I WAS ELATED when I heard that Judge John "Pancho" Morse Jr. was being challenged for his seat on the Superior Court bench. I jumped up and down and screamed "hallelujah."
I don’t wish him any sort of ill will. I just think he needs to go ride out his retirement as the pastor of the church where he and his wife work. That’s it. Let someone with energy and an investment in the community make the decisions.
Many of the incumbent politicians who drove this town into the crime-filled chaos of the last few years are now gone, having been voted out of office.
We’ve gotten a new police chief, sheriff, and mayor.
Well, hot damn, it’s time for a new judge too.
Let fresh eyes look at these cases and clear the backlog. Let families move on with their lives. Stop playing God with the lives of Chatham County citizens.
A quick look at the chathamcourts.org website and some of Judge Morse’s cases in the past few months showed me that he only closed about 15 percent of the cases he heard between February and present. (Computed using random samples of civil and domestic cases heard in Judge Morse’s courtoom from February–April 2016)
That means that 85 percent of his cases are still open. I don’t know about others, but if I only did 15 percent of my job, I’d be fired (sure, there is legal due process and other circumstances, I’m only using hard numbers here).
You know what else I found interesting? Most of the cases he heard in this sample were from more than a year ago.
What the actual heck? Why can’t he close cases? Especially mine ...
The one resounding theme in this message I’m writing is that you, Judge Morse, need to leave the bench.
Every night, I cry myself to sleep. Every morning, I cry when I wake up.
Why? Because my children are hung up in an ugly custody battle that is stuck in your courtroom.
For years, my ex and I have fought over custody. This battle made its way to Judge Morse’s courtroom, and in all my experience in family court with my ex over the last decade, Morse is the only one who’s refused to rule.
Now, before the naysayers jump down my throat and tell me I need to just get along with my ex for the sake of the kids, please know that I am trying. I’ve offered up joint custody. I’ve offered up waiving of all child support. I’ve caved in every manner possible except one, giving up my kids altogether.
This refusal to give up my kids (I mean, who would actually give up their kids?) has led me to thousands in attorney fees, litigation fees, the loss of two vehicles, the almost loss of my home, the selling of all my possessions.
I’ve lost it all—while waiting for Judge Morse to rule.
Honestly, I couldn’t give two damns about material possessions or money in the bank. What grinds my gears is that my children are hung up in a court system with a judge who refuses to make a decision about their lives.
Am I going to live with Mommy and Daddy? Can I live with both?
Will Mommy have a car this week to take me to my after-school activities?
Will Mommy and Daddy ever stop fighting?
Why won’t the judge listen to me?
I miss my sister. Why did the judge take us away from my sister?
As a mother, it breaks my heart that I cannot answer these questions for my children. From their first breaths, I’ve fought to protect them and give them a good life, only to have their current situation tied up in a courtroom and a judge who can’t seem to make a decision other than to take my children away without a hearing (where’s the due process?).
I mean, seriously Judge Morse, how hard is it to make a decision?
I’ve always believed that bad leaders aren’t people who make bad decisions. They’re people who make no decisions.
By that very definition, your honor, you’re a piss poor leader. Just DECIDE.
Even if it’s not in my favor, at least I can appeal.
Sad part is, even with my name on this article, he doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know my kids. We’re just names in a file that he’ll look at one day.
We’re good people. I’m a good person. I’m an upstanding member of this community.
I’m even a certified CASA (court-appointed advocate for children) in Chatham County. I’m a sworn officer of the court who’s been appointed to speak on behalf of all children in this county, yet my own kids were taken without so much as a hearing. How does this even happen?
But these are my kids—my whole world—and my life. And someone else gets to make those decisions (or not, actually).
Bottom line is I want my life back. I want my children to have their childhood back before it’s too late.
I’m tired of being at the mercy of a man who feels we’re only important enough to continue our case and get back to us later.
The citizens of Chatham County need better. The citizens of Chatham County need Peter Muller.
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