Feb 13, 2020 (West St. Paul, Minnesota) – An OUTRAGEOUS family court decision from the State of Minnesota… Ta’Quan Lee Smith has a rap sheet that includes selling drugs, armed robbery and giving police officers a false name. SO how was Smith able to convince a family court judge that he is deserving of custody of a child, and should have unsupervised visits? During a recent child custody exchange, Smith became angry and started shooting a gun at the car his ex-wife and child were riding in. The bullets missed the victims and instead landed in the metal roof of a nearby business, thankfully no one was hurt.
“Police learned from the victim that she had gone to the parking lot with her new boyfriend to meet her soon-to-be ex-husband, whom she identified as Tu’Quan Lee Smith, for a child custody exchange, the complaint states.
She told police that Smith exited his vehicle and began taunting the couple. They completed the exchange of the child and then Smith flashed a gun and threatened her boyfriend. The victim and her boyfriend then left with the child in their vehicle.
The victim then realized that her child had dropped a glove in the parking lot, so they returned to the parking lot and Smith followed them in his vehicle. Once in the parking lot, Smith pointed the handgun at the victim’s vehicle and fired two shots at the front of the vehicle. The victim then fled the parking lot to get away from the scene…”
Smith has been taken into custody and is being held at the Dakota County Jail. If convicted, Smith could serve up to 7 years in prison.
But what about the sentence given to children who are court ordered into unsafe custody or visitation arrangements by family court judges? These children face a kind of incarceration where their childhood ends, and they are condemned to be re-abused or traumatized after being placed in custody or visits with an abusive, unfit parent.
In 2017, the United Kingdom passed significant reform and changes in family court procedure to better protect victims of domestic violence, and their children, during divorce and custody cases. The changes were implemented after after the release of a report titled Nineteen Child Homicides. The report tells the stories of the cases of 19 children, all intentionally killed by a parent who was also a known perpetrator of domestic abuse. The killings happened due to unsafe child contact arrangements, formal and informal. Over half of these child contact arrangements were ordered by the family courts.
Cases of injustice and abuse in family court have been reported for over 20 years in Minnesota and also been reported to be happening by parents in every state of the U.S. and even internationally. The Smith case should be a wake up call that the family court system is in serious need of reform and without it, lives will be put at risk and children will be harmed by the very system that is support to support their “best interest”.