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Copyright (c) 2009 Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 
Family Court Review

ARTICLE: CHILD PROTECTION MEDIATION: A 25-YEAR PERSPECTIVE

January, 2009

Family Court Review

47 Fam. Ct. Rev. 69

Author

Hon. Leonard Edwards (ret) *

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

She was the angriest woman I had ever seen in my courtroom. She walked into the court aggressively, looking around at everyone angrily with disgust. She refused to talk with the attorney who had been appointed to represent her and ignored the court assistant who tried to explain what the court proceedings were all about. When I greeted her, she just glared at me. When I tried to explain the nature of the court proceedings, her hostility flared up as she stated, "This is all a farce. I don't want anything to do with any of you." I quickly concluded that this was a situation that I could not manage in the formal courtroom setting so I said to the assembled parties, "This case is referred to mediation." She snapped back, "I'm not doing any mediation. I don't even know what that is." I told her that I was referring the case to mediation, that she had no choice in the matter, and that the mediation was going to take place a week from today in the room across the hall. After some more back and forth, she left the room in a huff.

Juvenile Dependency Court is a busy docket, with many cases and high emotions. When I next saw this woman a week later, I had almost forgotten the ten minutes I had spent with her the week before. Yet here she was, again without her court-appointed attorney, walking into court after the mediation ...
 
 
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