Monday, March 31, 2008

Ex-drug salesman: We lured docs with gifts

Photo by Jess Gatley

We all want to think that our doctors prescribe pain pills for our aching backs because it’s what we need, and not because a charming ex-cheerleader turned drug company sales rep has invited him to a Red Sox game.

But, according to a former drug salesman, that second scenario may be closer to the truth.“We were the beautiful people,” Shahram Ahari, a former Eli Lilly “drug detailer,” told a group of Boston University medical students last week.

Former Eli Lilly ‘drug detailer’ Shahram Ahari speaks before a group of BU medical students last week.

He said that pharmaceutical companies’ aggressive marketing creates conflicts of interest and increases drug costs.

Ahari, who spent two years promoting drugs such as Prozac and Zyprexa, is telling the medical students what to watch out for when the sales reps come calling.

He is working with The Prescription Project, a group fighting the impact of pharmaceutical marketing on physicians’ prescription decisions.

The group contends that aggressive marketing to physicians by pharmaceutical companies creates conflicts of interest in the medical profession and raises questions about the appropriateness of treatment choices.

Many blame drug companies’ aggressive marketing efforts for a portion of the rise in health-care costs, because physicians are swayed into prescribing newer, more expensive medicines instead of older, less expensive brands.

To push their products, Ahari said, drug companies hire former models, cheerleaders and athletes to promote the new drugs to doctors.

His co-workers, he said, “were all beautiful, vivacious and fun,” but none of them had more than a high-school level science education.

Still, each day, they’d visit scores of medical offices, armed with gifts for the doctors, their staff and their family members, and samples of the drugs they were pushing.

When they weren’t treating the entire office to lunch, or handing out free tickets to sporting events, they’d wine and dine the doctors.

Ahari said he was allowed to spend $60,000 a year on meals.

Eli Lilly spokeswoman Judy Moore disputed Ahari’s account, saying that the company’s sales reps provide a “value-added resource for physicians.”

Ahari said most physicians think they are too smart to be influenced, but drug companies have learned otherwise from experience.

After a drug manufacturer took a group of physicians to an all-expenses-paid conference in the Caribbean, those same physicians began prescribing that drug in earnest.

“Physicians can be influenced like everyone else,” Ahari said. “We paid for that conference with all the prescriptions that came in the next month.”

Moore countered that Lilly’s sales reps help very busy physicians learn more about the cutting-edge products.

“Our reps know the products inside and out. They are professional, passionate and hard-working,” she said.

Here in Massachusetts, the state Senate has just rolled out its plan to contain the growth in health-care costs. The plan calls for an outright ban on pharmaceutical marketing gifts.

If approved, Massachusetts will be the first state to prohibit pharmaceutical sales reps from offering gifts and will ban physicians, their family and staff from accepting them. The bill also calls for uniform, electronic medical records and other cost-saving measures.

Watch a video of this former Zyprexa sales rep here:

Comments can be made here:

Woman runs down husband with car in church parking lot

KGW report on husband run down with car

Another Custody case gone bad? I'll ask again and again..when are they gonna get it?

07:49 AM PDT on Monday, March 31, 2008


A 20-year-old woman is in custody after police said she ran down her husband with her car in a church parking lot as service let out.

The incident started just after noon on Sunday as church services let out at St. James Catholic Church on Frances Street in Molalla.

Witnesses told police that the man and woman were arguing over a child custody situation.

As the woman started to drive away, church members reported that she rammed her car into the man, trapping him under her vehicle.

The victim was taken by Life Flight to Legacy Emanuel hospital in Portland to be treated for a life threatening head injury.

The woman was identified as Anabel Maldonado of Molalla. She was arrested and was lodged into the Clackamas County Jail.

Original Article-

Woman runs down husband with car in church parking lot Local News News for Oregon and SW Washington

Freed Ex-Governor of Alabama Talks of Abuse of Power

Abuse of Power? NO-WAY! (Shaking my head)

Freed Ex-Governor of Alabama Talks of Abuse of Power


Former Gov.
Don Siegelman of Alabama, released from prison Friday on bond in a bribery and corruption case, said he was as convinced as ever that politics had played a leading role in his prosecution.

Speaking by telephone in his first post-prison interview, shortly after he had left the federal penitentiary at Oakdale, La., Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited
Karl Rove, the former White House political director.

“His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case. He was sentenced to serve seven years last June after a guilty verdict on bribery and corruption charges a year earlier.

In measured tones after spending nine months at the prison, the former governor, a Democrat, said he would press to have Mr. Rove answer questions to Congress about his possible involvement in the case.

“When Attorney General Gonzales and Karl Rove left office in a blur, they left the truth buried in their documents,” Mr. Siegelman said, referring to Alberto R. Gonzales. “It’s going to be my quest to encourage Congress to ensure that Karl Rove either testifies, or takes the Fifth.”

Mr. Rove, who once ran judicial campaigns here and has long denied any involvement in the Siegelman case, could not be reached for comment Friday, but his lawyer, Robert Luskin, dismissed the accusation.

“There’s absolutely, positively, no truth to any of the allegations and literally no evidence for any of it,” Mr. Luskin said.

The House Judiciary Committee has already held a hearing on Mr. Siegelman and has called the former governor to testify at another.

On Thursday, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ordered Mr. Siegelman released while he appeals his conviction, overturning an earlier decision by an Alabama federal judge who had ruled that the former governor should remain in jail. State Democratic officials have accused that judge, Mark E. Fuller, of playing politics because of his close ties to Republicans.

The investigation, trial and conviction of Mr. Siegelman, a veteran politician, has become a flash point for broader Democratic contentions that politics has influenced decisions by the Justice Department under President Bush, including the firings of several United States attorneys, and other federal prosecutions besides Mr. Siegelman’s.

In June 2006, a federal jury here convicted Mr. Siegelman of taking $500,000 from Richard M. Scrushy, the former chief executive of the HealthSouth Corporation, in exchange for an appointment to the state hospital licensing board.

The money was to retire a debt from Mr. Siegelman’s campaign for a state lottery to pay for schools, and his lawyers have insisted it was no more than a routine political contribution. They also cited the fact that Mr. Scrushy had served on the licensing board under three previous governors, as an indication that appointment to it could not have been deemed a reward.

Federal prosecutors say Mr. Siegelman was liable on the loan, and thus had a personal interest in the money.

The appellate court ruling said Mr. Siegelman had raised “substantial questions” in his appeal. That was seen by the former governor’s lawyers and other supporters as a signal that their central contention — that he was wrongly convicted for ordinary political activity — has hope of prevailing.

At least one legal expert, previously skeptical of Mr. Siegelman’s arguments, said he was “surprised” by the new ruling, which he characterized as unusual.

“It’s quite rare for the appellate court to substitute its view and displace everything that came before,” said the expert, Stephen Gillers, a professor at
New York University School of Law.

The ruling was “not a promise of reversal, but it should give him great confidence,” said Mr. Gillers, suggesting that the ruling could have been influenced by “contextual” factors like the firings of the federal prosecutors.

Speaking by telephone outside the prison, Mr. Siegelman said he had confidence that the federal appeals court, which now considers his larger appeal, would agree with his view of the case.

Otherwise, he said, “every governor and every president and every contributor might as well turn themselves in, because it’s going to be open season on them.”

In Alabama, the Siegelman case has inflamed partisan passions, with Republicans describing Mr. Siegelman’s term from 1998 to 2002 as deeply corrupt, and Democrats furious over what they depict as a years-long political witch hunt.

In a sworn statement, a Republican lawyer and political operative, Jill Simpson, told of hearing one of Mr. Rove’s allies here, William Canary, discussing Mr. Siegelman during the 2002 governor’s race, and saying “that he had already gotten it worked out with Karl and Karl had spoken with the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice was already pursuing Don Siegelman.” The United States attorney here, Leura G. Canary, is married to Mr. Canary.

That statement has been the basis for a tide of speculation about possible conspiracies that continues to swirl here.

Mr. Siegelman has been one of this state’s most visible political figures for decades, having also served as secretary of state, attorney general and lieutenant governor. He was elected governor in 1998, but was narrowly defeated by a Republican in 2002, while he was under a much-publicized investigation.

Early Friday, the former governor completed his prison chores for the day — mopping a barracks area — and waited for his wife and son to pick him up for the eight-hour drive home to Birmingham, Ala.

“I was in prison,” Mr. Siegelman said afterward, when asked about his life at Oakdale. “I was treated like a prisoner. I’m not going to complain about the way I was treated.”

He added: “It feels great to be out. I wish I could say it was over. But we’re a long way from the end of this.”

Original Article -

Freed Ex-Governor of Alabama Talks of Abuse of Power - New York Times

Police: 3 children killed at Md. hotel

Another Custody dispute more children dead!

When are they going to wake up, to what is going on in the family courts?

3/30/2008, 7:13 p.m. PDT
The Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) — A man killed his three young children at a downtown hotel room, then called the front desk to report their deaths Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

Police officers who responded to the 10th-floor room at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards found the three children's bodies and Mark Castillo, 41, with minor cuts that appeared to have been self-inflicted, police spokesman Sterling Clifford said. He did know how the children were killed.

"Why he brought them here to do this is something we don't know yet," Clifford said.

Police identified the children as Anthony, 6, Austin, 4, and Athena, 2.

Castillo of Silver Spring, which is about 35 miles south of Baltimore, was taken to a hospital for treatment and was being questioned by investigators, the spokesman said.

Clifford said investigators had not determined how the children died, but said they hadn't been shot or stabbed.

The children's mother was notified, Clifford said. It wasn't clear who had legal custody of the children, he said.

An online search of Maryland court records showed Mark and Amy Castillo were involved in a child custody dispute.

A telephone call Sunday night by The Associated Press to a number listed for Amy W. Castillo in Silver Spring was answered by a voice mail message that said the caller had reached the home of Amy Castillo and Anthony, Austin and Athena.

Original Article -
Police: 3 children killed at Md. hotel - NewsFlash -

Update -
Names released in child murders at Marriott

Posted by Jeff Quinton on March 30, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Updating a previous story….

The Sun:

The man, identified as Mark Castillo, 41, of Silver Spring, called the desk at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards around 1:15 p.m. Sunday and said he had just killed his two sons and daughter, said police spokesman Sterling Clifford. Police identified the children as Anthony, 6, Austin, 4, and Athena, 2.

Castillo was taken to a hospital for treatment of the cuts and is in police custody.
Many guests at the hotel on Sunday afternoon were unaware of what had happened, particularly because the killings took place on the top floor.

The only clues that something out of the ordinary was going on were a few television trucks parked outside and a police officer by the elevator bank asking guests what floor they were heading to.


The cause of death was not immediately determined, but the police spokesman said they had not been shot or stabbed.


The children’s mother was notified Sunday, but details about custody of the children had not been determined, Clifford said.

A search of court records for Mark Castillo showed domestic violence cases and a protracted custody dispute between him and Amy Castillo.

A telephone call Sunday night by The Associated Press to a number listed for Amy W. Castillo in Silver Spring was answered by a voice mail message that said the caller had reached the home of Amy Castillo and Anthony, Austin and Athena.


Children murdered at Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards

Original Article- With comments

Names released in child murders at Marriott

Sunday, March 30, 2008


As most of my readers know I have a lawsuit against the City of New York and the Administration of Children's Services aka CPS for Malicious Prosecution and Negligent misrepresentation in Supreme Court as a civil case.

Anywho, I was looking up the statue of limitations for a Title 42 USC Section 1983 case in Federal Court. That would allow me to add my estranged husband, the attorneys and Judges that have violated my civil rights into a condensenced case in Federal Court.

Well in my research I came accross something that made me laugh out loud, so although it's somewhat off my normal blogging I have to share.. to funny to let this one slide..


Here's an unusual case for you.

The Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th Judicial Districts, recently examined a lawsuit where the plaintiff sought damages for "harassment," "defamation," "malicious prosecution," and, "[w]asting time and mak[ing] me sick." The Queens County Civil Court dismissed these claims since the plaintiff's pleading failed to state a legally cognizable basis upon which relief could be granted. And, on appeal, the appellate court affirmed that outcome.

First and foremost, New York State does not recognize a civil claim based on "harassment," except in the case of a regulated tenant (and, apparently, this litigation did not involve a rent-regulated apartment).*

A claim predicated on "defamation," typically defined as words which wrongfully impugn an individual's honesty, integrity, sanity, or the like, requires that the offending language be included in a party's pleading. And, in the absence of that recitation, a case "must" be dismissed. (Of course, this plaintiff failed to provide the pertinent quotes in his complaint.)**

"Malicious prosecution," on the other hand, generally applies when an action or proceeding was started by a party against you, was decided in your favor, there was no justifiable basis to bring the case, and, you were damaged as a result of the wrongful conduct. In this instance, since the plaintiff did not establish that a prior lawsuit had been commenced and adjudicated in his favor, that particular aspect of the dispute could not survive.

Finally, since existing law does not recognize a recovery for someone "wasting your time and making you sick," that final component of the litigation was also denied resurrection.

Just think how much richer we'd all be if the law permitted us to sue whenever someone wasted our time or made us sick. (Don't know about you, but I'd be a trillionaire.)

For a copy of the Appellate Term's decision in Gabara v. Bodajlo, please click the following link:

Here it is - I swear you can't make this shit up...

New York Real Estate Lawyers' Blog - New York Real Estate Litigation Attorneys' Blog - Finkelstein Newman Ferrara LLP

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Eli Lilly to pay $15 million in first of many cases

Anchorage Daily News
State settles lawsuit over lack of warnings on dangerous drug -
Eli Lilly to pay $15 million in first of many cases
March 27, 2008 By LISA DEMER

AL GRILLO / The Associated Press

Nina Gussack, left, and George Lehner, center, attorneys for Eli Lilly and Co., talk with Tommy Fibich, attorney for the State of Alaska, during a break March 26, 2008, after a settlement was reached in the state's lawsuit over the use of Zyprexa in its Medicaid program.

Just days before its case would have gone to a jury, the state settled a lawsuit against Eli Lilly over the drug Zyprexa for $15 million in a deal that disappointed lawyers fighting in court for the state but was still a “good result,” according to Attorney General Talis Colberg.

A team of Outside lawyers in court every day for the state didn’t want to settle. One of them, Scott Allen of Houston, Texas, didn’t show up Wednesday for the announcement.

“I got the sense they were disappointed and I don’t blame them,” said Ed Sniffen, a senior assistant attorney general who supervised the case for the state.

Jurors, some of whom filled legal pads with notes during the trial, seemed surprised when Rindner told them they would not be asked for a verdict. Afterward, they talked about their views of the case with lawyers and the judge, sharing what they thought for the first time.

Three of the 12 jurors were leaning toward Lilly and the rest were for the state, but the Lilly-leaning group probably would have gone the state’s way after talking it out, said juror No. 1, Dennis Jump, who counted himself in the minority.

“I guess in the end, Lilly … pushed a line and they probably at points pushed it too far,” Jump said. He thought the benefits of Zyprexa for conditions like schizophrenia outweighed the risks, but not for depression, a market that Lilly hoped to reach.

Zyprexa was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration in 1996 for treatment of schizophrenia and later for bi-polar disorder.

Rindner ruled before the trial to exclude a state claim that Lilly improperly promoted the drug for other conditions, but state lawyers still got in some evidence about off-label use though they didn’t call it that. Jurors heard testimony about a 2001 guide for Lilly sales representatives that pitched Zyprexa as treatment for depression and mood changes.

Jennifer Mitchell, another juror, said she was disappointed she didn’t get to hear all of Lilly’s evidence “but that said, the State of Alaska had a really strong case.”

Internal Lilly e-mail presented by the state in which one executive urged the company to come clean especially struck her, she said. While Lilly may not have known at the start about Zyprexa’s serious health risks, once the drug had been on the market a couple of years, the company had enough reports about “adverse reactions” to put a clear warning on its label, she said.

“A definite cover-up,” is how another juror, Misty Steed, described Lilly’s tactics. Lilly was trying to minimize the risks and it tortured the data from studies, she said.

The jurors all knew they were sitting on an important case.

“I was concerned about what this is doing not only to Alaska, but also the nation,” Steed said.

“The jurors got it,” said Tommy Fibich, a Houston lawyer on the state team. “There were some people on there that absolutely blew me away with the breadth of the knowledge of some of the subtleties and nuances of our evidence.”

More here-

New York Times
Alaska Suit Against Lilly Is Settled
March 27, 2008

The prospect of a pending Supreme Court case that could sweep away many lawsuits against drug companies loomed over Alaska’s decision to settle the state’s suit against Eli Lilly over the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa, lawyers for Lilly and the state said Wednesday.

Alaska had sued to recoup medical bills it said were generated by Medicaid patients who developed diabetes while taking Zyprexa. But on Wednesday it agreed to settle for $15 million — a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages that Ed Sniffen, Alaska’s senior assistant attorney general, had said the state was seeking when the trial opened three weeks ago.

On Wednesday, though, Mr. Sniffen said he was satisfied with the deal, in which Lilly did not admit wrongdoing.

“It’s a good settlement,” Mr. Sniffen said. “Probably not a great settlement, but I think it’s a good settlement.”

Good, at least, in light of that looming Supreme Court case. Mr. Sniffen noted that in October 2008, the Supreme Court is expected to hear Wyeth v. Levine, in which the drug maker Wyeth argues that federal laws bar, or “pre-empt,” most state court lawsuits filed by patients who say they were injured by drugs they have taken.

Based on last month’s 8-to-1 Supreme Court ruling in favor of pre-emption in a similar case about medical devices, the court is assumed to be leaning in favor of the drug industry in the Wyeth case. And so plaintiffs’ lawyers and state attorneys general are worried that they could have many of their pending claims dismissed when the court decides Wyeth.

Even cases that have already reached trial could be vulnerable, since drug makers almost always appeal jury verdicts against them, extending cases for months, if not years.

“We had this issue with the Supreme Court deciding pre-emption this fall that could have completely unwound any victory we might have had,” Mr. Sniffen said. Nina Gussack, a lawyer for Pepper Hamilton, which represented Lilly, agreed that pre-emption concerns had played a major role in the settlement.

“The state took a very strong and hard look at their case, and recognized that even if they were successful, they had a substantial chance of losing their case on pre-emption grounds,” Ms. Gussack said.

Given the fact that Alaska has fewer than 700,000 residents, and only 6,300 Medicaid patients taking Zyprexa, the $15 million payment is larger than it first seems.

More here-

Psychiatrists Are Considering a New Mental Disorder- Excessive E-mailing and Texting!

The media is now running a story.
See here:,2933,341434,00.html saying psychiatrists are considering a new mental disorder!

Excessive e-mailing and texting! Sign the Brand New Petition - -
To: The American Psychiatric Association and Psych Drug Manufacturers:

Texting is not a Mental "Disorder".
Take Your Mental Disorders and Your Psych Drugs and Your Unscientific Diagnostic & Statistical Manual and Shove Them!

Waterloo baby's death prompts state review of child-welfare system


Iowa lawmakers and top human service officials promised to review possible holes in the state's child-welfare system in the wake of the death of a Waterloo baby whose family was being monitored by the state for more than a year.
Kevin Concannon, director of the Department of Human Services, and about a dozen lawmakers provided few additional public details after meeting behind closed doors Wednesday morning at the Statehouse.
However, they did say they were reviewing the case -- in which Antwuan Williams Jr. and two young siblings were alleged to have suffered serious abuse prior to the death -- to see if and where the system failed.
"This is the absolute worst thing that can happen," Concannon said. "
We will be trying to find out if there was any other human way we could have picked up" on the abuse.
Lawmakers requested a face-to-face meeting with Concannon after a Des Moines Sunday Register investigation detailed how child-welfare officials found Antwuan Jr's parents fit to parent again just prior to the 8-month-old's death.
Both parents were deemed responsible in a "founded" DHS report for abuse of Antwuan Jr.'s sister, Ziarah, who suffered four to six fractures in 2006, when she was just three months old. DHS recommended their parental rights be terminated because of that abuse.

Instead, a judge, prosecutors and DHS officials all agreed to send Ziarah home from state-supervised care in January, more than a year after the initial abuse report. Antwuan Jr. died Feb. 12 of "non-accidental inflicted head trauma."

The children's 22-year-old father, the sole care provider when the baby was found unresponsive at home, has been charged with first-degree murder.

"We failed this child," said Ro Foege, a Democrat who serves as co-chair of the Legislature's bipartisan health and human services subcommittee.

Still unclear is whether child-welfare officials made an error in judgment or if greater safeguards could have prevented the abuse.

Concannon said the records obtained by the Register, which were cited in the Sunday report, did not show progress made by the family before Ziarah Williams was returned home.

He said the child's court-appointed lawyer, a DHS worker and private human-service workers all considered her safe to return home after the parents cooperated with child-welfare officials and remained open to unannounced visits to their home.

"The child would not have been returned home if that were not the case," he said.

However, infants and babies, who are universally considered the most defenseless in the child-welfare system, are supposed to receive special protection by DHS under a new design of the child-welfare system begun in 2004. Federal law also allows states to permanently terminate parental rights in cases involving serious abuse of babies after just six months in state care.

The DHS and court records obtained by the Register showed all three of the Williams's children had multiple fractures, bruises and/or bite marks at the time of Antwuan Jr.'s death. The abuse occurred in spite of a host of services paid for by the state.

Original Article-

Waterloo baby's death prompts state review of child-welfare system The Des Moines Register

Distraught Grandmother Assaults CPS Case Worker

Updated: March 26, 2008 04:55 PM EDT


A local woman is facing felony charges for attacking a CPS worker Tuesday morning.

KRIS 6 News learned the woman was upset over a court decision earlier that morning to turn her grandson over to the custody of his biological father.

She and her daughter went visit her grandson at the local offices of Child Protective Services, but police say the woman became upset and hit the case worker.

Because the CPS worker is a public servant employed by the state, the charge will be assault of a public servant, which is a felony charge.

The case worker was taken to the hospital for a cut above her eye.

Online Reporter: Bianca Castro

Original Article-

Corpus Christi, TX KRISTV.COM Distraught Grandmother Assaults CPS Case Worker

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NEWS- Social dis-services? Dad sues for $4 mil over alleged molestation

by COURTENEY STUART, published June 14, 2007

Four million dollars. That's the price tag a Nelson County man has placed on his suffering following a two-and-a-half year ordeal with Albemarle County Social Services.

In a civil suit filed in December 2006 in federal court against four social services employees and one Newport News psychologist, the man-- using the pseudonym John T. Nelson-- charges that beginning in December 2004, four Albemarle County employees "did not simply botch an investigation into highly dubious allegations of child abuse; they used their official positions and the profound powers afforded them to ignore clear evidence of false allegations."

A source familiar with the case says the father is being punished for breaking off an engagement to his pregnant fiancee. The would-be wife denies this.

Among the suit's allegations: that the experts procured a faulty psychological evaluation of the six-year-old girl despite "numerous credible express refutations of it as well as other clear evidence of its false nature."

The suit also alleges that Social Services gave the child's mother, given the pseudonym "Cathy Rio" in the suit, 24 hours advance notice prior to the evaluation conducted by Newport News therapist Viola Vaughan-Eden knowing that the mother was prone to "coaching" the child, an allegation the mother denies.

That allegedly faulty evaluation is what prompted Social Services to render a "founded" disposition, "Level 1," against Nelson, the most serious finding possible and one which permanently places the alleged offender on a public central registry. A neutral hearing officer later overturned the finding, the suit states, after determining the child's psychological evaluation was unreliable.

To this day, the suit says, Nelson is permitted just three hours supervised visitation with his daughter per week. In the interest of protecting the child, the Hook is not releasing the identities of the parents involved, however the mother issued this statement regarding the suit.

"He's just doing to the county what he's done to my family for years," she says. "He's claiming that everyone is conspiring against him when the truth is he's been allowed to hurt people and bully and harass everyone and has gotten special treatment because of his political connections. My whole family has been through hell, and we pray that this will stop soon."

Nelson declined comment, however the suit says he has taken a battery of tests including a lie detector and one designed to detect sexual interest in children. He passed both, the suit states.

His attorney, Kirk Schroder, declined comment citing a gag order.

Defendant Vaughan-Eden did not return the Hook's calls. The others named are Albemarle employees Lori Green, Cindy Casey, John Freeman, and Kathy Ralston, director of Albemarle County Social Services. Ralston directed all inquiries about the case to attorney John Zunka, who did not return the Hook's calls by presstime.

Albemarle County employees' legal expenses are paid by a county insurance policy, according to County spokesperson Lee Catlin.

Regardless of the veracity of Nelson's suit, there is little disagreement over the notion that child sexual abuse is a menace. This past fall, a new nonprofit, the Foothills Child Advocacy Center, announced its plan to provide a comfortable place for sexually abused children to tell their stories and, hopefully, find justice with little additional trauma.

According to Gretchen Ellis, director of the Charlottesville Albemarle Commission on Children and Families, a nonprofit that distributes $15 million from the city and county to foster and other at-risk children, Foothills has treated 59 victims in its first 10 months; 50 of those were victims of sexual abuse.

More than 60 percent of alleged local offenders are parents or other trusted adults, and Ellis expects the number of children the Center has served is below the actual number of abused children. An ongoing investigation by the Bedford, Virginia-based Internet Crimes Against Children task force also shows a serious problem with pedophilia in the Charlottesville area. In January 2007 alone, the task force detected nearly 150 individual computers downloading child pornography in this area.

Lori Green-- named in the suit-- spoke to the Hook in October for an article on the Foothills Child Advocacy Center and said that getting a conviction against an abuser is difficult.

"Juries don't want to believe that caretakers can do this to their children," said Green, who added that accusations often come out during divorces and that defendants and their lawyers often claim the other parent is "coaching." Green admitted then that coaching is possible, but she believed it unlikely that one parent could get a child to lie about the other parent on the stand.

The child, said Green, "is risking their whole world and that of their parent."

Nelson is not the first man to take action with his anger at Social Services. In the Hook's October 16, 2003 cover story "Saving Sarah: Satan worship, sex abuse, and Dr. Martin Stein," Tom Manuel revealed his nearly decade long struggle to reconnect with his daughter after being accused by his ex-wife-- he maintained falsely-- of molesting his daughter.

In that case, the psychiatrist who heard his daughter's claims-- Washington, D.C.-based Martin Stein-- was later stripped of his license for a variety of violations, including showing Manuel's then-11-year-old daughter pictures of animals copulating and touching her developing breasts. Yet even in light of the new evidence, Albemarle Social Services, Manuel claimed, refused to reconsider his case and would not comment on the matter for the Hook's article.

Although Manuel and his daughter, Sarah, reconciled when she was in her early twenties and had repealed all her claims against him, the happy-ever-after ending was cut short. Manuel died in 2005 of colon cancer.

His widow, Kathleen Manuel, says the Nelson case brings back horrible memories of the state's Department of Social Services, or DSS.

"I can't know for sure whether or not this father is guilty of abusing his daughter," she says, "but I do know that my husband and I were entirely innocent and were found guilty, as he has been, by DSS."

Original Article -

Monday, March 24, 2008

Judge rules suit against 'Law & Order' creator may continue

Apparently this Ravi Batra's attorney got a little off track and forgot WHO it was that "recklessly undermined public confidence in the rule of law and the noble judiciary"

(Shrug), perhaps I'm confused and read this wrong.. you decide!


Judge rules suit against 'Law & Order' creator may continue

NEW YORK — In the criminal justice system of television's "Law & Order," the plots are derived from two separate yet equally important groups: the television writers who shape the intricate episodes, and the real-life characters who inspire those writers. This is one of their stories.

Ravi Batra, a Manhattan lawyer, filed a lawsuit in 2004 against Dick Wolf, the creator of the television series, arguing that the plot of a November 2003 episode defamed him by including an unsavory character, Ravi Patel, who was modeled on him. In a decision made public on Wednesday, Justice Marilyn Shafer of state Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected a motion by Wolf's lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit.

Batra, who was born in India and is active in Brooklyn politics, entered the spotlight after the April 2003 arrest of Gerald P. Garson, a justice in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn who was charged with granting a divorce lawyer, Paul Siminovsky, preferential treatment in exchange for vacations, dinners and gifts.

It emerged that Garson had agreed to wear a wire to gather evidence that a seat on the bench could be purchased with bribes to Assemblyman
Clarence Norman Jr., who was the Brooklyn Democratic leader. Norman was subsequently convicted of other charges: extortion, soliciting illegal contributions from a lobbyist and stealing $5,000 from his re-election committee. Garson was convicted on charges of accepting bribes and official misconduct. Both men went to prison.

Batra was not charged with anything, but his political connections were widely reported at the time: Norman was counsel to Batra's firm, and Batra served on the Brooklyn Democratic judicial screening committee.

In the "Law & Order" episode, the discovery of a body floating in the Hudson River leads to the uncovering of a judicial corruption scandal. A female judge in Brooklyn is shown socializing with a bald Indian-American lawyer, Ravi Patel, from whom she accepts cash bribes.

Batra filed his lawsuit under a doctrine known as libel-in-fiction. To win his case, he must demonstrate that the identities of the real and fictional characters "must be so complete that the defamatory material" becomes a "plausible aspect" of the plaintiff's real life, Shafer wrote in her ruling, quoting case law.

Wolf's lawyers argued that the similarities between Batra and the Patel character were "abstract," but Batra argued that "because of the uniqueness of his name, ethnicity and appearance," any viewer watching the episode and familiar with the news would identify the character with Batra.

Batra demonstrated that at the time the episode aired, he was one of only six lawyers in New York City with the given name Ravi and the only one of the six with the same age and physical description as the Patel character.

Wolf's lawyers pointed out differences between reality and fiction: Unlike the Patel character, Batra is based in Manhattan, never appeared before the corrupt judge and has not been implicated in any wrongdoing.

The judge was unsympathetic.

"None of these facts would be known to a viewer, aware of Batra only through the media coverage" of the Garson scandal, Shafer wrote, adding that there was "a reasonable likelihood that the ordinary viewer, unacquainted with Batra personally, could understand Patel's corruption to be the truth about Batra."

The ruling allows the case to move forward to discovery. Batra, in a phone interview, said he felt vindicated. "This is a landmark case, because the impartiality and independence of the judiciary is critical to society, and 'Law & Order,' a reality show, recklessly undermined public confidence in the rule of law and the noble judiciary."

Pam Golum, a spokeswoman for Wolf Films, Wolf's production company, said she could not comment on a pending lawsuit.

Original Article -

Judge rules suit against 'Law & Order' creator may continue --

My Reply- #21 Lets see if they leave it up or take it down like so many other comments I've left exposing the truth.

Wait a second here, let me get this straight. Is Ravi Batra claiming that this show on Law and Order possibly undermined the publics confidence in our judiciary, with this statement?

"This is a landmark case, because the impartiality and independence of the judiciary is critical to society, and 'Law & Order,' a reality show, recklessly undermined public confidence in the rule of law and the noble judiciary."

I must ask, is it possible that Gerald Garson and Paul Siminovsky reminded the public that children are for sale in the Judiciary?

Did I miss something here but isn't that WHY they both sat in prison, because they sold children to which ever parent paid the bribe in order to win the custody battle?

Call me confused but Law and Order weren't the ones that "recklessly undermined public confidence in the rule of law and the noble judiciary."

And trust me when I say this, I can prove that what Garson and Siminovsky did weren't isolated incidents that have "recklessly undermined public confidence in the rule of law and the noble judiciary."

Louise Uccio

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Proposed bill AB 1877 in California - BIG PROBLEM

Dear Friends,

AB 1877 (Adams) is being heard on by the CA Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday March 25. This bill would make disclosing a custody evaluation report an act that would potentially allow the court to sanction you and remove your child. This is a report you paid a great deal of money for. This would mean that you could not show the report to an oversight agency, your therapist, law enforcement, or any organization trying to bring sunlight into the dark family court system.

This email is of interest to professionals also.

Please let the following Assembly Members and staff know your thoughts on this matter ASAP.

You can also contact the Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee:
Dave Jones at (916) 324-4676 or fax (916) 327-3338.

If you want more information on the Assembly Members, please go to

ACS Frameset7,,,,,,,,,,



AB 1877, as amended, Adams.

Child custody evaluations:confidentiality.

Existing law provides that in any contested proceeding involvingchild custody or visitation rights, the court may appoint a childcustody evaluator to conduct a child custody evaluation in caseswhere the court determines it is in the best interests of the child.If directed by the court, the court-appointed child custody evaluatorshall file a written confidential report on his or her evaluation,which report shall not be made available other than as specified. Inaddition, any information obtained from access to a juvenile courtcase file is confidential and shall only be disseminated asspecified.

This bill would provide that the unwarranted disclosure of thereport may result in the imposition by the court of specifiedsanctions. Furthermore, when making orders regarding the physical orlegal custody of the child, the court shall consider the unwarranteddisclosure of the report in determining the best interests of thechild. The bill would require that the Judicial Council, by January1, 2010, adopt a form that informs the report recipient of theconfidentiality of the report and the potential consequences for theunwarranted disclosure of the report; and adopt a rule to requirethat, when a court-ordered child custody evaluation report is servedon the parties, the form shall be included with the report.

U.S. Rep. Conyers: La. inmates were wrongly convicted

The following post may seem somewhat off topic on this blog, but I see it as just another injustice done to the innocent so here it is ...

Associated Press -

March 21, 2008 7:24 PM


The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee says two Louisiana prison inmates -- former Black Panthers in solitary confinement since the 1970s -- were wrongly convicted.Representative John Conyers didn't say that inmates Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox should be released. But in a written statement, the Detroit Democrat urged a "swift and just resolution" of the matter.Conyers says he recently became aware of evidence that may suggest both Wallace and Woodfox were wrongly convicted in the death of a guard at the Louisiana State Pententiary.Conyers visited with the men for two hours yesterday.

Original Article -

Study: Media perpetuates unsubstantiated chemical imbalance theory of depression

Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

The theory that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance is often presented in the media as fact even though there is little scientific evidence to support it, according to a new study co-authored by a Florida State University visiting lecturer.

Jeffrey Lacasse, an FSU doctoral candidate and visiting lecturer in the College of Social Work, and Jonathan Leo, a neuroanatomy professor at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, found that reporters who included statements in news articles about depression being caused by a chemical imbalance, or a lack of serotonin in the brain, were unable to provide scientific evidence to support those statements.

Lacasse and Leo spent about a year in late 2006 and 2007 monitoring the daily news for articles that included statements about chemical imbalances and contacting the authors to request evidence that supported their statements. Several reporters, psychiatrists and a drug company responded to the researchers' requests, but Lacasse and Leo said they did not provide documentation that supported the chemical imbalance theory. Their findings were published in the journal Society.

"The media's presentation of the theory as fact is troublesome because it misrepresents the current status of the theory," Lacasse said. "For instance, there are few scientists who will rise to its defense, and some prominent psychiatrists publicly acknowledge that the serotonin hypothesis is more metaphor than fact. As the current study documents, when asked for evidence, reporters were unable to cite peer-reviewed primary articles in support of the theory."

Moreover, the researchers said, several of the responses received from reporters seem to suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory's scientific status. The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," which almost all psychiatrists use to diagnose and treat their patients, clearly states that the cause of depression and anxiety is unknown, according to Lacasse and Leo.

More here:


The Kathy Fountain show, a Tampa TV talk show, discusses chemical imbalance:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Thank You - For this information

Defense opens in Zyprexa trial

Anchorage Daily News


March 22nd, 2008

In an Alaska courtroom, drug maker Eli Lilly is finally getting to defend itself against accusations that it failed to warn doctors and patients of health problems from its best-seller, Zyprexa.

The judge suggested Lilly has its work cut out for it.

Alaska bikers unaffected by Lillly's Zyprexa
Without lawsuits like the one the State of Alaska brought against Lilly, claims that drugs cause health problems "might well go unaddressed," Anchorage Superior Court Judge Mark Rindner said from the bench this week.

The jury was out of the room. The state had just rested. Lilly asked the judge to issue an immediate verdict in its favor, a routine step at that point in a trial.

Rindner was reacting to an assertion by Lilly lawyer George Lehner that drug regulation is a matter for the federal Food and Drug Administration, not any state. Alaska's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act shouldn't apply to drugs, Lehner told the judge.

Rindner disagreed. Evidence presented by the state over the past two weeks established that the FDA "isn't capable of policing this matter," he said.

Jurors have been hearing testimony since March 6 about Zyprexa, used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The state is suing for hundreds of millions of dollars to cover costs to Medicaid for treating what it says are Zyprexa-related health problems including weight gain, high blood sugar and diabetes.

See here for the rest of the story:

Thank You - for this story

A Child’s Point of View about Foster Care

Dear Big People, judges, Caseworkers, foster parents, adoptive parents, Guardian Ad Litems, and the public,

I want to talk to you about what it feels like to live in the foster care system when you are a little kid, even though I am not sure you are really interested. I want to tell you how it feels to have many parents and homes in a very short period of time. How these losses add up for these children and the spirit of these children die a little with each new home, each new set parents, and each “disruption” of our lives.

While moving from one place to the next we lose more of who we were and change a little more towards who we will become. In the process of being moved from one “home” to the next, we lose our brothers and sisters, our worldly belongings, and where we came from one piece at a time. We start forgetting what our birth mothers and fathers smelled like with each turn of the washing machine with the new laundry soap used in the newest “home” that will never last because we don’t belong.

See, kids like me are not allowed to have our families and we will never belong to the new families. We begin to believe there is something wrong with us. We will never get a family of our own because our birth families didn’t want us so how can anyone else’s family want us. When we do get the chance to be part of a “permanent” new family it’s usually too late for us to believe we are lovable and that we will be allowed to stay because of all the things we have been told or that we have over heard the Big People in our new lives say.

Some have said my real mom didn’t protect me from bad things that my only daddy did to me. Others tell me I need to tell them everything that was done to me so they can help my mommy know how to protect me when I go home. Some say my mommy didn’t want me, while others say my mommy gave me away so she could be with a man. The lies we are told add up for us to make us believe nothing is really, nothing is good, and everything is bad.

I guess I am not supposed to miss my mommy or my brother that got to stay home with my mommy. It would make your jobs easier if I didn’t miss my mommy and my brother because you wouldn’t have to tell me again and again I won’t be able to see them again if I don’t stop crying and being upset after I do finally get to see them. Why can’t you Big People understand that I am ticked off, lonely, and worried all the time now because I know my mommy wasn’t perfect, but at least in our home I knew what would happen today and tomorrow, but now I never know what you big people are going to do next to my life? The yearning for my family, our traditions, our beliefs, and our attachments will never go away, even though in time I will get good at hiding these yearnings from you and even myself.


You, Big People, promised me I could stay with my family and then took me to live with strangers, you lied. You promised me I could go home if I told you everything you wanted to know, but what you meant was “if I told you everything you wanted to know the way you believed things happened,” you wouldn’t believe the truth, so you didn’t let me go home, again you lied. You said the judge would make everything safe for me, but he didn’t because the hearings were continued repeatedly. You said I would stay in that second foster home until I could go home, but then sent me to my birth father’s home. Then you sent me to another foster home because still you said it wasn’t safe for me to go home to my mommy. Then you moved me to another of my birth father’s family members. Then another foster home for Thanks Giving because you had changed your minds about me being with certain family members, only to go back to where I was before the holiday and than onto another foster home. How am I to believe you will ever tell me the truth? You, big people, think I should remain sweet, kind, and adorable, all the while ready to connect to yet another family that will throw me away.


Did you think I would continue to take it all lying down? After a while, I had lost too many people that I did care about, that I was attached to, and that I might have been able to care about or attach to that, I stopped trying. I had too many new mommies and daddies that would never be my parents because they will never hold me tightly in their hearts because I’m not really theirs and never can be because I am my birth families’ child.

None of you will ever get why my heart, mind, and behaviors have changed by what you have done to me and allowed to be done to me. So, why would I now ever allow you to imagine for even a minute that I trust you, need you, or even like you or myself? You don’t understand why I am fighting you for control because you have never felt as powerless as I do. You don’t understand why I have stopped talking to you because you have never had everyone ignore you. You don’t understand why I have become angry and hostile because you have never lost every one and everything that made your world your world. You don’t understand why I why I distrust everything and every one, including myself, because you have never had to try to be a hundred different people before you are a teenager. Your imagination will always be safer and warmer than mine because you have never let yourself see what you have done to me and all the other kids that have fallen into the world of foster care.

You never noticed how your actions affected me, but I NOTICED AND IT MATTERS A LOT TO ME!!! I am not stupid, nor am I blind; I do pay attention because it all matters to me. I noticed when you took me from my parents, no one came to take and keep their place, and something started to happen to me.

A little bit of my spirit started to die.

I started doing things to myself to cause physical pain to take away some of the emotional pain. I know it doesn’t make sense to join with all the others that have hurt me, but I do it any ways. Its what I have been taught that I deserve because I had to have done something bad for me to be so unlovable. I don’t care anymore who I am safe with because I never feel safe. Does it really matter any more? I start making sure that anyone trying to get close to me will regret even trying because this way they can never hurt me. I start trying to make everyone feel as helpless and small as I have felt for so long.

Are you wondering yet what I do want, what I do need, or what I would do if I had all the power?

The answers are simple. 1. I would make sure I never forgot that the child I am “protecting” is a human and he or she is watching everything I do. I will remember that everything I do matters immensely to that child’s life and well-being. 2. I will never forget that the child will always yearn for his or her birth family. I would make sure there are pictures and frequent contact between the child and their birth family when ever possible so they can keep some kind of a connection with who and where they came from. 3. I would fight to have all decisions I make for the child held in place and only make changes when there is no other option. I have the power to make these decisions, the child does not, therefore it is important for me to make the best decisions and stick to them. 4. I would be honest with the child’s family, the child, and any foster parents the child may need to be placed with. I will make sure that I provide support services for each party involved in the child’s life to answer questions and give encouragement and needed support to better understand the child’s needs.

You can treat me as if I am invisible and you may even get away with it for long enough for me to be placed with another agency or for you to get another job. Yet, in your heart of hearts, you will always know that I was watching everything you did or did not do for me, my feelings about what was happening to me, that I needed someone to act as if it mattered hugely to them too, and what I became because of your actions or inactions.

So, do you have any better understanding of how all of us kids that have fallen into the world of foster care? I know you have a hard job caring and making decisions for all of us. I know you get nervous to realize that we are all watching you and affected by all that you do. I can also tell you that you won’t be sorry if you take me seriously because you see, someday we will be BIG PEOPLE.

Now, give THAT a thought before making your decisions about my life.

The invisible foster care children.

Friday, March 21, 2008

How Michigan's big system failed a little boy

Please read the dates mentioned below in RED -VERY CAREFULLY, Ignore what they want you to read and read what you see!

Then understand that it was 1996 when the Adoption Safe Families Act came about- GIVING INCENTIVES TO THE STATES FOR EACH CHILD THEY ADOPTED OUT!

Hello??? I hope those of you that understand busniess get it- give us money for each child that we adopt out? Grab any and every warm body you can find and adopt them out!

Overhaul may be only hope

The beating death of 2-year-old Isaac Lethbridge in foster care exposes a stubbornly persistent pattern of failures in Michigan’s child welfare system, despite several attempts at reform. The overburdened system has seen the number of children in foster care rise steadily since the mid-1990s even as the state resources to handle them shrank. Isaac was the third young child to die under the state’s watch in the last 18 months.

Original Article -

How Michigan's big system failed a little boy Detroit Free Press

More of my 2 cents -
Skim through these pages for the Title IV Federal funding info and use your own common sense!

Federal Funding and Federal Laws Petition : [ powered by ]

Teen accused of killing family to undergo psychiatric evaluation

Assessment to help determine if Browning will be tried as juvenile or adult

By Jennifer McMenamin Sun reporter

A Baltimore County judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation today for the Cockeysville teenager accused of killing his parents and younger brothers.

Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger said he will use the assessment "for the purpose of advising the court .. on the mental state of the defendant," which is one element he must consider in deciding whether 16-year-old Nicholas W. Browning should be tried in the juvenile system or remain in adult court.

This afternoon marked the first time that Browning has appeared in court since being charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four handgun offenses in the fatal shootings of his family on Feb. 2.

Dressed in a plaid shirt and dark blue pants with his formerly floppy blond hair trimmed short, Browning did not speak to the judge. He kept his eyes downcast and clasped his hands behind his back as the judge formally read each of the four murder charges filed against him.

Several family members seated behind him appeared to fight back tears as the names of the victims were read from the indictment: his parents, John W. Browning and Tamara Browning, and his younger brothers, 14-year-old Gregory and 11-year-old Benjamin.

All four were sleeping in their Cockeysville home when they were killed.

Original Article-

Blogger: Disgusted with the system - Create Post

Medicaid reviews drug spending on mental health

North Dakota Photo: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Photograph by Michael Melford

State after State - more stories to come:

Your wisdom can be expressed in a letter to the editor here:

Minot Daily News (North Dakota)

March 21, 2008

North Dakota’s Medicaid program has begun a two-year study of a class of medicines that has raised concerns in several other states.

However, the state’s review of prescribing patterns for atypical anti-psychotics is focused on the high cost of the medicines rather than the prescription controversies that exist elsewhere.

Ten state Medicaid programs, including one in Montana, have filed lawsuits against drug maker Eli Lilly, alleging the company illegally promoted Zyprexa, an atypical anti-psychotic. The first case went to trial in Alaska this month.

Eli Lilly has been under federal investigation since 2004 for its methods of marketing Zyprexa to doctors for treating mild bipolar disorder and dementia in elderly patients. Use in elderly patients has been linked to deaths.

Brendan Joyce, pharmacist with North Dakota Medicaid, said attorneys in a class action case have notified the state that some North Dakota patients are included in a lawsuit against Eli Lilly. Should defendants win an award, the Medicaid program would share a portion as reimbursement of its prescription costs.

Atypical anti-psychotic prescriptions in Medicaid dropped by about 66 percent after Medicare introduced a drug plan in 2006. Only 24 Medicaid patients aged 65 or older were prescribed Zyprexa in the year that ended June 30, 2007.

There are seven drugs in the class called atypical anti-psychotics, which emerged in the 1990s to replace the older, typical anti-psychotics. Diseases most commonly treated with the drugs are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Medicaid officials in some other states have questioned the off-label prescription of these drugs because of possible serious side effects, such as weight gain, diabetes and movement disorders. Off-label refers to treating conditions or classes of patients without the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s explicit approval.

Like a number of other drugs where studies in children are lacking, anti-psychotics are used in children even though the FDA hasn’t specifically approved the drugs in patients younger than 18.

A Medicaid review in Florida last year found 18,000 children on Medicaid received anti-psychotic drugs. What disturbed regulators was the study found 40 percent of prescriptions were for children whose primary diagnosis was attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Joyce said North Dakota Medicaid doesn’t track the diagnoses associated with the prescriptions it fills.

State statistics show 22 Medicaid patients aged 5 or younger and 721 patients aged 11to 20 received anti-psychotics in the year that ended June 30, 2007.

More here:

Lifting the Veil of Secrecy

Following the deaths of several abused kids in Tucson, lawmakers aim to reform Child Protective Services

Child Protective Services faced some damning headlines in 2007.
First came the gruesome discovery of 4-year-old Ariana Payne's rotting body in a Tucson storage locker on Feb. 18, 2007. Ariana had suffered from fractured ribs, and her spine had been broken around the time of her death, according to her autopsy.

Ariana's brother, Tyler Payne, who would have been 5 years old when Ariana's body was discovered, is missing and presumed dead.

The children's father, Christopher Payne, is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse. His girlfriend, Reina Gonzalez, faces charges of child abuse.

State records show that in April 2006, CPS had closed its investigation into the Payne siblings' welfare. About a month earlier, when police attempted to enforce a court order to return the children to the custody of their mother, Jamie Hallam, CPS officials advised police to leave them with Payne, because they feared Hallam was using meth.

An internal review by an independent auditor revealed that CPS staffers failed to investigate whether Christopher Payne was a fit guardian for the children, and that "the work in this case fell short of the standard for best practice."

Then came the death of 5-year-old Brandon Williams after he was rushed to the emergency room in March 2007. Williams was killed by blows to his head, according to a subsequent autopsy that showed the badly beaten autistic child's body was marked with burns and rope lacerations. A deadly cocktail of aspirin, Tylenol, Benadryl and caffeine was racing through his bloodstream.

Brandon's mother, Diane Marsh, now faces first-degree murder charges. Police say she told them she would force Brandon to stand in scalding water and tie him down as punishment. The night he died, she gave him 12 Tylenol pills.

About a week before Brandon was rushed to the emergency room in March, a Pima County sheriff's deputy stopped by the motel where he was living with his mother and noted that the young boy had a thick layer of bandages around his knees. Marsh told the investigating officer that Brandon had fallen into some cactus.

CPS officials, who had been searching for Brandon for months because they feared that he was in danger, did not alert the police about their concern. As a result, the deputy left Brandon with his mother.

As reporters probed these stories, other documents began to leak out from CPS offices. Among them: A report revealing that a CPS supervisor was dating a man she had once investigated. A CPS investigation showed that children were still being abused in the home; the CPS supervisor, who left the agency after the media reports, denied she had witnessed any abuse.

The spate of incidents caught the attention of state Rep. Jonathan Paton, who has teamed up with Rep. Kirk Adams of Mesa to sponsor a half-dozen bills the lawmakers say will improve CPS by opening up more files to the public and forcing the agency to work more closely with police and prosecutors.

"I realized that if we didn't do something now, I would be wondering later: Could I have prevented more deaths?" says Paton.

The most controversial of the bills--so far--is House Bill 2454, which requires CPS to release records when a child who had fallen under CPS supervision dies or nearly dies.

In the wake of the deaths of Williams and the Paynes, the media requested CPS case files to learn what steps the agency had taken to protect the children after earlier reports of child abuse. But officials refused to release the files, saying that it could jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations.

A lawsuit by a group of media organizations eventually forced the release of the files. That's when embarrassing details emerged about how CPS officials had advised police to leave the Payne children with their father--without ever doing a background check on him. A review of records would have revealed that Christopher Payne had a history of domestic violence and drug charges.

Jamie Hallam has now filed a lawsuit against the state, saying that CPS officials erred by advising police to leave the Payne children with their father. CPS had been investigating whether Hallam, who had another child who was born in October 2006, was abusing meth.

Because of that litigation, CPS officials cannot discuss details of the Payne case, says Janice Mickens, child welfare program administrator for CPS.

The released records also showed that a judge had ordered CPS to check on Brandon Williams months before he was killed, but agency officials had trouble tracking him down.

Since Brandon's father is taking legal action against CPS, agency officials are prohibited from discussing that case as well, Mickens says.

Paton first took an interest in the files when he found out that CPS would not release them. He was able to arrange a confidential review of the files and was disturbed when he learned that CPS had ignored the court order giving Hallam custody of the Payne children, and had not alerted law-enforcement officials that they feared for Brandon Williams' safety.

"When I found out what really happened, I realized that if the public knew what was in these records, they would demand change," says Paton, who was prohibited from discussing the documents he reviewed.

"I realized something was terribly wrong when CPS told me: 'You can't even talk about this in an oblique way of saying something's wrong,'" Paton adds. "I started wondering why we have these confidential records in the first place. They exist to protect children. They don't exist to protect the agency or the criminals."

As the stories about CPS continued to make headlines, the agency announced several policy changes. Officials loosened their grip on public records, instituted a new ethics policy that prohibited CPS employees from dating former clients and started looking into custody records before placing children with family members.

"Sure enough, when the records were released, there was change," Paton says. "The results of opening up those records were more of the operational changes that we're looking for."

Paton concluded that if CPS officials knew that the public would be likely to see the records, they would pay more attention to proper procedure.

"They're going to be more accountable," Paton says. "People put forth their best effort when they know they are being watched. Shouldn't we want that when we're dealing with children?"

HB 2454 would require CPS to "promptly" release records when a child dies or nearly dies. Anyone who has been denied records can take the agency to court, where a judge can determine if the release would jeopardize a CPS or criminal investigation.

Paton's bill easily passed the House Government Committee, but stalled before a floor vote earlier this month, when Rep. Linda Lopez of Tucson proposed an amendment that would have limited the information to be released to the name of the child, the name of the abuser and a summary of how the child died or nearly died.

Lopez said she was concerned about releasing additional information, because it could include the names of people who were involved in the case but had nothing to do with the deaths, such as siblings, grandparents or confidential informants. She suggested that could conflict with the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which could threaten what she estimates to be $118 million in federal funding.

"That was the basis for my amendment," says Lopez.

Paton says the restrictions that Lopez proposed would have decreased the public records that would be available after a fatality.

"It didn't just gut the bill," Paton says. "It gutted the public-records law, in my opinion, which goes counter to the whole public-records law in the first place. It restricted information."

Lopez rejects accusations that she pushed her bill to protect CPS.

"I have worked with CPS for many years, both as a foster parent and when I ran the child/family center at La Frontera," says Lopez. "I know that they are not perfect. They are made up of human beings who, by nature, have problems that go along with them."

Lopez's amendment never came up for a vote, because Paton held the bill.

He spent part of last week negotiating changes with Napolitano's staff. Earlier this week, he said the first draft from her office "is too restrictive, but I think there's room to work on it." He hopes the bill will come to a floor vote this week.

Another of Paton's bills, HB 2599, would require CPS workers to tell police when they believe a child is missing and in danger. The names would be flagged in state and national databases, and officers would have the authority to take children into custody if they feared they were at risk of serious harm.

"Between 400 and 700 kids go missing every year (in Arizona), and CPS can't account for them," Paton says. "If we can bring any sort of communication between CPS and law enforcement that would possibly help in finding and checking on the welfare of these kids, I think that's a good thing."

HB 2599 was inspired by one of the most chilling revelations regarding the weeks leading up to Brandon Williams' death.

A week before Williams' death, a Pima County sheriff's deputy was looking for Williams' mom, Diane Marsh, because she had been reported missing. The deputy found her in a motel room where she was living.

After the officer noticed that Brandon had heavy bandages on his legs, and Marsh told the deputy that Brandon had fallen into some cactus, the deputy remained suspicious. She noted in her report that she told Marsh that "I had my own concerns both about her safety and the safety of her child and that I would be forwarding this information to Adult Protective Services and Child Protective Services for them to follow up on."

That report wouldn't be forwarded until March 22--one day after Brandon died.

Paton says that if CPS were required to report missing children to the police, "that cop would have known that CPS was looking for Brandon, and he would still be alive today."

Another bill, HB 2594, would require CPS workers to abide by court orders involving custody and visitation by parents or other people.

That's already CPS policy, but it wasn't followed in the Payne case. Instead, when police found Tyler and Ariana with their father, they called CPS, and the workers told them to leave the children with Christopher Payne, even though Hallam had legal custody.

"We wanted to make sure that CPS is following what a judge has ruled on custody," Paton says.

Paton has also been working with prosecutors to craft HB 2455, which would require that CPS investigators work more closely with police and county prosecutors. The bill would also require CPS and county attorneys to file an annual report detailing the number of criminal-conduct allegations that had been jointly investigated by the agencies.

Paton says the bill "goes back to both (the Payne and Williams) cases, where there wasn't a lot of communication between CPS and law enforcement."

The legislation also requires CPS to report to the police when they believe a crime has been committed against a child.

"This isn't a case of a kid being spanked in Wal-Mart," Paton says. "When they suspect a child has been assaulted or raped, then they have to deal with it differently. It's not just CPS that's involved; it's the county attorney."

Lopez says she's hasn't yet reviewed HB 2455 closely, but she's concerned about a provision which would prevent CPS from "providing services to a child or family until a court had OK'ed it."

But Paton says that language has already been changed following negotiations with state officials to address those concerns.

Another of Paton's bills, HB 2159, would make it easier for the press and public to view disciplinary records of state employees. Paton said it was triggered by the media reports of a CPS supervisor dating a man she had once investigated for abusing his children.

The CPS supervisor, Amy Gile, came under scrutiny when another CPS investigator was responding to new abuse complaints about the father of the three children in the home.

"It goes to the heart of separation of the investigator and those being investigated," Paton says. "It made me wonder: What else is going on in government that we don't know about, and what effect does that have on morale in the office?"

HB 2159 says the disciplinary records of state employees are open for inspection, unless otherwise prohibited by law. As insurance against a veto by Napolitano, Paton is also running an identical version of the bill as HCR 2054, which would sidestep the governor entirely and ask voters to approve the law in November.

Paton says the bill puts state employees on the same level as other government employees.

"It didn't make sense to me that county and city employees would be treated differently from state employees," Paton says. "Why should a sheriff's deputy be treated differently from a DPS officer?"

The final bill in the package, HB 2453, opens up court proceedings involving dependent children, permanent guardianship and the termination of parental rights. Individual cases could still be closed when a judge determines that it would be appropriate to protect privacy or avoid physical or mental harm that could be caused by an open hearing.

"It opens it up a little more," Paton says. "It comes from all the complaints I've gotten from parents whose kids have been taken away."

The bill, which expands a pilot project that opened up some court proceedings, is supported by the Children's Action Alliance, says Beth Rosenberg, a lobbyist with the nonprofit group. She says opening up court hearings will demystify the legal process.

"The public needs to understand that CPS oftentimes doesn't just make decisions on their own," Rosenberg says. "There are other people overseeing what they do. Certainly, the courts are critical to that piece of the puzzle."

It's also another example of the transparency that Paton believes will ultimately help CPS.

"The veil of secrecy breeds suspicion about the agency, whether it's deserved or not," Paton says. "People believe that if it's secret, there must be bad things happening. A lot of these CPS staffers are devoting their lives to protecting children, and they're doing a great job. The fact that they're so secretive about how the system works does a disservice to them and the agency.

"It's so we can see how the agency functions," Paton adds. "Is it doing the right thing? Most of the time, it is. But we'll never know that until we open up these records."

Original Article -

Tucson Weekly : Currents : Lifting the Veil of Secrecy

Scientific Proof that Your Childhood Traumas are a MAJOR Factor in Your All Your Illnesses

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is an ongoing research project which is perhaps the largest scientific research study of its kind. Its purpose it to analyze the relationship between multiple categories of childhood trauma and health and behavioral outcomes later in life.

ACE is examining the effects of:

Recurrent physical abuse

Recurrent emotional abuse

Contact sexual abuse

An alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household

An incarcerated household member

Someone who is chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalized, or suicidal

Mother is treated violently

One or no parents

Emotional or physical neglect

To learn more about the study, and to calculate your own ACE score, take a look at the link below.


The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study

American Journal of Preventive Medicine May 1998; 14(4): 245-258

Original Article -

Scientific Proof that Your Childhood Traumas are a MAJOR Factor in Your All Your Illnesses - Articles
The Senate is about to approve legislation (Mothers Act – S.1375) which mandates the indoctrination of pregnant and nursing mothers into the use of extremely dangerous psychiatric medication. We already know this class of medication poses serious health risks to both mother and baby. Consequences to the baby are now proven to cause nerve-related changes that can adversely affect health for a lifetime.

This Big Pharma legislation was innocuously crafted under the pretense of helping pregnant mothers deal with stress and mood. On the surface it is made to look like a helpful public policy that any Senator would want to support. The reality is that pregnant and nursing mothers have become a Big Pharma target market and this legislation locks in taxpayer funds to dispense psych drugs to pregnant and nursing mothers – guaranteeing that Big Pharma will get billions for poisoning the most vulnerable members in our society.

Now that Senators are being called on the carpet for what this law will actually do; i.e., injure babies for life – they have gone behind close doors to finish marking up the bill and plan to sneak it through the Senate in the beginning of April without any debate or chance for amendment. A marriage of Big Pharma dollars with a bizarre socialist medicine agenda is more compelling to them than real health. The legislation is cosponsored by both Clinton and Obama (members of the Senate HELP committee that will bring the legislation to the floor of the Senate), but make no mistake – it is also widely supported by republican senators and Bush will sign it in a heartbeat. Both sides of the aisle are owned by Big Pharma. The only thing more important to them than the Big Pharma money is their image – so let’s make it clear: they are proposing legislation that knowingly will injure mothers and babies.

The only thing standing in the way of the final passage of this legislation is your opposition.
Go to my website and click on the Take Action link. With two mouse clicks you can use my CapWiz software to send a letter of opposition to both of your senators, it only takes 30 seconds.

Scientific Evidence of Psych-Drug Damage Relating to Pregnancy

The dangers of psych drugs during pregnancy and lactation have been reported for a number of years. However, within the past six months a stunning amount of new data has become available which I will now summarize for you. A lot of this information is new since the Senate bill was first crafted. Any Senator who was truly interested in the health and well being of mother and child would put the Mothers Act on hold until the true risks of these drugs are fully known. It is completely irresponsible of Senators to create laws which will directly injure mothers, unborn children, and new babies.

It is a well known scientific fact that psych drugs readily cross the placenta and expose the fetus to pharmacologically active levels of these drugs. It is also known that nursing mothers have pharmacologically active levels of these drugs in their breast milk.

Exposing a fetus or new baby to these drugs is far different than exposing the adult nervous system which has already established brain circuitry. The fetus’s evolving nerves are trying to form core nerve circuitry (like computer hardware) that cannot easily be changed later, establishing connections throughout the body – such as to the heart and lungs, and setting up how these organs will be run by the nerves over the course of a lifetime. Available evidence clearly shows that psych drugs interfere with these natural processes and pose a grave risk to the unborn – a risk that can result in a lifetime of poor health.

A meta-analysis published in May of 2007 showed that women taking antidepressants in the first trimester of pregnancy had a 72% increased risk for a child with cardiac malformation (birth defect). A study published in Dec of 2006 reviewed earlier studies showing that the use of antidepressants during any phase of pregnancy carried serious risks for birth defects, especially cardiovascular. It reviewed a Danish study showing 60% increased risk, an American study showing 100% increased risk, and a Swedish study showing 120% increased risk for cardiovascular defects. The American study showed 4% of women who used antidepressants during pregnancy had a baby with any type of birth defect; 2% of women having babies with cardiovascular birth defects. It is clear that antidepressant medication interferes with how nerves communicate to the heart as the fetus is evolving. Click here to read the story of Manie – a baby born with an antidepressant-induced heart defect.

A Dec of 2007 Dutch study reports on the broad array of side effects in babies whose mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy. These include respiratory distress, feeding and digestive disturbances, irritability, and convulsions. The authors also point out that animal studies have shown “permanent changes in specific parts of the brain and altered behavior in adulthood after perinatal exposure to SSRIs.” A Dec of 2007 Swedish study confirms much of this information, again pointing out the high rates of respiratory distress, convulsions, hypoglycemia, and overall poor health (low Apgar scores). An Oct of 2006 study explains that 30% of babies born to mothers who used antidepressants have significant inability to adapt (adjusting to being born and then thriving). This means that even when there are not blatant birth defects, general health of the newborn is compromised across the boards – an incredibly dangerous situation.

Indeed, data published in Oct of 2006 showed mothers who took antidepressants are much more likely to have premature deliveries and low birth weight babies – indicative of general malnutrition induced by antidepressant medication. Studies in sheep clearly show that this is because antidepressants reduce the flow of blood to the uterus, in turn reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrition that can get to the baby.

An Oct of 2007 U.S. study reviewed the animal data that shows exposure to antidepressants causes life long abnormalities in behavior and stress tolerance. A Feb of 2005 study demonstrated that 2 month old infants already had a depressed and inappropriate response to pain – a key factor indicating disturbed development of the nervous system. This issue is directly related to properly coping with stress or pain as an adult, the failure of which leads to anxiety, fibromyalgia, and increased risk for sudden death from a cardiovascular event. This is a profound neurologic change because it means that the developing nervous system, as a result of exposure to psych meds, has been “traumatized,” adversely priming nerves to hyper-react to future stress.

Several studies have tried to identify childhood behavioral and attention issues in those exposed to psych drugs during pregnancy. (Jan of 2007, June of 2006) While poor coping trends are evident, a clear pattern has not emerged because these children are still living in high stress environments due to parental instability – which is never good for children whether they have been exposed to medication or not.

The bottom line of all of this information about psych drug use during pregnancy is that it is one huge experiment with many unknown and likely adverse health consequences. Once again we see the failure of the FDA to protect the public, as the FDA does not demand Big Pharma do studies to prove these drugs are safe for pregnant women. To the contrary, most available science tilts in the direction that they are quite unsafe and carry extreme risks for the baby – with ominous implications for future poor health for the child and health care costs to society. Senators in favor of this legislation, which would steer 80% of pregnant women on to these meds, need their heads and morality examined. They should be personally held accountable to the mothers whose babies their law injures.

Original Article -

Byron J. Richards -- Dangers of Psych Drugs in Pregnancy

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