Ruminations prompted by a Court House proposal

Juvenile court is a problem. Juvenile court does not just deal with miscreant young people. Juvenile court deals with child abuse, neglect and incest. “To protect the victims,” the hearings are all closed to the public and all the participants (judges, clerks, social workers, defendants’ lawyers, social workers, foster care providers, and guardians ad litem for the children), are sworn to remain silent about what they know. There are no notices of public hearings published. Warrants are probably sent by mail.

A long time ago adult sexual assault used to be handled that way. Confidentiality requirement likely account for why the plans are so sketchy. The only public notice we see from time to time is when a no-show parents rights are being terminated in preparation for a juvenile being adopted. Children are property. Their removal is a taking. Confidentiality is why the disappeared migrant children cannot be found. Children, being property, are not entitled to legal representation. CASA volunteers are supposed to speak for them.
Prior to CASA, a guardian ad litem program was set up. I was recruited in about 1980 and served as one for a decade in Florida. I quit when the program got super organized with training requirements and certification. I am not an organization person. I think the juvenile justice system is a scandal. One might ague it is a remnant of slavery, but it is probablymore accurate to say slavery was modeled on the management and use of juveniles. That parents cannot work their young as they wish is the basis for much antagonism. Contrary to popular myth, incest is not just a low-class event. The pictures of sex offenders are published in the paper; their victims are shielded by secrecy, but not healed. In some cases offenders are ordered to have no contact with victims. However, prison rules are such that the incarcerated can innitiate contact and the victims have no recourse and no rights. What this whole system does to the judges, I don’t know. They are enmeshed in a culture of guilt, which cannot be good.
Were it not for one particular case that went on for ten years and actually ended well, I would have got out a lot sooner. Although social workers are assigned to cases, they work for the state and monitor the allocation of money (to foster parents and therapists and institutions) not the well being of the children.
In my visits to the court house I have noted that much is not regularly used. Real estate speculation is swamping the cler with paper, but paper records are important because the electron is unreliable (easy for public servants to lose). The electronic screening of the public is an insult (known legal persons and press are exempt) but consistent with the pervasive bureaucratic desire to evade public scrutiny. Judicial reform is needed, but there are high hurdles. The SCOTUS refusal to go along with executive privilege claims by Trump is a good start. Will it tamp down other efforts to maintain secrets? Probably not. The Feds also have the national security excuse that preventex the routine torture of Iraqi civilians from being exposed–torture that then fueled ISIS to seek revenge.
The U.S. refuses to recognize the International Court at the Hague and it refuses to recognize the UN Convention on the rights of the child. That’s because the U.S. is special and being special is most important. Clarence Thomas supported Trump’s claim to special privilege.