Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Subservient

You may not complain. You may not criticize. You may not argue. You may not fight. You must simply take being financially raped (no hyperbole) and being forced to deal with a potentially mentally unstable woman because "its what is best for the children." Bullshit. Its what's best for psychotic ex-wives and girlfriends no one wants to be around because they do and say crazy (mean, outlandish, twisted, unreasonable, violent) things. You are told you have to "take care" of or "deal with" your ex as if she were a child herself and it was the year 1910.


Judge Orders Father to Take Down Website Critical of Judge, Mother
July 22nd, 2011 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

Pennsylvania judge Diane Gibbons ordered a father to take down his website critical of his ex-wife. Read about it here (Philly Burbs, 7/21/11).

Apparently, Anthony Morelli and his ex-wife Allison Morelli have been divorced about seven years. At some point, Anthony and his girlfriend, Misty Weaver-Ostinato, put up a website he says to air his complaints about his experiences with the post-divorce process. They called the site “The Psycho Ex-Wife.”

”We are NOT anti-mother or simply pro-father, we believe all children deserve BOTH parents, unless there are serious issues which prevent one parent from providing a stable, loving environment. An environment where the children are encouraged to love and be loved by both parents.

“We offer a view few judges will ever see. For attorneys, custody evaluators, guardians ad-litem, and judges, a custody case ends with their decision. They make a ruling and walk away with nary a care as to how clients can, and do, go against the orders they have handed down.”

Anthony admits that the site was somewhat inflammatory for the sake of attracting readers, but claims he’s never identified his wife or children by name. He also says he went to great lengths to keep the site secret from his kids.

But eventually they found out about it and so did Allison. She went to court to get it taken down and the judge agreed. Predictably, she defends her decision as in the best interests of the children.

“This is about children,” said the judge during a June 14 hearing… The judge characterized the original website as containing “inaccurate and denigrating, belittling comments about mother. It is not just venting that I have read in these pages. It amounts to outright cruelty.”

Since the site’s been taken down, it’s hard to know just what was on it, but the linked-to article’s most demeaning quotation has Anthony referring to Allison as “Jaba the Hut but with less personality.” Not flattering, but not actionable either.

Anthony Morelli and Misty Weaver-Ostinato have appealed the order saying it violates their right to free speech. To be blunt, they’re right. Judge Gibbons’s assertion of a “best interests of the child” exception to the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right of free speech has, as far as I know, no precedent in constitutional law.

Respected constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh agrees.

“It’s not limited to libel, it covers all speech about the ex-wife. It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Volokh said.

Gibbons’ determination the site was abusive to the children is not sufficient cause to order it taken down, according to Volokh. “That’s not an adequate rationale,” he said.

The courts have ruled even national security is not reason to order a newspaper not to publish, the professor said, citing the example of the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which revealed the nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

“It’s one thing to restrict speech to children, but not to the entire public. At least attempt to narrow the limits of speech,” said the professor.

Volokh continued, “I rarely criticize judges, they have a very difficult job,” but, he said, “this is a blatantly unconstitutional exercise of her authority. She’s flouting the U.S. Constitution.”

That of course means the order will be overturned by an appellate court whose judges, apparently unlike Gibbons, took Con Law in school. That’ll be a good development, and a necessary one for maintaining our free speech rights.

But the victory that’s sure to come obscures the advent of a less heartening development that likely will as well. At the hearing in June, Judge Gibbons promised this:

“You may say anything that you would like to say. You may publish it. You may put it on a billboard. But you will not have your children, because that is abusive.”

Aye, there’s the rub. Her order is clearly unconstitutional and will be overturned, but if you thought that was the extent of her power over Anthony Morelli, you were wrong. He and Allison have some form of joint custody and, if he continues to exercise his free-speech rights, he’ll find his access to them denied. And again he’ll be told that it’s in the children’s best interests.

It’s odd how that works. He has some sort of custody now and has for seven years, during which time he’s been publishing various items on his website (at least until recently). But if he continues to criticize his wife online, he’ll all of a sudden become unfit to parent his kids.

That of course is pure bunk. If Gibbons denies him access to his kids because of his criticism of his ex, it’ll have nothing to do with child well-being and everything to do with punishing a father for exercising his right of free speech. But would an appellate court agree? I doubt it.

Of course if Anthony’s words had anything to do with parental alienation of his kids, that would be different. Parental alienation can and should always be grounds for limiting parental contact. But no one has said anything about his aiming his remarks at his children. On the contrary, he bent over backwards to ensure that they wouldn’t see the site, even though they eventually did.

No, the “take-away” on this is the power of family court judges. The U.S. Constitution contains no ‘best interests of children” restriction on the right of free speech, but family court judges can find any facts they wish about parental fitness. And if that includes taking children from a father because the judge doesn’t like what he says about the mother, so be it.

Also, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Gibbons’s plaint was only partly about what Anthony said about Allison. I’d say the judge is also angry about what he at least implicitly said about her. After all, he’s griping about how judges walk away from their custody decisions “with nary a care as to how clients can and do, go against the orders they have handed down.”

That’s a slam at the mother, but it’s also a swipe at the court for, I’d be willing to bet, it’s failure to enforce his visitation rights.

Family courts routinely intone the mantra of ”the best interests of the child,” while simultaneously doing the opposite. As long as there’s no more objective standard than that, we’ll continue seeing parents silenced by judges whose power regarding child custody continues largely unchecked.

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:20 AM

    The word fitness is commonly used, but did you know what it suggests?


    Here is my weblog; More Material

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous3:31 AM

    Regardless of whether you've inherited tag heuer outlet locations, received a piece as being a present or bought a item for yourself, you might be just a little puzzled concerning the particulars of tag heuer outlet sydney.Where should you appear when it comes to locating knowledge on this conventional artwork form? This article has some beneficial ideas to help you a a lot more informed customer.

    Here is my web site - are tag heuer good watches

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous4:27 AM

    Good post. I definitely appreciate this website. Stick with it!


    Feel free to surf to my page; become phlebotomist

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous6:16 AM

    Great website you have here but I was curious about if you knew
    of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I'd really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Cheers!

    Also visit my weblog - cna skills test practice

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Woah! I'm really digging the template/theme of this site. It's simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it's difficult to get that "perfect balance" between usability and appearance. I must say you've done a amazing
    job with this. Additionally, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Firefox.
    Superb Blog!

    Here is my webpage - cna instructor job description

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous6:31 AM

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.

    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone
    to do it for you? Plz reply as I'm looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks

    Also visit my web page - cna classes in norfolk va

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous7:24 AM

    Hi there, You've done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

    Visit my homepage - phlebotomy certification exam

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous4:44 AM

    When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each
    time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thank you!


    Stop by my web blog; how to become a certified nurse assistant in michigan

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous4:49 AM

    This info is invaluable. Where can I find out more?

    Here is my page :: pharmacy tech in training

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous10:29 PM

    The instructional video is also immensely vital
    with regards to accomplishing each and every physical exercise correctly to
    avoid any injury.

    My web blog sa gear dumbbells

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Sure you need a home gym, but does one definitely wish to stop trying totally all
    other utilization of your den, review, rec room, front room, visitor area,
    nursery, or other helpful area to possess it?

    Also visit my web-site; 60 pound dumbbells

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous9:32 AM

    It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd without
    a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i'll
    settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS
    feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

    Stop by my homepage ... research writing reiews

    ReplyDelete