‘This Order Does Not Make Me Pleased,’ Decide Notes as Father Given Short-term Sole Custody of Youngster
By Kelly Moran
RIVERSIDE – A father was temporarily given sole custody of his daughter after attending family court in Riverside Wednesday morning, despite the decision being due to the presiding judge being trapped between a rock and a tough place.
“The court has to decide between a parent who recently used methamphetamines and a mother who is likely to drink regularly and lives in a house with constant domestic violence that is escalating and she will not share a child with her father,” the said Judge Mickie Reed of the Riverside County Superior Court.
“Enough is enough,” continued Judge Reed, “that is the worst that can happen to a child, to be fought every day for years and never have peace, so it has to end.”
The hearing on Wednesday came after a report of domestic violence and potential child abuse, including sexual abuse, that surfaced in previous trials on the case.
Complications arose between the parents’ previous custody agreement when the father, Chrishawn Williams, claimed that the mother, Jessica Robertson, would not hand over the daughter, while Robertson claimed that Williams did not show up to pick the child up.
According to Judge Reed, Williams and Robertson’s child has been “an issue for at least six years, if not longer.”
Tecla Lunak, the mother’s attorney, stated that both her client and her client’s daughter had symptoms of COVID-19 and have been tested, but have not received their results.
“Because of that, they were in quarantine,” said Lunak, adding, “it’s not because she doesn’t follow the instructions to replace the child.”
In both cases, Judge Reed stated that the child was not in a safe environment with the mother.
Reed stated that in 2019 and 2020 “four separate injunctions were filed by Miss Robertson against her current partner.”
In three of these four incidents the child was present and put at risk. According to Robertson’s recorded testimony, in the first reported incident, her partner “pulled out a gun and threatened to kill her and her children.
“This child cannot stay in this situation,” said Judge Reed, “Mother has violated court orders repeatedly. I have a situation where father recently used methamphetamines. Mother has signs that she is drinking at this level.” [when] There are orders that nobody should consume alcohol. “
Judge Reed speculated that perhaps “Robertson was making up lies … or that she is a true victim of domestic violence and puts that child at risk.”
The possibility that the child was lying for her mother also emerged when Judge Reed detailed the mother’s most recent request for sole custody with no visitation rights to the father on sexual abuse allegations from 2010.
“What the child said to the investigator is at all inconsistent with what mother said in her application for a restraining order,” said Judge Reed. The court had already denied Robertson’s motion.
Ultimately, Judge Reed Williams gave full legal and physical custody of the child, demanding that “the child is enrolled in counseling” and “that mother … should temporarily not see this child.
“I need to give this child some peace,” said Judge Read, “at least for a while no more police officers, no more domestic violence, no more drinking, no more drugs.”
Williams must continue to participate in his drug program, while Robertson must undergo an “alcohol assessment” by a valid, court-approved appraiser. Robertson will also go to domestic violence victim counseling and her current partner will not be near the child.
Judge Reed asked the police to be present when Williams picks up Robertson’s child as they raised concerns about the mother’s situation with her current partner.
“I don’t want this to become a permanent order,” said Judge Reed. “I really want this kid to have two parents, but I want everyone to be safe and not hear about it on the news tonight.”
Both parents are also required to attend three Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous courses each week.
Williams, who previously tested positive for marijuana in his system, must refrain from drinking or using drugs while he has custody of his child. Although Williams had tested positive for methamphetamines in the past, his last test was negative.
“You can choose whether you want to have your child or whether you want to smoke marijuana,” said Judge Reed.
The court appointed Carol Adams to represent the child as the minor’s attorney and all parties involved will return to court on Jan. 6 to further reassess the situation.
Judge Reed let both parents know that depending on the contents of the minor’s attorney report, their case could be brought to a juvenile court. She also noted that foster care “may be best for this child at this point”, although no permanent decisions have been made around this option.
Kelly Moran is currently a senior at Santa Clara University, originally from Connecticut. She is studying English with a focus on British literature and professional writing, and is studying journalism.
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