Thursday, October 04, 2007

This is NOT about Britney Spears...

...except that the recent news about Britney’s custody battle reminded me of the most theatrical real-life courtroom scene I ever witnessed.


In 1967-68 I worked for an East Texas district judge. One morning when court was in session I noticed a family sitting near the front of the courtroom. There were a father, a mother, and four children who appeared to range in age from about twelve to six. All of them were dressed in their Sunday best, and the children were exceptionally well-behaved. The clerk called a number of other cases ahead of theirs. The kids sat without making a peep from nine in the morning until the judge recessed court for a lunch break.

After lunch, the family returned promptly to the courtroom and sat quietly for about another hour until the clerk called their docket number. That’s when I learned that the case was a contested adoption. The father had always had custody of his four kids, and his present wife had cared for them for years. She wanted to adopt them, but their natural mother was unwilling to consent to it. This hearing was a chance for everyone involved to have their say.

A good friend of mine, Paul O., was the attorney for the children’s father and stepmother. He had the first turn to speak, and he immediately called the children’s birth mother to the stand as a witness.

Paul O: "Are you the natural mother of the children who are the subject of this case?"

Witness: "I am."

Paul O: "Are the children present in the courtroom today?"

Witness: "Yes, they are."

Paul O: "Will you point them out to the court, please?"

The witness pointed to the four children who had waited so patiently all day long.

Paul O: "For the record, you’re indicating these four children in the second row?"

Witness: "That’s right."

Paul O: "Your Honor, I move to dismiss the witness’s motion to contest this adoption on the grounds that she’s had so little involvement with the children that she doesn’t even know what they look like."

As it turned out, only the oldest child was hers. The three younger ones were ringers, neighborhood children who’d been "borrowed" for the occasion.

No other witnesses were called. After a brief discussion with the attorneys, the judge dismissed the motion and granted the adoption.


Back to Britney (sorry, couldn't resist), the word is that she turned her kids over to their father earlier than the court required and chose to run errands rather than attend yesterday's hearing. No matter. If, someday in the future, she should run into problems similar to those of the mother I just told you about, she shouldn't have any trouble identifying her two boys. All she’ll ever need to do before a scheduled court appearance is pick up the latest issue of People magazine. No doubt their photos will still be in there, bless their innocent little hearts.


  1. Selfish parents just piss me off.
    The children suffer while their parents are trying to grow up.
    I am by no means a perfect parent, but for the times I may have went a stray, all I had to do was look in to my daughters eyes, and right then and there, I knew my place. My children have kept me grounded and real. How can that not be for some people?
    Hope all is well with you Velvet!

  2. That's a great story! I feel bad for Britney's kids. I wonder if we'll see them in People magazine in 15 years, because they'll be arrested for drunk driving or something?

    It's made me realize that being the kid of a millionaire movie star or other celebrity might sound nice, but I think I'm happy with the parents I got, even if they're not millionaire movie stars or celebrities.

  3. I've long said Brit needs to move back to Hammond and try living a quiet Louisiana life for a few years. Just be a mom and take care of her boys by herself. After all her antics, I'm not sure she's capable of that.

  4. All I can say is poor children.

  5. I loved the way that adoption played out in the courtroom. Nice story. As for Britney and those boys, all I can really do is shake my head and sigh.

  6. Britney? As far as I am concerned, she is a no-talent loser. She has lost all self recpect, lost whatever talent she had, lost her husband, and now has lost her 2 boys. And I hear that PETA wants to take her pets away. If that's what fame and fortune does for you, then I'll stay poor and insignificant, thanks.

  7. The system does work on some days, doesn't it?

    As far as Britney goes, saw the People magazine with her saying she's hit rock obttom. Frankly, wasn't interested enough to pick it up.

  8. What a clever guy your lawyer friend is! That's a great story. I'm disgusted with Britney's MOTHER. The kid is a mess, but you can only parent as well as you were parented and too often we see Mom right there while Brit's misbehaving.

  9. Welcome, Funny Money, and thanks to all of you for your comments. Sounds like we're all on the same page about Britney.


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