Announcing the Grand Prize Winner for Worst Family Court Legislation in the Country. Which State Takes the Prize?

Albany, New York-In a stunning upset, New York  has snatched the prize for worst family law bill of the year in a late surge that overwhelmed Massachusetts” seemingly invincible “Babies in Prison.’ Sounds eerily similar to the Super Bowl. The winning entry mandates that any person who receives an order of protection must wear an electronic dog collar (OK, so it”s actually an ankle bracelet). No exceptions. This is a device that allows a person”s location to be monitored 24/7 by law enforcement personnel. See the full text of S. 04796. For those of you who subscribe to the racketeering theory of family court, the dog collars and the personnel needed for real-time monitoring of the wearers are provided by for-profit firms. The cost approaches $4,000 per year per wearer.
Let”s see – with about 50,000 restraining orders per year in New York State, that comes to about $200,000,000 per year. No wonder Omnilink Systems, a vendor, issued a delirious press release when this bill was introduced in the New York State Senate on April 23, 2007. It actually passed the Senate on June 19, 2007, but mercifully died in New York”s other chamber, the Assembly. I fully expect it to return next year. In their haste to pump up the hysteria for this bill, the Assembly published the following pseudo-statistical garbagio, “In 1999, New York State . . . received 55,558 police reports of family offenses involving adult intimate partners. In one out of five of these cases the victim knew the offender . . .’ So Senator Clinton of New York, do you agree that intimate family partners in your state know each other in only one out of five cases? What is your plan for helping these people get to know each other? The dog collars may actually be a good idea in some cases  — where a person has been convicted by a jury of a crime and is out on parole  — but this bill went way beyond any reasonable bounds. For any of you new to this topic, the short version is that these orders are obtained without the presence of the accused, with no opportunity to defend oneself, without the need for evidence, without the need to even claim that a crime has been committed  — in short, in an assembly line fashion, in huge numbers. See more on this by Glenn Sacks. I ask my usual question: where are the ACLU, the privacy advocates, the law school professors, the Innocence Project, the legal aid defenders, Justice Watch, the Supreme Court . . .  . . . .? And I give my usual answer:  no one is going to reform the family courts except us  –those who personally care about the injustice. (Winning entry submitted by Rinaldo del Gallo of Pittsfield, Massachusetts)

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