Justice in Georgia

When the endorsement of Judge Kathy Schrader by my Georgia non-profit corporation was announced in social media during the primary election leading up to the June 9th victory, so many great stories were surfacing about her leadership and integrity that it was impossible to report to you about every interview and statement at that time. The stories are remarkable and need to be heard well beyond any political campaign.

This video of James, a father who would be in jail over incorrect child support claims but for Judge Kathryn Schrader, is one of my favorite stories that came out of months of getting to know this community better. Listen to what James has to say about his experience with Judge Schrader and how she saved his life (James’ words).

What I learned through observing and studying the professionals who have appeared in Judge Schrader’s courtroom and argued on behalf of parents and others drawn into litigation is that this is a jurist who upholds the law and who sets the best example possible for other legal professionals. There is much to learn and share about the many ways this happens, but you should know that it matters a great deal to our community and to our state how judges treat the issues, the people caught in conflict and how judges interact with the professionals appearing before them. It will make or break you if your judge believes in “Justice for All” and follows through on that belief. I know.

For the days ahead, as Gwinnett County nears its runoff election date of August 11th, with the judicial race joining a few others in heated battles, I’m going to focus on what professionals, parents, people in treatment and news media outlets are saying. Of course, I hope you will listen to Judge Schrader herself as her voice is the strongest, the reason we need her to remain on the bench in the Superior Court of Gwinnett County.

The legal news source, Daily Report Online (an ALM publication), reported that Judge Schrader is prepared to continue hearing cases very soon.

Schrader, who voluntarily stepped aside while her case is pending, said she is prepared to get back to court “as soon as I am reelected.”

This is great news for all Gwinnett residents and for the lawyers guiding clients through often treacherous legal territory.

The statements printed in the Daily Report as Judge Schrader’s responses to questions asked by the managing editor Jonathan Ringel include promises made and kept by Judge Schrader. These statements below are supported by the testimony of litigants, lawyers and advocates from across Gwinnett’s community as seen on Judge Schrader’s video channels and social media. The proof of her leadership and integrity come from people who have experienced the positive and even extraordinary outcomes.

Upon taking office, Schrader said she promised to treat litigants in her court with “honor, respect, equality and dignity” and endeavor to disrupt “cycles of abuse and violence.”

“I delivered on those promises and more,” she said, noting her work in Gwinnett’s accountability courts. She most recently presided over the Parent Accountability Court before stepping away from her duties last October as the criminal case against her neared trial.

Another compelling and informative interview with Judge Schrader was aired on Gwinnett RadioX, hosted by Rick Strawn on his show “Case on Point.” If you want to learn a lot directly from Judge Schrader in a short period of time, this is a great place to start. Listen to the Business RadioX podcast on Apple or by clicking on the video below.

Thank you for spending time learning about what Justice for All means and why I believe Judge Kathy Schrader should be re-elected and supported with everything we’ve got!

Deborah Beacham

When Child Custody Becomes Deadly

“His children were his life,” Prather’s sister Jerdonna Sawyer told The Associated Press by phone. “He wasn’t crazy at all. He just chose a terrible way to deal with his pressure and his stress.”

We are all saddened by this tragedy in Georgia, in the town of Douglasville, in which a father just could not take it any longer. Family members are grieving, and we may never learn the whole story.

Loss and stress do terrible things to the minds of people who could otherwise manage fine, but the escalated conflict surrounding divorce and child custody is enough to put many over the edge.

This father is one of a large handful in Georgia to end his own life, and one of several around the country who have murdered family members during the taking of their own lives.

So we advocate for reducing conflict and ensuring protections, as much as can possibly happen. Based on our data the courts and certain court professionals are exacerbating conflict rather than helping parents receive proper counseling and guidance.

If you recall the murder of Donna Kristofak in Cobb County not too long ago, she also had a restraining order and the court knew she was in danger. She tried to protect herself. These cases are different but there is still much we can learn by studying what happened in both.

When one parent loses control and believes they can no longer function or have any quality of life, something can switch in their brain and cause the urge to do something extreme and rash like finding a gun or a knife to use. It is not the choice of the weapon that matters, but the opportunity and the circumstances that feed this rage and desperation.

We can and must do better.

Our research has identified cases that are ripe for more loss and tragedy, and much of it could have been lessened if not avoided.

Please join the conversation on Pro Advocate Radio and follow our posts on our blog and on other social media. Let us know what you can contribute – how you can help?

In the meantime, watch for parents who are struggling around the loss of their children, their jobs, homes and health. Look for ways to ease their stress and to intervene if the situation makes no sense.

Court House

Green Light on Needs of Children

Who is STOPPING good parents from caring for their children?  …stopping them from WORKING so they can provide for children?

Spotlight on Augusta, Georgia and on Columbia County for what the local Superior Court and law enforcement agencies know is being done improperly to a good father.   He is a good, hard-working man who loves and misses his child, and he deserves our support and attention from our leadership and news media.

A Candlelight Vigil is being held to light up the dark and drafty space surrounding the detention center where this man is being mistreated.   See this event page to RSVP and watch for updates.

Now that this case has been investigated by others outside the local system in Augusta, we are giving the “Green Light” for people to raise awareness about the dangers to every parent in this area who might pass through this court system.  

WFXG FOX54 Augusta – Your News One Hour Earlier

The situation described in this video is disturbing, but it is also disturbing to us that a good father…also seeking to protect his daughter…is being held in jail on false allegations.  There are some very interesting similarities on these two cases.  Both involve DFCS, law enforcement and certain child custody “experts” and the numbers and rulings just do not add up.  Both are leading to damages to these children.  Damages that can be avoided and that should be corrected.

We are asking law enforcement and our state and local leaders to bring transparency into this father’s case and into Augusta to see why so many good parents are unable to care for their own children, why they are losing their property and jobs, and their health.  

The evidence of these cases dictates that these are the wrong outcomes.  What’s next? #GreenLightAugusta

What about the laws?  Are they being followed?  Keep asking, and show up for these families.  Follow #NeedforGreen to learn more about what is holding back good parents, leaving families in worse shape than before.  

This story from Texas is now going viral, and it is closely related to what is happening in Augusta, and all over Georgia:

 

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Please study local cases and ask questions, especially of Judge Michael Annis about judicial procedure and the use of evidence to exonerate innocent parties.  It appears the evidence was ignored here and a good father jailed because he stood up for his rights to parent and protect his daughter.  

He is fighting for his right to work and to provide for her — and for the chance to recover from what was done wrongfully to him in his divorce and custody case.

This father who is being held wrongfully, denied clean clothing for a week, being denied phone calls…is now writing letters to his daughter so that she knows she is not being abandoned by him.  Help him ensure these letters get to his daughter so that she doesn’t believe that he has abandoned her?  This is critical for her…not just for him.  (Please understand that THREE fathers in metro Atlanta have taken their lives after this type of custody case and mistreatment by court professionals.  We do not need another tragedy, and another Fatherless Daughter, for the State of Georgia to get the point: it is time to intervene!)  

Video testimony is helpful in getting what this is like, the reality for people in this situation, so please take a few minutes to watch this, and see that what happens to this woman in court is the SAME as what happened to this man who is now in jail in Augusta – away from his child who needs his protection and support.

This father wants to get back to work, so that he can pay child support, plus manage the outrageous fees put on him by these court professionals.   Let him out.  Let him work.  Let him defend himself. Give this child her father back.