5. An Ambush to Frame Up at Malden District Court
Author: Gang Xu, Ph.D. Posted on 12/06/2019
In March 2018, I obtained a copy of the tape for "my" 06/20/2016 hearing at Malden District Court, about which I was kept in the dark. Together with other findings, I was finally able to reconstruct and grasp the entire plot against me in the summer of 2016: the mobility of the operation, the potential resources mobilized, and the "beauty" of the design.
On 06/02/2016, ex-wife‘s attorney informed me that he had filed the complaint for a contested divorce in the court. At the time, I did not know that he had a 73-minute conference call in his law firm with ex-wife’s sister a week earlier. Nor did I know that he had been retained since past December. But I had lived long enough to sense something disturbing in my first email interactions with him a couple days earlier.
On 06/03/2016, I called ex-wife’s sister’s boyfriend in China dozens of times. I had seen him as the person I could relate to and hoped he could help with a quiet and peaceful divorce. But I failed to reach him. I ended up calling one of her sister’s stores and asked a manager to pass the word to her sister’s boyfriend, their general office manager.
On 06/04/2016, I emailed ex-wife’s daughter, asking her to arrange a phone call between her aunt’s boyfriend and me, to achieve a settlement. In the email, I used three military/martial arts phrases to describe a legal contest, one containing a word “kill.” Her daughter and I had been used to using military/martial arts phrases in our conversations, as she saw herself quite boyish and aspired to pursue a career in the army.
According to her daughter’s statement in the family court on August 17, she was in China when I tried to reach her aunt’s boyfriend. Within 72 hours, on June 6, she landed in the U.S., joined her mother and their attorney, signed on an affidavit, and accused me of death threats both in my phone call and email at Malden District Court.
Malden District Court granted the ex-wife an Ex Parte restraining order (RO) and scheduled a two-party hearing for June 20. The court declined her daughter’s complaint for a RO at Malden for improper venue.
But the court did not have the Ex Parte order served on me. In the hearing on 06/20/2016, according to the hearing tape, a court staffer alerted Judge Benjamin Barnes at the very beginning, after pronouncing my case number, “Judge, I did not see notice of service in the file for the defendant.”
The Judge rescheduled the hearing to 07/11/2016 and directed ex-wife’s attorney to provide my contact phone number to the Clerk’s office, allowing “service over the telephone if they [police] cannot locate him.”
However, Malden District Court again did not have the Ex Parte order and hearing notice served on me, either by police or over telephone, even though ex-wife’s attorney in the 06/20/2016 hearing confirmed that I was still residing at the same address and promised that he would give my phone number to the Clerk’s office the same day.
On July 11, 2016, Judge Michael Patten extended the Ex Parte order for six months, despite the rule, as specified in the Massachusetts Trial Court’s Guidelines for Judicial Practice: Abuse Prevention Proceedings (2011), that “It is a fundamental tenet of due process that one cannot be deprived of personal or property rights without advance notice and the right to be heard… Accordingly, the ex parte orders should last only until the hearing after notice can be held, and that hearing should be scheduled for a date as soon as possible, consistent with service on the defendant, and, in any event, no more than ‘ten court business days’ after the ex parte hearing” (page 77).
After my case at Malden was closed in March 2017, I obtained a copy of my case Docket Entries. Analysis of the handwritings of various entries indicated that, unlike in the following hearings where judges managed the entries themselves, a same court staffer filled the notes on behalves of Judges Benjamin Barnes and Michael Patten in the hearings on 06/20/2016 and 07/11/2016.
A male clerk alerted Judge Benjamin Barnes that I was not served at the beginning of the 06/20/2016 hearing; apparently he read the “Service” part on the top of my case Docket Entries sheet. That part remained unfilled on 07/11/2016. Until 11/01/2016, the court claimed that they did not have my phone number on file.
I have checked out every call to my cell phone or to my office line from 06/20/2016 to 07/11/2016, I have not identified any number that could be remotely related to Malden District Court or Police Department.
Some people at Malden District Court did something, knowingly, to trash the due process and circumvent the ruling by Judges Benjamin Barnes, to help secure a RO for the ex-wife on 07/11/2016. But why bothered doing so?
One thing I had learned over the course of my divorce is that RO is common in contested divorces in MA. On March 3, 2014, Boston Bar Association held a 3-hour conference, teaching the “Tips on obtaining [restraining] orders” and “Negotiating with an opposing party in a case involving domestic violence;” Judge Maureen Monks was one of the speakers. It is reasonable to assume that, with coaching from some judges, MA attorneys are well versed in exploiting RO for their clients.
In my case, although my email to ex-wife’s daughter was intended for a peace deal, it did contain a Chinese character “kill,” though in a figurative expression where the meaning of the character has lost its original denotation, as in some English idioms/phrases that contain the word “kill” or “slaughter.” Under current culture in MA, however, with some spin in translation and upon invoking certain art of practicing law, it is still highly possible that ex-wife’s attorney would get her a RO even if I had been given a chance to defend myself. After all, RO, as its full name “abuse prevention order” suggests, is a preventive measure.
The substance of the entire maneuver was not about getting a RO; it was about keeping me unaware of the existence of a RO against me! That is the only interpretation I could come up with.
Consistent with this, ex-wife’s attorney had not filed a complaint on behalf of ex-wife’s daughter at Middlesex County Probate and Family Court, as it was supposed to, after the daughter’s complaint was declined at Malden on June 6; instead, he filed the complaint in the family court only before my first divorce hearing on August 17, keeping me in the dark until the last minute.
RO is a civil case but violation of RO is a crime. “In a prosecution for a violation of a c. 209A order [RO], actual service of the order is unnecessary,” if the victim could convince the jury/judge that she, say, in a phone call initiated by the defendant, has informed the defendant during the call that there is a RO there against the latter (Massachusetts Trial Court’s Guidelines for Judicial Practice: Abuse Prevention Proceedings (2011), pages 92-93). Because it is illegal in MA to record a phone call without consent of both parties, the prosecution in such a scenario boils down to a mater of he-say-she-say, the perfect sphere for manipulation.
In the summer of 2016, I was actively looking for a way to stop the divorce fight. I first tried to call ex-wife’s sister’s boyfriend, I was then accused of threatening to kill the ex-wife in the call, as I learned later. The next day I wrote to ex-wife’s daughter for help, I was then accused of threatening to kill the ex-wife and her daughter in the email, as I learned later. There were two windows in the summer when I almost called ex-wife directly: the first couple of nights after I received the divorce summons from Middlesex Sheriff’s Office on 06/13/2016 and the nights before the first divorce hearings on August 17.
What if I had ever made the call to ex-wife in the summer of 2016, when I was placed under a RO?
To put this into perspective, just mention two things: First, I survived a domestic violence frame-up way back to December 2015, which I only discovered a year later (see Part X of this series). Second, in November 2016, in a meeting with Judge Monks' Discovery Master, ex-wife’s attorney requested me to remove ex-wife from my health insurance plan; three and a half months later, he accused me of cruelty of removing ex-wife and her daughter from my health insurance plan without their knowledge, leaving them “unknowingly and dangerously without any health insurance coverage for an unknown period of time.”
Other parts of the series
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