The Latest News On That Divorce Case From Hell
10/26/2010 - 18:34
Anonymous

Joseph Reyes, aka The Divorced Catholic-Jewish-Catholic Dad Who Takes His Daughter To Church (and sends me angry comments periodically) no longer has to worry about going to jail.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, a Cook County judge found Reyes, an Afghanistan war veteran and law student, not guilty of violating a court order when he took 3-year-old Ela and a television crew to Holy Name Cathedral in January.

The court order had been put in place after Reyes, not one of the Tribe’s more successful conversion-to-Judaism case studies, had the daughter baptized without first discussing the matter with estranged wife Rebecca Shapiro. Shapiro has contended that the couple had agreed to raise Ela exclusively Jewish, something Reyes has denied.

The contempt-of-court charges, with their threat of up to six months in the slammer, never seemed like a great approach in handling Reyes, who likes to use the word “crucify” when describing his persecution at the hands of Jews. If anything, the potential for incarceration was a publicity-dream-come-true for him, enabling such sensational headlines as “Dad Faces Jail Time For Taking Daughter to Church.”

Plus, having a dad in jail could only add to little Ela’s woes. (Although while doing some related Googling I came across a so-sad-it’s-kind-of-funny niche company, Three Squares Greetings, specializing in greeting cards for people in prison. So at least, had he lost in court, little Ela would have been able to send her dad customized Father’s Day cards.)

The thing that was weird about the recent court ruling, however, is that, according to the Sun-Times, part of the defense’s argument was that “prosecutors couldn't prove definitively that the child in the TV video was actually the couple's daughter. ‘You couldn't see the kid's face entering the front doors of Holy Name Cathedral,’ said [Reyes’] attorney, Joel Brodsky.” 

Now if Reyes was going to deny taking his daughter to church, why bring along a TV crew to document said trip?!

Incidentally, Reyes is now also free to take Ela to church during custodial visits, a right awarded him in April.

He may not have much to put on the collection plate, however. According to a lengthy (and mostly unpublished) comment Reyes sent to The Jewish Week a few weeks ago, his ex-wife, while not winning the religious battles, did win the financial ones. 

“Judge Goldfarb bankrupted me giving everything to Rebecca, including pre-marital assets," he wrote. "In essence, she let me appear to win the battle, while positioning Rebecca to win the war.”

(Sigh. I'm sure anti-Semites the world over are nodding their heads, saying this just proves that the only god Jews worship is the God of Money.)

I'm thinking little Ela is going to grow up to be a devout atheist.

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Comments

It doesn't sound like Reyes actually denied anything, and given Reyes' rogue nature (which is probably why he became such a media darling), I highly doubt he'd deny anything. In criminal law Reyes does not have to put up a defense at all. The prosecution has the burden of making its case against him. It sounds like the prosecution did not make a strong showing of evidence against Reyes, at which point he could just ask for a directed finding of not guilty. I am guessing that the judge was probably relieved, too. One thing Reyes did quite successfully was to position the court to have to choose between its "best interest of the child" standard and preserving its integrity. If they jailed him, or even convicted him, he can say "how is that in my daughter's best interest." If they don't jail him the court looks weak. Love him or hate him (and I am not sure which I do), he's very smart. His charisma didn't hurt either.

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