- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 18, 2012) — The Post & Email has been reporting for several months on the case of the Henderson family, whose seven children remain in foster care through the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) despite the parents’ continual efforts to regain custody.
The next hearing on the case, which concerns the adopting out of the six elder children against the parents’ wishes, is scheduled for Thursday, December 20, at 8:30 a.m. at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court at 201 Centre Plaza Drive, Suite 3, Monterey Park, CA 91754-2158.
On December 7, the parents, Jeffrey and Erica Henderson, filed a federal lawsuit naming numerous defendants, including Judge Marguerite Downing, who has been presiding over the case and is expected to preside on Thursday; DCFS social workers; the Los Angeles County chief executive; court personnel; and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
The previous hearing on November 19 lasted only a few minutes because Jeffrey Henderson’s attorney voiced an objection that his client had not been properly served. On October 31, The Post & Email wrote to Supervising Judge Michael Nash regarding Downing’s reported behavior on the bench and denial of observers into the courtroom on November 19. In his response, Nash suggested that The Post and Email could request to inspect the Henderson file, which we did in a second letter dated December 5.
On Tuesday, Mrs. Henderson reported that she and her husband had gone to court the day before to attend a hearing for an acquaintance and were ejected from the courtroom for no reason, something which had occurred during hearings for their own children at the order of Judge Downing. She told The Post & Email:
We had some strange things happen at Christina Perkins‘ hearing yesterday. She has a case in the same courthouse as us, different judge, different floor. As we filed in to the courtroom we were confronted by Christina’s attorney who asked who we were. We stated friends and supporters of the family. She got a horrid look on her face like she had just gotten a whiff of a big pile of poo. She said, “Don’t you have a case in this building? You can’t come in here, why are you here?” We again stated, We are supporting this family.” She signaled to the judge and we were immediately asked to leave. We waited outside. After a few minutes Christina’s mother was asked to leave as well.
It was reported that Jeffrey and I are “all over the internet.” Later we were informed that someone had come out of the courtroom and was snapping pictures of us. I am not sure what this all means, but I was disappointed that we were not allowed to sit in the hearing and support Christina.
Several weeks ago, Jeffrey had stated that he saw marks on one of his sons which the foster mothers attempted to blame on his wife during a supervised visit, although the monitor reported nothing amiss to DCFS. Henderson described the mark on his son’s face as a “cigarette burn” and the injury on his back as a “stab.” The foster mothers had reported Erica for failing to supervise, while Jeffrey stated that the mark on his son’s back was first apparent at his visit on the following Wednesday.
Mrs. Henderson has not visited with any of her children for several weeks due to a change in case management location. She reported calling the new designated social worker 20 times on one particular day to obtain information on when visitation would resume. On December 9, the last time she saw her children, Mrs. Henderson made the following comment:
My son Benjamin offered a wonderful memory today. He said remember the time I woke up really early and everyone else was asleep except you. You told me to be very quiet so I wouldn’t wake anyone up and you made me scrambled eggs and fed them to me.
I pray that I am allowed to have such a sweet simple life once again.
Upon the advice of DCFS Public Affairs Director Armand Montiel, The Post & Email called the abuse hotline to report the injuries to the Henderson child. We were assured that an impartial party would visit the child the same day to check on his welfare. On December 17, The Post & Email received the following response:
Two of the Hendersons’ seven children currently reside in the foster home, apparently with another child. A close friend of the Hendersons as well as the Henderson parents have told The Post & Email that the two foster mothers wish to adopt both Henderson children, one of whom is the infant seized from Mrs. Henderson’s arms when he was five weeks old. The parents’ attorneys proved to Judge Downing that the paperwork ordering the removal of the infant had not been completed properly, yet the judge took jurisdiction over the child rather than returning him to his parents.
A reader of The Post & Email filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Performance in San Francisco which reads:
November 7, 2012
COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE
455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14400
San Francisco, California 94102
Based on the instructions located on your website http://cjp.ca.gov/file_a_complaint.htm I am registering a complaint of judicial misconduct against Judge Marguerite D. Downing who presides in the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court located at 201 Centre Plaza Dr., Monterey Park, CA 91754.
The following case began in May 2010 and continues with a hearing of adoption scheduled for November 19, 2012. The case number is CK57697 which involves the apparent illegal arrest of Jeffery and Erica Henderson and seizure of their 7 (seven) children by Los Angeles Police and DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services). I say apparent because I have no personal knowledge of the events I am reporting. I have been following this travesty of justice as a reader of the reporting by Sharon Rondeau who runs an on-line news service, The Post and Email http://www.thepostemail.com/ that reports on corruption in the judicial system and law enforcement communities throughout our country.
As a citizen of this country and the State of California I find it difficult to understand how a judge can tell a person in court that the U. S. Constitution does not apply in her courtroom, holds hearings without allowing the defendants to attend or question witnesses and refusing them their right of self-defense. Is it permissible for Judge Downing or any Judge to tell America that the “Rules of Law” in California supersede the United States Constitution?
As a father I find it more difficult to understand why a department of government with the aid of the judiciary becomes so intrusive that it destroys a family without allowing the basic protections contained within the Bill of Rights that every judge should have emblazoned on their eyelids. One of the reports even suggests that there is an adoption scam going on in DCFS. The actions of Judge Marguerite Downing from the reports I have read (see the links to the referenced reports that are included at the end of my letter) have violated the Henderson’s Constitutional Rights.
1st … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,
4th… no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation,
5th … nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…,
6th … to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor…, and
8th … excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted…
It has come to my attention the Jeffery H. has filed an action of HABEUS CORPUS against the Superior Court of Los Angeles under the same case number CK57697. I am not aware of the disposition.
In your investigation you may find that the following case was the original case that started the horrible destruction of the Henderson family.
Case No.: 0PS0215801
Court Name: NORTHEAST/ALHAMBRA SUPR CT X
Court Address: 150 WEST …COMMONWEALTH AVE Court City: ALHAMBRAUPT
Bail Amount: 0 Fine Amount: .00
Court Date: 06/21/2011
Sentence Date: 06/21/2011
Number of days Sentenced: 0
Disposition Code: DISM Disposition Description: DISMISSED
I do not have phone numbers of contacts you state you need but here is Erica Henderson’s web support page. I’m sure you can contact her there. http://supportclanhenderson.blogspot.ca/ I have read that Jeffery now lives in a tent. Also a good contact is Sharon Rondeau, the editor of the Post & Email, please see her address above. I am certain she has all of the contact information you may need.
I pray that the commission has the ability to act with haste to correct the misdeeds of this judge and that you have the same concern I have for what seems to be a total disregard for individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution; that the rule of law is consistent with it. The LA Board of Supervisors seems to be absent in the control of DCFS (reported recently in the LA Times) and it is very important that you take action where the Court is concerned. I hope you agree that anonymous and bogus complaints that cannot stand the light of day must not be used to destroy a family in a Court of Law.
For your convenience I am including a printed copy of two of the latest reports dated Oct. 26, 2012 and Nov. 6, 2012. Citizens of this country are losing faith in the Judicial System, that justice is truly blind. There are so many examples of injustice and no justice that we find it difficult to believe otherwise.
With the most sincere expectations, I thank you for your earliest consideration.
Cc: Sharon Rondeau
list of publications:
http://www.thepostemail.com/2012/10/01/are-children-being-used-as-a-commodity-in-california-and-elsewhere/ Oct. 1, 2012 (Ransom, is the Court facilitating this?)
http://www.thepostemail.com/2012/10/26/bombshell-la-county-dcfs-removed-infant-from-mothers-care-without-necessary-signatures/ Oct. 26, 2012 Copy attached, Judge “Takes Jurisdiction” anyway
http://www.thepostemail.com/2012/11/06/update-on-henderson-children-adoption-case/ Nov. 6, 2012 Copy Attached, Update on Henderson Children Adoption Case
A follow-up letter was received from the Commission dated December 11, 2012:
Mr. Carter then wrote a second letter to the Commission:
December 16, 2012
COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE
And Sei Shimoguchi – Staff Counsel
455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14400
San Francisco, California 94102
Dear Commissioners and Mr. Shimoguchi,
This is to acknowledge your letter of December 11, 2012 regarding my complaint concerning case number CK57697 involving Judge Marguerite D. Downing.
In your letter you state that I had provided an insufficient basis for commission proceedings and that no further action is justified based on the information I provided. My I inquire, what action did the commission take?
I am confused. When I review my letter to the commission dated November 7, 2012 I provided information that was intended for you to access and to contact the reporter who has provided all of the reports I have read. Her reports include interviews she has done with the defendants in the above case and others who have witnessed this Judge’s actions. It was reported that Judge Marguerite Downing’s demeanor was entirely different at the last hearing. I was hoping that was because of your involvement. However the case was continued without an order to return the children to their parents so I am still concerned about this families rights being violated.
It is beyond my ability to comprehend how learned attorneys can read the same information that I have and not come to the conclusion that a miscarriage of justice is being carried out, where parents are denied rights guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution and the Constitution of California.
It appears from your letter that the commission meets only once a month so I understand that you will not revisit my complaint until next year after the next court action against the Henderson family. It is with great disappointment that I find you apparently did not avail yourselves of the links I provided nor made contact with Mrs. Rondeau, the owner and editor of The Post & Email. I am enclosing her business card in the hopes that you may revisit this complaint where you may be instrumental in returning seven (7) children to their rightful parents.
I implore you to at least become informed about this case where I believe a great injustice is being perpetrated by this judge with the assistance of the DCFS in Los Angeles County. Please take steps to stop the psychological damage that has and continues to happen to the children who want to be with their parents, not some paid by the state foster care.
Humbly and most sincerely,
Cc: Sharon Rondeau – The Post & Email
The Hendersons are seeking a “head count” of those who will be attending the hearing on Thursday on their behalf. From the public Facebook page, it appears that at least 12 people will be attending.
Tags: California, California constitution, Commission on Judicial Performance, DCFS, Judge Marguerite Downing, Judge Michael Nash, Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles DCFS, The Hendersons, U.S. Constitution