Profiting off of Black Pain, Judge Karen Padding the Pockets of Unqualified Associates.
In the case of this young Black mother who lost her child unfairly due to her admitted naivety that if you allow your child to visit with the other parent in another state right at six months, they can petition the court for custody. This legal entanglement has been insufferable for one Texas mother. So, you might imagine after having to fire an uncommunicative attorney, N. D. Brannon, ( The former mayor of Landrum and former Republican state representative), whom the mother also initiated a complaint against with the state bar association, as well as the SC Judicial Office of Disciplinary Counsel, she is apprehensive about who she should entrust with her predicament. Understandably, she would not want to knowingly embrace other problematic players into her circle. After all she’s fighting for the return of her child. You especially would not want a former Family Law judge barred from seeking re-election. Well, back in 2018 the Judicial Merit Selection Commission determined that Kelly Pope-Black was unqualified after an extensive investigation that revealed her troubling demeanor and derailed her judgeship. Kelly Pope-Black was deemed “arrogant,” “dictatorial” and “temperamental.” Still, Judge Karen S. Roper appointed, Kelly Pope-Black as mediator over the Texas mother’s case. However, this is not someone any mother would be comfortable with overseeing a life altering matter that plays an integral part in saving your child.
Collectively, IATD is perplexed at not only how a court can justify forcing parents to pay hundreds of dollars to someone who has been determined to be unqualified to oversee matters pertaining to Family Law.
Now masquerading as a mediator, the inflated rates this barred Judge presented to this mother and full-time student and licensed CNA do not align or reflect what you might expect of someone said to be unqualified for interacting with Family law matters. So riddle me this. Traditionally, earnings most often commensurate with ability. In fact, the fees demanded here are unjustified on its face being that this banned former judge has been found, quite frankly, unqualified to handle these types of matters. She’s now charging $400 an hour to include a $150 PREPARATION FEE. So, if we opt out of the preparation fee and ask you NOT TO COME PREPARED, will you waive the preparation fee, madam?
The audacity of entitlement never fails. If a mechanic has been decertified or incompetent in any way, that is not someone I’d go out to hire to work on my vehicle, just as a doctor with a history of medical malpractice would not get my business. We are speaking of something more precious than a car. We are speaking of a child. Shame on the court, and shame on Kelly Pope-Black for still peddling her wares in nearly the same capacity that she was ousted from. This is a delicate matter of grave importance. Please make it make sense.
Since being a mediator places people in a position of power to sit in judgement, yet she has been deemed unqualified to judge and in fact barred from being a judge by her very own peers, the appointment is troubling. This is clearly a conundrum and total contradiction when speaking of conflict resolution. Normally, someone with the traits mentioned, “arrogant,” “dictatorial” and “temperamental, are not suitable to be placed at the forefront of such matters. Ms. Pearson deserves better than someone whose peers and a panel of civilians has outright rejected.
Some of these fees are outlandish and are simply a set up for failure. For instance, the court can charge you with contempt of court for not adhering to orders even when doing so can cost people embroiled in legal actions exponentially more considering the court reserves the right to appoint a circle of players. In the case of this single mother of three, the court has not only saddled her with an unqualified mediator, and useless Guardian Ad Litem in this matter who expect to profit off of her misery, but they are unbothered by the financial hardship as long as they can look out for each other.
Here we have more of the same. This judge simply padding the pockets of associates and friends to the court and profiting off of this mother’s dilemma yet, not calling them to task and ensuring they are doing the job they are appointed to do. As with the appointment of this unfit judge, keeping it consistent, an appointed guardian ad litem, attorney Joseph K. Maddox Jr., who was appointed only after custody was granted to the father has yet to visit with or even speak to Ms. Pearson’s child or he would have known that for the better part of the child’s time with the father he has slept on the floor without a bed until very recently, and is now suffering from debilitating migraines and crying spells. The child also was plagued with terrible, painful BED BUG BITES, from an infestation at his fathers home. Also, close family members have eye-witnessed issues with both hygiene and grooming which could impact this child’s self esteem. Allegedly, the father who has a history of disappearing the child’s clothes and expensive toys, play stations and new sneakers gifted to him and such while bestowing the items to his wife’s nephews. Reportedly, he was sent holiday gifts he never received and was clueless when asked how he liked his new gadget. Again, very little fanfare over the safety and welfare of a Black child, as the mother has no knowledge of any records Guardian Joseph K. Maddox has filed with the court in this matter. Yet, she is reminded that she needs to pay his exorbitant fees. This is unconscionable.
In a custody case, the best interest of the child is the controlling factor. Patel v. Patel, 359 S.C. 515, 526, 599 S.E.2d 114, 119 (2004). To assess the best interest of the child, the court should consider several factors, including: “who has been the primary caretaker; the conduct, attributes, and fitness of the parents; the opinions of third parties (including GAL, expert witnesses, and the children); and the age, health, and sex of the children.” Patel v. Patel, 347 S.C. 281, 285, 555 S.E.2d 386, 388 (2001). Over time, it has become customary for the family court to appoint a guardian ad litem in private custody disputes. The guardian ad litem operates as a representative of the court and assists by advocating for the child’s best interests and providing the court an objective view. Id. at 287, 555 S.E.2d at 389.
This entire ordeal is egregious and damaging. IATD believes that other organizations, and watch groups will agree that you do not take a woman’s child having no history of social worker involvement on or off the record, drug, alcohol, physical, mental abuse, or child abandonment. This used to be the standard or litmus test to justify taking a child away from their parent. In this case of obviously, unconscious bias is in play whereas a Black woman must be preconceived as ‘unfit’ so let’s just take her child without affording her due process and proper notification. Also, let’s not bother to install a Guardian Ad Litem to engage the child and check out his living conditions prior to yanking him from a loving home and giving him to the father who was never married to the mother, and also behind on child support at the time he petitioned a SC court for custody of a child who was born and raised in Texas, and engaging in regular communication with a mom that was attempting to be gracious and open to the manipulative father who had a hidden agenda all along. He realized that this young unsuspecting mother was oblivious to the ‘loop hole’ in the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA that was misapplied here and allowed for him to petition another state for custody after the child’s visit reached six months. Text messages show that the father kept requesting to extend the child’s stay. Because the father claimed that the mother abandoned the child the court with no due diligence, granted him custody. Also, the S.C. Child support office, accepted a falsified The child was physically back in Texas during the 2107-2018 school year, (Documents on hand), yet the father claimed that the child was living with him from 2016 onwards. Therefore, the father presented a old school registration record, or a falsified school record to the S..C. Child Support office and they allowed him to TAKE HIMSELF off of child support even though the child was back residing in Texas for nearly two years. This is a failing of the South Carolina Child Support office, the presiding judge, JUDGE KAREN. In addition, NOT ONCE but TWICE, (2005 and 2006), the father’s poorly reviewed attorney Hattie Evans Boyce, was publicly sanctioned by a state licensing authority stemming from professional misconduct the same thing IATD has asked the SC Bar Association to consider in this matter. (Reviews: AVVO,
IATD am currently working with a filmmaker at Sheba Media Group to follow this story as a documentary to expose this six month ‘loop hole’ was misused and misinterpretation under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The documentary will also discuss how if misapplied, it is nothing short of detrimental to unsuspecting parents who can be blindsided, especially if sitting judges shrouded in unconscious bias and micro aggression towards Black women prejudge them as evidenced here. In this instance, it is very palpable. There is absolutely no other reasonable justification for taking this woman’s child.
Also central to the upcoming documentary, pictured above, the mother’s so-called attorney. N. D. Brannon of Kennedy/Brannon. At the forefront of the issues with obtaining redress and favorable results is being victimized by callous, un ethical, ineffective council and outright LAZY LAWYERING. This cycle in which the privileged, perpetually profit off of black pain must be reigned in. Brannon is a divorce attorney who ghosted this mother and is refusing to return her $3,600 retainer. At the onset of the case he neglected to inform her that child custody was not his area of concentration, He only disclosed this in defense of his inaction on the case. Just with this mother’s case, his reviews speak to a pattern and practice of misconduct. In this case, he failed to review and submit key documents that she repeatedly provided to him to the court during a zoom hearing, then failing to appeal the matter. She then fired him for not returning calls, texts, or emails, no an accounting of his billing. Brannon did not remit this Black woman’s remaining retainer as promised. He repeatedly refused to return her case file, which she still does not have. Most telling is that he knew he was being unprofessional because he initially refunded her money and within hours, reversed the refund claiming that his back accidently reversed the refund back to him. He then proceeded to plead with her not to fire him because he assured her that he would attend to her case. She trusted him on his word. The doc also questions whether lawyers and hold their own accountable as thus far, her complaints against Brannon to the South Carolina Bar Association and the South Carolina Bar Association has not netted results. In fact, neither of these avenues for redress have even acknowledged her complaint and it appears he is being protected, and upheld in his sleazy deceit.