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Archive for Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Illinois woman receives one year of probation in case where children were bound and blindfolded in parking lot

January 16, 2013

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Adolfo and Deborah Gomez, of Northlake, Ill., were arrested June 13, after two of their children were found bound by their hands and feet in a Lawrence Walmart parking lot.

Adolfo and Deborah Gomez, of Northlake, Ill., were arrested June 13, after two of their children were found bound by their hands and feet in a Lawrence Walmart parking lot.

A 43-year-old Northlake, Ill., woman has received one year of probation for charges of child endangerment stemming from a June 13, 2012, incident in which two of her children were found bound by their hands and feet in a Lawrence Walmart parking lot.

Deborah Gomez was sentenced Wednesday by District Court Judge Paula Martin after pleading no contest on Dec. 14 to three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. At the time, she agreed to testify in the trial of her husband, Aldolfo Gomez, 52, which prosecutors said led to his no contest plea in the case one week later.

Adolfo Gomez pleaded no contest on Dec. 21 to two counts of felony child abuse and three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

Deborah Gomez had originally been charged with the same crimes as her husband. Those charges were dismissed as part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, who also recommended the sentence of one year of probation.

In Wednesday's hearing, Deborah Gomez said she hopes to work toward regaining custody of her five children, ages 5, 7, 12, 13 and 15. Those children remain in protective custody, prosecutors said, and their future custody is the subject of a separate court case. Deborah Gomez said she plans, if she gets permission from probation officials, to move to Arizona to be near relatives.

Arizona is where the Gomez family was going, according to testimony at prior hearings, when Adolfo and Deborah were arrested at the Lawrence Walmart.

The 5- and 7-year-old children were found bound outside the family's van, while the other children were inside the vehicle, unbound. Testimony at prior hearings indicates the family was in Lawrence on its way from Illinois to Arizona.

Angela Keck, Deborah Gomez's court-appointed attorney, said her client was an unwilling participant and was made to bind the hands of one of her children by Adolfo Gomez, who Keck described as "controlling and abusive." Keck said Adolfo Gomez, in a deteriorating mental state and fearing "demons," forced the family to move away from Illinois and bound the children in the Lawrence Walmart parking lot, where the vehicle had broken down.

Since then, Keck said, Deborah Gomez had been freed from the influence of her husband, agreed to testify in his trial, and has completed counseling programs in the Douglas County Jail. Keck has said Deborah Gomez decided to plead no contest and avoid trial because she did not want her children to have to testify.

Deborah Gomez said she now counts on the support of her family and hopes to get her children back.

"I love my children very much," she said.

Prosecutors said they were satisfied with the sentence and believed Adolfo Gomez was the "primary aggressor" in this case.

Aldolfo, who is in jail on a $50,000 bond, has previously testified that he and his children were fearful of demon possession. He is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 8.

Comments

smitty 1 year, 11 months ago

Who is the judge on this case? We, the voting public, are held reponsible and untimately accountable for voting the judges in or out. We depend on the local news source to report on our local political players...the judge's indentity is a paticular important piece of information for the public's evaluation.......JW is the only home newspaper.....your part in the local policies and politics does not go unnoted..please include the judge's name in all cases you report.

shaunepec 1 year, 11 months ago

Judge Paula Martin was presiding judge.

Shaun LJW

Tammy Copp-Barta 1 year, 11 months ago

Of course it was .. I don't know how that woman has stayed on the bench ..

Shelley Bock 1 year, 11 months ago

Because she's a good judge who doesn't make the easy decision which would be popular with the public that knows nothing about the case in question other than the few paragraphs published in the paper.

maisy 1 year, 11 months ago

"We, the voting public, are held reponsible and untimately accountable for voting the judges in or out." - Since when does a voter's vote count on voting out a judge? If an overwhelming majority of the people voted against a judge, it does not mean they lose their job. It only makes a statement that the judge is not well liked. And why is it so important to know who the judge is? So you can bash 'em by name? Get a life you endless poster.....

gatekeeper 1 year, 11 months ago

In Kansas, we do vote to retain judges (every 4 years). Did you think they're on the ballot for fun? "Judges of the district court are selected in one of two ways, either by merit selection and retention vote, or by partisan ballot. In some of the districts, the voters have approved nonpartisan merit selection of judges. In the other districts, judges run for office on a partisan ballot. Judges serve terms of four years." http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/general-information/you-and-the-courts/becoming-Judge.asp

They tried to get rid of her in 2004 and failed.

She has a high rating on her performance. http://www.kansasjudicialperformance.org/evaluation.cfm?JudgeID=46

B0B 1 year, 11 months ago

Am I remembering this correctly - weren't they inside Walmart buying tarps and shovels? Seems pretty obvious the intent here had they not been caught. I don't care how "unwilling" she was, it wasn't enough. That sentence seems a tad light, and she sure as hell shouldn't get custody back.

Tammy Copp-Barta 1 year, 11 months ago

SHE was inside buying those things .. ridiculous she gets probation ...

whats_going_on 1 year, 11 months ago

If she actually succeeds in getting them back....holy @#%&WEF. GOT to be kidding me.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 11 months ago

A 43 year old woman is still capable of having more children. Many will defend that right.

Paul Geisler 1 year, 11 months ago

I think that both of the defendants deserve jail time but it's not Judge Paula Martin's fault that the prosecutors plea-bargained with her down to 3 MISDEMEANOR charges of child endangerment. One year of probation for 3 misdemeanor charges seems pretty reasonable even though the potential outcome of that situation in the Walmart parking lot could have been a whole lot worse.

Please quit blaming judges for functioning within their parameters when the laws for child abuse aren't adequate enough and start asking your state representatives why child endangerment laws are misdemeanors.

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

The judge was not bound by the plea agreement, but as a general rule, judges usually follow a prosecutorial recommendation of probation, and for good reason. If judges were prone to deviate from recommendations of probation, then defendants would be less likely to plead guilty. The result--more jury trials. Increased jury trials require more judges, more prosecutors, more court reporters, ,more jail space, etc.

We don't know the specifics of the relationship. It is very likely she was less culpable than the father, as it appears that she may have been a victim of the abuse herself. The result of such abuse could have very likely resulted in diminished capacity, similar to the battered woman who remains in a violent relationship. That cycle of violence, and its probable effects, were well documented in Lenore Walker's groundbreaking book, "The Battered Woman," which was the prime moving force behind Battered Woman Syndrome becoming recognized as a sub category of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by the American Psychological Association and included in their Diagnostic Manual, which is considered the bible of the mental health profession.

Moreover, were she not offered a plea deal, the state would have had to rely solely on the testimony of the children. Such testimony of child victims is believed to be detrimental to their psychological health. Also, children usually do not make very good witnesses.

It sounds like the father was much more culpable and accordingly, presents a far greater threat to the community. Therefore, it may have made sense to cut a deal with the mother to ensure that the father is locked up for a long period of time.

If we are to cast blame anywhere, it should be directed against the DA's office who agreed to the deal, and not the judge.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

That's an interesting, and disturbing thing, that judges aren't bound to accept plea agreements as far as sentencing.

I certainly hope everybody's lawyers explain that to them when they're deciding whether or not to accept a plea deal.

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

Any defense attorney worth his or her salt is very specific on this when they advise their client. Also, in accepting a guilty plea, judges make it clear to the defendant that the judge is not bound by the prosecutor's recommendation.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

Good.

By the time it gets to a judge accepting the plea, it's a bit too late for the defendant.

Shelley Bock 1 year, 11 months ago

In Douglas County every defendant signs a 4 page document outlining all rights and opportunities the defendant is giving up by pleading. Included is one that specifically advises the defendant that although there have been agreements between the prosecution and defense, the judge is not bound by the agreement and may impose a harsher punishment than recommended by the parties.

Sychophant is correct that the defense counsel must emphasize this fact and that he judge reviews that fact prior to accepting the plea.

conlawgrad 1 year, 11 months ago

I'd say having parents like these are more harmful to the child than any testifying would do to them. It's just a lame excuse that prosecutors can get away with. These people deserve more punishment than they got and the DA's office is apparently not concerned with safety in this town. They could send a message to anybody that crime of any kind is not going to be tolerated. They have been way too lenient with most of their cases lately and it makes me question the competency of the office that they have to plead so much. How is she not culpable...she knew what was happening and did nothing to end it. If she had attempted to end the situation then fine, give her this reduced sentence. But she let it happen. She should not be slapped on the wrist for this.

Armstrong 1 year, 11 months ago

Hmmm, Don't like the sentence ? Stop voting this idiot into office. Another lib fail

gatekeeper 1 year, 11 months ago

Quit blaming liberals for voting for a judge. Good grief.

snook3200 1 year, 11 months ago

its the grid. if they havent been in trouble they go by the grid. they always get probation. this town is like that. dont blame the judge. blame the grid. ive been victimited by the grid. and everyone walks with probation. the district attorneys office goes by the grid. it is a joke.

Steve Jacob 1 year, 11 months ago

As I said before, those kids would have been dead within a week, and she would of helped him do it. For her to only get probation because someone turned them in beforehand is outrageous.

boot2010 1 year, 11 months ago

The grid does NOT have to be followed and isn't followed by many judges in this state. Paula Martin seems to not be able to "think outside the grid" with any case. Another pathetic excuse...

ebyrdstarr 1 year, 11 months ago

The grid does not apply to misdemeanors.

lunacydetector 1 year, 11 months ago

one year probation...what a joke.....oh, and judges get that retention vote....if 10% of the voters show up and overwhelmingly vote to get rid of a judge, the judge keeps their job. it has to be a majority of the registered voters to actually vote....but the blame goes to the whimpy prosecution.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

"...five children, ages 5, 7, 12, 13 and 15. Those children remain in protective custody, prosecutors said, and their future custody is the subject of a separate court case."

hahahahahahahahah....."protective custody" with an outfit like SRS controlling the outcome in conjunction with the B. Wayne "Take it to the Bank" Simms and Kaw Valley?!

Those children shall move from one foster home to another....caught in a corrupt and bankrupt system which is fraught with good ole boy & girl payoffs....making certain the poverty pimp outfits who get the gubment monies to "protect" the chirren are the ones who are really protected. Foster care drift where children are just as likely to be abused as anywhere else and most certainly by family members. Incredible people refuse to recognize the obscenity that "child welfare professionals" perpetrate on children AND their families....both immediate and extended.

The abberant behavior exhibited by these parents, however, is eclipsed by the entirity of the foster care industry and those who get rich off of it.

While a bit dated http://nccprhome.blogspot.com/p/issue-papers-on-family-preservation.html outlines some concepts which will never happen in Kansas.....could....but won't...

Let's not leave out just how bad CASA is. Yes, Douglas County CASA is in cahoots with SRS and the "child welfare system". Read it and weep:

The Case Against CASA

HOW THE MOST SACRED COW IN CHILD WELFARE HURTS THE CHILDREN IT IS MEANT TO HELP http://nccpr.info/the-case-against-casa/

Villify this family all you like. Monsters? Alceste thinks not. The monsters are those who perpetuate a bankrupt, crony driven, backdoor deal making, specious "system". Brownback and his crew fit right in.....

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

A Child Welfare Timeline

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON RECENT CHILD WELFARE HISTORY

For a printable pdf copy of this document, click here.

1961: Congress allows AFDC payments to follow a child into foster care. Previously, such payments were made only to children in their own homes. This makes foster care much cheaper for states and localities. The foster care population starts to increase sharply. [1]

LATE 1970s: The foster care population reaches 503,000. [2] Congress becomes concerned about large numbers of children languishing in foster care, and removal of children whose poverty is confused with child “neglect.”

1980: Congress passes one of the last initiatives of the Carter Administration, the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980.

THE MYTH: The claim is now made that this law promoted “family preservation at all costs” that it made family preservation “the overriding goal” that it forced states to return children to dangerous homes and led to children languishing in foster care because agencies were forced to give parents “too many chances.”

THE REALITY: The words “family preservation” do not even appear in this law. In fact, this law is the first law to encourage permanence in both directions – returning children home and getting them adopted. It is the first federal law to attempt to set any time limits on how long children could stay in foster care (18 months), and the first to offer federal aid for subsidized adoption. It also required “reasonable efforts” – and nothing more – to keep families together.

Both legislative history and guidance from the federal Department of Health and Human Services make clear that “reasonable efforts” are never to be made if it would mean a child has to stay in or return to a dangerous home. [3]

But the law does have one crucial flaw: It does nothing to change the way child welfare services are financed. Foster care reimbursement remains an open-ended federal entitlement for states and localities. Far less is available to prevent foster care, and those funds are “capped.” (See NCCPR Issue Paper #12).

EARLY 1980s: The law works. This first federal effort to deal with foster care by encouraging permanence – including, but not restricted to keeping families together — cuts the foster care population by more than half – to 243,000.[4]

But by now the Reagan Administration is in office. They hate the law because it’s seen as unnecessary federal interference in state and local decisions. They pull back proposed regulations to enforce it.[5] That sends a signal to the states: You can go back to business as usual. Since the financial incentives were never changed, business as usual – placing more and more children in foster care – is the easier course of action.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

(Cont. from above): Once again, children are taken from homes that are safe or could be made safe with the right kind of services. Once taken, the children are filed away and forgotten as overwhelmed workers rush on to the next case. The “reasonable efforts” requirement is ignored. Children again languish in foster care – not because of “reasonable efforts” but because of the lack of reasonable efforts. So the foster care population begins to rise again. The increase doesn’t stop until 1999. (cont.):

1992: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that individuals cannot sue to have the “reasonable efforts” requirement enforced. [6]

1992: Congress begins talking about putting serious money into family preservation. It passes the Family Preservation and Support Act. President Bush vetoes it. It passes again in 1993 and President Clinton signs it.

THE MYTH: In subsequent years this law would be described as “spending $1 billion on family preservation.”

THE REALITY: The $1 billion is over five years, and it’s for a huge range of child welfare services – including foster care, adoption, and even things like after school recreation programs. None of the money has to be spent on family preservation, and very little actually has been. (The legislation was reauthorized – and renamed – several times since. It’s now the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act).

But even the prospect of putting federal money into family preservation scares a child welfare establishment that is invested – literally and figuratively – in foster care. They begin attacking family preservation at every opportunity. Any death of any child “known to the system” is blamed on “family preservation” even if the child was nowhere near a real family preservation program – and even when it was a family preservation worker who warned that the child was in danger in the first place. Ignored, amid all the hype, is the fact that real family preservation programs actually have a better track record for safety than foster care. (See NCCPR Issue Paper #1). (CONT.)

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

1997: The twin myths – that family preservation supposedly is unsafe and leads to children languishing in foster care – lead Congress to pass the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act. This law blows huge holes in what little was left of “reasonable efforts.” Backers claim it makes exceptions only for extreme cases but, in fact, the law is filled with broad, vague “catch-all” clauses that effectively make reasonable efforts optional in every case. The law also demands that, with limited exceptions, states seek termination of parental rights whenever a child has been in foster care for 15 of the previous 22 months – even if the child should not have been taken away in the first place. Even more important than any specific provision is the general message to the states: You’ve been doing too much to keep families together, you need to take away more children.

2010: Small increases in adoptions occur until 2000, but then the increases stop until 2008, when the number inches up again.[7] The average annual increase in adoptions attributable to ASFA equals less than 2.5 percent of the number of children in foster care on any given day.[8] The small increase in adoptions is outweighed by the children coming into care because ASFA encourages so many more children to be taken in the first place. As a result, during a time when crime goes down and child abuse itself goes down, and despite the fact that many foster children “age out” of the system without ever finding a permanent home, the total number of children in foster care on any given day actually increases until 1999.[9] It’s not until 2003 that this number finally falls below where it was when ASFA became law – six years earlier.[10]

Worse, From ASFAs passage until 2006, the number of children taken from their parents over the course of a year increases every year but one, with a record 307,000 children torn from their homes in 2005.[11] ASFA delays a reduction in foster care numbers that should have begun in the mid-1990s. Because ASFA is built on a foundation of false premises, it backfires.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

http://www.nccpr.org/reports/timeline

all that glitters is not gold and what appear as a monster may just be poverty and poor choices due to limited resources and ignorance.

It's easy to blame the disenfranchised when the real culprits are the six to seven figure income paid "child welfare administrators (how much money is B. Wayne Simms of Kaw Valley paid??; how much money is Bruce Beale of DCCCA paid??; and on and on it goes......how much money does Bert Nash get each and every year from what was once SRS but is now the same outfit just with different names?). Blame the Victim. A book was written with that very title. Where are the change agents from within the social work community or, for that matter, the KU School of Social Welfare?

Were these children all placed together as a sibling group or were they seperated from each other? Yet another very common and heinous practice.

Thanks Brownback. You're a swell guy.....

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

There are some decent foster parents out there who actually care about the welfare of the children. But I have seen quite a few where folks become foster parents solely for the extra paycheck, and don't give a damn about the kids.

And don't expect, much, if anything from the KU School of Social Welfare. They sold out long ago when they bought into the deinstitutionalizaton program. Thanks to them, there are a lot of mentally ill folks on the streets or in prison. It its heydey, the school had a large progressive caucus including folks like Stanley Sterling, Dennis Dailey, Forrest Swall, Ed Dutton, Lou Frydman, Norm Forer, Ben Zimmerman, Don Chambers, etc. These were "old school" social workers who actually believed in "social justice."

Sadly, the current crew seem to be a bunch of careerists, and a lot of the students have aspirations of becoming well-paid therapists instead of helping the disadvantaged.

But then again, the chances at the school simply reflect the me-first, hedonistic, self-centered culture that has infected a once great country.

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

Forget to mention Goody Garfield as one of the "old school" progressives. Most, if not all of these folks, were hired by Dean Arthur Katz, who left in the early seventies for greener pastures.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

TheSychopant:

My question/retort was more rhetorical than anything else. The social welfare school at ku is filled to the brim with 2nd and 3rd career types exceeded only by "empty nesters" who have no clue what the term "social justice" means, nor do they care. As you have pointed out, they're looking for a title and a paycheck. They are not educated in the concept of questioning authority or the status quo or injustice....they're "educated" how to brown nose and attain status.....if one can even call it that. That department is a disgrace to the field of social work and social welfare and needs to be exposed for what it is.....the emperor has no clothes.

And because departments like social work at KU no longer encourage social change or the concept of being a "change agent", we, as a community and as a society, end up with situations as described in this newspaper article. Unctuous......

What IS amusing is that all the names you listed are men. How many men are even allowed to work for that ku department now? It's a joke. Not a very funny one either.

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

My wife is a former social worker. She left the field over ten years ago for obvious reasons.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

It's too bad there aren't more recovering social workers. God knows the "field" is fraught with "wannabe helper junkies".

Social work, as it is today.....going from the County's Chief Social Worker (that'd be a certain judge) all the way down to the aspiring clerk who idolizes the power associated with snatching children from their families and placing them in a "system" whose primary focus is dollars......is every bit as specious as "the bottle" is to the alcoholic.

Yup. Lots of recovery needing in these here parts anyway......let's start with that department up at ku that don't practice what it preaches: "Strengths based model".....hahahahahhahahaahha......yeah? Since when did Kansas social workers base diddly boo on the strengths of a family given it's so much easier and simplier to point out the problems and challenges? And to think they're given a license to boot. Incredible....

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

"Srrengths" :LOL. My wife and I had a great laugh when they came up with that one. It was merely a catchy phrase to empty the institutions of folks who desperately needed help in the name of saving money so the rich could pay less tax.

gatekeeper 1 year, 11 months ago

What a load.

http://www.kansasjudicialperformance.org/index.cfm?Page=BackgroundInformation

If you have these issues with judges, then work to get them booted when they're up for retention.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

You're joking, right "gatekeeper"? The game is fixed. It's rigged. May Alceste suggest you're owned and don't even know it? You're not a club member. Why do you defend "the club"? Wait....maybe you're a club member. As George Carlin so aptly put it: Disclaimer: ADULT VIEWING ONLY due to colorful language:

"It's called the American Dream. because you have to be asleep to believe it...."

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