Michigan Judge locks up three children because they refused to have lunch with their father

In Michigan, Oakland County Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca compared three Bloomfield Hills children in a family to cult leader Charles Manson, and then remanded them to custody until they reach adulthood- for refusing to have lunch with their father, or speak to him. Detroit News reports that the parents are a pediatric ophthalmologist and a General Motors engineer who have been involved in a contentious divorce since 2009. The children are 9, 10 and 15. Last month the judge claimed that the children were in contempt of court for refusing to have lunch with, or speak to, the father. The children claim that they do not want to speak with the father because he is abusive. The oldest child explained to the court in a show-cause hearing that he had witnessed the father abuse the mother.

According to the transcript, the 15-year-old first apologized to Gorcyca, but then explained that his father is “violent,”- and that is why he does not want to maintain the relationship.

[15 y/o boy]
: “Okay, so I–I do apologize if I–I didn’t understand the rules of the–like the–with–with–like apologize for whatever I did to you, but I do not apologize for–for not talking to him because I have a reason for that and that’s because he’s violent and he–I saw him hit my mom and I’m not going to talk to him.”

Gorcyca’s verbal reaction then borders on the surreal. She tells the boy, “You’re a contemptuous, defiant young man and I am ordering you to spend the rest of the Summer–and we’ll review it–review it when school starts, and you may be going to school there…”

The boy interjects saying that he believed the rules involved not “hitting someone.”

“I ordered you,” Gorcyca replied. “I will say this again, and apparently you’re—you’re supposed to have a high IQ, which I’m doubting right now because of the way you act. You’re very defiant, you have no manners. … There is no reason why you do not have a relationship with your father. Your father has never been charged with anything. Your father’s never been convicted of anything. Your father doesn’t have a personal protection order against him. Your father is well-liked and loved by the community, his co-workers, his family [and] his colleagues. You, young man, have got it wrong. I think your father is a great man who has gone through hoops for you to have a relationship with you.”

Then, in a bizarre twist, Gorcyca brings Charles Manson into the discussion:

“Mother, I appreciate that you did say that. It probably was way too late. Your children—you need to do a research program on Charlie Manson and the cult that he has. Your behavior in the hall with me months ago, your behavior in this courtroom, your behavior back there, is unlike anything I have seen in 46,000 cases.

“You, young man, are the worst one. So you have bought yourself living in Children’s Village, going to the bathroom in public, and maybe summer school.”

Believe it or not it gets worse, when Gorcyca starts in on the 9 and 10-year old. At one point, the 10-year-old tells the judge that he’ll just go ahead and go to jail with his brother. ABA Journal reports:

Later, Gorcyca questioned the two younger children, who at first indicated they would try to communicate with their father during visits. Both children were also represented by lawyers.

Gorcyca said all three children should start by having lunch with their father in the cafeteria. At that point, the 10-year-old boy said he would go to Children’s Village and the 9-year-old girl said she didn’t want to have lunch with her father.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Gorcyca said. “One day you can watch this video and realize that you too have been brainwashed. …. Your dad is a good man. And wipe that smirk off your face.”

The 10-year-old tells the judge it’s not a smirk, and she replies, “You’re a defiant, contemptuous young man and the court finds both of you in direct contempt. You both are going to live in Children’s Village.”

Gorcyca told all the children that her placement order was being made over the objections of both parents. While at Children’s Village, they could not visit with their mother, the judge said. She also ordered that the siblings be kept from interacting with each other. She promised to review her order when they are ready to have lunch or dinner with their father and be “normal human beings.”

This judge is not only unfit to be on a bench or hold a bar license. She needs to be residing in a mental institution.

Show cause hearing transcript

Court Order and Writ of Habeas Corpus

Author’s note. This post has been updated to reflect a correction. This quote:

[15 y/o boy]: “Okay, so I–I do apologize if I–I didn’t understand the rules of the–like the–with–with–like apologize for whatever I did to you, but I do not apologize for–for not talking to him because I have a reason for that and that’s because he’s violent and he–I saw him hit my mom and I’m not going to talk to him.”

originally and incorrectly read:

[15 y/o boy]: “Okay, so I–I do apologize if I–I didn’t understand the rules of the–like the–with–with–like apologize for whatever I did to you, but I do apologize for–for not talking to him because I have a reason for that and that’s because he’s violent and he–I saw him hit my mom and I’m not going to talk to him.”