Monday, January 4, 2010

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


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

It is not easy these days to be married to an abuserthat also happens to be apolice 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 mustcease.

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 thecitizens 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 everbegin.

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 twoboys Jack and Duncan were murdered.



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