We had planned to be out of town by now but, both of our attorneys wanted us to fill out an affidavit writing down exactly our accounting of what happened that day last week in court so that it could be entered into the court system and become part of the evidence in the upcoming battle. Otherwise, our testimony would just be hearsay. So Troy and I and both of my parents have done this.
It was not easy to completely relive those moments!
Here is the facts of what happens next in the legal system. I am going to write this as simply as I can and try not to add any emotion. so, if it sounds cold, it is just reality.
Our new appeals attorney has already filed an appeal and it has been accepted and put into the court system. Normal appeal cases take about 2 years to come in front of the judges. At least that is where the Detroit court system is right now. Because this is a child custody case, it has more priority and is at about 9 months out from the date the appeal is filed. Yes, 9 months is the earliest this appeal will be heard in court.
Our trial attorney is now filing a Motion to Stay order. This is simply an order asking the judge to give Lia back to us until the appeal pending comes in front of the the appeals judges. This filing will get denied. Plain and simple. Why you ask? Because it has to be heard by Judge Susan Hubbard. Yes, that is correct, the same Judge who stole Lia away from us in the first place.
Both of our attorneys know this is what is going to happen but, it is the next step in the legal system that must take place. We can’t move forward until this happens.
As soon as she makes her ruling and denies us the Motion to Stay, our appeals attorney will immediately file a Stay and Reversal to the appeals court. The actual appeal will be attached to it as well.
The appeals judges (3 different judges will be called, via a computer system from all over the state of Michigan to review and make a decision) will have 30 days to make a decision on the Stay and Reversal. They can approve one or both or deny both.
From what we have heard, been told and have researched on our own, the chances of the judges at the very least granting the order of Stay is very low. Apparently it doesn’t happen very often. They seem to always favor not doing anything new until the case goes to the full appeals point (9 months out). That is when all of the evidence will come before them.
Now, something to keep in mind. The appeals judges aren’t interested in the facts of the case. That apparently is not their job regarding ordering a Stay and/or Reversal. At this ruling, it is all about the legal and/or illegal acts that were committed when Lia was taken away. Their job (once again “apparently”) is to decide whether Susan Hubbard disregarded the legalities in what she did. Was her decision based on legal facts. Did she follow the law in what she did. That is what the appeal judges will base their decisions on. Not the “why’s of the actual custody case or the evidence we provided. But, from a total “did she go against the law in her decision?”
Please remember that I am not an attorney and I am simplifying everything here. There is a ton of legal jargon and whatnots that I don’t understand.
The only thing I can gather as to why the Appeals Judges have such a low rate (historically only 20%) of granting the emergency Stay and or Reversal is because they don’t like turning over other judges decisions. They want to wait until they have the full blown case in front of them it read through.
In a way, I actually understand this. However, in our case, we have sworn testimony to the fact that Lia was sent into a convicted child abusers home and that both of the adults in that home have (once again, sworn in court testimony) mental and/or emotionally problems. To me, that screams child endangerment.
My personal opinion is I think that the judges should say, “Okay, we want to wait for the actual appeal to review and study all the facts of this case. However, right now we need to grant a Stay and return this child home to documented safe, happy and secure home while we decide this case. She should not have left this verified safe environment and thrown into a documented child endangerment home.”
Of course that’s just me using common sense. Wouldn’t want that to factor into this case.
So, that is the LEGAL aspects of what is happening now and and in the future.
Once again I want to thank you all for your amazing support, love and prayers. It is keeping me strong!
Since you all have been so angered and feeling so helpless in all of this, you have been offering ideas and asking questions. I haven’t been able to answer or address any of these. Right now, everyday is almost too overwhelming to just function.
I will be doing good, keeping busy and then some silly little thing will trigger me. Like yesterday I found a pair of her socks and went to put them away in her bedroom. We have had her door closed since Monday night. I opened the door and saw her dolls lined up on the floor with teacups and other play things from the tea party she was having last Monday morning before going to court. And I see the outfit her and I picked out for the next day of school hanging on her dresser. That was it. I just laid in her bed and cried. I keep seeing the last image of her beautiful face. Eyes filled with tears, trying to be strong but, looking at me as I am being pulled away from her and I can see her saying to me, “but, Mama, you said everything was going to be okay. You said to trust you and Papa. You said I just had to tell the truth and then I could come home.”
I betrayed that beautiful little heart! I let her down! I didn’t protect her!
I feel like I will never recover from that image and the guilt.
Okay, this isn’t suppose to be about the emotions I am dealing with (yes, it took me almost 30 minutes to come back to this post to finish writing).
Back to your thoughts, ideas and questions.
When this whole ugliness went down at the court last Monday, there was a Detroit news reporter and cameraman on the same floor we were on at the same time. He was covering a trial at the opposite end of the hall. Our attorney knew this reporter and went down and talked to him and told him what was happening. He documented it via the camera all the way through to the point of them physically taking Lia to the car to be taken away. He (reporter) has since talked to our attorney regarding the case. He is pulling documentation together. This is a child custody case and has to be dealt with carefully. So, that is actually in the works.
You have to remember, we are talking about Detroit here. There is so much high profile crime and corruption going on here right now, that we are small potatoes to most people. At the same time we were in court, across the road in another court they were in trial for the Kwame Kilpatrick Trial. This is a major national news event.
Last week Troy was at our attorneys office copying files to send to our new attorney (trying to do as much as we can to cut down costs of minor things). Our attorneys office is in a local newspaper building. When Troy was leaving he heard a woman say, “Hey, aren’t you the herb guy?”. He said yes he was. The next thing the woman said was, “Where is your little helper?”. She, of course, was referring to Lia because Lia is a huge part of our business throughout the summer markets. Everyone loves her at the Farmer Markets and they all look for her when they come to the market. The woman introduced herself as the reporter that covers the Brownstown area. So, Troy sat down and started telling her what had just happened. About half way through she asked Troy to hang on while she ran to the office to get her managing editor. They both listened to what Troy had to say. They asked Troy for permission to have their legal/court reporting staff look into this and if he would do an interview wit them once they got all the documentation together.
So, that is both print and TV news that are looking into this.
Many of you have suggested going to a national TV show to tell our story. I know you all just want as many people to hear this and to help us in any way they can. But, here is why I won’t do that.
If it was just me going up against the judge on a TV show…..Bring it on! But, it isn’t.
I MUST think of Lia’s safety first and foremost. Think about where Lia is right now. The home she is living in right now. They are 1700 miles away from us. She is just under 5 years old. She has no where to run to in case of an emergency. Right now the people she is with are far away, have Lia and are going on with their life. The only new information they get will probably be from this blog. They are not in the spotlight.
What if all of a sudden I go on a national TV show and rile them all up? Who is there to protect Lia? They will become angered. Where will this anger be directed? They already have documented abuse issues. I cannot and will not inflame those tendencies while Lia is there helpless. Above all else, I must keep Lia safe in anyway I can.
Believe me, I understand the anger, helplessness and desperation you all are feeling. I am living it, breathing it every moment of everyday. I want to scream at the top of my lungs to whoever will listen to tell them about this injustice. This horrific situation!
Many of you have also suggested a letter writing campaign. At this point, it won’t do much good. But, that does not mean it might not happen in the future. And when and if that time comes, I will be sending out a message to you all for your help! Like I have said before, there is power in numbers. And if at any time, that will help, I WILL scream at the top of my lungs for your help!
For those of you who have asked, I have a contributions button on my side button.
Okay, I think that is all the information that I have at this point.
We will be heading out soon to drive to our cabin. Once we reach the heavily forested area, we will lose all internet and phone service. All of my comments are moderated as most of you know and I am sure you understand why especially now. I will eventually get your comments and emails, just not right away.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will be doing a Christmas craft/vendor show at a nearby town (near our cabin). We visited this show last year, with Lia, just to look around and have a fun day. She had a blast and asked why DTL Herbs was not selling at this show! LOL She was very excited about doing it this year while at the cabin so, we have decided to go ahead and do it. For her, and the reality is, we need to earn as much money as we can.
So, this will be a bit of a working getaway for us.
Now, I want to take this moment to wish all of you and your families a happy, safe and blessed Thanksgiving! All of you are in our hearts and our prayers. And just so you all know, I am taking all of you with me, closely wrapped around my heart.
My Thanksgiving thanks is to all of you for being there and keeping us in your prayers and thoughts. Thank you so much!!
Love, Diann and Troy (and Lia!)