Friday, June 26, 2015

Dad drives stoned, nearly kills 4-year-old daughter, abandons accident site to get rid of the evidence--and still keeps his visitation rights (Syracuse, New York)

Just another sign of how the New York family courts have been completely taken over and corrupted by the fathers rights people.

You know what strikes me? Dad BRYAN TANNER isn't just a pothead. He's a pothead who lies, and he is a pothead who was more intent on getting rid of the evidence than staying with his daughter as she was near death.

These family court parasites will bleed this mother till she is destitute.

That's what the family courts in Chautauqua County did to me. Judge Judith Claire, just like these people, is more interested in scoring point with her FR buddies than doing right by kids. She made my daughter stay in a home that was filled with abused animals in cages, a house that reeked of urine and feces--all because the sick hoarder at this house was her father.

Shame on all of you who do this to kids.

Driving stoned and nearly killing daughter, 4, not enough to strip dad of visits

By Julie McMahon on June 25, 2015 at 8:54 AM, updated June 25, 2015 at 9:29 AM

Peyton Bean case: Court OKs deal continuing father's visits with girl he nearly killed
Driving stoned and nearly killing daughter, 4, not enough to strip dad of visits
Off-duty deputy helped save 4-year-old from near-fatal crash on Thruway
'Miracle kid' has face rebuilt after her near-fatal crash caused by father smoking pot

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Bryan Tanner smoked a marijuana pipe while driving down the state Thruway with his 4-year-old daughter in the backseat. He drove off the highway, causing a crash that nearly killed his child.

The girl's head took the brunt of the collision into a tree. Most of the bones in Peyton Bean's face shattered.

Tanner was alone with his daughter on that day last year because of a family court order. After Peyton recovered, her mother Taylor Decker went back to court with a request: that Tanner never be allowed to see Peyton again. A family court official told her no.

Even after Tanner, 25, admitted in criminal court to smoking marijuana while driving his daughter, an Onondaga County Family Court referee granted Tanner day-time visits with the girl on alternating weekends, to be supervised by his parents.

The referee, Salvatore Pavone, found the crash was not grounds for imposing the "drastic remedy of denying all visitation." Tanner will likely emerge from jail next year with the right to continue to visit Peyton.

The fight over the father's access to Peyton shows how much irresponsible behavior the court system will tolerate to make sure a child knows both birth parents. If smoking pot while driving with a kid in the car isn't enough to deny a parent visits, what is?

The crash

Tanner and Decker exchanged their daughter Peyton Bean, who took the mother's maiden name, on Sept. 25, 2014. They met at day care in Clay around 4:15 p.m. As Tanner was driving west on the Thruway to his home in Canandaigua, Ontario County, he smoked marijuana from a pipe.

Tanner lost control of the Plymouth Breeze and veered to the left. He overcorrected and veered to the right. The car went down an embankment on the right side of the road. The back passenger's side of the car, where Peyton was strapped into a booster seat, hit a tree.

Her face and head took the impact. Many bones were broken, even shattered. A first responder described seeing a steady flow of blood from her mouth and her leg contorted between the front seat and the tree.

A helicopter crew put Peyton on life support as they rushed her to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

Tanner had minor injuries. When state troopers arrived, he was in a nearby wooded area. He told investigators all he remembered was drifting off to sleep while he was driving, and he'd gone to the woods to vomit.

By the end of the night, his story changed: He admitted he was throwing a marijuana bowl into the woods. Investigators found another pipe with marijuana residue in the car. A blood test confirmed he was high when he crashed.

Decker, 22, and her husband Robby, 27, both of Clay, learned the news from Tanner's girlfriend. They found a babysitter for their daughter Odette, 2, and rushed to the hospital.

They stayed at Strong for 18 days, taking turns sleeping on a single-person cot and pillows on the floor. After 11 days and a seven-hour surgery, Peyton was awakened from a medically induced coma.

Doctors worried she would lose sight, hearing, taste and smell. Memory loss and brain damage were also concerns. Peyton had to relearn how to talk and swallow. She returned for a second operation in mid-November, which required three more days of hospitalization.

The battle resumes

In December, after Peyton's recovery, Decker returned to family court, armed with an Onondaga County Child Protective Services report saying Tanner had showed "irrefutable negligence."

CPS also deemed Tanner an inadequate guardian and said he was a high risk to his child. Decker provided the report and 200 pages of court filings and transcripts to

In her effort to strip Tanner from Peyton's life, Decker also argued Tanner had been inconsistent in his involvement in the girl's life. He had multiple license suspensions for failing to pay child support.

In April, before family court made a decision about the visits, Tanner admitted in criminal court to smoking marijuana in the car and causing the crash.

In an interview, Tanner said he only admitted in court to smoking while he was driving in order to get a plea bargain.

"Honestly I did not," said Tanner, who now lives in Marcellus. "I have never smoked in front of my daughter, especially in the car."

Two weeks after Tanner's plea, Pavone decided Tanner should have access to Peyton, for two six-hour visits, supervised by his parents, every other weekend. Through his office, Pavone declined to comment.

Decker and Tanner met as students at Marcellus High School. As a senior, she got pregnant.

Tanner was already in college at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua. By the time Peyton was born on Easter Day, 2010, the two had separated. Peyton went home with Decker.

Despite those things ... it is still a fundamental right of a parent to visit with a child.

It wasn't clear what role Tanner would have in her life. When uncertainty boiled over into dispute and Decker suspected Tanner was using drugs, she went to family court.

For the next four years, they would appear before Pavone multiple times, each at Decker's request. Decker has had primary physical custody throughout the court fight, with Tanner sharing legal custody. That means he can participate in decisions about Peyton's schooling, religious upbringing and medical care.

At one point, Decker told the court she felt Peyton was unsafe in the car with Tanner, Pavone said he gave the father the benefit of the doubt because he had a valid license and a car seat.

Decker complained of Peyton coming home unfed, without a nap and in dirty diapers. The judge's response: "Are you a child psychologist, ma'am?"

When Decker said Tanner was using drugs, Pavone ordered a drug test. The hair follicle test came back negative. Before the results were revealed, Pavone said the father would retain visits with the child no matter the outcome.

"... You need to understand that despite those things that it is still a fundamental right of a parent to visit with a child. It's presumed to be in the best interest of the child," Pavone said, according to a court transcript. "This is not one of those extremely rare situations where the court can employ what – what the Appellate Division has called the drastic remedy of cutting off all contact between the father and the child."

In the appellate case to which Pavone was referring, Acker v. Acker, a father was stripped of his visits after his oldest of three children testified that the visits were upsetting.

The court ruled that the best interests of the children would be served by supervised visits at a neutral site. In that case, from 1995, there is no mention of abuse or neglect on the part of the father.

Experts said there are few situations in which a judge will deny a parent access to a child. #Judges must act in the child's best interest, but they have broad discretion in determining what those interests are, said Peter Charnetsky, managing partner at the Tully & Rinckey law firm in Binghamton.

"Sometimes that means continuing and enhancing the relationship [between a father and child]," said Charnetsky, a former Broome County Family Court judge.

Because many people believe it is important for child to know both parents, proposed laws which would allow judges to strip a parent of visitation have failed, said Sarah Ramsey, former family law professor at Syracuse University.

"I can't imagine -- as the mother, I would be so upset if that happened to my child," Ramsey said of the crash. "And then the court says I have to keep letting him see her."

Still, she said, previous cases suggest, "It would not be within the judge's discretion to totally deny visitation."

Despite Decker's concerns, family court gradually permitted Tanner more time with his daughter in the years before the crash. He was awarded unsupervised visits with the girl every other weekend.

Tanner maintains that he will always be in Peyton's life. He said the court only takes away a parent's rights to visit under "wildly extreme" circumstances, like murder or molestation.

"I broke the law and I fessed up to it. I'll get what comes to me and I'll come out the other end and I'll jump through all the hoops -- rehab, counseling, drug testing -- as frequently as they like," he said. "I made a mistake and I regret it every day since it happened.

"I am her father. I'm always going to be her father. I'm going to be there always."

Life after the crash

Nine months after Peyton nearly died in a car crash, she is a playful, active 5-year-old. She has posed for the cover of Rochester Golisano Children's Hospital's magazine and is featured on its website as a "Miracle Kid."

Nine months after Peyton nearly died, she is a playful, active 5-year-old. She has posed for the cover of the hospital's magazine and is featured on its website as a "Miracle Kid."

She has all her senses. Her smell and taste returned when a splint was removed from her nose just before Thanksgiving. Around that time, Peyton was taken off a soft-food diet and the cast on her left leg was removed. On the way home from the doctor's office, the Deckers stopped at a gas station for popcorn, one of her favorite foods.

The surgical incision still sometimes makes her skin sensitive when her mom brushes her hair. Decker styles her hair to cover up the scar. Peyton will have yearly checkups with a plastic surgeon at least until she is a teenager.

For days after the crash, Peyton's hair was messy with blood, her mother said, until a nurse at Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital cleaned and braided it.

Now, Peyton and Odette roughhouse and jump on the beds in the room they share. The Deckers asked the hospital for a face plate to protect Peyton. Doctors reassured them Peyton would be better able to take a hit than her little sister.

When Peyton sees a car on the side of the road, she asks about the occupants' safety, her mother said. In the winter after the crash, she asked Decker a lot of questions about how to drive in the snow.

Peyton's therapist called these triggers that can result in intense distress. The therapist wrote the family court judge to say that visits with Tanner negatively affect Peyton's emotional stability and capacity to heal from the crash.

Decker, who worked at Peyton's day care center, hasn't been able to return to work. She estimated her and her husband, who does maintenance and handiwork, spent at least $10,000 on court and attorney fees and lost wages since the crash.

They are pregnant with another child, a girl Peyton wants to name Lucy, after one of her favorite "Despicable Me" animated characters.

Peyton calls Robby Decker "daddy" without prompting. #"Since all this has happened, I'm sitting in the back of the courtroom with Pavone up there, and I just want to say, 'Hey, Pavone, count me in!' " Decker said. "Dad's right here. I've been here since Day One."

Tanner is expected to be sentenced in July to nine months in jail and five years' probation. Taylor Decker expects she will return to court for the next 13 years after that, until Peyton is an adult.

"Everything I have to offer is nothing anyone wants to hear," Decker said. "So I feel like the only thing left to do in the court system is continue to reappear and express my beliefs for what's best for my child."