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Legal Director’s Corner: November, 18 2017

Child Justice’s legal team has been extremely active over the past two months.

Together with pro bono attorneys at O’Melveny & Myers we prepared for a major custody case that favorably settled on the eve of trial. The client was quite pleased with the outcome and we believe the settlement was in her and the children’s best interest.

Our preparation for that trial allowed us to depose a psychologist who often testifies against protective parents and draft a motion and supporting memorandum to strike that expert’s testimony as unsound “junk” science. This memorandum relied on two new Maryland Court of Appeals opinions that are quite favorable to Child Justice in that they make it more difficult for so-called experts to offer expert-opinion testimony that is based on ipse dixit (or, the expert’s mere say-so) without pointing to a scientific basis in support of the expert’s testimony.

Child Justice volunteer attorney, David Dorey filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals in support of a mother whose children were kidnapped to another state by their father.

In addition, Child Justice was an amicus curiae in a Hague Convention case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, filed by the New York office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. Child Justice was also an amicus in a so-called parental alienation case before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, filed by the D.C. office of Covington & Burling LLP. Finally, Child Justice was an amicus in a grandparent-custody case before the Texas Supreme Court, filed by the Dallas office of Baker Botts.

Further, Child Justice continues to assist an attorney who is representing a protective father in Frederick, Maryland who is trying to shield his young daughter from her stepfather, an adjudicated abuser of the girl’s mother. We are working with an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) expert who we hope will educate the court on the negative effects for a child who witnesses her mother being abused.