Judge Releases Kids She ‘Jailed’ in Divorce Case

     PONTIAC, Mich. (CN) – After her decision to jail three children for being rude to their father ignited a media frenzy, a Michigan judge presiding over a bitter custody battle switched their punishment to summer camp Friday.
     Insisting that she had the best interests of the Tsimhoni children, ages 14, 10 and 9, at heart, Judge Lisa Gorcyca said at a hearing Friday that her earlier order sentencing them to juvenile detention did not endanger them, the Detroit Free Press reported.
     Gorcyca reportedly said the children were not housed with criminal offenders and that every alternative avenue presented to the court had been exhausted.
     The Oakland County, Mich., judge had issued the headline-making sentence against the children just minutes into a June 25 contempt hearing she convened when the children defied her orders to spend quality time with their father.
     “You are a defiant, contemptuous young man and I’m ordering you to spend the rest of the summer … [in] Children’s Village,” Judge Lisa Gorcyca had told the 14-year-old.
     A transcript of the hearing shows that the boy thought he was justified in ignoring Gorcyca’s order because he thinks his father, General Motors engineer Omer Tsimhoni, is abusive.
     “I saw him hit my mom and I’m not gonna talk to him,” said the boy, who told the court he is 15 but is actually 14, according to court records.
     That remark apparently enraged the judge.
     “Your father has never been charged with anything, your father’s never been convicted of anything,” Gorcyca said, according to the transcript. “Your father doesn’t have a personal protection order against him. … You, young man, have got it wrong. I think your father is a great man who has gone through hoops for you to have a relationship with him.”
     Gorcyca held the Friday hearing after attorneys moved for her to reconsider the decision and release the children. Crediting the father’s request, Gorcyca reportedly switched the children’s punishment Friday from a detention center to summer camp.
     At the June 25 hearing, an attorney for the mother emphasized that his client had encouraged her son to meet with the father. Gorcyca called this too little, too late, however, and implied that Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni has brainwashed the children.
     “You need to do a research program on Charlie Manson and the cult that he has,” the judge said. “Your behavior in the hall with me months ago, your behavior in this courtroom … is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in any 46,000 cases.”
     With that, Gorcyca added that she would not let Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Michigan, visit her child in detention.
     As for the length of that detention, the judge warned that it could last into the fall or for years.
     “We’ll review it when school starts, and you may be going to school there,” the judge said.
     After questioning the teen’s supposedly high IQ, Gorcyca told him “you may stay in there until you graduate from high school.”
     Gorcyca upbraided the younger children, ages 10 and 9, similarly after a short recess.
     “I know you’re kind of religious,” the judge told the 9-year-old. “God gave you a brain. He expects you to use it. … You are not your big, defiant brother who’s living in jail. Do you want to live in jail? Just tell me this right now.”
     When the judge asked the child if she would have lunch with her father, the girl demurred by saying she would instead “go with my brother.”
     “You’re not even going to be with your brother,” the judge scoffed. “That’s cool. You won’t be in the same cell. I’ll put in there ‘Stay away from your brother.'”
     Gorcyca concluded that “this is not normal behavior.”
     “Every single adult in this courtroom thinks you have been brainwashed,” she added.
     Throughout the hearing, the judge noted that the children’s father objected to the sentence.
     “I wanted to do this because of your horrific behavior a long time ago and your dad begged me not to,” she said.
     “You are so mentally messed up right now and it’s not because of your father,” Gorcyca added.

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