Complaint regarding Judge Lawrence Janow

M. Ismail Sloan
917 Old Trent's Ferry Road
Lynchburg, VA 24503
Tel: (804) 384-6862
February 3, 1991

Reno Harp III
Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission
P.O. Box 367
Richmond, VA 23203

Re: Judge Lawrence Janow
Amherst County Juvenile
and Domestic Relations Court

Dear Mr. Harp:

I wish to make a complaint regarding Judge Lawrence Janow of the Amherst County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

My complaint is so long and difficult to explain that it is impossible to summarize the matter in a few pages. Let me say, however, that I have a friend who is a lawyer in Virginia who has been watching this case from the sidelines over the past five years and who told me recently that he has never seen or heard of a case which is more suitable for inquiry by the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission.

The basic fact is that Judge Lawrence Janow and I have been personal enemies for many years. His personal hostility towards me has long been well known. Now, for the past five years, he has been attacking me and my family relentlessly, trying to decimate and destroy my family life and trying to kidnap my children and have them all given away for adoption. Because of this, my family was forced to flee from the United States in 1986. Subsequently, after four years of constant effort, Judge Janow succeeded in having my entire family kidnapped in Thailand and the United Arab Emirates and brought back here in September and October, 1990. More than that, only this past Friday, January 25, he had the police pick up my wife and my two-year-old daughter and remove them from my home. My wife, believing that Judge Janow intends to take her baby for adoption as well, has, as a result, fled the State of Virginia and has absconded to parts unknown.

While all this has been going on, Judge Janow has not had proper jurisdiction over any case involving me or my family. In the first place, we have never in our lives resided in Amherst County. The only connection I have ever had with Amherst County is that in 1982 I hired a woman to work as a baby sitter to take care of my then eight month old daughter, Shamema Sloan. That baby-sitter resides in Amherst County. Although she was fully paid for her services as a baby sitter, she has, now, more than eight years later, kidnapped the child that she was hired to take care of. She wants to be able to keep this child for adoption.

The woman in question is named Shelby Roberts. She is an obese lady, is 52 years old and weighs 260 pounds. She happens to be a neighbor of the former secretary of Judge Janow, which is how he came to know about this case. She is also a fanatical follower of Jerry Falwell.

Since I know that Judge Janow is, himself, not a follower of Jerry Falwell, it has long been a mystery to me why he is determined to such a fanatical degree to kidnap my children and have them given away for adoption. I must mention here that I have six children plus possibly one more on the way, so when Judge Janow undertakes to kidnap all my children, this is not only a major for undertaking for him but also a serious threat to me.

One discovery that I have made in this regard is that Judge Janow has adopted his own children. I enclose a copy of an order in which Judge Janow adopted a child now to be known as "Patrick Scott Welch Janow". The remarkable thing about this order is that every lawyer and judge whose name is mentioned in this order is in some way involved in this case. At that time, Judge Janow was a partner in the law firm of Pendleton, Janow and Gamble. Gamble is the lawyer whom I originally hired to represent me in this case, but he quickly withdrew and returned my retainer fee, citing a conflict of interest. Pendleton is the lawyer who represents a woman who claims to have married my father in the emergency room of the Lynchburg General Hospital just before he died and is suing for her "widow's share" of my father's estate. You may recall this case, because it was widely publicized in the newspapers and on television in 1986 when it occurred.

Don Pendleton was heavily involved in trying to gain control over my father's assets during the last 19 days of my father's life. My father died on January 19, 1986 and Judge Janow started getting involved in trying to steal my own children on January 13, 1986, so you can see that these two events occurred at almost exactly the same time.

I must mention here that Judge Janow has a history of doing things like this. There have been numerous scandals reported in the newspapers regarding Judge Janow. A few years back, there was a case of two 17-year-old murderers who were let out on bail by Judge Janow, much to the outrage of the community. It turned out that Judge Janow was a close family friend of the murderers and had represented them in legal matters before he became a judge.

I have found out that Judge Janow has a terrible reputation in Amherst County. Judge Janow is hated by so many people there that it becomes impossible to determine whether some of these stories about Judge Janow are based upon fact, or whether they are merely being spread by those who simply don't like him.

For example, it is being said that Judge Janow is a notorious womanizer and that he has often been known to beat and mistreat women. I am told that his first wife divorced him when she caught him in bed with another woman. (That first wife, if my information is correct, was the daughter of one of the most prominent people in Amherst County. Naturally, I will not mention her name here.) One of my informants who is a 62 year old man who has lived his entire life in Lynchburg, remembers Judge Janow as a youthful offender. He sums it up simply by saying that, "Lawrence Janow is bad when it comes to women."

Again, I cannot tell you whether any of these rumors are true or not. The difficulty is increased by the fact many of the events in question appear to have occurred years ago and few people have been in the area long enough to remember him. At the same time, I can assure you that I am not making all this up. This is, in fact, the reputation of Judge Janow in Amherst County. It seems obvious to me that if a man has a reputation of being a "notorious womanizer", he should especially not be a judge of Juvenile and Domestic relations court. That particular job places him in the position of being the judge over the lives of numerous young women with children who are having trouble with their present or former husbands and who need help from a judge. The potential for abuse in such a situation by the judge himself is obvious. As mentioned previously, my own wife is terrified of Judge Janow and has left the State of Virginia just to get away from him.

Getting down to the particular facts of my own case, my wife, whose name is Vithanage Santhilatha, just arrived in America with our daughter, Jessica, on October 9, 1990, which is less than four months ago. Almost immediately, she was tricked by Frank Davidson III, the lawyer for Charles and Shelby Roberts, who are trying to adopt my daughter, Shamema Sloan, into filing a custody suit against me before Judge Janow. This occurred on October 23, 1990, just two weeks after their arrival in the United States.

As I am sure that you know, both the Virginia Uniform Child Custody Act and the Federal Parental Kidnapping Act provide that a child must in a state for at least six months before a petition for the custody of the child can be filed in that state. Santhilatha and Jessica were never residents of Amherst County at all. They were just passing through. They never intended to stay there for any extended period. Santhilatha, who is from Sri Lanka, had just come to the United States on a six months tourist visa.

I know well the devious strategies and tricks of Frank Davidson III, so I immediately understood what was at the bottom of this custody petition. Frank Davidson III is an attorney who specializes in adoptions. He, like Judge Janow, has adopted his own children. He likes to steal children from their parents and give them to others for a high legal fee. That is how he came to represent Charles and Shelby Roberts.

His general legal strategy is to get a natural parent to file a custody petition and then to get his own clients to intervene as third parties and try to take away the child. I am not exactly sure why he does it this way but I suppose that the reason must be that a third party might find it difficult to file a custody suit directly but might find it more easy to intervene in a suit filed by a natural parent .

Thus, when confronted with a suit filed for the custody of Jessica by Frank Davidson III, I realized immediately what he was up to. You must understand that Santhilatha and I are on the best of terms. She calls me every day and I was the one who obtained the tourist visa for her to come to America. She had, actually, no reason to file a suit against me for the custody of Jessica.

When I asked her about this, she told me that, sure enough, Frank Davidson III had been coming frequently to the house where she was staying, had expressed a special interest in Jessica, had often played with Jessica and had even asked permission on numerous occasions take Jessica out on a ride alone with him in his car.

In spite of not knowing what kind of man Frank G. Davidson III was, Santhilatha had been instinctively afraid of him. She had allowed him as her lawyer to play with Jessica but had refused to allow him to take her for a ride in his car. In reality, Frank Davidson III is not a known child molester (which is what someone else might be thinking, based upon these facts). Rather, he is a man who likes to adopt children. He was clearly testing Santhilatha, to see how far she would let him go. Otherwise, what would a man aged around 45 being doing with such an interest in playing with a two year old girl?

This explains why Judge Janow and Frank Davidson III are targeting me and my family. I am apparently capable of producing children who are highly intelligent, good looking and, in the case of Shamema, gifted. I am able to do this in spite of the extremely poor quality and somewhat backward nature of the mothers. (Both Santhilatha, the mother of Jessica, and Honzagool, the mother of Shamema, are completely illiterate, even in their own native languages). On the other hand, both Frank Davidson III and Judge Janow are either incapable of or else are too lazy to produce their own children, so they have been trying to steal my children instead.

Getting back to the case of Jessica and Santhilatha, after the custody petition was filed on October 23, 1990, Judge Janow entered an order dated December 19, 1990 in which Santhilatha and I were enjoined from contacting each other. Santhilatha contacted me and told me that she was quite happy about this. She simply did not know the nefarious methods of Judge Janow. Her exact words to me were "I won the case." What she did not understand was that this was just going to be the first step towards losing her daughter. Santhilatha and Jessica were dependent upon me for financial support. The plan of Judge Janow and of Frank Davidson III was to cut me off from supporting my children thereby leaving the children homeless and destitute, in which case the state would take the children and they would be given away for adoption.

Not only did I try to explain this to Santhilatha but I filed a federal complaint on December 17, 1990 against Frank Davidson III and Judge Janow for doing exactly this. A copy of this federal complaint is enclosed. Incidentally, after filing such a federal case against a judge, one would imagine that normally the judge would withdraw and disqualify himself from the case. However, I knew in advance that there was no chance of Judge Janow doing that, because if he does that then he will have to give up his plans of stealing all of my children.

So far, I have sued Judge Janow three time and my mother once. Each of these suits has alleged that he is either attempting to kidnap or else has already kidnapped one of my children. Still, he remains as the judge on my cases. (Several collateral cases filed before other judges, but all of those other judges ultimately found those cases to be meritless and dismissed them. There is now no case against me anywhere in the entire world, except for the cases before Judge Janow).

After Judge Janow entered his order dated December 19, 1990, things continued fairly normally for the next month with Santhilatha blissfully unaware of the evil intentions of Judge Janow. I continued to give Santhilatha money secretly, even though this meant violating Judge Janow's order. Then, on January 12, 1991, Santhilatha was caught by the police after having been observed being picked up by me in front of the Winn-Dixie in Madison Heights. Shelby Roberts took all of her money away from her, including the one hundred dollars which I had just given her. She was taken to the police station in Amherst County but not booked, as she was obviously not guilty of anything. She was checked into the Economy Lodge (formerly known as the Green Tree Inn) in Madison Heights. The police told her not to call me again and that if she did so, her baby was going to be taken away from her.

On Monday, January 14, she was taken to the court of Judge Janow. He ordered Rick Groff, a welfare case worker, to take her to a shelter for homeless women in Roanoke. There are two shelters for homeless women in Lynchburg but Roanoke was selected to keep her away from me. She was ordered not to contact me. However, two days Later, she called me again, anyway. When Judge Janow learned about that, he had her transferred to another more secure shelter known as the "Trust House", where she could be kept more strictly under confinement. However, the Trust House is intended for women who are running away from husbands and boyfriends, which was not the case here. Two days later, she was able to sneak out and call me again. After that, she was transferred to yet another shelter.

Eventually, she was able to get back to my house in Lynchburg. She arrived on Saturday, January 19, and she succeeded in hiding out in my house for nearly one week. Judge Janow found out about this on Friday, January 25. Acting pursuant to his instructions, two police cars came to my house and picked her up at about 5:00 P.M. on that day. At that time, I was not at home but was at the Virginia Baptist Hospital because one of my children was sick. Without my knowledge, Santhilatha and Jessica were taken to yet another shelter, this time in Lynchburg. They escaped from that shelter the following morning. This time, however, instead of contacting me, Santhilatha fled the state altogether. I believe that she is now in California. She calls me every day, but refuses to say where she is because she is afraid, with good reason, that Judge Janow will send the police and have her arrested there.

It must be recalled that all this is based upon a custody petition which Santhilatha herself filed. Since then, she has been trying to withdraw that petition. Judge Janow refuses to allow her to do so. On January 14, when she found out that she was going to be taken to a shelter in Roanoke, she asked Judge Janow to cancel the court case instead. Rick Groff, the social worker, said that he had conveyed the message to Judge Janow but the reply was that the judge would not allow her to withdraw her own petition. In addition, Judge Janow indicated that if she wanted to withdraw her custody petition this meant that she longer wanted custody of her baby and, therefore, she wanted to give it away. In that case, Judge Janow intended to give her baby away for adoption.

Starting on about Wednesday, January 15, Santhilatha started calling her assigned legal aid lawyer, Marian Baker, every day to say that she wanted to cancel her court case. The answer from Judge Janow which came back through Marian Baker was, "Does that mean, that you no longer want your baby?" In reply, Santhilatha said that she merely wanted to get out of the shelter where she had been confined pursuant to the orders of Judge Janow. She understood that once the case was canceled, Judge Janow would have no further jurisdiction over her.

According to Marian Baker, she called Judge Janow several times about this and finally filed a motion to dismiss the case on Tuesday, January 21. However, on Thursday, the answer came back. Judge Janow would not agree to cancel the child custody case involving Jessica because he wanted to keep Santhilatha to testify against me in the Shamema case filed by Charles and Shelby Roberts.

I think that if you have been reading this letter carefully, you have caught the point. Judge Janow himself is the one who wants Santhilatha, my wife and the mother of our daughter, as a witness to testify against me in another case. This might surprise others, but it does not surprise me. This is typical of the things which Judge Janow has been doing all along. The only remarkable thing about this is that Judge Janow admitted this publicly to another lawyer.

I want to make two important points about all this. The first is that while I have repeatedly referred to "orders, instructions and directives" of Judge Janow, there have, in fact, been no officially entered orders at all, other than his initial order dated December 19, 1990 in which he took jurisdiction over this case. When I make such statements as that he ordered Rick Groff to take my wife to a shelter in Roanoke or that he ordered the police to pick up my wife from my house, I am talking about verbal telephone "orders" which did not involve any court appearance. This is the reason that I keep filing civil lawsuits against Judge Janow. There is no right of appeal from a verbal instruction given to the police over the telephone. I cannot go to a higher court. Moreover, such verbal orders have had and will continue to have a devastating effect upon me and my family. It took a long time and effort to get my wife and our daughter back into our home. Then, just one telephone call from Judge Janow and now she is hiding out, possibly in California, and is unlikely to return except in the unlikely event that Judge Janow agrees to allow her to cancel her own case as she has been requesting him to do.

The second point is that these events are almost an exact repetition of the events which occurred in 1986 which caused me and my family eventually flee from the United States altogether. On January 13, 1986, not knowing the reputation of Judge Janow, I filed a petition for the custody of my daughter, Shamema Sloan. My petition was unopposed. Nobody else filed a petition. Still, Judge Janow refused to hear it, postponing the matter many times. Finally, after a delay of seven months, in August, 1986, Judge Janow announced that he was postponing the case again, until October. At this point, tried to withdraw my custody petition, just as Santhilatha is now trying to withdraw her custody petition.

Finally, on August 25, 1986, I fired Shelby Roberts as my baby-sitter and removed my daughter Shamema from the State of Virginia on the same day. At this point, Judge Janow, who had been sitting on the case and refusing to take any action at all, was galvanized into action. On the recommendation of Judge Janow, Charles and Shelby Roberts filed a petition for the custody of Shamema on August 27, 1986, two days later. On about September 5, 1986, acting pursuant to the custody petition filed by them, Judge Janow awarded custody to the Department of Social Services. All of this was done ex-parte, since we had never been served with a summons, being out of the State of Virginia at that time. Judge Janow then had a nationwide arrest order issued for us. Fortunately, we had by then escaped from the country. All this was done by Judge Janow, based upon nothing more than a petition filed by a mere baby-sitter who had no legally recognizable standing to sue for the custody of the child.

Again, this is only part of the story. The main point I want to make is that Judge Janow is acting in a manner which is completely improper for a judge. A judge is supposed to avoid not only impropriety but the appearance thereof. Judge Janow's actions clearly appear to be improper. He facilitated the kidnapping of my children from a foreign country and then he took jurisdiction over them when he clearly does not have jurisdiction under the Virginia Uniform Child Custody Act. He has continued to attack me personally as a judge even though I already have three pending lawsuits against him.

Incidentally, several attorneys whom I have consulted have cautioned me not to write this letter on the grounds that Judge Janow might sue me. However, the possibility that Judge Janow might sue me or even throw me in jail for contempt is inconsequential when compared with the fact that he is trying to take away by kidnapping or otherwise all of my children. Secondly, I am immune from being sued by Judge Janow because if he does that he really will have to withdraw from the cases, which will effectively end his campaign to steal all of my children. I am sure that no other judge in the entire United States of America would be so zealously interested in stealing all of my children as it Judge Janow. As noted previously, all of the other judges have dismissed their cases against me, those other cases having been filed essentially in sympathy with Judge Janow. Finally, if he sues me, I will have the opportunity to defend on the grounds that the accusations are true. I can assure you that I did not invent the accusations contained in this letter. I have witnesses for everything. For example, I would probably have to serve a subpoena to compel his testimony, but I can definitely produce the man who told me that Judge Janow was divorced by his wife when she caught him in bed with another man and that he has a reputation for beating and abusing women. Of course, I do not have the slightest idea of whether Judge Janow actually beats his wife or not. I only know that he has a very bad reputation for doing things like this in Amherst County where he lives.

Finally, I have been cautioned that Judge Janow might actually kill me for writing this letter. However, that is of no moment. Already, Charles Roberts is out actively trying to kill me. He is heavily armed and dangerous and happens to be an extremely stupid man. Charters Roberts is every day trying to shoot deer, dogs, cats and other harmless animals in front of his house. He has even taught my nine-year-old daughter, Shamema, how to fire a handgun. Judge Janow is presumably not so readily disposed towards violence as is Charles Roberts. However, I suppose that Judge Janow is much smarter and therefore more dangerous. Nevertheless, that is just of the risks which I have to take if I want to get my kidnapped children back. Incidentally, there have been quite a large number of murders in Lynchburg just in the past two and a half months since I was forced to come back here. A juvenile and domestic relations court substitute judge was murdered in Lynchburg just a few weeks ago, a perhaps you already know.

I submit that under these circumstances, Judge Janow should not be sitting as a judge and certainly he should not be sifting as a judge in cases involving me. I want to mention in conclusion that I am familiar with the practice in the Supreme Court of New York County. There are many judges to chose from there, but only a handful of them are allowed to handle domestic relations cases. Before judge is assigned to such cases, there is a special background check for his suitability to see if he has a secure family life. I had a case in that county and my judge had been married to the same woman for 37 years. This was not an accident. Too many judges in New York have been caught sleeping with the female litigants appearing in the cases before them, and this is the reason that these special background checks are required. I believe that a similar background check should be made of domestic relations judges in Virginia. I feel certain that Judge Janow would not pass.

Very Truly Yours,

M. Ismail Sloan

Attached as an addendum to the above letter was a copy of the order where Judge Janow had adopted his own child. Here is a copy of that order: Order of Adoption .

Only two days after I filed the above complaint with the Virginia Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, I received back a brief note signed by Reno Harp III stating that this complaint did not concern a matter which would be considered by that commission.

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