Via Ken White at Popehat, a horrible story of a judge abusing her power over children in a bad divorce case.
Judge Lisa Gorcyca, a judge in Oakland County, Michigan, is getting quite a lot of press this week for sending three kids to juvenile detention.
Judge Gorcyca doesn’t preside in criminal court. She doesn’t rule on delinquency petitions in juvenile court. She’s a judge in the Family Division. And she sent three kids to juvenile detention — and specifically ordered them separated — because they didn’t obey her orders to cultivate a warm relationship with their estranged father.
My god, who would do that?
I was in an anguished and anguishing custody mess as a teenager. I can’t begin to describe the guilt and conflict I felt. I also can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like to have a judge send me to juvie for whichever decision I made. I was fifteen; what did I know?
Consider the things Judge Gorcyca said to, and about, these children as she declared them in contempt of court:
To the 15-year-old, who didn’t want to have lunch with his father because, he said, he saw his father hit his mother:
“You’re supposed to have a high IQ, which I’m doubting right now because of the way you act,” Gorcyca said.
“You’re very defiant. You have no manners … There is no reason why you do not have a relationship with your father. Your father has never been charged with anything. Your father’s never been convicted of anything. Your father doesn’t have a personal protection order against him. Your father is well-liked and loved by the community, his co-workers, his family (and) his colleagues. You, young man, have got it wrong. I think your father is a great man who has gone through hoops for you to have a relationship with you.”
. . . .
But to the boy, the judge said: “You need to do a research program on Charlie Manson and the cult that he has … You have bought yourself living in Children’s Village, going to the bathroom in public, and maybe summer school.”
Holy shit. She said that to a kid in a custody case.
To the boy’s little sister:
A girl, 9, was asked if she would also like to apologize to her father, but she had no audible response.
“I know you’re kind of religious,” Gorcyca told the girl.
“God gave you a brain. He expects you to use it. You are not your big, defiant brother who’s living in jail. Do you want to live in jail?”
The girl said she would try to work with her father during visits, and Gorcyca told the children to go to lunch with their father.
“Let’s see, you’re going to be a teenager,” Gorcyca told the girl.
“You want to have your birthdays in Children’s Village? Do you like going to the bathroom in front of people? Is your bed soft and comfortable at home? I’ll tell you this, if you two don’t have a nice lunch with your dad and make this up to your dad, you’re going to come back here (after lunch) and I’m going to have the deputies take you to Children’s Village.”
Ken says Gorcyca isn’t a monster, she’s got a case of power-madness.
Judge Lisa Gorcyca doesn’t hate kids. She isn’t some monster who has hidden sociopathy her whole career. The evil of Lisa Gorcyca — and people like her throughout America’s justice system — isn’t of the cinematic sort. It’s banal. It’s not the evil of wanting to hurt children; it’s the evil of indifference to them. It’s not the evil of bloodthirstiness; its the evil of petulance, the evil of mediocrity given power and then thwarted.
The banal kind of evil, in other words. It sounds plausible. People just aren’t very good at thinking about the suffering of other people.