Monday, January 4, 2010

Michelle Phelan: Manipulation "101" By the Courts and a Police Officer

It is not easy these days to be married to an abuser that also happens to be a police officer. A 13-year marriage layered with a strategic game of power, control and manipulation.

At the start of the divorce Michelle became medically disabled, unable to attend the majority of court proceedings. She also lost two lawyers both of whom were unable to effectively deal with the abusive legal tactics allowed by the courts.

She contacted one attorney after another explaining her situation and that her husband was a police officer. Because of the ongoing abuse, custody, and the fact Michelle had no financial ability to hire and pay an attorney, she was told no one would take her case.

Each time she would contact the police department, [where her husband was also employed] after she was allegedly threatened or physically assaulted, fellow officers would arrive at the marital home often taunting her while ignoring Michelle's plea for help by writing a favorable police report on behalf of her husband indicating he was the victim and she was the abuser. He even went so far, in my opinion, as to falsely obtain a court order of protection against Michelle that was later dropped, a common theme often used by an alleged abuser.

Over the summer of 2009 her serious and near fatal medical needs were not being met. Her police officer husband had removed Michelle from his medical coverage and she had no money or transportation to seek proper medical assistance.

In June of 2009, with a written doctor’s note to be excused from the court proceedings, the judge refused to listen or take into consideration her condition ordering Michelle to appear in his courtroom. It was obvious Judge Robert J. Baron wanted the case over and off his court docket.

The couple also has a young child. Over the summer, although the court appointed child evaluator in the case wrote about abuse issues and manipulation by the father, custody was awarded to him because, according to the report, Michelle Phelan was unable at the time to take care of her son due to her illness and because she did not have ten cents to her name. That was the straw that nearly broke her, the removal of her son, by the courts. This is very common among women in abusive relationships.

In September of 2009, a miracle occurred when Michelle Phelan got an attorney to finally take her case just days before she would have been forced into an agreement that could have left her financially bone dry, without custody, and unable to have a relationship with her child.

Now Attorney Jennifer C. Weiss from Chicago is representing Michelle Phelan in her Will County divorce case. This also happens to be the second home and courthouse of Drew Peterson whom divorced his then wife Kathleen Savio, and you know where she tragically wound up--dead!

Beginning today, in courtroom 312, Judge Robert J. Baron will preside over the remaining few days of the divorce trial. Since the case was initially filed, in my opinion, the abusive legal maneuvers, threats and tactics used in this divorce case and against Michelle Phelan must cease.

Michelle is first and foremost a mother. That is something that no one can ever take away from her. Most of the women I assist would either no longer be standing, barely alive or killed.

When a police force is sworn to serve and protect and they refuse to enforce the law with one of their own, what does that say to the citizens of Lockport, Illinois? How many other abuse victims have been denied assistance?

The legal system was created to provide fair and impartial justice, but not for victims of violence who are being kicked back onto to the streets, their home and children stripped from them all because they refuse to play ball with an abuser. The deck for many battered women is already stacked against them before they ever begin.

We as a society wonder why, after reading the news story that another woman has died often asking ourselves what did "she" do wrong. Or what could have been done to prevent the tragedy?

It is time we elect into office judges and prosecutors who can be accountable to the victims of violence. If we do not demand changes within the courts we can expect the death toll to rise.

Just ask Amy Leichtenberg, she will tell you how and why her two boys Jack and Duncan were murdered.


Western Springs said...

The cruel legal system women traumatized by abuse is a rape to the spirit.

Bless all of your work & journey in 2010.

Susan Murphy Milano's Journal said...

Some Comments from other sites:

Peace4 the Missing:
Not good news that she is in front of Judge Baron. He favors police officers and does not care at all. This judge does not enforce court orders.

Also, just to add, the Illinois Judiciary Board does nothing to hold these judges accountable for their unethical and illegal behavior.

...and I informed Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office of this, and was told that this was not their jurisdiction.

Whose jurisdiction is it then, to make sure that the law is upheld?! That is what I would like to know.

There must be some way to remove that terrible judge !! How in the world can she ever win with him presiding ? My love and prayers go out to her and the children !! LOVE ALWAYS...johnny

I agree with JOHN 100%...
The COURTS need to re-evaluate this Judge asap ?
Or, SOMEONE at least, should examine his self-righteous/self-sufficient, inappropriate court actions - for SURE !
May God help us all...


Kim Sunderlage
Can't click "Like" but that cop shop is rotting from the inside out, as is the "cop" husband. His co-workers need to close ranks and get him out before he gives them all a bad name and a literal or figurative black eye.

Karen Rae Elkins
Thank you for being the woman you are and writing about the needs of women who suffer under our court system. It's not only a crime, it is a sin to call good-evil and evil-good. Personally, I've given up on the system. I tell everyone in my small county what the judge did in hopes that they won't elect him again.

Eileen King
Thanks for your message; I've seen a number of similar cases and they are very difficult because of the brothers in blue corruption that takes place and keeps the abuser out of trouble.

Mia Beck Zimmerman
Situations like this also happen in MANY military families. The band of brothers where they take care of their own. Very controlling and always trying to make things look pretty on the outside when in fact people would be sick if they knew what was happening behind closed doors.

Behindthe Bluewall
I thank God for the "miracle" of Attorney Jennifer Weiss arriving in the nick of time. It would be so fine if attorneys could take at least one case a year to represent people who have become financially incapable of participating in the process. We all want to win, but we all NEED at least a chance to try.

Diane Fanning
I really cannot fathom why a fellow officer would want to shield an abuser. I guess I expect all non-abusing males to be like my husband: he is embarrassed and appalled by men who behave so badly.
When abuse is involved, maybe the criminal courts should be overseeing divorce and child custody cases.

Lisa Fiorese Michels Has Judge Robert J. Baron allowed and thereby participated in the LEGAL ABUSE of Michelle Phelan, a medically disabled woman in Lockport, Illinois??

Christine Otto Crandle
She is in my thoughts and prayers today! This breaks my do so many others who are just a "number" in the court system.

ML said...

I feel Michelle's pain, and my thoughts and prayers are with her. For some of us involved in these situations involving crooked law enforcement and/or military, there really is very little hope of any significant relief. It's a HUGE problem, especially when you're up against things like sophisticated surveillance equipment being used for stalking and harassment. (Don't try the DOJ for help, either, because they only cover up.)

Anonymous said...

I'm currently in the same postion. I'm trying to file for custody of my children, but Judge Baron is residing. Even my children are telling me it is hopeless because their father and grandfather have bought out the judge. I can't find an attorney who is willing to take the case. This judge recently created a new precedence that is unconstitutional. I complained, but it was unfounded.

Anonymous said...

This is truly sad, also that Judge Barron is still on the bench. My Divorse was infront of this judge and I agree that there is injustice going on in that court and with evaluations from doctors that go along with the layed out results predetermened from that court and judge.
Photographic ecidence of child abuse entered into courts Should not be swept onder a rug and ignored. Thjis judge needs to be held accountable for his actions or lack of.

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