Monday, December 2, 2013

Believe Half of What You See*: The "Skier's Fetus Custody Case", And Other Internet Rumors

To say that the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act   (UCCJEA) isn't usually the stuff of the internet tabloids, and the "entertainment news" shows and sites is an understatement.   So when it does make an appearance,  it's frankly not horribly surprising when the tabloids, reputable online news outlets, and even the "Grey Lady" of American news media, don't get the details exactly right.

The short version of the story (and I haven't read the full trial court record either in New York or in California) seems to be that in May, a New York judicial officer made an odd, and fairly clearly wrong-headed decision on the issue of custody jurisdiction, kicking the case back to California.  A judge in California, faced with an apparent "we don't want it!" from the New York court, then decided to act, since, at that point, no other court was willing to do so.  Several months later, the appellate court in New York, in what is characterized as a "scathing" opinion, reversed the New York trial court's mistake.

Is any of this really news?   Judges (and other judicial officers) sometimes make wrong decisions.  Sometimes, they even make stupidly wrong decisions.  That's what the appellate process is about.

*"People say believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear."   Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong:   Heard It Through the Grapevine

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