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Judge steps down to help fathers

Filed under: General,Law & Courts — Julie @ 6:50 pm Fri 3rd July 2009

Leah Ward Sears became the first woman and youngest person appointed to Georgia’s highest court in 1992.

But she stepped down this week as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court after her brother’s suicide. She found amongst his personal effects a questionnaire he had completed in 2005 for a church class.

The very first question was a fill-in-the-blank that went like this: “At the end of my life, I’d love to be able to look back and know I’d done something about …..”

“Fathers,” Tommy wrote.

When asked to identify something that angered him that could be changed, Tommy wrote, “Re-establishment of equity and balance and sanity within the American family.”

She says her brother was born to be a father and that he grew into a good and loving one. She says he was a graduate of the Naval Academy and a Stanford-educated lawyer and that he married and fathered a little girl and boy who were the centre of his life.

She also states;

As a judge I have long held a front row seat to the wreckage left behind by our culture of disposable marriage and casual divorce that my brother so despised.

No-fault divorce was a response to a very real problem. The social and legal landscape that preceded it largely prevented casual divorce, but it often trapped people in abusive marriages. It also turned divorces into even uglier affairs than they are today, forcing people to expose in court damaging information about their children’s other parent. That system was intolerable, and we should never go back to that.

But no-fault divorce’s broad acceptance as an unquestioned social good helped usher in an era that fundamentally altered the seriousness with which marriage is viewed. It effectively ended marriage as a legal contract since either party can terminate it, with or without cause. This leaves many people struggling to remake their lives after painful divorces that they do not want. It also left many parents cut off from, or sidelined in, the lives of the children they love.

If only more Judges will speak openly about the problems. We need to find solutions. We need to help OUR fathers.

The loss of my brother has changed my life, as these losses so often do to people. This summer, after 26 years, I’m hanging up my robe as a judge to return to private practice.

I will spend some of my time teaching a course in family law at the University of Georgia Law School. And I have accepted a fellowship at the Institute of American Values in New York — a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that contributes intellectually to strengthening families and civil society in the United States and the world.

At my request, the fellowship is named after my brother. As the William Thomas Sears Distinguished Fellow in Family Law, perhaps now I can truly do “something about fathers” — a mission I’m on for Tommy and a critical calling for all of us.


  1. This sort of thing has to happen more and more as the FAMILYS of the **Empire of Injustice** fall foul of their own FAMILYS devious ways – Onward – Jim

    Comment by Jim Bailey — Fri 3rd July 2009 @ 10:33 pm

  2. She took a very good decision. Law needs to be changed as families are breaking rapidly with the current laws.

    Leah Ward Sears – if you happen to read this article anytime and this comment, please note that the family courts have been crucifying lots of innocent men when it comes to Domestic violence / marital issues. Lots of innocent men who are being accused by some women are facing terrible situations. Majority of judgments favor women based on verbal accusations against men and courts don’t believe verbal statements of men. Please note that, law is being terribly misused by lots of women. It’s been widely know now as LEGAL TERRORISM.

    Comment by Men At Risk — Sat 4th July 2009 @ 1:06 am

  3. You are probably right Jim. But what a sad way to wake up to it. I am sure she would give all that she earned and all the power she held just to have her brother back.

    Comment by julie — Sat 4th July 2009 @ 2:34 am

  4. Hi Men at Risk, thanks for your comment.

    Neat information on your website. Are you in India?

    Comment by julie — Sat 4th July 2009 @ 2:36 am

  5. Hi Juile. Thank you. I’m in NZ and a victim of legal terrorism.

    The fact remains the same irrespective of the country or law. I’m just trying to make my turn of effort to make everyone realize about the current situations.

    Comment by Men At Risk — Sat 4th July 2009 @ 2:54 am

  6. Wonderful to have you on-board Men at risk.

    Comment by julie — Sun 5th July 2009 @ 9:26 pm

  7. Hi Julie. It is sad that this had to happen to her brother the way it did. Leah Sears’ decision to step down as a High Court Judge clearly demonstrates there is “inconsistencies” within the law system. I live in New Zealand and at the moment going through a court battle just to see my son again. Over the past few months I have noticed that my son’s relationship with me has become of no real concern to the Family law people involved. I have not seen him for 3 months, even though there is no court order preventing me from doing so. It seems they are happy with sitting back and watching a family slowly tear itself apart. Along drawn out process for the court and lawyers, and a good money maker I might add. I love and miss my son, but there is nothing I can do. This is a classic case of one parent using the law in an abusive manner, to oppress the other parent. And this unfortunately, only happens to parents that care about their children. But more importantly, how is this contributing positively to my sons well being and family identity? What sort of values is this constitution trying to instill into our future generation? – Go Hard Leah Sears, Administer true justice!

    Comment by Doug Jacobs — Wed 12th August 2009 @ 1:40 am

  8. Hi Doug, thanks for your reply. I hope you are hanging in there OK.

    I have not seen him for 3 months, even though there is no court order preventing me from doing so.

    Are you involved with a men’s group somewhere?

    Comment by julie — Wed 12th August 2009 @ 8:43 am

  9. I have not seen him because my x partner wont let me, and the court system and lawyers have taken this long to sort it out. No I have not thought of consulting a men’s group. But now I will.
    Thank you Julie.

    Comment by Doug Jacobs — Wed 12th August 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  10. I’m back in the Femmely Court tomorrow in yet another attempt to get more access to my children. The mother heavily influences them by demonising me in front of them. Consequently they have begun to drift away from me due to their mother’s frequent breaches of the Parenting Order, all of which have gone unpunished by the Court. Interesting, that when I had custody of my 2 boys I was dragged before the Court for an “Admonishment” for not allowing one solitary access visit to go ahead because my son had the flu. I am putting the Courts biases to the test yet again tomorrow morning. She (and her 2 legal aid funded lawyers) will ask the Court to leave it up to my 14yo boy and 10 yo daughter as to when and where access visits will occur. In other words there will be no Parenting Order at all and it would be up to the kids to decide when any holiday or weekend access should happen. My 14 year old son and 10 yo daughter have both got used to NOT seeing their dad thanks to their mothers disregard for the Parenting Order and disdain for me. I can’t afford a lawyer and am considered too rich to get legal aid. Could anyone out there please tell me if they know of a precedent where a 14 yo child has been allowed to dictate the terms of access with his father? Bearing in mind that my relationship with him is very good and always has been. If the Femmely Court agrees with her it also has implications for my access to my daughter who has said that she only wants to go on access visits if her brother comes to. This whole process pisses me off no end. Why do I constantly have to fight for what should be my right and the children’s right under natural law; i.e. the right to be a father and to have a father.

    Comment by Had_Enough — Tue 18th August 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  11. Had_enough I wish you all the best.
    Last time I had the misfortune to be inside the walls of that f#%$^n place the twat up the front told me that at 14 a parenting order is no longer needed. I dont know if thats true or not as they seem to make the rules up as they go and said rules are ‘liable to change’
    I hope you get what you need from these idiots but I hold grave doubts


    Comment by mits — Tue 18th August 2009 @ 3:41 pm

  12. I am sorry but I actually hope this happens to more and more judges, lawyers and legal workers. The culture wont change until it does.

    Comment by Dave — Tue 18th August 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  13. There’s not a thing wrong with children that old giving their input. If your kids don’t want you around, it’s your fault. As much as you wish somebody turned them against you, that’s fairly impossible for one parent to do to the other. Kids typically become resentful to the parent who is doing the bad mouthing, not the other way around. Why would you lie and say that you’ve had a good relationship with them, when obviously you haven’t? Oh, I remember! Because you are a lying mra who runs around the net, making up stories like this one! You don’t even have kids, now do you LsBean/Julie/Steve/submittolove?

    Pathetic as always.

    Comment by Hattie — Sat 12th September 2009 @ 9:23 am

  14. When I won custody of my children my oldest child was expected to temporarily live with an Aunty so that the damage from the Parental Alienation could be attended to before she finally moved to live with her brother and me, her Dad. Her mother had filled her head with crazy sh!t during our custody case. Counsel for child suggested that a 14 year old would decide with her feet where she will live and there’s not much anyone can do about that. The Judge agreed and they left my already damaged daughter with the psychotic nut-bag who had caused that damage.

    Even if the Courts don’t accept that she is psychologically abusing your children, to influence the results in her favour, the children will see it. Mine did. Time passes and children learn to think for themselves. My children visit me almost every day. They seldom visit their mother. If your ex doesn’t accept that you are the other most important person in your children’s lives then she’s got to be a selfish bitch. She’ll pay for it later. You’ll see.

    @ Hattie, thanks for reminding me why I vowed to never go out with another New Zealand woman.

    Comment by SicKofNZ — Sat 12th September 2009 @ 1:54 pm

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