Based on failure to protect Child CD from an extended period of life-threatening neglect and abuse
The critical case before us for immediate review
On August 8, 2019, the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama, adjudicated a custody hearing for Child CD.
The maternal grandparents had come to this court in order to protect the interests of their grandson, even though having custody of him would entail extensive time and financial commitments for them. They also desired to protect their daughter, Child CD’s mother, from much greater charges against her than currently exist.
Judge Anita Kelly presided over critical issues related to the safety and welfare of Child CD. The child, who has been the subject of litigation before this court since April 2019, when he was five years old, turned seven in May of 2020.
Contrary to what would be in the best interest of Child CD as well as his mother, whose abuse and neglect are well-documented, Judge Anita Kelly has failed in her duty as a judge to protect the health, welfare, and basic human rights of a minor child. Because of Judge Anita Kelly’s ruling, he has continued to be the subject of ongoing documented abuse and neglect, under continual threat of ongoing trauma and circumstances that severely impact his health as well as emotional and intellectual development.
The story of Child CD
Contrary to what would be in the best interest of Child CD, Judge Anita Kelly ruled that he live with his mother, who has long-standing substance abuse issues as well as serious mental health issues, with a long list of bad acts charged against her.
An issue of great concern is that the mother has sometimes threatened to kill herself and the child.
Material facts show that the potential for murder/suicide is high due to the mother’s documented psychiatric and functional instability. A history of suicidal thoughts and action on the part of the mother—including actions motivated by spite, retaliatory anger, and an attitude of entitlement— leaves this child at significant risk of being murdered by this highly tempestuous woman.
The mother’s attitude, lifestyle, and documented instability
To date the mother has shown herself to be incapable of caring for or managing her own life.
Though CD is occasionally allowed to stay with his grandparents, for the most part he lives with his mother, having no stable environment, but instead “couch hopping” with her from house to house, often documented transient drug houses. The environment in which he lives with his mother is described by authorities as chaotic, violent, and dangerous.
The child has been dropped off with random individuals, male acquaintances, and teenage babysitters when the mother impetuously feels the need to leave, even for long periods of time.
The mother’s attitude and behavior toward the child suggests that she regards him as her personal property, over which she has total control, on whom she can impulsively vent her rage without consequences.
One of many incidents of abuse
One such recent incident, one of many of Child CD’s everyday assaults, was witnessed by the maternal grandparents as well as bystanders.
In this episode, the mother took the child to meet the child’s maternal grandparents at a diner. As the family was entering the diner, the mother became aware that the child had a bowel movement in his pants. Witnesses have stated that the mother flew into a rage, cursing at the child, slapping and hitting him, as she dragged him through the front door into the bathroom. The bathroom had a changing table, yet the mother pulled off the child’s pants as he was straddled on all fours on the dirty floor. Witness reports state that she was hitting him and yelling at him as he begged for help from his grandmother, who was racing in behind them.
According to the grandparents, scenes such as this one have been repeated numerous times.
According to programs such as Head Start and Montessori, positive learning environments beginning at age 2 place a child at great advantage in establishing socialization and learning skills. However, Child CD has learned only that when he begs for help as he is being dragged and beaten, there is no rescue for him.
Legal argument and Child CD’s “autism diagnosis”
This mother’s lawyer has put forth spurious arguments using civil rights and prejudice issues to distract from the pressing issues of chronic negligence and abuse.
Also, the psychological report presented by the mother’s attorney is deeply flawed and cannot be considered as a source of credible information or guidance, because it omits all psychosocial information related to the medical, psychiatric, substance abuse, and criminal history of the mother. This renders the report of little to no value in an accurate assessment of the subject child.
The poorly prepared report attempts to make a case for autism, but it fails to mention anything regarding the life history of the child or his mother, including the child’s medical record.
Child CD’s medical record indicates that he has a series of developmental medical issues and physical challenges, some of which may have been congenital, some of which may be related to mother’s substance abuse during pregnancy.
The autism report also fails to address critical psychosocial factors related to the mother’s mental health, as well as police records and child abuse agency interventions. The child’s current functioning gives clear indication of abuse and neglect.
A careful review of the records on this child, from birth to the present would suggest alternate diagnoses as far more relevant than the diagnosis of autism.
The report recommends that mother and child participate together in behavioral modification therapy to mitigate ADHD behavioral problems.
The ignorance, arrogance, and absurdity of this evaluation is shocking. A more relevant conclusion would be something to the effect that mother should feed the child and should stop beating him.
A full forensic psychiatric examination should have included a threat /danger assessment, given the mother’s view of the child as her possession, spitefulness toward others in her life, and, impetuous, violent behavioral history.
However, the autism report provided the means for the mother to collect disability funding and certain benefits for the child. We suspect that the disability referral was pursued for the financial benefit, rather than in the medical and educational interests of the child. The pursuit of the report and use of the report in pursuing financial resources suggests manipulation and fraud for financial gain.
The use of other intellectual constructs to create a false narrative and to raise spurious defenses in the service of maintaining custody of a severely congenitally and developmentally challenged child, to advance the mother’s own selfish agendas are reprehensible.
These arguments actually strengthen argument to transfer custody of the child to the grandparents for the child’s benefit, at least until the mother can begin to cure the issues that make her a danger to her child.
Judge Kelly’s dereliction of duty
Judge Kelly’s actions and lack of actions
Understanding the dynamics of a case should be a priority when making critical decisions in custody decisions. Yet Judge Anita Kelly has refused to do so.
As represented in her judicial presence put forth in transcripts, the judge appears to obsess, question, and equivocate as she seems incapable of understanding the magnitude of the problem before her.
A procedural history of the case from first complaint filing to the current status shows a pattern of lack of understanding of the case before her and a reluctance to designate findings and assign culpability so that the child can attain protection and permanency.
In fact, Judge Kelly, via procedural and judicial practice in the course of proceedings, has failed to take action as per rulings and court orders that would demonstrate understanding of the case before her and the urgent need to protect this child from his mother. Instead, she has left the case in legal limbo by filing temporary and unsigned orders and leaving sole custody of the minor child in the hands of the child’s mother.
Judge Anita Kelly has refused to consider the many issues raised by the child’s maternal grandparents, who have been the only source of care and protection for the child.
The results of Judge Kelly’s dereliction of duty
Because Judge Kelly failed to address critical issues with an abusive, neglectful mother, to impose no consequences, the abusive mother’s sense of impunity has only increased, knowing that whatever she does, she will not be punished. Her crimes against the child are enacted in public, with no conscience or concern for the impact on the child or fear of repercussions to her behavior.
As Judge Anita Kelly has enforced no oversight or protection for the child, he has been at the mercy of his mother’s unbridled, impetuous rages, abuse, and neglect.
Judge Kelly’s failure to protect this child at multiple junctures when intervention was clearly indicated, has interfered with the child’s social, emotional, intellectual development as well as subjecting the child to unconscionable pain and suffering on a daily basis.
The child’s maternal grandparents, his one stable source of comfort, have been forced by the negligence of Judge Kelly to stand by and not intervene on his behalf. The grandparents have learned this for fear that they will be punished further than they have already been punished by a court that protects the “rights” of an abusive, seriously socially and emotionally challenged parent.
They have stated their fear of filing police reports or complaints on the part of the child for fear their daughter will retaliate against them and keep the child away from them altogether, even when she clearly needs their help when she is in trouble and needs someone to care for him when she cannot find one of her random contacts.
The equivocation of this judge to take steps to prevent further harm to this child indicates an inability to weigh the gravity of the evidence placed before her and an abdication of responsibility for child protection.
Further, the failure to take protective action on behalf of the child subjects the child’s mother to reasonable, predictable claims of child endangerment or death because of her well known, well established personal history of substance abuse, psychiatric instability and clearly denoted history of bad judgments in quite literally every area of her functioning to date.
Judge Anita Kelly sits on her legal laurels as Rome burns
If this case were being heard in a criminal or dependency court that deals with proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the known facts would have removed this child from his current custody situation, for his emotional and physical well-being, his ability to grow up in a stable and supportive environment, and perhaps, to save his life.
However, Judge Anita Kelly, ruling in favor of the abuser, is covered by absolute immunity in the context of discretion for any decisions that were made or that failed to have been made.
Her failure to act to protect the interests of this child under circumstances of substantial clear and convincing evidence of abuse, through credible witness testimony, pictures, and pleadings, portrays a failure in her role to uphold her duty and responsibility to the social contract as an Officer of the Court.
We of the Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts call for her immediate removal from the court.
Files with case exhibits and discussion of each case exhibit used to present this complaint against Judge Kelly can be forwarded upon request. The material is sensitive and contains brutal descriptions of the abuse and neglect of this child as per witness statements and multiple other records.