Commentary: Was Justice Served in the Jo Case?

Commentaries in court cases often boil down to whether one agrees or disagrees with the jury. The jury system, which we appropriated from the British system, is an artifact of our foundation. The idea is that we wanted a group of citizens, rather than the government, to sit in judgment of the facts to make the determination as to whether the state can deprive a citizen of his or her liberty.

While this is a noble concept, it often means that we are asking laymen with no real legal training to apply the facts of the case to the law, to make the determination as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

For me, the case of Nan-Hui Jo, where the jury on Tuesday returned a guilty verdict for parent abduction, comes down to far more than just the jury’s role. But I will start there.

We got rare insight into the jury’s thinking because Denise Hoffner got herself removed from the jury, and then explained her thinking.

As she explained it, it came down to the definition of malice. As she explained, “one of the jurors on my panel, who thought that she was guilty, said look at the way the law is written, and I think we’re only supposed to look about not whether she had this big macro, wrongful intent, but whether she actually had the intent to just do the act.”

“In other words, that the intent would only go to the (act), it’s not like she was psychotic or unconscious,” Ms. Hoffner explained. “She didn’t accidentally take the child out of the country.”

“There was no way around the fact that she had acted and taken the child out of the country,” she said. “Plus she had withheld the child.”

Part of the problem here is that Ms. Hoffner, herself a lawyer, probably over-thought the law. In the jury instructions on malice it reads: “Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful act.”

The jury appears to have interpreted this to mean that they simply have to intentionally commit the act, but the term “wrongful” acts as a modifier here, and it means you have to intentionally commit a “wrongful act” ‒ which requires knowledge that the act is wrongful.

That is a big difference. We can parse whether Ms. Jo acted maliciously, but Ms. Hoffner made it clear that she thought she did not. “I just felt like this woman was not trying to maliciously deprive anybody in the way that we all agree in society the word malicious means,” she told the Vanguard.

But aside from whether the jury made the right call, this case boils down to a broader sense of justice. Ask yourself, will justice be served if Ms. Jo ends up being deported from this country, her daughter is placed in the custody of the father, Ms. Jo is denied the opportunity to re-enter the US due to this criminal status and, therefore, she is unable to raise her daughter?

Everyone involved in the case, including the prosecutor, acknowledged that the mother was the more responsible party and the better parent.

There is no doubt that Ms. Jo made some mistakes here.  But, as Ms. Hoffner put it, her immigration status and the threat of deportation underscore her conduct in this case. She said, “It was like the elephant in the room.”

In her view, “This was just a woman who was frightened and desperate like she had no options. She probably got bad legal advice and I just don’t see how justice was going to be served. Now she’s going to have a felony. She’s at risk of being deported. And this child is in the United States.”

Without the immigration issue, this is an easy case. Judge Rosenberg offered to take a plea and reduce it to a misdemeanor. However, based on advice from immigration attorneys, fearful that a misdemeanor conviction could lead to deportation, they took the matter to trial.

It seems likely that, based on the judge’s comments, he will again reduce the case to a misdemeanor, but the immigration status is a huge problem that complicates how this case resolves.

The immigration issue makes the chain of events leading to Ms. Jo leaving the country much more understandable. Ms. Jo is getting ready to go back to Korea. Mr. Charlton realizes that, if she does, he may never see his daughter again.

He files a court action to gain partial custody of the child. Now Ms. Jo is in a bind. She gets legal advice that the only way she can mess this up is to not show up in court, but she’s afraid that she’ll be asked to leave the country and not be able to take her daughter with her.

Compounding this is the issue of Mr. Charlton’s violent temper.

Ms. Hoffner said, here was no question that there was a domestic violence incident. However, she said, “I don’t necessarily feel that it was a pattern and practice of domestic violence in this case. But she thought there was. And that’s what mattered to me. She was really trying to protect her baby and I think all of us would have done the same thing.”

With everything bearing down on her, she makes the fateful decision.

To me, the decision to return to Hawaii illustrates, if nothing else, the naiveté that Ms. Jo has with regard to the law and a fundamental unawareness that she has broken the law. The heavy-handed treatment she receives upon arrest in Hawaii and transport back to California is troubling.

The child is forcibly removed from the only parent she knew. Once back in the US, the matter enters the criminal system, bent on punishment and retribution rather than justice.

“It shows how our legal system is about retribution and not restorative justice and not forward looking,” Ms. Hoffner told the Vanguard, and she’s right. The district attorney in this case attempted, once the case came to trial, to win at all costs, including bringing in witnesses at the last hour for purposes of embarrassing the defendant rather than adding weight to the prosecution.

A plausible outcome here is that Ms. Jo will receive a misdemeanor conviction which would grant her basically time served, but she would then be deported. The child would most likely stay in this country and Ms. Jo may well not get to see her daughter again.

To me, that is not justice. It is not justice we seek in our criminal system, but vengeance. We have to make her pay for what she did. And it doesn’t matter if her daughter gets caught in the crossfire.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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35 thoughts on “Commentary: Was Justice Served in the Jo Case?”

  1. Anon

    He files a court action to gain partial custody of the child. Now Ms. Jo is in a bind. She gets legal advice that the only way she can mess this up is to not show up in court, but she’s afraid that she’ll be asked to leave the country and not able to take her daughter with her.”

    Defendant received sound legal advice to appear in court.  She refused and instead absconded w the child out of the country.  That is intentionally taking a child out of the court’s jurisdiction, which she knew was wrong.  She chose not to go to court for fear things might not go the way she wanted them to.  The jury got this case exactly right.

    Secondly, the minute the court allows a parent to take a child out of the court’s jurisdiction for fear the court may not render a verdict the parent likes, then the next parent who has a problem will point to that case, and ask: Why can’t I abscond with my child?  Ms. Jo got away with it?  The law has to be applied even-handedly, period.  There were really no mitigating circumstances here.

    It will be up to the judge to render the appropriate punishment. It should also be remembered the husband was not on trial here.

    1. Biddlin

      This is a clear explanation of the situation.

      “Secondly, the minute the court allows a parent to take a child out of the court’s jurisdiction for fear the court may not render a verdict the parent likes, then the next parent who has a problem will point to that case, and ask: Why can’t I abscond with my child?  Ms. Jo got away with it?  The law has to be applied even-handedly, period.  There were really no mitigating circumstances here.”

      The point I have been trying to make. You did it better.

      ;>)/

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      A few points.

      1. Your comment ignores the immigration status issue.
      2. “The jury got this case exactly right” – not according to two lawyers I talked to with regards to the legal standard of “malicious”
      3. The commentary made very little reference to the father, they are not married. However, the domestic violence issue very much played the state of mind of the defendant – however, again, not the way the jury interpreted the law.

      1. LadyNewkBahm

        “not according to two lawyers I talked to with regards to the legal standard of “malicious””

        well I talked to a thousand lawyers who say your lawyers don’t know what they’re talking about.

        1. Davis Progressive

          the jury instruction is pretty clear: “Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful act”

          it is a specific intent crime.

        2. ChoiceDads

          David,
          She acted to avoid the custody and immigration issues and thus acted wrongful and with malice.  The jury got the case right.  The comment did not ignore the immigration issue, actually it specifically included the immigration issue and Jo’s fear that she could be asked to leave the country without her child.

          That does not say that her fears should not be recognized in sentencing along with the harm she has done to the child and the father and also what the best interests of the child are in the future including the right of the child to have a relationship with both her mother and father going forward.

          It is not up to this court to decide but I believe Jo has established that she should be permitted to stay and work in the US because of the child’s rights.

    3. sisterhood

      “…the minute the court allows a parent to take a child out of the court’s jurisdiction for fear the court may not render a verdict the parent likes, then the next parent who has a problem will point to that case, and ask: Why can’t I abscond with my child?”

      Absolutely.

  2. zaqzaq

    Below is an excerpt from the Wikipedia concerning the Hague convention.  The United States signed it in 1988 and South Korea signed it in 2013.  My questions is why wasn’t the Hague Convention used by the DA’s child abduction unit to recover the child instead of what happened in Hawaii?
    The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.
    The Convention was concluded 25 October 1980 and entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983. The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.[2]
    The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16.

        1. dlemongello

          So couldn’t they use the Hague provision after 2012 then when it did go into affect?

          Also, I see the disconnect being when someone is in a foreign country legally as I think she was when she had the child, but that visa expires, that a parent and child should not be threatened with separation in such a case.  I do not know the intricacies of the laws if she were to have married the father after the child was born, not that I think marriage should be forced like that.  I also see the problem with allowing giving birth as a ticket in.  However, I believe the pending separation of mother and child is wrong and so though I do not know the legal solution, I believe there needs to be one for any kind of real justice for the child. The solution has to also address the risk of Ms. Jo leaving again with the child.

        2. Davis Progressive

          probably by the time the hague convention came into play, they were so far down the road it would have been difficult.  as it was she returned in mid-2014

        3. Miwok

          Interesting I missed the immigration issue in the reporting of the testimony,

          Having said that, I believe, because I am biased by history of the Korean women who use this ploy, that it is thinly disguised ways for Ms Jo to get citizenship. They use it to get their relatives over to the USA, and they traffic in their children to get passports for themselves or their friends?

          Thinly disguised Human Trafficking. Why else would she invent a story about needing two passports for her child? The correct verdict would be to take the kid away from her, especially and not give it to Mr Skateboard.. Justice? Legal? Let’s consider the child, who should be on a permanent first name basis with the CPS case worker.

  3. Anon

    the jury instruction is pretty clear: “Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful act

    Ms. Jo’s actions were pretty clear: She acted maliciously when she intentionally took the child out of the country because she thought the court might not rule in her favor.

    1. Tia Will

      Anon

      Ms. Jo’s actions were pretty clear: She acted maliciously when she intentionally took the child out of the country because she thought the court might not rule in her favor.”

      That is certainly one way of seeing it. Another way would be to to see it that the court might not rule in the best interest, or even the safety of the child. What is most troublesome to me here is that a child is being squabbled over here as though she were a piece of furniture in dispute during a break up. Who in all of this legal battling back and forth is speaking for the well being of the child?  What do we think would have happened had Ms. Jo left the child in the care of the father knowing of his  violent tendencies and the child ended up dead during his care. Can anyone state that Ms. Jo would not have been charged with child endangerment because she knew of his violent tendencies and left her with him anyway ?

      1. sisterhood

        I’m not sure you should make the leap from the behavior of banging his fist on the steering wheel, hitting a wall, (I’ve known several men who have done that, and none of them have ever hurt anyone) and grabbing her after she shoved her own kid in his face, to a scenario of “the child ending up dead”.

        She was smart enough to escape the country and evade authorities for a while. She was certainly smart enough to figure out how to file a restraining order against him.

      2. zaqzaq

        Tia,

        The family court judge is supposed to determine what is in the best interest of the child when he parents cannot agree.  You appear to advocate that the mother was justified in ignoring the family court hearing because the judge might disagree with what the mother thinks is best for the child.  I find this reasoning disturbing.  You then jump to the conclusion that the family law judge would give custody of the child to the father who would then kill the child.  This rationale is ridiculous.  I did not read anything in the articles that indicated that the father had ever been violent towards or harmed the child.  Your reasoning implies that you think that it was/is in the best interest of the child to have no contact with her father.

        What I really find offensive in this whole process is the smear campaign towards the father.  This man served his country in a war zone where he was injured resulting in PTSD, TBI and a VA disability rating (70%?).  He has managed to overcome this disability, graduating from Sac State, getting a teaching credential and a job as a teacher.  I can only assume that he went through some sort of treatment for the PTST based on this performance.  There is nothing today that indicates that he is anything but a model parent who is fully capable of participating in his child’s life.  The child has a right to know and learn from both parents and is harmed when one parent unilaterally decides that the child will have no contact with the other parent.  It is in the best interest of the child and society that both parents participate in raising the child.   This is now the challenge before the family court judge.  How to craft a custody order that allows the child to learn from both parents with the numerous other issues.

  4. Anon

    1. Your comment ignores the immigration status issue.

    2. “The jury got this case exactly right” – not according to two lawyers I talked to with regards to the legal standard of “malicious”3. The commentary made very little reference to the father, they are not married. However, the domestic violence issue very much played the state of mind of the defendant – however, again, not the way the jury interpreted the law.”

    1.  The defendant’s immigration status is not legally relevant as to whether she knowingly took the child from the court’s jurisdiction. Are you trying to tell me that if someone has a potential immigration problem, they have the right to flout the court’s jurisdiction over custody? Really?

    2.  It appears you talked to two attorneys who don’t know family law/criminal law. Defying a court’s jurisdiction over custody of a child is one of the worst things one can do, and the defendant’s attorney told her that.

    3.  The father was not on trial; it was conceded the domestic violence was not ongoing, which hurt the defendant’s credibility.

  5. Tia Will

    it was conceded the domestic violence was not ongoing,”

    Murder may not be ongoing either, but the victim, even if only one is just as dead.

    1. Anon

      Huh?  The domestic violence was conceded to not be “ongoing”, which undercuts the defendant’s credibility in claiming she was concerned about continuing domestic violence as a reason she left the country.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        I don’t believe there was a concession that the domestic violence was not ongoing, that was the view of one of the jurors, but the incident where he grabbed her and lifted her by the throat was the final straw.

        1. zaqzaq

          David,

          How long after the last of the three episodes of domestic violence occurred did she go down to LA?  I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that there were three episodes as only one involved violence directly against her and even that one was provoked by her pushing or tossing the child at the father resulting in the child’s head striking the father’s head.  Could that have been child endangerment against her?  It looks like the jury only found that the one episode constituted domestic violence.  The replaced juror only saw one and she seemed to be siding with the defendant.

      2. Tia Will

        Anon

        Domestic violence is not something that is predictable. There is no way of knowing that a “single episode” of violence of the type where someone is grabbed by the throat and thrown against the wall will not be repeated. My advice to a woman who was treated in this manner by anyone would be to take her children and leave until the individual had gone through a program of anger management, emotional control and had dealt with any drug or alcohol problems. People’s lives are at stake here and unfortunately our legal system has proven woefully inadequate in dealing with domestic abuse situations.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Also, it was three episodes. The first one he punched the wall right in front of her face so hard that he broke his hand. Then he punched the steering wheel repeatedly until he rebroke it. Then he grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up. Those are relatively serious DV’s and could have warranted criminal charges had she pressed him.

  6. Biddlin

    Fascinating culture across the causeway. Concern for the respective rights of a multiple murderer and a kidnapper seems to exceed the compassion and concern for the victims of these crimes. Weird.

    ;>)/

  7. Antoinnette

    Concern for the respective rights of a multiple murderer and a kidnapper seems to exceed the compassion and concern for the victims of these crimes. Weird.

    Although I am in no way lacking empathy for any victims, that “multiple murderer,” was a child (assuming we are speaking of Marsh) who to me, was no less a victim himself in many ways. Albiet, not making excuses, he committed the crimes and he is paying for them, right?

    “The Kidnapper,” in this case wasn’t a victim? You must think it is okay to abuse a woman, frighten her, put her and her child in danger and then make her out to be the criminally malicious individual? Where is the logic in that???

    The only similarities in these cases is the convictions.

    Apples to bananas….@Biddlin..

    —————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Let me enlighten a few…A man/or woman who is abusive, rarely stops the abusing. Especially if they are drinkers, and he was one. The only way you stop it is to get away from that person, nothing else, period dot! Period dot!!

    To believe that such a  one is going to stop abusing, is not much of a reality, trust me…this is why we see more and more murders of women, children today.

    Didn’t we learn that in the Gardner case? Women tend to take the person back, feeling guilty, feeling like they will never do it again and it simply does not happen that easily. Yes do some change, seek help and stop, of course. But if you actually took a poll and found out the percentage of  these individuals, it fares low. Just take a look at our court cases across the nation.

    Another troubling concern is the fact that this man was not only violent but he was watching pornography while in the company of his little girl.  Hello????? RED FlAG!!!  Loving father? Normal father? really? What part of LOVE exercises perversion? Nothing according to the Lord…

    I may be indulging a bit here but a number of molestation cases have shown evidence of men habitually watching porn prior to the sexual abuse of their child. (personal experience speaking)

    During the first trial, there was no indication he had been in any type of therapy or quit drinking? Not to my knowledge? So how can we infer his violence was NOT ongoing? Really?? That is much like the alcoholic saying, “I am going to stop after just one drink.” Get real….

    Now, all that being said, did she break the law? Yes, she did and will be sentenced according to that law, unfortunately.

    But why did she feel she had to break the law? Perhaps the only thing on her mind was keeping herself and the little girl safe? Where in the devil is the “maleficence,” in that action?  Even if it is the law?

     

    Perhaps she didn’t get sound legal advice? Perhaps she did not understand the advice? We don’t know, we aren’t her.

    If protecting yourself and/or your innocent child is malicious because you illegally left with the child, knowingly, willfully…then..

    I wonder what that makes his actions be called as he threw her up against a wall, hands around her throat nearly strangling her? Or breaking his fists on the steering column..etc?

    Just a guestimation but you can bet those few incidents mentioned in court were NOT the only times this man put her in fear of her life.

    Then he sits on the witness stand playing the role of a “loving father, boyfriend,” and as district attorney put it, who has been deprived of his, “due process,” as a parent/father.

    IMO.. put your hands on a woman or child like that even once…you’ve lost your proverbial, “Due Process,” sorry folks..

    Don’t forget too, he denied the child at first and never paid much in child support. She supported herself and the little one…refer to the first trial. (my piece)

    Seriously…I would have ran and kept on running…as we well know a restraining order against such a person means squat….People v. Gardner and thousands more, correct?

    Where was the law when He was breaking it? I bet had she stayed, we wouldn’t have been listening to an alleged kidnap case but rather another victim/victims of murder due to Domestic Violence.

    Sure he would have been set free, over and over again until Ms. Jo and child, was seriously injured or dead.

    Afterwards people celebrating our judicial system for, “swift justice,” if he got convicted of such crimes.

    NEWSFLASH…..swift justice doesn’t happen after the fact, after there is a victim/victims deceased, beaten, raped, molested, robbed, etc…

    SWIFT justice means doing your darn homework, undercover and by whatever means it takes legally to bust up criminal activity before tragedy..i.e. Royal Oaks Raid, Drug busts, Confiscated weapons from ex-felons..suspects of physical/sexual abuse, domestic violence.

    Innocent women and children deserve protection….I would have broken the law too.

    IMO…folks.

     

     

    1. Biddlin

      “Innocent women and children deserve protection….I would have broken the law too.”

      There was no innocent woman here. She was conniving from the outset of the relationship with the father. Duplicitous and manipulative to the point of her own demise.  We don’t know where she would have taken the poor child (an actual victim and US citizen) or what living conditions she might have exposed her to, plotting her next hustle.

      The father, on the other hand has worked to improve himself and his circumstances, so he can be a good parent. He was not on trial.  Once again, you expose your biases and disdain for the justice system.

      ;>)/

      1. Antoinnette

        The father, on the other hand has worked to improve himself and his circumstances, so he can be a good parent. He was not on trial.  Once again, you expose your biases and disdain for the justice system.

         

        Really? according to whom? tell us where you got this information, love to know?

        Let’s be honest here, any opinion is biased, because it is our own opinion/perspective, thus it is biased once expressed, correct? It makes sense to me?

        Disdain for the justice system?  Nope, disdain for lies, corruption and the people who work hard at keeping it silent. I am all for a system that actually serves, “Justice,”  I have never said that a person who broke the law should go free? be unpunished?  Correct me if I am wrong?

        I find it interesting that you continue to dance around the focus of the domestic violence, much like that of the district attorney…though it’s played up in other cases?

        As I said before, she broke the law yes, and will suffer the consequences. It is why she did it that interested me, that is about it.

        Unless you know that father personally, nothing I have learned says he has done anything to change? Is he in therapy for his addiction to porn? alcohol? Anger management? Please enlighten me?

        Instead he went behind the scenes to make sure she is deported…that makes him good????? and the district attorney kept that silent?

        So who takes responsibility for that one? shame, shame on some of our authority in this county…

        “Poor child,” that part you got right..it is she who will suffer the greatest by what has happened. Ripped from the only parent she knew and put into the hands of a proverbial ticking time bomb…just saying.

        Give it time, sure we will see him in court one day for battering another woman, just like OJ…hopefully that will be all though, God forbid he hurt this child in any way.

        Once again, what is malicious about protecting yourself and your child??? that was my point. I never disagreed that she broke the law or has to answer for it…

        Sorry if I don’t share your Baised Opinion either….Biddlin..

        1. Biddlin

          “the father, on the other hand has worked to improve himself and his circumstances, so he can be a good parent. He was not on trial.  Once again, you expose your biases and disdain for the justice system.

          Really? according to whom? tell us where you got this information, love to know?”

          http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article10730954.html

          “Charlton’s gone on to graduate from California State University, Sacramento, and get his teaching credential. He drops Hwi off at first grade, then heads to Yolo Continuation High School, where he has a long-term substitute teaching contract. “I finish a half-hour before she gets out of school, then I pick her up and we go to the skateboard park and hang out, then watch TV and do homework,” Charlton said. “I’m pretty much a stay-at-home dad.”

          “Disdain for the justice system?  Nope, disdain for lies, corruption and the people who work hard at keeping it silent. I am all for a system that actually serves, “Justice,”  I have never said that a person who broke the law should go free? be unpunished?  Correct me if I am wrong?…Innocent women and children deserve protection….I would have broken the law too.”

          You waste paragraphs on completely irrelevant hearsay re: unrelated cases and unsubstantiated opinions about domestic relationships, because left with the facts, you can find no support for this woman.

          ;>)/

          Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime “/”article10730954.html#storylink=cpy”

  8. sisterhood

    I have personally known about a dozen battered women so I don’t take this situation lightly. However, she seemed to have escaped the abuse, she seems like a very strong woman, not the profile of a battered woman. (Not to excuse his behavior.)

    Didn’t she shove her child in his face, making contact with his chin? Isn’t that what precipitated him grabbing her throat? If she was so afraid of him being around her daughter, why would she do that? If he shoved the child in her face, that action would be added to his list of offenses. I also believe if he had taken the child out of the country, no one would be defending his actions.

    1. Anon

      You make very valid points about the alleged abuse.  It goes to my contention that the abuse seems to have been once, not ongoing – based on one juror’s reading of what went on in court. (And since the other jurors found defendant guilty, one assumes the other jurors concurred.)  This would undercut the defendant’s position that she left the country for fear of her life and/or safety of the child.  In fact, there is testimony on the record that despite the alleged abuse, defendant wanted to marry the father, again undercutting defendant’s credibility in regard to the alleged abuse.

      You also make another excellent point.  If we cannot condone the father taking the child out of the court’s jurisdiction, neither can we condone the mother taking the child out of the court’s jurisdiction over child custody.  The law must be applied even-handedly.

    2. Tia Will

      sisterhood

      I want to weigh in on this since I have seen many, many cases of domestic violence in which both women and/or children were the victims. This is not to say that men cannot also be victims. I have not had the opportunity to see this side because of the nature of my job. However, it is my understanding that men are in the minority of domestic violence cases.

      While there is a “profile” this is a spectrum. Most would consider me a “strong woman” and yet I was in two abusive relationships. The fact that I “escaped” means in part that I was lucky, not just strong. In each case, I got out before the abuse escalated to life threatening levels. But what if one of those single episodes had escalated to the point of lethality.

      If the victim is able to walk away, our society is very quick to downplay the violence. Offenders can and do walk free with minimal ( and sometimes no protection or notification) of the potential victim as we saw in the Gardner case. Also, domestic violence does not tend to be constant and ongoing like a metronome. It is usually episodic with the abusers demonstrating contrition and non violent behaviors between the violent episodes. This is particularly dangerous in the setting where the victim genuinely wants to make the relationship work, either for her own sake, because she genuinely loves the offender and is continuously hoping that the first episode will be the last, or that the current episode will be the last, or in the misguided belief that it is “in the best interest” of a child or children. Add to that alcohol and pornography and, in my 30 year experience with these cases, you have a very volatile and dangerous situation.

      I can say with 100% certainty that I believe that a parent has a moral obligation to protect their child first, and follow the law second. I can also say with 100% certainly that had this occurred to me, I would have ensured the safety of my child first and then worried about the complexities of the law. If this meant that I had to leave the country with my child to ensure her safety, then I most certainly would have done so. If I was afraid that I would be forced to leave the country and might child might have been left behind with a dangerous individual ( as our law seems to be bearing out to be the case) then I would have left with her. The only part in which Ms.Jo’s and my actions would have differed is that I would not have returned.

  9. Biddlin

    The ultimate result of the father’s “violence” seems to be that he

    distanced himself from the causative stressor and sought professional help.

    “I can say with 100% certainty that I believe that a parent has a moral obligation to protect their child first,”

    By spiriting the child to a foreign country, known for for it’s hatred of foreigners and mixed race children, with no apparent support system or even sufficient family help?  Protecting her own interest by using the child seems more accurate, to me.

    “The only part in which Ms.Jo’s and my actions would have differed is that I would not have returned.”

    Shamefully arrogant attitude, especially for someone entrusted with caring for the public.

    ;>)/

    1. ChoiceDads

      Biddlin,   Excellent points.

      Tia Will,  Please get more education and also learn.   Your position has many flaws and is really bad advice.   South Korea is now a adhering to the Hague Convention and any country you or someone you advise to abduct a child too could join the convention.  By absconding with the child you would be putting the child and yourself under great risk. Obviously Jo has already done great harm to her child, please don’t advise other women to harm their children in this way. In California the courts primary objective is the Best Interest of the Child. If you see something wrong with that work to change it but don’t encourage absconding with the child because you might not get what you want.

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