If The Shoe Fits
If The Shoe Fits
A few years ago, a father had come into our court requesting an emergency change in custody for his child. We frequently hear these types of cases. Typically, the non-custodial parent is adamant that a change needs to be made and needs to be made that instant. It is always interesting to discover whether the claim of “emergency” has any merit.
In this case, the father was concerned about something that had happened between his daughter and her mother – so concerned that he had rushed in to seek immediate custody. He was not present for the incident and had relied on what his daughter had told him to make his case.
In order to get a clearer picture of the situation, the judge involved assigned Tim Daley, an Assistant Chief Probation Officer, to conduct separate interviews with the father and the daughter, who was twelve years old at the time. During the interview, the child told Tim that she and her mother had been arguing. The argument escalated and eventually the mother pushed the child to the floor, climbed on top of her and used her knees to pin the child's arms to the floor. Then, according to the girl, the mother took off her shoe and used it to beat the child about the head.
Tim wrote up a brief summary for the judge. Judges always need to ensure that all parties have a chance to be heard, so after reading the summary, the judge directed Tim to locate and interview the mother and scheduled a further hearing.
The next day, Tim met with the mother. He escorted her into an interview room and after a few minutes of discussing background information, Tim moved on to the matter at hand and told the mother what the child had said.
At that point, the mother jumped up, banged the table, and yelled, “That’s a lie, a God damn lie!!! It wasn’t a shoe! It was a sandal!"
Not surprisingly, a temporary change in custody was ordered.