It Takes A Village Idiot (to destroy a family)

by Edgar J. Steele 

See the happy moron.

He doesn't give a damn.

I wish I were a moron.

My God...perhaps I am.

  --- Ogden Nash 

March 20, 2002

Meet Yinka and Vanessa Fasinro.  They are a couple like any you might know.  They live in North Carolina, often characterized as a bastion of conservative living.  Take a few minutes and walk along with me in their shoes.  The ones they are wearing right now - today.  Learn how their lives are being vandalized at this very minute by our - that's as in yours and my - legal system.

This is just another in a flood of CPS nightmare stories washing through American society.

The more I write in this area, the angrier I become.  First, read their email of this morning, reproduced below, then the rest of this piece.  You'll be mad as hell, too - I promise.  But, it will be good for you - I promise that, too.

These parents' first mistake was in using a leftist (i.e., "it takes a village to raise a child") pediatrician who got them into "the system."  this guy has done it to many others, I guarantee you.  Many of those referrals to CPS (called DSS in North Carolina), too, were baseless and ended up in the parents' favor.  That doctor does not share the department's immunity.  A couple of lawsuits by parents will reign him in pretty quickly.  I'm sure there is a local parents' rights group there; they should pursue this sort of thing independently by keeping lists  of these doctors and checking them twice.

Those parents' rights groups should also cull out the true rogue CPS workers who appear in case after case of truly abusive conduct by the state and help to fund federal Title VII suits against both the departments and those rogue agents; their immunity doesn't stretch to that venue, you see.

The second mistake was in letting the first agent in the door without a search warrant. They should have made her stand on the porch, then brought the child to the window and shown it to her.  Then they should have called their lawyer and gotten the name of a good CPS lawyer that would come to their house immediately.

I'm not sure how draconian North Carolina is, but it sounds about on a par with Colorado and Oregon.  If so, then their third mistake was in not, that first night, packing the car and moving out of the state permanently.  I'm not kidding about this.  No, it is not an overreaction.  It is simple self preservation. 

It is easy to hire a moving company to come in and pack up all your remaining belongings and ship them to you.  It is easy to have a real estate agent peddle your house.  Jobs are easy to find.  So are new friends.  It is a literal stake driven into your heart to have your child taken away.

 Fasinros' fifth mistake was in not having a CPS-savvy lawyer present at the house for the next encounter.

They avoided the fourth mistake of not having another doctor immediately examine and report the child normal, though that seems to have been lost on the judge; doubt that it will be lost on an appellate court, however.  If they ever get the kid back, ultimately it will likely be because they had the good sense to do this one thing.

Thus far, note how little involvement there really is by a lawyer, who is propped up simply as a scare tactic.  Up to this point, this is how parents win their making sure they don't become cases....and, it is the easiest and cheapest way, by far, to win these Attack-of-the-Snatch'n'Sell-Child-Nazi cases.

Now, however, the Fasinros are deep in the bowels of the system, with the only way out being to bow, scrape, say "Yassuh, mastuh," at every turn and jump through every impossible hoop set out by the system.  To do otherwise is to tweak the nose of these impudent bureaucratic nazis, which causes them to mark you for termination of parental rights. 

Oh, did I forget to mention selling everything you own to pay for the lawyers? 

Silly me.  I also forgot to mention that you might end up facing several years in prison on trumped-up charges of child neglect.

And guess who gets a bill for the state's involvement?

By the time people realize what's at stake, it is already too late. 

Problem is, in these custody cases, the state holds all the cards...and they have stacked the deck...and they are dealing from the bottom.  Not that they need to, with all those aces stashed up their sleeve. 

The rules of evidence do not apply.  You are forced to deal only with the documents and witnesses the state provides.  You have no right to conduct any sort of investigation.  You have no right to have your child independently examined, once they seize him or her.  A judge sits in sole judgment, without a jury.  The proceedings are conducted in secret, away from the public eye.  You are literally guilty until proven innocent.  Problem is, there is never any way to prove your innocence.

To think that so many talking media heads have made so much about Bush the Second's military tribunals for foreign nationals, when our legal system already treats some of our solidest citizens in far worse fashion!

Oh, and don't forget about the sizable bounties paid to state agencies for every child snatched and sold/adopted out - over $4,000 per child, with up to $50,000 available to the referring and examining medical "professionals" if they simply conclude that the child has been abused.  This is one of the enduring legacies of the Clinton administration.  Talk about a recipe for tyranny and injustice.

There are many lawyers on this list.  I know that most of them are sitting there, right now, saying to themselves that this can't possibly be true, just as every parent who has not yet been tyrannized by the state is doing.  They have no experience in this area, I guarantee you, because it is true and is even worse than just depicted.  I was twenty years in legal practice before I handled my first snatch'n'sell case and that was exactly my response.  And, I did a fair amount of family law, including trials, along the way.   Now, I know better.

I get lots of comments from people to the effect that I must be telling only a part of the story when I talk about my cases.  Think about it.  I take the cases I do and work on them pro bono for a reason.  There always has to be at least one important legal principle at stake and being savaged by some element of the establishment, for one thing. 

Additionally, my clients have to be genuinely decent people, just like you, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by an out-of-control despot.  There has to be some high-profile aspect to the case so that I can make a point with it and hope to wake up people, which is why I take these cases in the first place; that means that it must have enough legs to attract at least some of the media.  My clients have to be defenseless enough so that my family will tolerate the loss of income that working on their case means to us.  Finally, I have to be able to like my clients personally, so that I can stand to be defending their interests for free. 

I don't have to make up things or cover them up in order to justify your attention to my cases.  The fact that I have signed on to one of these cases means that it has all the elements I just described, else I would never take it in the first place.  If you were in my shoes, would you proceed any differently?  That's the beauty of working for free - you get to pick and choose...and you can afford to be very choosy about whose case you take on.

Now, admittedly, the Fasinros are not my clients, but I have encountered so many of these snatch'n'sell cases that I can take at face value the story they relate below.  It has that ineffable ring of truth that resonates within me, thereby being somewhat self validating.  Besides, this tale is illustrative of a great many about which I do have extensive personal knowledge.  You simply have no idea how many people around the country have contacted me concerning their personal travails with the system.  I can respond only to a small percentage of them, else I would get nothing done, other than answering mail, email, faxes and telephone calls.

Another criticism I hear is that the governmental people involved can't possibly be all that bad.  After all, who doesn't know somebody occupying one of these positions?  That's the point of the Ogden Nash poem I placed at the top of this little essay.  I'll bet that some of them, probably most of them, simply don't realize what they have become.  Ever take a position in life where you realized, too late, that you might be wrong, but which you then had to defend or suffer some great personal loss, be it money, job, love or simply prestige?  How dearly did somebody else pay for the salvation of your pride?

Used to be, these cases weren't all that common.  The federal bounty structure, taken together with the transformation of our government into a genuine model of fascism, has changed all that.  I get at least one email about another case like the Farinos at least once a day now.  And, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
New America.  An idea whose time has come.


"I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth." "I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth."
            - Morpheus

Copyright © Edgar J. Steele, 2002

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ingri Cassel []
> Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 12:09 PM
> To:
> Cc:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: y fasinro []
> Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 11:08 AM
> To:
> Subject: December 15th 2000 (what happened?)
> I Just want to thank you for your support and prayers
> as we deal with DSS concerning our baby. Our baby was
> returned to us after four days in a foster care home.
> I wouldn't want any parent to experience the horrow
> we've been through and are still going through.
> We took our child to the 2week, 2month,4month, 6month,
> and 9month check up. At the 9month check up, the
> Pediatrician said to us our baby(Shaday)must show
> weight gain in 1 month or else she will be forced to
> do some tests to find out why she is not gaining
> weight based on a graph she had.Which by the way is
> produced by baby formular companies.Our child is not
> bottled fed, but strictly breast fed at the time.
> Well, that scared us to the point that we decided not
> to return because the baby seemed normal, energetic,
> vibrant, etc...We didn't return for the 1 month return
> visit, or the 1 year check up. About 5 days after her
> 1 year birthday, we got a call from the DSS agent
> demanding she see Shaday. I came home from work
> feeling like it's one big dream, but it was really
> happening.I got home, my wife and myself answered all
> her questions which a dear friend had adviced us to
> do. We remember one of the questions was why were the
> shades down, do we have food in the refrigerator, and
> where does the baby sleep? We tried to answer all
> their questions as accurate as we could. The agent
> proceeded to walk about the house looking around.She
> picked up the baby, and then told us that she will go
> back to her supervisor and report. If anything is to
> happen, she will let us know. Well, she called back
> for another visit.This time, she came with another
> lady that was supposed to be an expert in the field of
> child development. Before i got home from work, my
> wife had already let them in the house and they just
> interigated my wife to the point of crying. They
> wanted to interview me separately but i refused
> without an attorney. During the course of the second
> visit, the expert lied about how Shaday was "slow to
> thrive" and that she doesn't have good reflexes
> because she had tried to have Shaday pull up from the
> carpet by offering shaday her index fingers to use to
> pull up to stand. But shaday would not.We both said
> that Shaday will not do it because they were
> strangers. They left and suggested that this
> investigation is serious and that we should get an
> attorney. We did. But for the mean time, we found a
> different doctor for shaday. We took her to him and he
> found that shaday was perfectly healthy.The original
> pediatrician dismissed his results. Our new doctor
> requested Shadays medical files and invited us in his
> office the second time for a more thorough exam. He
> checked for any sign of bad reflexes,under-nurishment,
> sickness,etc....but could not find anything wrong with
> her.I called another doctor in Oklahoma city, Ok that
> is familiar with vegetarian diets and found nothing
> wrong with shaday.Both doctors gave suggestions to
> help increase her weight which was the only concern
> they had, but based on their evaluation, Shaday was a
> healthy child and developing well. The agent called us
> several days later stating that the case was being
> transfered to "treatment" and they were giving us till
> end of December to show that shaday has gained weight.
> If she doesn't gain or if she looses weight, further
> action will be taken to insure her safety.We had to
> sign and date this treatment program. We took steps to
> visit the doctor more times than we were asked to in
> order to make sure shaday was really ok because it is
> more of our concern than DSS. We were "stuffing"
> shaday to the point that we were affraid she would get
> sick due to the sudden change in her diet. We had no
> choice but to feed her like that. That was all the
> choice we had. For DSS to take our child because of
> "neglet" which we just couldn't believe was the reason
> was a total nightmere. My wife was 18weeks pregnant,
> and they were asking how the unborn baby was doing,
> and how has her doctor visits were coming along.We
> were wondering if they were going to take the child
> when the baby is born. On 12/14/00, a DSS worker with
> her supervisor showed up demanding my scared and
> nervous wife open the door to let them in. I told her
> she was right not to let them in because we didn't
> have an attorney present. I called on the same day to
> let them know it wasn't because we were hiding, but
> because we didn't have a lawyer present. And that we
> went to another hospital for another check up to make
> sure all other results were right. The result came
> back that the childs blood was perfect. Again, very
> normal child. On 12/15/00 in the morning, I got a call
> from the DSS supervisor claiming we were not
> cooperating and that we need to make shaday available.
> We said no again and that we needed an attorney
> present. My attorney was in court all day and I gave
> her his phone number to call which she did, but called
> back to claim the same thing that he was in court all
> day. She repeated her demand again, and I told her I
> couldn't allow her to see the child without an
> attorney. She claimed that I was not cooperating and
> that I leave her no other choice but to have the judge
> sign a petition to have me appear in court to have the
> judge force me to cooperate. At about 7:30pm, I heard
> car doors and to my surprise as i pulled the shades to
> look outside, I saw about 3-4 different police cars in
> my drive way all spread out. And 4 DSS workers in
> front of my house. They presented a signed petition
> from a judge to have the child removed at once. This
> was a far cry from having me appear in court to have
> me comply. Between cries, tears, sobs, pleads to keep
> this perfectly healthy child in a loving home of her
> parents, the child was forcibly removed that night.
> Shock, disbelief, sadness and anger lingered all
> night. With a terrified 15month old baby, they drove
> to the hospital that night for a quick check up. Their
> result also confirmed a day earlier test which showed
> no problem. we contacted the commissioner office to
> report what took place and with swift action, the
> office began to be instrumental in the return of our
> child. When we got to the hearing four days after the
> baby was taken, DSS was willing to negotiate the
> return of our child the same day. I've heard nine
> times out of ten, a child is not returned at the first
> hearing.
> They gave us till anytime in December, so we set the
> doctors appt for December 29th. But they didn't give
> us a chance. The baby did begin to show weight gain of
> 1 pound a week. We knew shaday was healthy, but we
> just didn't want them taking her away thats why we
> began feeding her alot of food. They violated the
> privacy Act of 1974 by discussing our situation to
> family members, friends and were investigating us
> through our neighbors. They were not to have been
> contacted by DSS.

> We return to court 1/22/01 to respond to all the false
> charges against us, but the judge granted more time to
> conclude the trial.
> We were very pleased with the way the trial went that
> day. There was only one witness for DSS on the witness
> stand that day which lasted 2 hours with no final
> decision from the judge. We have to return to court
> 5/15/01, to complete testimonies and hopefully to
> complete  the trial. But for the mean time, as our
> child is with us, DSS has custody. DSS is able to
> mandate things like feeding our child formular, and
> can vaccinate the baby...things we don't approve as
> parents. They have tried to do several things already.

>  please pray that God give us favor in this situation
> and all charges dropped, and custody of Shaday return
> to us as parents with no strings attached. As you
> know, to retain an attorney is very expensive. Pray
> also that we have our needs met financially also.
> The judge has dismissed 12 of 13 charges. We are
> waiting on the ruling of the false neglect charge. The
> final hearing was Oct 9th 2001, and she was to rule
> 3-4 days later and now it's Jan 2002 with still no
> ruling. The judge wanted to hear several things
> pertaining to the charge, and we were able to satisfy
> the court with several evidences. We are finally done,
> but still waiting again for the ruling.
> We have just received the ruling from the judge which
> has taken 4mons. The ruling was against us. Inspite of
> all the evidences, judge Harris ruled against us. We
> are planning to appeal the ruling. We will be headed
> to the court of appeals in Raleigh,NC. DSS scheduled a
> hearing 4/19/02 with the conviction to close the case.
> With the appeal, we are not sure they will keep the
> 4/19/02 hearing. All they wanted was to close the case
> with a conviction. We really thought 4/19/02 would be
> the day this nightmare will be over. We know now that
> this monster is still alive and well and is being fed
> by DSS. We are working on a media blitz right now so
> to keep the pressure on
> dss not to change the 4/19/02 date. Because on that
> date, they are to return legal custody back to us.
> Without any public pressure, they will cancel the
> hearing and retain legal custody of our child.
> I really hope you can help us.
> Thank you and God bless.
> Yinka Fasinro
> Vanessa Fasinro
> 1101 Waldon Rd
> Charlotte,NC 28214-8444
> phone:704-399-6145
> fax:520-832-7865 (computer fax)