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Sunday, May 04, 2003
In The Jaws Of The System
------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent: Sat, 03 May 2003 22:43:21 -0600
From: Suzanne Shell firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Report on Canon City court
Family Court Date: Canon City Colorado
This is the real street. At one end is the hospital, where
people are born; at the other end, the grave yard; along the
middle, where there used to be factories and offices, now there are
prisons sprouting up as fast as our masters can build and fill them.
A fellow collective member called me for help. Could I go back to
Canon City, a place where I had worked seven years back on a story
about the failure of the Child Welfare System? I said yes without
thinking too much about the months of work I had done.
I had suffered with mothers losing their children to a corrupt
system. There were conniving cops getting a hold of old records of
vulnerable women, making the sexual advance, then the child grabbing by
Social Services and, of course, child murder in the name of child
We are fighting a war on terror right, not. Now we are
rebuilding broken worn out countries right now. The paradox is we are
still destroying the lives of our own children right now. When one attacks
families in the homes out of spite, or simply because they can, that is
war on the family; when the police molest children that is war on the
child. When psychological warfare is used against a large segment of the
population that is war on America. We are at war with the American poor.
The terrorists are our government officials who, with their
Gestapo-like tactics, attack families out of the blue. One vindictive
school nurse can set the world into a place of rat like fighting for
survival as a family unit.
We will call the lady May. She was born in Fremont County. Her
mom was a trucker, as was the only father she knew. Trucking is a
good living but hard on the family. Truckers know that, they live
slightly differently than reporters because they are people in motion.
May's father died young driving; used him up.
They run on the tide of the business and the road. The paper work
is awesome and keeping up with payment schedules is demanding. Paying for
the rig is another matter. If it is old it's the repairs, and if it is
new, it's the payment itself. Many drivers give up when they look at the
fact that they will never be out of debt.
May's mother balanced their time and had three children. When May was
born there were developmental problems, not serious, but developmental
problems. She needed special ed and special care, not a troubled
child, rather the one a parent spends a lot of time working with.
Canon City has lots of chemical and nuclear waste around it and
never really cleaned up from the days of the robber barons who
stripped the mountains of trees and coal, washing it with the blood
of union men. There are lots of birth defects and poisoning from
drinking the water, etc.
The schools saw this, as did Social Services, who were somewhat
helpful and aware there of May's presence. They watch and wait...
May grew up a large woman and went into the workforce. She had
several apartments and worked hard at the jobs at the bottom of the
ladder. She got by.
At twenty-four May had a daughter of her own and her boyfriend
Her daughter was normal, what ever that is, in every way.
Suddenly things were more difficult than May could imagine. May got
into a car accident, and suffered an head injury which caused
eplilepsy. It took some time to find the right dosage and right
medicine to control the siezures. May has been seizure-free for a
When her daughter went to school May met the hostility of the
school nurse, who, when she had heard May was pregnant had advised
May's mother to get her daughter an abortion or give up the child.
In many working class families that is impossible, not part of
the ethic or the religion.
School nurses have real power, and in Canon City, they are part
of the child intake system. Social Services is paid so much a child
they take in and the social workers are promoted on the number of
children they adopt out.
In earlier cases we saw the family ties of the legal and social
work community (it is so interelated that there is no way to separate the
lawyers from the social workers except with cold water.)
We found Fremont County had hired criminals from other states
and counties and shunted them off before they could be exposed in
court. We found that the Bar in Fremont County is filled with
inexperienced, inept and/or corrupted lawyers barely able to keep
their eyes open in court. One DA known to be tough on drugs, got
busted with weed on him, stoned after hours.
Canon City is the home of many prisoners as well, tens of
thousands of them and the wonderful men and women who get rich
watching other men fucking each other do come home from work and
then work out on their own families. A lot of honest hats too but
they vanish in the sea of corruption around the prison industrial complex.
It's one tough town to be a social worker, yes; a reason to demean humans,
to reduce life to formula I doubt it.
There is a lice outbreak at the school. The School nurse starts
finding lice in May's kid's hair. Social Services comes to call.
The family lives in a comfortable working family home. May's mom has the
good job, her son a not so good job, and May stays at home with her
daughter being there after school and cleaning. Because of many people
living together, the anti-male caseworker seems to think there is a
cleanliness problem (nothing I could see but I am a normal guy.)
Then comes the kid grab and the degrading family plan that no person could ever
complete. The anal retentives, kapos who work at Social Services have
their way with the family.
Her daughter is placed in foster care that the mother has to pay
for. The round of endless court dates that end with losing a child
begin. The seedy court appointed lawyer says take the deal, admit to the
petition, you will get your daughter back for a while. He is a legal
May demands her jury trial, and her lawyer not only refuses to
prepare, but shares privileged communication with the other side.
May's mother is a force to reckoned with; she starts looking for help.
She finds Suzanne Shell's Profane Justice website with its tons of forms and
strategies for fighting the unbeatable system.
Fighting back is not for the faint hearted
In the Jaws of the system.
Film Maker and colleague Suzanne Shell and I pull up at
the new Fremont County Justice Center, an out of the box neo-Federal pile
built by some County Commissioner's brother. Canon City has a reputation
of corruption and foulness to uphold. It is an ill designed building, not
like the old light and airy building downtown. No, this one of those edge
of town; cop shop, social workers and jail, a morbid mall, sort of one
We arrive on third floor and are yelled at by the bailiff for
owing cameras and taper recorders. They really don't want independent
transcripts here. I ask the bailiff to put it writing he doesn't know how.
He looks like a retired lifer from the prison system. I take the equipment
out after all this is Julie Marshall's Court he announces.
I want it writing, of course he cannot write.
I had anticipated this sort of welcome to the courts of hell.
Shell had just filed a federal lawsuit against the Social
Services gang and the judge and the lawyers. She had to get a power
of attorney from May to do this. There is unhappiness in River City.
Judge Marshall mounts the podium and the games begin with her
mumbling. The new courthouse has worse acoustics than the old one.
Part of the qualification for being a judge in Fremont County is to
May's mother has filed a bunch of motions she got from websites. The
Attorney for the Department, Rocco Marconi, is beside himself that a woman
would not go along the Plan. The Plan calls for daily sanitizing of the
toilets because there are men in the house. We have a lot of troops
fighting for Plans like this.
May starts to stammer as the lawyer hammers his point home. As a
former stammerer my heart goes out to the young woman. May knows her own
mind, but she doesn't do well under pressure. By her own admission, she
doesn't think fast on her feet.
The Judge now jumps May, did you write these documents
or did Miss Shell or your mom. Did you? Did you give Miss
Shell this power of attorney she could get a credit card with and put you
in debt for the rest of your life, May's lawyer says nothing - he has all
the professionalism of a jelly fish or a bought off lawyer.
Now teh child's guardian ad litem attacks this woman and May is
steadfast that she and her mother wrote the documents. The judge gets that
this woman worked with her mother, not the advocate and film- maker. Her
lawyer, Mr. Kimball, sat there and did nothing for his client, said not
one word about the brutal badgering and harassment that Court and the
hostile attorneys had engaged in. Judge Marshall says she does not believe
Judge Marshall then calls Shell to the bar of justice but does
not swear her, simply questions her as she stands ready to testify
according to court rules. This hearing is to add Shell as a party to the
case, so that this court can issue orders forbidding Shell from contacting
this mother - preventing her from continuing her documentary project on
this family tragedy. Shell says she needs time for discovery and for the
court to appoint a lawyer, which it does not. Shell is not allowed to
participate in this hearing. The Judge abruptly starts the county
attorney, Meconi, questioning May while Shell stands there. Dare I say it
was the Red Queen's Court. There are several moments where there are two
people testifying at the same time. The defendant's so-called lawyer does
Then the lawyer for the Department says you signed the paper?!
Did you think it would help your case?
Don't look at Miss Shell, young woman you look at me.
"What do family advocates do?
You signed on with an advocate without any idea what advocates do.
It becomes clear even to this simple reporter that the Social
Services lawyer is trying to break the defendant on the stand to
prove her incompetent to be a parent, to even sign a document, like a
power of attorney, or releases of information for DHS.
If she goes for the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
she loses the child, if she falls, she loses the child.
Social Service's case falls into new depths of plain evil behavior.
Suddenly the questioning veers to another direction:
Are aware that your mom got these forms from Miss. Shell
(actually from her website but what is truth in the hands of a judge.)
The issue today is Miss Shell. Silly me, I thought this was about child welfare.
The child's guardian ad litem then joins the pack attack.
Did you know she could get a credit card and place you in debit.
Did anyone explain that to you. (a lie it was a narrow power of attorney)
My mother explained it.
Your mother signed away your rights.
(Another lie but this is a court room.)
There was no redirect from her lawyer; the jelly fish sat there.
The grandmother, May's mother, was then placed under the
magnifying glass. By her daughter's lawyer.
When did you first talk to Miss Shell?
What conversation did you have?
I asked her for help.
What was the result?
Research and investigation.
Is that a copy?
There was a change in your daughter's cooperation with the Department of
Social Services after she contacted Miss Shell.
My daughter realized that no matter how hard she attempted to work there
was no way she could complete the Plan.
Court suddenly adjourns for another day. The lawyers will get
paid, as will the social workers and court personnel. Everyone except the
defendant her mother and me.
Last year only two of over a hundred cases with Department of
Social Services went to jury trial. One reason might be the ongoing
harassment of the clients. As May was leaving the court room, one of the
social workers whispered, �Kiss your daughter goodbye.
The names of the defendant and her mother are obscured out of
respect. All other names are of the people involved. The kangaroo
court continues on Monday morning. Continuing...
Written by Cordley Coit - Rocky Mountain Media Collective
Director, American Family Advocacy Center
Author: Profane Justice
posted by Vetzine