TRANSCRIPT: Joseph Reyes on Being Barred From Taking Child to Church

CUOMO: All valid points, all valid points. But how did you help the situation by violating the process? You went against a court order, you know—you're studying to be a lawyer, you know only bad can happen when you do that.

REYES: I think that there's a reasonable question to be raised in terms of whether or not I violated the court order by going to church. That's a doctrinal discussion that the court should not be having.

CUOMO: Assuming that it becomes accepted, that by going to a Catholic church you were doing something different than the order was dictating, which is stick to Judaism, assuming that--

REYES: Certainly

CUOMO: -- just for the purposes of this. By going, you did what the order was telling you not to do. You did expressly what it was telling you not to do, assuming that the discussion of religion is assumed to be as most would understand it. REYES: If you look at the court order, then I could have violated it anytime I walked in front of a Christmas tree, I could have violated it anytime I spoke to a friend that happened to wear a burkha….

CUOMO: You appealed it.

REYES: I did appeal it.

CUOMO: And what happened?

REYES: The appeal—the appeal upheld the order.

CUOMO: So, what does that tell you? In terms of how you're supposed to respect the system, you made an argument, the judge still granted the TRO. You then said you're not supposed to be involved in these kinds of arguments, so you appeal it, it gets upheld. Doesn't that tell you that you're supposed to respect it at least for 30 days?

REYES: It tells me that we have some serious problems in this country, that's what it tells me.

CUOMO: Were you surprised that when you violated the order, that instead of getting hauled back into court--family court to fight this out, that it was made a criminal matter by Rebecca?

REYES: No, no I wasn't surprised at all because if there is an end game that Rebecca perceives in all of this it's getting me out of our daughter's life.

CUOMO: Well, you may have helped her in that now right, if you end up losing the legal battle because did you—did you ever anticipate jail may enter this little story?

REYES: For six months?

CUOMO: Any jail—when you made the decision to violate the order, did you ever think 'I may wind up being separated from my child for a little while.'

REYES: If the courts do what they're supposed to do, what they claim to do, and that is, act out of the best interest of the child, there is no conceivable way that they would ever look at jailing a father for something like this to be in the best interest of the child.

CUOMO: How confident are you in that?

REYES: I am 100% confident that that what I'm saying is true. But courts don't look at the best interest of the child. Courts look at what they want to do, I mean, judges--judges in this system play God.

CUOMO: Are you worried that you're going to lose?

REYES: Of course I'm worried that I'm going to lose. If the courts do what they are legally obligated to do, then I'll win this. But I know that in the family court system, judges do not always follow the letter of the law. They're given way too much discretion, there's not the appropriate overview on this system, and they get away with murder.

CUOMO: Was it worth the risk? Now that you look back on where you are right now and what could lie ahead, was this the best way to go about it?

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