My first attorney was a female who came from a family of lawyers from Bateville, IN. She failed to submit the required information to Court. My second attorney was part of the firm Wood and Lamping in Cincinnati, OH. He claimed he did not know if Dr. Connor's report was bad because he was not a psychologist. He fired me (by email) after I picketed my first attorney's office. My first appellate attorney was a female from a large firm in Bloomington, IN. She didn't give me any idea about a strategy in handling the appeal. She said that she would represent me in the trial court but said I had to pay an additional $5000 retainer (in addition to the $5000 retainer she already received) for her to do so because she said it was separate from my appeal. She advised me to take down my website because it could anger judges. She later fired me (by email) because I wanted to raise the issue of judicial vindictiveness. No phone calls or questions, just fired me. She sent me an email stating, "The extension has been granted for filing your appellate brief to and including February 16. Hopefully, that will give you time to either obtain other counsel or prepare the brief yourself." Thanks. If I wanted to file it myself, I wouldn't have paid you $10,000 to review it, or whatever it was you said you did with the money before you fired me.
I was to the point where I was going to file my own appeal. I tried big firms, small firms, a male attorney, two female attorneys, out of town lawyers, etc... and all they did was take my money. I found the firms that claim that they fight for you often will fight for you unless it is inconvenient to them. I was to the point where I did not trust any lawyer in the state of Indiana; until I saw a post on Facebook.
I saw a post from a lawyer on Indydad.com's Facebook page. He said he was just moving out on his own and starting his own practice. He graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 2003. He grew up with divorced parents. He is the father of a young daughter. Sounded promising. I contacted the lawyer and he found my case compelling. He said he would accept my case so I sent him my information. Then we set up an appointment to meet near the courthouse so he could meet with me and then go review the court record. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he accepted my case, reviewed my information, and drove over an hour to meet me and review the court record before he collected a dime. The best thing he did was listen to me.
I'm not a lawyer but I know a little about the law. This was the first Indiana attorney that I met that did not appear to be threatened by my knowledge of the law. He saw my internet postings as being informative; not threatening. He didn't say "this happens all the time." I felt that this was the guy.
My attorney filed the appellate brief yesterday and then called me today to talk about the strategy in going back to the trial court to get visitation from the girls. He too is puzzled about how the court can base its decision in terminating the time I have with the girls on the evaluation and testimony of Dr. Edward J Connor without allowing me to review Dr. Connor's case file. How can I fight something when I don't know what I am fighting against? Now I have someone who believes in me and someone who believes in right and wrong. I have a lawyer who is willing to get in the huddle and form a game plan. Strategy, what a novel idea. Why does the lawyer with the least professional experience seem to have the best understanding of the situation and the most passion? I feel that I not only found a good lawyer, but I found a good human being. I found out that going with big names and big money sometimes buys you expensive crappy service. I took a gamble on an unknown family establishment and received quality services from a person who cares.
I have a court date on June 14, 2010. Judge Humphrey said I needed an evaluation to see if I presented any danger to the children. Judge Humphrey said he had to approve any evaluator, so he scheduled a hearing three months after my attorney filed the motion to approve a psychiatrist. Judge Humphrey is really doing everything he can to expedite my ability to see my children. Hopefully my ex will agree to the evaluator in an effort to speed up the process of allowing the girls to have visitation. Probably not but I can always hope.
I knew this wasn't going to be an easy process but it's nice knowing that I have someone that I can trust. Dr. Connor's report nearly three years old and it's been nearly a year since his testimony. I haven't seen the girls since August 18, 2009. Judge Humphrey and my ex are going to have a hard time in continuing to make the argument that I "might" be dangerous when I haven't placed anyone in danger throughout the course of the divorce that began in January 2007. When will the "he mights" be replaced with the "he hasn't"? I hope that Judge Humphrey and my ex wife don't continue to make me defend myself against something that I "may" do because there is no defense to it. I can say George Clooney "may" drive a car through a crowed playground. I could pay a "professional expert" to evaluate George. The psychologist can say "Mr. Clooney's psychological profile is similar to individuals who have committed horrendous crimes against children." How does someone fight that? At least I have a good lawyer who will fight against the accusations of what I may be capable of doing. If you go by the facts of the record, I'm capable of caring for and loving my little girls. The longer I go without doing any of the things that Dr. Connor, Judge Humphrey, and my ex claim that I am capable of, only proves that they were either wrong about their suspicions or they were fabricating their stories and beliefs. Either way, it's time for them to stop fighting to keep two little girls fatherless, because my new attorney and I are not giving up on my little girls.