“SHE DIDN’T EVEN ASK FOR ANY EVIDENCE”
by Sharon Rondeau
In that article, “Jill” said that after she made the decision to separate from her husband, she believed the divorce could be accomplished without extensive litigation and arguing over assets, money or the children given that their property could be easily divided between them. She consulted but did not retain an attorney initially.
However, after attempting to negotiate with her husband directly an equitable split of assets and time with the children, Jill said that to her surprise, he declared his intention to seek full legal and physical custody of the children as well as objections to her proposals for dividing the assets.
Because of the bias she alleges has been clearly demonstrated by Clark County Eighth Judicial District Judge Sandra Pomrenze in her ex-husband’s favor, Jill is worried that when he is released from prison, custody of the remaining minor child will revert back to him.
Although accused of statutory rape, Jill said, her ex-husband took a plea deal, admitting to the crime of “coercion” involving their daughter’s 15-year-old best friend.
An individual familiar with Jill’s case told The Post & Email that he is aware of at least 100 individuals directly impacted by Pomrenze’s decisions who believe she is a biased jurist and should not be on the bench. Robert Medoff and his wife, Mary Anne Wilson Medoff, were plaintiffs in a recent guardianship case initially assigned to another judge. A retired psychologist, Medoff has provided volunteer support to many of those litigants.
“Pomrenze should have recused herself knowing that I was involved in assisting litigants against her,” Medoff told us on Thursday. “We had Judge Gonzalez initially; however, the defendants failed to appear even though they were properly served. Our case was transferred to Pomrenze. Two hours after our evidentiary hearing, Guardian Ad Litem Valerie Fuji contacted our lawyer and stated that Pomrenze’s courtroom demeanor was outrageous, extremely unprofessional and biased against us in dealing with our case.”
In Part 1, Jill detailed an alarming incident from January 22, 2013, approximately two months after she and her ex-husband agreed they would separate. On that evening, she said, her then-husband attempted to make it appear that she had threatened the children with a gun, with the eldest child having run outside with his phone and called police.
Although no charges were filed, Jill said she “realized that my husband was trying to get me arrested, to get me out of the picture so he could get custody.” Her story continues:
My brother came over; the cops had called him, and he stayed with us that night. He and I talked, and he said, “You need to get out of here. Go somewhere, anywhere but here. He’s going to get you in trouble.”
So I did. At the end of February, a relative had a house that he was renovating, and he let me stay there. At that point, my ex-husband was trying to move back in; he would come over, stay on the couch in the living room and wouldn’t leave. I knew he was basically trying to take over the marital residence. So I said, “OK, fine. You can have it. I’m outta here.” I wasn’t about to get arrested because of some stupid thing with him.
I moved into the house being renovated. It had four bedrooms, and I was able to set up furniture for the kids. In February, I spoke to the lawyer again, and we had tried to do an uncontested divorce. I delivered the paperwork to my ex, and said, “Here you go; if you don’t want to sign this, we’ll do the contested. ” He said, “I’m not going to sign it.” So my lawyer filed “contested” paperwork; that was on March 3 or 4.
He had come to my new house and was getting more and more aggressive over what was “his” and trying to take as much as he possibly could. I had taken our computer. I paid for it, so I figured it was mine. I helped other people with their income taxes on the side, not for money, but I had a lot of people’s Social Security numbers and other personal information saved on that computer. He came to drop off the kids, and he came into my house. I didn’t invite him in; he just came in with the kids.
He brought with him one of those backup drives and said, “I want a copy of everything that’s on the computer.” So I said, “If you leave the hard drive with me, I’ll copy your files onto it.” And he said, “No, I want it, and I want it now, and I want our son to do it.” He was getting in my face and I was scared, but I froze and said, “No, he’s not doing this,” and I turned the computer off at that point and just stood in front of it.
He sat there and made demands for about five minutes, and I said, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to call the police.” I was not sure if he was going to try physical force or not, but I definitely was afraid. And he said, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll call them for you,” and I said, “OK, that’s fine. You can call them from the outside. I can give you their phone number if you like.”
So as they were walking out the door, my younger son said, “If you’re making Dad leave, I’m going to leave, too.” And I said, “Well, son, I’m sorry to hear that; I love you, and I’ll see you later.” I didn’t want to play that game in front of them.
They all walked out the door with him, and he sat in my front yard and called the police. They came and talked to him, and he told them that I was stealing all of his stuff and wouldn’t let him in the house to get it. Then the police came and talked to me and saw the boxes sitting around, and they asked, “You just moved in here?” and I said, “Yes.” And they asked, “He doesn’t live here?” and I said, “No.” “Then he’s harassing you?” “Yes.” So they went and grilled him. They made him get on the ground in front of the children and told him that if he came to my house again, they would arrest him for harassment.
From that point, it escalated. The cops told me that if I felt my life was in danger, I should go and get a protective order. I went down to the court on Monday morning and there was a line already for protective orders. I had to go to work, so when I got to the desk, I asked if I could have a packet, which she gave me, and if there was a way to make an appointment, and she said, “No. Just get here early in the morning and there won’t be that much of a wait.”
So I went to work and started filling it out. I talked to my boss about taking a little time off to go and file it, and she said, “You can go Thursday.” I said, “OK, good.” But on Wednesday, I went to go pick up the kids and got served.
I talked to my lawyer, and he said there was nothing I could do because if I filed a restraining order, the judge would most likely deny it. He said it would just look like retaliation and advised me not to do it. That day was the same day that my divorce petition was filed.
The way my ex put in the protective order essentially prevented me from being able to see the kids, from being anywhere near the house, from being near the children’s schools. He said that I was supposedly screaming and harassing the children and him and that the kids were in counseling because of everything I had allegedly done to them.
He actually did take them to counseling, and I texted him to make sure of that because I wanted to go. However, he refused to tell me the dates of the sessions.
He went twice before he took the kids, and from what I had heard from them, he had coached the therapist, telling them how horrible I was and how I had been screaming at them and they were afraid of me. So when the children went in to talk to the counselor, he told them, “If your mom starts yelling at you, you need to immediately call 911,” basically putting them on the alert.
Being a mom with a teenager, he’s on the x-box not doing his homework. What are you going to do? “Get off the x-box!” According to the counselor, that should have prompted the kids to think, “I gotta call 911.”
The police were involved several other times for pickups because after our first hearing, the hearing master saw the date for our divorce already calendared and said she wasn’t going to make a ruling on it. At that point, I had not been allowed to talk to the children or have any communication for 2-3 weeks because of the restraining order.
My lawyer tried to explain to the hearing master, “She hasn’t been able to have any communication; can you at least set some type of minimum so that she can talk to them and see them?”
“Was there any evidence that you were ‘yelling’ or were abusive or neglectful?” we asked, to which she responded, “No, none. They took his word for it.”
Regarding her interactions with Pomrenze, Jill told us:
When we went for the first divorce hearing, Judge Pomrenze saw that it had been put on her calendar, and when she saw it there, it said “Continued.” I remember looking at it and seeing that it said “Continued.” On the form it has “Temporary, Continued, Extended,” and you check one of those boxes. For some reason the judge didn’t see that; she thought it said “Extended.” So she thought that because the hearing master had put it on her calendar and then written notes about me being able to see the kids a minimum of two days a week, it meant the hearing master had made an order and that’s what it was. She didn’t even ask for any evidence; she didn’t ask his side of the story at all. She basically read over the paperwork that he had submitted with the original restraining order and said, “OK, we’re extending it.”
My lawyer tried to argue that there was no basis for the restraining order, but Judge Pomrenze just shut him down — every word he tried to put out.
My ex-husband got the marital residence, and I had to pay all of the community bills. At that point I was doing another surrogacy and was under contract. The judge awarded him 50% of that contract, and, because I was getting it in monthly installments, she said to him, “OK, I’m going to give you child support on top of that for the full amount.” So not only did she give him 50% of the contract, but she also took the entire 100% and gave him that 32% for child support, so he ended up getting 82% of the contract. And then, on top of that, she also ruled that she was going to freeze the funds so I was supposed to put it into an interest-bearing account that I couldn’t touch. So I was supposed to pay all this child support out of an account that I couldn’t touch.
She really put me in a hard place for about two months where every dime I got from my regular paycheck went to him.
He had said I was abusive alcoholic, and Judge Pomrenze required me to do an anger/alcohol drug assessment. So I did; the next day I went and had to pay $300 out of my pocket, and of course it came back fine. I was pregnant, so we knew I wasn’t on alcohol or drugs. I had done five surrogacies prior to that, so including that pregnancy, I’ve been pregnant nine times. Even if the judge thought, “Well, she doesn’t drink while she’s pregnant,” how many alcoholics do you know who can stop for nine months?
We went back in a month for the next hearing, and my lawyer tried to show, “She did this, and it’s fine.” His lawyer turned around and said, “No, it’s not admissible; it’s a self-assessment,” so the judge threw it out. At this point my lawyer had also submitted the psychological assessments from the surrogacies which showed no mental disorders. Pomrenze threw all of those out, too.
Jill’s story will be continued. On a brighter note, she informed us just before press time that her new husband will be officially adopting her daughter, who turned 18 earlier this year, on Monday.