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Feb 7, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.


It's not really clear to me that you read any of my detailed responses at all. Seems like you're just repeating yourself to get the last word. That's fine.

If you want to talk sensibly about these issues, call me at my firm - 206.721.8880 - and we can set something up.

Peace out.

Feb 5, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.

First, thank you for your thoughtful post.I may not agree with you, but I enjoyed reading your post. If nothing else, you have raised the level of discourse here by stating the "bias exists" argument with restraint and some logic.

You write: “You state as evidence of lack of bias a case that began with a biased ex-parte restraining order “based on flimsy evidence”. Isn’t that an admission of bias?” No, it’s simply evidence of what I believe to be a bad order. Bad orders happen. As I’ve written in detail above, 1) Ex parte commissioners have a really hard job, balancing the rights of those who are not present against possible devastating harm for not granting orders; 2) I myself am critical of granting orders when the pleadings themselves, even if 100% true, don’t add to up, IMO, to a good enough reason to grant orders without any notice to the restrained party. But I am sympathetic to the very tough job these commissioners have; 3) In my experience, both men and women sometimes end up on the wrong end of these orders, and I have seen no credible evidence that men are unfairly targeted.

You write “The point of the article is to describe bias when there is ANY gray area.” It’s family law. There are ALWAYS gray areas. Our courts wrestle with them every single day, and, I believe, overwhelmingly get it right. The fact that they sometimes get it wrong is not evidence of bias.

The point of my article is that Shapiro’s claims of bias were mostly anecdotal, speaking only to the attorney for the man, and not backed by any credible evidence. Institutional bias exists in this world, as does good evidence. As I wrote, if for example, there is a huge difference between the percentage of drug overdose deaths by race and the percentage of heroin possession arrests by race, well to me, that creates a pretty credible prima facie presumption of bias. See also…

You write: “Regarding the “numerous checks and balances” – a commissioner won’t overturn themselves on reconsideration.” Commissioners often reverse themselves on reconsideration – if there’s good reason to. And they often look at new evidence – but only if there’s a good reason why the evidence wasn’t available in the first place. I stand by my statement (and can probably supplement with my own case law when I get back to the office on Monday).

I don’t know what the statistics are for reconsiderations, but I suspect that many reconsiderations are filed pro forma, making all the same tired arguments again. As I wrote, we file reconsiderations and revisions sparingly, and only when we think a decision is truly without merit – and win about 50-60% of them. I can’t speak to the experience of other attorneys, but nearly everything we file is a matter of public record (except for parentage actions, which are sealed).

You are correct that judges won’t consider new evidence on revision. This is why lawyers typically offer new evidence on reconsideration, even if they think they’ll lose the reconsideration – so that it’s part of the record for an eventual revision.

You write that judges “tend to rubber stamp commissioner’s decisions unless they’re egregiously wrong. They certainly don’t check or balance bias.” Revisions are a check on all sorts of errors at the commissioner level, whether you call those errors bias, legal error, or what have you. Also, the mere knowledge that any ruling can easily be revised itself tends to make commissioners more careful, IMO. But judges SHOULDN’T reverse lower court rulings unless they are egregiously wrong. The family courts are there to create a safe and stable status quo up until trial. If every tough 51/49 decision were routinely overturned, it would mean chaos in the court system.

Revisions don’t cost thousands of dollars. They are relatively cheap because no new evidence is presented. The typical revision motion is a two or three page long pro forma exercise. It’s a do over.

You write: “The analogy to losing a Seahawks game is distasteful. Do you GET the pain that’s being inflicted here. Please try to put yourself in these men’s shoes.” I put myself in their shows just about every day. My point was that if people vociferously complain about the refs in a football game years later, it’s natural to do so when there is so much more at stake. I think we’re both saying that football games are trivial compared to the heartache of divorce.

You write “You speak of there being a lack of "proper data". True, there is no scientific data. But at what point do the opinions of the 4-5 well known and regarded attorneys in the article, the attorneys responding to your blog, the attorneys responding on the listserves and discussion groups, etc. etc. at what point do their own experiences regarding the bias of certain commissioners deserve any weight in your judgment?” I’ve been very clear that I’m just one attorney, running a small firm of just five attorneys. I certainly don’t think I have a monopoly on objective truth. But I do know a little about data. The point is not simply that there’s no scientific data presented, but that this data is obtainable, and those who complain make little effort to obtain it.


I am happy to look at any purported data. Little has been offered. I am inherently suspicious of anyone who eschews hard data in favor of an emotionally resonant narrative.
By contrast, I believe that I have cited to several fairly reliable academic studies - and these have been ignored by those on this thread who disagree with me.

It’s true that a few fairly well know attorneys were quoted claiming bias. This is disappointing, but not terribly surprising to me. It’s easy to blame the court rather your client or your own bad lawyering. Ultimately, the percentage of lawyers who make this claim is less relevant to me than getting to the truth of the matter. With data. Absent such data,I believe that I have made my own systemic analysis as to what factors might help prompt some lawyers to say such things. I stand by this.

You question my statement that most men and women are in family courts because of their own bad decisions, and that they “would rather blame anyone but themselves for their predicament.” This is an uncomfortable point, but it does reflect my experience.

You write: “Are you referring to their decision to marry a liar …?” I think you live in a simpler world than I do, a world where good people simply marry bad people.” The world in which I live is substantially more complex. It’s a world where everyone has good and bad in them, everyone wants to do better but most do not, and everyone, in these cases, is carrying around a great deal of pain – all of it real. I see family courts not so much as good vs. evil but as a cadre of flawed individuals doing the best that they can.

You write: “The claims of “lazy lawyering” is just a cheap shot.” If you say so. Doesn’t make it any less true.

You write: “I think marketing to men is a sham, but still a cheap shot to your colleagues.” I think that wild, unsupported accusations of institutional bias are cheap shots. But you think that pointing out a marketing sham that results in more pain and poverty to guys who are already in a world of hurt is a cheap shot?

Yes, I believe that the article indeed paraded men as victims - and that this inference is fundamentally misleading.

The questions we should be asking ourselves are this: What agenda is being furthered by these largely unsupported claims of systemic bias, leveled primarily at female professionals? Who does this agenda benefit? And why are the chief complainers not spending their plentiful energies collecting actual data? Talk is cheap.

My own agenda is simple:

First, I want more quality lawyering in King County family courts, and I want us lawyers to take more responsibility for the mistakes that we make.

Second, I want to see more respect given to our courts, who do a very hard job, and do it admirably, even with terrible funding cuts.

Third, I want more focus placed on the needs of children, who are substantially more vulnerable than either their mothers or their fathers.

Let’s demand solid evidence, instead of giving in to hysteria. To use a non-football analogy, let’s actually find the weapons of mass destruction first, BEFORE spending a trillion dollars we don’t have.
Feb 4, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.

You write: “If you don't want to be subject to public scrutiny, then stop being a horrible father and putting yourself out in the public.” I honestly don’t know what you mean by “horrible father.” I am, I think, better than some and worse than others. I just hope, like most parents, that my love for my kids is stronger than the prejudices and insecurities I unintentionally inflict on them, just by being who I am. Hopefully, I won’t ruin my kids by accident!

And I’m not sure what I have written – and it’s a few thousand words by now – that would make anyone think I “don’t want to be subject to public scrutiny.”

You write: “Your home address is public record, just like your office address is, you idiot. Don't complain to me that it's available on the internet. Talk to Google. I just posted all the info for the convenience of anyone who wanted to write you, complain, or share information with you directly to help change your distorted, illogical views.”

I have no problem with your posting my office coordinates. In fact, my original article links to my firm’s blog, which in turn gives my firm address. I am not hard to find. But to claim that you post someone’s home address for the “convenience” of people who could already reach me at my office, nearly in the same breath as you call me a “lying chink” and a “greasy pedophile”?

Sorry dude, but I call bullsh*t.

I will say that since your original posts on Wednesday I’ve been contacted 8-10 times by other family law attorneys who appeared genuinely concerned for my personal safety, and for the safety of my family. Several of these people told me that they thought I was not concerned enough. A couple of people told me of their own scary stories with disgruntled opposing parties in family law cases. Another couple of people told me about Tom Neville (he was killed before I moved to Seattle, and I had never heard of him) -…

I’m not trying to be dramatic; I’m just offering a reality check on how you may be perceived, at least by some of my fellow vultures, and perhaps by some of the readers here.

You don’t strike me as a violent guy, just a guy who has been very frustrated for a long long time, and who perhaps thinks that no one is listening or cares. In other words, you sound like a lot of my clients. Clearly, this is something you care about deeply, and I respect the passion of your convictions. No joke.

I also don’t think you are necessarily off base with everything you say. Even if I don’t agree with your conclusions, I think that you rightly put your finger on some difficult issues, and you’ve obviously done some homework on all this. But if you use needlessly invasive, bullying tactics, your ideas won’t be taken seriously and you’ll be written off by a lot of people (though perhaps not by me) as a creepy, unhinged jerk. Trust me on this, even if you believe nothing else I say.

Look, you want to seriously debate these issues - and I suspect you do, given all the energy you’ve put into your posts – then let’s talk in person and see where that takes us. Just leave my office staff and my family out of it, and you can call me whatever the hell you want. I’m at 206.721.8880.

Also, apropos of nothing perhaps: WAG MORE. BARK LESS. LIFE’S JUST TOO SHORT.

Now I gotta go be a dad. Ever since we got back from Chuck E. Cheese around 3 pm, my kid’s been patiently awaiting my attention. I’ll try not to ruin him ;)
Feb 4, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.

I’m not going to comment specifically on individual commissioners or lawyers, or DV evaluators, or GALs in a public forum, because I think that it’s just irresponsible. I will say that a couple of the names you list have widespread reputations that are not terribly dissimilar to your characterizations. Look, there are bad eggs everywhere – contractors who hide their crappy work behind sheet rock; engineers who rubber stamp dangerous designs that end up killing people; auto mechanics who rip off the unwary as a matter of course; reporters who ignore facts that don't fit the headline they want to write; politicians who use fear and sleight of hand to get elected, then pick the pockets of the people who put them there; over-privileged athletes and rock stars who can’t be bothered to be nice to the fans who are responsible for their millions of dollars; jerks who dent your car in a parking lot and don't leave a note, and so on.

The world is an imperfect place.

You write: “And YOU say that there is NO bias whatsoever in this family court system…”

No, I have never said this. I have harshly attacked a slapdash article which makes broad accusations which I believe were not supported in any significant way by the facts that Ms. Shapiro presents.

I have stated that my personal experience is that our family courts usually get it right, based on the most credible evidence presented, and that I have seen no significant bias against men or women.

Do I think that commissions, judges, and evaluators sometimes make awful mistakes? Of course I do. These are human beings, and human beings are full of pre-conceived notions. It's part of being human, part of how we are able to make sense of the onslaught of new data we get each and every day.

I have been personally involved on the wrong side of some major injustices – representing both women and men - including a former client dad who has gone to the Court of Appeals three times because of a series of terrible decisions. This is a matter of public record.…

Representing moms, I have also been on the wrong end of some bonehead orders, like the commissioner who ruled that, several years after the divorce, my client’s long-time boyfriend of could never spend the night at her house while her teenage kids were there because it suddenly offended the deadbeat dad’s religious sensibilities – even though the boyfriend knew the kids well and the kids liked him, had been spending the night there for 3 years without incident, and did nothing else wrong.

These are examples of two truly awful court orders, made by commissioners/judges – orders that really messed with my clients, and did no favors their kids. Maybe the decision makers were biased, maybe they didn’t read the materials carefully, maybe they didn’t like my client, maybe they didn’t like me. You can get on your soap box and say the whole system is corrupt in one way or another, or you can look at each individually, and not jump to rash conclusions unless there is truly compelling impartial evidence to support it.

You want an example of compelling impartial evidence? About 15 years ago the Seattle Times reported that although 92% or so all heroin overdose fatalities were white people, 50% of all SPD arrests for possessing heroin were black people. (I have no idea if this discrepancy is as big now.) Now, I just don't know any way you can look at those two numbers without seeing institutional bias of some sort. I mean, unless you really want to argue that black heroin addicts are somehow smarter about not overdosing... Note again that I look to fatality statistics because I believe them to be more generally reliable.

I am perfectly willing to read, and listen to, evidence that contradicts my specific experiences. After all, I’m just one lawyer, working in a small firm. I don’t see thousands of cases a year; I see dozens of cases a year, maybe a couple of hundred. I like to think I can look evidence as it is, and not as I wish it to be.

What I'm arguing for is getting good data so that we don't mistakenly put 2 and 2 together and get 13. Yeah, before I was a lawyer I was a wannabe policy wonk. True story.

Again, let me know if you want to meet in person, 1 on 1, or with some of your other friends present. You can find me most days at my Rao & Pierce office on Beacon Hill. You can call me at 206.721.8880 to set up a time. I ask only one thing. I’m not terribly concerned with any names you want to call me, but I insist that you – and anyone else who calls my firm - treat my staff politely and respectfully. Whatever you think of me, it’s on me and not the nice people who work for me. This is not their fight.
Feb 4, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.

@67 – You write: “Why are there "special" DV laws for assaults and murders? Why don't the courts just criminally prosecute the murder/assault laws? … What's the burden in civil court to prove that a man will kill, assault or harm her (in the future)? A preponderance of evidence. If she says she fears that, then they grant it, PERIOD. The dad is deprived of life, liberty, property, his Constitutional right to access to his children WITHOUT a trial, WITHOUT a jury of his peers, WITHOUT the right to an attorney, WITHOUT a hearing lasting longer than 5 minutes, WITHOUT any evidence except the wife/girlfriend/babymama's WORD.”

This is a decent question. The purpose of criminal laws is to punish. The purpose of civil protection orders is to protect – especially to protect children. Yes, preponderance of evidence is the standard, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. Again, it’s an imperfect balancing act designed to prevent serious injuries and fatalities – and as I think I’ve shown, there are a lot of them.

Remember that all ex parte orders are temporary, usually no more than 2 weeks. And as long as the restrained party follows legal process and doesn’t violate the order in that 2-week period, no one’s getting locked up.

I definitely think that this process can be, and is, abused. BUT it’s abused by lawyers for both men and women, as I’ve said earlier.

Also, I absolutely believe that there are good, fairly predictable safeguards in the system – motions to quash, full hearings, reconsiderations, revisions, CR 60 motions, parenting evaluations.…

My own experience is that the courts don't always get it right the first time around, for a variety of reasons - but if you present good evidence in a calm, methodical and respectful way - then upon further review, the court will almost always get it right.

My experience is that the cases I see where men and women fail to reverse adverse paper restraints, their lawyers typically present their own dubious, hysterical, angry, he-said, she-said statements, ignore proper extrinsic evidence, often treat the court with open disrespect and even contempt - then complain about how unfair the court was. Yeah, lazy lawyers don't usually blame their own lack of preparation. Big surprise.

Obviously you disagree about how good these safeguards are. I’m happy to discuss this in detail with you, and with anyone else who believes that these processes are inadequate to protect the rights of fathers or mothers. You got my number. Just call me to set up a time and place.
Feb 4, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.

@65- You claim that there are “100s and 100s of bogus, domestic violence restraining orders.” I wonder what evidence you have of this.

@66- You write: “You mention you understand a responding party's absence in Ex Parte. You know how attorneys USUALLY proceed in Ex Parte. They call a responding party father while he is at work or they DON'T call him AT ALL and they LIE to the Commissioner and say they gave him notice.”

Dude, I am seriously with you on this one. Using ticky-tack specious allegations, then not giving proper notice is despicable. And yes, some lawyers lie (as do some engineers, carpenters, computer programmers, hair dressers, etc.) They should be sanctioned by the bar – in my opinion, these bad apples should actually be sanctioned far more than they are now. On the other hand, some of the very most honest people I have ever met are lawyers – because lawyers see the slippery slope from puffery to exaggeration to white lie to bald-faced lie every damn day. This experience makes some people more dishonest, and some people far more diligent in the being honest, even in the small things.

You write “The ENTIRE proceeding in Ex Parte restraining orders is SCAM.” Sorry, but I just don’t see this. As I've written earlier, the restraining orders and OFP's that I've filed - sometimes with notice, sometimes without notice, depending on the risks involved as I saw them - are public record. I stand behind every single one I ever filed. And like you, I think that lawyers who file these motions purely for tactical advantage suck nasty cow pies.

You write: “They hand out THOUSANDS of restraining orders without due process, setting a guy up for a crime, all for the fear of that ONE person who MIGHT get killed.” Legal due process is not a rigid line. Rather, it’s a delicate and imperfect balancing act between protecting civil liberties and assessing real threats to public safety. Just ask some of the hundred of poor folks stuck at Guantanamo Bay for years, who never committed any crime at all.…

Again, let me reiterate my invitation to have this discussion in a coffee shop or restaurant, at your convenience. Just not tomorrow – it’s the Super Bowl! I find that talking to people who disagree with me is far more interesting than preaching to the choir.
Feb 4, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.

James (the name I got from the email you sent me),

You actually raise some good points, and I'm happy to discuss them further, in a coffee shop or restaurant of your choice. Feel free to invite Chris Hupy, GoodDad, Medina, and anyone else you wish. As I said, I'll buy the first cup of coffee for anyone who shows. Till then, I’ll try to respond to as many of your points as I can reasonably track.

@65, you write: “So, 20 - 40 murders per year justifies 100s and 100s of bogus, domestic violence restraining orders WITHOUT a full hearing, WITHOUT evidence, except the word of a woman?”

Briefly, yes. Every human life is sacred. To put this in perspective, a 2003 Center for Disease control report summarizes: Nearly 5.3 million intimate partner victimizations occur among U.S. women ages 18 and older each year. This violence results in nearly 2.0 million injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths.”… Let’s just ignore the 2 million injuries a year and look only to DV fatalities – which as I’ve noted earlier are statistically very reliable indicators. If we use a conservative estimate of 1,200 homicides a year, that makes 13,200 homicides between 2001 and 2011. To put this in perspective, it’s estimated by one anti-Islamic website that 3,094 people have died in the US from 66 Islamic extremist attacks between 1972 and 2011 (including 2,996 on 9/11/2001).….

Yes, this means that 4 times as many women were murdered by intimate partners in just ten years than by Islamic extremists in 40 years.

I think we all know what some of the civil liberties consequences have been for brown people – and for everyone - in America after 9/11 (!). As a person of color, I accept this scrutiny every time I fly even though it’s ridiculous to think I would ever harm anyone on an airplane or anywhere else.

Statistically, think how much more dangerous it is for women in their own homes than flying on a plane. I believe the public safety issue alone justifies a heightened level of scrutiny for men accused of threatening and/or violent behavior. We can agree to disagree on this, but these particular numbers show the extent of the public safety issue.

You also write: “How many of those murder victims would have been protected with a protection order. I can confidently say: NONE. Why? Cuz someone risking the DEATH PENALTY or LIFE in prison doesn't give a crap about a piece of paper that says don't go near the person you want to kill.”

I respectfully disagree with this premise, for a number of reasons. Certainly it’s true that someone completely committed to violence cannot be stopped by a piece of paper. In fact, the rise of suicide bombers has shown that dedicated murderers often can’t be stopped by laws, guns, police checkpoints, and concrete barricades (each of which are a pain in the ass for law-abiding citizens). But that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to prevent suicide bombers, or that we should try to use our civil laws to protect victims of DV.

There's also plenty of statistical evidence showing the correlation between "paper restraints" and declines in violence. For example, a 2004 study published by the National Institute of Health succinctly concluded: “Abused women who apply and qualify for a 2-year protection order, irrespective of whether or not they are granted the order, report significantly lower levels of violence during the subsequent 18 months.”…

More in the next post…
Feb 2, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.

Thanks for the constructive comments.

You say that “it is possible to win TRO’s or DVPO’s with enough hard work.” Isn’t hard work what we’re paid for, whoever we represent? I can’t speak for others, but in my personal experience, I’ve never found it particularly difficult to blow away hysterical accusations.
You write that “a victim has a built in or systemic advantage including the use of ex parte orders and DV advocates. A victim is given all the information and help. Declarations are tailored to hit all the right statutory factors. The other side is not present. To me, that is an advantage or bias.”

First and foremost, this is a public health issue. The year by year statistics I have found for domestic violence fatalities in Washington State, by gender are:
1997 – 4 male victims, 20 female victims
1998 – 2 male victims, 30 female victims
1999 – 4 male victims, 20 female victims
2000 – 2 male victims, 18 female victims
2001 – 1 male victim, 30 female victims
2002 – 3 male victims, 24 female victims
2003 – 4 male victims , 24 female victims
2004 – 3 male victims, 25 female victims
2005 – 6 male victims, 34 female victims
2006 – 8 male victims, 18 female victims
2007 – 5 male victims, 24 female victims
2008 – 2 male victims, 23 female victims
2009 – 5 male victims, 28 female victims
2010 – 6 male victims, 24 female victims
1997-2010 – 55 male victims, 342 female victims… For much more in depth analysis, see…

I use fatality statistics because they are inherently more reliable. What is striking about these statistics is how little they change from year to year. Note that in this 14 year period, the number of female victims was less than 20 just once (18) and more than 30 just once (34). Likewise the number of male victims was below 2 just once (1) and above 6 just once (8).

Incidentally, I just remembered that I wrote an article on this back in 2009, after reading that a Graham, WA dad shot all 5 of his kids, apparently because his wife was cheating on him. He couldn’t find his wife, so then he shot himself. -…

Note that these five children are not part of the above statistics - nor are any other child victims of DV.

It’s also important to note that many “familicide” perpetrators – who kill their children as well as their partner – had no prior criminal record. I believe that neither of the dads I wrote about, who killed their families a few days apart in April 2009 had criminal records. One was a white diesel mechanic, the other an Indian-American software engineer.

All this leads to an imperfect balancing act for our ex parte commissioners. They may err a bit on the side of caution, but what would you do, given the above statistics?

Clearly, most of us guys are not homicidal lunatics, just as most guys who look like me are not terrorists. And yet pretty much every time I fly I get “special” attention, ever since 9/11 (well, unless my wife is with me). I don’t know that it’s fair to me, but I sure understand it. It's just part of being brown in America.

This issue is tough because there are fundamental asymmetries at play (see above statistics). Similarly, I would guess that someone who owns a restaurant or other cash-based business probably faces more scrutiny by the IRS than say, a Boeing engineer. Not all restaurant owners cheat on their taxes, and some Boeing engineers certainly do, but that doesn’t change the fundamental dynamics of the situation.

Yes, if anyone is a victim of a dubious DVPO, and they don’t properly bring the facts to the court’s attention, two weeks can easily turn into two months or longer. Obviously, this is just plain wrong. Like you, I defend these folks regularly against hysterical accusations, and statistically, it's likely that a majority of these folks are men (because statistically, more men commit violent acts against their families). But the ex parte court is not in a vacuum. And if we remove protections, and cut funding for DV advocates, what do you think the likely results will be?

The class of people who have the greatest ability to change these dynamics are lawyers. DV advocates have a hard, but narrowly defined job. It’s not reasonable given their budgetary constraints to ask them to create a further hurdle to people coming for help. But too many of these hysterical ex parte motions are drafted by lawyers – including, ironically, lawyers who publicly complain about bias against men (not you, Derek). Such practice is reprehensible, just as it is reprehensible when lawyers knowingly intimidate the victims of domestic violence, and effectively perpetuate the cycle of domestic violence in the litigation process itself.

On the occasions when I have asked these attorneys who drafted hysterical accusations why they filed such mean-spirited tripe (usually after my client defeated the order at a hearing a couple of weeks later), I generally get either a) more hysterical accusations, or b) some lame excuse like “This is what my client told me; there’s nothing I could do.” Poppycock. We family law attorneys need to change the culture so that it's just not cool to use domestic violence for tactical advantage.

Once again, I believe that the misuse of the ex parte calendar is a complex and multi-faceted issue rather than a gender-specific issue. Right now in my practice I have a fairly equal gender split of clients who were on the wrong end of a hysterical ex parte order. For my practice at least, this is common. The only real difference I see is that male clients appear more likely to believe that they are the victim of bias than female clients.

I would love to talk more about possible solutions. The first thing I can think of off the bat is that ex parte commissioners could more closely scrutinize why the opposing party cannot be present at the hearing - at least by phone. True, in some cases, giving the other party notice itself creates a public safety hazard. But in many cases I see, just from reading the petition and declaration, there was just no good reason not to at least give the other party 2 or 3 hours notice, and at least let them talk to the court by phone. One reason I think it happens is that if the ex parte order is granted anyway, the other party may evade service of process - and without the actual order in hand, that party cannot be arrested for violating that order. This isn't an issue if the restrained party is there in person, but of course, that creates other public health issues - because a pre-scheduled court hearing is the one place an abuser knows when and where his victim will be. Every time you take the 4th avenue entrance you walk past the plaque commemorating the woman  Susana Blackwell, 25, who has eight months pregnant when she was shot and killed by her estranged husband at the courthouse in 1995, along with two of her friends, Phoebe Dizon, 46, and Veronica Laureta Johnson, 42. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.c…

Not every guy is a dick like Timothy Blackwell. And yes, some guys get shafted by the court just like some women get shafted. But when we throw around incendiary terms like "systemic bias," and talk about all the "advantages" that victims get, let's at least look at both sides of the equation with cold, discerning eyes.
Feb 1, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Liveblogging the Washington State Senate's Debate and Vote on IN FAVOR OF GAY MARRIAGE.
Glad to see that 28 folks decided to be on the right side of history. What a great day to be a Washingtonian!
Feb 1, 2012 ChristopherRao commented on Systemic Bias in Family Court—or just Selective Fact-Finding?.
@ 52:

You write: "Cite the rate at which a Motion for Reconsideration of a commissioner's ruling is granted. Cite also the rate at which a Motion for Revision is granted versus a judge DEFERRING to a commissioner without re-looking at the matter de novo.

Back up your BS, liar."

Very good question, actually.

I don't have statistics for all reconsiderations and revisions, county-wide. Conventional wisdom is that they usually fail. I would guesstimate that about 50-60% of the ones my firm has filed in the last two years have succeeded, but a big reason why it's this high is because we only do reconsiderations/revisions when we think the ruling below was really in left field.

Otherwise, it's just a waste of the client's money.

Plus, I really don't enjoy getting my ass kicked in court ;)