Thursday, January 31, 2008


January 31, 2008 -- While bruised and battered Nixzmary Brown sat at home alone, her family was out enjoying a fun-filled shopping trip for toys, prosecutors said yesterday after screening a store surveillance video.
Just 32 hours before the 7-year-old's lifeless body was found in her family's apartment, her mother, stepfather, and five brothers and sisters were at Target, picking up Power Ranger toys and sweets.

"Her whole entire family was shopping at Target," said chief prosecutor Ama Dwimoh at the murder trial of Cesar Rodriguez, Brown's stepfather, in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

"Nixzmary was not there. Where was Nixzmary? When you see the pictures of Nixzmary Brown when she was found at her home, and after the autopsy, it was clear that they couldn't take her out."

The tape showed Rodriguez paying cash at the Target in Downtown Brooklyn's Atlantic Center Mall for Power Ranger action figures, Hot Wheels cars, Play Doh, Bratz dolls and Jell-O shortly before 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9, 2006.

Rodriguez is then seen leading the family and pushing his youngest son, Cesar Gabrielle, in a stroller.

His wife, Nixzaliz Santiago, and all the children, with the exception of Nixzmary, can all be seen, police say.

It remained unclear exactly why Nixzmary was on her own after dark on a Monday night. Prosecutors have alleged that the girl was regularly beaten, deprived of food and tied to a chair in a spare room in the family's Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment.

Defense lawyer Jeff Schwartz brushed aside the tape.

"There's no evidence of where Nixzmary is," he said. "And they have no evidence to prove anything."

In cross-examining Detective Sean McTighe, who obtained the surveillance video from Target, Schwartz questioned the detective's ability to identify the children, who during much of the tape were not facing the camera.
Original Article-


What a disgrace!



January 31, 2008 --

A veteran NYPD detective and his girlfriend have been arrested on charges of pimping out teenage girls to perverts attending bachelor and strip parties, authorities said yesterday.

Detective Wayne Taylor was picked up Tuesday with his gal-pal madam in Jamaica, Queens, as they drove a 17-year-old girl to a hotel for a strip party and sex with several men, cops said.

The tip that led to their arrests came from a 13-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant runaway who had also been pressed into service by Taylor and from another, unidentified pimp, according to authorities.

After returning home a few days ago, the Brooklyn girl told her parents, and then cops, that on Jan. 10, she met a pimp named "Drama" who got her into the business of dancing for money at parties, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

Drama took the girl to a madam named "Mommy Z," who "bought" the teen for $500, she told cops. Mommy Z turned out to be Taylor's girlfriend, Zelika Brown, 28, officials said.
Taylor, 35, a cop since 1994, and Brown, began bringing her to strip and bachelor parties, and the officer told her to say she was 19 if anyone asked, the DA said. Prices at the sordid soirees ran from $40 for oral sex to $80 for intercourse.

Brown, who has a tattoo on her back that reads "Wayne," allegedly told police she was running the prostitution business and Taylor would "watch out" for her while her girls were working. Taylor told cops that Brown just ran an "exotic dance" business.

The alleged madam at least once chastised the 13-year-old for not earning enough money and slammed her head into the floor, prosecutors said. Taylor allegedly told the victim that if she failed to earn more money or tried to leave his Jamaica home, he would force her to work on the streets.

It was only after the pair sold the teen to another pimp on Long Island that she ran away and eventually spoke to police.

She described Taylor's van, in which she'd been driven from party to party, and when cops spotted it they made the arrest.

Sources said Taylor, on modified assignment at the Housing Bureau for misusing an NYPD vehicle, had long been a target of Internal Affairs, which was probing allegations he was involved in drug activity.

His girlfriend was also already under investigation - by the FBI for "human trafficking," law-enforcement sources said.

Taylor and Brown are charged with promoting prostitution, endangering the welfare of a child, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment. They were held last night in lieu of $250,000 bail each. Lawyers for both denied the charges.

A third suspect, Krystal Tudy, 18 - who wears a "Mommy Z" tattoo - was charged with promoting prostitution and held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Additional reporting by Tom Liddy and Leonardo Blair

Original Article-

Lilly in Settlement Talks With U.S. DOJ

The New York Times reports that Eli Lilly is in negotiation talks with the US Justice department to settle both civil and criminal investigations of the company's marketing of its toxic diabetes-inducing antipsychotic, Zyprexa. If the settlement is reached, the Times reports, Lilly would pay the biggest fine in history.

In a recent study in The Lancet, compared Risperdal an antipsychotic in the same class as Zyprexa, to placebo in calming aggression--which is the primary reason that Zyprexa and Risperdal are prescribed. They found the harmless placebo to be more effective:

The authors concluded: "Antipsychotic drugs should no longer be regarded as an acceptable routine treatment for aggressive challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disability."Underscoring the total failure by the US government to take meaningful action to protect the public health as well as the public wealth, The Times reports: "But the company would be allowed to keep selling Zyprexa to Medicare and Medicaid, the government programs that are the biggest customers of the drug. Zyprexa is Lilly's most profitable product and among the worlds best-selling medicines, with 2007 sales of $4.8 billion, about half in the United States." Indeed, Medicaid pays for about 70% go 80% of the antipsychotic drug prescriptions.

All anyone involved cares about is money - as they lend their government seal of approval that leads the lambs to slaughter.


Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, & Accountability and

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav

Florida agency to review antipsychotic drug policy for kids

Staff Writer

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration plans to create a subcommittee to review its guidelines on payments for medications after questions were raised about antipsychotics being prescribed for children in the state's insurance program for the poor.
Medicaid will pay for a drug only if it is "medically necessary and prescribed for medically accepted indications," according to the agency's current guidelines.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported earlier this month that the number of Florida Medicaid children prescribed antipsychotics had nearly doubled -- from 9,364 seven years ago to 18,137 in 2006. Among those children, the most common primary diagnosis was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- an ailment not approved for treatment with antipsychotics by the Food and Drug Administration.

"The science of pharmacology has seen significant advances and we are revisiting this rule to see if it needs to be updated," said Fernando Senra, press secretary for the agency. "Federal law provides each state with the authority to cover medications that doctors prescribe for off-label purposes."

David Stallard, an assistant attorney general in Utah, said he believes the Federal Medicaid statute is clear that a drug not used for "medically accepted indications" is excluded from coverage if states want matching federal funds.

He has broached the subject with the agency that runs Utah's Medicaid program but has met strong opposition.

"I get the impression that they are under so much pressure from the doctors that they basically cave," Stallard said. "They say 'this is our most vulnerable population and we should protect access.' I turn that around and say this is our most vulnerable population and we should not experiment on them."

Currently, Utah is suing Eli Lilly after preliminary results indicate about a quarter of the state's Medicaid adults taking the antipsychotic Zyprexa developed diabetes, he said.

Florida Agency for Health Care Secretary Dr. Andrew Agwunobi requested creating a work group, under the Medical Care Advisory Committee, that will bring together experts in the field to determine whether changes to our current policies are appropriate, Senra said. The group's findings will be presented to the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Committee in March for review and recommendations.

The committee includes physicians, Medicaid recipients, and government department heads, Senra said.

In 2005 the Agency for Health Care paid $3 million for a study on the use of antipsychotics among Medicaid children. The contract with Dr. Robert Constantine with the Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program for Behavioral Health at the University of South Florida also called for a panel of experts that developed guidelines for prescribing antipsychotics to children

Agency officials reviewed and accepted those prescribing guidelines, which included the recommendation that antipsychotics should not be used primarily to target ADHD, Constantine said. Nor should antipsychotics be given to children under age 6 except under the most extraordinary circumstances.

That the agency is now looking at updating the guidelines on paying for medications after accepting the new prescribing guidelines seems appropriate, Constantine said.

"For example, they might consider under what circumstances should there be a special prior authorization," Constantine said. "They would really be looking at how their internal policies deal with prescribers."

Constantine's organization also monitors Florida Medicaid doctors prescribing antipsychotics, he said. Those with questionable prescribing patterns are sent letters and sometimes called and asked about the prescriptions they write.

Original Article-

Front page news -

Canadian pathologist linked to wrongful convictions in child deaths admits inadequate training

TORONTO (AP) - A Canadian pathologist whose expert testimony led to wrongful convictions for several people accused of killing small children, including one man who spent a decade in jail, said Monday that his training in forensic pathology was woefully inadequate.

Dr. Charles Smith, once considered the country's leading pediatric pathologist, opened his first day of testimony at the public inquiry into his work with an admission that his lack of training in the field contributed to «mistakes» made during some two decades of performing child autopsies in cases of suspicious death.

(My training) was self-taught, it was minimal, and retrospectively I realize it was woefully inadequate,» said Smith in quiet, measured tones.

The probe was ordered by Ontario's provincial government nine months ago after an investigation of 45 child deaths involving autopsies or expert testimony from Smith found the pathologist made questionable findings in 20 cases dating back to 1991. Of those 20 cases, 12 led to convictions, some of which have since been thrown out by courts.

Despite providing expert testimony in numerous criminal cases, Smith said he now realizes he was «profoundly ignorant» of the criminal justice system in which he worked and of the role played by expert witnesses.

Sherry Sherret, who was convicted of infanticide in 1999 for killing her four-month-old son, largely on the strength of Smith's conclusions, said she has a lot of questions for Smith.

I would want to ask him face-to-face, off the record _ why did he do it? How does he feel? And does he regret anything that he did,» she said prior to the start of the inquiry, led by Justice Stephen Goudge.«He's turned so many people's lives upside down, so it's time for him to answer,» she said.

Sherret spent a year behind bars for the death before she was freed on bail. Subsequent investigation led two other pathologists to contradict Smith's original findings, determining that the boy died of natural causes. After Sherrett was charged, the province put one of her other children up for adoption.In Smith's opening statement, he said, «I do accept full responsibility for my work, for my opinions and for my action.«I do recognize that many people have questions for me and I will answer and provide testimony as best I can to help clarify these questions.

As Smith's lawyer took him case-by-case through his questionable conclusions, the disgraced pathologist admitted his errors while, in many cases, defending those findings as being consistent with medical knowledge at the time.

Smith said that the review has led him to «appreciate mistakes that I made and I am sorry for them. I do recognize that at times, my conduct was not professional, and I deeply regret that.

Smith stopped performing autopsies in 2001 after several cases in which he was involved fell apart amid questions about the quality of his work. He has not been charged with any crimes. The commission has no authority to punish Smith or evaluate past convictions, but will recommend changes in order to restore public confidence amid accusations that Smith repeatedly made errors that tore families apart.

Peter Wardle, a lawyer at the inquiry, said parents and relatives affected by Smith's mistakes will be looking for more than just another apology.Among those whose lives were torn apart by those mistakes include a man who was convicted and spent 12 years in jail for sexually assaulting and strangling his 4-year-old niece. Evidence later surfaced that showed the girl died of natural causes, and William Mullins-Johnson was exonerated in October.

Smith's testimony is expected to last the week.

Eli Lilly and Federal Prosecutors are Discussing Settlement of Civil and Criminal Investigation

Eli Lilly and federal prosecutors are discussing a settlement of a civil and criminal investigation into the company’s marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa that could result in Lilly’s paying more than $1 billion to federal and state governments.
If a deal is reached, the fine would be the largest ever paid by a drug company for breaking the federal laws that govern how drug makers can promote their medicines.

Several people involved in the investigation confirmed the settlement discussions. They insisted on anonymity because they have not been authorized to talk about the negotiations.

Zyprexa has serious side effects and is approved only to treat people with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. But documents from Lilly show that between 2000 and 2003, Lilly encouraged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to people with age-related dementia, as well as people with mild bipolar disorder who had previously been diagnosed only as depressed.

Although doctors can prescribe drugs for any use once they are on the market, it is illegal for drug makers to promote their medicines any uses not formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Lilly may also plead guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge as part of the agreement, the people involved with the investigation said. But the company would be allowed to keep selling Zyprexa to Medicare and Medicaid, the government programs that are the biggest customers for the drug. Zyprexa is Lilly’s most profitable product and among the world’s best-selling medicines, with 2007 sales of $4.8 billion, about half in the United States.Lilly would neither confirm nor deny the settlement talks.

“We have been and are continuing to cooperate in state and federal investigations related to Zyprexa, including providing a broad range of documents and information,” Lilly said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “As part of that cooperation we regularly have discussions with the government. However, we have no intention of sharing those discussions with the news media and it would be speculative and irresponsible for anyone to do so.”

Lilly also said that it had always followed state and federal laws when promoting Zyprexa.

The Lilly fine would be distributed among federal and state governments, which spend about $1.5 billion on Zyprexa each year through Medicare and Medicaid.The fine would be in addition to $1.2 billion that Lilly has already paid to settle 30,000 lawsuits from people who claim that Zyprexa caused them to suffer diabetes or other diseases. Zyprexa can cause severe weight gain in many patients and has been linked to diabetes by the American Diabetes Association.

Prescriptions for Zyprexa have skidded since 2003 over concerns about those side effects. But the drug continues to be widely used, especially among severely mentally ill patients. Many psychiatrists say that it works better than other medicines at calming patients who are psychotic and hallucinating. About four million Zyprexa prescriptions were written in the United States last year.

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia are leading the settlement talks for the government, in consultation with the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington. State attorneys general’s offices are also involved. Lawyers at Pepper Hamilton, a firm based in Philadelphia, and Sidley Austin, a firm based in Chicago, are negotiating for Lilly.

Nina Gussack, who is representing Lilly at Pepper Hamilton, said she could not comment on the case. Joseph Trautwein, an assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, also declined to comment.

While a settlement has not been concluded and the negotiations could collapse, both sides want to reach an agreement, according to the people involved in the investigation. Besides the escalating pressure of the federal criminal inquiry, Lilly faces a civil trial scheduled for March in Anchorage, Alaska, in a lawsuit brought by the state of Alaska to recover money the state has spent on Zyprexa prescriptions. A loss in that lawsuit would damage Lilly’s bargaining position in the Philadelphia talks.

While expensive for Lilly, the settlement would end a four-year federal investigation and remove a cloud over Zyprexa. While Zyprexa prescriptions are falling, its overall dollar volume of sales is rising because Lilly has raised Zyprexa’s price about 40 percent since 2003.

Federal prosecutors have been investigating Lilly for its marketing of Zyprexa since 2004, and state attorneys general since 2005. The people involved in the investigations said the inquiries gained momentum after December 2006, when The New York Times published articles describing Lilly’s multiyear efforts to play down Zyprexa’s side effects and to promote the drug for conditions other than schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder — a practice called off-label marketing.

Internal Lilly marketing documents and e-mail messages showed that Lilly wanted to convince doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for patients with age-related dementia or relatively mild bipolar disorder.

In one document, an unidentified Lilly marketing executive wrote that primary care doctors “do treat dementia” but leave schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to psychiatrists. As a result, “dementia should be first message” to primary-care doctors, according to the document, which appears to be part of a larger marketing presentation but is not marked more specifically. Later, the same document says that some primary care doctors “might prescribe outside of label.”

In late 2000, Lilly began a marketing campaign called Viva Zyprexa and told its sales representatives to suggest that doctors prescribe Zyprexa to older patients with symptoms of dementia.

The documents were under federal court seal when The Times published the articles, and Judge Jack B. Weinstein of Federal District Court in Brooklyn rebuked The Times for publishing them. The settlement negotiations in Philadelphia began several months ago, according to the people involved in the investigation.

Last fall, the two sides were close to a deal in which Lilly would have paid less than $1 billion to settle the case, which at the time consisted only of a civil complaint.

Then Justice Department lawyers in Washington pressed for a grand jury investigation to examine whether Lilly should be charged criminally for its promotional activities, according to the people involved in the negotiations. A few days ago, facing the possibility of both civil and criminal charges, Lilly opened new discussions with the prosecutors in Philadelphia.

547 signatures needed to make 25,000


Florida Medicaid To Review Antipsychotics & ADHD

This story is just beginning to unfold. Stay tuned.

January 28th, 2008

By Ed Silverman

The move comes amid growing scrutiny. The taxpayer bill for these meds jumped from $9 million seven years ago to nearly $30 million in 2006. Florida Medicaid records reportedly show the number of children - some just months old - who were prescribed the drugs went from 9,364 seven years ago to 18,137 in 2006. And even as drugmakers were being told to issue warnings about risks, a Florida Legislature-directed program partly funded by drugmakers was recommending the meds as treatment for ADHD, although FDA approval is lacking.

As a result, the Florida attorney general is considering whether to file a lawsuit. Now, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration is responding to concerns that the meds are being used inappropriately for treating ADHD, in particular, and will review coverage. The AHCA’s own guidelines, by the way, state that “antipsychotics should not be used primarily to target ADHD symptoms, should not be used to promote weight gain, and should not be used as sedatives for children…and the use of antipsychotics in children under the age of six is generally not recommended.”

Yet, a recent report by the University of South Florida found the most common diagnosis for antipsychotic treatment for youngsters in Florida’s Medicaid program between July and December 2005 was for ADHD -and 54 percent involved children 5 years of age and younger, while 49 percent involved kids between ages 6 and 12 (please see table 5). And so nearly 40 percent of all antipsychotic scrips for youngsters were written for ADHD during that same period.

“We recognize that it may be necessary to review our long-standing guidelines in order to keep pace with evolving pharmacy science. AHCA secretary (Andrew) Agwunobi has requested the creation of a workgroup, under the Medical Care Advisory Committee, that will bring together experts in the field to determine if changes to our current policies are appropriate,” an AHCA spokesman writes Pharmalot. “The group’s findings will be presented to the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic (P&T) Committee at their next meeting for their review and recommendations.”

Original Article with comments section-

How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Illness

Big pharma has some new customers. Not complying with authority is now, in many cases, labeled a disease.

For a generation now, disruptive young Americans who rebel against authority figures have been increasingly diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric (psychotropic) drugs.

Disruptive young people who are medicated with Ritalin, Adderall and other amphetamines routinely report that these drugs make them "care less" about their boredom, resentments and other negative emotions, thus making them more compliant and manageable. And so-called atypical antipsychotics such as Risperdal and Zyprexa -- powerful tranquilizing drugs -- are increasingly prescribed to disruptive young Americans, even though in most cases they are not displaying any psychotic symptoms.

Many talk show hosts think I'm kidding when I mention oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). After I assure them that ODD is in fact an official mental illness -- an increasingly popular diagnosis for children and teenagers -- they often guess that ODD is simply a new term for juvenile delinquency. But that is not the case.

Young people diagnosed with ODD, by definition, are doing nothing illegal (illegal behaviors are a symptom of another mental illness called conduct disorder). In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) created oppositional defiant disorder, defining it as "a pattern of negativistic, hostile and defiant behavior." The official symptoms of ODD include "often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules" and "often argues with adults." While ODD-diagnosed young people are obnoxious with adults they don't respect, these kids can be a delight with adults they do respect; yet many of them are medicated with psychotropic drugs.

An even more common reaction to oppressive authorities than overt defiance is some type of passive defiance.

John Holt, the late school critic, described passive-aggressive strategies employed by prisoners in concentration camps and slaves on plantations, as well as some children in classrooms. Holt pointed out that subjects may attempt to appease their rulers while still satisfying some part of their own desire for dignity "by putting on a mask, by acting much more stupid and incompetent than they really are, by denying their rulers the full use of their intelligence and ability, by declaring their minds and spirits free of their enslaved bodies."
Holt observed that by "going stupid" in a classroom, children frustrate authorities through withdrawing the most intelligent and creative parts of their minds from the scene, thus achieving some sense of potency.

Going stupid -- or passive aggression -- is one of many nondisease explanations for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies show that virtually all ADHD-diagnosed children will pay attention to activities that they enjoy or that they have chosen. In other words, when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in control, the "disease" goes away.

There are other passive rebellions against authority that have been medicalized by mental health authorities. I have talked to many people who earlier in their lives had been diagnosed with substance abuse, depression and even schizophrenia but believe that their "symptoms" had in fact been a kind of resistance to the demands of an oppressive environment. Some of these people now call themselves psychiatric survivors.

While there are several reasons for behavioral disruptiveness and emotional difficulties, rebellion against an oppressive environment is one common reason that is routinely not even considered by many mental health professionals. Why? It is my experience that many mental health professionals are unaware of how extremely obedient they are to authorities. Acceptance into medical school and graduate school and achieving a Ph.D. or M.D. means jumping through many meaningless hoops, all of which require much behavioral, attentional and emotional compliance to authorities -- even disrespected ones. When compliant M.D.s and Ph.D.s begin seeing noncompliant patients, many of these doctors become anxious, sometimes even ashamed of their own excessive compliance, and this anxiety and shame can be fuel for diseasing normal human reactions.

Two ways of subduing defiance are to criminalize it and to pathologize it, and U.S. history is replete with examples of both. In the same era that John Adams' Sedition Act criminalized criticism of U.S. governmental policy, Dr. Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry (his image adorns the APA seal), pathologized anti-authoritarianism. Rush diagnosed those rebelling against a centralized federal authority as having an "excess of the passion for liberty" that "constituted a form of insanity." He labeled this illness "anarchia."

Throughout American history, both direct and indirect resistance to authority has been diseased. In an 1851 article in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, Louisiana physician Samuel Cartwright reported his discovery of "drapetomania," the disease that caused slaves to flee captivity. Cartwright also reported his discovery of "dysaesthesia aethiopis," the disease that caused slaves to pay insufficient attention to the master's needs. Early versions of ODD and ADHD?

In Rush's lifetime, few Americans took anarchia seriously, nor was drapetomania or dysaesthesia aethiopis taken seriously in Cartwright's lifetime. But these were eras before the diseasing of defiance had a powerful financial ally in Big Pharma.

In every generation there will be authoritarians. There will also be the "bohemian bourgeois" who may enjoy anti-authoritarian books, music, and movies but don't act on them. And there will be genuine anti-authoritarians, who are so pained by exploitive hierarchies that they take action. Only occasionally in American history do these genuine anti-authoritarians actually take effective direct action that inspires others to successfully revolt, but every once in a while a Tom Paine comes along. So authoritarians take no chances, and the state-corporate partnership criminalizes anti-authoritarianism, pathologizes it, markets drugs to "cure" it and financially intimidates those who might buck the system.

It would certainly be a dream of Big Pharma and those who favor an authoritarian society if every would-be Tom Paine -- or Crazy Horse, Tecumseh, Emma Goldman or Malcolm X -- were diagnosed as a youngster with mental illness and quieted with a lifelong regimen of chill pills. The question is: Has this dream become reality?

Original Article-
AlterNet: Health and Wellness: How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Illness

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Foster mom arrested in Granby child's death

This story Below has me torn, first thought is that the bio mother is hurting and I feel for her, however, she chose to deal drugs therefore she knew the risks of losing her children, and for that, I have to be heartless and say sorry "mom" this was a choice you made. Nonetheless, I will pray for the boys she lost to this horrible system, no matter what that mother did to them by choosing to deal drugs, no matter what lifestyle those children were forced to live in with the bio mother, could possibly compare to what these children are going through in the system!

What a disgrace, isn't anyone noticing that the money (millions of YOUR TAX PAYER DOLLARS) "they" spent on taking those children away from their families, killing one and god knows what's happening to the other two, couldn't they have given those children to a family member while this bio mother was forced into becoming the mother these babies needed?

Take a look at my Blogs for more of what our children are facing "in the system"

These babies will be in my prayers.

Foster mom arrested in Granby child's death

A 29-year-old foster mother has been arrested for investigation of felony child abuse in the death of a 3-year-old girl, officials say.

Michele Baber of Granby is being held in the Grand County Jail in the death of Daisia Derzon, who was injured Jan. 9 and died several days later, Grand County Sheriff Rodney Johnson said today.

Bail has not been set in the case.

Sheriff's investigators were called to Baber's home at 12:57 p.m. on Jan. 9 and found that Daisia had suffered severe injuries to the head, Johnson said.

Johnson said he could not comment further about the injuries.

The arrest came Monday, the same day The Post ran a story about the deaths of Derzon and another child in foster care while their mothers were in prison.

In an interview Thursday at the Colorado Women's Correctional Facility in Denver, Shannon Derzon, Daisia's mother, said Daisia and her two boys ages 4 and 6, went into foster care after she was convicted of dealing methamphetamines and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Days after her daughter's death, she said she was told the foster mother told authorities that her daughter caused the injuries herself by banging her head against the wall.

But she said officials told her that her 4-year-old son witnessed what happened to his sister and that it was not self-inflicted.

She could not attend her daughter's funeral because she did not have $800 to pay for two guards to drive her to Granby.

Shannon Derzon said she feels tremendous guilt because her children wouldn't have gone into foster care if she hadn't been arrested.

"I know I let them down," she said. "They were so quick to take my rights away instead of getting me help. I'm their mom. I'm the one who should be caring for them."

She said her daughter would still be alive if she were caring for her children. But she said she was assured her children were in safe hands and thought they would be better off in a more stable home.

Shannon Derzon said she and her husband were separated.

Her two boys have been placed in another foster home, she said.

"I really hurt because I'll never be able to do the mommy-daughter thing," Shannon Derzon said.

Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206 or

Original Article - I tried to post the above comment it wouldn't let me- so here it is....

The Denver Post - Foster mom arrested in Granby child's death

Boy Put in Dog Cage After Spiking Drinks by Grandmother w/ custody Pennsylvania

Tuesday, January 29,


A woman in southwestern Pennsylvania locked her 10-year-old grandson in a feces-filled dog crate for about 90 minutes because he told his family he had been spiking their drinks with lamp oil and household cleaner, police said.

Rhonda Lehman, 51, also called Washington County's Mental Health/Mental Retardation office and said if someone wouldn't come for the boy, she would bury him alive in the back yard, police said.

Lehman has custody of the boy, who told police he was lacing the drinks with the oil and a cleaner named "Bam" because "he was angry because he didn't get to go on a trip" last year, said Washington police Officer James Markley.

It is possible the boy had been spiking the drinks for a while, authorities said. Family members became sick, but were not hospitalized.

On Saturday, the boy was put in a 3-foot-by-4-foot plastic dog cage with only a small metal door for him to look out, Markley said.

Lehman was charged with child endangerment and making terroristic threats.

Police also charged the boy's 24-year-old brother with simple assault and harassment for allegedly punching the youngster.

"When I asked the brother, I said, 'Why would you punch a 10-year-old in the eye?' he said, 'It's better than what I wanted to do to him,'" Markley said.Markley said the defendants told authorities they don't believe they did anything wrong.

"They were very calm, like this was nothing," Markley said.

Lehman and the boy's brother were in the county jail on $25,000 bail. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Feb. 5. A listed phone number for Lehman could not immediately be found.

The boy is now in the custody of the county's Children and Youth Services, which is treating him for mental health issues, authorities said.

Washington is located about 25 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Original Article-

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Woman Arrested In Husband's Stabbing Death

A 22-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the stabbing death of her husband, officers said on Sunday.

Marissa Espinoza was booked on one count of second-degree murder in death of her husband, Richard.

Police said they responded to a domestic violence incident at 1609 West Glendale Road.

Officers said they found the woman armed with a knife standing near her husband's body on the ground outside their apartment.

Police said the disturbance initially began inside.

Richard Espinoza was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Three young children belonging to the couple were removed from the apartment and placed in Child Protective Services custody.

Original Article-
Woman Arrested In Husband's Stabbing Death - Local News Story - KPHO Phoenix

Defense lawyer feels heat, loves limelight in Nixzmary Brown murder trial

He's been vilified for defending a monster. He's been cursed, threatened and called at midnight for helping the man charged with murdering Nixzmary Brown.

And that was before he labeled the 7-year-old victim - who was tied to a chair and beaten to death - "a little Houdini" and a "feisty, spunky" youngster.

But defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz says he won't change his over-the-top style in defending Nixzmary's stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez.
"This is like the Mount Everest of cases," the 45-year-old Devil's advocate said of the three-week-old trial. "But we're doing what we can to get an acquittal. We're climbing step by step.

"I think jurors expect a show - not a magic show, but if there's a little oomph to the defense at least we're keeping them awake."

They were certainly wide-eyed when Schwartz brought Nixzmary's neighbor to tears on the witness stand as he grilled her on why she didn't try to perform CPR on the girl the night of Jan. 11, 2006.
The jurors might even have nightmares about the pictures Schwartz introduced as evidence that show fetal material in a jar found in the apartment.

He plans to use the gruesome photos to argue that Nixzmary's mother blamed the 7-year-old for causing her to have a miscarriage - and that she, not Rodriguez, beat her to death.

Schwartz denies he's mounting a blame-the-victim defense.

"I didn't mean to say, or even to imply for even a millisecond that she deserved this or brought this on herself," he said of his opening statement, in which he talked about Nixzmary being a problem child.

But he had no qualms about saying Rodriguez was simply a "strict disciplinarian" even as prosecutors outlined how he hit Nixzmary, tied her to a chair and kept her locked up.
"Subtle as a heart attack," Schwartz said of his style.

Raised by Brooklyn schoolteachers who rarely hit him, Schwartz said he has never laid a hand on his own daughter, who is now 17.

In the courtroom, though, the gloves come off.

"He was charismatic, a good aggressive prosecutor," said Queens assistant district attorney Charles Testagrossa, who was once Schwartz's boss. "But as a defense attorney that tends to offend people."

"I'm not in this job to make friends," Schwartz said. "My job is to represent the interest of defendants."

The Jaguar-driving, 6-foot-3 lawyer cites Talmudic law to justify his life's work.

"There is a special place in heaven for those who represent the monsters in society," he said. "I look at myself as the lawyer of last resort."

Schwartz, who favors tailor-made suits, was appointed by the court to represent Rodriguez and is working below his usual fee.

"I really do believe in truth, justice and the American way," said the Superman buff who admits enjoying the spotlight. "It's wonderful. I mean for me to hire a PR firm to get this kind of publicity would cost a fortune.

"Meanwhile, all I'm getting is threats and nasty calls. It hasn't seemed to make me any friends or increased my popularity."
Original Article with comments-

Police Handcuff Little Girl On Schoolbus

10-Year-Old's Mother Plans To Sue
NEW YORK (CBS) ― A 10-year-old girl is speaking out after being put in handcuffs on her school bus. Her mother says it happened because the girl wouldn't sit down.
I'mecca Burton demonstrated how she was handcuffed on her school bus January 15th, saying she "felt like [she] was going to be scarred for life."
I'mecca's bus was stopped at a red light next to a police car. According to her mother, police saw kids on the bus out of their seats. They boarded the bus, and moments later her daughter was handcuffed.
She says I'mecca is a special needs child."It's one thing to come on the bus and tell her to sit down it's another to put handcuffs on her and put your knee in her back," said Taniesha Burton.
"She's 10, you're a man! She's a little girl."
According to the school bus student incident report, the handcuffs were put on 'to calm her down' after she refused to stay in her seat.
When asked if police asked her to sit down, I'mecca said, "Yes, but I didn't move fast enough so they just grabbed me and made me sit down and put the seat belt on me."
"When they said they were going to arrest me I got frightened so I got up to go to the front but the thought I was stepping up to them, then they just started putting the handcuffs on me," added I'mecca.
According to police, witnesses say I'mecca was screaming, kicking and swearing on the bus.
That's when she was handcuffed. They say once she settled down, the handcuffs were removed.
Senator Eric Adams says instead of handcuffs, other forms of restraint must be used on children, such as padded, foam restraints.
"There should never be a time that this distinct sound that comes from a handcuff should be heard by children," said Adams.
This is the second time in just over a week that a local child has been handcuffed.
Dennis Rivera says a school safety agent handcuffed her 5-year-old son after misbehaving at school.
In both cases, the mothers plan to take legal action.
Original Article-

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pa. Sperm Donor Wins Child Support Case

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a woman who promised a sperm donor he would not have to pay child support cannot renege on the deal. Joel L. McKiernan had been paying up to $1,500 a month to support twin boys. (AP / CBS)

The 3-2 decision overturns lower court rulings under which Joel L. McKiernan had been paying up to $1,500 a month to support twin boys born in August 1994 to Ivonne V. Ferguson, his former girlfriend and co-worker.

"Where a would-be donor cannot trust that he is safe from a future support action, he will be considerably less likely to provide his sperm to a friend or acquaintance who asks, significantly limiting a would-be mother's reproductive prerogatives," Justice Max Baer wrote in the majority opinion issued last week.

Arthur Caplan, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said the decision runs counter to the pattern established by similar cases, where the interests of the progeny have generally been given great weight.

"It sounds like the Pennsylvania court is trying to push a little harder into the brave new world of sperm, egg and embryo donation as it's evolving," Caplan said.

McKiernan's lawyer, John W. Purcell Jr., said Wednesday an adverse decision against his client would have jeopardized the entire system of sperm donation.

"That wouldn't just include Pennsylvania, because we found out in the course of this trial that many doctors order their sperm for their artificial inseminations out of state," he said.

According to court documents, Ferguson was married when she and McKiernan met while working together at Pennsylvania Blue Shield in Harrisburg. They conducted their on-again off-again affair beginning in 1991 and continuing for approximately two years.
The two had a sexual relationship that waned before Ferguson persuaded him to donate sperm for her.

Her former husband is named as the twin boys' father on the birth certificates.

Courts found that the two agreed McKiernan would not have to pay child support and would not have visitation rights, but Ferguson later changed her mind and sued.

A county judge said it was in the twins' best interests that McKiernan be required to support them. In addition to monthly payments, McKiernan also was ordered to come up with $66,000 in back support. The appeal reverses that order.

Elizabeth Hoffman, Ferguson's lawyer, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment left at her office Wednesday. Justice J. Michael Eakin, in a dissent, said a parent cannot bargain away a child's right to support. "The children point and say, 'That is our father. He should support us,"' Eakin wrote. "What are we to reply? 'No! He made a contract to conceive you through a clinic, so your father need not support you.' I find this unreasonable at best."
Original Article with comments-

The abuse excuse: Social services or Salem witch hunts?

I had an interesting conversation over the course of lunch with two colleagues. One of them is a legal professional, the other works in behavioral sciences. They are both married and have children. As I am so accustomed to do, I intentionally steered the conversation toward my thoughts on the growing anti-male bias that we seem to be experiencing.

Surprisingly, they both jumped at the concept and had profound comments. They had insightful thoughts about how anti-male bias ultimately evolves into anti-family bias. As wives, and mothers, they both insisted that at the pinnacle of their concerns was the growing controversy over child abuse, child neglect, sexual abuse and other forms of "child maltreatment." The luncheon encouraged me to do a little research.

In recent years, we've seen a geometric increase of media attention on the abuse and neglect of children. There are now even television shows devoted to tracking potential child molesters by encouraging them to visit a house set up with hidden video cameras so that we all can watch. The entire concept makes me question what type of psychological condition one must suffer from to actually want to "watch" a child molester in the act.

Indeed, ongoing concerns of many families seem to stem from what some call "the abuse excuse," or the idea that many children find that a "convenient" way to get out of trouble is to blame Mom or Dad for neglecting or abusing them. In "Beware the Child Protectors," William Norman Gregg wrote of the devastation of child protective agencies intruding into and breaking up an increasing number of innocent American family homes.

Increased cases, increased budgets?

In conjunction with the increased media attention on child abuse and neglect, child protection agencies have begun to change the definition of what actually constitutes abuse and neglect. While there may have been a time when the definitions involved physical or emotional harm, for a parent to simply raise his or her voice at a child can now be considered harmful abuse and demand a social services investigation. Even more, there are growing numbers of parents and homes under investigation not because abuse or neglect occurred, but because a child protective agency felt that a child was "in danger of being harmed." In other words, the child protection workers thought that a crime "might be" committed.

In knowing this, we should now be skeptical when politicians and social workers tell us that cases of child abuse and neglect are on the rise. The truth is, for the very fact that the definitions have changed, we can be sure that much of the so-called increase is due to exaggerated reporting. Perhaps some might suggest that changes in the definitions of "abuse" and "neglect" were implemented for the very purpose of raising the statistics in order to ju.jpgy an increase in the budgets of social services and child protection agencies.

Burn, witch, burn

There are an estimated 3 million "reports" of child abuse per year in the United States. Although, according to Health and Human Services, Aid for Children and Families statistics, and a number of other studies, of all reported cases of child abuse nationwide, an astounding 60 percent are deemed to be unfounded. In South Carolina alone, over the past several years there have been an average of about 18,000 cases of reported child abuse per year. Of those, some 12,000 are found to be either totally false or unsubstantiated. What is even more frightening is that while child protective agencies insist that the number of reported child abuse cases are increasing, they neglect to also acknowledge that the number of those cases which are "unfounded" is also increasing.

These statistics are eerily similar to those showing that about 50% of all adult women who allege rape eventually admit that their allegations are false.

From a psychological standpoint, such unfounded allegations typically emerge out of a need for an alibi, to seek revenge, or to gain sympathy or attention.

One high-profile example would be that of the 1991 Tailhook Scandal, where a female officer in the U.S. Navy made allegations of rape and groping against a group of male officers. The female officer later recanted her story admitting that she had lied because she didn't want her fiance' to know that she had participated in a sex orgy. This single Navy episode still stands as a high profile example of rape in the military even though the original accusations were false.

Hans Sebald, professor emeritus of sociology at Arizona State University, is among a growing number of professionals who are critical of the current trend of using child abuse cases to destroy American families. In his book, "Witch-children: From the Salem Witch-hunts to Modern Courtrooms," he compares the modern family fear of social services and accompanying media hype with the fear of witchcraft in the fifteenth to early eighteenth centuries. He contends that both scenarios spawned a culture in which children become encouraged to tell stories because a group of adults expect them to. As a result, in both scenarios, a grotesquely high number of innocent people are falsely accused.

Unfortunately, just as in the case of children in the past who were burned to death as witches, the non-abused child in the modern courtroom often ends up te.jpgying to something that ultimately hurts him -- or herself.

Social workers and foster care system

We should acknowledge that a number of psychologists and doctors claim that the lack of education levels among child protective service employees attributes to a frightening number of non-abused children being unnecessarily separated from their families. In addition, I would propose that further studies are likely to reveal that an overwhelming majority of child protective service employees are single mothers. If so, this may lend strong support to those who suggest that the issue truly is rooted in anti-male and anti-family bias.

During research for his book, "Horrors of the Non-Home," Timothy W. Maier found that the number of children being placed in the foster care system has increased dramatically in recent years (recall, of course, that the increase is due partially to the change in the definition of "abuse"). Unfortunately, child protective agencies ignore the fact that children in the foster care system are "ten times more likely" to be abused than other children. And of course we must consider the obvious physical and emotional toll it takes on non-abused children who are separated from their family for months at a time. The idea that Gestapo- and Taliban-like home investigations and forced family separations involve some 12,000 innocent South Carolina families each year makes my own blood boil.

With these sorts of statistics, perhaps we should begin to question the sincerity of those who claim to be "victim's advocates.

"Keith A. Pounds is a military veteran, having served as a combat medic in the United States Navy and with the Marine Corps. He holds a bachelor's degree in human resource management and is about to complete his master's in organizational psychology.

Original Article with comments- The abuse excuse: Social services or Salem witch hunts?

Police: Divorce at root of killing at day care

Report indicates Dunn spent time drinking before attack

The man accused of shooting his estranged wife to death at a Cape Coral day care center Friday told police he snapped after being served financial disclosure papers earlier in the week.

Robert Dunn, 44, intended to hurt Christine Marie Lozier Dunn, 36, and kill himself, according to a report released Saturday by Cape Coral police.

Robert Dunn forced his way into a bathroom at Bobbie Noonan’s Child Care, where he shot his wife in front of toddlers, according to police.

He filed paperwork earlier this week at a local pawn shop to purchase the shotgun police believe he used to kill his wife, he said in a police interview. He picked up the weapon Thursday.

He was denied bond Saturday and remains in the Lee County Jail on a charge of first-degree murder.

The story of what happened at the day care center at 1217 Cape Coral Parkway comes from police reports released Saturday.

The Dunns, married since February 2004, were going through a difficult divorce.

Robert Dunn blamed attorneys and his pending divorce for the shooting.

He said he had left Christine Dunn five months before the shooting. Court records show she filed for divorce Oct. 1. Eleven days later, she filed a domestic violence injunction and child custody affidavit.

The injunction was dismissed, and the estranged couple have been in mediation about child support and divorce terms.

For a time, the center had been put on lockdown daily to prevent Robert Dunn from getting near the children. When police found Christine Dunn’s purse at the shooting scene, it contained papers and ledgers logging stalkings and problems with her husband.

Robert Dunn described hostile divorce proceedings to police, saying his wife had vowed to take everything from him and have him removed from home. He had been awarded supervised visitation with their 2-year-old daughter, Allison, but said his wife was fighting a request for unsupervised visits

While he called her vulgar names during his interview, the suspect told police Christine Dunn probably did not deserve what happened to her.

According to the police report, Friday afternoon, Dunn rode a bicycle from his home at 626 S.E. 10th Ave. to a bar on S.E. 47th Terrace.

“He had a gun in his pocket when he rode to the bar,” said police spokeswoman Dyan Lee.

While there, he told police, he drank shots and mixed drinks. He then rode a bus to the intersection of Skyline Boulevard and Cape Coral Parkway and walked the few blocks to Bobbie Noonan’s.

Dunn recalled climbing the fence at Bobbie Noonan’s and seeing his estranged wife inside the center as he walked the halls but had no recollection of shooting her, police said.

An 11-year-old living near the center saw the suspect behind the center loading his gun, but by the time the child was able to notify his parents, shots had been fired.

First reports

The first reports of an armed man near the center came in around 4:40 p.m. A parent told police Robert Dunn had been fumbling with the digital lock on the front door earlier trying to get into the center but appeared to not know the entry code. After an employee reported seeing a man fire a shotgun in the parking lot of the center, teachers put the school on lockdown.

An employee at the center said while she was locking doors in the building, Robert Dunn came in through a back door, pointed a shotgun at her and told her to be still. A parent said Dunn began walking the halls shouting “Where is that bitch?” The parent tried to direct the suspect out the front door but he headed to Christine Dunn’s classroom. The parent followed him.

Dunn found his wife hiding in a bathroom, with her class. He shot her twice before the parent was able to take away the gun and run out the front door, according to police.

Police arrived about seven minutes after the initial call and heard the shots. When police found Dunn, he told officers to shoot him, but was taken into custody without incident.

Police found Christine Dunn in a pool of blood and took her to a hallway to try to revive her as children were evacuated from the building. When paramedics arrived, Christine Dunn was pronounced dead, apparently from two shots to her chest.

Paramedics attended to at least three children covered in blood.

Reports show Robert Dunn was working in pool maintenance. Christine Dunn had been a teacher at Bobbie Noonan’s for eight years. Police said their daughter is a student at the center.

Family members for Christine Dunn declined to comment about the relationship or the death, and relatives of Robert Dunn could not be reached.

Jim Waitekus, a neighbor of Robert Dunn’s mother, Carole, said he had not heard the family had any problems.

“You mix divorces and people who have been drinking, they are just not in their right mind,” Waitekus said.

Neighbors said Dunn’s mother had not been seen at her home since the shooting.

At the home of Christine Dunn’s parents, a woman answered the door and said Allison was being taken care of.

Reached by phone, Christine’s father, Thomas Lozier, said no statement is being released by family.

Representatives from the Florida Department of Children and Families and trauma experts will visit Bobbie Noonan’s Child Care on Monday. The experts will offer counseling and crisis therapy.

Original Article -

The News-Press,, Cape Coral, Police: Divorce at root of killing at day care

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nixzmary Trial Adjourned Again

Nixzmary Murder Trial Adjourned Again

January 24, 2008

Testimony was scheduled to resume this afternoon in the murder trial of Cesar Rodriguez, the step-father of Nixzmary Brown, who was found beaten to death in January 2006, but it has been adjourned for the second time this week.

The judge postponed yesterday's session due to procedural filings with the court, and the same reason was cited again today. A lawyer for Rodriguez declined to give specifics. Prosecutors were expected to present more evidence against Rodriguez today.

He is charged with killing his seven-year-old step-daughter. Prosecutors say she suffered long-term abuse at the hands of Rodriguez and her mother, Nixzaliz Santiago. The defense has tried to shift the blame to Santiago, who faces a separate murder trial.

Original Article-

NY1: Brooklyn


Another View

Second time Nixzmary jurors sent home



Friday, January 25th 2008, 4:00 AM

Puzzled jurors in the Nixzmary Brown trial were sent home for the second day in a row Thursday as the prosecution and the defense met again behind closed doors about secret evidence.

Both sides refused to talk about the potential bombshell developments that were discussed in Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Hall's chambers.

"We have a very strict gag order," said lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz, who is defending Nixzmary's stepdad, Cesar Rodriguez, against charges he murdered the 7-year-old.

Media outlets including the Daily News filed papers Thursday seeking to lift the gag order.

Jurors had been summoned to court to hear testimony beginning at 2 p.m., and a detective and a Target store employee were waiting to take the stand.

They were slated to testify about surveillance video from a Target that showed Rodriguez and some of his kids buying a yogurt-like product.

Prosecutors contend the treat played a central role in the Jan. 11, 2006, murder because Rodriguez allegedly flew into a rage after Nixzmary took a yogurt container from the fridge without permission.

After 90 minutes of meetings yesterday, the judge told the witnesses and the jurors they could go home for the day. A half-day of court scheduled for today was also scrapped.

That means the next time jurors hear testimony will be Monday - creating a highly unusual week-long break in the trial.

Original Article with comments-

Second time Nixzmary jurors sent home

NYPD: School Handcuffed Kindergartener For Tantrum

Child Was Taken For Psychiatric Examination


Police and school officials are investigating a mother's allegations that her 5-year-old son was handcuffed and taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after throwing a temper tantrum in his Queens kindergarten.

Jasmina Vasquez tells the Daily News her son, Dennis Rivera, was "scared to death" by the Jan. 17 incident at PS 81.

Police spokesman Paul Browne and a city Education Department spokeswoman declined to discuss specifics Thursday, saying the incident was under investigation.

Vasquez says she and a baby sitter raced to the school after a guidance counselor called her to say Dennis was being taken to the hospital.

The baby sitter says she found the 68-pound boy in handcuffs. Vasquez said the hospital evaluated and released the boy, now in private school.

5-year-old boy handcuffed in school, taken to hospital for misbehaving

A 5-year-old boy was handcuffed and hauled off to a psych ward for misbehaving in kindergarten - but the tot's parents say NYPD school safety agents are the ones who need their heads examined.

"He's 5 years old. He was scared to death," Dennis Rivera's mother, Jasmina Vasquez, told the Daily News. "You cannot imagine what it's done to him."

Dennis - who suffers from speech problems, asthma and attention deficit disorder - never went back to class at Public School 81 in Queens after the traumatic incident.

His mom and a school source said Dennis threw a tantrum inside the Ridgewood school at 11 a.m. on Jan. 17.

Dennis was taken to the principal's office, where he apparently knocked items off a desk.

Rather than calling the boy's parents, a school safety agent cuffed the boy's small hands behind his back using metal restraints, the school source said.

The agent and school officials then called an ambulance to take the tot to Elmhurst Hospital Center for a mental evaluation.

Vasquez was stunned when a guidance counselor called her at work to say her son was being taken to the psych ward.

Vasquez rushed to the school from her job as a patient representative at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. On the way, she called Dennis' baby-sitter, who was closer to PS 81, and asked her to hurry over to the school.

When baby-sitter Sandy Ortiz arrived, Dennis was still handcuffed, she said. School safety agents also were holding his elbows even though the boy was calm, Ortiz said. Dennis is about 4-feet-3 and weighs 68 pounds.

"I hugged him. I said, 'OK, release the cuffs, I'm taking him,'" she recalled. "They told me, 'No, Miss. You're not taking him anywhere.'"

Ortiz routinely picks up Dennis from class. She said she's never seen him behave in a way that would require him to be restrained.

"I was so upset. There's no reason to handcuff a baby of 5 years old, traumatize him that way," she said.

The handcuffs were removed before Dennis was walked out of the school and driven by ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital Center. He was evaluated at the hospital and released about four hours later, his mom said.

School sources said Dennis had punched an assistant principal the day before he acted out in class. The sources also said he broke glass in an office door a week earlier.

A spokeswoman for the city Education Department declined to comment on why school safety agents needed to handcuff Dennis, saying the incident was under investigation.

The NYPD, which oversees school safety agents, also declined to discuss specifics. Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said, "We hope common sense would prevail and we are looking at what happened."

Vasquez immediately withdrew Dennis from PS 81 and enrolled him in a private school, Grand Street Settlement.

"I asked him, 'Do you want to go back to that school?' He broke down in tears," Vasquez said. "He said, 'I don't want to go! I don't want to go!'"

Original Article and comments -

5-year-old boy handcuffed in school, taken to hospital for misbehaving

On Vacation Mom Gets Sick- Kids End Up In Orphanage

Anger over girls' strip searches

Two British girls were sent to an orphanage for 30 hours and strip searched after their mother became ill during a holiday in the US.

Gemma Bray, 15, and her 13-year-old sister Katie also had their clothes taken off them and were asked if they had been abused or were suicidal.
Their mother Yvonne Bray of Appledore, Devon, says their human rights were infringed by the authorities.

She was hospitalised with pneumonia during a trip to New York.
The Administration for Children's Services in New York has declined to comment on the matter.

"What should have been the trip of a lifetime turned out to be a complete disaster from start to finish," Ms Bray told BBC News.

"I was going to give the girls money for their Christmas, but with the exchange rate being so good, I decided to book the trip to New York.

"This was their Christmas present and it was totally ruined."

The family flew out to New York on 27 December. When Ms Bray began coughing later that day, she initially put it down to her asthma and the air conditioning on the flight.

The following night, she became more unwell with laboured breathing and was admitted to the Queen's Medical Centre in Harlem.

But Ms Bray was told her daughters could not stay with her at the hospital as they were minors.

"A doctor told me they would make the arrangements, then a few hours later a social worker arrived and said they'd try to find a foster family for the girls," she said.

"Instead of that they were taken to a orphanage and subjected to the kind of treatment you wouldn't even expect criminals to go through."

The frightened teenagers had their clothes, including their underwear, removed and were issued with a uniform of T-shirt and jeans before being spilt up and given a medical examination.

"Being away from Mum when you are alone in New York in an strange place with people you don't know - it's just scary," said Katie.
"At first it was so shocking - it was as if it wasn't happening but then it hits you.

"You didn't know how long you'd be there or if Mum would get better."

Photographs were taken and the girls were told they would not be allowed to visit their mother in hospital.

When the duty social worker told Ms Bray her daughters could not leave the orphanage, she discharged herself from the hospital against medical advice.

She said: "I was so cross. I didn't sign anything saying they could be examined or interrogated - they even asked them if they had been raped.

"They had to shower in front of strangers. What they went through would be a breach of anyone's human rights, let alone two girls on holiday."
'It's disgraceful'

Ms Bray has now received a letter from the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) to say she is now being investigated.

"It's disgraceful, but I'm trying to totally dismiss this," Ms Bray said.

"It seems like a standard letter because the children have been entered into the child care system.

"I'm not guilty of anything other than getting ill in a country without family or friends."
A spokeswoman from ACS told BBC News it was an "entirely confidential matter" and the department would not comment.

Friday, January 25, 2008

U.S. 9th Circuit: DCF Workers Have NO Absolute Immunity For Lying in Sworn Statements.

A good quote in this published case. We must thank the Law Offices of Robert Powell for this remand.

Has your social worker ever lied and fabricated evidence? Well we all know the truth.
Let justice prevail.

"Furthermore, as prosecutors and others investigating criminal matters have no absolute immunity for their investigatory conduct, a fortiori, social workers conducting investigations have no such immunity. "




Guardian Ad Litem Lori Beltran,



MELISSA No. 05-16976

SemUApRloEZy,e ein odfiv tihdeu aClloyu nantyd oafs Saannta ý CV-03D-0.C3.7 6N7o-.RMWCinldairvai;d JuEaNllNyI FaEnRd H aUsB aBnS, employee

OPINION of the County of Santa Clara;

EMILY TJHIN, individually and as an employee of the County of Santa Clara,Defendants-Appellees. þ

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Ronald M. Whyte, District Judge, Presiding

Argued and SubmittedDecember 12, 2007—

Pasadena, California

Filed January 24, 2008

Before: Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Stephen Reinhardt, Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Michael Daly Hawkins, Kim McLane Wardlaw, William A. Fletcher, Ronald M. Gould, Richard A. Paez, Marsha S. Berzon, Richard R. Clifton and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges.

Per Curiam Opinion1201


Robert R. Powell and Dennis R. Ingols, The Law Offices of Robert R. Powell, San Jose, California, for the plaintiffs appellants.

Melissa R. Kiniyalocts, Deputy County Counsel, and Ann Miller-Ravel, County Counsel, Santa Clara County, San Jose, California, for the defendants-appellees.

OPINIONPER CURIAM:1. Melissa Suarez, a social worker for Santa Clara County’schild protective services, investigated whether Lori Beltranwas abusing her son, Coby. After this investigation, Suarez’ssupervisor Emily Tjhin filed a child dependency petition,which Tjhin signed under penalty of perjury. This petitionincluded a three-page statement of facts describing the findingsof Suarez’s investigation. Suarez also filed a separatecustody petition, which she signed under penalty of perjury.The custody petition attached and incorporated by referencethe three-page statement of facts from the dependency petition.BELTRAN v. SANTA CLARA 1203

The dependency petition was denied, Coby was returned tohis parents, and the Beltrans sued Suarez and Tjhin under 42U.S.C. § 1983, charging constitutional violations in removing Coby from the Beltrans’ custody and attempting to place him under the supervision of the state. Specifically, the Beltrans claimed that Suarez and Tjhin fabricated much of the informationin the three-page statement of facts. Relying on Doev. Lebbos, 348 F.3d 820, 825-26 (9th Cir. 2003), the district court held that Suarez and Tjhin had absolute immunity for their actions connected to signing and filing the dependency and custody petitions—including the alleged fabrication of evidence and false statements. It therefore dismissed plaintiffs’claims that were based on the allegedly false petition statements. The district court eventually granted summary judgment to the defendants on the remainder of plaintiffs’claims, but those issues are not before us, as plaintiffs appeal only the dismissal of claims based on absolute immunity.

[1] 2. Parties to section 1983 suits are generally entitled only to immunities that existed at common law. Imbler v.Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 417-18 (1976). We have therefore“granted state actors absolute immunity only for those functions that were critical to the judicial process itself,” such as“ ‘initiating a prosecution.’ ” Miller v. Gammie, 335 F.3d 889,896 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc) (quoting Imbler, 424 U.S. at431). It follows that social workers have absolute immunity when they make “discretionary, quasi-prosecutorial decisionsto institute court dependency proceedings to take custody away from parents.” Id. at 898. But they are not entitled to absolute immunity from claims that they fabricated evidence during an investigation or made false statements in a dependency petition affidavit that they signed under penalty of perjury, because such actions aren’t similar to discretionary decisions about whether to prosecute. A prosecutor doesn’t have absolute immunity if he fabricates evidence during a preliminary investigation, before he could properly claim to be acting as an advocate, see Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509U.S. 259, 275 (1993), or makes false statements in a sworn1204 BELTRAN v. SANTA CLARA affidavit in support of an application for an arrest warrant, see Kalina v. Fletcher, 522 U.S. 118, 129-30 (1997). Furthermore,as prosecutors and others investigating criminal matters have no absolute immunity for their investigatory conduct, afortiori, social workers conducting investigations have no such immunity. See id. at 126.

[2] The district court’s error is perfectly understandable, as it relied on our incorrect ruling in Doe v. Lebbos, which we overrule today. We reverse the district court’s ruling that defendants are entitled to absolute immunity and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. REVERSED AND REMANDED.BELTRAN v. SANTA CLARA 1205

Thank you!

Thomas M. Dutkiewicz, President Civil Rights Advocate For Families Connecticut DCF Watch P.O. Box 9775 Forestville, CT 06011-9775860-833-4127

For sharing this amazing news!

Police Officer Killed In White Plains Shootout


Westchester County police were involved in the fatal shooting of a Mount Vernon police officer in downtown White Plains Friday afternoon.

White Plains Public Safety Commissioner Frank Straub told a news conference that the victim of the shooting was a Mount Vernon police officer. The officer's name wasn't released, so that his family could be told first.

Police said two men were involved in an argument outside 85 Court St., a district office of the county Department of Social Services, when one of them pulled out a gun and possibly fired a shot. The noise drew the attention of officers inside the building who came out and ordered the armed man to drop the gun, police said.

Original Article-

Eli Lilly Settles 900 More Claims Over Zyprexa

Indianapolis Star

Eli Lilly settles 900 more claims over Zyprexa

January 24, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- Eli Lilly and Co. has settled another 900 personal-injury claims against its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, including five set to go to court next month, thus avoiding what would have been the first trial in the U.S. The Indianapolis drug maker confirmed the settlement Wednesday but declined to reveal the amount. With the latest agreements, Lilly has settled more than 25,000 claims, leaving about 1,100 unsettled. Many of the plaintiffs have claimed Lilly underplayed the drug's side effects, including weight gain and elevated blood sugar. Lilly has set aside $1.2 billion to pay claims.

More on Zyprexa below...

Video: Zyprexa Drug Rep

Video - St. Petersburg Times reporter on Zyprexa:

St. Petersburg Times
Zyprexa in court
December 16, 2007
Individual claims: Over the past two years, Eli Lilly has paid $1.2-billion to settle lawsuits from some 30,000 people, most of whom claim Zyprexa caused them to develop diabetes. Hundreds more cases are pending.

State claims: Nine states have sued Eli Lilly claiming the company promoted Zyprexa for off-label uses and downplayed its risks. Each state wants to be reimbursed hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid dollars paid for Zyprexa.

Florida has not sued and won't comment, though Eli Lilly has said that it received a subpoena in 2005 from the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, seeking documents related to the sales, marketing and promotional practices of Zyprexa.

Daytona Beach News Journal

Florida undecided as states sue over costly drug program

January 10, 2008

"Our office is aware of concerns with antipsychotics in Florida's Medicaid program but we cannot acknowledge nor provide any information pertaining to ongoing criminal investigations," said Sandi Copes, a spokeswoman with the Florida Attorney General's office. Florida Medicaid records show the number of children -- some just months old -- who were prescribed the drugs went from 9,364 seven years ago to 18,137 in 2006. No records for privately insured patients are available. "The situation is out of control," said David Cohen, a professor at Florida International University who has been studying the use of antipsychotics since 1983. While no long-term studies have been done on the effects the drugs have on children, there is evidence children on the drugs face greater risks of diabetes, hyperglycemia and extreme weight gain, Cohen said. ; Parent, Richard Davis, said he watched in horror as his daughter Ciara, then 6, gained 40 pounds, developed breasts and had uncontrollable tongue and facial movements. "Those drugs were killing her," Davis said. Over his objections, he said Ciara was given antipsychotics by her mother and while in foster care. A court-appointed guardian also noted the effects in an August 2003 report, describing a visit in which Ciara "never once kept her tongue in her mouth." Ciara, now 11, was taken off the drugs after about a year, her father said, and she quickly dropped the added weight.

Editorial: Drugs for children? Prescriptions of anti-psychotics troubling

January 16, 2008

... And a state struggling to keep up with rapid changes that have pushed Medicaid costs for powerful anti-psychotic drugs from $9 million seven years ago to almost $30 million in 2006. Something doesn't add up. Do all these children need the drugs they're being prescribed? ... the trend is disturbing. Other states are already pushing hard for answers, and Florida should join in. The drugs in question are known as atypical anti-psychotics and include Risperdal, Abilify, Geodon and Seroquel ... Twenty-six states are exploring legal action against drug companies for unfair trade practices or consumer-p rotection violations (Florida is one of them; the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit served drug manufacturer Eli Lilly with a request in 2005 for information regarding its marketing of the drug Zyprexa.) Other states are being more aggressive; several have actually filed suit seeking to reclaim some of the millions spent on these drugs.

Documented State Lawsuits:

Antipsychotics - Florida Medicaid Rules:

24,394 signatures against



Untied States Joins False Claim Act Cases Against Three New Jersey Hospitals

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is BIG BIG BIG in the pushing of drugs on our kids!!!

United States Joins False Claims Act Cases Against Three New Jersey Hospitals - Health - RedOrbit


WWW.USDOJ.GOVCIV(202) 514-2007TDD (202) 514-1888

United States Joins False Claims Act Cases Against Three New Jersey Hospitals

WASHINGTON – The United States has intervened against three New Jersey hospitals in two whistleblower lawsuits alleging that the hospitals defrauded Medicare, the Justice Department announced today.

The three hospitals are Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton, Barnert Hospital in Paterson, and Bayonne Hospital.Both whistleblower lawsuits allege that the three hospitals fraudulently inflated their charges to Medicare patients to obtain enhanced reimbursement from Medicare.

In addition to its standard payment system, Medicare provides supplemental reimbursement, called "outlier payments," to hospitals and other health care providers in cases where the cost of care is unusually high.

Congress enacted the supplemental outlier payment system to ensure that hospitals possess the incentive to treat inpatients whose care requires unusually high costs.

Peter Salvatori, Sara C. Iveson and James T. Monahan filed their lawsuits in 2002 under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private citizens with knowledge of financial fraud against the government to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Mr. Salvatori and Ms. Iveson sued Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton and Barnert Hospital.

Mr. Monahan brought suit against Robert Wood Johnson and Bayonne Hospital.

Two of the hospitals, Barnert Hospital and Bayonne Hospital, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The United States' investigations of Robert Wood Johnson, Barnert Hospital and Bayonne Hospital were the result of a coordinated effort among the Justice Department `s Commercial Litigation Branch in the Civil Division; the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit; the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and Office of Counsel to the Inspector General; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.