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Mark Your Calendars for the Taste of Arlington May 15, 2016

27 Apr

The Largest Festival Showcasing Arlington’s Food Scene and Benefitting the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Get tickets here: Taste of Arlington

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Consistently Poor Judgment in Judicial Appointments: No @HopeforVirginia

11 Apr

Three actions by the Virginia General Assembly show how the Virginia legislature is completely out of touch with the dysfunction in our Arlington Courts.   It also demonstrates how the process of picking judges for Arlington is not based on merit, but who you know (or are related too…just like the MAFIA).

Robin RobbThe General Assembly has unanimously voted to appoint Robin Robb to replace the departing (none too soon (Anti-)) Family Judge Esther Wiggins Lyles.   The six year appointment begins in July 2016.

Who is Robin Robb?   First off, she is the wife of Judge Benjamin Kendrick.   You know Judge Kendrick as a rough around the edges, shoots from the hip, and often ignoring the law in ruling on his cases.   He messed up a lot of families in Arlington.   A number of other very qualified candidates were under consideration, but somehow, with the support of Delegate Patrick Hope, the retired Judges wife was picked to replace Judge Wiggins.   Really!

Wait, it gets better! (Actually, gets worse).

Judge Esther WigginsDuring the session, the legislature threw Judge Wiggins a bone by passing a resolution honoring the “great fairness and wisdom” of Judge Wiggins, who served (and messed up the lives of numerous families and children) for 18 years after service in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office of Arlington.   Apparently none of those legislators ever set foot in Judge Wiggins courtroom and listened to how unfair and lacking in wisdom she was on a daily basis.   Apparently they had not read all of the testimony against Judge Wiggins and the complaints against her.   Maybe, if they had, they would have gotten rid of Judge Wiggins sooner.

Judge Varoutsos Arlington VirginiaSpeaking of getting rid of bad judges, anyone who attended the reappointment hearing last December 2015 for Judge Varoutsos would have walked away thinking that he was not going to get reappointed.  Judge Varoutsos came under heavy criticism in the lawyers surveys for entering orders lacking legal argument or erroneous argument.   But, true to form, the legislature ignored the opinions of members of the public and practitioners, and, instead, reappointed Judge Varoutsos for another six year term.

So, what is the take-away from these actions?   It is that if you want to be a judge or stay a judge in Arlington, be a dues-paying member of the Arlington Judicial Mafia (i.e., answer to the legislators who themselves or their partners often practice before you), and be as unqualified as you can be because it will only count against you and get in the way of ruling on cases the way the guys in Richmond want  you to.

Arlington deserves better quality judges.  The citizens should vote out any legislator who fails to make it their top priority.    Otherwise, there is no @HopeforVirginia

Source: Sun Gazette Arlington March 17, 2016

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Arlington Loses A Great Parent

14 Mar

Increasingly, we have come across stories of how parent’s lives were lost after a judge arbitrarily and/or corruptly has taken a child from a loving parent.     It is almost unimaginable the psychological damage that is done to both the parents and the child.   The Child Protective Services and, in turn, the family court, by necessity, has to create a most damaging narrative to assure that, on appeal, the decision to take the child away is upheld.  So, not only are the physical and legal bonds broken, but the “record” often must include manufactured false claims of personal deficiencies of the parents — a narrative that not only haunts the child but also the parents as well.

Such was the case of Sabrina Hey, a child that Arlington Family Court Judge Wiggins snatched from the caring love of her mother Nancy Hey and Kit Slitor.   Despite doing everything Arlington CPS told them to do, Judge Wiggins destroyed their family to traffic Sabrina to the politically connected adoptive parents.

This past Sunday, an overwhelming number of mourners attended the memorial service for Kit Slitor.  Testimonials were given praising his and Nancy’s contributions to the lives of Sabrina, and others.   Unfortunately, because of Judge Wiggins corrupt actions, including her refusal to reunite Sabrina with her family, Sabrina will have lost the opportunity when she grows older to be reunited with her father, a wonderful and intelligent man, who abruptly lost his life prematurely.

Was this “murder” by Judge Wiggins?  Not technically, but certainly at a minimum moral manslaughter.

Arlington will be a much better place with the imminent departure of Judge Wiggins, but much worse off with the loss of Kit Slitor.

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Setting the Standard for Substandard Care of Children in Foster Care

10 Jan

Readers of Arlington Parent News are now well aware of how Arlington DHS/CPS mistreats its foster children, and how many of the GALS and the Arlington Family Court judges often act against the best interests of those children — instead feeding the coffers of those that “serve” the foster care industry to the detriment of the foster children.

On December 17, 2015, a US Federal Judge Janis Clark clearly laid out the standard that these entities should be following in order not to violate the constitutional rights of the children in the foster care system.   (M.D. v Greg Abott, USDC Southern District of Texas, Civil Action 2:11-CV-84)    Arlington gets a big “F” under that standard.   Its high time the Arlington County Board to shake up that agency and require it to seriously reform its practices BEFORE it takes in another child and stomps on their constitutional rights.

Here are some hightlights from that opinion:

The Constitution imposes upon the State affirmative duties of care and protection.” Id. at 198-200. These duties arise when the State takes a person into custody, thereby limiting that person’s freedom to act on her own behalf. Id. at 200. Custody, in other words, creates a “special relationship” between the State and that person, which triggers a constitutional duty to provide basic needs. Id.

when the State restrains an “individual’s freedom to act on his own behalf—through incarceration, institutionalization, or other similar restraint of personal liberty,” the State assumes an affirmative duty to provide basic needs. DeShaney, 489 U.S. at 200

…the Fifth Circuit held that, under the Fourteenth Amendment, the State owes its foster children “personal security and reasonably safe living conditions.” Hernandez v. Tex. Dep’t of Protective & Regulatory Servs., 380 F.3d 872, 880 (5th Cir. 2004)

…The Fifth Circuit is not alone. With near unanimity, the other circuits have found that states owe a duty of care to their foster children. See e.g., Tamas v. Dep’t of Social & Health Servs., 630 F.3d 833, 846-47 (9th Cir. 2010); James ex rel. James v. Friend, 458 F.3d 726, 730

 ….A foster child’s right to be free from an unreasonable risk of harm “encompasses a right to protection from psychological as well as physical abuse.” R.G. v. Koller, 415 F. Supp. 2d 1129, 1156 (D. Haw. 2006); see also LaShawn A. by Moore v. Kelly, 762 F. Supp. 990, 993 (D.D.C. 1991)….Moreover, foster children “have a substantive due process right to be free from unreasonable and unnecessary intrusions into their emotional well-being.” Marisol A. by Forbes v. Giuliani, 929 F. Supp. 662, 675 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)…Harm, both psychological and physical, can be inflicted in a variety of ways, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological maltreatment. “[T]he Constitution requires the responsible state officials to take steps to prevent children in state institutions from deteriorating physically or psychologically.”

…Foster children need not wait until actual harm occurs before obtaining relief. This has been made most explicit in the prison context, where the right is characterized as the right “not to be subjected to the unreasonable threat of injury.”

….Regional Director Bowman agreed that placing children far from home negatively affects the bonds and connections that children need to be emotionally healthy. Yet 39% of children are placed out of their home region and 60% are placed out of their home county…

…Cross-state moves also impede primary caseworkers’ ability to visit their foster children..

….In addition, separating siblings harms foster children.

…Inappropriate placements also harm foster children.

 …Lastly, placing sexually abused children with other children in foster family homes and foster group homes causes an unreasonable risk of harm…

….Plaintiffs have proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that DFPS’s policies and practices amount to structural deficiencies that cause an unreasonable risk of harm to all class and subclass members

….

— Judge Janis Clark