This really appears to be one of those “here we go again” moments. I had a hard time coming up with a title for this post because this new ordeal is so mind-boggling. When I was incarcerated at Putnamville Correctional Facility, my Indiana criminal appellate lawyer began taking measures to help reunite me with my daughters. He found Dr. D. Mark Snelson, M.D., a psychiatrist from Indianapolis, and obtained prior approval from Judge Ted Todd that Snelson could evaluate me. (For those new to my story, in August 2009, Judge James D. Humphrey terminated my parenting time with my 3 and 5 year old daughters, until I underwent a psychological evaluation to determine I was not a potential danger to anyone. I underwent an evaluation in October 2009, but could not get a court date to have the evaluator approved until November 24, 2010; over a year later. Judge Todd denied that psychiatrist because he wasn’t pre-approved.) My lawyer checked around and came up with Dr. Snelson. Per the Court’s order, Snelson’s job was to determine if I posed a potential risk to my daughters, their mother, or myself so that I may then participate in supervised visitation with my girls under the supervision of another mental health provider. My lawyer and Snelson agreed that Snelson would meet with me in prison to expedite the process of being reunited with my daughters. I had my doubts about being evaluated by anyone in Indiana given my experiences with the Indiana Courts but I was talked into ignoring my “paranoia” and going ahead and meeting with Snelson. I mean, lightening couldn’t strike twice, could it? Bang.
Judge Humphrey terminated my parenting time for exactly what I am doing in this blog post. One lawyer advised me not to post this because it could be perceived as me attacking everyone I run across in the court system. As a reader, I ask you to decide if this is worthy of public criticism. Read the letter of Dr. D. Mark Snelson, dated February 12, 2014. Snelson met with me at Putnamville for 1 ½ hours on August 20, 2013. He then recommended I undergo a thorough psychological evaluation with psychologist Dr. “Chris.” (“Chris” is the first name of the psychologist. I was going to go with “Dr. C” but I did not want people to confuse the psychologist with Dr. Connor. I underwent a battery of psychological testing and was interviewed on several occasions by Dr. Chris. Dr. Chris was very professional and his fees were what I believe to be very acceptable. Dr. Chris issued an evaluation opining I was not a danger and could have unsupervised visitation with my daughters.) Snelson claims to have performed a psychiatric evaluation of me as requested by the Court. He also alleges he conducted an extensive review or the court records from my criminal trial in October 2011. In all, he wrote 237 words; the last 16 being “I you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at the above listed number.” The fee for this 237 word “psychiatric evaluation”: $3,692. And who did Dr. Snelson address this letter to? Judge James D. Humphrey.
Before the few detractors start crying about me not agreeing with professionals who do not side with me, take a close look at Dr. Snelson’s 237 word letter/report. There is no recommendation. The first thing to note is he addressed the letter to Judge James D. Humphrey who hasn’t presided over my case since June 2009. Snelson would have known this if he would have actually reviewed any records. Snelson referred me to a psychologist for an extensive evaluation (which cost $3,700) yet never mentions reviewing the evaluation; just phone consultations with Dr. Chris. Snelson wrote “[Supervised visitation] was agreeable to Mr. Brewington as his stated goal was ‘my job is to prove I'm not going to become a danger and get visitation of my girls’!” Read that sentence aloud, then read it aloud again. My high school English teacher Mrs. Z (to whom I am eternally grateful!), would crucify me for that type of sentence structure. I couldn’t even imagine what she would have done if she paid me $3,692 to write something so ridiculous. Snelson then states he did not have the opportunity to meet with me or my daughters after my release from prison. Interviewing the children was not part of the order and why would he need further interviews with me when the evaluation of the psychologist Snelson referred me to states I was not a danger to the children. So Snelson writes a letter addressed to Judge Humphrey with no professional recommendations and ends the letter with “I you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at the above listed number.” To put some perspective on how alarming this is, imagine what would happen if an expert ballistics witness in the trial of George Zimmerman just told the judge in the case to give him a call if he had any questions.
Before going any further, I do want to clarify that Snelson’s evaluation did not actually cost $3,692. The price tag was actually $2,692. The extra grand came when Snelson scheduled an appointment to meet with me at the prison without notifying my lawyer or me. When he finally told my lawyer about scheduled appointment, my lawyer told Snelson I was not ready to meet with him. Snelson charged $1,000 to cancel because it was past the allotted time frame to cancel appointments. Snelson set up an appointment to see me, failed to tell my lawyer or me about the appointment until the day before, and then charged $1,000 because Snelson wasn’t given advanced notice of the cancellation. (I wasn’t made aware of this until recently. I would not have gone through any evaluation with someone exhibiting questionable ethics at the onset of the evaluation process.) After already paying roughly $7,400 for the evaluation process, Snelson tries to extort more money by trying to schedule more evaluations with me and my daughters before he could determine if I was safe enough to pay another mental health professional to supervise visitation per the current court order. When my lawyer questioned the additional sessions and informed Snelson the order did not include an evaluation of my children, Snelson wrote a letter to a judge who hasn’t presided over my case in nearly 4 years.
This is why I write. This is why Joe Sorge made the documentary Divorce Corp. How often does professional misconduct on the part of mental health professionals in custody proceedings occur when it’s happened to me twice? To any detractors I ask, how is this my fault? Sure I could have gone through more evaluations. I’m sure someone could have dragged my kids from Cincinnati, Ohio to Indianapolis, Indiana for evaluations. That would have cost another $8,000-$10,000. Then I would have to pay another few thousand to cover the costs of a mental health professional to supervise visitation. So in order to determine I am not a potential danger to my children and capable of unsupervised parenting time, (as always I like to remind people that there were never any reports of abuse, neglect, etc., and Dr. Connor recommended liberal parenting time in his testimony during my divorce) Dr. Snelson believes I should have to spend somewhere in the range of $20,000 to become an “unrestricted” parent once again. (Please note the $20,000 estimate could soar if my ex-wife forces me to subpoena all of these professionals to appear in court to prove I am not going to be a potential danger to anyone.) Rulings in family courts, like Judge Humphrey’s, turn parents into chum that are thrown in shark infested waters. All the mental health professionals have to do is state they want to be super-duper sure the children are safe and the sky is the limit. (Once again I want to reiterate the professionalism of “Dr. Chris” and his fair billing and am in no way lumping him in with unscrupulous individuals like Dr. Connor and Dr. Snelson.) Judge Humphrey took away my children because I criticized Dr. Connor on the internet. Humphrey testified to this in my criminal trial. I went to prison for 2.5 years because I criticized Humphrey. Now I am criticizing Dr. D. Mark Snelson M.D. for his conduct. Hopefully, the right people will begin to listen.