Direct Examine Forever but Cross Examine for Five Minutes Prior to Adjournment
This tactic delays a quick end to a case by protracting the testimony of a witness over numerous days of trial. The passage of time causes everyone to forget what was said on the stand and forces repeat testimony. Also, the passage of time forces the litigant to have to obtain minutes for the judge to remember what the witness said on direct.
The parent litigant pays numerous times over for this delay.
Clerk's Scheduling Changes, Errors
Imagine being ready to try a case and upon coming to court, finding out the court did not know you were on trial. This causes the passage of huge amounts of time until trial and causes the lawyer to have to re-prepare for trial causing duplication of work abd duplication of fees.
Slices of Time, Months Apart
A favorite trick is for the court to take on more cases than it can handle to give the appearance that the court is very busy, but then give litigants brief slices of time adjourned many months apart. So, suppose you have a motion hearing. A one hour time slice gets eaten up thirty minutes because a court appointed lawyer fails to arrive on time. The remainder of the time goes by quickly and then an adjournment is necessary because the hour is up. The adjourn date is so far out that the testimony adduced during the hearing is forgotten.
Judge Out Busy, Sick, Engaged, Replaced
This is a second popular trick. You have a serious case on for a fact finding hearing. You arrive with all your witnesses and the judge is not on the bench. You are told the judge is out at a meeting and will not return in time for your trial. You are adjourned eight weeks.
Assigned Counsel Busy, Sick, Engaged, Replaced
The practice is that if you arrive late, the court will issue an order to show cause why you should not be held in contempt. However, if any of the assigned attorneys are "out", nothing happens except an adjournment. The most privileged among the attorneys are the law guardians (attorneys for the child) who get to do anything they want and the court will allow it quietly.
Hearings Adjourned without End
This trick means you are in the course of a hearing, but the judge cuts you off and adjourns the case for eight weeks. The order of protection hearing includes this trick. The idea is to maintain the order of protection forever by not coming to closure and a decision, but instead, reissue the order of protection and keep adjourning the hearing. The child abuse and neglect hearings also see this trick pulled routinely.
Motions Never Submitted and Orders Never Entered
On motions, a popular trick is to attack the facial sufficiency of the motion. For example, the address of the court is incorrect or the demands are not plainly spelled out at the end of the motion. This causes a delay to refile and reserve the motion. Then, the court can mark the motion submitted but never enter a decision and order on that motion. In New York, this violates CPLR A?2219 and FCA A?217(1) and (2). The inability to get a decision on a motion will throw the brakes on any case and allow for further adjournments and delay.
The last trick is the adjournment for the preparation of the court appointed psychologist's report. There is no way to speed up the psychologist because there is no accountability or control over court appointed personnel. Typically, forensics are kept secret until the day of trial, and you will not get a curricular vitae of the psychologist or an advanced copy of the report in time to get a rebuttal psychologist.
These are the tricks family courts pull on parents who are in the course of litigation about their child or their loved ones. This is a serious deprivation of due process and we as a nation must eliminate this for the good of the country and in the best interests of our children.
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