Benoit Matter Returns to Court with No Resolution in Sight

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YoloCourt-23by Sophie Marconi

On August 29 at approximately 2:00 pm the case regarding Eric Gilson and Claire Benoit resumed in Department 3 with Judge Kathleen White back presiding. Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Susz was present, representing the child abduction unit, as well as Eric Gilson and his defense attorney. Unfortunately, Kim Robinson, Claire Benoit’s attorney, was not able to be present for the hearing because she was in a trial currently taking place in Marin County.

Judge White attempted to call Ms. Robinson so she could be present during the hearing via telephone, but was not able to reach her at first. Approximately 15 minutes after the original call, Judge White was able to make contact with Ms. Robinson and the hearing proceeded as planned.

Judge White expressed concern that, while the trial was set for the week of October 11, considering the current state of the case it is highly unlikely that this is a realistic trial date. She then addressed Mr. Gilson’s attorney and his request to decline response to discovery, due to the fact that Ms. Benoit has still not complied with court orders to return to the States.

Judge White responded that she would not permit this request, as pre-trial discovery should be handled regardless of where clients are. However, Judge White also stated that no ruling could be made until Ms. Benoit returns to the United States.

At this point, Ms. Robinson chimed in to express that she had made efforts to contact the welfare services case worker regarding the court orders with which Benoit has failed to comply, but unfortunately Ms. Robinson had not heard back from that person. Robinson also stated that she never received any discovery requests from Mr. Gilson’s attorney.

Ms. Robinson also stated that Mr. Gilson has a history of mental illness and that she wanted to have access to the documentation regarding incidents related to his condition. At this point, Judge White redirected the conversation, stating that the priority in this case is to help the children. Judge White stated that the children cannot be helped until all evidence appears in trial, and all evidence cannot appear in trial until all parties involved, including Ms. Benoit, are present in court.

Judge White stated that, since the last court appearance regarding the case on August 11, Ms. Benoit has failed to comply with any court orders. Tiffany Susz, representing the child abduction unit, stated that her unit reached out to Benoit in search of her whereabouts, but received no response. Ms. Susz also stated that the unit told Benoit that they could assist with her return and provide her and the children with safe housing, but they still never received any response from Benoit.

Judge White stated that all orders remain in effect and emphasized that, until all parties are present, no trial can occur. Judge White also stated that she is more than willing to move other trials in order to accommodate this trial. Court will resume at 9 am this Thursday.

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The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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14 thoughts on “Benoit Matter Returns to Court with No Resolution in Sight”

  1. Tia Will

    An interesting juxtaposition of cases. On the one hand, we have a social service worker in the Green case citing case overload as a potential reason for not having followed up on the well being of Baby Justice in a timely manner for adequate protection. A situation that I am sure from professional experience is true.

    And yet, we have the Benoit case in which personal assessment in court is being actively pursued including court and social service time is being used when other means such as Skype or perhaps remote and/or surrogate assessment of the well being of the children could be considered.

        1. Davis Progressive

          precisely.  as i understand it she had full legal custody and the ability to take them out of the country.  where she can be faulted is for refusing orders to return.

        2. quielo

          The dictionary lists two meanings for “absconded” The second is:

          “fail to surrender oneself for custody at the appointed time”

          Which I believe is the case here if you consider “custody” to include showing up for court.

        3. quielo

          I did a further search of the various definitions for “abscond”, particularly in the legal sense. “traditionally to leave a jurisdiction (where the court, a process server or law enforcement can find one) to avoid being served with legal papers or being arrested” neatly defines the current situation.

           

          Abscond

          To go in a clandestine manner out of the jurisdiction of the courts, or to lie concealed, in order to avoid their process. To hide, conceal, or absent oneself clandestinely, with the intent to avoid legal process. To postpone limitations. To flee from arresting or prosecuting officers of the state.

          West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

           

          abscond

          v. 1) traditionally to leave a jurisdiction (where the court, a process server or law enforcement can find one) to avoid being served with legal papers or being arrested. 2) a surprise leaving with funds or goods that have been stolen, as in “he absconded with the loot.”

          Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

           

          ABSCOND. To go in a clandestine manner out of the jurisdiction of the courts, or to lie concealed in order to avoid their process.

          A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.

           

          abscond to run away, especially from the jurisdiction of a court. It may be an offence in its own right as where the absconder is on BAIL and fails to surrender to custody or tries to escape the consequences of insolvency. Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

           

          abscond: run away; usually includes taking something or somebody along

           

    1. MamaBear

      exactly Tia

      and Yes P you are right. I had sole custody. Gilson was on neither birth certificate, at neither birth, had no involvement in their lives at the time I left. I suspect this is why the DA has done all she can to criminalize me with contempt of court charges. Because a “child abduction” charge would be very hard to prove valid. Whye is motivated to do this, knowing all she knows, remains a major mystery.

      And I have offered to provide papers from local doctors, social workers, and embassy officials (of the country we are in) attesting to the wellbeing of my kids and I. I have also begged to appear by skype, which was authorized until Johnson undid it. Disappointed that White did not restore this as it is in the best interest of these kids.

      Being placed in foster homes is something that should happen after confirmation of abuse. Not preceeding a contested custody trial where safety concerns are evident and only one parent has ever assumed responsibility

      I have also provided countless letters rom Davis professional and friends of mine who are decent community citizens.

      This is absurd.

      1. MamaBear

        *confirmation of abuse or suspicion of true abuse. Two toddlers who aren’t even of school age traveling and living well in Europe with the only family they’ve ever known does not constitute “true” abuse. That is an extremely unusual assessment and clearly guided by the motive to blackmail me into appearing in court… despite their continually making increasingly dangerous orders and rulings. My kids are being used as “leverage” and that is inhumane and… probably abusive by most standards. Not subjectively so.

        1. Delia .

          You are being harassed because the d.a. hates to lose. I am terrified they will now try to track me down and harass me further, just for writing these words.

          It is an unreasonable fear, I suppose.

          Mama Bear, do you think you’ll ever feel safe in America. especially Yolo County? Do you think if you ever returned, you’d ever call a police officer if you needed help?

          The tragedy is, imho, that your kids are also now terrified of our police force and that is what is especially heartbreaking.

  2. Napoleon Pig IV

    At least there has been a little progress. The incompetent temporary judge is gone, an important improvement in the situation. Now, if the incompetent assistant DA is removed, there will be further improvement.

    However, I still see no compelling reason for MamaBear to place her children at risk by returning to the U.S. or especially to Yolo County. This statement by Judge White is false:

     “. . . the children cannot be helped until all evidence appears in trial, and all evidence cannot appear in trial until all parties involved, including Ms. Benoit, are present in court.”

    The wheels of justice not only grind slowly, but sometimes the wheels go completely off the rails – in which case a good parent will likely choose to be  good parent no matter what “They” have to say about it.

    1. Marina Kalugin

      Dear  Mr. NP IV,

      Thank you for your words of wisdom.

      Tbere is absolutely no rational reason for the mother and her cubs to take any chance whatsoever to return to this county nor country ….

      The laws in this county/state/country are not designed to protect the mother and/or the children nor to keep that family together.

      And, once MamaBear spends more time in the country she is at now, or adjacent countries,…she will be even more appalled at the rules and regulations to which children and their parents are subjected to in this city/county/state  of these “united states of america”….

      I am fortunate to have lived here and raised my cubs when things were not nearly so crazy in this “place”……..

      It may take some years to return this “place” back to where it used to have some sense.

      Dear MamaBear, be thankful you and your children are in a way better place…

      though all of this stress may not be easy on you and the family, you will learn as the years go by just how fortunate you and the children are to be in such a better place.

      And, since you are speaking out, hopefully other children and mothers and in some case fathers in  this city/county/state  will be better off as a result   🙂

  3. Delia .

    I agree, Marina. She is extremely brave to take on the d.a. I hope Jerry is reading these comments and taking them to heart because I do believe he cares about CA’s families. He just has a lot on his plate.

    Hug your cubs, Mama Bear. Every day with them is a precious gift.

  4. MamaBear

    Eh, thanks Delia. I am not really brave. In the case of going “against” the DA, I was ignorant to what I was dealing with until it was too late… It’s just sad that in this case “ignorance” means the same thing as trusting titles. I actually assumed earlier on that Tiffany Susz was just new and didn’t know what she was doing. I emailed Jeff to help me lol. I thought it would be an easy fix. Just like I initially thought the agents in his office Jennifer and Angela had the intention of doing the right thing.

    Until last week/month, I also thought CPS was about protecting children. Now I see they are all about snatching kids up to serve whatever agenda is on the table of whoever pulls their strings. Meanwhile, children that really needed them, are dead because they were “busy”.

    And, I petitioned this dysfunctional court for assistance establishing paternity and walked in expecting a few quick signatures given the history of domestic violence, rape conception, mental issues, and parental absenteeism. I was told that my son’s conception was “irrelevent” because it was an abuse of me and not my kids. And I was prohibited from mentioning any abuse (including of my kids) older than three months, even though we had not seen that man in more than 4. The latter was lucky since abuses that cannot be proven are better left unsaid. That was my first surprise and I probably should have heeded that warning.

    Hindsight. I wish I never experienced what has cured my ignorance. So brave isn’t really the word. It’s just that now, there’s nothing left to fear EXCEPT what the DA has put on the table. What is the reward for compliance?? Lol

    Thanks for the Jerry advice. I updated my petition for him to be included. And I am still praying for the best with my attorney’s appeal.

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