v. Circuit Court No. 9216
CHARLES E. ROBERTS and SHELBY H. ROBERTS
MOTION FOR TRANSCRIPTS
I hereby move for the preparation of transcripts of this appeal. This is a renewal of a motion made and denied previously. Several of my motions for transcripts were made while I was a prisoner in jail. The basis for the renewal of my motion is the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court decided December 16, 1996 in the case of M.L.B. vs. S.L.J., Case No. 95-853. I include a complete copy of this decision.
In its decision, the United States Supreme Court held that a state may not deprive a parent of appellate review solely on the grounds of inability to pay for a transcript. This is a matter of constitutional right.
Since this case has been going in various forms since 1986, I need to explain some background. Although Charles and Shelby Roberts filed their initial custody petition in 1986, no hearings were held nor was process even served until the Roberts finally succeeded in having the child kidnapped and brought to Virginia in October, 1990. The Roberts filed their current custody petition on October 23, 1990, just two weeks after the child had arrived in Virginia.
There were numerous hearings. The Roberts procrastinated, delayed and filibustered, calling character witnesses who had never seen the child and who knew nothing of the facts of this case. Their reason for these delays was that they were not being prosecuted for the crime of kidnapping of which they were manifestly guilty and they were being allowed to keep possession of the child which they had kidnapped for as long as the case was going.
At each of the court hearings, Terri Spruce was the court reporter. She kept a record of the hearings which, the last I talked to her, she still maintains. However, I have never been able to pay the fees which she required up front to produce the transcripts. She did transcribe a portion of the hearings for Charles and Shelby Roberts. I have that partial transcript.
It has always been my contention that the Virginia courts have never had jurisdiction over this case at all. This will be proven by the transcript. In particular, the transcript will show that the Amherst County Commonwealth Attorney agreed with my contention and vigorously sought the dismissal of this proceeding and the return of the child to me, the father. At no time did the Amherst County Department of Social Services ever recommend that the child be given to the Roberts or that the child be retained by the Department of Social Services. Judge Janow overruled their strenuous objections and gave the child to the Roberts.
The transcript will further show that Judge Janow did this out of pure vindictiveness and out of personal hostility towards me. He stated on the record that he was giving custody of my daughter to the Roberts because I had filed a mandamus petition against Judge Janow and that I had filed a complaint against Judge Janow with Reno Harp of the Virginia Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission. At no time did Judge Janow ever find that I was unfit as a parent. More recently, Judge Janow has said that he has taken my daughter away from me because I wrote a book which said bad things about Judge Janow and because I filed a lawsuit against Judge Janow.
Consider what the court has done to me and to my daughter. I have been denied the right to see, visit or communicate with my daughter. My daughter is being allowed to know nothing about either her mother or her father. The parents of my daughter are both Muslims. Yet, my daughter is not allowed even to attend an accredited school. She was placed by the Roberts in a Bible academy, where she primarily memorized verses from the Bible. Now she has graduated from that and is being sent to Jerry Falwell's Liberty Christian Academy, where she is being taught Creationism and other nonsense pseudo-science which she will have to forget about as soon as she gets free from there.
In short, every right which a parent has to a child has been denied to both me and to the mother of this child. The Roberts often imply that they have adopted my daughter even though this is not true.
In short, every right which a parent has has been denied to the parents. This has been going on for more than six years and it is apparent that the Roberts plan to keep my daughter under their total domination and control until she grows up and for so long as they are alive.
The circuit court has previously ruled that I should work out visitation arrangements through J. Thompson Shrader. However, the Roberts are totally opposed to any visitation or contact of any kind with my daughter and have refused to cooperate. No visitations have taken place. Since a further hearing would be useless, plus we had to wait nearly a year last time for courtroom space in Amherst, I have asked the Amherst County Circuit Court for a telephone conference to resolve this matter.
By law, the custody petitions filed by Charles and Shelby Roberts were absolutely without jurisdiction, for a large number of reasons. The J & D Court was required to dismiss these petitions immediately. Under no circumstances should the natural parents have been put under long and tortuous proceedings which now have lasted more than six years since the child was kidnapped. The Virginia J & D Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Only certain specifically delineated kinds of cases can be heard by a J & D judge, and this is not one of them. Moreover, upon appeal from an order of the J & D Court to a circuit court, the circuit court only has the same limited jurisdiction that the J & D Court had. Martin v. Pittsylvania County Department of Social Services, 3 Va. App. 15, 348 S.E.2d 13, 18 (1986), Lowe v. Grasty, 203 Va. 15, 122 S.E.2d 867 (1961).
The Roberts have never cited any provision of the Code of Virginia which gave Judge Janow jurisdiction to hear this case and indeed there is none. Judge Janow himself said that he was relying on "the inherent power of the court" to confer custody on the Roberts. However, the Virginia State Legislature has disagreed. The law of Virginia, as passed by the State Legislature, clearly provides that foster parents cannot file a petition for the custody of a child until after they had been foster parents for one year. Stanley v. Fairfax County Department of Social Services, 395 SE2d 199, 207, 10 Va. App. 596 (1990). Here, the Roberts got themselves appointed as foster parents (and only by falsely claiming that the child had been abandoned whereas they later said that they had spent $40,000 to have the child kidnapped and brought to America) on October 12, 1990, and they filed for custody on October 23, 1990, only 11 days later.
All this is apparent from the records and the pleadings of this case. Unfortunately, Judge Janow has arrogantly and contumaceously refused to allow his clerk to transmit the entire record on this appeal. Only a brief skeletal record has been transmitted from the J & D court. Nevertheless, this court has the power simply to call and ask that the complete record and sent up and indeed I have repeatedly asked that it do so.
The child should have been summarily returned to the natural parents, the course favored and recommended by the Amherst County Department of Social Services. Judge Janow refused to follow that recommendation. Here again, Judge Janow exceeded his jurisdiction. A J & D judge simply cannot ignore a recommendation by the Department of Social Services that a child be returned to the parents. He can return a child to the parents contrary to the recommendation of the Department of Social Services, but he cannot have a child taken away from the parents absent a request from the Department of Social Services. The Virginia Court of Appeals has ruled that in such a case, the judge acts without jurisdiction. Rader v. Montgomery County Department of Social Services, 5 Va. App. 523, 526, 365 S.E.2d 234, 236 (1988). No allegation of abuse, abandonment or neglect has ever been made by anyone regarding this child, other that the self serving and unverifiable allegations made by the Roberts. It violates the statutory scheme to allow a Department of Social Services proceeding to go forward solely to enable unrelated third parties to seek the custody of a child. Smith v. Organization of Foster Families, 431 U.S. 816, 842 (1977).
I now have two appeals pending on this matter. I have the appeal from the J & D Court to the Amherst Circuit Court and I have the appeal from that court to the Virginia Court of Appeals. My appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals is still pending on a petition for a rehearing and rehearing en banc. It was dismissed prior to the decision in of M.L.B. vs. S.L.J., Case No. 95-853 cited above on the grounds of my inability to file a transcript.
Accordingly, for both reasons, I renew my request for a transcript. Furthermore, since I believe that the courts of Virginia have never had legal jurisdiction over this case, I renew my request for a dismissal of these proceedings and a return of this kidnapped child to me. I also request that the Roberts be criminally prosecuted for this kidnapping.
I feel that I should inform this court that I have posted the facts of this case on the World Wide Web at the address: http://www.samsloan.com/index.htm .
M. Ismail Sloan
Samuel H. Sloan states that on January 1, 1997 he served the within motion by mailing a true copy of the same to the following:
Charles and Shelby Roberts
420 Amelon Road
Madison Heights, VA 24572
J. Thompson Shrader
P. O. Box 428
709 South Main Street
Amherst, Virginia 24521
Lisa L. Schenkel
1602 Graves Mill Road
P. O. Box 11315
Lynchburg, Virginia 24506
Honzagool c/o Raja Abdul Rashid
House No. 252, Street No. 52
Samuel H. Sloan