September 2011 News: The Phoenix Family Law News Blog

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September 2011 Archives

State to Appeal 9th Circuit Ruling on Domestic Partnership Benefits

The fight over health benefits for same-sex partners of state government workers is far from over. Arizona is again tenaciously appealing a state court’s ruling that its law banning same-sex partners’ benefits is unconstitutional, reports the East Valley Tribune.

Arguing that Arizona elected officials’ control over state finances is at stake, Governor Jan Brewer’s office said it will ask a full panel of justices from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the law. The state law, which was signed by Governor Brewer in 2009, repealed Arizona state employees’ domestic partnership benefits for healthcare.

Grandfather Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse Charges for Child Shooting

A 38-year-old grandfather pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse charges on Tuesday in the child shooting case of his two-year-old granddaughter, reports the Associated Press.

Gerardo Garcia-Segura was charged with child abuse when his granddaughter was found shot in the face in a Phoenix apartment. She was allegedly wounded while playing with her uncles, who were six and eight-years-old and Garcia-Segura’s sons, according to investigators. The eight-year-old boy reportedly fired a .22-caliber handgun at the girl’s face, with the bullet eventually lodging in the back of her neck.

Grand Canyon Hell Hike, Grandfather Indicted on Child Abuse Charges

Indiana native Christopher Carlson received a six-count indictment for child abuse after prosecutors alleged he took his three grandchildren on a brutal Grand Canyon hike, reports the Associated Press.

Authorities claim the 45-year-old grandfather forced his grandsons - ages 12, 9 and 8 - to hike in the Grand Canyon in triple-digit temperatures without food and water during two separate trips in August. The boys were also allegedly pushed, choked and pinched during the hike.

The indictment was announced last Thursday in Indianapolis, and his arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday in Phoenix. Under standards of criminal law, suspects are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Carlson’s criminal defense attorney defended his client by stating that it was improbable that the boys had completed the hikes without food or water.

Arizona Divorce Law: To Fault or Not to Fault

When a couple goes through a divorce, it’s natural that both sides try to pin the blame on the other spouse for the different issues in the marriage. Under Arizona divorce law, however, it is usually not necessary to prove who is at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. Instead, the only question the courts care about is if the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

How do you prove that a marriage is broken beyond the point of repair? One or both spouses must show that there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation. On the other hand, if one spouse denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may order a conciliation conference and will wait two months before deciding on whether to allow the divorce.

Unrestrained Toddler Died after Falling out of SUV in Maricopa

A three-year-old Maricopa toddler has died after falling out of a moving SUV, and police are currently investigating whether charges should be pressed against the mother, reports Fox 11 News.

A witness says the boy fell out of the vehicle as it traveled down the street at approximately 25 mph. Police believe that the boy and two other children, ages four and five, were not wearing a seat belt or restrained in child safety seats at the time the boy’s mother was driving the SUV.

The mother reportedly immediately turned around when she saw her son in the middle of the street and waited for medical help. Unfortunately, the toddler later died at the Maricopa Medical Center due to extensive head injuries from falling out of the SUV.

Flagstaff Father Arrested for Violating Child Custody Rights

A Flagstaff father is in custody after he was arrested for violating the child custody rights of his daughter’s mother, reports the Associated Press.

Robert Leland Morse was wanted on custodial interference charges after he reportedly took his two-year-old daughter from her Flagstaff home, reports the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Luckily, authorities received a tip that he was living in a Phoenix apartment complex, and he was found and arrested without incident Friday afternoon. An arrest warrant had been issued earlier that day.

His daughter was also found unharmed and was returned to her mother. The mother reportedly has full child custody rights.

NFL Pro Bowler Chris McAlister Broke? Asks to Modify Child Support

Former Ravens cornerback, NFL Pro Bowler and University of Arizona football star Chris McAlister is reportedly broke and would like a court to modify his child support payments, according to The Baltimore Sun.

McAlister allegedly claims in court documents obtained by celebrity gossip site TMZ that he has been unemployed since 2009, has no income and lives with his parents who provide him with basic living expenses. Due to his current financial situation, McAlister asked the court to modify his monthly $11,000 child support payments.

Facebook Check-In Nabs Fugitive Wanted on Child Support Charges

If you're a fugitive from the law and wanted on child support charges, it's definitely not the brightest idea to do a Facebook check-in at a restaurant in the state you decided to hide out in from authorities.

Unfortunately for 36-year-old Matthew Ledbetter, his desire to announce to his Facebook friends that he was eating at an Arizona restaurant led Chandler Police detectives straight to him on Friday, reports the Associated Press.

Ledbetter has been wanted by Oregon authorities since 2009 on allegations that he skipped out on child support payments he owed. He has a warrant for his arrest out of the Beaver State, which allowed Chandler police to arrest him and book him on a $5,000 bond.

New AZ Abortion Laws in Effect, Planned Parenthood Won't Appeal

New Arizona abortion laws go into effect on Monday, and Planned Parenthood announced it won't continue its appeal challenging a portion of them, reports the Associated Press.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona had initially challenged four parts of a 2009 abortion law that incorporated such requirements as in-person "informed consent" the day before the abortion procedure. However, a state court of appeals upheld the law, prompting the organization to end abortion services at seven of its 10 clinics in multiple Arizona cities, according to the Associated Press.

Although Planned Parenthood did state it is still challenging a 2011 abortion law that included additional restrictions, all of the Arizona abortion laws in question go into effect on Monday.

Chandler Father Guilty of Abuse for Burning Son's Hand

Chandler father Johnny Salazar pleaded guilty to child abuse charges on Thursday in connection to allegations that he burned his son’s hand for touching his Bible, reports the Associated Press.

Salazar reportedly burned his five-year-old son’s hand with a lighter, believing the boy was possessed, according to Chandler police.

Salazar’s mother corroborated the story that her son was taking bath salts, a designer drug that has been likened to “imitation cocaine” and hallucinating. However, Chandler police have yet to confirm the substance Salazar was under when he was arrested.

9th Circuit Upholds AZ State Workers' Domestic Partnership Benefits

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced on Tuesday that Arizona state employees’ domestic partnership benefits should contain the same health insurance benefits as opposite-sex couples, reports the Associated Press.

With its ruling, the Court of Appeals effectively blocked a state law signed by Governor Jan Brewer in 2009 which eliminated Arizona state employees’ domestic partnership benefits for healthcare that had been granted in 2008.

Ex-NFL Star Andre Rison Indicted on Child Support Charges

Former NFL wide receiver, Pro Bowler, and Super Bowl-winner Andre Rison was indicted by a federal grand jury on child support charges, reports NBC Sports.

Rison is accused of failing to make more than $10,000 in child support payments that were due in August 2008. The payments were owed to a child who lived in Arizona at the time. However, since the 44-year-old now lives in Michigan, Rison’s child support case fell under federal jurisdiction.

“This indictment sends a message to others contemplating this same decision that failing to meet your financial obligation to your child is unacceptable and you will be held accountable,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Ann Birmingham Scheel said.

Gibson Triumphs Over Grigorieva in Child Custody Agreement

Let Mel Gibson’s child custody agreement with baby mama Oksana Grigorieva be a lesson to all involved in a child custody battle: it doesn’t pay to be greedy.

At the end of the bitter custody dispute over their 10-month-old daughter that garnered national headlines, Gibson only has to pay Grigorieva $750,000 under a settlement agreement that was disclosed on Wednesday, reports the Los Angeles Times.