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.
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).
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
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
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. . .