can you elaborate on this one a little?
Is it a hot potato because it’s ugly and distressing?
Or because it’s hard to secure a conviction?
Or some other reason?
Um, that would be “yes.”
To understand any of these matters in the United States, one must first have a working grasp of just how pervasive an influence the federal Violence Against Women Act has become since 1994.
Under its grant programs, thousands of both official and non-governmental interests are actively funded:
- these include not only direct recipients of grants in the form of women’s shelters, domestic-violence intervention organizations, local and State agencies of government such as police and human-services departments, research outfits such as one “Praxis” (receiving millions per grant for never serving a single client), tribal and inter-tribal groups both on and off the reservations, etc, etc;
- also lapping from the generous outflow of VAWA funding are any one of the above’s “sub-grantees”, “consultants”, and “contractors”. Many of the original grants are issued to “coalitions”, which are in fact loose networks of dozens of groups (“sub-grantees” and “sub-recipients”) across an entire State or region, and each is only answerable to its parent coalition for its usage of funds originating from the US Justice Department (DOJ) and its Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and not to the feds at all, who may not even be able to find out who all of them are.
- “Consultants” and “contractors” might be anyone from a private-practice attorney or an accounting-bookkeeping firm or an air-conditioning company or an IT specialist, and often enough such contracts are even handed out to rental stores providing party favors (these folks love to throw parties, it seems) or caterers or florists… you get the picture. One of the most common findings by federal auditors of these grants, is that contractors and consultants are routinely chosen and retained on a no-bid, no-document, no-paper-trail basis, which simply amounts to the gratuitous handing-out of public funds to their friends and cronies and political allies;
VAWA also authorizes and funds multiple “training” programs used with police forces, prosecutors’ offices (“district attorneys” who work for a State government under a local court’s jurisdiction), judges themselves, along with various other public officials such as probation/parole offices, child protection agencies, etc.
So in the instance of any single case in law having anything remotely to do with a woman and her grievance against a man, whether in the US proper or any of its Indian reservations (“sovereign nations” they call them…) or its military bases or even its far-flung Territories in the Caribbean or the South Pacific, there is almost certain to be a measurable and formidable amount of pressure brought to bear on the officials tasked with pursuing that case, by one or more organization right in the area, which is funded by the DOJ/OVW, and thus has a direct line to Washington to report on those officials’ activities regarding whether or not they have shown proper “concern” toward “eradicating violence against women.”
OVW grants authorize pretty much anyone, credentials be damned, from a local grantee to attend a court proceeding, sit at the prosecutors’ or complainants’ table alongside their legal team, and do nothing besides take notes. Those notes may or may not ever be admissible in a legal proceeding as actual evidence, and they might be taken by a high-school intern or by a PhD-level social worker, or whoever else the local org has sent along for the chore. That person, and their notes which can just as easily become matters of federal record at DOJ/OVW headquarters in Washington, represent more power to alter the course of the careers of anyone in the room, than anyone else present has, including the presiding judge. You can call this activity one of a political commissar acting in DC’s behalf, or a common informer sent to uphold the politically-correct “party line” with an implicit threat of their notes being used to destroy a career; either summary would be accurate.
With all that taken into consideration, picture that you’re a judge. You’ve had a criminal complaint by a rookie assistant prosecutor (ADA) handed you, alleging that such-and-such mother, not present because she has fled the State with a child, and already ignored your prior order of habeas corpus to produce the child or face the penalties.
Your statute-book says that in your State, removal of a child by one parent without the others’ express consent absent any ruling granting custody to the one parent and not the other, is a felony, and calls for as much as, say, five years’ incarceration on conviction. The fact that she never showed up either today or on the date of the habeas order, strongly suggests she did do just that. So does the father sitting right there in the gallery, who had brought the matter to the ADA’s attention to begin with.
Your law books also tell you, that for her to have crossed State lines with an abductee, is now a federal offense, even one that the FBI would be within its bounds to investigate.
But then, there’s this weird-looking lady with a shaved head and unshaved pits and thick glasses and some tattoos, age maybe twenty-two, sitting beside the ADA, furiously taking notes.
You remember that somebody from your fraternity who you attended law school with who also was once a judge, had made the mistake of ignoring their own note-taking commissar in a similar case a few years back, and had ruled on a similar case to issue an arrest warrant on an abducting mother. The FBI (also an arm of the DOJ) had forwarded the case to the OVW and washed its hands, the local prosecutor had been happy that the feds took over and never touched the kidnapping charge at all. And when some bureaucrat from the DOJ showed up to audit that judge’s own usage of his own court’s VAWA grants, who also happened to have been handed the spy-notes from his own proceeding in his own courtroom, suddenly it turned out his staff had made a serious accounting error on the VAWA grant paperwork (not relative in the least to the kidnapping case). The local press had got hold of the matter, ran a headline story about “Local Judge Found Squandering Funds Meant to Protect Women”.
That judge, had just decided not to run for re-election, and went into private law practice, and isn’t doing real well now at it, what with that stain on his career as not being in favor of “eradicating violence against women”….
If that all reads like something out of Stalin’s USSR circa 1935, that’s because it is pretty much the exact same process. Rule of law has less than nothing to do with it. Under VAWA’s extensive reach and grasp into the system of State and local law enforcement and adjudication everywhere the US flag flies, what you have within the official sector, is not rule of law in these matters at all, but a reign of terror.
Its consequences are not some gulag or internal exile, simply the wrecking of careers, or the denying of future funding, or the unleashing of slander in the media, or whatever it might take to paint any official who didn’t quite play ball, as an enemy of women and of protecting them from violence.
So how do you think you’d handle this petition from some nobody of a rookie prosecutor, alleging some lady took her kid on a trip and now the dad isn’t happy about it?
It is more than likely that what you, that judge, would have to say, would be to the father;
“Sir, you need to get a lawyer.”
And to the prosecutor: “Petition denied.”
Bang goes the gavel, washed go your hands, and served goes the DOJ/OVW version of “justice” as represented by that weird lady, who never said a word.
That is the politically-correct and career-saving move, and pretty much any official, from a beat cop to a State Supreme Court justice, knows when it is in their own best interest, to make it.