It Takes a Village Idiot to Destroy a Family-by: Edgar Steele
It Takes A Village Idiot (to destroy a family)

by Edgar J. Steele 

See the happy moron.

He doesn't give a damn.

I wish I were a moron.

My God...perhaps I am.

  --- Ogden Nash 

March 20, 2002

Meet Yinka and Vanessa Fasinro.  They are a couple like any you might know.  They live in North Carolina, often characterized as a bastion of conservative living.  Take a few minutes and walk along with me in their shoes.  The ones they are wearing right now - today.  Learn how their lives are being vandalized at this very minute by our - that's as in yours and my - legal system.

This is just another in a flood of CPS nightmare stories washing through American society.

The more I write in this area, the angrier I become.  First, read their email of this morning, reproduced below, then the rest of this piece.  You'll be mad as hell, too - I promise.  But, it will be good for you - I promise that, too.

These parents' first mistake was in using a leftist (i.e., "it takes a village to raise a child") pediatrician who got them into "the system."  this guy has done it to many others, I guarantee you.  Many of those referrals to CPS (called DSS in North Carolina), too, were baseless and ended up in the parents' favor.  That doctor does not share the department's immunity.  A couple of lawsuits by parents will reign him in pretty quickly.  I'm sure there is a local parents' rights group there; they should pursue this sort of thing independently by keeping lists  of these doctors and checking them twice.

Those parents' rights groups should also cull out the true rogue CPS workers who appear in case after case of truly abusive conduct by the state and help to fund federal Title VII suits against both the departments and those rogue agents; their immunity doesn't stretch to that venue, you see.

The second mistake was in letting the first agent in the door without a search warrant. They should have made her stand on the porch, then brought the child to the window and shown it to her.  Then they should have called their lawyer and gotten the name of a good CPS lawyer that would come to their house immediately.

I'm not sure how draconian North Carolina is, but it sounds about on a par with Colorado and Oregon.  If so, then their third mistake was in not, that first night, packing the car and moving out of the state permanently.  I'm not kidding about this.  No, it is not an overreaction.  It is simple self preservation. 

It is easy to hire a moving company to come in and pack up all your remaining belongings and ship them to you.  It is easy to have a real estate agent peddle your house.  Jobs are easy to find.  So are new friends.  It is a literal stake driven into your heart to have your child taken away.

The Fasinros' fifth mistake was in not having a CPS-savvy lawyer present at the house for the next encounter.

They avoided the fourth mistake of not having another doctor immediately examine and report the child normal, though that seems to have been lost on the judge; doubt that it will be lost on an appellate court, however.  If they ever get the kid back, ultimately it will likely be because they had the good sense to do this one thing.

Thus far, note how little involvement there really is by a lawyer, who is propped up simply as a scare tactic.  Up to this point, this is how parents win their making sure they don't become cases....and, it is the easiest and cheapest way, by far, to win these Attack-of-the-Snatch'n'Sell-Child-Nazi cases.

Now, however, the Fasinros are deep in the bowels of the system, with the only way out being to bow, scrape, say "Yassuh, mastuh," at every turn and jump through every impossible hoop set out by the system.  To do otherwise is to tweak the nose of these impudent bureaucratic nazis, which causes them to mark you for termination of parental rights. 

Oh, did I forget to mention selling everything you own to pay for the lawyers? 

Silly me.  I also forgot to mention that you might end up facing several years in prison on trumped-up charges of child neglect.

And guess who gets a bill for the state's involvement?

By the time people realize what's at stake, it is already too late. 

Problem is, in these custody cases, the state holds all the cards...and they have stacked the deck...and they are dealing from the bottom.  Not that they need to, with all those aces stashed up their sleeve. 

The rules of evidence do not apply.  You are forced to deal only with the documents and witnesses the state provides.  You have no right to conduct any sort of investigation.  You have no right to have your child independently examined, once they seize him or her.  A judge sits in sole judgment, without a jury.  The proceedings are conducted in secret, away from the public eye.  You are literally guilty until proven innocent.  Problem is, there is never any way to prove your innocence.

To think that so many talking media heads have made so much about Bush the Second's military tribunals for foreign nationals, when our legal system already treats some of our solidest citizens in far worse fashion!

Oh, and don't forget about the sizable bounties paid to state agencies for every child snatched and sold/adopted out - over $4,000 per child, with up to $50,000 available to the referring and examining medical "professionals" if they simply conclude that the child has been abused.  This is one of the enduring legacies of the Clinton administration.  Talk about a recipe for tyranny and injustice.

There are many lawyers on this list.  I know that most of them are sitting there, right now, saying to themselves that this can't possibly be true, just as every parent who has not yet been tyrannized by the state is doing.  They have no experience in this area, I guarantee you, because it is true and is even worse than just depicted.  I was twenty years in legal practice before I handled my first snatch'n'sell case and that was exactly my response.  And, I did a fair amount of family law, including trials, along the way.   Now, I know better.

I get lots of comments from people to the effect that I must be telling only a part of the story when I talk about my cases.  Think about it.  I take the cases I do and work on them pro bono for a reason.  There always has to be at least one important legal principle at stake and being savaged by some element of the establishment, for one thing. 

Additionally, my clients have to be genuinely decent people, just like you, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by an out-of-control despot.  There has to be some high-profile aspect to the case so that I can make a point with it and hope to wake up people, which is why I take these cases in the first place; that means that it must have enough legs to attract at least some of the media.  My clients have to be defenseless enough so that my family will tolerate the loss of income that working on their case means to us.  Finally, I have to be able to like my clients personally, so that I can stand to be defending their interests for free. 

I don't have to make up things or cover them up in order to justify your attention to my cases.  The fact that I have signed on to one of these cases means that it has all the elements I just described, else I would never take it in the first place.  If you were in my shoes, would you proceed any differently?  That's the beauty of working for free - you get to pick and choose...and you can afford to be very choosy about whose case you take on.

Now, admittedly, the Fasinros are not my clients, but I have encountered so many of these snatch'n'sell cases that I can take at face value the story they relate below.  It has that ineffable ring of truth that resonates within me, thereby being somewhat self validating.  Besides, this tale is illustrative of a great many about which I do have extensive personal knowledge.  You simply have no idea how many people around the country have contacted me concerning their personal travails with the system.  I can respond only to a small percentage of them, else I would get nothing done, other than answering mail, email, faxes and telephone calls.

Another criticism I hear is that the governmental people involved can't possibly be all that bad.  After all, who doesn't know somebody occupying one of these positions?  That's the point of the Ogden Nash poem I placed at the top of this little essay.  I'll bet that some of them, probably most of them, simply don't realize what they have become.  Ever take a position in life where you realized, too late, that you might be wrong, but which you then had to defend or suffer some great personal loss, be it money, job, love or simply prestige?  How dearly did somebody else pay for the salvation of your pride?

Used to be, these cases weren't all that common.  The federal bounty structure, taken together with the transformation of our government into a genuine model of fascism, has changed all that.  I get at least one email about another case like the Farinos at least once a day now.  And, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
New America.  An idea whose time has come.


"I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth."
            - Morpheus 

Edgar J. Steele, 2002

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