Archive for the ‘Effective Case Management’ Category

posted by admin on Mar 4

A well presented case, like a well built home, must rest upon a solid foundation. Given what is often at stake in these kinds of cases, failure to carefully assess, at least on a preliminary basis, the factual, and legal obstacles involved in the case is bound to end in an unanticipated result. Moreover, when money is an issue, as it most often is, the attorney and the client must have a realistic view of the strategic possibilities within a limited budget.

Most often financial considerations will limit case activities. When these limitations seriously limit essential discovery or expert testimony, a yellow (if not red) light should flash. Therefore, organized, structured and directed case management is the first order of business. The alternative path (the “let’s do this and see what happens” method) is most likely to place the client and attorney in an unwanted position. Remember, most often the agency-sponsored “experts” have rather unlimited resources (tax-dollars) and are counting on little real resistance to their testimony

Effective case management should include: [1] An assessment of the accused; [2] An assessment of the allegations; [3] Initial discovery activities; [4] An assessment of expert testimony; and [5] The formulation of a budget.

[From False Allegations Of Child Sexual Abuse by Edward Nichols, MSW, LCSW -- Available for immediate download.]

posted by idunno on Dec 5

My ex-boyfriend was accused of molesting his son a few months after I moved out. A month later his daughter stated she was molested as well. His ex wife had tried to “take” the kids just prior to this. She wanted them to switch schools and live with her more (she lived one county over) and even transferred them without his knowledge, to another school system two days before school started. We had them 90% of the time and she never wanted to keep them more until he asked to have their custody revised, saying that he had them full time and to keep them in our county school system. She was afraid we were trying to take the kids away from her, which we weren’t, and this got the ball rolling on her end. She started picking them on time, which she never did before, and kept them when she was supposed to. After I moved out, she started asking around to see if I was still there and who kept the kids while he was at work. She even had a friend of her asking me odd questions on a social site….such as, are you single or who are you living with. When she found out I left him, she accused him of molestation. The youngest supposedly accused first. He was 3 at the time and had very delayed speech problem. He could barely comprehend things or speak like a normal 3 year old so I can’t believe he came out and said this. He hadn’t seen the kids in 5 days when she called the police or reported it. I was with him and his son 2 days before he took them back to her and of course the child was NOT scared of him and was hugging him and sitting in his lap. Neither kids were ever scared of him. The oldest child was 6 at the time and just recently had “good touch, bad touch” teachings at school and I talked with her about it and she said no one had ever touched her or made her feel scared. The kids loved being with us and would usually cry when they had to go to their moms and step-dads house. Their father was a cop and the ex claimed they are scared of cops now and claimed he scared them with his gun, which they NEVER even saw. As soon as he came in from work, he put it on a high dresser in the bedroom, out of sight completely. We had cop friends in and out all the time and the kids were never afraid of them. They would play and read for out guests. His ex then claims that their paternal grandfather also molested the daughter and that the grandmother knew about it and let it happen. With each trip to court, there was more and more “stories” revealed. Everyone that knows my ex, KNOWS he didn’t do anything, nor did his father. This happened almost 2 years ago and the small-town lawyer he had didn’t really do his job so now the case is up in the air. There was no arrest and he was investigated. His father was never questioned but still they are not allowed any contact with the kids. I’ve done tons of research to help. We stay in contact even though we’re not in a relationship. Both kids were examined and the oldest has no signs of abuse. Supposedly the smallest child had a bruise? They said it could’ve been caused by constipation since he had that a lot but it could also be from abuse. She lied in court saying that the 3 yr old was potty trained until this happened, then he was constantly wetting himself but I had those kids more than anyone, since he worked long hours or slept during the day, he worked nights. The child was never potty trained. We tried for 6 months and it never worked. We had him in pull ups and she would send him back in diapers. She even admitted in court that she never wanted him to go to jail, she just wanted child support. She was claiming he was one week late on it. I feel that if she truly believes he did this, why wouldn’t she want him in jail? Doesn’t make sense. There’s a lot more to the story but this is the shorter version. He called your office one day last week but no one has returned his call so I decided to post since he doesn’t have a computer. Any advice would be appreciated. What can we do to get this dismissed or at least get him visitation? Can you refer him to a expert lawyer in GA?

posted by Edward Nichols, MSW, LCSW-R on May 12

The Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome [CSAAS] was described in 1983 by Roland Summit.  Summit noted five characteristics commonly observed in sexually abused children: secrecy; helplessness; entrapment and accommodation; delayed, conflicted and unconvincing disclosure; and retraction.  Summit’s purpose in describing the accommodation syndrome was to provide a “common language” for  professionals working to protect sexually abused children.  Summit did not intend the syndrome as a diagnostic device.  The accommodation syndrome does no tdetect sexual abuse.  Rather, CSAAS assumes that abuse occurred and explains the child’s reactions to it.  Thus, the accommodation syndrome does not prove abuse and does not constitute substantive evidence.

The accommodation syndrome helps explain why some sexually abused children delay reporting their abuse and why some deny that anything happened.  The problems is that courts across the nation, most notably NY, MD, PA, MA, CA, AL, KS and elsewhere, have allow this s0-called “expert” testimony into evidence under the theory that a sexually abused child may “delay” reporting.  It is equally true that a child who is totally fabricating allegations may “delay” reporting.  It is a logical leap to on the one hand concede that the CSAAS is NOT a diagnostic tool; and on the other hand present it to a jury to help them determine if a child was sexually abuse — otherwise known as a diagnosis.

Nichols Consulting is on the cutting-edge of assisting attorneys to either keep out the CSAAS, or to controvert it at trial.  If the CSAAS is part of your case, you will want to contact Nichols Consulting at 800.400.8886

posted by Edward Nichols, MSW, LCSW-R on Mar 26

A well presented case, like a well built home, must rest upon a solid foundation. Given what is often at stake in these kinds of cases, failure to carefully assess, at least on a preliminary basis, the factual, and legal obstacles involved in the case is bound to end in an unanticipated result. Moreover, when money is an issue, as it most often is, the attorney and the client must have a realistic view of the strategic possibilities within a limited budget.

Effective case management should include: [1] An assessment of the accused; [2] An assessment of the allegations; [3] Initial discovery activities; [4] An assessment of expert testimony; and [5] The formulation of a budget.

The preliminary assessment of the accused should include: [1] An initial inquiry into his background; [2] An assessment of his ability to withstand the “emotional cost” of the case; and [3] The resources available to finance the effort.

A preliminary assessment of the allegations furthers the development of a case management plan. This assessment may be divided or organized into a review of : [1] The components of the allegations; [2] The identification of witnesses; and [3] The identification of “hidden” agenda.

In attempting to effectively manage a case, certain preliminary discovery activities are necessary in order to estimate the kind and amount of work that will be required to properly represent a client. Estimating the number of witnesses to be interviewed, the number and depth of depositions, experts who need to be consulted, and the apparent obstacles to be overcome, will also assist in estimating the cost of putting on a case. Finally, preliminary discovery activities serve as notification to the key players that this case will not be “business-as-usual” for them.

The form that your preliminary discovery activities take will depend upon: [1] Whether this is a civil or criminal matter; [2] The rules of your jurisdiction; and [3] The initial budget available. Generally, preliminary discovery activities will include interrogatories, requests for documents, and informal inquiries. While depositions are sometimes taken, this is generally reserved for the formal discovery process.

In assessing the expert testimony that will likely be present in the case, it is important to begin to conceptualize your case in terms of the currently available research. This is accomplished: [1] By having appropriate research reviews available; [2] By assessing the perceived weakness of the case in light of the research; and [3] Through preliminary consultation with an appropriate expert.

Effective case management requires thoughtful and comprehensive financial management. Almost always an attorney must work within the framework of limited resources. If the resources are too limited, the attorney may have no alternative but to decline involvement in the case. In all other circumstances, the questions become: What activities will have to be eliminated or limited? And, where is the most effective areas to invest resources?

[For complete details, see False Allegations Of Child Sexual Abuse: Attorney & Client Desk Reference, Section B: "Effective Case Management"].

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