DEFENDANT CLAIMS COMPLAINT “RETALIATORY”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 27, 2018) — A Los Angeles mother who recently discovered that a “Termination of Order” apparently intended to cancel a restraining order and custody award in her favor was never officially entered into the record will face trial on Tuesday morning for allegedly violating California Penal Code 653m(a).
In February 2017, Regional Manager Sonia Contreras of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) filed a complaint against “Michelle Robinson” for allegedly sending “annoying” emails and making similar phone calls to her office between May 2016 and February 26, 2017.
The applicable section of the code reads:
(a) Every person who, with intent to annoy, telephones or makes contact by means of an electronic communication device with another and addresses to or about the other person any obscene language or addresses to the other person any threat to inflict injury to the person or property of the person addressed or any member of his or her family, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in this subdivision shall apply to telephone calls or electronic contacts made in good faith.
Robinson admits to sending the emails contained in the complaint but told this writer that they were intended to inform DCFS social workers that she would utilize the “justice system” to rectify what she sees as a grave violation of her rights and those of the infant daughter of whom she had full legal and physical custody until March 16, 2016.
Following a physical altercation on December 20, 2015 with the child’s father, Eric Crutchfield, Robinson filed a complaint against him asking that he be prosecuted, but she was prosecuted instead. As a result of the claim made by LAPD Detective Sean Horton that Robinson violated her own restraining order, DCFS was notified of potential danger to the child and removed the then-15-month-old from Robinson’s care.
While both parents have criminal backgrounds, Robinson believes she was discriminated against when Crutchfield was granted full legal and physical custody of their daughter by the Edelman Children’s Court in April of last year. Ten days prior to the physical altercation, Robinson had been granted a five-year Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) against Crutchfield which in California normally serves to preclude the perpetrator from becoming a custodial parent.
Last July, Robinson was convicted of “battery” stemming from the altercation but acquitted on a charge of “spousal abuse.”
Robinson has appealed the custody decision, although no date has yet been set for hearing.
The current criminal complaint against Robinson states that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was sought by Contreras and other DCFS employees against Robinson, but Robinson’s attorney told Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Det. Dan Morgan that Robinson never received notice of any such order.
On December 1, 2017, Robinson was served with a notice of a warrant for her arrest by the LASD. As it was a Saturday, she was not able to discover the reason for the notification until the following Monday, after which an attorney appeared in court for her and the arrest warrant was set aside.
Some of the emails Contreras provided in her complaint appear below, with Robinson’s rationale presented below each in italics:
11/22/2017 (email) re: Visitation Deprivation from states that I “will be thankful when all you criminals are prosecuted either in the court of law or life … or both.”
This is not a threat, but merely hope for justice. (this email exceeds the statute of limitations).
12/16/2016 (email) – re: XXXXX’s well being. I state, “The FBI has been properly informed of these abuses. I am not threatening you with retaliation, I am guaranteeing it.”
Clearly a reference to again seeking justice through the judicial system.
1/7/2017 “This is personal.”
And yes, this is very personal. But, it’s not a threat. What was done to me was a personal attack on myself and child.
Robinson additionally told The Post & Email, “For instance, the complaint alleges that I made 10 calls a day to the DCFS office to harass Contreras & other employees between May 2016 and Feb 2017. I checked my phone records and during that period I made No calls to Contreras during that period. I placed 6 calls in September, 4 calls in October, 4 calls in November and NO calls after.”
Robinson’s attorney filed a brief in which he argued, in part:
On Tuesday morning, Robinson told The Post & Email that she believes the accusations constitute “retaliation” against her for having attempted to fight the system which removed her child from her care.
Update, 2:12 PM EDT: Following this morning’s hearing, Robinson reported that the trial is postponed until Monday.