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by Sharon Rondeau

The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is currently trying to place the six elder Henderson children with adoptive families despite their having loving parents who want to reunite the family. The two youngest children have not been in foster care long enough to enter the adoption process, but as time passes and they are not returned to their parents, their cases will “time out” and adoption will become the goal.

(Nov. 26, 2014) — In our recent interview with Jeffrey Henderson, a father of eight children attempting to secure their release from state custody and impending adoption, he shared with us the knowledge he has acquired in law school which has assisted him in writing motions which have successfully postponed the final decrees of adoption of his children over the past three months.

In May 2011, Jeffrey and his wife had six children, all of whom were taken by Los Angeles DCFS when he and Erica were jailed.  At a hearing a month later, the Henderson parents were cleared of all criminal charges, at which time they began the arduous task of proving themselves competent parents while the children remained in foster care, divided into several homes across a region.

According to DCFS Public Affairs Director Armand Montiel, reunification is the first, second and tertiary goal of DCFS once children have been separated from their biological parents.  Following dozens of hearings and maneuverings by the juvenile court over more than two years during which reunification seemed probable and then highly unlikely, Jeffrey decided to attend law school to acquire the knowledge he believed he would need to release the children from foster care and ultimately, adoptive homes, where they remain today.

Both parents have reported that the children have exhibited signs of emotional trauma which the Department feared would hamper the plans to place them in permanent adoptive homes, which the parents vehemently oppose.

Two children born after the elder six were placed in foster care were each taken from Erica Henderson’s arms when they were 5-6 weeks old because of the existing open case with the others and DCFS’s expressed concern that Erica could not provide a “safe” environment for the children because of her alleged contact with Jeffrey.

The allegations first made against Jeffrey and Erica were that a propane tank kept in the garage was unsafe on the grounds that it was supposedly used for heating their home; that Jeffrey had injured his then-eight-year-old daughter’s eye after she was questioned intensely by DCFS investigators and changed her original statement that the bruise was the result of a toy her younger brother had thrown; and that their daughter drank a small amount of alcohol on “Shabbat,” the Jewish Sabbath each Friday evening.

Subsequent allegations from unknown parties claiming that Jeffrey owned a gun to which the children might have access were disproved in court, but by that time, reunification efforts were stopped by the Department based on the length of time the children had remained in foster care.

In part 1 of our recent interview, Jeffrey indicated that he believes child protective services are seeking children who can be placed into foster and adoptive homes for ulterior motives and that child trafficking is a significant problem in the United States.

Jeffrey began law school in January of this year and is currently completing his second semester.  While not originally motivated to become an attorney, he came to believe that it was his only hope of preventing the adoption of his children, some by strangers with customs foreign to the family.  Before the incident with the Pasadena police which resulted in their having been incarcerated, Erica and Jeffrey had home-schooled their two school-age children and practiced “attachment parenting,” which made their separation all the more painful.

Early on in the process of attempting to regain custody, Erica and Jeffrey were dismissed from the courtroom by Judge Marguerite Downing after entering appearances on their own behalf. “She said, ‘Get out!!'” Mrs. Henderson told us just after her seventh child, an infant, was seized by Los Angeles police and a DCFS social worker.  Later, she discovered that the documents necessary to remove the infant and place him in foster care were never completed by DCFS.

The Post & Email asked Jeffrey in our recent interview if he believed anything currently occurring in the juvenile courts is constitutional, to which he gave a surprising response.

MR. HENDERSON:  The easy, quick answer is “yes.”  That’s what I’ve learned since I’ve been here [in law school].  But the real answer is “no.”  Let me tell you why:  If we’re going to give our consent, then we have to know and understand what we’re giving our consent to.  But because we’re assumed to be ignorant of the law, then we are assumed to be in a state where we give up our rights and put ourselves on the mercy of the court.

Putting it in historical context, before the Civil War, we didn’t have assumed servitude that we have now where everyone is a federal person.  After the Civil War, there was a decision at the federal level where everyone was going to be assumed to be one certain political status, which was “public servant.”  In order to protect them, they established this very craftily, because the people who had the money at that time intended to keep people at this status.  But there was a law that had to be passed before the Reconstruction Acts or the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were ratified along with saying that they had changed your political status.  What that meant was that before they made everyone a U.S. citizen, they provided an “escape” clause.  I learned this in “Contracts;” the first class they teach you in law school is that when you don’t object, it is assumed that you agree.

So because we’re assumed to agree, we’re technically at the mercy of the government.  No longer are we the master and they the public servant; under this status, we are the public servant and they are the master.

MRS. RONDEAU:  That might explain why judges and other government employees are so bold about their misconduct today.

MR. HENDERSON:  It also explains how some people are able to do certain things while other people aren’t.  You can see signs of hope when judges do certain things that are a little bit strange, because some people use certain words in certain ways and do certain things; they know there is an escape clause.  In law school, they teach it to you.  But do the students really learn it?  Absolutely not.  I’ve been here for a year, and I’m still trying to help people to understand that the common law has more authority than the statutory law, because the statutory law comes from the common law.  There are groups of students who would love to discard the common law, which is totally absurd; it’s like taking the foundation out from under your house (laughs).  And it could never happen.  But there are people at the school who totally understand it, and they understand it really well; both sides of the battle, too.

The guy who’s going to be teaching me criminal law next semester is also the constitutional law professor here, and he is a liberty-minded, libertarian, constitutional attorney, and I can’t wait to take his class in January.  I’ve read some of his stuff, and I look forward to learning from him.  On the other side, there is also the expert in immigration here, and she is always busy doing something involved with helping immigrants get U.S. citizenship status.  So you have people working to bring more slaves to the plantation, and you have the people who have the knowledge to get the people off the plantation.

There is a way off the plantation, and it’s called expatriation, and boy, is it a booming business.  I was talking to the constitutional law professor that I told you about, and he said if I want to get into the business of expatriation, because of what’s happening in the United States, a lot of people who have money are interested in changing their political status so they are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

MRS. RONDEAU:  Do they still reside in the United States in another status, or do they actually leave the country?

MR. HENDERSON:  Excellent question, and the key word – and it’s a term of art – is the word “reside.” “Reside” means that you are a U.S. citizen who does not live in Washington, DC; that’s where the word “resident” comes from.  You are “domiciled,” which is the opposite of “reside.”  Terms of art are very important; they control the document.

MRS. RONDEAU:  It sounds as if only a small percentage of the population knows these things.

MR. HENDERSON:  Even the chief justice of the Supreme Court got it wrong on Obamacare the first time.  He was going to issue the ruling that Obamacare was legal, but technically, under the 14th Amendment, because people consent to the jurisdiction and to being taxed, it therefore is legal. So he had to change his opinion at the last minute and rule in favor of Obamacare because it is legal.

But now, we have a new question which has reached the Supreme Court saying the document has been changed so many times that it’s no longer the same contract.  So it has to be ruled on, and we expect the court to overrule it.

MRS. RONDEAU:  The other issue you might have heard is that the wording in the law says that people buying health insurance through state exchanges are eligible for subsidies, but it says nothing about federal subsidies being awarded to those who live in states which chose not to establish exchanges.

MR. HENDERSON:  They’re looking for the word “federal.”  When these states didn’t set up their version of the exchange, Obama changed Obamacare by giving the IRS the authority to set up a federal exchange so the people who live in states which decided not to set up exchanges could sign up through the federal exchange, which is not a part of the bill at all.

You could call out the legal minds of the last 20 years – Mark Levin, everybody – they knew that John Roberts wasn’t going to rule that Obamacare was legal.  They don’t understand that it is the law under the 14th Amendment.  But because Obama wrote this whole federal exchange into the law, which changed it, now it’s going to fail.

MRS. RONDEAU:  So you and I are talking about the same thing.

MR. HENDERSON:  Yes.  As a matter of fact, the term “federal exchange” does not appear in the whole six-foot-high stack of papers.  One of the many things that he wrote to try and change Obamacare – and there are many – is the fact that federal exchanges did not exist in the original review of the bill by the Supreme Court, and it is unconstitutional.

MRS. RONDEAU:  How is each one of your children doing now?

MR. HENDERSON:  Terrible, terrible.  They’re crying; they’re acting out, getting violent.  There have been some secret hearings in which they put them on Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs.  I haven’t been able to be involved in that meeting because they purposely left me out.  They’re very upset; they want to know why they can’t come home.  They’re telling the kids that I’m dead.  They won’t let me call them even though I have a court order to be able to call them each individually and talk to them three times a week, an hour each call.  Because the judge is working together with the social worker, it’s very difficult to get the judge to do anything that will relieve the pain of the kids.

Right now, I’m focusing on the big stuff to stop the adoption.  Of course, I’m going to try to address those things not thinking that if I do certain things, then they’ll do what’s right. No.  I’m going to do those things, and if they do what’s right, that’ll be good, but if they don’t do what’s right and give me what they’re supposed to have, then when I file my civil lawsuit, I will be able to use as evidence that I tried to make them do what was right to stop the inflicting of emotional distress on my kids.  My kids suffer, but I’ll be able to sue them.

MRS. RONDEAU:  And there isn’t any better way to get from “Point A” to “Point B” than to do what you’re doing?

MR. HENDERSON:  They have the power, as Chairman Mao instructed us:  Power comes from the Red Guards.  They have the guards, and so they have my kids.  I can’t force them to do what’s right; all I can do is sue them:  a habeas corpus to get the kids home, which I’ll be starting the second week of December, and after that, I will start the 1983, which is a federal lawsuit and brings in the federal government to hopefully serve justice on the state government.

MRS. RONDEAU:  Do you hold out a lot of hope that the federal government will do the right thing given the levels of corruption we hear about daily?

MR. HENDERSON:  If DCFS in Los Angeles County doesn’t do what’s right, then I will go to the federal court system in either Los Angeles or here in XXXXXXXXXXXXX.  The really great thing about the federal court system is that it’s all the same, no matter where you are.  Because I am domiciled here in the XXXXXX Circuit, I have the ability to bring my claim here. I’m hoping I can do it in Los Angeles, and I think it might be better if I do it in Los Angeles; we’ll see what happens with that.  But after the district court, which is the lowest level of the feds, rules, if they don’t rule correctly…I am going to predict that they will rule incorrectly because the Los Angeles area is corrupt at least to that level, which I found when I tried to do this without law school training.  I will then take it to the Ninth Circuit, which is a whole different ball game.

The most important thing about federal courts is that it is going to be a much more unbiased ruling.  There are no guarantees, but I am guaranteed 100% that I believe in a Creator, and I am a follower and a son of that Creator; that my justice, if I can’t get it here in this world, I’ll have in the next.  My hope is not 100% in this system.

MRS. RONDEAU:  You had wanted to say some things about due process.

MR. HENDERSON:  I learned about due process, which is one of the two things that I’ll be able to use on the habeas corpus at the federal level, which brings my kids home automatically.  The two things are ineffectiveness of counsel, which I have a pretty strong case for; and due process, which is an open-and-shut case.  I can prove that they didn’t show me the documents on the first hearing and every hearing after that, and that means that all decisions are null and void, ab ignitio, from the beginning.  They will have to give me a new trial.

Because they gave me only the summons and not the complaint and I can prove that, they don’t have what’s called “personal jurisdiction.”  They don’t have jurisdiction over me, and unless they have jurisdiction over me, their argument is moot. It means nothing.

MRS. RONDEAU:  It sounds as if it’s inarguable.

MR. HENDERSON:  It is, because it’s on the record that I wasn’t served.  The reason they were able to go on with the hearing and assume that I was served is that my attorney didn’t object.  Now can I object if I wasn’t served and I’m not there?  I can’t object; I didn’t even know the hearing was held.  But should the attorney have objected?  Well, the attorney is going to have to make one of two choices.  When I give him a notice of intent to sue him for malpractice, which is what I’m learning this semester – medical malpractice from all different kinds of negligence is one of my classes, which I’m getting very good at – in response to that demand letter, he will either admit that he gave me ineffective assistance of counsel in return for my agreeing that I won’t sue him, or I will sue him using Supreme Court cases on point that he did ineffectively assist me in counsel, and the cases I’ve read where people have done this are 100% successful.

MRS. RONDEAU:  You almost never see that in anything.

MR. HENDERSON:  Attorneys would rather give up the lawsuit and say, “I didn’t effectively assist you in that case” and not be liable for the lawsuit than to risk it.  Once I have the attorney saying he ineffectively assisted me, then I take that to the court for a hearing.  That procedure right there could be done by everybody in this country in almost every case they’ve ever had. It’s not an easy one to win unless the attorney has done some things on their face, prima facia, and one of the things that attorneys always make a mistake on is lack of communication with the client.  When your client tries to communicate with you by letter or email and you don’t talk to them until ten minutes before the hearing, all of that is attorney malpractice.

MRS. RONDEAU:  The average person might not know that or even question it.

MR. HENDERSON:  Half of the attorneys they’re turning out of these law schools don’t even care if they learn the material, and of the 50% who do care, I would say maybe 10-15% of them actually learn the material.  After my first day of law school, I would not trust another lawyer to handle anything in my life.  If someone gives a lawyer a retainer, what they’re doing is pulling out books and learning how to do it from scratch.  They don’t learn anything in the school; the fact that they even pass the bar is amazing to me.  The bar is just a competency exam: “Are you good enough to be called a lawyer?”  It’s not like saying, “You’re a great lawyer.”

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