If this doesn't infuriate you, I respectfully suggest there's something wrong with you.
Guardians ad litem (GALs) have a good thing going in Saint Louis County, Mo., or at least they did before Evita Tolu filed a lawsuit against GAL Elaine Pudlowski and Dr. James D. Reid, psychologist, and others exposing what looks like one of the biggest money-making schemes to ever hit family courts. GALs are usually appointed by judges to represent a child in a custody dispute. The GAL is paid by the parents and in Tolu’s case, her GAL was paid $30,000. (See part 2 for details of that suit.)
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Saint Louis County GALs held a secret meeting, starring Pudlowski and 37 other GALs, which was leaked to investigative journalist Michael Volpe, who posted it to YouTube. The video gives credence to Tolu’s allegations of “ex parte communication” between GALs and judges. In the video, the GALs can be heard discussing friendly judges and judges who want to help them fight the lawsuit against them and their friends. A judge conspiring with a defendant in a case before his court may be obstruction of justice and should be investigated as a criminal matter. When the video was made public, every judge on the Saint Louis County Circuit Court recused themselves.
But perhaps even more shocking is the reason for the clandestine meeting. GALs are attorneys and as officers of the court, they must be familiar with the First Amendment requirements that say citizens have a right to a free press. Despite knowing this, these lawyers plotted together to target and abolish the “Daily Docket News,” by hiring a private investigator at $425 an hour to dox the author of the newsletter. Daily Docket News (DDN) is a newsletter that is sent out by email and has been reporting on what it calls a “Kids for Cash” scheme in Saint Louis County. The scheme allegedly uses children stuck in custody battles, trafficking them and their families through the court system, which enriches psychologists, GALs, and other professionals—anger management companies, mediation companies, and any other company that would profit from a custody case. There are many such companies and persons.
DDN has reported on many cases working their way through family courts that have all the same players, including Pudlowski and Reid. They report:
There is an alleged large network of law firms working in conjunction with each other on the same family court case, each representing one of the parties and allegedly promising to have you and your child’s best interest at heart, but the only interest they have is to pit the parties against each other and to drain the party with the smaller financial portfolio prior to reaching a settlement. Unknown to the party with the smaller financial portfolio, their case will never go to trial, but will drag out as long as they have disposable cash to throw away, which is in the best interest of each attorney involved in the case. In most cases that were reviewed, the party that has the finances to drag the case long enough to drain the opposing party, is awarded the minor children by the family court, regardless of their mental, criminal and/or child abuse history.
Daily Docket News is dedicated to shining light on the grave injustices taking place in the family court swamp, in the state of Missouri. It has been a national scandal for decades in which daily courts in this country systematically failed to protect our children from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by predatory parents. What is equally scandalous is the silence on the coverage of this unimaginable issue. It is a dreadful reality of child trafficking through family courts in the United States of America…These cases present a clear pattern of child trafficking through the family courts which involve colluding attorneys, guardians ad litem, therapists, and forensic evaluators, who engage in divorce, child custody, adoption, and paternity cases, which coincidentally all involve well to do predatory parents.
It's even worse when one considers the November 2020 election in the light of this (alleged) corruption of our legal system. Did you ever wonder why Republican litigants could never get local courts to issue injunctions in their favor, to stop the blindingly obvious electoral fraud that took place? Did you ever consider that at least some, and possibly many, local court systems were (and possibly still are) under the control of those whose first question is "What's in it for me?", rather than "What does the law require?"
Makes you think, doesn't it?