Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Last 10%

In monitoring Judge Theotis Bronson's injunction court this morning, I was pleased to see him do about 90% of what needed to be done. But the last 10% was sadly missing.

When the hearing began, the Respondent (Alton Bell) initially agreed to have an injunction placed on him. As Judge Bronson was telling him that the order would last 12 months he had no objection. Once the judge told him he would be required to complete BIP, he objected and a hearing was held.

The Petitioner and the Respondent have a 1-yr old child together. After her testimony about his assaults and harrassment, the parties accused one another of lying and Bell stood up to walk out of the courtroom (this is a big "no no" - deputies don't take too kindly to this sort of thing). He was admonished by the judge and two heavily armed deputies to sit down. When the judge ordered temporary child support, Mr. Bell was even less inclined to remain in the courtroom and he attempted to walk out a second time. He complied with the judge & deputies' instructions to sit down again.

Judge Bronson ordered a 6-month injunction but neglected to do something that is crucial to solidify its chances of success. He did not take the time to work out a temporary visitation schedule for the child, nor did he work with the parties to designate a friend or family member as the go-between for scheduling visits or monitoring the child while mom & dad exchange her. Usually a third party's home serves as the drop-off / pick-up when the child is not in school or a daycare facility. The judge never inquired about whether she was in daycare or who might be a suitable facilitator.

Judge Bronson and the deputies in the courtroom did a good job in getting the Respondent to sit down and be quiet. But I suspect that Mr. Bell's belligerence is the reason the Court ended the hearing before visitation matters were addressed. Thankfully, he did order BIP, although he did not tell either party he did so in open court. It was attached to the paperwork that was given to the parties at the end of the hearing.

No comments:

Post a Comment