Attorney Says Men Treated Like Second-Class Citizens In Dedham Probate Court
'That Child Will Be Damaged for Life'
Massachusetts News, November, 2001
Attorney David Grossack from Hull tells MassNews he has handled dozens of cases at Norfolk County Probate Court (also known as Dedham Probate Court). He has found "the level of judicial intimidation, bias and incompetence" to be outrageous.
"I've experienced nothing but aggravation there," says Grossack. "A woman can lie in court and nothing will happen to her. A woman's lawyer can mouth answers to her client testifying on the stand and nothing will happen. There are bad custody decisions, excessive child support orders and bad visitation decisions."
He has refused to go there again. "I will not go back into that building as a father's lawyer because I just cannot in conscience represent men in Norfolk Probate Court anymore. When my clients are treated like second class citizens and denied due process and equal protection, I cannot recognize that court anymore as one that is upholding the Constitution of the United States."
Grossack knows several other lawyers who feel as he does but they have asked him to keep their names secret. "There are a number of them who have been outraged over visitation matters," he said.
"I hate having to apologize for a morally bankrupt system. I hate having to take money for a job when it is so hard to deliver the goods. There are other areas of law practice where I can get better results for my clients," said Grossack, who said he might still take some cases in Suffolk and Plymouth where fathers can get a better chance at a fair trial.
"This is about the Constitution we all took an oath to uphold. Due process and equal protection are under attack. I would say this court is subversive and a fifth column within the Massachusetts justice system."
Grossack named Paula M. Carey, Christina L. Harms, Robert W. Langlois and Eileen Shaevel as some of the offending judges.
Grossack said Judge Harms reported him in 1995 to the Board of Bar Overseers in retaliation for his complaining about her and Shaevel in federal pleadings. He said the court repeatedly tried to intimidate him and court officers harass him now when he goes into the building.
Grossack said Judge Langlois kept a client named David Merchant totally away from his children for ten years without justification.
Judge Carey completely disregarded the evidence in his client Joshua Preston's case, which concluded recently, he says. He said his client was the victim of gender bias because the decision was completely inconsistent with the evidence. He said there was a 50-page report showing that the mother was psychologically harmful to the child and engaged in medical neglect and parent alienation.
The little girl suffered lead paint poisoning while living with the mother. "That child will be damaged for life. I'm horrified by the decision, just horrified."
Asked to speculate on the judges' motives, Grossack said, "I don't know how their minds work." He said he thinks there is a doctrine called "maternal preference." It says in a child's tender years, the child should be with the mother. He said he thinks judges are overly protective of women and tend to give them more credibility when they testify than men.
"I think there is a feeling that men do not have the same relationship to the children that a mother does. We know that's false and just old-fashioned prejudice against men that blacks have also experienced in this country."
Grossack suspects the judges may also have been exposed to radical feminist ideas. He says that because men are automatically sent to batterer programs such as "Common Purpose" and "Emerge." These programs, according to him, put men in a position where they are "brow-beaten into submission to whatever the system wants from them."
The programs are "extremely destructive of men," said Grossack. Not only are the programs "manipulative and exploitive," but there is "a tendency to emasculate and oppress men, and force them to confess to things a lot of them are probably not guilty of in a lot of aspects.
"Look, the truth of the matter is that women are committing domestic violence against men in most of these situations. There have been polls. Men are far more likely to be victims of domestic violence than women are. Men don't report it because they are embarrassed. We've got men who've had toasters thrown at them, men who've been stabbed, scratched and kicked. This happens all the time and if a man reacts to it, he's a bully and an aggressor and an abuser. Women do it and get away with it. If men act in self-defense, then they are being 'abusive.'"
Grossack said he thinks restraining orders are part of a strategy that women use to get possession of the marital home. He said women get educated about restraining orders by their friends, police or DSS.
"Sometimes DSS tells the mother to get the husband out of the house or we are going to take the kids away from you. The police will even say to get the husband out of the house or we will prosecute you for child neglect."