Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This blog is no longer updated!

This blog is no longer active. I enjoy the topic but don't have the resources to maintain this information stream.

This blog was intended to provide links to news articles about Divorce, Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare in Las Vegas and elsewhere. You should be able to get the same news by subscribing to newsfeeds from the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, KLAS-TV Channel 8, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

My original website is still available in frozen form, and the previous postings on this blog will remain in place.

For my currently active projects, see

Glenn Campbell

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Lawmakers eye county dough: They’re likely to raid property taxes to help fill budget hole (Las Vegas Sun, 4/30)

This is a raid-the-kids-piggy-bank sort of thing. It means that Clark County, relatively stable until now, will soon be in the same desperate straits as the state.

The only REAL solution to the budget crisis is raising new taxes, but that's still politically unacceptable, so raiding other entities is the fallback.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

KLAS-TV: Court Overload

"It is a major problem. Down at the family court campus right now judges can only hear their cases four days a week because we don't have enough courtrooms for the amount of judges there. Down at district court we get e-mails all the time 'can you help us find a courtroom, can you help us find space to hear this matter, to hear this trial?'"
The overload may be bad, but at least one pressure is being relieved: population growth. If population growth turns negative, as it seems to be doing, then caseloads probably aren't going to get much bigger than they are now.

Monday, April 20, 2009

N.Y. Times: Children In Peril

Children are being hit hard by the current economic downturn (Op-Ed)...

Official statistics are not yet readily available, but there is little doubt that poverty and family homelessness are rising, that the quality of public education in many communities is deteriorating and that legions of children are losing access to health care as their parents join the vastly expanding ranks of the unemployed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

L.V. Sun: Anti-Tagging Message to Youth

Total rubbish! Such programs are completely and utterly useless in changing youth behavior!
In response to what officials call a scourge of graffiti tagging, the city wants students to know that writing or painting graffiti is a crime, and that they should be working to beautify their communities instead of defacing them.

As part of Graffiti Awareness Month, the City Council and the Southern Nevada Graffiti Coalition are sponsoring trips in April to nine elementary and middle schools for “signing ceremonies.”

During these services, police and city officials will talk about what graffiti is, why it’s a crime and how gaining permission is the difference between art and graffiti. Students will then be asked to sign a banner, which pledges that they will work to improve their community and not to commit the crime of graffiti.

L.V. Sun: New Court Executive Officer

At 35, Ed Friedland is one of the youngest administrators on the county payroll. As court executive officer, he runs both District Court and Las Vegas Justice Court. Friedland, a former executive deputy commissioner for the New York Division of Human Rights, sat down with the Sun to discuss the challenges of the job he has held since August.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

N.Y. Times: Too Old for Foster Care

Even in boom times, young people who become too old for the foster-care system often struggle to make it on their own, lacking families, job skills or adequate educations. Now, the recession has made the challenges of life after foster care even more formidable, especially for those seeking federal housing vouchers, which are contingent on having an income.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Octuplet Mom: Future Child Welfare Case?

The case of the "Octomom" seems destined for the child welfare system (in California)...

The constant tit-for-tat surrounding Suleman has kept the story alive two months after she made medical history as the mother of the world's longest-living set of octuplets. But it appears to have won her few friends.

Suleman has characterized herself as naive and too trusting of others, but those who have been close to her see it differently.

"They have a unique way of using people," former publicist Joann Killeen said of Suleman and her parents. "Manipulating people, getting what they want and moving on."

No friends or relatives have come forward to publicly vouch for her. She's told psychologists who examined her for a work-related injury and news media that she's been too busy having children to maintain adult relationships.

Suleman, who has no siblings, has sparred bitterly with her mother on the Internet, and her father has questioned her mental stability.

Perhaps most notable is the absence of a father to her 14 children, who were all conceived through in vitro fertilization. Suleman has taken a vow of celibacy, saying she doesn't believe she should date until her babies graduate high school.

Public fascination with Suleman began to sour before she ever left the hospital, as her identity was leaked and details of her life began trickling out: She had six other children at home and had been jobless since 1999, living on disability payments, food stamps and student loans while birthing her brood.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

KLAS-TV: Judge Mosley Ex-Girlfriend in Jail

Terry Mosley, the ex-girlfriend of District Court Judge Donald Mosley, has been arrested and charged with writing bad checks.
When I first read this headline, I felt certain it referred to Amy McNair, (former?) girlfriend of Family Court Judge Steven Jones. Turns out it refers to the "ex" of criminal court judge Donald Mosley.

Apparently the only thing Judge Mosley and his ex-girlfriend Terry have in common is their son, who came to juvenile court a few months ago on a serious charge. I happened to be in Courtroom 18 at the time, and saw the ex-couple in action. Terry is a true nutcase whose sole goal in life seems to be making Judge Mosley's life hell. The kid is stuck in the middle.

I'm not sure the "ex-girlfriend" ended up with the last name "Mosley," but it's apparently a very convoluted 20-year saga, driven by the girlfriend's insanity.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

KLAS-TV: Nevada No. 1 in Deadbeat Parents

Nevada ranks last in the nation for collecting child support, and now the economy is making it tough for parents, even ones who want to pay, to afford it. ...

Clark County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Lowry agrees, more could and needs to be done to improve Nevada's child support enforcement record. With more than 87,000 cases in Clark County alone, the system is severely overloaded.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nevada Ranks Poorly in Homeless Youth Report

Being without a home is not easy on anyone, but homelessness can be even more difficult for children. A new report shows just how many children have experienced homelessness in this country, and the numbers are shocking.

One in 50 kids have experienced homelessness. The report also says that most states don't have adequate services for the children. Researchers say the problem is getting worse.

Whitney Elementary has one of the highest populations of homeless students in the Clark County School District. This new report says more than 10,000 children in Nevada are without a home.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

L.A. Times: Computers in Child Welfare

The process starts with a tip to Los Angeles County’s child abuse hotline. Over the course of a typical week, the Department of Children and Family Services receives 3,000 calls.

Those that meet the legal threshold -- as determined by the computer and verified by a worker -- are routed to investigators like Winzer. The process is usually inaccessible to outsiders because of child confidentiality rules, but over four days The Times had the rare opportunity to witness it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Two Family Court Judges Appointed

Gov. Jim Gibbons has appointed two new judges to family court in Clark County.

William Gonzalez and Charles Hoskin will serve on the Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division.

Gonzalez is currently a Clark County public defender who has represented juvenile clients. Hoskin is an attorney in private practice and was admitted to the Nevada Bar Association in 1991.

My own photo of Judge Gonzalez is above. (Also see my other court portraits.)

KLAS-TV: Child Care Cuts

Nearly 4,000 low-income Nevada families, in which both parents work, currently get state assistance to help pay their child care costs. But budget cuts have now eliminated those funds for more than 100 of the poorest working families. Hundreds more remain on a waiting list.

Without that child care assistance, many of Nevada's poorest working parents might be forced to quit working or leave their children in an unsafe situation while they try to hang on to their jobs.

"It comes down to a choice of do I buy groceries or do I pay for child care?" said Debbie Altman.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

KLAS-TV: Metro Youth Program

Metro's Police Athletic League has succeeded in steering some students away from gangs. Now they're going for another goal for the youth program.

Officers work closely with these students and many now want to go into law enforcement. But as mentors, officers wanted to show there are a lot of options out there, regardless of where you come from.

"A lot of the kids love sports, so we kind of use that as a carrot to get them in and get them tutoring and get them help in school," said Melissa Lardomita with the PAL program.

PAL has lured about 300 students into gyms, getting them off the streets and on the right track.
It's kind of obvious that the more stable adult attention you give to kids, the more they are going to be diverted from drugs, gangs and crime. These programs tend to work while the "scared straight" programs don't.

The only problem is that there is never enough adult attention to go around. In America, youth programs have always taken a back seat to pure enforcement, and with budgets being cut, that's only going to get worse.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

AP: Child Services Cuts Debated

Child Services Cuts Debated
(AP, via KLAS-TV, 2/17)
Representatives from Washoe and Clark counties, Nevada's largest, told legislators at a joint Senate-Assembly budget hearing that they're anticipating a ripple effect in the need for services because of the economic downturn.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

L.A. Times: States Face Budget Pain

Nevada has the nation's worse budget shortfall, according to this article....

Washington state's predicament illustrates the brutal reality lawmakers are facing in the hardest-hit states. Washington's budget gap for 2010 will total 18.5% of its general fund, making it the sixth-worst situation in the nation. (Nevada is facing the most serious shortfall, with a 38% gap; California's 22% gap is the fourth-worst, behind Arizona at 28% and New York at 24%, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

L.V. Sun: Teen Sentencing

The teenager driving the truck Coronado High School sophomore Olivia Brandise Hyten, 15, was riding in when she died in a crash last fall will spend the next six months in youth detention
Just about the only punishment there is in juvenile court is six months detention. (It's actually an indeterminate amount based on the youth's behavior.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

R-J: Democrats Offer a "Plan to Make a Plan"

Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons has challenged the Democrats, who hold the majority in both legislative houses, to come up with better ideas if they do not like Gibbons' proposed cuts to teacher salaries and higher education.

But Horsford said legislators want to make budget determinations through a transparent, deliberative process in which the public, the business community and other interests all can have a say. ...

Gibbons said he was pleased to see Democrats share his concern for renewable energy and long-term budgeting. But when it comes to this year's budget, he said, Democratic leaders have had months to consider the budget crisis but still have no specifics to offer.

"Our citizens expect us to find solutions to the economic crisis instead of making excuses as to why we have not found those solutions," Gibbons said. He termed the Democrats' budget process nothing more than a "plan to have a plan."
Let me clarify what is happening here: State revenues are drastically down, so things have to be cut, but nobody in the political arena wants to do the cutting, because the constituencies that are affected are going to be very, very unhappy. The governor has proposed his solution, and Democrats are bitching about it, but they are not offering an alternative.

Any solution that anyone comes up with is going to involve an unpalatable mix of cuts to important services and/or (Heaven forbid!) tax increases. The Democrats don't REALLY want to take the blame for cutting someone's pie; they'd rather have the governor take the heat. At the same time, politics require that they throw a tizzy fit about whatever the Governor is cutting. It's all just theatrics.

In a crisis like this, things will only get done by strong executive action. The Democrats can hold all the hearings they want, but they are not likely to come up with a coherent plan on their own, so the Governer's plan will probably be passed by default. —G.C.

Here is a Las Vegas Sun article on the same topic but with a lot more depth. (The Sun beats the R-J again!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Tax Debate Begins

The serious debate on taxes has finally begun. This in-depth article in the Sun is an indication...

A tax system by default, not by plan
At first, Nevada expected little revenue from gaming. Here’s how that changed over time.
(Las Vegas Sun, 1/25)

Taxes in Nevada will have to rise. There is simply no choice, other than abandoning all functions of government (like child welfare and juvenile justice). I believe that the debate will end with a state income tax, but it will be a painful process getting there. There will be endless posturing and beating around the bush by politicians, but it has to happen.

Here is my newsletter on taxes a year ago.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Area Teen Up To Something

Area Teen Up To Something
(The Onion, 1/24)
GREENFIELD, OH—A local teenager, standing on the corner of Spring Street and Dunlap Lane, is clearly up to some kind of no good, neighborhood sources reported Thursday.

The teenager, spotted by Greenfield residents at approximately 4:36 p.m., has been described as tall, suspiciously quiet, and almost certainly looking for trouble. According to concerned sources, the teenager has absolutely no business being out there like that. ...

Friday, January 23, 2009

L.V. Sun: Judges Can Keep Judging

I don't really see the point of this article. It's just column filler...

Judges can leave the bench, keep judging
(by Jeff German, Las Vegas Sun, 1/23)
One of the perks of winning a seat on the District Court bench in Nevada is that you never really have to give up your judicial robes, even if you decide to leave in the middle of your term.
It briefly mentions former Family Court Judge Gerald Hardcastle.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

R-J: Teenager owns up to fatality

HENDERSON CRASH: Teenager owns up to fatality: Guilty pleas entered in death of Coronado High sophomore
(Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/22)

Sounds like a standard teenage tragedy. Several such cases passed through Family Court while I was there.

See my photos from an earlier sentencing on similar charges.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ero Olerance for Omestic Violence

I took this photo in May in Cruz Bay in the Virgin Islands (album). It's the typical response by government to social problems like domestic violence: MAKE A SIGN! Of course the sign itself has virtually "ero" effects on actual violence rates -- with or without the missing letters.

This illustrates my thesis that "Words Don't Work". Education, slogans and treatment programs are ineffective in changing impulsive human behavior.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

R-J: Crisis Coming for Family Services

It's no secret DFS serves more clients with fewer dollars than many counties. Example: Allegheny County, Pa., with its 1.3 million population, sets a high standard nationally by spending $179 per citizen for its child welfare budget. Clark County, by contrast, spends about $50, Morton says.

Although the growth of the community has slowed, the local economy has foundered. And the rampant abuse of methamphetamine continues to devastate families and add stress to the DFS. As low-income families grow increasingly desperate, still more pressure is applied to the DFS net.

Now comes the really bad news: Without relief, DFS will take a devastating hit at the upcoming Legislature.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Head of Child Haven Sacked

KLAS-TV: Head of Child Haven Removed (1/6)

I have known Lou Palma for several years and regard him as decent and dedicated. To get fired by the County (vs. merely demoted), the offense has to be pretty significant. I can't imagine a mere accounting lapse would be enough. There must be something else going on (perhaps some other political issue or dissatisfaction with his work performance).

Here is the newspaper story the following day...

Review-Journal: Fired head of children's shelter critical of audit (1/8)