Thursday, March 8, 2018


Since I brought up the whole issue of freedom of speech and how far people can push their right to speak on the Divorce in Connecticut website, I thought I'd give another example where I struggled with whether or not to publish a comment. As you may know, the DIC policy in regard to comments is as follows:

'This blog is a bigotry free zone open to all persons, regardless of age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, or sexual orientation. Further, this blog is open to the broad variety of opinions out there and will not delete any comments based upon point of view. However, comments will be deleted if they are worded in an abusive manner and show disrespect for the intellectual process."

The prime focus of this policy, in my view, is the prohibition against abuse. On February 16, 2018, there were judiciary committee hearings where Rep. William Tong told activists that they were not allowed to wear T shirts with a protest message if they wished to give testimony before the Committee. The Divorce in Connecticut website, among others, challenged that stand as a violation of the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Speech. Thus, the following video appeared on the Divorce in Connecticut website:

After this video was posted on the website, I received the following comment:

"The only one who showed disrespect was you and your band of "victims".. Maybe it's time you move on with your life and become productive members of society."

So, what do you think? Does this qualify under the definition of commenting in "an abusive manner" as I've laid out in the policy in regard to commenting on this website? My first reaction was that this comment was abuse and I was very reluctant to allow it to be posted. For a while, I was going back and forth with it. Then, I said to myself, it doesn't use bad language and while it is mildly insulting it isn't full fledged abuse. But does it have to reach the level of full fledged abuse for me to reject it? How far is too far? To a certain extent, family court victims have suffered to much and don't deserve even the slightest disrespect. Yet, we live in the real world and need to toughen up; there is no doubt about it.

In the end, I did publish this comment, albeit with some pretty serious reservations. Still, I was pretty relieved when someone responded to it correctively a few days later. What do you think? Would you have published this remark? I'd love to hear your views!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Recently, I posted a short video about the way Rep. William Tong restricted our Freedom of Speech at the recent Judiciary Committee hearing on February, February 16, 2018.  I was very indignant about his actions of restricting freedom of speech and interfering in the people's right to present their grievances before the Committee.  

As a journalist, I particularly treasure my right to speak freely about various matters, to explore difficult, sometimes unpopular topics--sometimes just my right to make statements that get in people's faces, but are important to speak about.  This is true about a blog I wrote recently about the anti-semitism that has infiltrated the family court reform movement here in CT.  

I have been slow to criticize this anti-semitism simply because I struggle with the fact that when we are talking about some of the worst miscreants, many of them are Jewish and they victimized me.  I have stated that I believe that Jewish People should be held to a higher standard in regard to ethical and humane behavior.  I know that some remarks like that are not going to be popular, but if we need to get these matters out into the open, who else but someone like me is going to put it there.  I say this as a person who is half Jewish, whose father's family was largely wiped out during the holocaust, and who has been frequently subjected to anti-semitism here in Connecticut.

What this means is that I greatly hesitate to restrict not only my own speech out of the fear of reprisals, or fear of what people will think of me, I am also deeply concerned if I am placed in the position of restricting the freedom of speech of the people who take the time to comment on my blog. I greatly appreciate the reflections, additional information, and insights from personal experience that people add to my blog in their comments.  

While I can certainly post articles, videos, and documents to my blog, they really come from my editorial team and from me.  This means that we hold a very specific perspective.  The people who add their thoughts to the blog through their comments are the salt that make the blog what it is. They add a depth of insight, a willingness to come at problems from perspectives that I've never considered.  The debates that take place in the comment section help to hammer out an understanding of the problems that are affecting family court in an extremely valuable way.  

What would then make me ship a comment to spam instead of posting it?  

Well, a number of reasons.  First of all, I do have a blog that is a "bigotry free zone" and so any comments that include abuse of any kind directed towards a particular gender, religion, racial minority, gender oriention or something of that nature automatically cannot be published based upon that policy.  

Of course, the question then is, when does a remark rise to the level of being so offensive that it cannot be published?  Are there questionable comments I can publish if I add some introductory remarks at the beginning to provide context or disclaim the improper parts of a comment, but laud the good parts of it?  When and where do you draw the line?  That is one of the most difficult questions that I face when it comes to the managment of this blog which is intended to further advocacy for family court reform and encourage legislators and decision makers to support our positions.

For the better part, I find that allowing people to comment freely results in a situation where the truth of a situation comes out.  If one person makes a statement which is inaccurate or misleading, some other person is very likely to jump in and correct it. And through that back and forth, the results are usually satisfactory.  Sometimes you find that a person will write a comment I thoroughly disagree with, but within the free exchange that takes place within the comment section, the comment becomes full of promise and real interest and generates considerable understanding of the family court problems that we as a movement are attempting to address.  

In general then, whether I agree, or whether I disagree, as long as comments do not violate the websites bigotry free zone policies, I just post them.  

However, there is one circumstance where I have regrettably had to violate that policy.  This occurs when the people who comment on the blog turn out to be professional spin doctors.  These are people who troll through websites like mine in regard to a specific issue where they wish to control the message and they use their training to deceive, misguide, outright lie and spin discussions so that the result is confusion, fogging, and a conclusion to the discussion that is just wrong--plain and simple.  

There are two outstanding cases where this did occur and where I was left with very tough decisions.  The first was in the Ken Savino v. Colleen Kerwick case where one or maybe even two spin doctors--I suspect lawyers associated with the case--added extensive comments to the articles on that case, all of which were clearly misleading, disruptive, and slanderous of Colleen Kerwick.  Unfortunately, for the general public it would have been hard for them to identify this because the attorneys made reference to events and documents that the public would be unable to gain access to.  

In that situation, I decided to deal with it by alerting those who were familiar with the case so that they could provide a response to the comments and keep the dialogue clear and accurate. While I was not completely satisfied with this outcome, I did feel it was the best I could do in order to be fair to both sides and also to be true to what I understand about the case.  

In retrospect, I am not sure that I would have so freely allowed commentary from these professional spin doctors because putting information out there which simply consisted of lie after lie after misrepresentation I believe wasn't fair to the people in the case.  As a journalist, if there is one quality I like to ensure not only for the subjects of my articles but also on behalf of my audience is credible information.  

Most interesting, I next faced this particular problem in a serious way with my article on Woody Allen.  Once I had posted that particular blog, I was faced with several detailed comments written by highly skilled, highly capable spin doctors who created word products that were a sophisticated and insidious combination of truth, fiction, and invention. They referenced documents and expert witnesses in a way that appeared very credible until I went back to the originals and found that I'd been misinformed or misled about their content.  

I struggled for several days about what to do about this.  Ordinarily, I rely upon my audience to identify the failings in the arguments I find in posted comments, and usually folks are very effective about that, as I have said.  The freedom of speech I generally allow, the lively debate that I encourage in response to blogs usually works to find the defects in my own reasoning and in that of other commentators.  But in regard to the spin doctors who made comments on Woody Allen's blogs, I knew that they were so sophisticated and so well crafted that it would be impossible to rely on that self regulating process.  

As a result, I will acknowledge I simply did not post some of them that were outright misrepresentations.  Further, I cut and pasted sections from the statements these spin doctors made, put them in the comment section, and then responded to them with the facts of the Woody Allen case with which I was very familiar.  

Was this cheating?  Was this lying?  

I will leave that question up to you.  I felt it was lying on the part of these spin doctors to tell lies with such conviction that the audience would be unable to tell the truth from the lies.  I unravelled what they had to say and expressed it in a way people could understand so they could respond intelligently.  

I relied upon my objectivity in doing so.  Further, I believed I acted with integrity in allowing the spin doctor's actual content into the comments section.  But I cut out the lies that were in them.  For instance, if one comment said a babysitter did this or said that, but the court report indicates this wasn't the truth, I simply didn't post it, or I posted it with the facts proving the statement untrue.  

In doing so, I made an executive decision along with my editorial board.  It wasn't easy to make and I felt guilty the entire time I did it.  But I would have felt worse if I'd allowed the publication of misleading information written by a person with communication skills that are far, far beyond the average.  Also, with an inside knowledge of the documents in the case that would take most people hours to find and read.  

Should I have had more faith in my audience to figure out what was happening with this spin doctor?  Would this have been a better approach to this problem?  I don't know.  But one thing I do know, and that I felt at the time, and this is that it is enough that victims of sexual abuse have to put up with the smears and lies of perpetrators, all in the name of fairness.  I felt that it was timesup on letting perpetrators have the advantage of a team of well heeled, highly paid professionals to cover their tracks.  

For better or worse, this was my decision, and I'm ready to live with it.  What are your thoughts on this?  What would you have done were you in my position?

Sunday, February 9, 2014


One important aspect of my work as a blogger is to keep track of the comments and make sure that they are appropriate.  This involves not only the effect of comments on my work, but also the effect of comments on the readers who come to the blog looking for a place to air their thoughts and ideas. 

Interestingly enough, I see I wrote about this topic from another angle just last September.  So, clearly, this is an ongoing issue!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


When I began to consider writing this blog, it wasn't so much that I wanted to write the blog so much as I was called to write it.  I felt an almost religious compulsion to start the blog and continue to write as much good information on it as I could find. 
I did everything I could to avoid setting up the blog, but in the end I found the call to write this blog so powerful that it really swept away all my worries and concerns that there might be some very damaging consequences to authoring this blog somewhere down the line.  The work that I do definitely challenges people who are in strong positions of power who could do me a lot of harm.  Like many others I am afraid of what they could do to me if I spoke out.  Still, I truly felt that God had called me to this work and that nothing I could do would stop me from proceeding with it. 
When I researched what blogging programs to use and finally settled on blogger, it was amazing how easily I was able to use the program and design my blogsite.  I felt as though I had magic in my fingers because everything that I did just came out right.  Somehow, within an amazingly short period of time the concepts I had for the blog in terms of the layout took no time at all to achieve.  As a result, I couldn't help but think that my stars were aligned and that some higher power was guiding me.  
In some ways I was terrified by writing the blog because doing so really puts you out there as a writer and an artist.  You are testing the quality of your work and character with an audience that really makes up its own mind and chooses what to read based on its own tastes.   
On the other hand, when I had problems in my family court case, when some action I had taken did not succeed, when I doubted my ability to survive, at least I could say to myself, my work will live on and encourage and strengthen women in my position well beyond the present day.  So the blog has given me hope and the courage to continue to move forward and to fight the battle even in my darkest hours. 
Still, there is no doubt that I continue to pay a price in terms of the cost to me of the many people on the internet who are angered by my work, who feel I have no business challenging the powerful cabals out there which are taking children away from their fit parents and destroying them financially. 
These people contact me regularly with threats, with abusive commentary, and also they attempt to prey upon my good will by sending me fake information about themselves in a ploy to find more information out about me, or to get me to practice law without a license by asking for legal advice. 
As everyone knows, since I have posted this on my blog, I am not an attorney.  But still people will pretend and take on fake identities hoping to compromise me and ask me for legal advice which I am not qualified to give. 
To be honest, I shouldn't really complain about this situation.  If I am actually doing my job, I should be making lots of people very angry and uncomfortable.  So when I end up receiving a considerable amount of threats and abuse, then it is quite likely I am succeeding in my work, so I should be very satisfied with that. 
On the other hand, no one wants to be the focus of verbal abuse.  It is as though people are throwing garbage at you and even though you know it is a sign of success to receive it, abusive feedback inevitably bears an emotional price for any blogger.  I do feel sad and unhappy when people send me messages like "You bitter old bitch--why don't you get a life!" 
I wouldn't be human if messages like that didn't strike me negatively. 
It does give me an electric shock when I suddenly realize that the dialogue I was having with a reader I assumed was an abused woman, turns out to actually be from an abusive guy.  Those types always like to jump out from behind their guises eventually and go "boo."   
Then I get the ones who threaten lawsuits and the like in very official language and accuse me of various forms of inaccuracy and slander. 
Luckily for me, I really have worked hard on my blog to make sure that my information is credible and accurate, so I feel pretty confident about that. 
Basically, I think I am pretty fair.  I am not interested in ruining reputations and spreading scandalous gossip.  I am more interested in holding people accountable in a way that is responsible and respectful of the circumstances.  What I would really like to do is help solve the problem, if I could, and I do what I can to point out what is the nature of the problem.  But I do not like to attack or embarrass individuals if I can avoid it. 
There are situations where I can't avoid specifically addressing a particular individual, for example, in the case of Attorney James T. Flaherty where his behavior has been so outrageous and caused harm to so many people.  But usually, I try to avoid pointing fingers, and I look to build bridges where I can and help people to see that there is a better way to conduct their business. 
Still, even as moderate as I am, or as I perceive myself, as I blogger I have received some very harsh personal attacks.  I understand that this is part of the territory and so I have learned to develop a thick skin in this area. 
I am always ready to reach out to change hearts and minds even with the most hostile individuals.  The bottom line is that these kinds of challenges will not silence me and they will not prevent me from speaking out about the fraud and wrongdoing I see taking place in family court every day here in Connecticut. 
Of course, what empowers me to say that are the many readers I have who encourage me and support me every single day of the week.  I could never do this work alone--so much arises from the tips I receive, the articles people send to me, and also peoples' stories which they've been willing to share with me and with the DIC reader community.  I am very grateful for that help and support every day.
I will continue to blog and do what I can to help, no matter what the obstacles.  This blog lets victims of family court here in Connecticut know they are not alone and they are not crazy.  No amount of threat is going to stop me from writing it. 

Monday, September 2, 2013


I posted about the foot dragging that has been going on with the Task Force on Custody hoping to bring the issue to everyone's attention.  Immediately, I received emails from readers saying that I was being naïve and that no amount of work on a task force would make any difference, that the system is so corrupt that the task force will be co-opted by folks who want the corruption to continue. 
Perhaps I am a die hard optimist, but I don't think that is entirely true.  I believe change begins with a conversation.  It begins with people who are willing to sit down and discuss what the problems are and what can be done to correct them.  Any kind of social revolution begins like this.  That is not to say that a single task force will fix everything, because that isn't true.  I don't see a quick fix happening overnight.  But I do believe that there are people of good will everywhere and that if those people can build some bridges here through the task force, God bless them for trying.  
I also think that we are not just talking about change here.  We are talking about how important it is for Citizens of this State to have their stories heard.  The implementation of justice may be slow, but citizens can obtain some acknowledgment for their hurt and pain through the Task Force simply through the process of being heard and having the recognition of supporters such as ourselves.  The process of telling our stories, speaking up about what we have endured and what we have suffered, this is an important process which should not be denigrated or denied. 
Yes, this initial task force may be hindered from taking meaningful action, but if it simply sits there while we speak of what happened to us, as we put on the record the injuries done to us, as we name names as we hold up to the light the individuals responsible for criminal activities and various wrongdoings against us, there is a triumph to that which should be acknowledged.  If this is all the task force does, thank God for that. 
However, I don't think that this will be all the task force achieves.  I think it will encourage others to come out and speak up about what they have gone through and this means more citizens who are ready to put pressure on our representatives to get something done to reform our State Courts. 
I also want to add that we shouldn't just be coming to this task force to complain.  What we need are concrete plans to make changes in the Connecticut Statutes so that we can rein in the corruption by the implementation of laws that are targeted to prevent it from continuing.  So when it comes to the task force we need to come to the table not only with our stories, but also with our proposals for how we can change the law to prevent these tragic situations from every occurring again. 
I'm not naïve enough to think that a single task force packed with Connecticut Judicial Branch personnel will do it, but we need to begin somewhere.  At some point we have to shift from being victims who distrust any possibility of healing, to survivors who work toward building a system that stops creating more victims, and the responsibility for doing that starts with each and every one of us. 
So, again, I'd say, contact members of the task force, ask them to get things  moving, comment on my blog about how we need to complete the list of appointees at, see below:
And seriously, are all of you prepared with your stories and your proposals so that you can  work with the task force when it is ready to go?  

Sunday, September 1, 2013


I am really happy to have the google translate feature on my blog.  I have a large readership from all over the world and I think the translate feature makes the blog much more accessible to them. 
I'm not sure what the attraction of a blog on legal issues in Connecticut has to people in, say Latvia, but apparently it does.  So I am all for it and will do what I can to make the blog accessible to them. 
Already since I put the google translate feature on the blog, my readership from around the world has more than tripled.  The more information we can get out there the better as far as I am concerned.  I was happy to get some folks from Germany who were willing to share their struggles with me. 
I would like to be able to provide more reports on progress around the world if possible. It is important to be aware that people are facing corruption in family court and with DCF all over the world and not just Connecticut and the U.S. But that is a goal I am still striving for.