The World Fathers Union is currentlycompleting work on the first report in the newly launched‘Project SPOTLIGHT’.
Project SPOTLIGHT is a statistical research project which analyses the rulings record of family court judges with an anecdotal history of bias against fathers. Researchers then compare that individual judge’s record to the overall record of the court in which he works. The goal of the project is to identify and expose judges with a clear and evident bias against fathers, using their own record of rulings to convict them in the court of public opinion. In this way, it is hoped that justice ministers will be obliged to take notice, and that the judges themselves will feel the ‘chilling effect’ that comes with being spotlighted in the press. While it is unlikely a judge would be removed from the bench solely because of one such report, no judge under attack in the press is likely to hand his accusers additional ammunition to use against himself. The bottom line is that such publicity should serve to keep the judges honest in spite of themselves.
The background to the development of Project SPOTLIGHT is interesting. While researching custody decisions to find support for arguments in his own case, a coordinator with the World Fathers Union realised that there are actually very few ‘variations on a theme’ when it comes to custody battles. The same false accusations, legal manÅ“uvres, and psychological ‘branding’ of fathers comes around over and over again in case after case. “Several times, I felt like I was reading my own case with only minor differences,” said the coordinator, John T. Smith. “I then realised that since so many of the cases were based on similar facts, an actuarial or statistical analysis of several hundred cases from the same court would have a great deal of statistical significance. It wasn’t difficult to get from that realisation to the concept of placing some of these judges on the front page.”
As the first case, a notoriously anti-father judge of the QuÃ©bec Superior Court was selected for investigation. Using publicly available decisions published on the internet, a small group of World Fathers Union research volunteers began reading and tabulating custody decisions last March, working through an initial search list of 200 cases for the entire court, and 74 for the judge under investigation. Once the tabulation has been completed, a report will be prepared and released to the press.
John T. Smith said he expects the work to be completed within a few more weeks. “It would go faster if we had more volunteer researchers able to read both French and English, but we don’t have them available right now. I’m hoping that with the major parts of the new website finally published we’ll see an increase in individual membership.”
The World Fathers Union does not charge dues or receive any funding. Fathers wishing to help can become members through the Union’s website, www.worldfathersunion.com/MEMBERSHIP.html
John F. Smith, webmaster
World Fathers Union