For well over a decade parents who home school their children in Colorado have been teaching their little people to go to another room and hide if someone comes to the door because it might be child protective services (CPS) case workers.
In El Paso County one Christian couple packed up and moved out of the United States after a single CPS visit.
In Eagle County recently a woman got a DUI. While she was taking the "cure" a CPS case worker and deputy sheriff took the couple's children from their home on a frivolous claim of child neglect even though there were two nannies looking after the kids while the father was at work. Nor did the case worker and deputy bother with court orders to remove the children. Simply went to the house and took them while the father was at work.
In October 2002, the Rocky Mountain News screamed that a Fort Collins judge had legalized the kidnapping of a woman's twin sons via Social Services. The public was appropriately outraged and you might think that was an isolated incident. Not in Colorado! Children are treated as property of the State - and having a "right " to your child is a mere delusion. The State will determine in all cases who shall raise a child and you can safely bet it won't be the father.
But such local prey for these vultures seems to be getting harder to catch. Parents are learning that the Colorado Dept. of Human Services (DHS-CPS) and the courts are more dangerous to their children than any mountain lion. So now DHS CPS case workers and the courts are apparently expanding their hunting license to include parents who have merely brought their children to Colorado for a visit.
Never mind that Colorado courts don't have jurisdiction over the custody of children who are residents of other states. Colorado judges and magistrates are trained to rule on the basis of any emotion or feeling that enters their little blonde heads. Proceeding without jurisdiction is a common theme encountered by the Equal Justice Foundation in Colorado court cases.
The People of Colorado v. Joseph Culpepper of Texas
Nineteenth Judicial District - Weld County - Case 00 JV 578
A child was born March 15, 1999, in Texas to Mystina Turner and Joseph Culpepper, who were then living near Galveston. Joe and Mystina had a stormy relationship and in September 2000 he gained temporary custody of the little girl with a Texas restraining order.
Following that, Mystina Turner came alone to Colorado, where her grandmother gave Mystina a place to live in Firestone in Weld County, and a job at the nursing home she managed in Louisville in Boulder County.
Despite the restraining order, and against the advice of his relatives, Joseph Culpepper brought his daughter to Weld County, Colorado, from Texas for a visit with Mystina over Thanksgiving Day weekend in 2000. He had full custody and was demonstrating consideration for the mother by making the 1,200 mile (1,900 km) trip.
As in many of the cases the Equal Justice Foundation deals with, this one begins with false allegations of domestic violence.
Mystina Turner resolved that Joe wasn't going to take the baby back to Texas with him. The Denver Post (May 6, 2004) quotes her as stating "Over my dead body will Joe get her."
As Culpepper tried to leave to return to Texas, Mystina and her grandmother called Firestone and Louisville police to stop him. In 43 minutes, three calls concerning Joseph Culpepper were placed to two police departments.
On the basis of the Turner's complaint, Louisville police arrested Joseph Culpepper for alleged disorderly conduct at the nursing home Wanda Turner managed. His reported crime: yelling in the hallways for Mystina.
Culpepper was jailed November 28, 2000, and the little girl sitting in his pickup was handed temporarily to Weld County social services.
When Joseph Culpepper was freed days later his daughter was, and remains a foster child.
However, the call to the Firestone police department didn't quite work out as Mystina Turner planned. On December 3, 2001, they arrested her for slashing Culpepper's tires and falsely accusing him of stealing $600 from her. All charges against Joe were dismissed.
Because the father was in jail, safely "out of the way," the Weld County Department of Social Services happily took custody of the little girl to gain the funding bonuses associated with such State kidnappings.
In Magistrate Din Tuttle's court, Culpepper later testified that he told a Weld County caseworker about the Texas restraining order when he was released from jail.
"Do you remember what she said?" he was asked. "Yes," he replied. "This ain't Texas, this is Colorado. We do things a little different around here."
A petition in dependency and neglect was filed against both parents on November 30, 2000, in Weld County Magistrate Din Tuttle's court. Conveniently for the State, the social services petition did not advise the court of the Texas custody order, and the magistrate certainly didn't probe too deeply and ignored Joe Culpepper's testimony. Despite the fact that she didn't have jurisdiction over the child, Magistrate Tuttle gave custody of Joseph Culpepper's daughter to Weld County social services.
On January 12, 2001, barely a month after taking the girl from a father who had custody under a Texas court order, and a restraining order against Mystina Turner concerning custody of the child, in direct and flagrant disregard of that order Weld County social services gave the little girl to her mother.
However, Mystina Turner said she was suffering from untreated depression, the trauma of separation from Joe, and the parenting demands imposed by a county caseworker, to say nothing of innumerable court appearances for slashing tires, drunken driving, felony assaults on peace officers, and probation violations. So two months later Weld County took the girl back and gave her to a foster home.
When Joe Culpepper found out his daughter was in a foster home, he went to pick her up and discovered that he had "no right" to do so. Relying on the courts to back them up, Weld County social services told Culpepper that they now controlled the fate of his daughter. By this immoral and degenerate process, foster home couple Jodee and Jody Rupple in Greeley apparently acquired standing to argue that Joseph Culpepper should not have his own daughter.
Culpepper, who had never done anything wrong, was forced to try and meet demands by Weld County Department of Social Services by completing a parenting program and passing a drug-and-alcohol evaluation in Texas. Sometimes he drove 1,200 miles (1,900 km) north to Greeley to spend 45 minutes with his daughter while a caseworker watched them interact in a supervised environment for which Culpepper had to pay an hourly fee.
Weld County Magistrate Din Tuttle terminated the rights of the little girl's biological parents even though her court did not have jurisdiction over the child.
Culpepper sought review of the magistrate's decision and in August 2002 District Court (now Chief) Judge Roger Klein adopted the blonde magistrate's illegal order terminating the father's parental rights, still without jurisdiction to do so.
In his motion for review of the magistrate's order of termination, Culpepper asserted that Magistrate Tuttle erred and exceeded the bounds of her temporary emergency jurisdiction. In denying that motion, District Judge Klein found that Culpepper failed to file any Texas orders establishing that the Texas proceeding constituted a custody determination. However, it was later noted that Judge Roger Klein had received into evidence a copy of the Texas restraining order and simply ignored it in his finding.
Joseph Culpepper appealed. Slowly the case proceeded from courtroom to courtroom. Birthdays passed.
Normally in Colorado our moribund Court of Appeals simply rubber stamps trial court decisions, particularly in family cases, and especially if a father's rights are involved.
However, the actions of the Weld County magistrate and district court judge were so egregious and so obviously in violation of Colorado law that even the Court of Appeals couldn't excuse them. So in an April 2004 ruling in case 02 CA 1888 they found that:
"Accordingly, we conclude that the magistrate and the district court exceeded their jurisdiction by not limiting the period they exercised temporary emergency jurisdiction. This error was clearly not harmless, because it resulted in termination of father's parental rights without affording him the opportunity to litigate custody issues in the child's home state of Texas.
Accordingly, we reverse the judgment terminating father's parental rights...."
But the Court of Appeals still won't give the little girl back to her father and ruled:
"However, given the length of time that the child has now resided in Colorado, we remand this matter to the district court to make such temporary protective orders as are necessary for the welfare of the child. See E.P. v. Dist. Court, supra (although Colorado court did not have jurisdiction under UCCJA, it could enter temporary protective orders for the child's welfare)."
Thus, the appeals court further alienates the child from her father. And one might bet those champions of parental rights, District Judge Roger Klein and Magistrate P. Dinsmore Tuttle, will delay, obfuscate, and deny Joseph Culpepper at every possible step. Culpepper's attorney expects the case to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, by which time the little girl will be a teenager.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
After a three and a half year court battle, the Colorado Court of Appeals has finally acknowledged that Joe's parenting rights were violated and placing his daughter in a foster home was "an error."
You would think there could be nothing left to decide - that Joe takes his daughter home - but that's not the case. As noted above, the Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the Weld County District Court (the court that approved of the degenerate acts perpetrated by social service's case workers) for a determination on whether Joe gets to have his daughter back.
To make matters worse for the little girl and Joe Culpepper, the foster parents are fighting to keep his daughter using the demented logic that the little girl is settled in their home and it would be traumatic to move her. On April 15, 2004, just seven days after the Colorado Court of Appeals handed down its ruling that Colorado did not have jurisdiction, Jody and Jodee Rupple of Greeley filed a petition for custody in Weld County District Judge James Hartmann's court, case 04 DR 357.
How does a child reestablish a relationship with her natural father under such circumstances?
Well, it would seem that the State of Colorado and Weld County created the mess, they should fix it. They should buy Joe a house next door to the foster parents out of the 19th Judicial District budget and allow the child to be reacquainted with her dad. Certainly this would be the least the State of Colorado should do for stealing a child.
Anyone care to bet that the State will offer to act in such a humane fashion?
What will certainly happen is that Colorado taxpayers will be asked to fund larger budgets for the judiciary, social services, and district attorneys to deal with the increasing number of cases where the State steals our children.
For additional details on the case of the People (of Colorado) v. Culpepper In the Interest of M.C., a Child see Case 00 JV 578.
Incredibly, in 2004 Weld County attorney Mark Rapp argued that Culpepper abandoned his Texas custody case before his arrest, which was based on false allegations, and therefore Colorado appropriately kept the little girl. One can only assume that any parent who brings their child to Colorado for a visit thereby surrenders custody to the State.
Under the circumstances, it would seem prudent not to come to Colorado with, or without, your children. The skiing is better in Utah and the national parks and monuments are far more spectacular. Plus you are less likely to be arrested and have your children stolen by that state while visiting. Take Interstate 80 to the north, or Interstate 10 to the south, and avoid our redfem paradise.
In addition, as a leading citizen I would like to express my deep personal disgust with the abhorrent behavior of the Weld County justices and social service workers involved in this mockery of the rule of law.
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.
NOTE: This article has been posted on the website michaelguth.com/coloradoseizure.htm with the permission of the author, Dr. Charles Corry. Comments or criticisms of the article may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Equal Justice Foundation is a member-supported, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
Contributions are tax deductible and can be made on the Web at http://www.ejfi.org/Join.htm
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.
President, Equal Justice Foundation http://www.ejfi.org/
455 Bear Creek Road
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906-5820
Telephone: (719) 520-1089
Domestic violence against men in Colorado: http://www.dvmen.org
Personal home page: http://corry.ws
Curriculum vitae: http://www.marquiswhoswho.net/charleselmocorry/Default.aspx
The good men may do separately is small compared with what they may do collectively.
In Part I of Don't take the kids to Colorado back in June 2004 we pointed out the disastrous problems with Colorado courts assuming jurisdiction where they had none and basically stealing children in cooperation with the child protection(?) services in this state. Among other examples we used the case of Joseph Culpepper and the taking of his little girl while he was visiting Colorado for just a few days. At least in his case the Colorado Court of Appeals finally recognized the gross injustice and it is my understanding he and his daughter have been allowed to return to Texas after four nightmarish years. But few cases of the State of Colorado taking parent's children have such an outcome. The systemic problems certainly haven't gone away. Remarkably, on January 2, 2005, the Denver Post carried the following story by Richard Wexler condemning in no uncertain terms the abuses of foster care and child protection(?) services in Colorado. In the story Mr. Wexler gives considerable credit to El Paso County, where I happen to live. Just a few years ago El Paso County had one of the worst records in one of the worst states for systemic abuses by child protection(?) services and abuses in foster homes. In 2000 Rep. Mark Cloer (Republican-District 17) was elected to the Colorado House from El Paso County and began a crusade against these outrages. Without his efforts I cannot see that there would have been any reforms. So, Rep. Cloer we salute you! Of course the promotion of Barbara Drake to Director of the Dept. of Human Services helped tremendously as well. Reforms are never completely the result of a single individual's efforts but such issues always require a champion. However, I note with disgust and dismay that the response of the local Republican Party to Rep. Cloer's yeoman service and outstanding humanitarian efforts has been to do everything in their power to drive him from office. The Republican Party has castigated Rep. Cloer for taking the position that the Colorado Constitution means what it says, repeatedly denigrated him for standing up for children and parents against the bureaucrats, cancelled and rescheduled on short notice hearings on his bills, and run a grossly-unqualified candidate against him in the last election, among other outrages. So I see the reforms for children in El Paso County as little less than a miracle and, Mark, I'm proud of you. Let us all hope you have the courage and strength keep standing tall despite those lesser individuals around you who keep trying to drag you down. But until Colorado can clean up its seedy politics, reform its Orwellian bureaucracies, repeal its redfem laws, and control its Kafkaesque courts, we repeat our earlier advice: Don't take the kids to Colorado. Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Colorado Ignoring Foster Care Problems by Richard Wexler Executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Virginia Published in the Denver Post, Sunday, January 02, 2005 Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use. Hire an ombudsman. Sweep away overlapping layers of bureaucracy. Those are among the suggestions for dealing with the problem of children abused in the very foster care system intended to protect them. But they won't help. The problem of widespread abuse in Colorado foster care won't be solved until Colorado faces up to the elephants in the room - the issues that no one wants to talk about. Elephant No. 1: Colorado is in deep denial about the rate of abuse in foster care. Most foster parents want to do the best they can for the children in their care - like most parents, period. But the abusive minority is significant and probably growing. And abuse in foster care doesn't just include abuse by foster parents; often it involves foster children abusing one another. Several rigorous academic studies, and several independent analyses of case records, called "case readings," suggest that there is abuse in at least one in four foster homes [Emphasis added] and the real figure probably is higher. In most states, foster parents are not defensive about this - on the contrary, the many good ones are the first to blow the whistle on abuse. Not so in Colorado, where some leaders in the foster-parent community prefer to pretend the problem doesn't exist. They point to official government statistics showing that "only" one-half of 1 percent of abuse is in foster homes. But "only" about one-half of 1 percent of all children live in foster homes. So even by this measure, there is as much abuse in foster care as in the general population. More importantly, before a case makes it into the official statistics, child welfare agencies must themselves investigate - and reveal what they found out. Obviously, there is an enormous incentive to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and write no evil in the case file. Furthermore, in many states, official figures don't even count it when foster children abuse one another. That's why the academic studies and case readings are far more reliable. Elephant No. 2: The so-called shortage of foster homes in Colorado is largely artificial. It results from the fact that Colorado takes away, proportionately, more children than almost any other state. When you compare the number of children removed in 2003, the most recent year for which comparative data are available, to the total child population, only about nine states took away proportionately more children than Colorado. When you factor in the states' poverty rates, only five states took more children than Colorado. Factoring in poverty, Colorado took away, proportionately, more than five times as many children as Illinois. Yet court-appointed monitors in Illinois say that as that state's foster care population has plummeted, child safety has improved. That's because Illinois rebuilt its system to emphasize safe, proven programs to keep families together, programs that are less expensive, more humane and safer than foster care. Yes, methamphetamine is part of the explanation. But California has one of the worst meth problems in the country, and California takes children at less than half the rate of Colorado. Unless there is some logical reason to believe that Colorado has five times more child abuse than Illinois and twice as much as California, Colorado is filling foster homes with children who don't need to be there. That encourages agencies to overcrowd foster homes and lower standards for foster parents. It also means that Shari Shink, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, is only partially correct when she says that too often removing a child doesn't end the abuse. Sometimes, removing a child begins the abuse. The reason Illinois succeeds while Colorado fails is because most foster children are not who we think they are. Most of their parents did not brutally beat, torture, rape or starve them. Often, a family's poverty is confused with "neglect." Indeed, the director of intake for child protective services in Denver has acknowledged that children sometimes are taken away just because their parents are down on their luck, out of work or unable to provide adequate shelter. [Ed. note: Colorado children are also put in foster homes simply because their parents are disabled.] But there is no need to look to another state to find better answers. El Paso County recognized the widespread confusion of poverty with neglect. They effectively turned child protective services into child poverty services, and in the process became a national model of reform. El Paso County takes children at a rate less than one-quarter the state average. Yet it had less re-abuse of children left in their own homes than the average for the state's 10 largest counties. And it has one of the lowest rates of children having to return to foster care after being sent home. If the entire state followed El Paso County's lead, all children would be safer, the foster care population would plummet, there no longer would be any need to turn a blind eye to abuse in foster care, and there would be plenty of room in good, safe foster homes for the relatively few children in real danger. But first, someone is going to have to notice the elephants in the room. Richard Wexler --
Dr. MICHAEL A. S. GUTH
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