“Kill All the Lawyers” — William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2
The widespread condemnation of one San Diego custody evaluator probably won’t end until he’s dead. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Poor man. He’s been proven to have falsified his resume, performed work for San Diego family courts without qualifications, defrauded clients by unscrupulous conflict-inducement, over-billed clients for millions of dollars, breached contracts with parents–costing tens of thousands of dollars in damages–harmed children and their parents by dragging out “simple” mediations for years, demanded and accepted bribes, extorted parents in his care with threats of retaliation by fabricating evidence, refusing to accept evidence of child abuse and domestic violence, made false reports to CPS, broken virtually every promise he’s made, and on, and on, and on. Dozens of his former clients condemn the man as a psychopathological fraud. Yet Doyne is used by San Diego courts and divorce lawyers? Disgraceful.
Parents–BEWARE of this man in the cesspool of the divorce industry-your future, your child’s future, and perhaps even your life and the lives of those you love is at risk.
Bottom Line: AVOID LIKE HE IS THE PLAGUE, BECAUSE HE IS.
Custody evaluators make enormous fortunes tying up the lives of families and children for years. They’re unregulated in a highly controversial area for which there are no real professional standards and all related professional boards (American Psychological Association, etc.) won’t have anything to do with them. In short, they’re bastard children of the the sciences they affiliate.
So, please feel free to post your detailed reviews/comments of Dr. Stephen Doyne and any other child custody evaluator–but please be sure to make suggestions to parents going through the process–how can they benefit from the experience of those of us who’ve been through it? What advice can you leave for others?
Dr. Stephen Doyne–Parent Friend, Until His Lies Unravel. Again, and again, and again….
Lot of bad reviews for this guy all over the net, and a lot of controversy about why. I’ve been in the middle of several discussions about the guy and have picked up a few useful observations that might help you sort out what’s true, what’s false, and why he’s so controversial.
Several factors at work, most of which center on disconnects between what people expect him to be (for whatever reason—I’ll talk about this later) and what he really is. In other words, most people don’t understand what he does, why he does it, and how.
First, most people agree he’s a nice guy—at least initially. He’s elderly—comes across as a kind uncle. He’s intelligent. Plenty of training and degrees. If he wanted to do more traditional clinical therapy (which is NOT what he does—take note), he’d probably be pretty good as a “motivator”—in other words “Let’s talk about your problems, I see some solutions, now let’s work on improving you.” He’s NOT a “client-centered” therapist—one who more “passively” let’s the client work around his/her own problems with “gentle” prodding like “so, you want to kill your mother. Hmm, that’s interesting. So why do you feel that way?” in hopes that the client will eventually come to realize he’s a homicidal maniac and ask for help on his own.
Doyne’s M.O. “I’m a Therapist” becomes “I’m An Advocate” becomes “I’m a Judge” becomes “I’m a Fraud”
But he’s not a good “therapist”: Doyne’s more of a “coach”: “So, you want to kill you mother. That’s kind of a bad idea. Let’s not do that for now. Now, if you keep coming back I have a plan we can work on together to get you on the right track, but it’s going to hurt.”
So his m.o. (and I’ve heard from dozens of parents and even he’ll admit it if you ask) is to “fix” the chief complainer by “fixing” the target; In other words—“give in to him/her, shape up a little, and she’ll ease up.” Squeeky wheel gets the grease kind of guy. In most cases, this means empowering the person who bitches and moans the loudest. Side with the complainer and the complaints go away. Everyone’s happy. Right?
I’m Always Right. And Here’s My Bill
Whether Doyne truly believes his “clients” actually have problems or not is irrelevant to a profitable practice—as long as both clients are convinced (or deluded, or coerced) into believing they do (or at least one does and the other is too frightened to bail out). Abundant criticism in his own field shows that custody evaluations have zero scientific foundation, couldn’t be admitted in a court applying the rule of law, and are largely fraudulent against Doyne’s own clients. Does he care? Sure… so long as he’s paid to sit around and you’re stupid enough to keep paying him to listen (when probably everybody else is sick of hearing your opinions about how everyone but you—but particularly your ex—is responsible for your unhappiness).
Now, in some contexts this can be the solution: “Yes, I have anger issues. Yes I want to see the kids. Yes I’ll pay you to make that happen and work with you.” That client may find it worth while to spend a fortune with Doyne, and if he or she’s already in a corner with the court custody process, they may have little choice if they want to see the kids again. In other words, Doyne beats, threatens, guilts, or cajoles clients into submission to a solution they didn’t want, doen’t need, and costs a fortune. Indentured servitude—Only daddy knows what’s best for you.
Problem is, most people don’t know this going in—or at least the unsuspecting likely target isn’t warned ahead of time. If you, like many, enter the process with the understanding that Doyne’s going to help make the transition out of the relationship easier, you’re wrong. If both parties just need coordination to arrange custody schedules, flipping a coin is a better problem solver.
Doyne’s role, as he sees it, is to be a “savior” of the child, against one or both parents. He utilizes micromanaging control, harsh, unnatural discipline on parents, absurd schedules, and tons of “homework” (including his vast network of related “services”) for one or both ”problem” parents. In other words, he starts with the assumption that one or both are problematic, and need lots of work. His job is to find “problems” (real or otherwise), prepare complicated (and expensive) solutions, tie one or both parents to the program with threats of custody swings, pound them with his “bag of tricks,” and sit back to send bills and watch ‘em sweat. Unless you’re already stellar parents (in which case you wouldn’t be here) you’re likely to end up as fodder for Doyne’s very expensive, useless–indeed harmful–process. If either or both of you are fault-finding, negative, projecting, exaggerating liars, or manipulative, Doyne’s going to retire early on your child’s college fund.
The Kids Are Worth Giving All Your Money to Me–Right? NO? What are You, a Bad Parent?
Doyne’s Fraudulent Manipulation of Families and Children Continues
Doyne seems not to have learned from this avalanche of harsh criticism from San Diego families and children. Indeed, he continues his deception of his clients, their children, and the public through inaccurate, self-serving press releases and speeches to lawyers and judges.
For example, in 2008 Doyne was sued by a former client for fraud. The client was a psychiatrist with Scripps, and was familiar with the various degrees and certifications that Doyne claimed to have achieved. After the psychiatrist noted very unprofessional practices from Doyne, he began to research Doyne’s education and certifications. What he discovered was shocking–Doyne had lied about his degrees and certifications, and had purchased an advanced “diplomate” certificate from a “diploma mill” which had so few requirements for certification that it delivered a certification to “Zoe” the pet cat of another professional who had discovered the same fraud.
But despite that the psychiatrist who discovered Doyne’s fraud presented the court with indisputable evidence of Doyne’s fraud and deception, the California court dismissed the fraud case under California’s “anti-SLAPP” suit, which protects a citizen’s rights to freedom of expression. In the California court’s opinion despite that Doyne was accused of fraud and deception, such behavior was protected under California’s “anti-SLAPP” statute even if it was wrongful, deceptive, and fraudulent.
This ruling was simply wrong–the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Article I, sec. 1 and 2 of California’s Constitution, do not protect fraud, defamation, or speech committed during a criminal act (such as a bank robber yelling commands at bank customers during commission of the heist). See, United States v. Stevens, 130 S. Ct. 1577 (2010) (The Supreme Court’s detailing of the “carve outs” from protected speech, and holding that fraud is not protected expression: “In light of the substantial and expansive threats to free expression posed by content-based restrictions, this Court has rejected as “startling and dangerous” a “free-floating test for First Amendment coverage … [based on] an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits.” Instead, content-based restrictions on speech have been permitted, as a general matter, only when confined to the few “`historic and traditional categories [of expression] long familiar to the bar,'” Id., at ___, 130 S.Ct., at 1584 (quoting Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of N.Y. State Crime Victims Bd., 502 U.S. 105, 127, 112 S.Ct. 501, 116 L.Ed.2d 476 (1991) (KENNEDY, J., concurring in judgment)). Among these categories are advocacy intended, and likely, to incite imminent lawless action, see Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 89 S.Ct. 1827, 23 L.Ed.2d 430 (1969) (per curiam); obscenity, see, e.g., Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 93 S.Ct. 2607, 37 L.Ed.2d 419 (1973); defamation, see, e.g., New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964) (providing substantial protection for speech about public figures); Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 94 S.Ct. 2997, 41 L.Ed.2d 789 (1974) (imposing some limits on liability for defaming a private figure); speech integral to criminal conduct, see, e.g., Giboney v. Empire Storage & Ice Co., 336 U.S. 490, 69 S.Ct. 684, 93 L.Ed. 834 (1949); so-called “fighting words,” see Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 62 S.Ct. 766, 86 L.Ed. 1031 (1942); child pornography, see New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747, 102 S.Ct. 3348, 73 L.Ed.2d 1113 (1982); fraud, see Virginia Bd. of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U.S. 748, 771, 96 S.Ct. 1817, 48 L.Ed.2d 346 (1976); true threats, see Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705, 89 S.Ct. 1399, 22 L.Ed.2d 664 (1969) (per curiam); and speech presenting some grave and imminent threat the government has the power to prevent, see Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 U.S. 697, 716, 51 S.Ct. 625, 75 L.Ed. 1357 (1931), although a restriction under the last category is most difficult to sustain, see New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 91 S.Ct. 2140, 29 L.Ed.2d 822 (1971) (per curiam). These categories have a historical foundation in the Court’s free speech tradition. The vast realm of free speech and thought always protected in our tradition can still thrive, and even be furthered, by adherence to those categories and rules.). Importantly, when a court dismisses a case based on privilege, it does not “exonerate” the defendant of charges, but only states that the behavior accused-despicable though it may be–is privileged.”)
Shockingly, Doyne’s over-reaching claim was itself a further fraud–the court made no ruling on the merits, but simply dismissed the cased based upon an incorrectly-applied privilege. Thus, like a psychopath, Doyne not only commits deception to his clients, he supplements his original criminal behavior with further acts of self-aggrandizing deception.
The man is a pathological liar.
Live and Learn
Remember: “Man/Woman” problems have been around at least since the human fall from grace—you’re not the first to find that mate of yours to be a pain. The way out is simple:
To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
Good luck parents. You don’t need “experts”, you barely need an attorney, and you certainly don’t need an “evaluation.” Stop fighting. Save your money. Don’t blame. Try to give love, and get out of the corrupt swamp of family court as fast as you can!