additional copy for them.
11. Check and be certain that you or your attorney have provided copies of all evidence, documents, receipts, etc. to the district attorney or you may not be able to get them introduced during the trial.
12. The district attorney may obtain additional evidence after fulfilling your initial discovery request. So be certain to check back about a month before trial to be certain that you have been provided any and all evidence that will be used against you.
Do a background check
1. If you have been charged with domestic violence, or a protection order has been filed against you, it is quite likely that a background check of your accuser may turn up previous false allegations, convictions, or lawsuits that might be used in your defense. Your accuser may also have been abusive in a previous relationship and finding that person may provide a valuable witness for you.
2. You can do some elementary checks on your accuser using such facilities as COcourts.com or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Records Check and that is certainly advised.
3. However, in many cases it will definitely pay you to hire a competent private investigator (PI) to do a thorough background check on employment, addresses, possible medical and mental health conditions, previous marriages and relationships, aliases or other names used, income, as well as possible criminal history in other states or countries, and a host of other information that may well be useful in your defense.
4. Your attorney may have an established relationship with a PI that you are comfortable working with. However, many times you may want a broader investigation requiring a national firm like Blue Moon Investigations, you simply don’t like the PI your attorney recommends, or your attorney has no recommendation. In such cases you may want to consider one of the listed firms who have worked with the Equal Justice Foundation or its members in the past.
5. While you are at it, run the same background check on yourself. One, your attorney is going to need to know about any problems or convictions in your past. Two, you may find a number of errors in your records, particularly if you have a common name (you will want to get those errors corrected before trial). Three, you can bet the prosecution or your accuser will be running a background check on you and you definitely want to know what they may find that could look incriminating.
About half of the married men who have contacted the Equal Justice Foundation for assistance report that they were charged with domestic violence or abuse after they found their wife was having an affair. Filing such charges gives her both vengeance against her husband (how dare he spy on her) and the house, the car, the kids, the bank account, credit cards, and anything else she wants to take.
I’ve had similar accusations made against me twice by the same ex. The first was simply dismissed. The second one, years later, was dismissed “with prejudice” and the ex was ordered to pay all court costs. Now, that is rare enough to be incredible, but there’s even more to it to make it entirely unbelievable. The second time I was already in jail for “contempt” and I had to go to the hearing in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs. 99.99% of the time even a guy coming into court in a coat and tie is going to lose, but this is what happened in my case. It’s all true as far-fetched as it sounds.
Secret recordings are illegal in Illinois. Will get him in more hot water than the woman can do on her own.