Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Contrived news - Oregonian

The Oregonian has focused obsessively on the divorce aspect of the Kyron Horman story. It is clearly valid to focus on the finding of Kyron, but it seems that divorce documents are being used to create a story. From the media and apparently many others - Terri Horman is guilty of something to do with Kyron's disappearance June 4, 2010. Over 4 months later - thus far there is not one bit of evidence and not one arrest.

Terri Horman is the stepmother of Kyron, but it is her daughter that is the center of the custody battle. In reading the headlines of the stories below and their content - I have found it somewhat amusing that the Oregonian seeks to hype what reads like a typical custody battle into criminal accusations against Terri Holman.

Amusing may not be the correct word, but I suspect that most divorce/custody attorneys are rolling their eyes at the Oregonian's tabloid presentation. As a practicing attorney in divorce and custody cases in California, the allegations contained in the Oregonian story pale in comparison to most cases where children are involved.

Domestic violence, mental instability, alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse are common allegations. Wanting the other parent to be psychologically evaluated is boiler plate. If one reads the "petition" referenced by the Oregonian - there are many assertions - but no evidence. But that doesn't bother the Oregonian - they will tell the story as they want it to be told - readership is their goal.

It isn't a "petition" filed by Kaine Horman but a response opposing Terri's motion to modify a restraining order that apparently denies custody of her daughter. The "petition" contains assertions that sound more in criminal law than civil. A civil court judge cannot make Terri Horman testify or do anything in a criminal case.

There is the problem too that given a probable criminal filing, if Kaine Horman has his way, an evaluation could be used in a criminal case, of course that is a double edged sword. Also, much seems to be made of the  alleged $350,000 paid to her attorney. The attorney has denied it - but as a dollar figure for this case - $350,000 sounds like a retainer that will be exhausted before too long.

One might take notice that Kaine Horman, who I believe is financially better off than Terri, hasn't, from the documents in these two stories, offered to pay for the evaluation. Not too long ago in California $10,000 for a standard custody evaluation would not raise any eyebrows. My experience has found that courts, if evaluation is ordered, will order both parents to be evaluated. Another double edged sword.

Making news out of whole cloth.

Kaine Horman calls his estranged wife 'severely emotionally disturbed,' releases more texts between Terri Horman and Michael Cook | OregonLive.com

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