Beall’s Attempt to Support Child Abuse is Defanged

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(Please see the comments to this article that indicate the California state legislative website contains misleading information that may have resulted in my wrongly concluding the Judiciary Committee voted on the pro-child-abuse version of this bill on April 28 rather than the significantly cleaned up version that is being listed with a revision date of May 5, 2009.)

This is an update to our previous article California Democrat Jim Beall Supports Child Abuse. When we started writing that article, AB 612 pro-child-abuse legislation. Despite minor changes, it was still pro-child-abuse when the Judiciary Committee voted to approve it on April 28. However, somebody in the California Assembly significantly watered it down on May 5 to a version that is no longer pro-child-abuse. These changes weren’t made until after the Judiciary Committee vote approving the bill.

You can find the the revision history of AB 612 complete with text and changes and votes at AB 612 Revision and Voting History.

The California Assembly Judiciary Committee voted on April 28, 2009, to approve Beall’s legislation in an amended version dated April 22, 2009. This version was still pro-child-abuse legislation, but not as seriously flawed as the version originally submitted by Beall on February 25, 2009:

AB 612 version amended April 22, 2009

The committee voting record shows that the committee passed this still pro-child-abuse version with votes in approval coming from these California Assembly Representatives:

Mike Feuer – Chair
(916) 319-2042
[email protected]

Van Tran – Vice Chair
(916) 319-2068
[email protected]

Julia Brownley
(916) 319-2041
[email protected]

Noreen Evans
(916) 319-2007
[email protected]

Dave Jones
(916) 319-2009
[email protected]

Paul Krekorian
(916) 319-2043
[email protected]

Ted W. Lieu
(916) 319-2053
[email protected]

William W. Monning
(916) 319-2027
[email protected]

Jim Nielsen
(916) 319-2002
[email protected]

The lone committee member not voting for AB 612 in its pro-child-abuse form was:

Steve Knight
(916) 319-2036
[email protected]

But he didn’t vote “no”, he simply didn’t vote. So his position on this legislation remains unclear.

On May 5, 2009, the Assembly revised the legislation significantly to read like this:

AB 612 version amended May 5, 2009

This amendment vastly changes the bill so that parental alienation can still be considered during custody evaluations. It essentially says that child hostility towards a parent doesn’t prove parental alienation and could be indicative of actual abuse. Competent child custody evaluators and judges already knew that. The bill as it is written today is close to pointless, but it is at least not covering up for child abusing parents as the previous revisions did. We’d like to thank those who changed the original misguided and destructive legislation into something far more reasonable.

However, Jim Beall’s website is still trying to portray AB 612 as making it illegal to consider parental alienation in child custody evaluations and decisions even though it no longer reads that way. So Beall is not only in favor of allowing parental alienation child abuse to pick up votes from NOW and others like them, he’s also trying to pull the wool over their eyes about just what the legislation says.

(from Beall’s website news)
April 28, 2009
Contact: Rodney Foo @ (408) 282-8920
Assemblymember Beall: Junk Science Should Be Thrown Out of Court
AB 612 Requires Family Courts to Restrict Use of Pseudo Syndromes in Custody Cases

(Sacramento) – Assembly Bill 612, legislation from Assemblymember Jim Beall, Jr. (D-San Jose), outlawing unscientific “alienation’’ theories that have fueled bitter and expensive child custody battles, cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday when it was approved by the Assembly Committee on Judiciary. Supporting the measure at the hearing was award winning television star Nancy Lee Grahn (General Hospital’s Alexis Davis) and others.

The bill seeks to prohibit courts from considering nonscientific theories when making decisions on child custody or visitation. The American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family “noted the lack of data to support so-called ‘parental alienation syndrome,’ ’’ according to an association statement.

AB 612 would also eliminate training in non-scientific theories, such as parental alienation theories, from Judicial Council-approved education for family court professionals.

“We want to change a harmful family court practice that apparently has gone unchecked for some time, resulting in innocent children being improperly placed,’’ Beall said. “This legislation requires family courts to follow the legal principals of accepted evidence. Pseudo ‘syndromes’ should not be allowed as evidence in life-altering custody determinations.

The Parental Alienation Syndrome presupposes that the custodial parent brainwashes the child to make false statements against the other parent. The theory or syndrome has been employed by some abusive parents to regain custody of the victimized child, experts say.

“Too many times, court evaluators are sidetracked by this pseudo syndrome into presuming the child’s hostility toward the non-custodial parent resulted from ‘programming’ by the custodial parent while completely ignoring symptoms of abuse or domestic violence by the non-custodial parent,’’ Beall said.

By prohibiting non-scientific theories, the bill makes evidentiary standards in family court more consistent with other courts.

Jim Beall is exactly the kind of scummy politician who would harm our children for his own gain. He should still be held accountable for his bizarre and destructive positions even if AB 612 passes in a form that is not pro-child-abuse.

The other 9 of 10 Judiciary Committee members who voted in favor of the pro-child-abuse form of AB 612 should also be held accountable for their support of allowing and thereby encouraging parental alienation child abuse.

If you are opposed to parental alienation child abuse as any responsible parent should be, please write to these assembly members and let them know their support of the pro-child-abuse version of AB 612 is at best misguided.

Click here to start your email with addresses and subject filled in

You might use this as a starting point for the body of your email:

Judiciary Committee Members:

I find it deeply disturbing that you voted in favor of Rep. Jim Beall’s AB 612 legislation in a form that supported whitewashing of parental alienation child abuse. By your vote, you have made it clear you either did not take the time to be well-informed on parental alienation or that you believe that such emotional abuse against children should be allowed and encouraged by the State of California.

Parental alienation is real, it happens far too frequently, and it causes immense damage to children. Alienated children frequently are psychologically damaged in life-long ways by the abuse. They often develop depression, substance abuse problems, eating disorders, and even manipulative behavior patterns similar to their alienating parents. Some compare growing up with an alienating parent as being kidnapped and brainwashed. For example, Dr. Amy Baker studied and documented in depth the cases of 40 research subjects who as adults realized they are victims of parental alienation. Her book “Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind” mentions some disturbing statistics of the damage caused to alienated children:

70% suffered from depression
58% were divorced
Half of the 28 who had children are estranged from their own children
35% developed problems with drugs and alcohol

Dr. Amy Baker is just one of many mental health professionals who have researched parental alienation and believe it is a significant harm to children. She and others like her would probably be interesting in helping you understand the issues.

That some parents have had false claims of parental alienation used against them to wrongly reduce or terminate their child custody doesn’t mean parental alienation is not real. Jim Beall’s misguided and self-serving portrayal of parental alienation as “junk science” simply shows that some politicians will stoop to hurting children if it will get them some more votes.

Such bad outcomes as wrongful child custody assignments are caused primarily by the broken family law courts in California. California family law courts don’t punish perjury by lawyers and litigants, reward false allegations, and encourage abusive litigants to harm their ex-spouses and children by false use of restraining orders. Judges don’t have time to understand high-conflict cases. They have time to read lies, but not time to read the facts. Furthermore, many California family law judges lack any significant experience in family law when they begin their service in family law courts, lack adequate training in psychology, and are stuck making difficult decisions based upon egregious lies on an everyday basis.

Broken courts make bad decisions. Malicious misinformation also leads to bad decisions. If you want to fix the problem of bad child custody decisions, fix the courts and find a way to punish perjury on a routine basis. Don’t rewrite reality by pretending that child abuse should be tolerated as Beall has been attempting to do.

I’d prefer to think you were simply poorly informed and manipulated by parties such as Jim Beall who have his own political interests in mind and don’t really care about California’s children. However, if you persist in backing legislation to harm the children of California, be assured that it will come across as you being willing to hurt kids in exchange for votes and you will be held accountable for this destructiveness by the voters of California.

Please edit the email as you see fit, putting in your own personal experiences and opinions.

  1. May 11th, 2009 at 23:56 | #1


    You kinda got your facts wrong. While the state website did not update the amendments until 5/5/09, those were the amendments that the committee voted on. The committee chair Mike Feuer and the committee forced the amendments on the author. I gave an update on the bill on 5/4/09 here:

    In your blog you are attacking people who should be applauded for standing up against the author and the supporter of the bill. We knew about the committee amendments before the hearing.

    • Chris
      May 12th, 2009 at 12:47 | #2


      Thanks for providing an update and correcting my erroneous interpretation of the state’s legislative website. I went by the information on the state website regarding revision dates. It wasn’t just the website that showed a May 5 revision date, the revised bill text also shows a May 5 revision date. Based upon that and misinformation on Beall’s own website, it strongly appeared the committee voted 9 to 0 in favor of an essentially pro-child-abuse version of AB 612.

      The amendment is still listed as May 5, even though you’re saying it was amended prior to the committee vote. So it appears this is a case of bad information leading to inaccurate conclusions.

      Do you know if the newly listed coauthors Ma, Smyth, Torrico, and Yee were responding for fixing AB 612 to no longer be pro-child-abuse? If so, they deserve our thanks.

      As you noted in your posting, the Judiciary Committee recognized how flawed Beall’s version of AB 612 was and rejected dirty tactics to try to force its passage:

      CAFC also want to express our acknowledgment and thanks for the great display of courage that Assemblyman Mike Feuer, the committee chair, and his staff have shown. They have honorably shown that they will not be bullied with baseless political attacks, grandstanding or smear tactic claims of not caring about children’s safety and welfare. What Assemblyman Feuer and his committee staff have shown by the committees actions is that they truly care about the safety, health and care of all children, and it is evidenced in the committee bill language that was passed.

      Prior to writing the article upon which you commented, I looked for more updates but found nothing other than the state legislative website with its misleading information and the many websites of pro-child-abuse feminists expressing how happy they were about AB 612 passing the Judiciary Committee vote. Additionally, Beall’s website itself made similar claims. As of May 12, 2009, his website still contains the same misleading misinformation making it appear as if the pro-child-abuse version of his idiotic legislation is what passed the committee vote.

      It’s my opinion that the Judiciary Committee members and public should do something about Jim Beall and his irresponsible and dishonest legislation and behaviors. He’s a disgrace and a threat to families and children.

  2. Michael
    May 15th, 2009 at 01:12 | #3

    It will be up to the rules committee as to whether Beall corrects his website. If Beall and the supporters of the bill want to keep misleading everyone, hey it’s a free country. But as we often say in the political arena “that a politician for you”. I don’t see what good it will do them because what passed out of the committee is a done deal and really only restate existing law with the exception of improving training. That could also backfire on Beall and company even more because there are far more evaluators who feel PA is a legitimate psychology issue.

  1. May 7th, 2009 at 14:03 | #1
  2. May 12th, 2009 at 23:05 | #2
  3. July 5th, 2009 at 15:53 | #3
  4. May 5th, 2010 at 01:42 | #4

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