News: US judge insists on visitation rights for convicted murderer
A US judge has ruled that Australian Michael Roberts cannot return to the country with his two children because their jailed mother retains visitation rights.
Under the terms of the order, issued by Judge Nancy Whittenberg, Roberts must regularly take the children 1,500 miles from their home in California to visit their mother Tracey Richter in prison in Mitchellville, Iowa. The order specifies that Roberts cannot leave the country until Richter has exhausted her appeal process.
Richter was convicted in November 2011 of the first degree murder of neighbour Dustin Wehde ten years earlier, in December 2001. The 20-year old was found dead from gunshot wounds to the head at Richter’s home in Early,Iowa. She claimed she had been acting in self-defence during a ‘home invasion’, although prosecutors were sceptical.
Richter and Roberts later divorced and she took primary custody of the children.
Charges were eventually filed against Richter in 2011 and she was duly convicted of carrying out the murder in order to frame her first husband and gain sole custody of their child. Her and Roberts’ two children were one room away during the shooting.
Mr Roberts took custody of the children following her arrest. He moved with them to an undisclosed address inCalifornia, because, he claims, he is concerned for their safety.
Judge Whittenberg said the children, now aged 14 and 12, had a “long, positive history with their mother,” who was an “excellent” parent. She added that the visits would help bring close the trauma of their mother’s arrest and conviction.
However prosecutors expressed incredulity.CountyAttorneyBen Smith said: “Do you think Tracey cared about the children when she stashed them in the room 15 feet from where she fired 11 shots? S he should have lost any and all rights to make those kinds of decisions or to have an influence in her kids’ lives when she executed somebody.”
Share this post
Get free family law updates
Marilyn Stowe’s new book: expert advice on all aspects of divorce, just 99p!
Divorce & Splitting Up by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner. Read more >>
"A must buy that really opens your eyes to what is involved if you are considering or going through a divorce." - Amanda Brown
"This will answer your questions in a way that non-lawyers can understand." - Miss P.
"Don't get divorced without it. I read this book despite being divorced for more than 10 years. I wish I'd had this book to hand at the time. Great examples, simple to read and understand." - Jamie
"This really has helped me to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I will come out of it a stronger person." - J
Marilyn Stowe on SKY News & ITV This Morning
- u6c00 on High Court judge says children are the “real victims and casualties” of divorce
- Anonymous on High Court judge says children are the “real victims and casualties” of divorce
- Anonymous on Test for imprisonment for non payment of maintenance must be simplified, says High Court judge
- Andrew on Test for imprisonment for non payment of maintenance must be simplified, says High Court judge
- JamesB on English family law à la française by guest blogger Melanie Bataillard-Samuel
Subscribe & Follow
In the Media
Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
Contact Stowe Family Law
These downloads accompany Marilyn Stowe's latest book: Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer. After opening, right click to save to your computer.
For more free downloads, visit the Downloads section.