Friday, July 16, 2021

Wendy Hancock found guilty of custodial interference. Attorney Connie Reguli will now go on trial.

Weny Hancock and
Connie Reguli
by Rod Williams- July 15, 2021- Yesterday in Franklin Tennessee, Wendy Hancock was found guilty of the crime of custodial interference.  I had, prior to the trial in a previous post, said that family law attorney and Department of Children's Services critic Connie Reguli was on trial.  She was not, but the trial could have determined her fate.

The person on trial was Wendy Hancock.  She was charged with custodial interference and Connie was her attorney at the time. Connie was charged with accessory to custodial interference or abetting custodial interference or facilitating custodial interference or some such charge.  If Wendy would have been found not guilty, then charges would have been dropped against Connie because that would mean there was no custodial interference and thus no crime to which Connie would have been an accessory. Unfortunately, in my view, Wendy was found guilty. Connie will now go on trial.  

I attended the last day of the three-day trial. I got to see the attorneys argue the wording of the charges to the jury and watch closing arguments. While I missed the first two days of the proceeding, I had a close friend, Lydia Hubbell, who attended and she took good notes and gave me detailed reports of what happened, also, another friend, Jeni Bokhari gave me reports on what she observed.  I also watched various videos and read social media reports from others who attended the trial and feel I have a pretty good understanding of the case. 

Here is the essence of what this was all about as far as I can tell.  In 2019 Wendy Hancock, a single mother of a teen boy and a pre-teen girl was having problems with her out-of-control son. He was doing drugs, skipping school, and would not mind.  Wendy asked the state to intervene.  They took the child and put him in foster care.  He, in retaliation, told State authorities that his mother was a bad mother and was dealing drugs. The state then took action to remove Wendy's daughter and place her in foster care also.  By all accounts, there was no truth to the charges against Wendy and there was no indication that Wendy's daughter was in any danger, was being neglected, or otherwise in an unsafe environment. 

This is where the charge of custodial interference gets confusing.  Wendy had participated in an investigation that led up to the order to take her daughter.  She anticipated an order was to be issued to take her child.  She sought the help of attorney Connie Reguli. At some point, she knew or assumed an order to take her daughter had been issued but she had not been served. She avoided service. She fled her home in Lebanon and stayed a couple days with relatives in Watertown.  She stayed a couple nights in a motel.  She put her cell phone on "airplane mode," so it would not be tracked.  

She went to see her attorney and, I think, spend a night at Connie's home in Brentwood.  I am not clear on how, but somehow the Williamson County sheriff tracked her down at Ms Regali's house and took the child, and arrested both the mother, Wendy, and the attorney Connie Regali. 

In defense of Wendy's actions, it was pointed out that the order to take the child into custody did not specify a date by which she must surrender the child or a place to do so.  Also, Connie Reguli called the DCS office numerous times to say she was representing Ms. Hancock, and would someone please call her.  She was wanting to accommodate the surrender of the child in a less traumatic fashion than having law enforcement take her into custody. No one returned her call.

Why was the mother and Connie Reguli arrested? Many believe it is because Connie Reguli is a thorn in the side of DHS and this was revenge for her activism.  Ms Reguli has represented numerous parents in custody battles and has represented parents who have had their children removed by DHS.  She has become a national leader in the parental rights movement.  She does videos on the topic, has been a featured speaker at conferences across the county, and has testified before state legislative bodies. Connie Reguli believes Wendy was a victim of the State's effort to take revenge on her.  During the trial, the prosecutor objected to any attempt by Ms Reguli to make this point and the judge would not let her do much more than answer yes-no questions. Several observers of the trial told me, it was terrible the way Ms Reguli was treated in court.

I believe the charge that this fiasco was revenge against Ms Reguli. Listening to closing arguments, I can see how the jury could have found Ms Hancock guilty as charged. However, in my view, she should never have been charged. Once charged, the charges should have been dropped.  She had no intent to permanently avoid surrendering her child; she was a mother in distress about having her child taken and stalled for time hoping her lawyer could stop it from happening.  Wendy was never ruled an unfit mother. She was forced to take numerous drug tests which she always passed and after her daughter was in foster care for six months, she was returned to her mother. 

This trial did not get mainstream press news coverage but it should have.  It is being widely reported on social media.  Several people came from across the country to observe the trial. Among those attending was Jennifer Winn, an outspoken and passionate family rights activist who was a gubernatorial candidate in her home state of Kansas, and investigative journalist, Terri LaPoint, from Alabama.  Parents and grandparents who have had negative experiences in family court and advocate for child welfare and family court reform who were in attendance came from Texas, Georgia, and from several counties in Tennessee.

Now that Wendy Hancock has been found guilty, the State will proceed with the charges against Connie Reguli.  If found guilty, Connie would lose the ability to practice law.  I have no doubt, that even if she does lose her ability to practice law, that Connie Reguli will remain a fierce advocate for families. 

While there are cases in which children need to be removed from a home and while the state has an interest in protecting children, the state often fails.  Children or too often removed from homes without just cause, judges will sign anything DHS puts in front of them, parents are powerless to oppose DHS, proceedings in DHS custody cases are conducted in closed court and parents rights are often not protected, and children sometimes die in foster care or are abused.  Even if not mistreated in foster care, they may be in several foster homes in a short period of time being required to change schools several times in the year. In my view, children should only be removed from a home in rare circumstances.  If necessary to remove a child because a situation may be dangerous, then that determination should be made quickly and the child reunited with their parents as soon as possible. 

Part of the problem causing so many children to be taken from their parents is that government funding is often contingent upon showing results.  To get more funding, state agencies must show the federal government or the state agency must show the state legislature they are being productive and that means removing children from their homes.  I have heard many tales of children being taken from parents when it was unjustified.  Even if parents are not great parents, unless a child is in danger if it remains in that environment, children should not be taken from their parents. 

I hope when Connie Reguli goes to trial, it gets mainstream press coverage.  Her trial could help shed light on a problem that needs it. 

For more on this story see these links: Family Forward Project with video reports,  Connie Reguli's Facebook page, Jennifer Winn's Facebook page with video interviews of the day of the trial and more, link.



Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

6 comments:

  1. Connie & Wendy also lost, some time ago, their effort to seek a million dollar payday by suing the CPS in federal court.

    I have an article on that at:

    http://kehvrlb.com/wendy-hancock-v-the-cps-world
    .

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes!! This!!! Everybody acts like she's God's gift to the parent's rights movement, and she's not!! Shes in it for the $$$$$, along with some others shes working closely with! There are some in there FF project that really are genuine, but the few that aren't, watch out. Wolves in sheeps clothing.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous the fact remains that CPS is always removing children wrongly without exigent circumstances.Actual abuse or pr00f of .but the laws written biasly allow them to do that under the propensity of abuse Yet CPS rarely misses the opportunity to take a child and inflict lifelong trauma and injury to children and families under the premise of helping children and familiesand the law protects tehm judges get away with it everyday and so do cps millions have rallied to change these laws and abolish Clintons ASFA that enables this heinous attacks against children and famiies but the financiial interests from the government and to keep the system rolling seem to prevail which is not at all in the best interest of the children.....do you know how many children are sexually abused in foster care???? do you know how many children are sexually abused in foster care? Talk about doing your research do you know how many foster children are missing and murdered in state care????????Seems like the only one bias seeing one way is you! giving 100% creditto an inadequate dngerous government agency that does far more damage than good for children and families..being blinded by hate is what you display and not at all understanding the crime comitted was not by Wendy or Connie but by an overzealous agency .....you wont even consider that fact will you ....let alone explain the abused physically sexually n mentally by CPS ACTIONS AND FOSTER CARE LET ALONE TALK ABOUT THE NUMBERS OF missing and MURDERED CHILDRE UNDER FOSTER CARE SYSTEM IN THE USA AS IT CURRENTLY IS EVERY YEAR THE NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING EVERYDAY CHILDREN ARE THROWN INTO THE FAILED SYSTEM THAT REFUSES TO MAKE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS DUE TO FINANCIAL INTERESTS....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mr. Baty, I have never heard either party discuss suing CPS in federal court for a single dollar. The pursuit it the fraud an corruption of CPS backed by Federal dollars of Title 4A funding. A case worker in TN has to have a small class to be able to walk into someone's home and decide the children should be removed. The State receives 8K upon removal, and a total of over 20K if the State is able to get the children "re-homed" or adopted. As far as this case, I sat and listened to every word of the State vs Wendy until closing arguments. The order was illegal and not done correctly. The judge admitted this, and said that even if the order was not valid, Wendy had to abide by the order. I guess this gets us back to qualified immunity. The State is excused from errors because it "intended" (or did it) to do the right thing. And there is history with the DCS worker on a personal level with Wendy that is not DCS related. This court case was about Attorney Connie Reguli - and getting her to stop educating the public that DCS is a totalitarian state actor that does not have the jurisdiction to rob you of your children IF you know the law.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great informative article..... Ms Regull is most certainly a justice fighter and hero for the people... God Bless her

    ReplyDelete