''MOTHER JAILED IN FIGHT OVER VISITATION RIGHTS
In retrospect, from the 3/31/89 Arizona Republic (Phoenix Newspaper):
"MOTHER JAILED IN FIGHT OVER VISITATION RIGHTS - Article by Anthony
Sommer - "Sentence likely first in state"
"A woman who repeatedly has refused to allow her ex-husband to see
their children has been jailed for five days by Maricopa County Superior
Court Judge Rufus Coulter.
"County officials could not recall when a custodial parent who
refused to allow visitation was put behind bars in Arizona.
"The jailing of non-custodial parents for non-support -- usually
fathers - - is not uncommon. Now a spokesperson for a netional group
advocating fathers rights said there appears to be a judicial trend
toward jailing custodial parents -- usually mothers -- who deny
former spouses court-ordered visitation rights.
"In the case decided by Coulter, a [court mediation office] had
recommended the judge give custody to the father, Raymond Bishop, 24,
or sentence the mother to jail for contempt of court.
"After a hearing in his court Wednesday, Coulter ordered Bishop's
ex-wife, Leean McCraw, to be taken immediately to the county jail.
"She was ordered to serve five days or "until such time as the
court receives a letter from respondent -- a sincere letter --
apologizing for her failure to comply with this court's orders that
have heretofore been issued, and promising, sincerely, that she will
comply with this court's orders in the future.
"The two children, Raymond Jr., 3 and Jennifer, 2, were placed in
Bishop's care, at least while their mother is in jail. She also has a
two-week old daughter by her present husband.
"A series of reports provided Coulter by the Judicial Supervision
program fail to give any reasons stated by McCray for denying Bishop
visitation, other than her hostility toward her ex-husband.
"The divorce agreement granted shared custody of the two children,
with the mother to have them four weeks and their father two weeks of
every six week period.
"They were living in Phoenix at the time of their divorce. McCraw
now lives in Prescott Valley and Bishop has moved to Safford.
"After McCraw began refusing visitation rights to Bishop, the
Judicial Supervision Program was asked to try to mediate the dispute.
Reports of counseling sessions said McCraw was `belligerent' and
unwilling tro acknowledge Bishop's court-ordered visitation rights.
The reports said that during one session, McCraw tried to refuse
Bishop the right to visit with his children in the counselor's office.
"The counseling reports said Bishop and his two children appear
to share a `loving relationship' and noted that Bishop has been
willing to make the 522- mile round trip between Safford and
Prescott Valley to maintain contact with the youngsters.
"Coulter's action appears to be following a trend nationally
toward more ylings favoring non-custodial fathers who are denied
court-ordered visitation rights, according to a spokesman for national
fathers rights advocacy groups.
"Phoenix lawyer Robert Hirschfeld, an outspoken fathers rights
advocate and a director of the National Congress for Men called
Coulter's decision `significant.' He said Arizona judges are
getting tougher on visitation enforcement.
" `Many women who deny visitation believe mistakenly nobody is
going to put them in jail. The publicity surrounding this case is
probably going to have a good effect,' Hirschfeld said."