Recently I was listening to an Internet talk show featuring Dr. Tara Palmatier of Shrink4Men  and Paul Elam of A Voice for Men . A caller related a story about how his friend showed up for a court hearing to finalize his divorce and was physically assaulted in the court house by his ex and then falsely accused by her and arrested by the police. This story and several others I have heard and read provide ample cause for a revision in US laws to permit private video and audio recording in courthouses to be used for the protection of the people who are forced to appear in courthouses.
It occurred to me that some people may think being arrested for being a victim of assault in a courthouse sounds far out, but in fact it is not unusual conduct for abusers to go after their target in a court or public setting by staging attacks or simply making up false allegations. For details on this particular incident, listen to the radio program about 64 minutes into the show if you don’t have the time to listen to the whole program.
Another person who has been attacked by his ex in a courthouse is family law reform activist Ben Vonderheide of Pennsylvania . His ex and her new boyfriend conspired to attempt to frame him for assault in a courthouse and made false reports to police to attempt to get him arrested. But because he relentlessly employs audio and video recording devices, even when he is threatened over how they are not allowed and he thereby risks his own false arrest, he was able to prove they assaulted him. This resulted in what is claimed to be the one and only prosecution for perjury in a family law case in the United States.
Vonderheide’s abusive ex and her latest boyfriend Theodore Yoder were convicted of repeatedly lying to police to try to get Vonderheide arrested on false allegations. The convictions occurred in part because Vonderheide had very convincing evidence. He video and audio records constantly because of his extended experience with pathological liar Flanders, especially if she might be in the area. If he didn’t have those recordings, he might have wound up in prison for a very long time. That’s because in the US, domestic violence and restraining order violation allegations are treated as guilty until proven innocent crimes in violation of the US Constitution. You have to prove your innocence, yet even when you do, you can still be hounded with persecution via a record of criminal accusations that will cost you jobs, income, and your reputation potentially for the rest of your life.
Vonderheide finds himself a frequent target for physical violence and false allegations because he asks questions of backers of the abusive family courts and gender-biased domestic violence laws. These people seek to intimidate and harass him any way they can. When he showed up at the US Senate to ask questions of those backing renewal of the sexist VAWA law, National Organization of Women attorney Lisalyn R. Jacobs physically assaulted him. This abusive physically violent woman is a domestic violence expert for CNN and the New York Times. She espouses the “men are violent, women are victims” drivel that is one the primary reasons behind the total failure of the DV industry to put a stop to violence in families, yet she herself is violent and her actions prove she is a liar when it comes to the DV claims pursued by her gender-biased organization.
Jacobs’ assault on Vonderheide was captured on his video recording, and this enabled her prosecution for a crime that would probably have otherwise gone completely unpunished.
Lisalyn Jacobs Cops a Plea
Jacobs later plea bargained to get 32 hours of community service and agreed to “refrain from all harassing, assaultive, threatening, or stalking behavior against John Bennett Vonderheide.” Reports are that she later lost her law license over her crime.
Vonderheide’s experience shows that the laws against recording devices in courthouses are dysfunctional as they aid abusers in their harassment campaigns. The problem is much bigger than the small number of publicized physical assaults in courthouses and similar government buildings would suggest. Courthouses are often venues for creating false allegations of harassment by the actual abuser precisely because the courts prohibit the use of cameras and recording devices and the victim is often forced to appear in a location known and readily accessible at a set time by the abuser.
A typical example of how this victimization works involves a self-proclaimed “abused woman” who is actually an abuser herself. She stalked her ex around the courthouse, trying to make contact with him via nasty looks, smirks, intimidating hand signs, and pretending to have to go to the court business office or the bathroom at the same time as him. This man is in danger every time he sets foot in a courthouse for a court hearing or mediation with his abuser. The woman is a predator stalking her prey. The laws against recording devices in courthouses prohibit him from being able to defend himself with solid evidence, all while the unjust courts often require him to be in the presence of his abuser with no real protection whatsoever from harassment and false allegations.
Despite his efforts to stay away from her, one time the woman got into proximity of him and relatives with her attorney beside her and proceeded with her usual depraved behaviors. Weeks later, she and the attorney then filed a declaration in court falsely claiming that the man and his relatives were shouting and screaming insults at her in the courthouse. This was a total fabrication. If it had happened, given that it was tens of yards from a security scanner and guard station with half a dozen armed police officers and was in the middle of a court business office with dozens of people walking about or in lines, there would have been witnesses. She produced no witnesses besides her lying attorney and herself because she was lying.
How is a falsely accused person supposed to defend against such a lie? There was no shouting, no screaming, no violence, and nothing to attract attention of the dozens of people all around. As a result, the target of the lie cannot get any witnesses because nobody else remembers a thing. Literally nobody is going to come forward weeks later as a “witness to nothing happening.” But if the abused man or his family had been able to carry around video recorders all throughout the courthouse to protect themselves, it would have been very easy to prove the woman was perjuring herself yet again. Fortunately, this man and his relatives were lucky that the judge didn’t give any credibility to the woman’s perjury. Unfortunately, the judge did not take any action to punish her perjury. So she has continued to perjure herself, file false police reports, and engage in widespread harassment against her many targets for years.
Ben Vonderheide has worked long and hard to fight the good fight for justice for children and families (mothers included). His tactics include carrying recording devices with him at every opportunity. This is a must for a person working in this depraved system where a false accusation with no evidence is assumed to be the truth. You can learn more about him and his tactics via an Internet radio program featuring him talking with Dr. Tara Palmatier or by visiting his website Daddy Justice .
In the Internet radio program, Vonderheide talks extensively about how video and audio recording is so important to protecting victims of sociopaths who will attack them in courthouses, at child custody exchanges, and over the phone. He points out that without evidence, you will be attacked and you will be assumed to be guilty.
The program also features a caller who is a mother whose family was helped tremendously by Ben Vonderheide as the Lancaster County government abused her family. The woman calls him her “hero” and in my view she’s so right on this.
Citizens cannot be safe from abuse by sociopaths and abusive government employees without the right to freely use audio and video recording devices in public settings or in their own homes and businesses. Any law that constrains the use of such devices without providing alternate mechanisms to ensure the safety and security of people from false allegations is a law that aids and abets criminal behavior.
America needs many more heroes like Ben Vonderheide, Carlos Miller of Photography Is Not A Crime , and the many contributors at sites like CopBlock  who expose the brutality and crimes of police officers and other government employees by using audio and video recording devices.
If you’ve got a story about how you were abused in a court house, a government building, or other public setting via false allegations, assault, intimidation, or other abusive aggression, please share it with us by leaving a comment. The public has a right to know how widespread these crimes are. The lawmakers must be pushed into updating the legal codes to allow targets of abuse and everyday law-abiding citizens to collect evidence to defend themselves against the liars and criminals around them.