Oct 5, 2007
Mike Snyder Profile
behind me. Had the judge given my the former parenting time back as I believe should have happened, that's exactly where I would be at and I would feel relief, even not winning, because I did the best I could do for what I strongly believed in. I will follow the advice of my attorneys, seek the best visitation I can get and work on a national level to fight for fathers rights (seperate from this case). I think this is a worth-while cause and something that needs more attention. I'll write some books hopefully and prepare for a day when our son wants to come live with me and the courts will listen to his wishes more (age 12 or so). Is there more to this story on TOPIX? I will update if there are any changes or news to update. Will Sara file more false allegations against me? Probably.... Thanks to all those who have followed this story. I would give more information, but Sara made a point of my postings here and submitted some into evidence. This blogging doesn't compare to her media attention, but there is no reason to give her more ammunition. (Mar 12, 2009 | post #1939)
MAJOR CASE UPDATE: The ruling... The judge went on about "we are on notice" that our fighting is harming our son. He blamed me for 2/3'rds of the legal filings and her for the other 1/3. He commented on the fact that I had 8 boxes of files and an assistant to help get through it. Her heard several people testify that her mental state was unable to handle the stress of the fight and that it was affecting our son. He essentially put that burden on me (2/3) and then warned that whoever continues the fighting will put our son in "imminent danger" because of her lack of being able to not keep him from it (essentially). I believe her testimony impacted him a lot (her lies) and my inability to counter due to a lack of time, made a big difference. I was not awarded custody. Ok... no big surprise there. The surprise came when he did not fully restore my parenting time. Both therapists and the caseworker testified they had no concerns, that supervised visits weren't necessary and the CFI report said they should be restored right away. In addition, everyone felt the more time I could spend with him the better. Instead, the judge (whether he realized it or not) dropped my summer visits from 4 weeks to 1 week (in Washington) and gave me Christmas only in Washington. The rest should be in Colorado. He also ordered that the next 2 months be supervised, though he gave me unsupervised visits this week (2 visits and 1 overnight). I was expecting (hoping) for 3-4 days of visits. I couldn't have spring break as I should because Sara already scheduled a trip to disneyland during my normal visit. (#@)$(*) Then, her attorney apparently asked for a protection order and the judge gave one on Sara, her husband and her little girl. This last thing especially upset me, because now I am one false complaint away from arrest again and yet, I'm required to be here in Colorado. visits will be unsupervised after May, but will be less than 3 days and only here in Colorado. I believe the judge was just plain tired at the end and I asked repeatedly for more time. Especially summer, which should have been 4 weeks. He said he was considering 2 weeks, but just went with 1. Then he told me to file a motion to reconsider, which needs to be done within 10 days. I'll be doing that of course. Had the judge given me my former parenting schedule back, I would not have felt as hurt as I do. I have struggled with a lot of feelings the past 2 days and had all I could do to avoid expressing myself while in court. I am proud of myself for using my self control as good as I did. I know that Sara would not have had any control had the situation been reversed. I am sure many people (especially sara's people) wonder if I am done and I'll let it go from this point. I will say this. I have consulted with several attorneys since Tuesday and I've gotten the following advice (only a partial list of advice) 1.) I did really well and should be proud. 2.) A different judge might have given me more time and ultimately custody, but that is how it goes. 3.) File the motion for reconsideration and hope he thinks about it more. 4.) Get the transcript and see what it says as soon as possible. I want to move on with my life and put this (Mar 12, 2009 | post #1938)
DAY 2 continued... Unfortunately, the impact of the forensic pathologists testimony was lessened considerably by the time constraints and the lack of her doctor testifying first... but still... he made some good points. Sara had a friend testify about her "observations " of our sons behavior and Sara as a mother. I didn't even bother to cross-examine her. The testimony was brief and essentially did not add anything to the issues at hand. Since the judge had limited me on time and calling the step-dad to testify would only have wasted time, I had already included the statements about his behavior in my testimony. The Det. from the spanking trial was called as their witness from my witness list (I had dropped her due to time constraints). This was largely pointless. Sara then testified with a lot of old lies, but also a good sized bag of new lies. The real problem for me what the judge had not given me enough time, so I couldn't even present an effective counter to her batch of lies. She claimed I was chasing criminals who were shooting at mail boxes in my patrol car, then running on foot to capture them while leaving my son in the car. (None of that happened on any level). She claimed I have been stalking her at her home lately and revealed that she had called the police twice in the past month (no surprise there). Lots of other bull****. I had to cut my cross short when I had just 7 minutes left for my closing. Before closing arguments, I made an oral motion for additional time to present evidence that was important and critical. The judge denied it, but he did allow me to submit numerous exhibits (though not all) that I would have wanted in. He rejected nearly all of them, but kept them for the purpose of appeal. (Mar 12, 2009 | post #1937)
MAJOR CASE UPDATE: DAY 2 This day started out ok. The CFI testified first and I felt I ellicited the testimony I wanted. He reaffirmed his report and that visitation should be restored to what it was. He also advised that he did this because in conferring with his therapist, the therapist convinced him to do so even though the flights for our son back and forth would normally be concerning. The CFI also clarified some points of contention in a manner that I wanted, so no problems. Then, the therapist testified. I felt this testimony was very heavily in support of what I was saying in many ways. I read through his case notes and the overall testimony was... my son has a solid relationship with me. There are no concerns with my parenting or any danger. No supervised visits are necessary and all in all, if the court see's other things which the therapist did not, it should consider them. There was only one real bone of contention and that is where the therapist said he didn't feel a child of 7 should be flying anywhere. He felt it should happen until at least 9. This contradicted the CFI's testimony, who said the therapist convinced the CFI that visits should resume in Washington. The therapist admitted that our son wanted to do this and asked about it at each visit, but the therapist also stated "it doesn't matter what the child wants". I think this deviates from the actual statute, which includes the childs wishes as a factor. Sara never called her Dr., but there wasn't much time. I had to use almost all of my remaining time on the therapist, but I felt it was well worth it. A local attorney who has been advising me sat in during this portion (unbeknownst to me) and said he felt the same way and thought I did a good job. That was it and we broke for lunch. We resumed with a Dr. (Forensic Pathologist) from NY area that I had retained to counter her Dr. and to point out the flaws in the CPS investigation and to speak about concerns about anorexia and the weight gain issues Sara has been complaining about. Unfortunately, I did not have the time I should have had and needed to move quickly through his testimony. As it was, I had to fight to get him in. The judge counted this time against me and that included her attorneys objections about the admissibility of her own Dr.'s reports. An issue I was not expected, as her doctor was suppose to testify. Perhpas a tactic of her attorney, but the reports were not able to be "verified ", so they never got admitted, but because the forensic pathologist had them, he just discussed the issues. But it wasn't even more time. Not good! (Mar 12, 2009 | post #1936)
MAJOR CASE UPDATE: It is interesting the timing and insinuation of the above poster. Quite likely another of Sara's lackeys. There is no further point to addressing them. Anyhow... here is what happened at the trial. DAY 1: MY DAY On this day, I felt that I did well and made some very good points. CPS caseworker spoke primarily to things that supported what I was saying. I was able to win a small battle with her attorney over accepting her deposition, when her attorney lied and tried to claim she wasn't given proper notice of that depo (she was referring to another one which she was given proper notice of). I was able to get in touch with a US Airways employee who saw the step-dad being a jerk during an exchange and he got his testimony in. I'm having trouble remembering the order that this took place, but the former principle of the school who lied his ass off in May when visits were suspended testified and I think he testified first by phone. It was a good thing. I followed up with the 3 primary people involved from the school who all essentially proved he was lying, even about their own statements. Her attorney tried to spin it as if these people were on my side for some reason, but I think it was demonstrated that there was no connection. However, I will say it didn't seem the judge cared much about it. I was able to testify, but I had to do so at the end of the day and unfortunately, because some of my witnesses took longer than expected or because her attorney kept objecting during my time to present evidence, I ran out of "allotted time". I got a very limited opportunity to give my testimony and it was cut short and I wasn't able to present all my facts. The result at the end of Day 1 is... I think I proved more or less all the points I wanted to prove and did well. Unfortunately, it ate up a lot of my time to do it and I didn't get enough out. (Mar 12, 2009 | post #1935)
Oh... and as for being PRO SE. I think I can confidently say I have more knowledge about the realities of this than most people and I've also succeeded sufficiently as PRO SE, that I can take my own council here. Yes, there are some definite disadvantages to being Pro Se and it may very well affect an outcome that otherwise may have been in your favor with an attorney.... but don't paint it with such a broad brush. I prefer rear wheel drive cars in the snow. That is counter to what the car companies and news tells you about driving in the snow. And for most people, front wheel drive is best. It prevents them from making a lot of common mistakes because a lot of people don't have a clue how to drive in the snow. But there are disadvantages to front wheel drive. If you know what you are doing, rear wheel drive allows you far more control of the vehicle and might prevent accidents that a front wheel drive would cause. Same with traction control devices. So too, with Pro Se... if you know what you are doing, then you negate most of the disadvantages and gain some very important ones. I have been doing it for 5 years and I'm VERY happy doing it instead of using an attorney. I get to speak directly with the judge (can be good and bad, but at least he gets to know who I am as a person). I get some extra leeway as Pro Se. I know my case better than any attorney would, so I have an easier time getting facts out. But the biggest plus to being Pro Se is simply this... its damn near free, or at least as close as you can get to free in a major legal action. I have spent many ten's of thousands as Pro Se, but if I had an attorney, it would translate in many $100,000's. And simply put... I don't have that much money, and therefore, would never have had representation. So Pro Se was the only way for me, and I believe I have put on a very vigorous and effective legal defense and offense in general because I've taken the time to learn and study and do it right. The judges know that and I've seen them respect it (seen the opposite too). So in short... you are right, doing your own representation is usually a bad move and I can attest to that as well. But its not always a bad move and sometimes, its the only move. If you have a good case and you research and study, even if your chances would have been better with an attorney, your chances are zero if you don't have the money to pay one all the way through. (Mar 8, 2009 | post #1931)
I will not disagree with the statement I have quoted here. You are right, though your full commentary lacks real knowledge of the case, your point is well taken. I will preface this with, I would NEVER change how this all turned out with the result being we never had our son, as he is the world to me and worth it all. But... outside of that statement, had I to do it all over again: A. I would never have married Sara. B. If I did, I would have left much sooner. C. I would not have had a child with her, for the reasons and more that you have stated above. I have learned a lot of hard lessons from this and I apply them in my life now. I was naive and ignorant of what divorce could be like and what some women can be like (not all). I was happy to walk down the primrose path and its was just plain being naive about things. Yes, there were plenty of warning signs, but those signs being headed, still would not have shown how bad things could get. Anyway... I don't need psychotherapy. I have seen a counselor for 4 years to help work through the effect this has had on me and sort out my feelings, mistakes and try to avoid them. I've done well in that regard. Thanks for your input. Please hang around for the results and then when you truly know what happened, maybe your comment (Mar 8, 2009 | post #1930)
However, if Sara loses custody, I have no doubt she would appeal the decision and, in fact, she would automatically have a better shot at reversing the decision than I would as explained above. Primarily, because the ruling would have been making a major change in everyone's life, whereas if I lose, everything simply stays the same. Sara would also have a much better case to present as to why it should be reversed. She could claim danger to my son, etc... and she does have her old stories to put to the court. it certainly would be "discretionar y" on the judges part to give me custody and since it would be such a major change after Sara presents so much "scary stuff" about me, I think its susceptible to being overturned. That being said... whereas I would have a 99.9999999% chance of losing the appeal if I lose, Sara would probably have a 5% - 10% chance of winning an appeal from the appeals court. Not great odds, but its a shot and should she lose, its a shot I have no doubt she will take. I expect that and honestly, I don't blame her if she does. But I wouldn't be trembling in fear about it being over-turned. It would be a very major decision should they overturn the judges ruling, especially since it will likely take 1 year to be decided and that would result in my son going back and forth, back and forth. And of course, if she did overturn it, I could appeal that decision to the Supreme Court (another 2 years perhaps) and if they took the case (which they might not) I would have been able to probably get a "stay" to keep the appeals decision from taking my son back. So 2-3 years after her appeal was filed, if she won major long-shot victory after victory she might eventually prevail, but by that time... it would probably just get sent back to the lower courts or something... So the decision of this judge, for all intents and purposes, is going to be what happens. Will I pursue other things? Yeah... if Sara gives me a reason to. She has a pattern of doing all kinds of things on a regular basis. So if she continued, I would fight it. But if she started acted more responsibly and stopped doing what she does, then I would have no reason to do more and I would welcome that. But I won't lay back and let her continue doing what she had done with impunity just because I didn't win. Sara will decide if more legal action is necessary. And finally, if I lose this week, it can be expected that I will file for custody again, but probably not until he is 12 or 13 or whatever age the child can give some input, if he wants to live with me. In short... yes, I will let sleeping dogs lie, as long as they stay asleep! At least for about 5 more years. (Mar 7, 2009 | post #1927)
"Some kind of visitation" is a poor substitute for winning. My old visitation was hardly adequate, but that would need to be restored at a minimum. If for some reason, I did not get it restored, I would fight and appeal for a modification of that back to what I had before. It would be a parental visitation rights issue and there would be the ability to appeal that and win something at some point, so I would do that. But that outcome is very unlikely. If I got my old visitation schedule reinstated or got more, but ultimately lost the fight to win as the custodial parent, then there is not much I can do. I mean... I could certainly appeal it to the court of appeals and I know how to do that and am more than capable of all the filings necessary. But I the plain truth is... without a finding of an "abuse of discretion" and in this case.... that would be nearly impossible EVEN if there was an abuse of discretion. Fact is, the judge DOES have discretion on what to do and believe in nearly all these matters and his application of the law allows for a pretty broad spectrum of reasons. He could say he believed all of her accusations and none of my evidence or he believed just a little bit of what she claimed and he could, if he so chose, deny my request for a change of custody and that alone would keep an appeals court from over-turning his decision, even if he is a complete jerk about it and other judges would have done differently. He could also find completely in my favor and believe that Sara lied about everything and is everything I claim and he could give me custody. A judge can rule anything he wants. Will an appeal's court uphold his decision is the issue and when it comes to this case... I think either way, YES... an appeals court would definitely support whatever decision he comes to. He is the "TRIER OF FACT" meaning.... the appeals court isn't going to retry the case, nor read all the evidence. That is what they rely on him to do and when he makes a ruling, its his opinion of what happened and since he's the judge, his opinion ultimately becomes LAW. So my answer to whether I would leave it if I lost my bid for custody is, mostly YES. I would almost certainly NOT appeal a loss here, primarly because I know 99.999999999% that there is no way the appeals court is going to give me custody where the trial judge did not. Ain't gonna happen! Fighting would be nothing more than a waste of time and money and resources and drag things out for at least 1 more year. I don't want that. (Mar 7, 2009 | post #1926)
UPDATE ON TRIAL PREP: Well... most of the major details have been completed. Witnesses have been scheduled. Subpoena's have been served. The last of my team of people flying out have just landed. I've completed all of my scheduled meetings with witnesses. I just have a few phone calls to make on Sunday to coordinate with my own witnesses. I'm putting together all of my trial preparation files and organizing them. I've consulting with my attorney at length and have put my case in order and have significantly cut down on the material I will present, so as to fit it into the appropriate time. I'm cutting back primarily rather than adding more. My hope is to get through most witnesses with little testimony or little cross, with the intent of then being able to spend more time with myself and with Sara testifying. My attorney told me that it was "very unlikely" that I would win given the basic major issues he was aware of. So I am trying to be realistic about this and by no means am I predicting a definite win. But I would like to think that I know my case better than my attorney and that there are things which will weigh more heavily than he realizes. Still.... there is truth to his assertion that this is an uphill battle, that I am the one with a burden to overcome and that even given the perfect presentation of my side, and everything going as planned as I can make it, this judge is going to need to be overwelmed with evidence to fully side with all that I am asking for. But... my attorney did stop just short of saying give up hope (just short!!!). There are always variables which you can not count on and of course, he is human and will make up his own mind. The most likely outcome is the full restoration of my visitation, hopefully a liberal amount of make-up parenting time and Sara being called on the carpet for what she has done. If those things do not happen, I will have utterly lost. Perhaps if I impress him enough with my argument, he may at the least, tear into her peripheral things like attorney fees or other court ordered actions he can take against her. That will also constitute a "moral victory" at the least. I'm strongly considering the fact that I will have to be prepared to move her immediately and make Colorado my home if I want a real chance at custody, but those arguments I have in order already. The thing I expect to win most, is unsupervised visitation with my son immediately following the trial, to include a Tuesday overnight visit with my son and then dropping him off at school in the morning, with maybe a Wednesday afternoon visit as well. I feel very good amount the case I am presenting to the judge and as long as I can get all the preparation done that I feel I need to have by Sunday night, I'll be able to sit in the hut tub for a bit, take a long deep breath and get a good nights sleep for the 2 most important days of my life. If I don't win custody, I won't feel too bad, because I know I have done all that I possibly could do and that at some point down the road if my son asks why I didn't take him away from her, I'll be able to say proudly that I did all that I reasonably could do and more and I think he will be satisfied with that answer. (Mar 7, 2009 | post #1924)
P.S. Should didn't want anything about her on-line and available if I posted it, but she was happy to have dozens of media interviews, TV segments, etc... done by her in which she posted pictures of our child and me and then told her ridiculous lies about me and what she claims I did, which was all false. So Sara has made some very one-sided decisions about all this. (Jan 16, 2009 | post #1857)
A few comments: 1.) Sara doesn't have anything of any significance against me. NOTHING! I can't say that because I personally know what did and didn't happen and I also know what she has put forth to the courts. If she had something, I certainly would know about it. The best she has in court is a plea bargain 6 years old that she manipulated into occurring. A few weight checks she manipulated to show he gained a couple pounds on some visits and a few emails in which I talked about the kind of "biblical based marriage" we had agreed on as a couple. That's IT! 2.) Sara did come on here when there wasn't the truth being presented. Since then, Sara has had her "surrogates " on here frequently and in little dog packs attempting to break the idea that it is even possible that I may be telling the truth. She reads the forums constantly and uses them frequently in court proceedings to show I have used the media too! And also to try and keep me from telling people what she is like. She was deathly afraid that I would release her video deposition onto YouTube. (Jan 16, 2009 | post #1856)
Hussie: I'm going to try and email you the trial now. It will be sent in several parts I think, maybe overlapping. Its weird how this came out. Let me know if you received them. It will have the entire thing and some things off the record, including some of the Jury's explanation, but that unfortunately got cut off short. (Jan 15, 2009 | post #1850)
The part where you are not jumping to conclusions without hearing the whole story. When I first came on here, all I wanted to do was balance out the completely one sided story and chat that was occurring. I can't expect anyone to just believe me, especially without knowing me. But I think it is VERY important that people on here realize that there is another side to the story and that just because someone makes up claims, doesn't mean they are telling the truth. And just because someone is accused, doesn't mean they necessarily did anything wrong. That's all I wanted and I believe I have achieved that. The fact that some posters now believe me mostly or 100% is extra to me. So I'm glad you are at least at a point where you can step back and say "I don't know", "I won't jump to conclusions". (Jan 15, 2009 | post #1842)
That sounds like a step in the right direction at least. (Jan 15, 2009 | post #1840)
Q & A with Mike Snyder
All for my son.......
When I'm Not on Topix:
I'm working, flying or in court
Read My Forum Posts Because:
you can't resist...
I'm Listening To:
someone elses music on Myspace
Read This Book:
Lord of the Rings
scented candles, change of seasons, kayaking/rafting, camping, my son.
On My Mind:
What am I going to do tomorrow???
Blog / Website / Homepage:
I Believe In:
God, George W. Bush and the subtle art of sarcasm.
Copyright © 2016 Topix LLC