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MY WORD: We need to judge this judge

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By Rebecca Wall

The day is finally here. Ever since Judge John David Myles was first elected to take the bench of the Family Court Division of the 53rd Judicial Circuit in November 2006, I have waited to write this letter. He has recently announced that he will seek a second term in the next election.

If you think this issue doesn't concern you because you don't have children affected by the Family Court, think again. The children whose lives are shaped by the sentences imposed on them by this Court are your neighbors, your students, your babysitters, your store clerks, and....your future.

With any other elected officials, we the voters have opportunities to tell the candidates how we feel about the issues; and we can find out about the candidates' opinions as well. Even after the elections we can continue to give feedback and interface with the officials through phone calls, letters, emails, personal appointments, etc.

One would think any person given the power of the Family Court should be vetted and researched before a responsible voter would consider casting a vote for Judge Myles. The reality?

  • You can't talk to the judge.
  • You can't write to the judge.
  • You can't know his true judicial opinions unless you are willing to park yourself in the department of public records and read each decision on every case.

According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, there is no data collected on the outcomes of cases in the Family Court.

In this technological age, I find it hard to believe there is no mechanism to collect data that can be disseminated to the voting public to educate them about this sitting judge. However, anecdotally, fathers fare much better than mothers. Hmm, what a surprise.

Few of us who marry ever expect to divorce. And if we could realistically "put our differences aside for the sake of the child," we would probably stay married. We come to the court for justice-presumably the last bastion of civilized recourse. Yet I now know that the court doesn't dispense justice, only a chance at justice. And when your money runs out, so does your child's chance for justice. We don't come to the court to play "Deal or No Deal" with our children's lives.

This painfully frustrating process has taught me that the child protection system is not about child protection at all. Simply put – this system is completely broken. It is ripe with cronyism, a lack of common sense and a lack of dedication to child welfare. The child protection system is but a "cash cow" for bottom-feeding attorneys, family therapists, and counseling service providers. Wild animals do a better job of protecting their young.

The system is not about doing what is in the best interest of the child because no one in the court is truly vested in the child's welfare; nor is anyone held accountable for the child's outcomes. Do any of you in the system ever even wonder if you got it right? What do you think your odds are at making the right decision that is in the best interest of the child? 30 percent? 50 percent? 75 percent? I dare say that job performance would absolutely not pass muster in the private sector.

And what is the penalty when you don't get it right? Know this – you are accountable for the decisions you make that affect these children during the tender developmental years of their lives. If your moral compass doesn't guide you to shoulder this tremendous responsibility with serious conviction, then shame on you. Be aware your antics are being played out before young and impressionable eyes. As long as the children remain pawns in your strategic games, don't be surprised if these same children grow up to be angry, disrespectful, troubled, and resentful adults.

To the voters: Please do not be fooled by Judge Myles' name recognition, expensive color ads in the newspapers, promotional photos of him surrounded by smiling children, or his reported activities with CASA. The "rubber meets the road" in the courtroom. It is in this venue that the true Judge Myles is revealed. His demeanor is superior and insulting. His sarcasm, disdain, and hateful criticisms rub salt in our very painful wounds. His dismissive and derogatory actions are directed at the women and children of divorce. Clearly, stereotypes and profiling judgments guide his decisions.

I would encourage you to go to YouTube and view the following videos, Feb. 17, 2012, WHAS-Channel 11 report of John David Myles’ cursing another litigant; Jan. 7, 2009, “Family Court destroys families;" and videos from Nov. 10, 2008, that show examples of Judge Myles’ behavior from the bench. In addition, there are numerous Google entries from others who have suffered at his hand.

Speak to your neighbors and friends that have experienced Judge Myles' Family Court before you cast your vote. Exercise your powerful right to vote in order to change the system and elect real servants of the families and children.

Before any of you respond to this letter, understand my child and I have lived under Judge Myles' rule for 8 years. Now that my son is very nearly 18 years old, we no longer have a dog in this fight.

Truly, we have survived and flourished in spite of Judge Myles, not because of him.

 

Rebecca Wall lives in Lawrenceburg.