Today, I was allotted about 6 minutes, inclusive of swearing in and having Judge Michael G. Kaplan provide a thorough explanation to my respondent about his rights and my offer — a request for a restraining order until mid-October until a more thorough hearing already scheduled could take place. The restraining order is to protect a minor child, 5 years old, from the person she claims sexually abused her. She has made this consistent report to friends, family and law enforcement. Because of an already traumatic 9.5 month experience caused by law enforcement and the DCF, this child is in desperate need of therapy. After about two months of seeking therapy, affordable and relative to my child’s needs, I have secured therapy for her. It is obvious that through therapy additional details of what happened to my child will be disclosed. Hence, my child’s father’s disapproval of therapy and the alleged perpetrator’s need to refuse the request for a temporary restraining order until mid-October that would allow him to deny all allegations until the restraining order ends and I take any or no further action. The judge, an inept, insensitive man, stated “I have not read through your entire request for a restraining order as it was a lot”. I agreed with him that it was long. But, he had a big issue with me not being able to immediately find the particular document I was to start my argument with. Furthermore, Kaplan continuously interrupted me and did allow me to ask any questions, in spite of him (Kaplan) affording my respondent an opportunity to learn more about the process. I asked the judge if there was not a statute that provides for leniency to pro se folks. Kaplan asked me to refer to it. I told him I would research it since he apparently negated one existed. This may be so, but his inability to show any human sensitivity, specifically provide me with a few minutes to locate one document amongst four binder containing over a year’s worth of documents, was inhumane and unreasonable. Needless to say unfair given his admission that he had not even read through the documents that I had submitted on a timely basis. Kaplan, you are unfair. You are allowed to be unprepared for a hearing, but do not allow a few minutes for me to set up my computer for taking notes, and place my four huge binders on the table in an orderly fashion so that I may represent myself to the best of my ability. I look forward to seeing you again on October 13, 2010. No sensitivity toward a mother that has just recently exposed various failures in the Child Welfare system and whose child was unconstitutionally removed from her home only to return with obvious psychological trauma from both alleged sexual abuse, traumatic unwarranted removal from her home, and current physical and emotional threats being done to her person, as she (my child) reports herself. But, then again, Kaplan stated he did not read all of the information I had provided to him way in advance. Kaplan did specifically ask me though if I had “seen the abuse happen”. He asked me this disgusting and insulting question within the context of challenging my ability to “prove” abuse had occurred. I don’t know of any parents that witness abuse (let it happen) then wait to be heard patiently to be seen by Judge Kaplan. If I would have witnessed anything, I think it would have been me under trial. Kaplan’s insensitive sarcasm within the context of a then 3-year old being sexually abused in front of her mother is the most disgusting suggestive statement any judge could have made. I hope he never has to “witness” any abuse on his children. Before I left the courtroom, I told Kaplan that anything bad that may happen to my child between the time of that hearing (September 1, 2010) to the future, I would hold over his (Kaplan) head and the 17th circuit judicial court. Judge Michael Kaplan and the 17th judicial circuit staff present are mandated reporters and as such, have ignored a child’s scream for help. Not a surprise given the frequent ignoring of parents fighting to protect their children. I was in an out of the court room in a matter of minutes with a newly scheduled hearing. It is obvious Kaplan was overwhelmed by a huge waiting crowd. Best wishes to them all. May they walk in and set themselves up in the table with the microphone in 2 minutes or less. Except, they don’t have over a year’s worth of stuff to consider. But then again, Kaplan may not have read the injunction requests in full anyway to give them a fair hearing.
One final thought from today’s unreal experience…a talk show/court TV show may have better merit for citizens than Kaplan’s court room. This particular injunction hearing was not to be recorded or transcribed. Unless you can afford a “certified” court reporter, pro ses and attorneys are on their own. Documentation reveals that when injunction hearings contain sexual abuse content, they do not provide any method of record of hearing content. Shouldn’t this be the opposite scenario in such serious matters? I asked if I could keep notes in my computer regarding this hearing and I was given a stern NO! How do you keep people honest in this scenario? At least Jerry Springer would have had a taping to seal this hearing into history. Jerry Springer has some political experience now doesn’t he? He may give Kaplan a run for his money next election if we compare each candidate’s listening skills and commitment to pursuit of the truth. Perhaps not such a silly thought after all.