Saturday, June 20, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
KARL ERNEST HINDLE,
v. CASE NO. 5D08-3850
SHEILA KAY FUITH,
INITIAL BRIEF OF APPELLANT
June 12th, 2009
Appeal from the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Court
In and For Volusia County,
John V. Doyle, Judge.
Case No.: 2003-12692-FMDL
Karl E. Hindle,
Pro Se Appellant
2774 Goolsby Avenue
Tel: 804 658 0283
Table of Citations 2
Statement of Case and Facts 4
I Jurisdiction 16
II Florida Factors under F.S. 61.13 23
(i) F.S. 61.13 (3) (a) 24
(ii) F.S. 61.13 (3)(c) 27
(iii) F.S. 61.13 (3)(d) 37
(iv) F.S. 61.13 (3) (e) 38
(v) F.S. 61.13 (3)(g) 39
(vi) F.S. 61.13 (3) (j) 40
(vii) F.S. 61.13 (3) (k) 43
III Child Support 43
IV Visitation Costs 46
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 4
Article 1 of the Hague Convention 20
Article 19 of the Hague Convention 21
The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act s1(a)(3) 17
Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act s1(a)(5) 17
Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act s2(e) 17
The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act s23 18
18 U.S.C. § 242 19
The International Child Abduction Remedies Act 42 U.S.C. § 11601 20
42 U.S.C. § 11601 20
42 U.S.C. §11601 (a) (1), (2). 20
s212 (a)(3)(A)(ii) I.N.A. 12, 14
F.S. 39.01 27
F.S. 61.13 24
F.S. 61.13(3) 24
F.S. 61.13 (3) (a) 24
F.S. 61.13 (3)(c) 27
F.S. 61.13 (3)(d) 37
F.S. 61.13 (3) (e) 38
F.S. 61.13 (3)(g) 39
F.S. 61.13 (3) (j) 40
F.S. 61.13 (3) (k) 43
Florida Social Welfare Code ss. 409.2551-409.2598 45
Aoude v. Mobil Oil Corp., 892 F.2d 1115, 1118 (1st Cir. 1989) 22
Arcot v. Balarman opinion filed April 9th 2009 5D07-1989 45
Blondin v. Dubois, 238 F. 3d 153, n. 8 (2nd Cir. 2001) 33
Cadle v. Norris, 817 So. 2d 1075 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002 24
Cameron v. Dickey, 871 So. 2d 1022, 1023 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004) 45
Cox v. Burke, 706 So. 2d 43, 47 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998) 21
Croll [v. Croll], 229 F. 3d [133,] 135 n. 1 [2d Cir. 2000)] 34
Davis v. Davis, 305 U.S. 32 (1938) 34
Destafano v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 28 Fla. L. Weekly D1077 (Fla. 1st DCA April 28, 2003) 22
Drakulich v. Drakulich, 705 So. 2d 665 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998) 47
Duquette v. Tahan, 600 A.2d 472 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1991) 19
Feder [ v. Evans-Feder], 63 F. 3d [217,] 226 [(3d Cir. 1995)] 34
Gaylord v. Gaylord, 45 So. 2d 507 (Fla.1950) 34
Holder v. Holder, 305 F.3d 854, 860 (9th Cir. 2002) 23
Knifley v. Knifley 944 So. 2d 1136 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006) 23
Kornblum v. Schneider, 609 So. 2d 138, 139 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992). 22
Long v. Swofford, 805 So. 2d 882 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003) 22
Vagenas v. Continental Gin Company, 988 F.2d 104 (11th Cir. 1993) 18, 34
Walsh [v. Walsh,] 221 F. 3d [204,] 219 [(1st Cir. 2000)] 33
For the sake of brevity and avoidance of doubt, reference to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 is henceforth referred to as “The Hague Convention” in this initial brief.
Complaint to establish paternity and other relief November 10, 2003
Answer to petition & counter petition December 1, 2003
Expedited petition to enforce foreign custody order April 12, 2004
Report of General Master April 20, 2004
Certified copy of Hague Convention order of High Court April 23, 2004
Stipulated Agreement for time-sharing with minor child May 5, 2004
Order approving stipulated agreement May 5, 2004
Order to continue trial September 30, 2004
Notice of non-appearance of mother February 14, 2005
Order for mother to show cause & child pick-up October 26, 2005
Order for father’s temporary custody October 26, 2005
Order regarding order to show cause (nunc pro tunc to
January 13, 2006) February 10, 2006
Unsupervised visitation and sexual abuse finding March 6, 2006
Motion for emergency temporary relief April 25, 2006
Order denying emergency relief April 25, 2006
Motion for trial date certain May 1, 2008
Order denying motion for trial date certain May 1, 2008
Trial May 23, 2008
Final Judgment October 6, 2008
The minor child was born in Maldon, England, UNITED KINGDOM on March 1st 2002 to Sheila Kay FUITH (an American citizen the APPELLEE) and Karl Ernest HINDLE (a British citizen the APPELLANT) the mother moving to England to live with the father in a home they shared together (App 95-96, App 44).
The child was diagnosed with an eye condition (known as amblyopia) at age 6 months. (App 213). This was causing the child to become permanently blinded in her right eye. (App 213, 217) The recommended treatment was occlusion therapy (a patching of the eyes to stimulate the development of vision in the afflicted eye) (App 213, 217, 209-210). Treatment needed to be administered and concluded on a timely basis as by the time the child reached 4 years of age the child would be permanently blinded in the affected eye (App 209-210, App213 & 217). Surgery was also recommended for the correction of a squint (which is a symptom of the amblyopia) and would assist in the stimulus of the affected eye (App 209-210, 213, 217 et seq). The child commenced occlusion therapy (patching of the eyes) at the local hospital where a team of British doctors treated her on a weekly basis and she was scheduled for surgery for the eye alignment correction (App 213 et seq).
On January 7th, 2003 the mother did remove the minor child and herself from the shared home and obtained a US passport for the minor child without the knowledge or consent of the father on the basis of false domestic violence allegations made by the mother against the father (App 95-98, Dep Shannon Merriam p.16 l.20 et seq, Dep Teri Jacobson p.15 l.20 et seq).
The minor child was removed from the United Kingdom to Maryland on or around February 12th, 2003 by the mother with the assistance of the U.S. Department of State (Dep Shannon Merriam p.69 l.16et seq). The mother engaged in nomadic wandering moving to and from various States including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland, Kansas, Missouri and Florida (App 95-96, Dep Shannon Merriam p.19 l.19, p.26 l.22 & p.20 l.20 et seq, Dep Teri Jacobson p.6 l.25 and p.26 et seq, Dep Robert Ozier p.16 l.17 et seq)
The mother, without seeking medical advice, terminated the child’s medical treatment for her blindness (App 96, Dep Shannon Merriam p.36 l.10 et seq) despite being aware of the child’s need for treatment (Dep Shannon Merriam p.37 l.p.6 et seq, p.71 l.8 et seq).
The father attempted to locate the child but the mother concealed the child in various places and States in the United States (App 96, Dep Shannon Merriam p.28 l.6 et seq,) claiming an abusive relationship with the father (App 96, Dep Shannon Merriam p.16 l.24 et seq, p.34 l.12 et seq). The mother did not recognise the appellant as the child’s father (Dep Shannon Merriam pl6 l.10 et seq).
The mother attempted to place the child in what has been described as a “long-term guardianship” (Dep Shannon Merriam p.33 l.15 et seq and p.34-40 generally, p.55 l.3 et seq) and “adoption” (Dep Leslie Merriam p.12 l.3 et seq), in March and April 2004 to extended family members. This was without the consent of the father who was advised of the arrangement and objected to it (Dep Shannon Merriam p.39 l.7 to p.40 l.1) but was not advised of the identity of who the prospective adoptive parents were or where it was taking place so he made enquiries (Dep Shannon Merriam p.66 l.7 to p.68 l.25). This arrangement foundered due to the father’s involvement of law enforcement (Dep Shannon Merriam p.41 l.2 et seq).
The “guardianship” or “adoption” arrangement placed the child into the care and contact of Leslie Merriam (Dep Shannon Merriam p.54 l.21). Leslie Merriam is a convicted child sex offender (Dep Leslie Merriam p.36 l.7 et seq).
The father filed in Chelmsford County Court, England in June 2004 and that court seized jurisdiction subsequently issuing a parental responsibility order in favor of the father (App 31, App96). The mother contacted the father and agreed to meet in late August 2003 in Florida and agreed to return with the child to England (App 96). The mother and child subsequently entered the U.K. on September 19th, 2003 (App 96).
The British police removed the child from the mother upon arrival and gave the child to the father based on his British parental responsibility order (App 96).
The British Lower Court proceedings were stayed by the British High Court (the Supreme Court) as a Hague Convention application was filed on the mother’s behalf by Barbara Greig of the Office of Childrens Issues, US Department of State. An initial hearing took place on September 29th 2003 whereupon the father surrendered the child to the mother as ordered by Sir Justice Coleridge (App30-32, App 96).
The Hague Convention application claimed the mother and child were subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Florida and the father had wrongly retained or wrongly removed the child from the jurisdiction of the State of Florida based on that Hague Convention application (App 30 – 32, App 96).
On October 3rd 2003, the High Court found the father had accordingly wrongly removed or retained the child from the jurisdiction of the State of Florida and his British parental responsibility order was also quashed (App 30-32, App 96).
The High Court ordered the child and parties to the State of Florida for proceedings to determine the child’s future as a consequence, with conditions, none of which the mother complied with (App 96). The most notable condition was the mother was to arrange for medical attention for the child’s eye condition “forthwith upon her return” (App 31).
The State of Florida did not and could not have held jurisdiction at this time (App 43) nor could any other State of the United States (App 43 et seq) and the claim jurisdiction vested in Florida is false.
The father filed the paternity and residency proceedings at issue on or around November 10th 2004 claiming paternity and other relief as he had been ordered to do by the High Court in London (App 97). The mother responded with a counter-petition filed on December 1st 2003 (App 9, and in which she used a Wisconsin driving license as proof of identity (App 10) and stated her address in Florida was a “mailing address” (App 9). The mother also claimed the father was making child pornography with his minor children and the child in question (App 112).
Subsequent filing by the mother irrefutably demonstrated she had not been resident in the State of Florida for the six months prior to filing the action at issue nor The Hague Convention application in London (App 43 et seq).
The father was not allowed to travel to the United States as his visa privileges had been revoked by Barbara Greig of the U.S. Department of State (Dep Robert Ozier p.10 l.3) on the mother’s representations and complaints of harassment and abuse (Dep Shannon Merriam p.70 l.7 et seq, Dep Robert Ozier p.9 l.18 et seq). The clear intent was to deny his access to the Florida courts and to his child and finalizing international child abduction under color of law (Dep Robert Ozier p.10 l.1 et seq, p.9 l.18 et seq; Dep Shannon Merriam p.70 l.12 et seq;
A hearing was scheduled for February 19th 2004 which was continued as the father was refused a visa to travel to attend court hearings (App 21-22).
A visa was procured for attending hearings in April 2004 whereupon the father successfully defended himself against a domestic violence injunction application of the mother. The mother was admonished for abusing the domestic violence protection process by His Honor Judge Doyle in DeLand.(App 111).
Only on May 5th, 2007 was the father allowed visitation and a child support schedule was entered into with the father paying child support and enjoying visitation with the minor child until May 27th 2004 (App 82-84). The father was “forced to leave the United States” (App 139) by US Immigration officers on the morning of May 27th 2004 as he waited at the pick-up point for the child (App, 139, App 244, App97). The “forced removal” was initially claimed by the authorities as due to an expired visa at the time of the arrest and deportation (App 139 and App 97). However, subsequent discovery uncovered it was predicated on the representations of the mother with the cooperation of Barbara Greig at the U.S. Department of State to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the father was a threat to the child and mother despite the ruling of the court on the domestic violence claims (App 244, Dep Robert Ozier p.25 l. 5 et seq). The father was incarcerated and eventually deported (App 5).
The father was rendered permanently visa ineligible for travel to the United States due to harassment of the mother, the Lower Court rulings notwithstanding (App 242-243, Dep Robert Ozier p.25 l. 5 et seq): s212 (a)(3)(A)(ii) I.N.A. prohibits aliens seeking to travel to the U.S. for criminal purposes and was overcome only for court ordered obligations (App 242-243) which visitation is not (it is a right to be exercised or not and therefore not an obligation which must be done). To obtain a visa, he must overcome the ineligibility each and every time he applies for a visa (App 242-243) and requires a court date certain, though the Index on Appeal demonstrates continuances resulting from when this did not work either (App 198), or the trial judge refused to give a date certain (App 184).
The father overcame the visa ineligibility to travel to the U.S. in January 2005, whereupon, the mother initially concealed the child in a domestic abuse shelter away from the father (Dep Robert Ozier p.15 l.24 to p.16 l.5 and Dep Teri Jacobson p.11 l.11 to p.12) and refused to comply with the legal process (App 91) claiming, “... the judge was criminally on the take, that Karl [the father] had bought him off.” (Dep Robert Ozier p.40 l.14)(emphasis added).
The mother subsequently abducted the child out of State in February 2005 (Dep Robert Ozier p.16 to p.20 and Dep Teri Jacobson p.11 to p.12) and the child was classified as “Missing and Endangered” by F.D.L.E. (Dep Teri p.22 l.7). The Lower Court finally issued a pick-up order for the minor child in October 26th 2005 whereupon a temporary custody order was issued in favor of the father (App 99 and 100).
The mother and child were hiding in Kansas and Missouri with the assistance of Barbara Greig of the U.S. Department of State (Dep Robert Ozier p.9 l.25 – p.10 l.11, p.25 l. 5 et seq, p.33 l.24 et seq, Dep Teri Jacobson p. 37 l.16 et seq, p.20 l.15 et seq, p.23 to 25) and the mother claimed she was changing her and the child’s identity with the assistance of Barbara Greig of the U.S. Department of State (Dep Robert Ozier p.17 l.1 to l.17).
The mother and child subsequently returned to Florida and a hearing occurred on January 13th 2006 (App 109-110) whereat the mother was found guilty of criminal contempt (App 111) but retained primary residency of the child and escaped jail as the Lower Court did not wish to traumatize the child by imprisoning the mother (App 112). The father was awarded what the court termed “reunification” visitation – visitation with the mother and her observer from a domestic violence shelter where she was residing at this time (App 111-112, Dep Teri Jacobson p.16 l.25 – p.17 l.5).
On January 30th 2006, in a second set of sexual abuse allegations made by the mother against the father, the mother alleged the father had committed a serious sexual assault upon the child during a reunification visitation session (Dep Teri Jacobson p.16 l.18, App 137-138). The court then ordered, “The Court finds no evidence that the Petitioner, KARL ERNEST HINDLE, has acted or behaved inappropriately in regard to his visitation with the minor child, Emily Rose Hindle.” (emphasis the Lower Court’s) (App 137). The court did not change residency of the child at that time nor punish the mother for her continuing, criminal and extreme misconduct.
A hearing in May 2006 took place on an emergency basis as the father’s visa waiver was expiring and the child still had received no medical treatment for her eye condition (App 139-143). This was despite the reaffirming diagnosis of Dr. Robert Cordero who conducted an Independent Medical Examination (App 209-210) in accordance with the order of the Lower Court of January 13th, 2006 (App 112). The court ruled there was no emergency and the father returned to the United Kingdom (App144).
The father then found he could not return to the U.S. again to pursue litigation as he could not overcome his visa ineligibility (App 242-243) because of the recommendation of Ms. Barbara Greig based on “harassment of the American citizen mother.” (App 180, App 242-244, s212 (a)(3)(A)(ii) I.N.A.). The Lower Court would not set a trial date certain (App 184) which further precluded the father obtaining a visa waiver of ineligibility to travel to the United States (App 180-181).
A restricted visa waiver was eventually procured for trial in May 2008 and the father attended (this is self-evident from his attendance at trial) and he returned to the United Kingdom shortly thereafter in accordance with that restricted entry.
The trial judge, His Honor Judge John V. Doyle, had heard all matters on the case since filing including the domestic violence application filed by the mother (Dep Robert Ozier p.40 l.14 et seq). The court also advised that the mother was to cooperate in unblocking the father’s visa issues which had been created by her conduct and arranged a telephone conference with the U.S. Department of State and wrote to that agency (App 198).
Trial concluded same day under protest from the father’s attorney, Mr. David Ferguson Esq. that the His Honor was not being fair and it is self-evident that five years’ of evidence on the part of the father alone, could not have been heard fairly in one day of trial.
Final judgment was eventually issued October 6th 2008 almost five (5) years after the case had commenced in 2003; the mother was granted primary residency, visitation to father and back child support of $29,154.00 against the father. All cost of visitation to be borne by father which was to take place only at Panama City where the child now resided. The Lower Court Final Judgment appealed also states:
“1. This court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of this action.
2. At least one of the parties hereto has been a resident of the State of Florida for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of this petition.”
The father now appeals to the Honorable Court and filed a timely appeal.
The trial court erred in seizing jurisdiction over the matter after being apprised of, and continued throughout proceedings to be apprised of, the failure of jurisdiction due to lack of residency of the mother in the State of Florida who obtained a judgment by conducting a fraud on the British High Court to send the child to Florida.
The standard of review is de novo.
The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act s1(a)(3) states the purpose of the legislation is to;
“assure that litigation concerning the custody of a child takes place ordinarily in the state with which the child and the child’s family have the closest connection and where significant evidence concerning the child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships is most readily available, and that courts of this state decline the exercise of jurisdiction when the child and the child’s family have a closer connection with another state”
The father’s position is that the home state of the child was England, the mother failing to establish residency in neither the State of Florida nor any State of the U.S. The mother and child had spent one month in the jurisdiction at the time of the Hague Convention proceedings in London and three months at the time of filing the case at issue, and that the child had spent one continuous year of her then 18 month life in England (App43-44).
Further, Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act at s1(a)(5) states that it is to;
“deter abductions and other unilateral removals of children undertaken to obtain custody awards” (emphasis added).
Further, the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act at s2(e) states that;
“ “Home state” means the state in which the child immediately preceding the time involved lived with the child’s parents, a parent, or a person acting as parent for at least six consecutive months, and in the case of a child less than six months old the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. Periods of temporary absence of any of the named persons are counted as part of the six-month or other period.” (emphasis added)
The mother nor child did not reside for six continuous months in any State of the United States nor specifically, in the State of Florida (App 43-44).
The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act further states at s23, “The general policies of this act extend to the international arena.”
The child resided with her father and mother from birth until the child’s “other unilateral removal” in February 2003 in England (App 44) which is elevated to the status of “Sister State” in this instance. See Vagenas v. Continental Gin Company, 988 F.2d 104 (11th Cir. 1993) (treaty between United States and Greece elevated foreign judgment to status of sister state judgment).
The mother and officials of the U.S. Department of State did cause an “other unilateral removal” of the child from England to the United States in February 2003 without the knowledge or consent of the father to gain sole physical custody, and deny the rights of the child to her father, and any rights the father may have or subsequently acquire, as a color of law fraud to deprive the father and child of their rights (see 18 U.S.C. § 242).
The child was sent to the State of Florida after representations by the mother to the British High Court and a Hague Convention application filed by the U.S. Government (Barbara Greig) claimed the child was subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Florida which was clearly false (this is self-evident from App 30-32 and App 43-44 and consideration of the Final Judgment herein appealed). This was an additional fraud on the part of the mother and Barbara Grieg of the U.S. Department of State who filed the Hague Convention application to get the child sent to the State of Florida in an international child abduction under color of law (again 18 U.S.C. § 242).
In 1988, the United States entered the Convention, the text of which can be found in Duquette v. Tahan, 600 A.2d 472 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1991). The objects of the Convention are to "secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in any Contracting State, and to ensure that the rights of custody and of access under the law of one Contracting State are effectively respected in other Contracting States." The father clearly had rights of custody for the purposes of the Hague Convention due to his parental responsibility order issued by Judge Hallett, Chelmsford County Court in England on August 14th 2003 and which was quashed by the British High Court due to the fraudulent claim that the State of Florida held jurisdiction (App 31et al).
Congress implemented the treaty in 1988 by enacting the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, often referred to as ICARA. See 42 U.S.C. § 11601 et seq. ICARA vests concurrent jurisdiction over claims brought under the Convention in the United States District Courts and in the courts of the states.
42 U.S.C. § 11603(a). Congress has found that the international abduction or wrongful retention of children is harmful to their well-being and that persons should not be permitted to obtain custody of children by virtue of their wrongful removal or retention. 42 U.S.C. §11601 (a) (1), (2).
Article 1 of the Hague Convention states the removal of a child is considered wrongful if it is "in breach of rights of custody . . . under the law of the State in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal . . . ."
The father had a parental responsibility order issued by the English court which seized the matter in June 2003 and which was quashed by the High Court as a consequence of the fraudulent representations on her residency in Florida by the mother and Barbara Greig of the U.S. Department of State.
The mother attempted to wrongly domesticate the Hague Convention order as a custody order in the State of Florida on April 13th 2004 and stated her address history for the prior five years which clearly demonstrates a lack of residency in any U.S. State or Florida and clearly identifies England as the “home state” (App 43). According to that declaration, the mother had been living in the State of Florida since August 2003 i.e. only one month at the time of filing the Hague Convention application (September 2003) and only 3 months prior to the father filing the case at issue in November 2003. (Article 19 of the Hague Convention states that “A decision under this Convention concerning the return of the child shall not be taken to be a determination on the merits of any custody issue.)
The mother’s counter petition (and the father’s Florida petition) to the action should have been dismissed as a consequence of the fraud the mother committed to render the child to the jurisdiction of the State of Florida. The trial court should not have allowed the mother to benefit by her conduct and continuing conduct in ignoring orders and thwarting the legal process in the U.K. and U.S. and the powerful law represented by an international treaty and should have returned the child to her father and ordered her return to her home state, i.e. England rather than wrongly retaining the child in Florida.
The basic standards governing fraud on the court set forth in Cox v. Burke, 706 So. 2d 43, 47 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998):
The requisite fraud on the court occurs where "it can be demonstrated, clearly and convincingly, that a party has sentiently set in motion some unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system's ability impartially to adjudicate a matter by improperly influencing the trier of fact or unfairly hampering the presentation of the opposing party's claim or defense." Aoude v. Mobil Oil Corp., 892 F.2d 1115, 1118 (1st Cir. 1989).... The trial court has the inherent authority, within the exercise of sound judicial discretion, to dismiss an action when a plaintiff has perpetrated a fraud on the court, or where a party refuses to comply with court orders. Kornblum v. Schneider, 609 So. 2d 138, 139 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992). And following Destafano v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 28 Fla. L. Weekly D1077 (Fla. 1st DCA April 28, 2003), and Long v. Swofford, 805 So. 2d 882 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003), where the courts disposed with prejudice for serious, palpable "fraud on the court."
The plaintiff is not the “fraudster” in this instance but the mother/defendant who has knowingly abused the system of laws of and between the United States and the United Kingdom to create a safe harbor in the United States for her misconduct aided and abetted by Barbara Greig of the U.S. Department of State. The mother has also “knowingly” refused to comply with orders of the UK and Floridian court including accusing the trial judge of being “criminally on the take” (Dep Robert Ozier p.40 l.14and Dep Shannon Merriam p.60 l.8 et seq).
The Hague Convention and UCCJA (supplanted by the UCCJEA) specifically attempt to remove the creation of safe harbors for abductors and jurisdiction shoppers which has been allowed to fail in the case at issue. Article 3 of the Hague Convention seeks to deter parental abductions by eliminating the primary motivation for abductions, which is to obtain an advantage in custody proceedings by commencing them in another country. Holder v. Holder, 305 F.3d 854, 860 (9th Cir. 2002). In this instance, the other country is the United States.
The trial court erred in not applying the factors for a primary residency award based upon substantial evidence and ignoring substantial evidence to the detriment and harm of the child and her interests. There is no evidentiary support for the award of primary residency to the mother. The court was advised the mother was negligent in several filings of the father.
The standard of review is de novo.
The Lower Court did not make a determination in the best interests of the child in accordance with the factors used to determine primary residency in the best interests of the child in defiance of substantial evidence to the contrary that the best interests of the child are served by the child primarily residing with the mother. The trial court’s findings must be supported by competent, substantial evidence (Knifley v. Knifley 944 So. 2d 1136 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006).
The finding that it was in the best interest of the child for the mother to be designated the primary residential parent is not supported by competent, substantial evidence, and therefore cannot be affirmed. (Cadle v. Norris, 817 So. 2d 1075 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002).
The factors for determining which parent shall be designated as primary are stated at F.S. 61.13 as;
“3) For purposes of shared parental responsibility and primary residence, the best interests of the child shall include an evaluation of all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including, but not limited to:”
The statute then enunciates the factors which we shall use as sub-heads, where relevant, for this initial brief.
F.S. 61.13 (3) (a) “The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent.”
The mother has gone to extreme lengths not only to deny visitation and contact between the child and her father but to end it permanently by invoking the power of the U.S. government (App 193,242,243, 244 cf s212 (a)(3)(A)(ii) I.N.A.).
The mother unilaterally removed the child from her country of birth to the United States without the knowledge of consent of the father in February 2003 and concealed the child throughout various States including Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the State of Florida and others (App 95-98, Dep Shannon Merriam p.16 l.20 et seq, Dep Teri Jacobson p.15 l.20 et seq)
The mother has sought to adopt the child out and gave her into the care of strangers to the child without the father being consulted and with people and at a location the father was not allowed to be privy to by the mother shortly thereafter (Dep Shannon Merriam p.33 l.15 et seq and p.34-40 generally, p.55 l.3 et seq) . This arrangement failed when the mother found the father had to be informed and his consent obtained and he involved law enforcement in Wisconsin (Dep Shannon Merriam p.41 l.2 et seq).
The mother has continuously filed police complaints and involved the U.S. Government in assisting her to conceal the child from the father and misuse and abuse the domestic violence and child protection measures since removal of the child from the United Kingdom.
Upon jurisdiction being fraudulently ceded to the State of Florida, the mother has filed numerous criminal complaints claiming stalking, harassment, child pornography and sexual assault upon the minor child being made by the father in efforts to have him arrested and to evade the legal process in the State of Florida and elsewhere, as well as to deny contact with the child.
The mother sought and successfully achieved the revocation of visa waiver privileges for the father to come to the United States to enjoy visitation (and to engage unhampered in the legal process) (App 242-243, 244, Dep Shannon Merriam p.70 l.7 et seq, Dep Robert Ozier p.9 l.18 et seq).
The mother made representations to the U.S. Government, including Barbara Greig of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security which culminated in his arrest and incarceration at the hands of U.S. Immigration leading to his deportation when visitation was initiated in Florida in 2004 (App242- 244).
The mother subsequently hid in a domestic violence shelter and subsequently abducted the child out of State when the father was subsequently allowed to return to the United States to deny the exercise of court ordered visitation in January 2005 (Dep Robert Ozier p.15 l.24 et seq and App 99).
The mother subsequently accused the father of serious sexual assault upon the child after the child was located and returned to the State of Florida (and evidence is available which the trial court refused to allow entered and is in the father’s possession) in January 2006 (Dep Teri Jacobson p.16 l.21 et seq, App 137).
The mother has filed or involved law enforcement in the State of Florida, elsewhere in the United States and in the United Kingdom on over 300 occasions resulting in five major police investigations of allegations made by the mother against the father and two for sexual assault and abuse of the child and his other minor children. This has been done to attempt the arrest and incarceration of the father to further deny his access to the child (and to the court) and which directly led to a lifetime ban being imposed on the father being allowed to travel to the United States by the U.S. Department of State. (App 242-244, App 193)
The father clearly wins on this factor.
F.S. 61.13 (3)(c) “The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.”
Summary of Argument
The trial court erred ignoring the child’s medical condition, the mother’s neglect of that condition rendering the child permanently blinded in her right eye and the order of a Superior Court issued under an International Treaty second only in authority to the Constitution of the United States of America. The trial court further erred in ignoring the mother’s inability to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care and a stable home.
Standard of review is de novo.
F.S. 39.01 states that:
'Neglect' occurs when a child is deprived of, or is allowed to be deprived of, necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes a child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired.”
The child was born with a congenital eye condition known as “amblyopia” causing her to become permanently blinded if left untreated. The child also has an ancillary medical eye condition known as “esotropia”, a turning inwards of the right eye and which is symptomatic of the underlying amblyopia (App209-210, 212, 213).
Amblyopia is described in the letter of Dr Cordero dated May 2nd, 2006 which also describes the conditions as they affect the child (App 209-210). The condition and initial diagnosis along with the treatment regime is described in Dr. S. McCabe’s letter dated September 30th, 2003 (App 213). In total, NINE eye specialists have recommended therapy for the child – Dr. Bell, Dr. Omi, Dr. McCabe, Dr. Jackson and others (UK doctors as per App 213 through 227), Dr. Cordero (App 209 – 210), Dr. Odes and Dr. Perez of Bayhead Eye Center (App 211 and 212).
The mother took the child to Dr. Gold who did not initially believe Emily was treatable (by this time the child has received no medical treatment for a year and a half) but subsequently included a caveat in his medical notes that “patching” could be tried in May 2004 (App203 et seq).
The mother also took the child to Shand’s Medical Center on or around June 4th 2006 who state the child was permanently blinded (at age 4 ¼ years) but remained silent on whether treatment had been possible.
The mother also took the child to Anthony Aker, O.D. of the Eye Center of North Florida (not a medical doctor or practice) on September 6th, 2007 who confirmed blindness (at age 5 ½) (App 199) and again remained silent on whether the child had been treatable.
The mother deliberately withheld and denied medical attention for the eye condition until such time as the condition had become permanent in the full knowledge of the consequence.
1. Emily diagnosed with eye condition September 18th 2002 (App 213) by British doctors who commenced treatment and the mother and father were present at all meetings and consultations;
2. Emily receives no treatment upon removal to United States in February 2003 and no medical attention is sought nor opinion for cessation of medical treatment despite being aware it was required (Deposition Shannon Merriam p.37 line 6 et seq and p.36 et seq generally) and despite the advice of Emily’s doctors and their concerns at the mother’s conduct (App 217, App 213) and being notified in writing by the British hospital enclosing all the medical notes and correspondence (App 214); and
3. The High Court under the Hague Convention order issued an order on October 3rd 2003 allowing the mother to take Emily to Florida on condition that:
“iii) FORTHWITH upon her return to the United States of America to take such steps so as to ensure that EMILY receives such necessary medical treatment in relation to her eye condition.” (emphasis added) (App 31)
4. Emily examined by Bayhead Eye Center (App 212) as a sham to pass off mother’s compliance with the Hague Convention order for medical attention. This is not a medical practice. This examination does observe the child has vision in the afflicted eye at this time (something the British doctors could not establish due to the child’s young age (App213) as the child by now is almost one year older.
5. Emily examined by Dr. Robert Gold and states child is now blind and untreatable (at age 2 years) (App 203-206) though Dr Peres and Dr Odes observe vision 6 months earlier (App 212);
6. Emily examined by Dr Cordero of Central Florida Eye Specialists of DeLand, a pediatric and board certified ophthalmologist on May 25th, 2004 who advises patching therapy and surgery in a concurrence with the British hospital diagnosis (at age 2 years)(App 209-210);
7. No treatment ensues for the child who required treatment before she reached the age of development of her eye at around the age of 3 years after which the blindness becomes permanent (App 209-210, App 213, App 217);
8. The mother at all times is repeatedly made aware of the consequences of failing to patch the child and is in possession of the child’s medical notes from England in a letter sent to the mother when in Minnesota by the British hospital on July 15th 2003 (App 214 et seq).
9. Child examined once more by Dr. Robert Cordero in January 2006 (App 208-209) with both parents in attendance (child aged 4 years) in accordance with order of Judge Doyle of the lower court (App 112)) and confirms treatable diagnosis and the child may still benefit from patching but also notes that :
“My impression is that she still has a right esotropia, that is a right eye that turns inward, and has a dense amblyopia, which basically means that at this point, at age four, she will for the most part, have a preference for using her left eye.” (emphasis added) (App 210).
10. Mother seeks examination at Shands Medical Center with Dr Khuddus on August 14th 2006 (i.e. when child is by now 4 ½ years old) confirms permanent blindness and mother claiming child was diagnosed as “blind at birth” (App 200) but no mention of ability to treat the condition at that time nor the finding of vision by Dr Cordero (App 209), Dr Odes and Dr Perez (App 212), nor response to pupillary stimulation (App 216); nor her own claims to the British hospital, “Mother feels child beginning to recognise objects during occlusion” (App 224).
11. Mother takes child to Anthony Aker, O.D. of The Eye Center of North Florida who confirms blindness (App 199). This is not a medical doctor or medical practice.
The father’s position is the trial court has seriously erred in ignoring the child’s medical needs and the obvious medical neglect of the mother of the child in defiance of Florida law and child custody factors for primary residence and Hague Convention order rendered to protect the child from harm.
The High Court rendered an order with a series of “undertakings” attached (App 31 – 32). Blondin v. Dubois, 238 F. 3d 153, n. 8 (2nd Cir. 2001), explains the term "undertaking". Although the Hague Convention does not use the term "undertaking," in cases under the Convention courts use the term "undertaking" to refer to a promise by the petitioning parent "to alleviate specific dangers that might otherwise justify denial of the return petition. Typical undertakings concern support, housing and the child's care pending resolution of the custody contest." Carol S. Bruch, The Central Authority's Role Under the Hague Child Abduction Convention: A Friend in Deed, 28 Fam. L.Q. 35, 52 n. 41 (1994) (explaining use of undertakings by British courts). See also Symposium, Women, Children and Domestic Violence: Current Tensions and Emerging Issues, remarks by Linda Garder, 27 Fordham Urb. L.J. 567, 757 (2000) (noting increasing use of undertakings by United States courts); Walsh [v. Walsh,] 221 F. 3d [204,] 219 [(1st Cir. 2000)] ("The undertakings approach allows courts to conduct an evaluation of the placement options and legal safeguards in the country of habitual residence to preserve the child's safety while the courts of that country have the opportunity to determine custody of the children within the physical boundaries of their jurisdiction."); Croll [v. Croll], 229 F. 3d [133,] 135 n. 1 [2d Cir. 2000)]; Feder [ v. Evans-Feder], 63 F. 3d [217,] 226 [(3d Cir. 1995)].
Further see Vagenas v. Continental Gin Company, 988 F.2d 104 (11th Cir. 1993)
(treaty between United States and Greece elevated foreign judgment to status of
sister state judgment) and as such, pursuant to international law, the British High Court ruled that the child’s mother was to seek medical attention for the child’s eye condition and this aspect of the ruling is a valid foreign judgment which the trial court was obligated to follow pursuant to the United States’ membership in the Hague Convention treaty.
Further see Full Faith and Credit Clause of Art. IV, § 1, of the Federal Constitution and Davis v. Davis, 305 U.S. 32 (1938).
Further from Gaylord v. Gaylord, 45 So. 2d 507 (Fla.1950):
“The proper forum in which to attack the validity of such decree, (if, indeed, it may be attacked by the Respondent in any court) is the jurisdiction in which it was rendered.
We should not attempt to determine the validity of a decree of a sister state or of a foreign country. More certainly, we should not do so unless something appears
on the face of the record which discloses its invalidity.”
Accordingly, the trial court erred in failing to follow the Superior Court order rendered for the child’s eye condition and in any event, failed to apply an acceptable standard of judicial discretion in rendering orders in the best interests of the child.
The mother has a history of non-compliance with the medical advice of the Emily’s doctors who have recommended therapy:
“Emily was last seen on 9th January 2003, she had not been wearing her patch at all.”
(App 213 letter of Dr McCabe dated September 30th 2003 and forwarded to mother with medical records per App 214 July 15th 2003 in Minnesota)
“The mother has not brought Emily to the clinic on several occasions which is unfortunate as if we do reverse the eccentric fixation her vision will remain poor in the right eye permanently…”
(App 217 letter to Dr Southey from Eye Consultant, Dr Bell of May 28th 2003 and forwarded to mother with medical records per App 214 July 15th 2003 in Minnesota)
Further the mother was aware of the need for medical treatment for the child and did not seek or provide it (Dep Shannon Merriam especially p.37 l.6 et seq, also p.3 6 l.10 to p37 l.18, p.49 l.11 et seq and p.71 l.8 et seq and Dep Teri Jacobson p.29 l.25 to p.30 l.11)
The mother has a history of claiming the condition was not treatable despite being advised it was a treatable condition (Dep Teri Jacobson p.13 l.21 to p14 l.4) and despite the child noticing she could not see out of her eye (Dep Robert Ozier p.14 l.5 et seq and p.33 l.2 et seq).
The Lower Court has never ordered medical treatment for her blindness. The record is silent with no orders ever being issued in connection with the child’s medical treatment save for an independent medical examination of January 13th 2006 (App 112) and conducted by Dr Robert Cordero by which time the child had become permanently blinded due to the passage of time and denial of medical treatment (App 209-210).
The mother has a virtually non-existent work history and the capacity for very limited career progression working in Burger King (Dep Shannon Merriam p.43 l.10 et seq) and claims to be “afraid if she did go to work anywhere, that would put her name out there in public access where she would be found.” (Dep Robert Ozier p.26 l.14 et seq). Further, the mother has “...no interest whatsoever in working. She didn’t even ask about getting a job or anything like that.” (Dep Robert Ozier p.38 l.11-15) and has relied on domestic violence shelters across the country as hotels when she cannot find someone to support her and the child.
The mother’s family have expressed their opinion that the mother cannot care for the child on her own (Dep Shannon Merriam p.51 l.23 et seq) which motivated them to seek placement of the child elsewhere from her mother (Dep Leslie Merriam p.12 l.9 et seq).
At the time of trial the father was in receipt of approximately $3,000 per month made up of disability income and benefits and part-time income from freelance writing and resided in his home with his eldest son and had done so for approximately 2 years. (App 188-192). The child derived right to medical treatment at no cost in the United Kingdom by virtue of her father (App 141).
The father clearly wins on this factor.
F.S. 61.13 (3)(d) “The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.”
The child has been moved though nine States and dozens of different locations throughout the United States including domestic violence and abuse shelters around the country such as in Kansas (Dep Teri Jacobson p.33 l.14), Florida (Dep Teri Jacobson p.12 l.4 et seq and Dep Robert Ozier ).
The mother has a history of nomadic wandering not only between the States of the U.S. but also within the State of Florida having lived variously in Debary, Deltona, Daytona and Panama City as well as in several battered women shelters (refer to Statement of Facts and Case History and Depositions generally).
The father shared in all aspects of co-parenting the child until her unilateral removal from the home and her country of birth. The mother has gained advantage under this factor by her misconduct and criminal contempt for the orders of the Lower Court and the laws of and between the United States and United Kingdom. The sad fact is the longest period of time the child has enjoyed in one home remains the initial year of her life when she resided with her father in England.
The father clearly wins on this factor.
F.S. 61.13 (3) (e) “The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.”
The father has demonstrated a stable home environment during the pendency of the proceedings moving only once when the sale of his home was necessitated to fund litigation in this case. At time of trial, he had primary residency of his son and a fifty-fifty time sharing arrangement with his eldest daughter in the United Kingdom (App 188-192).
The mother has provided no evidence of a stable home except photographs purporting to be of the child’s bedroom at an address in Panama City, FL. (App 254-255).
The father clearly wins on this factor.
F.S. 61.13 (3)(g) “The mental and physical health of the parents.”
The mother’s health was unknown though an order for a psychological evaluation was issued for her to undergo but was never conducted due to the abduction out of State and the father’s previous deportation situation.
The mother’s family expressed serious concerns for the ability of the mother to care for the child and concerns for the child’s welfare in her care (Dep Shannon Merriam p.51-52 extract from p.51 l.8 onwards is below).
“Q. All right. Would you describe your Aunt Sheila as always sane?
Q. No? Would you describe your Aunt Sheila as flaky?
Q. How about when she was in the area with Emily and you did have contact with her, what was her state of mind at that time?
A. I think flaky is a good description.
Q. Do you think she was irresponsible?
Q. Do you think that she was incapable of properly caring for Emily without help?
Q. Probably? Was that the general consensus of the family?
The father has no mental issues and the record is silent because he has none. His disability relates to injuries received during military service affecting his left leg (App188-192) otherwise his health is excellent.
The father clearly wins on this factor.
The father has a history of successfully co-parenting his two eldest children with their mother, his former wife in the United Kingdom (Dep Donna Hindle p.7 l.11 et seq).
The mother was married with two minor children in Minnesota when the relationship commenced (Dep Shannon Merriam p.10 l. 21 et seq) and the mother abandoned her relationship with them (Dep Teri Jacobson p.27 l.1 et seq, Dep Robert Ozier p.28 l.6 et seq).
The mother’s conduct in using the child in false sexual abuse allegations including coaching of the child demonstrate the mother’s incapacity to support a close and continuing parent-child (father-daughter) relationship (Dep Teri Jacobson p.16 l.18 and App 137-138) and indeed, her efforts to destroy that relationship. Further the mother’s alienating behavior upon the child directly, “…Sheila became upset and told Emily that she could not speak of him anymore and that he was a bad man” (Dep Robert Ozier p.24 l.15-19).
The mother has gone to extreme lengths to keep the child and father apart including but not limited to, unilateral removal from the United Kingdom (App 95-98, Dep Shannon Merriam p.16 l.20 et seq, Dep Teri Jacobson p.15 l.20 et seq), invoking the U.S. Government to bar the father from entering the country (Dep Robert Ozier p.10 l.3, p.25 l.1 et seq, App 242-243 and others); seeking the father’s arrest on charges of child pornography being made with his minor children and the child at issue (App 12); changing her and the child’s identity to conceal the child from her father (Dep Robert Ozier p.17 l.1-17); have the father arrested and deported on false allegation of harassment etc., (App 244, Dep Robert Ozier p.25 l.5 et seq); placing the child in a long-term guardianship without the consent of the father and concealing the location and parties to this (Dep Shannon Merriam p.33 l.15 et seq, p.34-40 generally and p.55 l.3 et seq); abducting the child from the State of Florida to deny contact between child and father (App 111); denying telephonic contact (App109 et seq) and other numerous egregious examples found within the record on appeal.
The father has never concealed the child when the child was in his care in the U.K. and has complied fully with the orders of the Hague Convention, surrendering the child when ordered to do so and pursuing visitation in Florida with complete submission to the court. (App 30 et al, Record generally) The record is silent on any misbehavior of the father because he has committed none.
Further, the photographs purporting to be of the child’s bedroom (App 254-255 demonstrate no photographs of the father in the child’s room and only of the mother).
The father has completed the Mandatory Shared Parental Responsibility Class (App 187) but notes no certificate of completion for the mother.
The father clearly wins on this factor.
F.S. 61.13 (3) (k) “Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding pursuant to s. 741.30.”
The mother filed a false domestic violence claim against the father in April 2004 (Dep Robert Ozier p.40 l.14 et seq and especially claims of judge being bought off and “criminally on the take”) which was dismissed, the mother being admonished for her behavior. Further the mother has consistently claimed to be in fear but the trial court has never found any justification for this (App 111 and especially reference to reaffirming finding from previous domestic violence hearing).
The father clearly wins on this factor.
The lower court assessed $29,154.00 in back child support with no consideration of child support paid (App 82-84), child support offered and refused, no abatement for the time the father was in the United States and legally prohibited from working and no abatement for the period of time the child was concealed including when the mother abducted the child out of state and the child was missing and endangered.
The lower court also wrongly used public assistance income the father was in receipt of due to disability in the United Kingdom as the basis for calculating current and retroactive child support.
The lower court also misapplied the child support guidelines and behaved unfairly against the father in favor of the mother when it failed to impute full-time income for the mother (who claimed only 20 hours of work per week) yet imputed 40 hours for the father while he also had primary residency of one of his other children and was classified as medically disabled at that time. Further, the mother and father’s child rearing circumstances were identical and either both suffer the same legal impact and restrictions child rearing imposes or neither suffers them.
The record is silent on evidence of the father’s child support payments yet child support was paid (App 82-84). The trial court did not allow the father sufficient time to present FIVE YEARS worth of evidence giving only the day for the hearing to take place which is self-evident from the Procedural History.
The father contends that the trial court erred in calculating current and retroactive child support as it took into account income in the form of “public assistance” received from the United Kingdom social security system (App188-192).
The father was medically assessed as disabled and unable to work by U.K. medical doctors and was in receipt of Housing Benefit (a payment direct to his landlord for his rental payment on his home) and Disability Allowance paid as Income Support in respect of his disability(App 188-192).
While “public assistance” is defined in ss. 409.2551-409.2598,
“7) "Public assistance" means money assistance paid on the basis of Title IV-E and Title XIX of the Social Security Act, temporary cash assistance, or food stamps received on behalf of a child under 18 years of age who has an absent parent.”
The income the father received would be included in this definition but for his residence being in the United Kingdom and the public assistance being paid by the British social security system.
The father also contends that the trial court’s calculation of child support should use actual income to calculate retroactive child support as in Cameron v. Dickey, 871 So. 2d 1022, 1023 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004). The Lower Court should determine the actual income earned by the parties during the time of the arrearage and utilize those figures in calculating the award of retroactive support (Arcot v. Balarman opinion filed April 9th 2009 5D07-1989) .
The father was unable to legally work while remaining in the United States during the protracted litigation of this case as he had no work permit to do so nor would he have been allowed one under the circumstances as he was specifically under visa restrictions as a consequence of the domestic violence representations of the mother and faced incarceration and deportation if he contravened Federal Immigration law (App 242-243).
The father was awarded a temporary custody order on October 26th 2005 by the lower court and no order for extinguishing child support was given as no order for said support had been issued by the court. The child was returned to the jurisdiction on January 13th 2006.
Summary of Argument
The trial court erred in placing the burden of visitation costs entirely upon the father and not arranging a split between the parties.
The standard of review is de novo.
The mother unilaterally removed the child to the United States from the United Kingdom without the knowledge or consent of the father in February 2003. The mother relocated with permission of the court to Panama City, Florida from Debary, Florida. The court ordered all visitations to take place in Panama City and the full cost to be borne by the father.
The Lower Court should have split visitation costs giving weight to the parties’ respective qualifying incomes following Drakulich v. Drakulich, 705 So. 2d 665 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998). The Third District Court of Appeal for Florida held that both parents should pay for the cost of transporting the child in proportion to their incomes.
The Appellant respectfully request the Fifth District Court of Appeals should:
In the FIRST INSTANCE to vacate all orders of the Lower Court ab initio due to lack of jurisdiction and order the return of the child to her father and home state and take action to secure the safety of the child and prevent her further removal and concealment within or without the State of Florida; or
In the SECOND INSTANCE, and failing to rule as in the first instance above, to reverse the Order of Primary Residency to the mother and return the child to the father and order a correct assessment of child support arrearage together with an order preventing the removal or further concealment of the child within or without the State of Florida;
In the THIRD INSTANCE, in the two aforementioned instances are not so ordered, to vacate all orders of the Lower Court and refer the case to Federal Court for a retrial of the whole matter and further proceedings and return the child to the father pending those proceedings together with orders to prevent the removal or concealment of the child within or without the State of Florida; or
In the FOURTH INSTANCE, in the event none of the above courses of action is taken, to vacate all orders of the trial court and remand the matter to the Lower Court for retrial of the case with a jury deciding the outcome and return the child to the father pending those proceedings together with orders to prevent the removal or concealment of the child within or without the State of Florida.
AND FINALLY, in the event none of the above are ruled, to correct the child support and visitation cost issues.
AND IN ANY EVENT, to order charges of criminal medical neglect of the child are preferred against the mother for the neglect of the child’s eye condition leading to her permanent blindness.
Karl E. Hindle
Appellant (Pro Se)
CERTIFICATION OF SERVICE
This is to certify that on _________________________________, I, Karl Hindle, mailed a copy of this brief and appendix upon appellee's attorney, Ms. Kim Banister, Esq., at Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Suite 100, 128 Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach FL, via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested.
Karl E. Hindle
Appellant (Pro Se)
CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE
This is to certify that the undersigned has complied with Florida Rule 9.100(1), including the font and margin requirements.
Karl E. Hindle
Appellant (Pro Se)
Monday, June 08, 2009
Thursday, June 04, 2009
His Honor Judge R Rowe
Volusia County Courthouse
101 N. Alabama Avenue
DeLand FL 32724
June 2nd, 2009
Dear Judge Rowe,
Hindle-v-Fuith (n.k.a. Swindell) – Case Ref: 2003-12692-FMDL
I love Emily dearly, more than life itself.
It is with a great deal of regret and soul-searching that I have come to the following decision.
After having one visitation since final judgment of October 6, 2008, when we should have enjoyed 6, it has become crystal clear the severe damage Emily has suffered as a consequence of her mother’s continuing, unchecked and criminal efforts to deny visitation and more insidiously, to poison our little girl’s mind and emotional bonding with her Daddy.
I also hold a justifiable basis to be in fear both for my physical safety and my liberty.
The mother continues to incite third parties and law enforcement to me harm both physically and to charge me with stalking, harassment and other charges. This fear is based on a previous one month’s incarceration at the hands of US Immigration who acted on the mother’s claims I was a threat to her and our child and so prompted a chain of events resulting in Judge Doyle stating at trial, “Mr Hindle, the Federal government is screwing you!”.
That the Immigration authorities acted as they did based upon the mother’s false claims, which she continues to repeat post-trial and post-judgment is undeniable.
By seeking contact and visitation, it is clear her mother has and continues to inflict the most horrific psychological trauma upon little Emily in order to poison our relationship and stop visitation and contact taking place. The mother also continues in her efforts to have me arrested and charged with her false claims of stalking and harassment as well as inciting third parties to do me harm and in addition, continues in her claims I will abuse Emily.
When the domestic violence and child protection processes are misused, they become not a shield for protection, but a powerful and devastating weapon of attack.
For six years Emily has been in the middle of an extremely high conflict dispute with an international dimension and after visitation with Emily for Spring Break, the first in 3 years allowed, during which I and my fiancé were physically threatened and abused by the mother and her husband, in front of the child and other matters I have reached a sad conclusion. It cannot be in the interests of any child to be so treated and my only alternative is to withdraw from seeking contact in order to remove the mother’s perceived need to cause distress and conflict to thwart the relationship between Emily and her Daddy.
Visitation cannot take place with the constant and justifiable fear I have for further arrest and incarceration at the hands of the mother and her legal team’s continued claims I am harassing and/or abusing our little girl. I will not seek visitation unless I and Emily can do so safely and without the fear of physical and/or verbal assault or from the continuing efforts of the mother to abuse the system. Under the circumstances, and given the mother has had the threat of jail hanging over her head for years but has continued to thwart the orders of the Honorable Court, I no longer have any faith in the Honorable Court’s ability to enforce any substantive visitation in the interests of Emily.
I have asked for hearing time on the substantial change in circumstances represented by the mother’s unabated criminal conduct in this case which includes over 300 instances of law enforcement involvement, 5 major police investigations, 2 sexual abuse investigations and continuing efforts of the mother to deny visitation on the grounds of abuse, harassment, stalking and a multitude of other claims all of which have been demonstrably false and found so by the Honorable Court on numerous occasions.
Judge Doyle made it clear at trial that if the mother continued making her allegations they represented a substantial change in circumstances. For the purpose of trial the mother recanted them all only to leave the court and repeat her vile behavior in claiming abuse, to be in fear and filing several police complaints as I tried to firstly, arrange visitation and secondly, to exercise it.
Panama City P.D. have advised me that the mother’s conduct is at the threshold required for criminal interference in visitation charges to be laid but they feel their hands are tied as the Honorable Court has the matter for consideration and therefore, they cannot proceed. A similar view has been expressed to me by the Florida State Attorney’s offices.
This criminal conduct continues unabated to this day after the mother being found guilty of criminal contempt, after trial and after the issuance of final judgment.
In addition, there exists a justifiable basis to be in fear for my safety and liberty posed by the mother’s continued conduct notwithstanding the window-dressing efforts of her attorney to give the impression of compliance with the final judgment.
I have read the sexual abuse investigation notes provided by Daytona Police Department and I vomited after reading some of the investigation notes which culminated in a finding of false allegations by the mother and coaching of Emily in the making of the most evil alienating statements:
““My daddy hurt me here” and put her hand over vaginal opening”
“When I attempted to obtain anal swab – child was hysterical.”
Page 2, Children’s Advocacy Center, Sexual Assault Program report(copy attached)
I cannot allow little Emily to be subjected to this filth nor risk this in future – why the Honorable Court has not jailed the mother is answered simply by the fact, borne by the court file and record, that the Honorable Court has not heard any of this BUT not for lack of trying
I have been appalled at the bare-faced dishonesty and perjury of the mother and her attorney, Ms Kim Banister, who denied several times in open court and at trial that the mother had not made these allegations (and yet Ms Banister was in possession of the handwritten complaint of the mother in this instance).
Your Honor should note this complaint was made two weeks after the finding of criminal contempt of the mother and also upon the very same day of the mandatory Parenting Class. It was also made after the child had been located after being abducted out of State by the mother and classified as “Missing & Endangered” by F.D.L.E. (missing child poster attached).
At the Parenting Class, both speakers, Regina Proskine and Dave Thomas, very strongly advised that making false sexual abuse allegations was a terrible alienating tactic and that coaching a child in the making of sexual abuse allegations was in itself a form of sexual abuse of a child. That same day, the mother falsely claimed I had anally, vaginally and auto-erotically sexually battered Emily and coached her in the making of statements and actions including the male masturbation motion being taught to our little girl.
Sexual battery upon a child requires a mandatory life sentence in the State of Florida and an arrest on that charge will result in substantial time in jail awaiting trial. I have previously enjoyed a month in immigration detention in 2004 as a direct consequence of the mother’s representations to the US Government’s Barbara Greig at the Office of Children’s Issues, Department of State; this included claims I was a threat to her and Emily before and after Judge Doyle dismissed her domestic violence injunction application (US Immigration papers attached). I have no desire to repeat that experience whether it is for child abuse allegations, the continuing claims of stalking and harassment laid at me by the mother or for any other reason.
I have no answer for Emily when I was asked, “Why did you hurt me?” and “Why are you a bad man?” I do not believe Your Honor has any answer to such questions either; who could possibly answer these questions from such an innocent mind which has been warped and twisted to satisfy the unlawful and unchecked vile nature of her mother?
I have been equally appalled at the ignorant dismissal of an international treaty ceding jurisdiction to the State of Florida after false claims the mother was a legal resident in the State of Florida. The mother claimed in London and was supported by the aforementioned Barbara Greig, to have been a resident for six months in Florida and as a consequence, Florida held jurisdiction over Emily. Upon subsequent filing in Florida in this action, the counter-petition and other evidence demonstrated the mother had lied to the court in London and was not a resident of Florida for the six months prior to filing (refer to #43 of record on appeal held in trial court file) – a jurisdictional defect repeatedly brought to the attention of Judge Doyle who has chosen to ignore it in an egregious error of judgment demonstrating collusion in this international fraud (copy final judgment attached).
Nevertheless, the Hague Convention order (copy attached) required the child to receive medical treatment for her treatable blindness in her right eye only for no treatment to be forthcoming nor any enforcement by Judge Doyle:
“In this County, we’re provincials. We don’t do the Hague Convention.”
Judge Doyle, Trial May 23rd,2008
“A patch! A patch? That does not sound important to me!”
Judge Doyle, Hearing May 10th,2006
The Hague Convention is an international treaty adopted by the United States and ranks second in authority only to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Emily is now permanently blinded in her right eye for the sake of a 50 cent eye patch for a few hours a day until she reached the age of 3 and for which NINE eye doctors, British and American have recommended therapy (medical report of Dr Cordero (US) and Dr Bell (UK) attached).
To let a child become permanently blinded is a stain on the reputation and character of the State of Florida and of the United States of America.
In addition, my feelings of disgust cannot be sufficiently expressed in connection with what has been described as a “cavalier attitude towards the safety and well-being of the child” (Paul King, Central Authority London, U.K.). Depositions of witnesses testifying to the mother’s efforts to unlawfully adopt Emily out which placed her into the care and contact of a convicted pedophile, Leslie Merriam (Sex Offender Register entry attached) have been simply ignored by His Honor Judge Doyle and not entered into the court record along with several other items.
To date, no punishment has been passed upon the mother.
I will seek a change in residency and the current appeal in the Fifth District will run its course but I can no longer justify my part in placing Emily in the middle of this bitter and evil climate of fear and perversion any longer. I accept the court and the laws have been thwarted by her mother but I do not accept this state of affairs should be allowed to continue one day longer. In the absence of any effective relief from the Honorable Court for more than 6 long years, I am compelled to place Emily’s interests first – no child should be allowed to suffer under such circumstances.
It is in Emily’s interests to have her real father in her life but this is neither possible nor desirable given the appalling cost for little Emily – the continuing climate and environment filled with fear and created by her mother to destroy the relationship little Emily have. Furthermore, I cannot do Emily any good, nor my family and other children if I am incarcerated once more and the risk of this at the hands of abuse allegations is very real – even an arrest for child abuse of the form the mother claims would entail substantial jail time awaiting trial even if finally acquitted, and life imprisonment if found guilty.
Your Honor has a woman who has been warned repeatedly of the threat of jail if she does not comply; she continues to ignore this threat and as there is no order Your Honor can issue which the mother will comply with short of jailing her, without a change in residency this little girl will lose her father. I do not relinquish my position that a change in residency is in the very best interests of Emily and will continue with the legal process and the Appeal to this effect.
This in no way implies I will not financially provide to the best of my ability for Emily.
It is time for this little girl to be a child free of this conflict and I can only hope that with my withdrawal from seeking contact, Emily’s mother will cease the manipulation and distress inflicted upon her and at some future date, Emily and I will be allowed a loving relationship free of unchecked perversion and criminal interference.
Karl E. Hindle
Governor Crist – FL.
Congressman Mica – FL.
Congressman Smith – NJ.
Sir John Stanley M.P. – London, U.K.
Secretary of State Clinton – Washington D.C.