U.S. First Circuit: February 2013 Archives
U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

February 2013 Archives

Jason P. Fiume was convicted of wife beating in 2010, which predictably resulted in a protective order. As nearly as predictable was the response: defiance. He attempted to contact her via Facebook, text messaging, emailing, phone calls, and possibly via pigeon carrier, though the pigeons were never recovered. When his overtures were not reciprocated, he traveled from New York to Maine and left a message on the tree outside her parents' house, where she was staying.

The grand gesture was met not with love and reconciliation, but with the federal criminal charge of interstate travel with the intent to engage in conduct that transgresses a court-imposed protection order. He pled guilty, but was sorely disappointed by the presentencing investigation report, which recommended the following:

No wonder there are so many complaints about judicial shortages, both in the First Circuit and beyond. For the first time since June of last year, our legislature has approved a nominee to the federal courts. It should come as no surprise then that Judge William Kayetta, Jr. was probably the least controversial appointee imaginable.

According to the Blog of LegalTimes, Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, stated, "If you ask virtually any attorney or judge or prosecutor or law professor, anyone involved in the law profession in Maine, they'll tell you the president could not have made a better choice than Bill Kayatta."

Political patronage is a dirty word to many. It is one of the principles of the American Idea that in this land of opportunity, we'll choose the best person for the job, no matter their political affiliation. For about a century after our modern Constitutional government was formed, patronage was the name of the game and each change in administration meant a massive civil service turnover, and of course, corrupt bargains and payoffs for positions.

The Feds fixed the issue in 1883 with the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. Puerto Rico had its own remedy, the Public Service Human Resources Administration Act of Puerto Pico, which espoused "merit principles" over patronage.

Lisandro Patrick just lived out every parent's worst nightmare. After moving his wife and child to the United Kingdom from Puerto Rico, his wife absconded with the child and returned home.

Interstate custody disputes are difficult enough, but international? That's a whole different league of nasty, as Patrick would soon find out. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, along with a number of British and Puerto Rican laws, all intermingle to complicate the case. This doesn't even address the practical aspects, like finding and paying for counsel.