Guest Commentary: Boulder County Family Courts – An Unjust Punitive Operation Failing to Protect the Vulnerable

by Judi-Beth Atwood 

This Sunday marks a bittersweet moment in my life—a reunion with my two children after seven long years of separation. The joy of having them back in my arms, however, is overshadowed by the haunting question: Did I commit a crime akin to murder or inflict harm upon someone? The unequivocal answer is no. What then warranted the painful and harmful separation from my children? The answer lies in my unwavering commitment to protecting my daughter, who grapples with an intellectual disability—an act deemed offensive by the Boulder County Family Courts.

In recent weeks, my attorney and I engaged with the Office of the Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman, an experience that proved to be unbelievably helpful. Through this process, we discovered that in 2021, Child Protection Services had raised concerns of child neglect and abuse, initiating two separate Family Assessment Response (FAR) cases against my ex-husband. I became aware of these events when a reporter from the Denver Gazette tipped me off to a filing by his attorney, Rebecca Pepin, attempting to seal the records.

To my distress, it became evident that both the Child and Family Investigator (CFI) and the Opposing Counsel took extensive measures to conceal the child abuse present in my case. In 2022, the Longmont Police Department responded to a call from my ex-husband, during which he, captured on bodycam, confessed to imprisoning our daughter over 13 times—a criminal act recognized as a felony by the Longmont PD. Astonishingly, the officers opted to leave the scene without reporting the abuse to Child Protective Services.

In the tight-knit community of Boulder, where professional circles often overlap, it is notable that many Officers of the Court engage in social interactions with one another. This observation is gleaned from my Magistrate’s Facebook Page, which not only features her personal connections with attorneys but also includes posts like “Violence is the Answer.” This context sheds light on why she may not be averse to a father subjecting a disabled child to such horrifying treatment as grabbing her by the foot, compelling her to hop on one leg down a staircase, and subsequently throwing her to the ground before confining her in a closet for hours.

In the twisted narrative of my family court case, it appears that blame has unjustly shifted to me. The perjury committed by Mark Kilmer and the negligence of the Longmont PD to report a felony have left me labeled as the perpetrator. Astonishingly, the family court system, instead of protecting the vulnerable, has targeted me, levying over $40,000 in legal fees against me. The true abuser, my ex-husband, has once again escaped accountability, making me pay to assert my fundamental right to be a mother.

As a disabled mother with no income, the system seems intent on setting me up for incarceration, revealing a disturbing reality—that the Boulder County Courts, under the direction of the Governor of Colorado, operate as a punitive institution rather than one genuinely concerned with the welfare and protection of abused children.

This egregious miscarriage of justice should be a wake-up call for us all, urging a thorough examination of the family court system and its priorities. It is time to demand accountability, transparency, and a reevaluation of the systems in place to ensure that they serve the best interests of our children, rather than perpetuating a cycle of victimization and injustice.

Judi-Beth Atwood Empowering Voices, Mending Hearts ❤

Speaking Truth to Legislators | Championing Justice for Domestic Violence Victims Advocate for Change in Family Courts

Supporter of Kayden’s Law and National Safe Parents Coalition

MIT Cybersecurity


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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