When does Child Abuse matter?

Child abuse and the evidence presented should always matter.  

Immunity rules should apply to protect against false allegations, but not override – or cause a Court to disregard – damages to children.  It is way too easy in Fulton County to get judges to turn away from rulings that protect children.  Keep asking why.

Can this child speak about abuse that you cannot see? Help us ensure that evidence counts to protect children.  Judge Newkirk: Children need your help.  Fulton County demonstrates the urgent need for reform.

Can this child speak about abuse that you cannot see?
Help us ensure that evidence counts to protect children. Judge Newkirk: Children need your help. Fulton County demonstrates the urgent need for reform.











Have you read this report?


This relates to our Family Court Reform agenda in that evidence of child abuse is not being taken seriously and used to protect children in our courts.  Isn’t that a real problem worthy of our attention and action?

The following is an excerpt from the article linked above:

The five students Pickens was accused of abusing have moderate to severe handicaps. Like Hatcher’s son, none of them could talk.

“So I tell you the state of Georgia you need to rise up because this type of stuff should not happen anywhere. I want these kids to know even though they can’t talk, I can,” said Hatcher.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“We are deeply disappointed with the Judge’s decision to grant immunity to this defendant. However, we are not dismayed. Within minutes of his decision, we had drafted a notice of appeal, and, as of this writing, have already filed it with the Clerk’s office so it can be transmitted to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

“It is interesting to note that prior to the presentation of evidence in this proceeding  (perhaps foreshadowing his ultimate decision) Judge Newkirk, sua sponte, informed courtroom observers, including the victims’ parents,  that he had previously granted immunity to a police officer accused of rape and that his decision was upheld.


Judge Newkirk sent a message: Do not challenge me on this.  You will not win here in my Court, so don’t try.  Yes, this is a pattern with certain Fulton County judges.  The damages to children and the evidence of such do not count.

“Our hope is that once the case is reviewed, the Court of Appeals will give these children–defenseless, special needs students without a voice– the justice they deserve.”

“This is a substantial departure from acceptable practices in our field. This goes to the point of common sense, a violation of common decency,” said Moore.

And Moore said she’s worried about the effect the ruling will have down the road.

“It is a dangerous decision in that this is not an acceptable way to treat children. If these five children aren’t safe, no children are safe,” said Moore.

Please read the full article and send us your comments.

Current comments include this one below, and makes a strong point.  Our comment is that this case, like others we report on, is a good example but this is happening to many people where children are being harmed, and abusers are treated better people who get parking tickets.

“Unfortunately I do understand why. There are no consequences for Fulton County judges. They can run wild and nothing happens. No one ran against Newkirk two years ago. We have a number of good judges here, but there are enough bad ones that crime is running rampant. It’s insane.”

Question from My Advocate Center:  Was all of the evidence allowed on the record?  Has the transcript been produced yet?

Another comment from a viewer:

“So, in essence, this Judge has ruled that ANY teacher, at any time, can kick, punch, slap, yell at, isolate, or even leave a student, covered in **** for hours and not be prosecuted all under the “protection” of doing their “job”, yet if the parents of these very same students were to do this, they would be arrested for child abuse!

This Judge needs to be brought before a Judicial Review, the “law” that Bernstein used is and was not created for a situation such as this and she knows it!!

I don’t believe this ruling will stand on appeal, the VICTIMS had mental and physical impairment and could not “fend” for themselves to report this to school administration whereas a student without these disabilities could……unbelievable!!

Our response to this comment:

Frank, great comment, but we’d like you and other concerned citizens to know that the truth of the matter is that in cases all around Georgia, there are parents guilty of abuse.  For some reason, the evidence is not being used to count to protect kids – period.  If the allegations are FALSE, then those get treated seriously.  If the abuse is real and the children are really in harm’s way…too often the evidence is sloughed off.  And you see rulings like this one.  This is why reform is so urgent.  The numbers are staggering, but they are not reported on hardly at all – not until you see a story like this one.