By Elisabeth Harrison
Providence, R.I. – Interviews begin today for a new chief justice to lead the Rhode Island Family Court. Several groups have recently criticized the court and its outgoing chief justice Jeremiah Jeremiah.
Jeremiah is the target of an ACLU lawsuit that alleges the court's truancy program violates due process rights for children and families. A report released earlier this year by the Coalition Against Domestic Violence also criticized the court.
Anne Grant, an author and advocate for domestic abuse victims, says many alleged abusers get joint custody because it is expensive and time consuming to pursue a case against them.
"And its not just he said she said, because some of the cases I wrote about, there were hospital records and police records to show that the children were being exposed and the mother was being beaten," Grant said. "And yet, the children ended up going to the father."
Some advocates have praised Jeremiah for embracing some recommendations, such as a training session on domestic abuse for family court workers.
The judicial nominating commission will interview 6 candidates to replace Jeremiah and submit a recommendation to the governor.