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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32333
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I wanted to know if there is a means by which discrimination

Customer Question

I wanted to know if there is a means by which discrimination in a Probate case can be formalized in a complaint. The complaint would primarily be against the judge and possibly the social worker. I do not know how Guardianship cases work or what is required to prove (preponderance of the evidence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, etc.), but I just had a case where I was the only African American person in this entire process and on the face of it, it appears that everyone involved had one objective - and that is to take my son from me and terminate my parental rights. The case was in Connecticut. I just cannot see that what I went through was any form of justice. You had an entire family (of white women) coming forward and basically crying rape of the big black man. They falsely painted me as a woman abuser and taped my 2 year old son saying that I hit him; which is not true. The only thing presented in this case was random testimony (lies) from their family stating that I did all of these outrageous things; leading to the court taking my son and giving to the maternal grandmother. The judge saw the inconsistencies and lies, and still ignored them. Child Services did not have anything and still told the court that she thinks my child should be given to his grandmother. This is the same thing that she said to me on the first communication that she had with me notifying me of the allegations they were bringing with me. Basically, everyone had their mind mad up regarding what they were going to do with my son before they even met me. I just want to know if there is any recourse that I can take.
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Gilford Madison Probate Court.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Connecticut.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: When you say has anything been filed or reported. We have already had the hearing for temporary custody, and the judge granted custody to the maternal grandmother.
Submitted: 24 days ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 24 days ago.
The problem is that the mother of my son gave her mother a letter giving her guardianship over our son. We were all living in Hawaii. We were both working for Lyft until my sons mother would leave as if she was going to work while I watched our son and started going to the beach to hang out with other addicts. When she was with our son (while I was at work) she would be high. When I met her she was living in this community in Hawaii where they brew this tea substance and sell the tea (it is like a narcotic) and marijuana that they grew. They also have this gonja oil that they sell. I came home from work one day and saw my son with the bottle of gonja oil. She was supposed to be watching him. I am not sure how much (if any) he drank, but before I could do anything (like take him to the emergency room) she took him and left. She eventually left Hawaii and took him to Oregon and then he somehow wound up in Connecticut with her mother; while she went to Florida to a rehabilitation center. My sons mother, grandmother and sisters concocted all of these outrageous stories in order to file in the Probate court and eventually get a restraining order against me. Everything used to take my son was bogus testimony from her family - outrageous lies and fabrications; some of which were clearly pointed out during the course of the hearing. Everything that was done in the course of taking my child was done as if I was guilty of the things that these people were saying. By the time we got to court, it was like I was going through the motions. The judge was not interested in anything that I had to say, and placed all of his emphasis and weight on what her family had to say. There was not one person there that was giving testimony on their actual personal experience in interacting with me. My son was taken away based on a bunch of lies and innuendos. I was told by my sons mother and grandmother quite some time ago, that if I ever tried to get custody of my son, they would lodge these types of complaints and the courts would believe them. I never believed such a statement could hold so much weight until now. How could the judge see that they were taping my son - coaxing him in to saying things and allow it to be played in court and used as evidence against me? I think that he taped the proceeding also. Is there any way that I can get a copy of the tape or transcripts? Are there laws that protect a father against false accusations. Is it just that anyone can say anything without any concrete proof and just get custody of your child? I will not see my son again (if at all) until the next hearing date in January. I just have this separation from my son based on unproven allegations; they are able to sever our bonds?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 24 days ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 24 days ago.

Did you have a lawyer?

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 24 days ago.

Also, was your race specifically mentioned?

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
I had a court appointed lawyer. We spoke with Child Services the day before trial, and were told that there wasn't anything that they could find actionable in the complaints that were made. On the date of the hearing, she called in and said that my son should stay in the care of his grandmother. When I first spoke her, she told me that she met my sons grandmother and she seemed like a really nice lady, and that it was best that my son remained with his grandmother. My race was not mentioned during the trial. They did like and say that my mother said that she did not like white people. They have never met or spoken to my mother. And she would never say anything like that.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 24 days ago.

Did they say in court (on the record) that your mother had said that? If so, did your lawyer object?

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
The only thing that they have ever said about race was to me. They told me that they would make claims like I sell and take drugs and the court would believe them because I was black and they are white.
Customer: replied 24 days ago.
they said that, and no my lawyer did not object.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 24 days ago.

If that isn't on the record then the Courts of Appeals won't consider it. The best thing to have done was 1) not to speak with them at all without your lawyer present and 2) to have questioned them about that in court.

Nothing, other than that remark which isn't really useful under the facts you describe, will point toward them being prejudiced against you. The same type of thing happens to fathers all the time and it's more a matter of them being prejudiced against mean than your race, or at least that's what the statistics will say.

You can appeal the temporary decision but realistically it is better not to do so and to concentrate on the next hearing. If you can afford to hire an attorney, do so. Some court appointed attorneys are great and some are not but the disadvantage of getting one is that you never know what type you will have.

I'm not sure why they are using a guardianship through probate court rather than trying for conservatorship through the family court. You may want to discuss this with whatever lawyer you end up with.

You can also discuss asking the judge to issue an order for drug testing with it to be done immediately. The lawyer will explain how that works because you don't want her to have enough time to get "clean".

There is really no way to file a complaint against the judge in the judicial process, you have to go through the judicial complaint process and you probably don't want to do that, if you do it at all, until the case is over because it is something that you would carry with you even if you get this judge struck, the next judge will know you filed the complaint and may hold a grudge.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Can you request a jury trial in Probate matters?
The attorney said that he couldn’t really question the mother b/c she has never worked in her life. She had someone with money taking care of her. He described her as an innocent lady that has lived a sheltered life so he really could not grill her on the stand. But he let them tear me to shreds.
The fact that he felt that she was innocent and spoke so highly of her raises concern for me given that every one of her 6-7 children are drug addicts who traffic, sell, produce/grow and take drugs in different states. Not one of them has a real job. She described her job as a mom raising kids. All of the kids are addicts and one killed himself b/c of what was going on in the house. Those are the two outcomes for my son. If that is the result of her job as a mother, I think that should have been questioned since she wants to be mother to my child. It would sound to me like she needs a new day job.When you say prepare for the next trial - which is for the grandmother to get full custody of my child; I don't see how much preparing I can do if nothing that I have accomplished (which was proven by documentation) mattered to date. How do I prepare for a trial that I do not know what they will be looking for. They take my child; there are no specific instructions in regards ***** ***** they are looking for from to improve or do as a parent, and I just show back up? I cannot imagine what it would be to determine. That my child has done better and it would not be in best interest to move him now?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 24 days ago.

I don't know why the attorney would take that position. You can question anybody, you just have to do it correctly. You obviously don't want to be mean to a nice person but there are always different tactics you can use.

Your lawyer should do discovery, get a copy of all of their paperwork, witness statements, etc. He should also be able to explain why it is a guardianship and not a conservatorship.

The "best interest of the child" is what the court looks at in these cases. You may want to go ahead and talk to a private attorney and see what they charge, if they have a payment plan, most take credit cards, etc. That will tell you whether you have to use the court appointed lawyer or not.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 24 days ago.

I am about to go offline for the evening but will be back tomorrow morning.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Dwayne, I do not recall having my question(s) answered. I wanted to know what gives a court jurisdiction over a probate case; and what is the legal standard for these types of cases (like beyond a reasonable doubt, preponderance of the evidence, etc.).
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 18 days ago.

Actually, it shows several questions that you asked and that were answered above in this thread. The two that you mention weren't asked, but I'd be glad to address them.

The probate code and the facts of the case are what gives a court jurisdiction over a probate case. In CT it is covered by Chapter 801a of the statutes which can be seen at https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_801a.htm

That link addresses the various ways in which a court obtains probate jurisdiction under a variety of facts.

The legal standard in a probate case is by a preponderance of the evidence, which just means more likely than not.

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