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Minnesota Nineteen-Year-Old sues her Father, Hennepin and Carver Counties, along with Social Workers, Guardians at litem, and lawyers for an excess of $240 Million for Deprivation of Civil Rights

03/17/2017 Minneapolis, MN, US

Annelise Rice, a hockey player at UND and graduate of Minnetonka High School, filed a lawsuit on March 17, 2017, in Minnesota federal court seeking damages for deprivation of civil rights by tortuous intervention in a mother-child relationship and deprivation of rights under color of the law (Civil Action No. 17-cv-796 ADM/HB).

Annelise’s father, Brent Rice, branch manager of Merrill Lynch Wayzata, is a defendant on the lawsuit. Employees of Hennepin County (Michael Borowiak, Jolene Lukanen, Michael Garelick, Richard Witucki, Judith Hoy, Jean Peterson) and Carver County (Nicole Mercil, Bethany Koch, Sarah Kulesa, Brenda K. Dehmer, Carole Cole), and Brent Rice’s lawyer, Cory D. Gilmer, are also listed among the eighteen defendants. The defendants include court-appointed Guardians at litem, Social Workers, and lawyers who were involved in the custody evaluation and CHIPS (Child in Need of Protection or Services) proceedings for Annelise Rice. The proceedings began in Hennepin County and were moved to Carver County when the family moved.

Judges, lawyers, and social workers no longer have absolute immunity and can be held responsible for their actions that deprive Constitutional rights, even if they are acting in an official role.

This case is highly unusual due to the large amount of defendants involved. The defendants conspired to deny Annelise access to the courts and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Annelise while she was still a minor. Defendants knowingly interfered with Annelise’s constitutional right to a relationship with her mother and four siblings, causing inordinate stress and difficulty.

Annelise asks the court for relief in an amount great enough to deter defendants and others in similar positions from engaging in this egregious misconduct in the future.There have been many cases of negligence by social services that have put young lives at risk. Social workers, Guardians at litem, lawyers, and judges need to be held accountable to prevent further neglect, abuse, and deaths of children in protective care. This lawsuit could potentially turn into a class action suit, because of the amount of families that have been mistreated in this way.

Annelise Rice

Japan: Three years after Japan signed Hague, parents who abduct still win



As he sat waiting in a van near his estranged wife’s family home in Nara, where his four children were living, James Cook felt very alone. It was an emotion he’d become all too accustomed to in the years since his wife had taken the children on a holiday to Japan and never returned, leaving him the sole inhabitant of their former family home in Minnesota.

“I was alone in our family’s home,” Cook says. “Alone with our children’s rooms just as they left them on July 13, 2014. My location was different, but the feelings of being all alone were the same.”

Meanwhile, at the Arimitsu family home just across the road, the most important thing in Cook’s life — whether or not he would be reunited with his children — was being determined in his absence. It was Sept. 13, 2016, and after years of seemingly endless court motions, filings, petitions, decisions and appeals in both the U.S. and Japan, finally, in theory at least, he would have his children — two pairs of twins, now aged 9 and 14 — returned to him.

Through the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, Cook had successfully petitioned to have his children returned to their home in the United States and a “return order” had been issued by the Osaka High Court. However, the children’s mother, Hitomi Arimitsu, was still refusing to hand the children over, so the case had moved to the final “direct enforcement” phase.

The day before, Cook and his mother, who had come with him to Japan to help with the children, met with officials from the Japanese Central Authority (JCA), the Foreign Ministry agency responsible for handling Hague-related matters, at Nara District Court to formulate a strategy to ensure the handover of the children.

“Maps of streets and the neighborhood with locations of each group were displayed on the large conference table in the NDC conference room,” Cook recalls. “It looked very well planned and gave me a sense of hope that we might be successful.”

Cook and his mother departed their hotel in Osaka before dawn to make the 5:25 a.m. train that would take them, accompanied by their lawyers, to Gakuen-mae Station in Nara.

At a rendezvous point, Cook’s party met with JCA officials, got into a van and waited for instructions. Shortly after, a call came through to Cook’s attorney that Nara court enforcement officers had approached the house and confirmed that Hitomi and the four children were present. At 6:55 a.m. they entered the building.

While Cook and his mother waited in the van, a total of 17 people were now present at the Arimitsu property just down the street: Hitomi, the four children, their Japanese grandparents, two police officers, Cook’s two attorneys, a JCA official, two JCA-appointed psychologists, a Nara court bailiff and two officials from the U.S. consulate in Osaka.

At around 8 a.m., Cook’s attorney delivered the news that the children were very upset and did not want to see him, although later they did agree to see Cook’s mother. Cook was left alone in the van with his thoughts.

At 10 a.m., Cook’s mother returned looking “very traumatized,” but he still believed that finally, his turn to see the children must have arrived. “My emotions were welling up and I was putting on my emotional armor in preparation. As I looked up to find my way out of the van, I was stopped by a sad look on my attorney’s face. She told me our children still refused to see me and that NDC officers had called off enforcement already. I was a block away for three hours from my children, waiting for my turn. I was in shock and just sat in my seat.”

Shackled by legal limits

Three years have passed since Japan became a signatory to the Hague Convention, which is designed to ensure the timely return of children to their country of residence after abduction by one parent to another member country.

The Foreign Ministry’s Hague Convention Division is quick to point out that of the requests to repatriate children from Japan made in the first two years after signing the convention, about 90 percent have been resolved. But the details of how these cases were “resolved” are less clear, as judgments are not published and the ministry will not comment on specific cases.

According to the ministry, of the 68 requests to return children to a foreign country under the convention in the past three years, 18 have resulted in returns. Twelve more requests were “dismissed,” 19 have been “settled not to return the child to a foreign state” and another 19 cases are still open. In other words, just under 30 percent of requests for the return of children made in the past three years have resulted in children leaving Japan.

The ministry confirmed that in two cases during the first two years of Japan having signed the Hague, direct enforcement was carried out successfully. It added that there had been a “limited number of cases in which the children’s release has not been achieved” through direct enforcement, without offering exact figures. Based on these unsuccessful attempts, the Hague Convention Division said by email, “We will keep monitoring these cases and continue to review our implementation of the Hague Convention closely as necessary.”

In its 2016 Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction, the U.S. government concluded that “Japan failed to comply with its obligations under the Hague Abduction Convention in the area of enforcement of return orders.” Citing a case in which a Japanese return order issued in early 2015 was still unresolved by the end of the year, the report raises concern that there may be “a systemic flaw in Japan’s ability to enforce return orders.”

Bruce Gherbetti, a director with the Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion nonprofit organization, believes that failed direct enforcement procedures are inevitable considering the legal limitations placed on officials charged with carrying them out.

“They are following … Japanese domestic law, which is tied to the Hague Convention, and they are doing everything within their power, but their power is so extremely limited that … they are either requesting of the taking parent or requesting of the abducted child that they come voluntarily,” he explains. “So it is essentially asking permission of the kidnapper in order to enforce the return order. I mean it is a court order, yet they are begging and pleading.”

Under domestic legislation introduced to help Japanese authorities implement Hague returns, the only physical contact permitted is for a court bailiff to restrain the abducting parent if he or she tries to stop the child from voluntarily leaving.

Last year, the justice minister asked an advisory panel to look into revising the Civil Execution Law to set down specific procedures for enforcing court orders on the handover of children between divorced parents. The government is expected to submit a bill based on the committee’s findings next year.

However, Colin P.A. Jones, a professor at Doshisha Law School in Kyoto, doubts this process will result in more Hague returns. “I think experts expected the enforcement procedures adopted for Hague cases would ultimately become the standard for domestic cases as well. So I don’t expect much more than that. I certainly don’t expect it to result in any improvements in enforcement of Hague return orders,” Jones says. “Absent a significant change of policy — starting to impose criminal sanctions for noncompliance, for example — the basic limits on how to forcefully transfer ‘possession’ of a child without harming the child physically or emotionally will always apply, and taking parents will continue to be able to effectively use the children as ‘human shields’ against the judicial process.”

Time is on the abductor’s side

Gherbetti believes time is a critical factor in abduction cases, and this issue is at the heart of Japan’s failure to successfully return abducted children.

The Hague treaty “calls for six weeks of adjudication because they don’t want the child held outside their habitual residence longer than that,” he says.

Gherbetti says that although the international standard for Hague returns tends to be closer to six months than six weeks, in Japan the process often takes considerably longer — around 18 months or more — giving the abducting parent time to bond with the children and acclimatize them to their unfamiliar new surroundings.

Gherbetti blames an over-emphasis in Japan on the mediation portion of the convention for drawing out the process.

“So, similar to their domestic system, they try to have an amicable resolution,” he argues. “They much prefer mediation and an agreed-upon solution than an actual court order.”

Article 13 of the Hague Convention outlines situations where signatory states are not bound to order the return of a child. One such situation outlined in Clause B of the article is when “there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.”

When crafting domestic legislation to handle Hague cases, Japan’s lawmakers “came up with a document that allows them to greatly expand the 13B grave-risk category, and they have created a number of loopholes that ensure they don’t actually have to be in compliance with the convention,” Gherbetti says. “The ‘grave risk of return’ is originally intended for situations where you have a child abuser — you are not going to return a child to someone who has physically or emotionally, etc., abused that child and there is clear evidence of such. To say that someone has habituated to the new environment doesn’t fall under the original intention of 13B. That is for certain.”

Parental alienation syndrome

On Sept. 15, two days after the unsuccessful attempt to enforce the return order in the Cook case, a second direct enforcement attempt was carried out at the Arimitsu house.

This time, Cook’s two youngest children were away on a school camping trip, but Cook was allowed into the house on the condition he would not take the children back to the U.S. that day. Cook says he spoke to his two older sons from a distance, although did not actually see them, as they were hidden elsewhere in the house.

Cook says the boys called out “You’re not my father anymore,” “I don’t want to know you” and “Can’t you see we are happy here and don’t want anything to do with you anymore?”

Cook believes his wife and her family deliberately turned the children against him, a classic case of parental alienation syndrome. He also thinks they coached his children to make these types of statements, which are similar to those they used in interviews with court officials during the mediation process.

Noriko Odagiri, a professor of clinical psychology at Tokyo International University, says that although she is unable to comment on specific cases, the risk of children who are victims of parental abduction developing parental alienation syndrome is very high, and children up to the age of 12 are especially vulnerable.

Odagiri says this condition, which she calls a form of “brainwashing,” develops due to the material circumstances the child is forced into, and also the behavior and attitudes of the taking parent. She adds that it is a violation of the will of the child. “The child has no choice because they are dependent on the alienating parent both financially and emotionally,” Odagiri says. “They come to believe the alienating parent is the best parent and they can’t live without them.”

Odagiri believes this is a form of child abuse that can have a serious, long-term negative impact on mental health that can remain through adulthood. “When they grow older they recognize the whole map of their life and what happened to them as a child,” she says.

Arimitsu failed to comply with a Minnesota court order to surrender the children’s passports to the U.S. Consulate in Osaka by April 7 and release them into Cook’s care by April 23. Cook flew to Japan and was present at the consulate in the hope that he would be reunited with his children. But again, he left alone.

“I am a loving parent and a loving parent never gives up, never gives in, never manipulates their children and, above all, recognizes that their children possess the same human rights as they do,” he says. “Children are not property, children love both their parents and a part of a child dies when they are denied the other parent.”

The Japan Times made a number of attempts to contact Arimitsu for comment by telephone but she could not be reached, and no replies to emails sent to her address were received. An attempt was also made to reach her through her lawyer, Tomoko Kamikawa. Kamikawa declined to comment and said she was unable to assist with contacting Arimitsu, because she was not representing Arimitsu in relation to her communications with the media.

Loving from a distance

Paul Halton’s children were abducted to Japan from the U.K. by his Japanese ex-wife in 2014, a year after the couple divorced. Dual custody of the three children was awarded in the English courts during divorce proceedings.

The courts also stipulated that the children should live in the U.K. and placed a travel embargo on the mother taking the children to Japan that applied until the country implemented the Hague Convention. Japan signed the convention on April 1, 2014, and in August of that year the children were abducted. On March 31, 2015, the Osaka Family Court ruled that the children should be returned to the U.K. under the Hague Convention . The mother’s appeal was rejected three months later and a return order was issued by the courts.

After Halton’s ex-wife continued to refuse to comply and return the children to the U.K., an order for “indirect enforcement” was carried out. Indirect enforcement, a mandatory part of the Hague return process, involves attempting to make the abductor pay fines to the other parent, usually ¥5,000 per day per child. This step must be carried out before direct enforcement is attempted. Halton says he never received any money from the mother, as she was able to avoid making payments by claiming welfare and thereby obtaining beneficiary status.

With two years having passed since he’d seen his children — now 12, 10 and 7 — Halton decided to take the next step and proceed with direct enforcement. This was attempted on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 of last year.

Officials and social workers were unsuccessful in executing the return order. However, they did manage to persuade his ex-wife to let Halton take the children for a day trip to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka a few days later, which he says was “a fantastic moment to spend some time with the children.”

Halton says he was tempted not to hand the children back at the end of their day trip, as he had the backing of both the Japanese and British governments to legally return home to the U.K. with his children. “But what would that do to my children?” he asks. “I couldn’t force them, rip them from their mother and for a second time turn their world upside down.”

Halton says that since this visit the situation has improved a little. Skype chat sessions have resumed, and gifts and cards to the children in Japan seem to get through, but the situation is still very fragile and out of his control. He and his ex-wife are supposed to be negotiating long-term, fixed arrangements about contact with his children, but no real progress is being made.

“Since I’ve reached the end of the current legal road, I fear that the children will have to grow up without me in their lives,” Halton says. “I hang on to the hope that one day my ex-wife will agree that the children and I can visit each other, at least in that I will have a few weeks a year to help them grow and learn, as a father should be doing.

“It’s a horrible reality to think that I will miss my three kids’ childhoods,” he says. “The next time I see them could be when they’re old enough to break free from their mother and independently seek me out, by which time they will be adults potentially with careers and families of their own. We’ll know each other but we won’t be close as nature intended.

“The likelihood is that they will remain in Japan for the rest of their lives and so even my unborn grandchildren will be distant and possibly unknown to me,” Halton says. “This is a thought that haunts my everyday life and I doubt will ever fade.”

USA: Parents charged with kidnapping after Amber Alert


Manchester Police charged the parents of a two-year-old boy that was the subject of an Amber Alert with kidnapping charges Saturday.

Police said Erika Wallace, 26, of Raymond took her son, Joshua, 2, during a supervised visit at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester Friday afternoon.

An Amber Alert was issued and Tewksbury, MA Police located the targeted car Wallace had driven away from the mall near a Home Depot and Motel 6 parking lot on Main Street.

At the time, Tewksbury Police drug unit detectives were doing a surveillance of this location when they spotted the van and the license plate matched information from the Amber Alert, police officials said.

Tewksbury authorities then took Erika into custody along with the boy’s father, Joshua Wallace, 27, of Raymond and a third associate, Nicolette Russell, 24, of Georgetown.

The boy was found safe and in good health and returned to the custody of Department of Children, Youth and Families, police said.

Erika Wallace was charged with parental kidnapping, obstruction of justice and conspiracy. According to police, she was also arrested on the following warrants out of courts in Massachusetts: possession of a Class A substance, endangerment of a child, two separate counts of unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, obstruction of justice, refusal to identify self, lights violation, unregistered motor vehicle, furnishing a false name and Social Security Number, larceny under $250 and shoplifting.

Joshua Wallace was charged with parental kidnapping, obstruction of justice and conspiracy. He was also arrested on a Massachusetts court warrant for possession of a Class A substance and endangerment of a child, police said.

Russell was charged with obstruction of justice, providing a false name and Social Security number following an arrest and conspiracy.

Police said the car they were driving, a white 2003 Chrysler Town & Country minivan, had packed suitcases inside it.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas said it appeared a social worker who had been monitoring a visit for the Department of Children Youth and Families at the mall had become distracted.

“Apparently the youth services worker was on her phone and at that point the mother took the child and made a run for it,” Gatsas said.

Gov. Chris Sununu praised law enforcement officials for their quick response in locating the child, safe and sound.

State officials did not respond to requests for comment Saturday regarding the supervised visit.

Police located the mother and son less than an hour after the Amber Alert was issued.

Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard said he had called for additional police resources after the 3:45 p.m. incident.

“At this point all I can say is that our goal is to locate the child and ensure his safety. That’s our top priority,” Willard said prior to the child being found safe and sound.

According to the Amber Alert, authorities had cited two addresses where police thought the mother might have been heading, either to 476 Spruce St., Apt. 1 in Manchester or to 6 Deborah Ave. in Raymond.

If anyone has further information regarding this incident they should contact the Manchester Police Department at 603-668-8711.

Niolette Russell Joshua Russel Erika Wallace

USA: Parental Alienation Prevention Week: Alabama Mayors To Raise Parental Alienation Awareness Through ‘Bubbles For Love’ Campaign



In recent years, parental alienation alarmed so many family law experts and psychologists due to its rising emergence. Considered a form of abuse, parental alienation could arise from divorce, child custody situations, as well as with intact families.

So, what exactly is parental alienation? According to Shelby County Reporter, it is described as a set of “behaviors and attitudes” displayed by one or both parents that aim “to interfere, damage or destroy” the parent-child relationship or the other. Experts stress parental alienation is considered a form of child abuse due to the fact that it causes emotional trauma to kids.

“Parental alienation is evidenced by the alienating behaviors of a person, such as a parent or family members, or as a result of the judicial system restricting the relationship between a child and a loving parent,” author Steven Calhoun wrote. “Alienation can severely damage or destroy a child’s relationship with a parent.”

Due to the emergence of parental alienation, the publication revealed that Mayor Hollie Cost proclaimed April 23 to 29 as Parental Alienation Week in Montevallo. Cost made the proclamation on April 10, Monday.

As part of the commemoration for the said campaign, the Alabama Family Rights Association has urged the community to join the 10-minute bubble blowing activity called “Bubbles for Love” on April 25 at noon. Aside from Mayor Cost and the City of Montevallo, Mayor Woody Jacobs of the City of Cullman in Alabama also proclaimed the week of April 23-29, 2017 as Parental Alienation Prevention Week, while April 25 is officially the “Bubbles for Love Day” in the city, The Cullman Tribune detailed.

Meanwhile, the most common symptom of parental alienation among children is a “child’s rejection of a loving parent.” As parental alienation continually affects both broken and intact families, some experts suggest shared parenting as a good solution.

In fact, some lawmakers have advocated the shared parenting law like Rep. Larry Haler’s House Bill 1554, which allow divorcing and other parents to have equal rights in all decision-making, as well as equal time to spend with their children, Daily Sun reported.


USA: 3 charged in New Hampshire parental kidnapping



TEWKSBURY, Mass. – Three people have been arrested after a woman kidnapped her two-year-old son during a supervised visit on Friday.

Erika Wallace and her son were at the Mall of New Hampshire on a supervised DCYF visit on Friday afternoon. Wallace took off with her son when the DCYF worker was not looking.


Hours later in Tewksbury, police saw a white minivan and after checking the registration, discovered there was an Amber Alert issued out of New Hampshire involving the vehicle. Police approached the van and found the boy safe. He is now back in the custody of New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families.

Police arrested the boy’s mother, 26-year-old Erika Wallace of Raymond, New Hampshire, his father, 27-year-old Joshua Wallace of Raymond, New Hampshire, and 24-year-old Nicolette Russell of Georgetown, Massachusetts.

Erika and Joshua Wallace are both charged with parental kidnapping, obstruction of justice and conspiracy. They were also charged on warrants including: endangerment of a child out of Lawrence District Court and possession of a Class A substance.

Russell is charged with obstruction of justice, providing a false name and social security number following arrest and conspiracy.

Cyprus: Another little girl abducted by her dad in Cyprus



Another international family abduction is making headlines all over Cyprus, this time after a little girl boarded a plane in Larnaca with her father against a court order in the north, just one day before another girl in the south was kidnapped in a custody battle.

According to online daily Kibris, who broke the story on Friday, a Turkish Cypriot father crossed a checkpoint from north to south on April 26, along with his little girl aged three and a half as well as the child’s grandmother.

Police in the south told the Cyprus Weekly that all three boarded a flight to the UK on Wednesday at 6:02pm, with the father and the girl travelling on British passports.

According to a police spokesperson, officials received notification after the plane had departed Larnaca International Airport.

Sources in the north told CW that it was not clear when exactly the mother filed a complaint with Turkish Cypriot authorities, but official notice was sent immediately from north to south as soon as the bi-communal crime committee was notified on Thursday.

The parents of the little girl are separated according to media reports in the north, with the mother having custody. But it is understood that they crossed the checkpoint lawfully. Authorities in the south have placed the father and grandmother on the Stop List.

The abduction comes in the same week  as another custody battle is being fought between Cyprus and Norway, after a kidnapping took place outside a south Nicosia nursery on Thursday morning.

A Norwegain estranged 49-year-old father of a four-year-old girl is believed to be behind the kidnapping, when hooded men snatched her out of her mother’s hands. The father, who was seen in the north according to unconfirmed reports, reportedly emailed the mother to inform her that she was safe and well and that he would soon be taking her to Norway with him.

The father argues that the Cypriot mother of his daughter took custody of their child unlawfully.

An international arrest warrant has been issued against the Norwegian by police in Cyprus.

Cyprus police: Norwegian sought in daughter’s kidnapping



NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A Cyprus police spokesman says an arrest warrant has been issued for the Norwegian father of a 4-year-old girl who was snatched outside a Nicosia daycare.

Andreas Angelides says the 49-year-old Norwegian, who is divorced from the girl’s Cypriot mother, is sought on suspicion of kidnapping, abduction and assault.

Angelides says police are on alert at all the island’s exit points, including crossings into the ethnically divided island’s breakaway Turkish Cypriot north.

Police say Marie Eleni Grimsrud was taken when her mother dropped her off at the daycare. Two hooded men grabbed the girl and put her in a black Range Rover before speeding off. A third man was at the wheel.

Police say the girl may have been the target of another kidnapping attempt last year.