Judicial Qualifications Commission
1110 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303
28th January 2009
Judge John V Doyle – Volusia County Circuit Court, DeLand
I am a party in a family law case involving a minor child Emily Rose Hindle (Case Ref: 2003 12692 FMDL and now subject to appeal in the 5th District Case Ref: 2008 50451 APFD).
After discussing this case with Congressman Mica’s offices, I write to formally complain of the conduct of Judge John V Doyle in Volusia County Circuit Court, DeLand.
The child was born in the United Kingdom and removed to the United States by her US mother in February 2003.
The child was concealed in several US states until the English court ceased jurisdiction over the child and issued a parental responsibility order to myself.
Mother voluntary returned child to the UK whereupon the British police removed child from mother and gave her to father. The mother had attempted an unofficial adoption of the child in Wisconsin, placing her with strangers and also into the care and contact of a convicted child sex offender, Leslie Merriam while also denying the child medical treatment for an eye condition rendering her blind in one of her eyes.
The mother invoked the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 and claimed to have been resident for at least six months in the state of Florida. In the absence of any rebuttal evidence, the British court accepted the mother’s representations and sent her and the child to the state of Florida in October 2003 with orders for the child and her protection issued under this international law; notably dealing with the medical issue and ordering treatment for the little girl.
Sir Justice Johnson, a High Court judge sitting in London stated:
“It is inconceivable to me that an American court will not enforce this order for medical treatment.”
I filed proceedings in Florida in November 2003 and despite visa difficulties created by the mother and her attorney in Florida claiming domestic violence and sexual abuse of children (subsequently disposed of in favor of the father) I was able to enter the US and attend Florida court hearings in April 2004.
At this time, it became apparent to Judge Doyle (the presiding judge) that the mother had not been in the state of Florida for six months as she had claimed in the British court but in fact had been in the state for approximately six weeks.
Nevertheless, Judge Doyle claimed jurisdiction and has continued to claim jurisdiction on the basis of the mother being resident in the state for 6 months prior to filing of proceedings which His Honor is and has been aware, was untruthful. Jurisdiction in Florida was claimed to exist as at 19th September 2003 in London – in any event the mother did not reside in the state until around July/August 2003 per her answer to the initial petition.
Complaint One: Judge Doyle has unlawfully retained the child in the state of Florida and unlawfully exercised jurisdiction in this matter and conspired with the mother in a fraud on the British High Court after the fact.
The initial Florida filing was in November 2003.
Hague Convention requirements state that the receiving court will be “prompt and effective” in issuing and enforcing orders in the interests of the child.
I understand Florida state guidelines for disputed custody disputes are 6 months.
A final judgment was rendered by Judge Doyle in October 2008 some 5 years after initial filing of the case.
Judge Doyle has been extremely slow and dilatory in his management and handling of the case which has directly harmed the child i.e. blindness and loss of relationship with father.
The child was 1 year old when she was sent for hearings in Florida in 2003. The child was sent with an order for medical treatment to be provided for her eye condition; the condition is amblyopia and required treatment prior to reaching age 3 years or the condition would become permanent.
Nine British and US doctors have recommended treatment and it has been ordered by the British High Court under international law – the child requiring treatment before reaching age 3.
Judge Doyle has repeatedly dodged and evaded the issue of the child’s medical neglect and refused to allow her to return to the UK for medical treatment which she qualified for as of right under the UK socialized medical system but then remained silent on treatment for the child in the United States; effectively allowing the child to become permanently blinded in her right eye and in defiance of international law enacted and acceded to by the Congress of the United States.
Judge Doyle in open court on May 23rd 2008 stated:
“We don’t do the Hague Convention here, we are provincials!”
At a prior hearing in May 2005, Judge Doyle after hearing that the treatment required was simple patching of the child’s eyes stated words to the effect that:
“A patch? A patch? That does not seem important to me.”
Judge Doyle refused to review the medical reports of several British and US doctors regarding the treatment for the condition.
The child is now permanently blinded in her right eye and has received several examinations in Florida but no medical treatment for the condition and no enforcement of the order for her protection.
Further, the mother absconded with the child out of state in January 2005 and the child was subsequently classed as “Missing and Endangered” by FDLE and registered with the National Center in Washington DC as well as Interpol. Despite this, Judge Doyle repeatedly evaded issuing a pick up order and change of custody for over a year – something the father believes would not have occurred if he had been an American father instead of British.
Complaint Two: Judge Doyle has willfully ignored the order of a superior court (the British Supreme Court) acting under international law binding on the United States for an order for the protection of the child resulting in the child becoming permanently harmed i.e. blind in the right eye. It should be noted Judge Doyle has remained silent on the medical neglect and eye condition, even in the final judgement. Case law exists where a child neglected to the extent of blindness in an eye resulted in termination of parental rights and further demonstrates the bias and prejudicial conduct of Judge Doyle.
On another occasion in February/March 2006; the mother accused the father of serious sexual assault of the child shortly after being found guilty of criminal contempt of court for absconding with the child out of state but withheld punishment. This was the second such instance by the mother against the father, earlier having accused him of making child pornography with his children in the UK (both sets of allegations were found by law enforcement to be false allegations made by the mother).
My attorney attempted to enter into evidence before Judge Doyle, the mother’s handwritten statement of complaint regarding the sexual abuse allegations along with reports of the Child Protection Team comprised of Carol Polzella of the FL State Attorney’s office which concluded the child (then aged 3) was being coached by the mother, however, Judge Doyle refused to allow my attorney to enter it and made him sit down. Immediately prior to the commencement of the hearing, judge Doyle removed the DCF investigator who attended the hearings that day and was available to give evidence in the matter. Judge Doyle then went on to accept the mother’s denial that she had made the sexual abuse allegations and continued to refuse to sanction the mother for her conduct.
Further, at final hearing held in DeLand on 23rd May 2008, the mother produced discovery which was obviously incomplete and my attorney requested a continuance and also because some of the evidentiary materials collected over the five years or so of this matter were still in transit from the UK.
Judge Doyle refused the continuance and threatened to invoke a rule that I was coming to court with unclean hands. He further went on to chastise my attorney and I, stating that amongst other things I had violated the laws of the United States (to wit the Hague Convention proceedings in London) and I “..should spend some time in jail to straighten him [me] out!”.
Judge Doyle further went on to state that my attorney had only the day for the whole case to be heard, that he was ruling that day and that if we did not present our case and leave sufficient time for the mother to present her side His Honor would automatically rule in favor of the mother.
Five years of depositions, tape recordings, witness statements, medical evidence, child support payments, the efforts of international law enforcement and the British government and many other matters were unable to be presented to Judge Doyle who in many instances, would simply not entertain the notion of hearing them.
In any event, His Honor did not rule on the day of trial because His Honor was unable to stop the presentation of papers from the mother and her attorney to the US government requesting denial of entry to the United States for court hearings and court ordered visitation and also for the successful request for the arrest and deportation of the father in May 2004 – at this point Judge Doyle reversed himself and refused to rule on the day as he stated he would do.
A ruling did not appear until October 2008 which completely ignored the evidence of neglect and abuse of the child, the level of false allegations and complaints raised by the mother (over 200 police complaints and 5 major police investigations by British and US law enforcement, two of which were for serious sexual assaults on my children); the appalling record of non-compliance by the mother with British and Floridian court orders and the ruling gave primary care to mother with another visitation order to father.
Further, this child was missing and endangered for two years after mother absconded out of state. The father had voluntarily paid child support when he had knowledge of where the mother and/or the child were at (the two had not always been together per depositions) – judge Doyle ignored and refused to look at child support payments including those the mother had testified in deposition to receiving. The judge also made no account of the fact that the child had been missing and endangered for two years, now for the time spent in immigration detention at the hands of the mother and her attorney, nor for the extended periods of time he has had to be present in the state of Florida and legally not allowed to work due to immigration law. Judge Doyle issued a blanket back-order for support for 5 years and assessed some $30,000 in arrearages with no allowance for any of the above and no hearing of the matter.
The trial was described after the event as “The most bizarre hearing I’ve ever seen.” according to the attorney for the mother, Ms Kim Bannister. My attorney, Mr David Ferguson, considers the judge to have been wholly unfair and feels Judge Doyle had made his mind up years ago and will not change it no matter what is presented in evidence.
The final order is now subject to an appeal in the 5th District Court of Appeal while the mother continues to refuse to comply with orders of the court for visitation and contact.
Complaint Three: Judge Doyle has demonstrated a consistently prejudiced, biased and dogmatic approach which has no regard for the fair application of the law and has caused harm directly to the child and to myself. Florida factors for determining primary residency have been completely ignored, the mother clearly losing on all of the factors excepting length of time the child has been in her care and that only because of her willful contempt of court orders which continues to this day – the child and I have not had visitation, despite court orders, since May 2006 and there has been nor do I expect, any enforcement from Judge Doyle or the court.
Complaint Four: Examination of the court docket will indicate numerous hearings and continuances. Judge Doyle has made no allowance for the limited time I have been allowed to stay in the United States due to the visa issues created by an officer of his court and the mother nor for the urgency with which the proceedings should have been treated. I believe it is reasonable to conclude that Judge Doyle deliberately slowed the proceedings down in an effort to stop the proceedings from coming to full trial and to deny relief for the child.
Complaint Five: the costs of these proceedings and this international game of “cat and mouse” have been extortionately high – the father has expended in excess of $450,000 – in large measure due to the extremely slow pace of the trial judge.
This is a summary of almost 6 years of shameful and shambolic conduct by Judge Doyle in Volusia County Circuit Court.
A child blind in one of her eyes for the sake of a 50 cent eye patch for a few hours a day before she reached the age of three.
A child and father who had a deeply loving bond, separated at a formative and most important time of the child’s life and left unprotected against the determined and evil efforts of one parent to destroy the loving bonds between them including the coaching of the child in making sexual abuse allegations against the father and which has been left unpunished and ignored by the court.
That the Floridian judge has behaved dishonestly and dishonorably in retaining a child who only landed in Florida by virtue of a fraud on the British High Court.
An egregious and embarrassing example of what the international community under the Hague Convention can expect for children sent for hearings to determine their future in the State of Florida – a set of “provincials” who “do not do” international law because, as in the words of Judge Doyle, he would rather, “Have a good nights’ sleep and a bowel movement!”.
I sincerely request an investigation is conducted into the conduct of Judge John V Doyle.