Attorney Connie Reguli: Lowering the Bar of Public Discourse on Child Protective Laws

The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.  Ecclesiastes 9:17

It would seem a simple matter that a lawyer should understand how to reason within the parameters of the laws affecting their client’s case.  It would also seem to be a simple matter that a lawyer should act solely for the benefit of their client, and not use that person’s cause to further their own personal interests. Lawyers are bound by professional standards in their practice, but what is the result when they enter into the realm of public discourse and their cries of injustice can be condemned on the basis that their findings of fact and conclusions of law were arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and unsupported by substantial and material evidence?

Over the past few months we have been looking at several areas where the  Sovereign Citizen Movement, with their false legal arguments and falsified credentials, have caused those who heeded their counsel to go to jail. One of the issues which Sovereign Citizens have attached themselves to is the emotionally volatile Anti-CPS (Child Protective Services) movement.  In the midst of all this Anti-CPS clamor stands attorney Connie Reguli, who in contrast to Sovereign Citizen “diploma mill lawyers”,  actually graduated from an accredited law school, passed the Tennessee State Bar Exam, and practiced in the broad area of family law for over 20 years. Reguli is now undertaking to lead a grass roots movement of reform in the very controversial area of child protective law.

Connie Reguli, Attorney and founder of the nonprofit Family Forward Foundation

At Tennfamilylaw.com, Connie Reguli  discusses her background history which includes “graduating cum laude from Middle Tennessee State University”,  “prosecuting criminal offenses for the State of Tennessee”,  “completing course work in a master’s psychology program”, “working at the trial level as well as the appellate court level”, and being the single adoptive parent of three (Russian) children. She has been active in Judicial Reform issues “to impeach and remove judges that abuse their power”.

Because we are interested in determining how attorney Connie Reguli has applied her knowledge and influence with respect to the Anti-CPS movement, it is notable that she claims in her resume at Tennfamilylaw.com that she “is most proud of the fact that she was the first attorney in Tennessee to secure a money judgment for damages in a child abuse case.  The jury awarded 2.8 million dollars to four children against their abusive parents in 2010”.

On social media, Connie Reguli is decidedly against government agencies which have been granted the authority to represent the interests of minor children, in matters where the parents and caregivers of that child are regarded as adversaries.  So it is of interest that Reguli is proud of the part which she played in pleading the cause of children against their own parents, which is to say, that she stood in shoes similar to those worn by CPS; only she took it upon herself to extract a large monetary judgment against the parents of her clients, which would further ensure  irrevocable damage to family relationships.

Seemingly oblivious to the moral weight of her own deeds upon the scales of justice, as she represents first one side and then another, Reguli would like us to think that she can now impartially represent the interests of those parents who believe, contrary to American legal theory, that they have absolute authority over their own children.   That sentiment contrasts with a statement quoted in The Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville, assigned on briefs October 21, 2015 In Re Rainee M., page 4, saying,  “Parents have a fundamental constitutional interest in the care and custody of their children under both the United States and Tennessee constitutions.”  Kiesling v. Keisling, 92 S. W. 3d 374, 378 (Tenn. 2002).  It is well established, however, that “this right is not absolute and parental rights may be terminated if there is clear and convincing evidence justifying such termination under the applicable statute.”

Connie Reguli stated in a second letter which she wrote to President Trump, “Certainly, we will never deny that child abuse is real and a travesty in our nation, but not every child taken has been abused.  In fact, the statistics show that 85% of these children are removed under circumstances deemed as neglect”. While Reguli concedes that child abuse does exist, she is of the opinion that child neglect is harmless, and that the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 has facilitated through its funding provisions, a scandalous child trafficking effort involving CPS agencies and private foster child organizations who file for the purposes of financial gain, documents which will legally terminate parental rights (TPR).

An example of Connie Reguli and her grass-rooters of the Anti-CPS movement misrepresenting the government’s attempt to protect children from abuse and neglect

The Social Media Advocacy of Attorney Connie Reguli through her nonprofit FAMILY FORWARD FOUNDATION corporation

So exactly what is Connie Reguli advocating, as she spearheads a grassroots movement of Anti CPSers? At her familyforwardfoundation.com website, she claims, We are a nonprofit organization that exists to build family integrity and protect families from unwarranted government interference.  Together, as families, we can build a nation in which the institutionalization of children through foster care will be a thing of the past.

Additionally under the subheading, “Making your dollars work”, Reguli states, Your dollars are put to work providing advocacy and support for families, assessing the needs of families, organizing resources to fill those needs, and educating lawmakers, judges, and attorneys on family justice.  Under “Family Justice”, the claim is We cannot strengthen families unless we have the support of laws that protect family integrity and family courts that respect the constitutional rights of parents and children.  Finally, for only a $20 donation to the Family Forward Foundation, one can buy Family Justice!

In sync with her nonprofit foundation, Attorney Connie Reguli has also founded a public FaceBook group called Family Forward Project, which presently has 8,808 members. The purpose of this group is “to inform the public and educate the law makers regarding the unlawful social engineering financially incentivized by the Federal government.”

Ever against Federal financial incentives for other people, Reguli is not afraid to embrace the nonprofit corporation benefits for herself. Interestingly, on April 22, 2016, four months before she registered her nonprofit Family Forward Foundation in Tennessee with an effective date of September 1, 2016, she  created her website Family Forward Foundation.com.  As of February 3, 2018, Connie Reguli posted the following comment on her Family Forward Project FB, stating that she still had not been approved by the IRS for 501(c)(3) status.  Yet her website asks for donations on behalf of her nonprofit organization while it is still in limbo with the IRS.

Family Forward Foundation’s Logo is like a “Rorschach Inkblot Test”.  While some may view this logo as 3 rocking people holding a heart, all I see is the face of a smirking clown.

Sorry to correct Ms. Reguli’s notions, but Noah actually built an ark, not an arc; the arc was the rainbow created by God to symbolize his promise to not judge the inhabitants of the earth by a flood again. As one can see, Connie Reguli, in making the simplest of statements, manages to complicate them by the simplest of spelling errors. Another example is in this YouTube video where she is describing, but not explaining, her theme of Advocacy for 2018. Is there some reason she presents a very careless image to those who follow her leadership? Cooridination may be fine by her, but who wants to hire an attorney that is careless with detail?

Cooridination…maybe a legalese word?

Pandering to Persons Who Are Accustomed to Publicized Lies 

A couple of days ago, one of the members of the FB Family Forward Project group posted the following, which created a controversy among several readers,  as to whether the Trump Twitter was real or a fake.I read most of the comments, and it would appear that this falsified Trump twitter message originated from another popular Anti-CPS group which bears the heading Dr. Phil Exposes CPS:

Under this FaceBook account, it states, “Dr. Phil exposes CPS is the founder and creator of the fosterwar which has grown to network of over 60,000 members the fosterwar demands that no children be removed from parents or family without criminal charges.”

What is interesting about the member who believed this fake Trump twitter and posted it on Connie Regali’s group FB page, is that this person paid no attention to the date of the message which was  January 20, 2017, just  prior to when Regali had challenged her supporters to send  a million copies of her letter to Trump on this same issue.  So if Trump had in fact made this declaration, why would this group bother with a letter writing campaign?

Two letters had been sent to Trump, the first was in February of 2017, and the second around the end of March 2017. In addition to sending the form letter written by Connie Regali, personal messages were encouraged to be attached. A Go-Fund-Me page received donations for mailing supplies for the second letter. This is a screenshot of the first letter, which I am going to key off of, as a means to discuss the approach of Connie Reguli to the important issues connected to the Anti-CPS movement. The second letter can be read here.

First, the form of this letter does not respect protocol for addressing The President

Both letters were penned by attorney Connie Reguli, although the authorship is not explicitly stated.  She ignores the protocol for addressing a letter to the President of the United States of America. It is disrespectful to ignore the standard form of address,  “Dear Mr. President”,  and both letters are unsigned by the writer, which should have been noted after ending with “Most respectfully”.  Instead, the first letter “signs off” rudely with “These professionals can enlighten you on the burdens of this system:  Connie Reguli, Atty, Tennessee, (etc.)…And many more”.  Several attorney names are listed with no means of contact, although the President is told that these “professional experts” are the ones who can educate him “on this giant problem”. Both letters reference the Family Forward Project.  The first letter suggests to the President, “Find us on Facebook”.

Not only is this form of letter disrespectful to the office of the President of the United States, but also it sets a bad example to the followers of Connie Reguli, many of which have experienced problems with Child Protective Services because their personal behavior falls short of the minimum standards for raising children.  It only complicates their situation if they are encouraged to adopt a tone of disrespect toward governmental authorities.

Statements are made without reference to supporting documentation

The first sentence of the first letter says, “Every day in America 400,000 children are living in foster care”.  The second letter, written one month later, states the figure of 500,000. There is no source given to back these numbers. Reguli claims that 80% of foster “children are removed from their homes on the ambiguous and inocuous(sp) claims of child neglect”. The second letter changes the 80% to 85%.

“Child neglect” probably is a general category used by CPS to summarize under one heading,  specific documented facts and observations made by the case worker.  Thus there would be in reality,  no ambiguity in the actual case file.  And why does Reguli consider child neglect to be “inocuous” (innocuous, i.e. harmless), if the evidence itself  warranted removal of a child from its home?

In the second letter, a complaint is made against the monetary incentives involved in the  privatization of foster care.  But even if the government ran foster care directly, it would involve providing the foster parents with funds to reimburse the basic costs of the child. One cannot get around the fact that all this costs lots of money, which comes out of the pockets of taxpayers.

The focus of the letter is on the “negative effects” of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), but Reguli fails to address what factual evidence exists to back her complaints

This ASFA bill was signed into existence in 1997 under the Clinton Administration.  Reguli desires to have this entire act overturned, so she asks Trump, “Please execute an executive order which prohibits the adoption bonus program to the states for forced adoptions.”

I had to look online to find out what the official explanation is for this act, as it is not properly explained in either letter. Apparently 20 years ago,  there had been concern that some children were remaining in foster care for long periods, or experiencing multiple placements, which was detrimental to their sense of wellbeing.  Therefore a requirement was established that states are to file for termination of parental rights (TPR) once children have been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, with exceptions made under certain conditions.

Reguli fails to address with documented facts how these requirements actually affect the manner in which cases are handled. The reality of many families who have had children placed in foster care, is that these parents have resisted making even the most rudimentary of changes needed to properly care for their own children. Many of these parents have criminal, drug and mental issues, poor work habits, poor social skills, etc. that have placed their minor children in physically and emotionally distressing situations, and it is the failure of the parents to act responsibly, that keeps their children in foster care.

Reguli claims in her second letter that federal funding “amounts to government sanctioned child trafficking and against humanity”. She also stated “We can barely remember the extermination of the Jews under Nazi Germany, but someday our history books will find that the rehoming of children has become the norm instead of the exception.  Just imagine if each child is worth $80,000 per year to an industry thirsting for more children to ring their register”.  Proof?  None given.

“…adopting them into the home of strangers” complaint by Reguli in both Trump letters

The ASFA emphasizes adoption by adult relatives over nonrelatives, so why is Connie Reguli all aghast about the adoption of children by strangers, when she, as a single adult, adopted three children from Russia, removing them from their native country entirely?

In the screenshot below, Connie Reguli posted the following story which may explain why she resorts to undocumented and unproven complaints against the CPS system.

Judge Sharon Guffee’s 2017 complaint about the unprofessional conduct of Connie Reguli is made to the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee

In connection with this story about Judge Sharon Guffee, Connie Reguli had posted on the Family Forward Project FB site, a two page letter signed by Guffee on Williamson County Juvenile Court letterhead, dated September 6, 2017 to the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

I have excerpted parts of this letter from Judge Guffee, which begins, “I am sending this complaint against attorney Connie Reguli for an incident that recently occurred before the Government Operations Subcommittee for the Judiciary and Government for the Tennessee legislature on August 15, 2017.”

“Attached is the video from the meeting where Ms. Natasha Pavolich addresses the committee as part of their citizen communications.  It begins at 46.30.  Ms. Pavolich on at least two occasions states she is “here on behalf of attorney Connie Reguli” who was “unable to be present”.  During her exchange with the committee, Ms. Pavolich expressed her dissatisfaction with a ruling she received in my court.  She admitted she had not filed a complaint with the Board of Judicial Conduct.  Also attached you will find her voluntary dismissal of her appeal to the Court of Appeals….”.

“I welcome and expect any party who comes before me to seek a review from a superior court if they are not satisfied with their outcome.  What I do not expect is for an attorney to solicit others to disparage a judge in a public forum knowing full well this is unacceptable unethical conduct on the part of an attorney.  Clearly, Ms. Pavolich was acting as an agent for Ms. Reguli…”.

“In addition, I am enclosing a very disturbing correspondence regarding “wholesaling of children through the Department of Children’s Services” one of my magistrates received in the mail….I am frankly appalled that Ms. Reguli is able to make such fraudulent solicitations without some type of serious sanction”.

One of the posts allowed on Connie Reguli’s FB group Family Forward Project

You can learn nothing from the sarcasm of the CPS Checklist; however, the opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit:  Connie Reguli v. Sharon Guffee is highly interesting

On March 31, 2010  An Appeal was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concerning a case involving Connie Reguli, personally and as next friend of “daughter” Reguli, a minor child(Plaintiffs) v. Sharon Guffee, personally and in her capacity as Referee of Williamson County Juvenile Court (Defendants). CourtListener.com has a copy of this appeal here.

This fourteen page document is interesting reading for the layman, as the Appeals Circuit Judges summarize the facts of the case and discuss the merits of the arguments presented by Connie Reguli. The conclusion was that the district court’s judgment was affirmed.

This case involving Connie Reguli, as plaintiff, represents the unusual situation of an experienced family law attorney and former assistant prosecutor who found herself as a single parent personally interacting with the Williamson County, Tennessee juvenile court system, after her own 16-year-old daughter went astray. What was interesting is that the Appeals discussion of the details of this case stated, “…proceedings only began because Reguli herself charged her daughter as unruly”. Throughout the Appeals document, as it goes point by point, the plaintiff, even though a practicing attorney, did not cite cases to support her arguments, and failed to make a convincing case that her constitutional rights had been violated.

Reguli’s appeal is based on “the denial of her claims of constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 based on her constitutional rights as a parent and her constitutional right to privacy.” The original complaint was made on August 12, 2008, and “on February 19, 2009, the district court dismissed most of the claims.”

After comparing the recent Facebook charge of Reguli that Judge Guffee was to be blamed for ruining her daughter’s life, with the actual facts of the case as described in the Appeals record, it would seem that Reguli has taken the position that everyone else’s actions are blamable and that the actions of herself and her daughter had no bearing on how this matter was handled.

Reguli’s suspension from practicing law

An article on brentwoodhomepage.com dated January 7, 2016 titled,  Brentwood lawyer suspended from practicing law after court upholds panel’s discipline summarizes the details of the complaints which had been filed with the Board of Professional Responsibility against Connie Reguli. The judgments were appealed, and in a December 28, 2015 filing in the Supreme Court of Tennessee at Nashville, Board of Professional Responsibility v. Connie Reguli, an opinion was given after a thorough review of these matters. Again, this is an interesting 18 page document which any layperson can understand.

On page 6, it is stated, “The Panel concluded the aggravating circumstances applicable were (1) prior professional discipline of Ms. Reguli; (2) Ms. Reguli’s bad faith failure to respond to requests for information by the Board; (3) dishonest or selfish motives of Ms. Reguli; (4) Ms. Reguli’s refusal to recognize the wrongful nature of her conduct; and (5) Ms. Reguli’s substantial experience in the practice of law.”

On page 11, it states,  “Ms. Reguli next contends that the Panel’s findings of fact and conclusions of law were arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or unsupported by substantial and material evidence”. How ironic that Reguli has charged the Panel with the same behavior which she exemplified in her letters to President Trump.

What motives lie beneath the noble statements of a tax exempt mission?

Connie Reguli’s desire to form a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation to receive tax exempt donations to support her leadership of a “grassroots movement using social media”, is in my opinion, meant to usurp the authority of government agencies charged with protecting children from neglect and abuse. Why do I use the word usurp rather than oppose, or reform? The stated purposes of Connie Reguli’s nonprofit foundation are highly unrealistic in their broad undertaking, given the vast problems which the CPS and judicial systems must deal with on an ongoing basis.  So very possibly, there must be another unstated purpose for this group which entails a resentment of established authority.

Reguli’s Family Forward  Foundation mission is nothing more than words without a grasp of real life, mere politicized rhetoric that they “exist to build family integrity”, promising that “institutionalization of children through foster care will a thing of the past”, and “your dollars are put to work providing advocacy and support for families, assessing the needs of families, organizing resources to fill those needs, and educating lawmakers, judges, and attorneys on family justice.” Think about what has just been stated. 

These words show a desire to usurp the authority legally granted to government agencies, while yet providing no realistic basis on which this foundation can perform its mission.  Will these volunteers fulfill the job descriptions of a vast network of employees presently functioning in those very capacities, or will they create a utopia where families are no longer dysfunctional?  If you get rid of foster care, what will you replace it with? I see no workable solutions even offered.

While sounding noble, these words are in fact shameless, given the truth that the effect of such a movement shows that their actions are not about seeking a reform which respects the rights of all parties involved.  Rather, such efforts serve to lower the bar of intelligent reasoning in the public domain.   Connie Reguli’s motives also appear to harbor a conflict of interest, particularly as she expresses a continuing bitter personal resentment towards those she had conflicts with in the past. The very sober issues of CPS deserve an analysis which entails respectful fact finding and a deeper understanding of law; something which no grassroots movement of disgruntled name callers can ever engage in.

 

 

 

Advertisements