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Family Law

Hunger Strike – Day 6 + 1


Hunting for words. Too many thoughts want to come out at the same time; loss of home, eviction, moving my belongings into storage.

Cheating

I had to cheat. After six days of not eating I lost five pounds and was feeling pretty weak. I used to bench lift 240 lb, but boy, did I feel weak. Time was getting shorter and shorter for me to move out of my home. I started packing; then I started moving furniture; then I collapsed. I fell down on my knees gasping for breath. That was not good and there was so much work ahead of me. You know, it is not easy to sort out and pack 21 years of your life. First I took a power drink. Within half hour I started feeling better, but I needed my strength to finish the job. I ate some boiled veggies that night and continued packing. The next day I had normal breakfast. Hurray, I was back again!

Tuesday was the day when sheriff was supposed to come and kick me out. I was ready. I rented a moving truck and with help of my girlfriend and two friends we moved everything to 15×20 storage space. We all felt beat up. Thank you Marite, Mitch and my special neighbor Carlos. 🙂

Thursday

Thursday I was back “at work”. I lost 5 pounds but I regained 2 in the past there days. However, I was ready to continue, only dreading the transition from day two on day three as it is the most painful period.

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With my dog Mozart and bunny Kiki. Three Musketeers or Three Stogies. Only the time will tell.

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Mozart in his improvised sun shelter.

Friend’s Call

That evening my friend Brin called. She was crying. She had a hearing this week and judge wants to take her little son away from her. She is normal, energetic and hard working woma; always with the smile on her face. The opposing attorney was trying to make her look as an unfit mother.

Unbelievable!!!

Do these people have any conscience and any morals???

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April 20, 2012 Posted by | Family Law | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hunger Strike – Day 5


April 13, 2012

Many times I pondered should I say this, should I make it public? Even now I am not sure I’m doing the right thing, but the pain I’m feeling at this moment is overwhelming.

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Dilemma 

I know from many parent’s testimonies that it is not smart to involve government agencies like Child Protective Services into the divorce quagmire. They have their own agendas and many times they are not acting in child’s best interest.

However, I feel helpless to protect my child. My daughter is my only love and she is everything I have. For years, the other side did everything to portray me as an unfit parent in court and tried to take my daughter away. For years, and tens of thousands of dollars later and many sleepless nights, I succeeded in preventing that from happening. I kept 50% custody for all that time. That is what my child wanted.  She wanted to be with both parents, even though she frequently fought with her mother, but I respected her wishes. She knew that the next week she would be with me and that there would be peace and quiet.  I assume that was not the ideal situation for her, but she learned how to cope with all of that and she remained straight A student in school.

And that worked until Wells Fargo foreclosed on my home this February. Immediately, the new owner, ValleyOne Investment LLC, wanted me to vacate the home.  I didn’t know how the process worked and I was afraid that, one day, they would just come and change locks and we would be left out on the street.  I did not want my child to lose all her possessions and memorabilia (she had won many awards for competition dancing and for playing clarinet and saxophone in her school’s symphonic and jazz orchestras), so we packed her things and moved them to mother’s place.  We agreed that she would need to stay with mother until I figure out what to do with the house issue.

Within days, tensions between her and mother started heating up. Within a week she wrote me that she wanted to run away from home because she did not want to be yelled at and screamed at any more.

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I immediately reported this to child’s attorney, but nothing was done. Child continued complaining about yelling and name calling for the next few days, so I went to Santa Clara Board of Supervisor’s Office and demanded that something has to be done because Court failed to protect my child and that I will sue the county if this abuse continues. Apparently, the lady I talked to contacted DFCS and DFCS subcontracted Gardner Family Care Corp. to look into the issue.

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Text Messages

Today, on April 13, 2012, just as I was getting ready to leave for my protest in front of the Court, I received series of text messages from my daughter.

“Hi dad, ok, so this morning mom got an e-mail from child services and she said that the letter said that I have to turn off internet. I read the letter and it said no such thing. Then she said someone called her and told her she should turn off internet in my room. I don’t believe her and said I won’t let her near it until I talk to this woman myself, but mom won’t let me… and is telling me that she’s gonna throw out the computer. Also, she’s being really mean and grounded (me)…”

“Oh and she also thinks that you’re gonna say that Milos (ex-wife’s new husband) raped me. I want to slap her in the face so badly”.

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“She’s just being mean, and yelling at me and threatening to shut off internet connection. Also, she just left and I’m home alone. She’s just trying to put me in the guilt trip and she’s saying mean things about you, me, and everybody else”.

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Memories came back. I remember being yelled at in my face from the top of her lungs, insults being slurred left and right, and I just couldn’t stand imagining my child being in the same situation. I know that mom doesn’t want child to have internet access so that she would not be able to complain about her “road rages” to me.

That broke my heart, but there was nothing I could do. If I went to pick up my child, she would call police on me, as she did in the past. She would then tell police that she is afraid for her life and I would risk being arrested. She’s already done that, twice. All I could do is to report the incident to Gardner Family Care Corp, and they promised that somebody will visit my child at home next week. I hope for the best.

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Thunderstorm

Last night there was thunderstorm in our “neck of the woods”. Ghastly winds, rain drumming loudly against the roof; thunders rumbling through the night. I was thinking: “Hey, I still have this roof over my head; at least until next Tuesday. This is good”.

Then my cell phone chimed. My daughter sent me a text message:

“Daddy, it’s thundering and raining and it’s really scary and I’m scared”.

I started crying…

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April 13, 2012 Posted by | Family Law, Law | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hunger Strike – Day 3


April 11, 2012

He was scaling two, three steps at the time. It looked like he was flying down the courthouse stairs. He was a young guy. Dressed in, oh you know; the way young kids are dressed these days; over sized shirt and baggy jeans. He looked clean and groomed. As he approached the place where I had my protest signs displayed, he stopped and turned sideways towards me. He was eyeballing the whole setup and I was looking back at him mildly amused.

When our eyes met, he said: “You have some real stuff going on here man”.

“How so”? I asked.

“With that perjury stuff “, he answered.

“Oh yeah”, I said, “Would you like then to sign my petition to prosecute perjury in courts”.

“No man, I can not” he said.

“Why not”, I was puzzled.

“Because I’m seventeen; I’m too young to vote”.

“How come you know about perjury then”? I asked.

“That is how my mom took everything from my dad”, and he started walking away, “But I’m telling you, you have some real stuff going on here”.

He was still smiling and I was left speechless.

I am not going to tell you what the moral of the story is here. You decide it for yourself. I would just like to tell you that perjury is not something this young kid should know about and that it should not have affected his life in any way. I would also like to tell you that perjurers do not belong to any particular sex group; they could be men or women, equally. In any case, perjury is wrong because it destroys lives.

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Funny thing about the hunger strike; day two is the worst. Your stomach is protesting so loudly that you think the whole world can hear you. Cramps can be painful, and then you have to drink water to fool the system. Day three is when everything stops.  You do not feel hungry any more. Energy levels go up, your brain is clear and your thoughts are sharp. Truly, nature hides some big surprises where you do not expect them.

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April 11, 2012 Posted by | Family Law, Law | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hunger Strike – Day 2


April 10, 2012

When I was a kid growing up in a “land far far away” I used to read books by Jack London and Mark Twain. I mean, I did not read them; I “inhaled” them in a day or so. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading about adventures of their heroes. In 1987 I arrived to Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley as a young engineer and one of the first books I re-read was the “Call of the Wild”, in English; the original language. I will always remember one of its first paragraphs: “Buck lived at a big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley”.  That is where I was. I arrived to the place where my childhood story begun.

It is raining today in “the sun-kissed” Santa Clara Valley.  Since my hunger strike is not a “fast paced suicide mission” I decided to stay home. After all, I still have a roof over my head.  Not for long, but for the time being, it will do. 🙂

Today was the day when I continued packing my things to move them to public storage.  Each item that I picked to put in a Costco moving box evoked its own memory.  Dotar, Ektar and Katho are Indian musical instruments I bought from extremely talented street vendor in Calcutta, India. Birimbao was purchased at the flee market in Rio de Janeiro; Ukulele comes from Kaanapali Beach in Hawaii. My old turntable on which I was listening to my old vinyl records was pulled out of disk jockey’s desk in Belgrade, Serbia. It was a skeleton turntable (the only one I was able to afford at the time) and I built new power supply and case for it.  It still works fine.  Hundreds of my old cassette tapes store music that I was listening to when I played in a New Wave band, way back when I was a student. All of these items fit into one large box. That box is closed now,  ready to go to storage. I decided to keep my harp harmonica with me, but my guitars will go to my friends place to avoid being damaged by humidity.

Today was also the day when Santa Clara Municipal Utilities was to disconnect my electricity because of the outstanding balance.  Since I am going to occupy this house for one more week, I paid the bill and that left me with $900. That is all the money I have left.

I also received several support e-mails and I thanked people who wrote them . That was nice. There was also one e-mail in which person wanted to be removed from the mailing list.  That is cool, too.  I understand that my fight is not everybody’s priority and I wish them luck with whatever they are doing.

I hope it stops raining so I can go tomorrow in front of the Court to continue collecting signatures for my petition.

Good night everybody! 🙂

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April 10, 2012 Posted by | Family Law, Law | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free $1.3 Billion for consumer spending by enforcing the law


Can a simple fix of our Family Court procedures help free consumer money to jump-start our economy? I say, yes… it can!!!

 

Let’s play with some numbers for a bit.

 

There are estimated 160,000 divorces filed in California each year. 60% are now done without lawyers according to Ed Sherman in “How to do Your Own Divorce in California”, published by Nolo Press.

 

That means 64,000 divorces are handled by divorce attorneys.

 

Fighting for custody in a Court can cost a lot (says the same source) – at least $15,000-$50,000 for each side. Let’s take a median number of $30,000 per person, which is $60,000 per couple.

 

That leaves us with stunning $3,840,000,000 dollars spent in Family Courts across California, producing no real value for our economy. Not only that, but how much of that money could be spent by parents investing in their children’s education? Isn’t the education of new generation the most valuable investment that our society can make?

 

Now, let’s assume that 1/3 of these costs are not really necessary which leaves us with $1,280,000,000 (ONE POINT THREE BILLION) dollars taken out of the consumers’ pockets. Can retrieving that much spending money help our economy? You bet!!!

 

In comparison the recent news reported that Governor Schwarzenegger has reduced state employees working hours by 2-day-a-month without pay. His administration estimates that cutting worker hours would save the state $1.3 billion over the next year-and-a-half. Isn’t that the same number?

 

 

What are the causes and how can this money drain be avoided?

Keep in mind that Divorce is defined as an adversarial process, so each side is encouraged not to go easy       on each other. Don’t you think some lawyers could, would, or DO take advantage of this situation? You can bet on this one, too!

 

My own experience is a testament to that. My ex-spouse’s first attorney manipulated his client into believing that I wanted full custody of our child. Can you imagine how any mother would react when faced with the possibility of losing her child? Or any father for that matter? The stage was set for a big fight and a “cash cow” opportunity for the lawyer.

Emotions run high during the divorce, so it took my ex-spouse one and a half years to finally realize she had been played all along. $80,000 dollars later, she finally fired the crook. Our daughter ended up being shared on 50%-50% bases; something we had already agreed to even before her lawyer was hired to handle property division issues.

 

As I was not just an “innocent bystander” all these years, I talked to people who were in similar situation. I realized that “crooked” lawyers do take advantage of the fact that other lawyers (in this case your own) do not take a tough stance against other attorney’s fraudulent actions. All lawyers (and yes, even your own) are businessmen first. All of them work in the same environment and face each other long after your case is gone. “Do not hurt one of your own” is the unwritten code of their relationships. They all know each other.

 

So what remedies does one have to stop fraud, even perjury, committed by the opposing lawyer? Well, as our forefathers put the principle of “checks and balances” into our Constitution, the same mechanism was established for the Practice of Law in our country. Or, is it?

 

One has two options: Report the “crook” to California Bar, or to the District Attorney’s office. Let’s now examine those two options:

 

 

The State Bar of California

I called Cal Bar to inquire about the status of my complaint that I filed few weeks ago. The information I    received was shocking.

 

CalBar Intake Office (the office that handles and sifts through received complaints) increased the number of lawyers working on complaints from 3 to 5 at the beginning of this year. The lady on the other side of the line was proud to announce that the manager is working hard to bring those two newcomers up to speed, but unfortunately, one person is out, sick. That leaves only 4 Cal Bar lawyers to work on all the incoming complaints. What does that mean?

Bear with me while we go over this simplified mathematics assuming that the number of complaints is evenly spread over the 12 month period.

 

So, 4 lawyers, on average, are available for reviewing what has been estimated to be 100,000 complaints each year for all sorts of things, not only the family law related stuff.

 

That is 8,333 complaints per month, or over 2,000 complaints for each Cal Bar lawyer to review each month. Break it down even further and you get about 11.5 complaints per hour, provided every Cal Bar lawyer works without interruption 8 hours per day, 5 days a week.

 

How effective can that be? Is that sufficient deterrent for those “shady” lawyers who are tempted to walk the fine line, or on occasion even cross it? In addition, many clients are already overwhelmed and confused with the whole “legalese” business and they don’t even bother sending their complaints. It is too complicated.

 

Taking into the account the above statistics, if I were a “crooked” lawyer I would take my chances. I would go about my “business as usual” feeling as safe as single zebra in 10,000 zebra herd all the while the lion is walking around. I would find safety in numbers. It can’t be me that they will catch, right? And even if they do, for most part it is a reprimand that is not even listed on my official record. A slap on a wrist; I can survive that, right? So, I would keep doing what I was doing, feeling safe and keeping my pockets full.

 

 

District Attorney’s Office

I wrote an e-mail to DA’s office complaining about my ex-spouse’s second attorney’s conduct that can be classified as perjury (misrepresentation of material facts under oath).

 

At first I received “Dear John” type of a response from some clerk that told me to first complain to Cal Bar….and then,… if Cal Bar finds my complaint worthy of an investigation, they will send it to the DA’s office for their consideration,… and then, if they find it worthy they will discuss… Wow??? With such intense filtration one would be able to drink sewer water every day and live healthy and happily ever after.

In all fairness to Santa Clara County’s DA Dolores Carr, I have to report that I had received an e-mail from Ms. Carr directly, ten days after the initial “Dear John”.  It was a letter in which she informed me that DA’s office is working with the Family Court to define the parameters of conduct that would help to reduce instances of perjury.  And that was it. How effective is/was this effort? I do not know, there is no statistical data available to support claims either way.

 

 

How can this be fixed?

I am not an expert in any other field but my own: Electrical Engineering. However, being an engineer I have keen eye for detail and by recognizing hurdles that I have faced, I’m willing to put my 2 cents into the solution pot.

 

1. Double the number of attorneys in Cal Bar’s Intake unit to 10. That would bring the number of complaints to probably manageable 50 complaints per day/per person. At $100,000 annual salary for each attorney, that is less than $1,000,000 per year, including benefits and operating cost. How much is that compared to $1.3 billion waste in Family Courts only, not including all other civil and criminal cases? The number is probably much higher than that.

 

2. At the DA’s office make one person available to proactively give guidance to people who approach the office for the first time, to let them know what is required as evidence to make a complaint stick in Court.

 

It would also help to make a simple handout of items that represent the list of sanctionable conducts and support documents that would be required to prove such conduct is factual. Give some examples.

 

3. Here in California we have “three strikes you’re out” rule for criminal offenders.

 

This law is formally known among lawyers and legal academics as habitual offender law. Why can’t the same principle be used for the habitually offending attorneys? Let them know they risk losing their licenses forever if they practice law by not following the Rules of Professional Conduct as set by Cal Bar.

 

 

Would the proposed actions be enough to provide effective deterrent to “wannabe” offenders? I do not know, but I’m sure it would be worth a try.

 

 

Prosecute fraud and perjury in Family Courts?
(polls)

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Family Law, Law, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment