If Michigan’s Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca were smart, she would have placed a gag order on the mother before she ordered her children to juvenile detention for not having a healthy relationship with the father they accused of abuse. Then the children could have been kept there until they graduated from high school. Just like the Judge told them they would be.
But the public found out about Judge Gorcyca's order and her bizarre and disturbed adolescent taunting of the children in court. The Judge, in court, in her official role as an authority over others, promised a 9-year old child she would be peeing in front of others. She gleefully ordered three gifted and loving children to be separated in "jail" and to have no contact with each other or their family, with the exception of their father. (He denied them lawyers.) The father, who had requested the juvenile detention, did not visit and left the country.
Over 10,000 people signed a petition requesting the Judge step down.
In response the Judge ordered the children (who had spent 17 days in jail) to a camp, where they were also under severe restrictions. After camp as was surely the plan, Judge Gorcyca (and her friend, the father’s lawyer) devised a temporary order giving the estranged father custody and banning the children from their beloved mom.
A temporary order seems to be a trick of Family Court judges. They can issue them without holding an evidentiary hearing. It seems this order, barring the children from their mother entirely, was done ex parte.
I had written earlier that you would think a parent who wanted children in juvenile detention (the very most dangerous place children can be kept; the rates of abuse in juvenile are horrific) would be signaling their lack of standard parental concern.
Well, that was of no matter to the Judge or the Guardian ad litem (the representatives of the judges who make more money the more they problematize and prolong custody cases). They were instead hoping the problem was the mother's (though they had nothing they could pin on her). And now, of course, the father who's had his children for 90 days, and kept them from their mother for far longer, does not want them.
Surprise, surprise. In other words, the King Solomon test would have worked.
Though the mother is still under a gag order, we see, from public documents, that now the father's attorney is requesting that the siblings no longer be in his care.
They are not going to be returned to their home, however. He wants them to be separated from each other. He wants one be sent to foster care. It is not clear which one. He wants one be sent to a wilderness camp. And one he would keep.
No one can expect a Judge who taunts and punishes children of divorce like Judge Gorcyca to be trusted with anything ethical at all.
Will Judge Gorcyca place a child who was thriving with her very competent and loving mother, a mother who had happy and loving children who were getting perfect grades and scholarships to wonderful summer programs, excelling in every way we have to measure? Why wouldn’t she?
She’s wished worse on these children already.
The question for us is: why are we allowing Family Courts to operate as they do? Why do we allow gag orders? Why are court watchers necessary in order for the public to get any information on why children are sent to foster care? Why is there so much profit to be made from taking children from homes where they are thriving? Why would the state begin to care for a child that has a mother that desperately wants her?
I wish I had answers. I realize that custody issues in divorce are awkward. None of us want to get involved in a fighting couple’s business, and we can get frustrated having to balance out each perspective with the other.
But this does not mean we can let Judges send innocent children to juvenile detention because of a divorce. The welfare of children cannot be left in the hands of Judges like Lisa Gorcyca, who actively hide their reasoning and judgements from the public. Other people's children do deserve something from us, as a public. That their imprisonment be kept quiet is not something that benefits them. It is something that puts them at great risk.
The many conflicts of interest in these cases (the profit to be made off of these children) is something that requires transparency and conscientious reporting and monitoring — as we expect in other fields.
Gag orders appear to violate the first amendment, and journalists have gotten them overturned in custody cases in the recent past.
And what if the way Michigan's Family Court is being operated is in violation of due process and equal protection, as well as the interest of children?
When it comes to this case, I hope we find out.