The Hidden ‘Genocide’ of the Family Courts

Bandy X. Lee
7 min readMar 14, 2024

The Magnitude, Agency, and Actors Must be Correctly Identified

My twenty-five years of practicing psychiatry and working with violent offenders have taught me that, when dealing with perpetrators of violence, nothing must be taken for their word and everything should be gauged by their actions. About a year into my researching the Family Courts, I came to gauge the activity occurring inside them as a form of genocide: literally, “killing of a kind” — regardless of what they claim with words. I have listed how I believe they meet the criteria here. I will leave it to lawyers to deal with the legal nitpicking, the bizarre vagaries, and the communication blackout that Family Courts employ, in order to create the conditions that keep the public in the dark.

As a physician concerned with life and death and as a scholar of violence who has studied genocides, however — not to mention the sheer body count — my task is to describe, as accurately as possible, what I see. Polish lawyer Raphäel Lemkin coined the term through a combination of the Ancient Greek génos, “sort, category,” and the Latin caedere, “to kill,” to “signify a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at the destruction [of groups], with the aim of annihilating the groups.” Which group? We will define it for now, to be refined later, as: “mothers and children who allege abuse in Family Court.”

I diverge slightly from the 1948 United Nations (UN) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which needed to compromise in the negotiating process with member state Soviet Union, which objected to the inclusion of social or political group in order to protect its own actions against political dissidents. I am insisting on the inclusion of social or political group here — for the social group of concern is a distinctly identifiable group of dissidents in Family Court, and the ideological opinion of concern is that child abuse exists. In this manner, the target for elimination is an idea, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or nationality. This accords better with more contemporary scholarship and with my own experience of teaching asylum law at Yale Law School for seventeen years. Asylees in need of protection from government persecution are defined not only by race, religion, or nationality but by membership of a particular social group or political opinion, whether actual or imputed, consistent with the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Lemkin’s initial conceptualizations, furthermore, bring up a poignant aspect of genocide that repeats in Family Courts:

I was startled by the description of the destruction of the Christians by Nero. They were thrown to the lions while the emperor sat laughing on the Roman arena…. I realized, vividly, that if a Christian could have called a policeman to help he would not have received any protection. Here was a group of people collectively sentenced to death for no reason except that they believed in Christ. And nobody could help them…. I was fascinated … by the great suffering inflicted on the victims and the hopelessness of their fate, and by the impossibility of repairing the damage.

In the U.S. Family Courts, the most heinous human crimes imaginable — the torture, maiming, and murder of innocent children — are occurring at industrial scale, with hundreds of new cases of children per day, day after day, year after year, over decades, in all fifty U.S. states. Yet, these children are not the primary targets, but their loving mothers (and occasionally loving fathers) who, as they witness the destruction of their children — murdered at a rate of one every six daysdie from grief, suicide, cancer, heart attack, or “broken heart syndrome.” As happens with systematic genocide, the organizers of these massacres are not punished according to the law with death penalties and life imprisonments but rewarded with promotions and multiple billions of dollars a year.

Countless litigants under my sister’s Family Court judge, Jane Gallina-Mecca, who got in touch with me, expressed the exact same sentiments as Lemkin’s of Christians being thrown to the lions: “I was crying [as she was handing my children to their abuser], and the judge was laughing.” They are part of a group of people collectively sentenced to metaphorical or literal “death”, for no reason other than that they broached the subject of child abuse in Family Court (or were imputed to broach the subject, in cases where the children reported or resisted going to the abusive parent, or actual evidence was found of child abuse). Once branded with broaching the subject of child abuse — or “parental alienation” — like being found Christian in Nero’s time, the victim not only loses her children but all her Constitutional rights, her assets, her home(s), her profession(s), her reputation, her dignity, and her freedom (through incarceration, hospitalization, or guardianship), if not her life. Every victim litigant was a healthy, normal, and capable, even thriving suburban mother until she entered Family Court; every mother never believed something like this could happen to her, until she found herself entrapped in a predatory system whose goal was complete decimation of her. The obvious purpose is to render her incapable of fighting back or becoming an effective whistleblower.

If any of these terrified mothers called the police for help, they would not have received any protection — not by Child Protective Services, not by school officials or medical professionals, and not by the county prosecutor or sheriff. The usual mechanisms of federal court, most of the time appellate court, and most likely judicial review board are nonexistent, because the “discretion” Family Courts are allowed is almost unlimited, unlike other courts. Even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) takes a “hands off” approach and joins everyone else who falls in line under the implicit understanding that they are not to interfere. The irony is that the United States regularly grants asylum to foreign victims of domestic violence, as we count their government’s inability or unwillingness to protect them as government persecution. If the same situation happens within the United States, however, there is no protection, and even if a victim happens to flee to another country, we label them a criminal fugitive or a kidnapper of their children and order their extradition. This is how there was “No Way Out but One in the 1990’s, and now even the “One” way out has all but disappeared.

Indeed, six murders have surfaced in connection to Gallina-Mecca at this time, as a result of refusing to issue protective orders, arbitrarily removing permanent protective orders, or otherwise provoking situations to make them deadlier. In my sister’s case, Gallina-Mecca issued a court order explicitly permitting her violent husband to break into her house against the security alarm — an alarm whose very purpose was to guard against no one else but him — just weeks after he attempted to murder her for a third time. Previously, when there was a protective order against him for causing head injuries to his children, Gallina-Mecca rendered it useless by ordering the children to visit with him over the protective order, placing them in greater danger than if the protective order did not exist! Reports of Gallina-Mecca laughing at victims of domestic violence, her aggressively shunning evidence — going as far as to order one critical piece destroyed — and her insisting once that my sister place herself in a dangerous situation, despite four medical professionals submitting reports that she could die, showed that these actions were deliberate and sadistically calculated. She would come directly to place my sister’s life at risk three times, not to mention place her children under sole, unsupervised custody of the father who almost killed each of them. However, Gallina-Mecca’s actions are not unusual for Family Court culture, which rewards such behavior — and her promotion to being chief judge of the county’s Family Court is unsurprising in this context.

The recent deaths of Catherine Kassenoff — a former special counsel to the New York State governor — and of Sinéad O’Connor — a highly-successful Irish singer — illustrate that legal competence and talented capabilities make matters worse, not better, for mothers in Family Courts. Indeed, among the more than one thousand cases I have witnessed or heard about, there has been a correlation between a woman’s abilities, including excellent parenting abilities, and the draconian, vindictive measures that rain down on them. It is therefore a central tenet of my argument that strong, capable women — all the more so if they are also superb mothers — are marked for nothing less than total annihilation. This is partly a product of Family Courts functioning in service of violent perpetrators, who are often emotionally impoverished individuals jealous of their spouses, horribly in fear of abandonment, enraged that their spouses and their children have minds of their own, or outraged that their children will not bond with them, without being able to see their own actions of abuse.

Put simply, Family Courts have become the locus of collusion and cooperation with their extreme violence, as a result of the following characteristics:

1. Family Courts are said to be the bottom rung of all courts (“the sewer” of the judicial system, according to one legal scholar).

2. Incompetence and poor quality, coupled with absolute power by a single judge under total secrecy, have encouraged a lucrative abuse industry.

3. The abusers, upon entering “courts” that reward incompetence and enable abuse, grow maximally dangerous and deadly.

4. The abusers’ primary targets are the ex-spouses who have threatened to leave them, to whom they feel inferior, and whose annihilation would “vindicate” them.

5. The abusers’ secondary targets are the children, whose torture and death are compelling paths to causing the torture and slow death of ex-spouses.

Because Family Courts, by enabling or at best not holding accountable abusive personalities, have the effect of ballooning their entitlement, expectations, delusions of grandeur, and unlimited violence. These individuals, able to weaponize the legal system to enslave, torture, disfigure, and decimate their victims under “legal protection,” are actors in the larger Family Court carnage for profit that has now become an industrial organization of genocide.



Bandy X. Lee

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