Goldie Hawn’s Ex Accuses Her of Parental Alienation

DSC00280How could you not fall in love with Goldie Hawn? She was the giggly blonde, with her bikini and body paint on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, a role that launched her career.

Do you also remember the Hudson Brothers? Bill, Mark and Brett were three very handsome young men who hit the pop charts in the early 70’s and later appeared on their own television show. Their stars were rising at about the same time that Goldie Hawn’s career took off.

Bill and Goldie married in 1976, a marriage that lasted only four years, but produced two talented children, Kate Hudson, age 36, now a famous actress in her own right, and Oliver Hudson, age 38, a model and actor who currently appears in the TV show “Nashville”.

Those of you who keep up to date on celebrity activities know that Ms. Hawn began living with Kurt Russell, a successful child actor who made a small fortune for Walt Disney with his ten-year contract. He has had a prolific Hollywood career since that time.

Celebrity journalists often hinted at a serious rift between Bill Hudson and Goldie Hawn, an uncoupling that has festered over the years, but until this week the extent of their animosity was kept under wraps. That is until Father’s Day 2015 when Bill saw a photo on Instagram that immediately put a damper on what had been a wonderful Father’s Day. His son, Oliver, had posted a heart-warming photo of Bill with Kate and Oliver taken 30 years earlier, two cute toddlers with their handsome father. The caption read:

“Happy Abandonment Day….@katehudson”

The post went viral and thousands of people commented on the good, the bad, and the ugly of absentee fathers. Later, Bill saw that Kate posted a photo of herself alongside Kurt Russell with the caption: “Pa, just simply…thank you. Happy Father’s Day. I love you to the moon and back.”

Bill was devastated by Oliver’s message and angry that Oliver believed Bill had walked away from him and Kate. As Bill’s phone rang off the hook he decided it was time to answer the allegations that he had abandoned his children.

He agreed to sit for an interview with the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail where he got a few things off his chest.

“When we split up, she never had a bad word to say about me. But when Kurt came on the scene, the narrative changed and I became the big, bad wolf. I would say to her “Goldie, why are you trashing me and saying I’m an absent father when it’s simply not the case? and she’d laugh and go “Oh Bill, you know it makes for a better story. I believe the drip, drip, drip of poison which started when they were kids finally took hold. Goldie wanted to create this myth of a perfect family with Kurt and she wanted me out.”

In the interview Bill confirmed that gradually Kate and Oliver rejected their relationship with him, although initially he lived on the beach in Malibu not far from Goldie and was part of the children’s lives for years, including weekends and family holidays. He wrote a letter to his children every week, but now wonders whether they were given the letters. He also takes objection to Kate’s statement that she never even received a birthday card from him. He says that he sent a card every year to each of his children and called them faithfully on every birthday.

Meanwhile in the social media flurry, Oliver responded to one post saying:

“What started out as what I thought as a joke has turned into something more. And I embrace that. I’ve done and continue to do a lot of work on myself to better understand what make me tick. Yes, science links us but love binds us.”

It is hard to say where the truth lies but Bill Hudson’s reply to the allegations rings true to me and is typical of stories of parental alienation I have heard over the years.

He ends his interview saying that Kate and Oliver will no longer be in his life and that if they are that unhappy they should change their last names, a sad and bitter conclusion to many years of hurt and misunderstanding.

Oliver’s suggestion that his post began as a joke is disingenuous and childish coming from a 38-year old man. I’d say he needs to continue “working on himself” and if Bill Hudson’s protestations are true, then Goldie Hawn should be ashamed of her behaviour.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Waiting for Canada’s New Euthanasia Law

GEO_edited-1A perfectly healthy 24-year old woman in Belgium will be killed by her doctors only because she has “suicidal thoughts”. She does not suffer from any terminal disease or physical illness.

While Nazi Germany pioneered legal euthanasia, Switzerland was an early adopter, followed by Columbia in 1997, Holland in 2002 and Belgium in 2003. Belgium’s original law applied only to adults, but in February 2015 they extended the law to include children.

The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail quotes the woman as saying:

‘Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful. I played all my life with these thoughts of suicide, I have also done a few attempts. But then there is someone who needs me, and I don’t want to hurt anyone. That has always stopped me.

Canada, of course, is never far behind when it comes to controversial social justice issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, legalized prostitution, and most recently, euthanasia.

In a historic decision this year, (Carter v. Canada) the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that desperately suffering patients have a constitutional right to doctor-assisted suicide, giving the government twelve months to draft legislation.

The criteria established by the Court is that the person must be a consenting adult under a physician’s care, who cannot tolerate the physical or psychological suffering brought on by a severe, incurable illness, disease or disability.

Only last week the government indicated that because of the coming election it will need more time to draft appropriate laws, a situation that will not likely induce sympathy from the high court.

But Belgium’s data on euthanasia will undoubtedly be studied by the government as they shape the new law. Interesting statistics include the following:

1. Euthanasia deaths are increasing year over year. In 2011 there were 1,133 and in 2012 1,432, an increase of 25%. In 2013 1,816 were euthanized, an increase of 27% over 2012.

2. Of the total cases in 2013 51.7% were men, while 48.3% were women.

3. Persons aged between 70 and 90 years accounted for 53.5%, those aged 60 to 70 represented 21% and those over 90, 7%. Persons under 60 made up 15% of the total cases.

Most of Belgium’s euthanasia deaths attract no attention, however, there have been several media-worthy deaths, including the assisted suicides of 45-year-old Belgian twins, Mark and Eddy Verbessem.

The twins were deaf and conversed in sign language and had been told to expect to lose their sight, but there was no indication their condition was “medically futile” or their mental suffering at the prospects of becoming blind, could not be alleviated with appropriate medical treatment. Also recent was the euthanization of a transgendered Belgium man who applied because he was horrified at the way he looked after hormone therapy and surgery.

Whoever forms the next government in Canada will be saddled with the responsibility of crafting a law that allows terminally ill patients to die with dignity, while still ensuring that vulnerable adults are protected, a goal that has apparently eluded the Belgians.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Is US Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling a Threat to Democracy?

BarristerToday’s gay marriage decision from the United States Supreme Court has the potential to create an even greater divide between America’s already polarized electorate.

In a 5/4 decision, the Court invented a new civil right under the banner of equal protection and due process of the law pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment, by ruling that individual States cannot ban same-sex marriage.

The decision is neither unexpected nor surprising, however the chasm between the slim majority and the minority opinions is startling.

Mr. Justice Scalia characterizes the decision as a threat to American democracy and decries a system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected patrician lawyers, who are strikingly unrepresentative of the people they serve. He notes the Court’s judges all have law degrees from Yale or Harvard, four of the nine are from New York, eight grew up in either east or west coast states, with only one judge from the large expanse between the two coasts, and not a single south-westerner.

He continues his provocative opinion by musing that the majority’s discovery of a new fundamental right in the Fourteenth Amendment has curiously been overlooked by some of the brightest legal minds in America, referring to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, and other brilliant jurists of the past.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in a separate dissent, writes that the majority has not just ignored America’s entire history and traditions but actively repudiates it. He laments that the Court’s imposition of its “reasoned judgment”, devoid of legal principles, or as Justice Scalia observes “lacking even a thin veneer of law”, is actually a lost opportunity for the gay and lesbian community who can no longer obtain true acceptance from their neighbours, “just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs”. Here the Chief Justice is acknowledging that only thirteen states now ban same-sex marriage.

Chief Justice Roberts rejects the majority’s view that Americans who did nothing more than uphold their understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman should be criticized for their alleged disparagement and disrespect of gays and lesbians. He describes the Court’s denouncement of citizens who uphold a Biblical view of marriage as a gratuitous assault on their character:

“It is one thing for the majority to conclude that the Constitution protects a right to same-sex marriage; it is something else to portray everyone who does not share the majority’s “better informed understanding” as bigoted.”

Mr. Justice Alito pursues a similar theme writing that the new law will be used to vilify those unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy, noting that the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment to African-Americans and women, an analogy that he fears will be exploited by those who wish to stamp out any vestige of dissent.

Justice Alito predicts the majority’s imposition of its views on America facilitates the marginalization of traditional Americans who may fall victim to the harsh treatment once afforded gays and lesbians. He says:

“…some may think that turn-about is fair play. But if that sentiment prevails, the Nation will experience bitter and lasting wounds.”

Mr. Justice Clarence Thomas sees the majority decision as a threat to religious liberty, as does the Chief Justice who remarks that the “good and decent people who oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith and their freedom to exercise religion is, unlike the right imagined by the majority, actually spelled out in the Constitution.”

Justice Clarence states that the decision on same-sex marriage should have been left to the political process, as the Constitution requires, and had that happened the religious implications would have been considered. He identifies the potential of a ruinous assault on religious freedom.

The chasm between members of the Court is no more apparent than in Justice Scalia’s mockery of the majority’s finding that the marriage bond creates “other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality”, to which he replies “Really? Whoever thought that intimacy and spirituality (whatever that means) were freedoms?…The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.”

While there is much to celebrate in the gay and lesbian community, there is a silent majority who are disappointed, even angry, that their rights under the democratic process have been trampled by five elite lawyers.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Children Rescued in Ontario Operation Northern Spotlight’s Fight Against Human Trafficking

GEO CASUALJoy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan/St. Paul, Ontario tweeted the success of Operation Northern Spotlight. Below is the Toronto Police Department’s press release:

“On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, and Thursday, June 18, 2015, as part of Operation Northern Spotlight, members of the Toronto Police Service and 20 other police services pre-arranged to meet with people suspected of partaking in the sex trade, potentially against their will, at urban locations across Ontario.

During the coordinated investigations over the two-day period, police charged two people with 41 offences. Police were also able to ensure the safety of six females who had been working in the sex trade as a minor or against their will, including one 14-year-old, three 15-year-olds, a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old.

Ninety officers and support staff combined to interview 122 people, including 110 women and offered them information and contacts with community-based support agencies.

Charges have been laid by police following this third installment of a coordinated, provincial investigation to suppress human trafficking, they include:

1. Trafficking in Persons under 18 years
2. Trafficking in Persons
3. Financial / Material Benefit from Trafficking in Person Under 18 years
4. Material Benefit from Sexual Services provided by Person under 18 years
5. Procuring / Recruit Person under 18 to provide Sexual Services
6. Procuring / Person under 18 years
7. Advertising another person’s Sexual Services
8. Administer Noxious Substance
9. Sexual Assault
10. Sexual Interference with a Person under 16 years of age
11. Invitation to Sexual Touching under 16 years of age
12. Print / Publish / Possess to publish Child Pornography
13. Import / Sell / Distribute Child Pornography
14. Unlawfully Possess Child Pornography

During the initiative, Durham Regional Police Service conducted an intelligence probe with a 14-year-old girl in their jurisdiction for a possible intervention. Officers spoke with the girl, and she disclosed that she was allegedly being forced into the sex trade by a man.

Further investigation identified the man as Levi Alexander, 19, of Toronto. Alexander is currently wanted on a Canada Wide Warrant for Human Trafficking charges by the Toronto Police Service in relation to the last Human Trafficking investigation – Project Guardian, where he allegedly forced a 16-year-old girl into the sex trade. Police are concerned that this man will victimize young girls and are appealing to the public for their assistance in apprehending him.

The following police services participated in this phase of Operation Northern Spotlight:

• Barrie Police Service
• Brantford Police Service
• Durham Region Police Service
• Greater Sudbury Police Service
• Guelph Police Service
• Halton Regional Police Service
• Hamilton Police Service
• North Bay Police Service
• Ontario Provincial Police
• Ottawa Police Service
• Peel Regional Police
• Royal Canadian Mounted Police
• Sarnia Police Services
• Saugeen Shores Police Service
• Stratford Police Service
• Thunder Bay Police Service
• Toronto Police Service
• Treaty Three Police Service
• Waterloo Regional Police Service
• Windsor Police Service
• Woodstock Police Service

Human Trafficking is a local, provincial and national problem that affects the most vulnerable in society. Operation Northern Spotlight demonstrates the need to work together with other Police Services and community partners to effectively investigate these heinous crimes.

Police would like to encourage all affected individuals to come forward and report Human Trafficking occurrences to police. We want to make sure that everyone has access to support services and an exit strategy, regardless of their decision to proceed criminally.

Human Trafficking means every person who recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person, for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation, for a sexual purpose or a forced labour purpose. Victims can be men, women or children; can be Canadian citizens; and can be moved across local, provincial or national borders. They can be coerced through violence or the threat of violence against family and friends. The Human Trafficking Enforcement Team of Sex Crimes is dedicated to investigating these crimes against vulnerable members of society. For more information, please visit the Sex Crimes website.”

Lawdiva aka Georgialee

More Bad Judges

10950859361151CDPMichigan’s District Court Judge Ken Post is at it again. You may remember him as the judge who found junior lawyer, Scott Millard, in contempt for protecting his client’s right not to incriminate himself. Millard became a folk-hero of sorts for standing up to Judge Post, even as the judge directed the court sheriff to remove him from the court and escort him to the cells. Judge Post was later disciplined and suspended from the bench for thirty days.

Judge Post’s latest stunt occurred when Philip Mallery, age 23, failed to appear for his scheduled court hearing on drug and traffic charges, although his lawyer was in attendance.

Judge Post telephoned the young man and left the following message:

“We’re waiting for you because you’re supposed to be here today, you missed a drug test yesterday, and it would appear as though you’re not coming today, so a bench warrant is being issued for your arrest. My strong suggestion is that you, uhhh, when you get this message you keep going because if I find you, it will not be pleasant. Have a good day.”

Mallery’s lawyer, Joshua Blanchard, whose law partner, Scott Millard ended up in jail, has now applied to have Judge Post recuse himself from his client’s case and has reported him to the Judicial Tenure Commission. Blanchard described Judge Post’s telephone call as “threatening” and queried why the jurist would take the action he did without knowing the reason for Mallery’s absence, speculating that his client could have been ill, in a traffic accident, or his wife could have died.

I’m looking forward to hearing Judge Post explain why he thought it appropriate to call an accused, rather than relaying a message through his lawyer, which is the usual practice.

However, Judge Post’s behaviour is trifling compared to the charges against Kentucky Circuit Court Judge Steven Combs, who was suspended last week pending a decision from the Judicial Conduct Commission.

The allegations include:

1. Presiding over a gas and oil case despite his personal financial interest in the company and using information elicited in the case to make personal demands to the company;

2. Making numerous aggressive calls to the local police insisting they lay criminal trespass charges against members of the public who parked in his church’s parking lot;

3. During one of the phone calls to police, he allegedly said the next police officer who pulled him over would get a “bullet to the head.” When confronted with the statement, he allegedly said, “I’m elected by the people and not pieces of trash like you.” He also called the police department “a bunch of thieves”;

4. Calling local officials names such as “coke head, Dumbo Donovan, Fishface Jimmy, and Retarded Reed the little police chief”;

5. Using court letterhead to send personal letters to county officials;

6. Calling a lawyer who appeared before him “a prick and a coward”;and

7. Soliciting donations from lawyers who appeared in his courtroom for a local high school golf team.

My research indicates that American judges fall afoul of judicial ethics rules much more frequently than Canadian judges, a phenomenon probably related to the absence of elected judges in Canada.

In many American states, like Michigan and Kentucky, judges are democratically elected and accountable to voters, however, the election of judges is also subject to the “tyranny of the majority” and is open to corruption and the purchase of votes.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Junk Science Responsible for Wrongful Convictions

BarristerThe Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department have finally admitted there may be hundreds of wrongfully convicted persons languishing in prison, some on death row because of “junk science”, notably microscopic hair analysis.

They recently revealed that for over thirty years so-called FBI “experts” have provided flawed testimony in almost every criminal case where human hair was found at the crime scene. The government’s review of cases where hair evidence was a central part of the case against an accused has led to a finding that 26 out of 28 FBI microscopic hair experts unwittingly provided flawed testimony in 95% of the 268 criminal trials that have been scrutinized.

Unfortunately, most of the time the experts opined to a scientific certainty that the accused’s hair matched hair found at the crime scene, making hair analysis an important evidentiary weapon relied on by prosecutors around the country.

Assisted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project, thus far the review indicates 32 people were given the death penalty, and of those 32, 14 have already died in prison or been executed.

What is most startling, however, is that the scandal of faulty hair analysis has just surfaced in the United States, although evidence of its problematic nature has been known for years. In 2004 Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper highlighted a groundbreaking study from Manitoba that arose from the wrongful murder convictions of two innocent men.

James Driskell of Winnipeg was convicted in 1991 of murdering Perry Harder who the Crown alleged was poised to testify against Driskell in a stolen property case. The only evidence linking Mr. Driskell to the crime scene was three hairs found in Mr. Driskell’s truck that were said to belong to Hardy.

While Driskell wasted away in jail, maintaining his innocence, his lawyers finally obtained an order for DNA testing of the hair. The three hairs did not belong to Perry Harder, in fact, they were from three different unknown persons. Driskell spent twelve years at Stony Mountain Prison before his release. He was awarded $4 million dollars in compensation.

In another Manitoba case, 19-year old Kyle Unger was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Brigitte Grenier, age 16, at a music festival in 1990. The only evidence that damned Mr. Unger was a single hair on Ms. Grenier’s sweatshirt that an RCMP forensic technician testified belonged to Kyle Unger.

Ms. Grenier’s murder enraged the small Manitoba community of Roseisle, particular when the details of her death were released. She was brutally beaten, strangled, had bite marks, and sticks were inserted in her vagina and anus. A despicably deranged murderer had to be responsible.

Despite evidence that Ms. Grenier was last seen with Timothy Houlahan, a minor at the time, with blood and other forensic evidence linking him to the crime, Mr. Houlahan insisted that Mr. Unger was involved.

Later a “Mr. Big Operation” would elicit a confession from Mr. Unger. Both were convicted and appealed. Unger’s appeal was dismissed. Timothy Houlahan’s appeal was successful and a new trial was ordered, however, he committed suicide before the second trial commenced.

Meanwhile Kyle Unger never stopped protesting his innocence and spent 14 years in prison until the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted stepped in, prompted by their client, James Driskell’s wrongful conviction.

In an admirable and unprecedented move, the Government of Manitoba, under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Bruce MacFarlane, established the Forensic Review Committee, charged with determining whether there were other cases like James Driskell’s, where DNA testing might shed new light on the validity of previous hair microscopy comparison evidence.

DNA testing proved conclusively that the hair on Ms. Grenier’s clothing did not belong to Mr. Unger and his “confession” made to please “Mr. Big” suffered from the frailties recently identified by the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2009 the Manitoba Crown dismissed the charges against Mr. Unger, but refused to compensate his for the time he spent in prison, alleging that he is responsible for his conviction because of his Mr. Big confession.

In 2011 Mr. Unger filed an action against the government and the RCMP seeking $14 million dollars in compensation, a million for each year of detention. Interestingly, the prosecutor in the Unger case, George Dangerfield, was also involved in the wrongful convictions of James Driskell, Thomas Sophonow, and Frank Ostrowski. Sophonow negotiated $2.3 million in compensation, while Mr. Ostrowski is still waiting for compensation for 23 years spent in prison. The poster child (now man) for wrongful convictions in Canada remains David Milgaard who received $10 million dollars.

Several years ago I met and spoke with Mr. Milgaard and was impressed by him, never forgetting that the compensation for his time in prison for a crime he did not commit could never be an adequate replacement for his mental and physical torture.

Thankfully, DNA testing has now overtaken the flawed science of hair analysis, but that still leaves other areas where the science may be more illusory than accurate, including footprint analysis, bite mark analysis and the Canadian cornerstone of difficult prosecutions: Mr. Big.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

FBI Investigates Rogue Court Employees Who Exchange Favours for Cash

GEO_edited-1There was an unusual gathering of 110 lawyers and former criminal defendants in Santa Ana, California last week, described by the Orange County Weekly as a “hell of a scene… in the West Orange County Municipal courtroom of Judge Thomas James Borris”.

All had been summoned to appear before the Court in light of a FBI investigation that revealed errors in the court records with regards to 600 court files.

“You are here to convince me there is not a mistake in your case,” Judge Borris said to the assembled throng of shocked attorneys and clients, as he began calling forward and questioning defendants and lawyers.

He asked one attorney whether he had represented client X as the court file indicated. He said he had not. Judge Borris immediately issued a bench warrant for X’s arrest.

To a female defendant he queried whether she had completed the three-month jail sentence that was recorded in her file. She replied in the affirmative, but Judge Borris instructed the court clerk to call the institution to confirm she had served her time. An answer came quickly. She had not and was remanded into custody, without bail.

In some cases the Court called both a lawyer and a defendant to approach the bench at the same time and asked whether they had ever met before. Many had not, despite court files that recorded a client/attorney relationship.

As the morning progressed and people were free to leave, they were approached by FBI agents who took them aside to ask what they knew about their own court files and if they could shed any light on the unfolding corruption scandal.

Defendants whose court files did not reflect the actual results of a case’s disposition were given the option of negotiating a settlement with the prosecutor, the presiding judge, or hiring a private attorney.

The FBI alleges that rogue court employees had been paid cash to “fix” impaired driving and other traffic violations by recording fake sentence reductions and dismissals for drunken driving and other misdemeanor traffic offences.

As of late last week, no arrests have been made. The court file audits continue.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang