In Family Court, Strong Women and Good Mothers are Targets for Sacrifice

Bandy X. Lee
4 min readJan 27, 2024

The Mother Below Reached Out to Me in Desperation; Her Story Sounds Unbelievable, but in Family Court It is Typical

BATON ROUGE MOM GOING TO PARISH PRISON SATURDAY FOR FAILING TO PAY HER HUSBAND’S ATTORNEY FEES

By Woody Jenkins, editor, Central City News — BATON ROUGE

Katherine Diamond, a 55-year-old Baton Rouge mother of 13-year-old twins, has been ordered to report to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison at 8 a.m. Saturday morning to begin serving five days of a 140-day prison sentence.

Her crime? Well, she actually hasn’t been convicted of a crime or even accused of one. The sentence comes from an order by Family Court Judge Erika Green that Ms. Diamond pay nearly $75,000 of her husband’s attorney fees in connection with their custody battle and for other costs.

Three years ago, Family Court Judge Pam Baker found that Ms. Diamond had committed child abuse. That was in a Family Court civil case, not in a criminal trial. However, a review of a video of the alleged child abuse — a video taken and edited by the ex-husband — shows that no abuse occurred. Yet, because of that video clip, which was not substantiated by an investigation, Ms. Diamond has not been allowed to see her children in more than two years.

Baton Rouge attorney Susan Raborn, who is not associated with the case, reviewed the video of the alleged child abuse for the Central City News. She said, “The video by the ex-husband was taken at a parking lot where they were scheduled to exchange the children from his vehicle to hers. The little girl resists getting into the mom’s vehicle for about 10 seconds. At no time does Ms. Diamond hit or hurt the child. She is simply trying to get her into the car. Meanwhile, the husband is in his truck filming and does nothing to get the children to cooperate with the transfer and get in the car with their mother. To call this child abuse is absurd. To convince the court to go along with such a story to destroy a mom and take her children from her is outrageous. After reviewing the video a number of times, I can say with certainty that this is not a case of child abuse.”

The allegation of abuse was made by Ms. Diamond’s ex-husband in their child custody case before Family Court. It was never investigated by the district attorney, law enforcement, or the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. No criminal complaint was ever made against Ms. Diamond. It was simply an accusation made by the husband in Family Court.

When Ms. Diamond’s previous attorney, Kathy Benoit, attempted to go into court to argue that Ms. Diamond’s ex-husband had been manipulating their case and keeping their children away from their mother, the ex-husband’s attorney said it was a frivolous allegation and asked the judge to hold both Ms. Diamond and Ms. Benoit in contempt of court, which the court did.

Ms. Raborn decried the weaponization of the courts to criminalize the work of attorneys, put them in fear of representing their clients, and destroy their client’s due process rights.

“Here we have a person being treated as a criminal but who was not afforded a criminal defense attorney,” Ms. Raborn said. “Family Court should not be able to put people in jail without affording them due process and proper criminal representation.”

Under Louisiana law, a party to a suit normally has to pay his own legal bills. However, in the Family Court, when an attorney for one party gets the judge to hold the other party in contempt of court, the person held in contempt can be forced to pay their spouse’s attorney bills and can be put in prison if they fail to do so.

While debtor’s prisons were done away with in the 1800’s, some people are still thrown into prison for nonpayment of fines for contempt of court.

Ironically, Ms. Diamond’s ancestor, Robert Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the chief financers of the Revolution, lost his fortune, and was sentenced to debtor’s prison for three years until the passage of the Bankruptcy Act of 1801, which set him free.

Contrary to what was said in court, Ms. Diamond has in fact been out performing trash pickup weekend after weekend with petty criminals and people convicted of DWI and drug charges. All for allegations of child abuse which did not happen.

Ms. Diamond said she has no means to pay the $75,000 being demanded by the judge for her husband’s attorney fees, child support, and other costs.

Ms. Diamond said, “I have never abused my children in any way. This is a complete injustice. They have taken my children and everything I have. Now they expect me to pay my husband’s legal bills. I’m going to prison but I’m not a criminal. Isn’t there anyone who will help me and end this nightmare?”

At present, Ms. Diamond is facing a potential of 140 days in prison, more than 200 hours of community service, and nearly $75,000 in payment for her husband’s legal bills and other costs. She is hopeful a miracle will happen, that these contempt charges will be dropped by her ex-husband, and that he will allow their children to see their mother, so that no more time will pass or memories be lost and they will be reunited soon.

(Originally distributed via: https://www.facebook.com/story.php/?id=100064941001980&story_fbid=756657756508918.)

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Bandy X. Lee

Forensic psychiatrist, violence expert, president of the World Mental Health Coalition (worldmhc.org), and New York Times bestselling author.