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Chicago Man Faces Criminal Trial For Taking Jewish Daughter To Church

 
 
Miller
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 07:30 pm
Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=156947
Story Retrieval Date: 2/16/2010 7:22:27 PM CST

Man faces criminal trial for taking daughter to church
by Maggie Hyde
Feb 16, 2010

A Chicago man accused of violating the terms of a restraining order by taking his daughter to a Catholic Church service pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal contempt during an arraignment Tuesday.

After the hearing before Cook County Associate Judge Elizabeth Loredo Rivera, Joseph Reyes insisted that he did nothing wrong and said the order was unfair. In a news release he said the restraining order violated his constitutional right guaranteeing freedom of religion

The order, issued on Dec. 11, bars Reyes from exposing his young daughter Ela Reyes “to any other religion other than the Jewish religion.”

Reyes’ lawyer, Joel Brodsky, said the case is a matter of personal freedom. Brodsky, who is also representing murder suspect Drew Peterson, said that to enforce the order, a judge would have to define what is Jewish and what is Catholic.

“He has a right to take his child with him to his religious practices,” Brodsky said after the hearing. “I don’t think, in this country, a judge has the right to say what is Jewish and what is not.”

The restraining order was entered by Cook County Circuit Judge Edward Jordan, who is presiding over the divorce proceedings between Reyes and his wife, Rebecca Reyes. But prior to Tuesday’s arraignment, Reyes requested a new judge.

Jordan, a former president of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, a Jewish Bar Association, removed himself from the contempt case. “There is no question in my mind that Mr. Reyes can receive justice at any other’s hand,” Jordan said, despite requests by the prosecution that Jordan remain on the case and enforce his order.

Reyes said outside of court that because the judge entered the restraining order, “he would have a point in enforcing the order…I think the judge exercised a poor amount of discretion [in issuing the order].”

Reyes took the couple's 3-year-old daughter, Ela, to a Catholic mass on Jan. 17, according to the charges contained in the court file.

Rebecca Reyes did not appear in court Tuesday. Her lawyer, Laura Ashmore, said that her client had confidence in the judicial system.

“She wants to try her case in court and not in the media,” she said.

Because the charge carries only a maximum of six months in jail or a $500 fine, Reyes is not entitled to a jury trial.

Joseph Reyes started a Web site to raise money for the legal costs of the trial.

Brodsky said that so far, the amount of money donated had been “in the hundreds, not very much.”

Rebecca Reyes is the daughter of Howard Schapiro, the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Playboy Enterprises Inc.

Reyes, who is now a student at John Marshall Law School, completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2004. He said he and his estranged wife did not follow many Jewish traditions during their marriage.

“We maybe went to synagogue a handful of times,” he said.

Howard LeVine, who has been practicing family law for 40 years, said that although temporary restraining orders are common in divorce and custody battles " particularly in the context of finances - religious disputes between parents are fairly rare.

“Normally, parties make an agreement,” he said.

He said the religious practices of the parent with custody of the child usually takes precedence.

“If he doesn’t have custody, and she does, then she has the final say on the religion of the child,” LeVine said.

Rebecca Reyes currently has custody of the child. According to Brodsky, Joseph Reyes is allowed “full and liberal” visitation.

A status hearing for the trial will be held March 3.
 
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 09:23 am
I was thinking just recently that A2K didn't have nearly as many racist or anti-Semitic posts as it once had -- and then Miller showed up. It's kismet!

As for the case: it would be highly unusual for a judge to throw a clause about the religious upbringing of a child into a divorce decree on his own initiative. What probably happened is that the parties agreed on or the court decided the custody issue, and the religious upbringing of the child was entrusted to the custodial parent (in this case, the mother) as part of the decree -- that's a fairly typical provision where the child is a minor and the parents (or at least one of the parents) care about that sort of thing. Then the father violated that clause, the mother sought a restraining order to prohibit the father from further violating the divorce decree, and the court issued the order, telling the father not to interfere in the religious upbringing of the child, which the divorce decree entrusted to the mother. The father then proceeded to disobey the restraining order, and now he's trying to avoid going to jail by whining about how his religious rights are being violated.

Frankly, the father sounds like a jerk and the mother is probably well rid of him. All sympathies, of course, go to the child, who is likely just being used as a pawn in this power struggle. Oh, and also my sympathies to the judge in this case and to all judges in family courts -- they have some of the toughest jobs in the judicial system.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 09:25 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Oh, and also my sympathies to the judge in this case and to all judges in family courts -- they have some of the toughest jobs in the judicial system.


Amen . . . so to speak . . .
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 09:25 am
@joefromchicago,
What he said.
0 Replies
 
estherhadas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 02:17 pm
@Miller,
This Father agreed to raise his daughter Jewish and that is how she is being raised - by bringing her to church, puts the child in the middle of his emotional divorce with his wife.

First - decisions that involve the child need to be discussed with Mother and Father, not just carried out.

Second - this child is being raised Jewish - according to Jewish law, this child is Jewish - this child was concieved in a Jewish woman, nutured/feed for 9 months inside a Jewish woman and continued to be nutured afterwards by a Jewish woman.

Jewish woman are not second class citizens.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 02:30 pm
It seems the mother is getting off easy here on Able2know. There is no evidence that the father agreed to a religious upbringing. It seems unlikely that this is the case after reading the story from a couple of sources. The claim that seems to be made is what Esther said-- that the child is Jewish by birth and therefore any other religion is harmful.

In my opinion, both of these parents are acting like idiots.

There is a simple solution. Take the child away from both of them and give it to a Muslim family to raise.

I doubt that is what will happen, but getting the child away from these two would be in her best interest (and when their shared hatred of a third religion gets them on the same side, maybe they can decide to work something out).
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 12:18 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

It seems the mother is getting off easy here on Able2know. There is no evidence that the father agreed to a religious upbringing. It seems unlikely that this is the case after reading the story from a couple of sources. The claim that seems to be made is what Esther said-- that the child is Jewish by birth and therefore any other religion is harmful.

Well, all of that may be true (although I have my doubts). Nevertheless, the mom didn't violate the court's order: the dad did.

ebrown p wrote:
In my opinion, both of these parents are acting like idiots.

Again, that may be true, but the evidence points more strongly at the father:

Quote:
When the girl's father took her to church again in violation of the order, he called the media to witness the event.

A court could rule today on whether Reyes should be jailed for criminal contempt, but he contends he did nothing wrong.

"Going to church, I don't think I violated the order," he told "Good Morning America." "In terms of Judaism, based on the information I was given, Catholicism falls right under the umbrella of Judaism."

Source

So the father calls the media and tells them, in effect, "hey, come and watch me violate my court order!" Then he tries to defend himself by maintaining that Catholicism is just a form of Judaism. I'm sure his parish priest would like to set him straight on that one.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 01:19 pm
@joefromchicago,
We all agree that the father is a jerk. Attacking the father doesn't make the mother any better.

It takes two idiots to have a religious dispute (I know this because, believe or not, I have been in religious disputes). In is inexcusable for either of them to put their kids in the middle of their idiocy.




joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 05:13 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

We all agree that the father is a jerk. Attacking the father doesn't make the mother any better.

I don't think anyone claimed that it did.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 05:17 pm
@joefromchicago,
So you agree with my Solomonic solution to the problem?

(If love can't make parents act in the best interest of their children, maybe hate can.)
djjd62
 
  4  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 05:18 pm
anyone that takes their kid to church should get thrown in jail
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 05:29 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

So you agree with my Solomonic solution to the problem?

(If love can't make parents act in the best interest of their children, maybe hate can.)

No, but then I didn't feel the need to respond to it, as I considered it to be a jest.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 05:33 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
... as I considered it to be a jest.


I suppose it was.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 10:12 am
A more in-depth look at this case, with some of the legal gaps in the story filled in:
Mass Media: Can a family court prevent a parent from taking his daughter to church?
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 10:21 am
@djjd62,
I don't think your post will get the credit it deserves, unfortunately.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 10:59 am
@maporsche,
Quote:
I don't think your post will get the credit it deserves, unfortunately.


I gave it all the credit it deserves (and more).
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2010 08:51 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

There is no evidence that the father agreed to a religious upbringing.


So...why did the husband convert to Judaism in the first place? So he could rear his child as a Catholic?

DUH!!!
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2010 09:17 am
@Miller,
Quote:

So...why did the husband convert to Judaism in the first place? So he could rear his child as a Catholic?

DUH!!!


Maybe he was being considerate to his wife... putting her wants above his own in an obviously ill-advised attempt to have a good marriage with her. There is no evidence that this woman has made any similar compromises for the good of the marriage.

That she is unwilling to compromise in her religious beliefs-- even for the sake of her child-- is detestable.

Again, I put the man and the women in the same boat, they are both idiots. They are obviously using their child to fight each other.

I don't see how you can defend either one of these nut cases.
0 Replies
 
 

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