The following 14 November 2018 email – and the excerpt from it that follows – were sent to “Punch” Woods, who served for more than a decade as the director of the Southern Arizona Food Bank. Mr. Woods is a former Methodist missionary whose personal relationships and frequent social gatherings with at least one of the ring leaders of a nationwide criminal conspiracy that smuggled hundreds of foreign nationals past those tasked with keeping America safe, and with a leading LGBT operative and longtime executive at the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, go back many years.
“Punch, you have an opportunity here to steer your allies toward doing all they can to partner with my skillset, experienced research lenses, and practically-minded research products to help a lot of folks – we’re not talking “ivory tower” shit here, Punch; who else writes for a policy crowd about how facts of life on the streets, e.g., worthless meds; lost, stolen, or destroyed documents, can fuck up a veteran’s chances of getting her kids back? What other researcher with a long history of still-cited research is able to write from inside the bowels of the American criminal justice and foster child systems? Who else points out to the policy crowd that even if a veteran doesn’t have to go to prison, one or more of 48,000 + state and federal collateral consequences of his or her criminal convictions almost guarantees that a parent won’t be able to get a job or secure the housing that the child welfare workers demand before returning these folks’ kids? It’s long past the time when your allies should have asked me, “how can we help?”
WORTHLESS MEDS AND DESTROYED DOCUMENTS MAKE REUNITING HOMELESS VETERANS AND THEIR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE EVEN HARDER
Here’s a new excerpt from my forthcoming article about traumatized foster children who, as members of America’s armed forces, serve with honor and distinction. It’s also about traumatized military families struggling to keep their own kids from being removed from the home, perhaps never to return.
“As an assistant district attorney tasked with deciding which kids to ask the judge to remove from their homes, I had a hand in saving some lives. I’m certain of it. But I’m also quite sure that I made mistakes. Errors that spell-check could never catch and which can’t be fixed with word-processing software. Wrong decisions for which others would pay a high price.”
. . .
“Discussing why homelessness makes it even harder to reunite families will be left for another day. But here are two examples:
Even if one is eligible for, and takes advantage of, VA services, it’s exceptionally hard to protect from theft, time, and the elements the medications needed to strengthen or stabilize a parent so that he can get and keep work and secure a place for the family to live. Kaiser-Permanente tells those who have to take insulin, “Take steps to store your insulin correctly, or it might not work.” Some of those steps? “Keep your insulin away from heat and light. Any insulin that you don’t store in the refrigerator should be kept as cool as possible (between 56°F and 80°F.); never let your insulin freeze. If your insulin freezes, don’t use it, even after it’s thawed.”83 Other medications must also be refrigerated if they’re to do any good. Certain long-term antipsychotic medications are among those.84 At least in the communities that I’m familiar with, refrigeration facilities for these folks don’t exist.
Military – think DD214 – and other documents also get stolen or weather-beaten to the point that they’re no good. But it’s documents like these that rough-sleeping parents need if they are to take advantage of housing and other services that child welfare requires before returning their kids. A church in my community offers to protect critical documents for those on the streets and then makes copies when they’re needed to apply for a job, enroll their kids in school, or for other reasons”
[end of excerpt]
The author’s role as a lawyer- participant in America’s foster care “system”
The author’s responsibilities in criminal and civil matters while serving as an assistant district attorney for the State of Oklahoma were, among others:
(a) reviewing child welfare reports to determine which warranted applications for judicial child removal orders and possible criminal prosecution;
(b) representing the State’s interests in civil “deprived child” actions arising from these cases, as well as in civil cases alleging actions by minors that, if done by an adult, would be criminal offenses and subject to prosecution;
(c) learning whether a crime committed against or by a child occurred on land and under circumstances that authorized the State of Oklahoma to act (the judicial district I served is a patchwork of jurisdictions that include a number of Indian tribes and in which the land that the State couldn’t touch might be no bigger than the lot where the crimes occurred);
(d) primary assistant D.A. on call to respond to ER, courthouse, or other locations in order to seek, if necessary, order from the judge authorizing the emergency commitment of persons deemed danger to self or others, an order which, in the absence of suitable family, resulted in kids going into foster care;
(e) took turns with other assistant D.A.’s on call to respond to scenes of suicide and other deaths when requested by law enforcement;
(f) on occasion, participating in case conferencing with other relevant actors re children placed in the custody of child services and perhaps housed in foster homes; and
(g) serving as the District Attorney’s representative at some of the informal foster parent gatherings held in that judicial district.
Regardless of which side I’ve represented over the years, America’s foster system has always insisted on showing up, either openly or by lurking in the shadows in cases involving:
(a) criminal defendants, appellants, and petitioners who had been removed from their homes as children due to abuse, neglect or a parent’s inability to keep them housed, fed, and in school;
(b) clients whose children had been removed for any or all of the same reasons and who had not been reunited with their kids;
(c) persons arrested, charged and sometimes previously convicted for committing crimes against children, including sex crimes, assault, criminal neglect, and homicide; and
(d) persons who insisted on pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit or which the State couldn’t have proven at trial, under threat that child services would be sent into the home to remove their children if they did not plead guilty.
[end of excerpt]
Recent blopost from this lawyer and researcher, featuring the U.S. Court of Appeals’ opinion in United States of America v. Aguilar, et. al. (9th Cir. 1989)
LIBERAL HERO WHOSE NATIONWIDE CONSPIRACY UNLEASHED HUNDREDS OF UNKNOWN THREATS ON THE AMERICAN PUBLIC CLAIMS THAT THE ONES WHO REALLY GOT THE LAW WRONG ARE THE 3 FEDERAL JUDGES WHO UNANIMOUSLY UPHELD HIS SMUGGLING RING’S FELONY CONVICTIONS. OH YEAH, AND SO DID THE REST OF THE JUDGES ON THE NOTORIOUSLY LIBERAL U.S. ‘9TH CIRCUS’ COURT OF APPEALS
A brief autobiographical essay re this lawyer and researcher: