Arguments made by custody evaluators for not turning over test records and data, 
and why those arguments are wrong

in California: A Guide for
Petitioners and Respondents,

by Robin Yeamans and Ed Sherman.
Order on-line at

Intro    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8
by Robin Yeamans, Esq.

Introduction: I am Robin Yeamans, a well-known family law attorney in San Jose, California.  In 1999, Michael Jones, Ph.D., a psychologist practicing in my jurisdiction, threatened a libel campaign against me. The following pages tell the story of what happened.

Because this psych psychologist had been writing to me for months, culminating in the threat to send out the smear letter I share with you here on subsequent pages (which smear included virtually accusing me of burglarizing his office), I was compelled to send the following letter to attorneys and mental health professionals. I wasn't going to let him smear me first, and then try to fend the attack off in a defensive posture. That also is the reason I have published this information on this website.

I wrote the legal and mental health professionals first:

March 30, 1999

Dear Colleague:

How would you feel if you did nothing wrong except help parties unable to afford lawyers ("pro per's"), and as a result you found yourself threatened by a Ph.D. psychologist that he will engage in a smear campaign that would imply you were somehow connected with a burglary?  That is the incredible position in which I find myself.

There has been a grave problem in cases where the children are 6 years old or younger and certain psychologists, especially Dr. Michael Jones, declare primary caretaker mothers to be dangerous and recommend custody to violent and/or abusive fathers.  A number of years ago, many victims of this were contacting me and giving me information about Dr. Jones.  I would pro bono without charge advise other attorneys as to how to deal with Dr. Jones' pseudo scientific labeling of women.  Many people gave me information in this process.

As part of this, I ended up in possession of two packets of information that turned out to be copies of papers stolen from Dr. Jones' office.  Needless to say, if anyone had said to me, "Here are copies of stolen materials," I would not have accepted the materials and would have refused to discuss the matter.  But when the materials were merely left with my receptionist, of course I had no way of knowing in advance what was in the packet.  So I looked at the materials.  I found myself in the unenviable position of being in possession of stolen materials.  As I was leaving immediately for Hawaii, I delivered the materials to attorney Dan Mayfield to deliver to the police for me.  He is a criminal defense attorney and therefore would be in a better position than I as a family law specialist to respond to the situation.

The materials showed, among other things, that Dr. Jones had made a horrible mistake and called a mother, Lisa H., "psychotic" when her MMPI2 test showed there was nothing wrong with her.  She was normal. He branded her "psychotic," and as a result she lost custody of her child.  In fact, Dr. Jones does not even know what "psychotic" is.  In my first case with him, he testified that when a divorcing woman answered "false" to a true-false question which said, "My sex life is satisfactory," that tended to show she was psychotic.  So not only did I find myself in possession of stolen materials, but they were materials which showed that a horrible wrong had been done to a family.

What would you do? Would you tell the woman who had been so mischaracterized? Would you just return the materials so that Lisa would never know that the label affixed to her had been completely false? That would have been the easy thing ffor me. But would it be the right thing? Would it be the right thing to give away the last copy of the materials so that Lisa would be deprived of them and I couldn't prove what I'd turned over to the police? Would it be wrong to deprive the legal community of this information?  The safest thing for me personally would be to return everything immediately and keep no copy.

The copies of stolen materials also showed that Dr. Jones was in contact with leading Fathers Rights advocate Richard Bennett.  They showed that Richard Bennett had pretended to be a woman and had written to me for advice on the internet, which I had freely given.  It is very shocking to find a supposedly neutral psychologist to have secret correspondence on a first-name basis with this fathers rightster (meaning person who in the name of fathers rights advocates treating children like property; of course, there is nothing wrong with fathers having their rights under the law).

Another document from Dr. Jones' office showed improper, secret contact with Family Court Services (copy enclosed).  I wrote FCS in 1994 with my second complaint about Dr. Jones' bias and incompetence.  When I had first complained in 1992, other lawyers were not yet complaining, and FCS refused to look into the matter.  By 1994, a number of family lawyers had seen the problem.  I conveyed their names to FCS with my complaint which is enclosed.

The Director of FCS did no investigation until immediately before a court hearing in April 1995 which inquired into Dr. Jones.  At the hearing I and three other women attorneys testified about Dr. Jones.  The judge ordered that I not show the transcript to anyone else, ostensibly to protect the attorneys who had other cases involving Dr. Jones.  The purpose of the order was so that Dr. Jones would not know which attorneys were complaining about him.  

We had no way of knowing that a copy of my 1994 letter to FCS had secretly been sent by them to Dr. Jones -- revealing the names of those willing to speak out about the problem regarding Dr. Jones.  We had no idea that all this information had been conveyed to Dr. Jones, and the secret exchange of information between Dr. Jones and FCS would never have come to light if it had not been for this burglary.  We had thought there was a problem with favoritism and cronyism, but we had no idea it had gone this far.  

The copy of my letter to FCS which is attached was in the packet of materials stolen from Dr. Jones.  You will notice that it has a received stamp that shows it was received by Family Court Services.  It is not just any copy.  It is FCS's copy.  We will probably never know who is the person there who secretly forwards information Dr. Jones so he could be aware of the names of his accusers -- all while the transcript exposing his incompetence remains sealed so lawyers and the public cannot read it.  It is difficult to describe working in an atmosphere like this.  Who at FCS sent that letter to Dr. Jones?  Isn't that really the important question, not the identity of whatever pathetic person forwarded materials to me?

A shocking piece of information was secret correspondence between Dr. Jones (the court's supposed neutral psychologist) and attorney Susan Benett (who represented the father in a case where I represented the mother, Kathy Justi; she is no relation to Richart Bennett).  Susan Benett sent Dr. Jones a copy of newspaper clippings about the picketing in front of the courthouse; the clippings mentioned Ms. Justi.  (Copies of the Jones-Benett correspondence are enclosed.)  Dr. Jones wrote back a gushingly grateful letter to Ms. Benett which shows an incredible amount of prejudice against women.  

The example Dr. Jones gives as proof that he is not gender biased and loves women is that his favorite show is "I Dream of Jeannie," where the woman dresses scantily, is a slave and calls the man "master."  The letter, being part of a secret correspondence in the most highly litigated case in the courthouse, cannot be dismissed as mere jovial repartee.  What are the attitudes that underlie the jokes Dr. Jones made?  Read the title Dr. Jones gives himself in the letter when he specifically mentions Justi.  Do you think this correspondence would ever have been revealed in response to a legally issued subpoena?  Is it surprising that in such an atmosphere some desperate person evidently turned to burglary?  Finally and most importantly, what is the atmosphere in which such correspondence could exist?  

We need a change of this atmosphere---back to plain old-time ethics.  What correspondence and phone calls exist which will never be brought to light? Ms. Justi is preparing for a custody modification trial.  She is in a position where the court's supposedly neutral expert has engaged in secret correspondence with her ex-husband's attorney about her case.  How can a case have any hope of fairness in such an atmosphere?  How competent could Dr. Jones' initial testimony have been if he is willing to engage in secret, unethical correspondence?

I am writing this letter because Dr. Jones has made it clear to me that he will engage in a public smear campaign against me, as I have been active in bringing to light the truth about his incompetence and bias.  I enclose copies of Dr. Jones' proposed smear and trust you will judge for yourself what motivated it. I deid not want to be forced to write to all of you.  But Dr. Jones has made it clear he is going to write to the professional community, and he leaves me no choice but to defend myself.  I would prefer that we could focus our attention constructively on the problems that exist in family court, but Dr. Jones is insisting we take this alternative path. . .

letter continues on the next page...

The material on this page has been provided by, and is the sole responsibility
of Robin Yeamans, Esq., a family law attorney practicing in San Jose, California at
1340 South DeAnza Boulevard Suite 210 San Jose, CA 95129-4644.

Except where they're not, all contents in this section are
copyright 1999-2000 Robin Yeamans, Esq.
 All rights reserved.


Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are copyright 1996-2011 the liz library. All rights reserved.
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