The Slatest

Judge Sends Children to Detention Center for Refusing to Speak to Allegedly Abusive Father

The children.

In June, Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca of Oakland County, Michigan, held Maya Tsimhoni’s three children in contempt of court for refusing to speak to their father—then ordered them to be sent to Children’s Village, a juvenile detention center. The children claim that their father is violent and hit their mother. One child, a 15-year-old boy, told Gorcyca, “I didn’t do anything wrong. … [H]e was the one that [did] something wrong. I thought there [were] rules … for not hitting someone.” Gorcyca responded:


You’re very defiant. You have no manners. … There is no reason why you do not have a relationship with your father. Your father has never been charged with anything. Your father’s never been convicted of anything. Your father doesn’t have a personal protection order against him. Your father is well-liked and loved by the community, his co-workers, his family [and] his colleagues. 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 you.


Gorcyca also compared the boy to the Manson cult:

You are so mentally messed up right now and it’s not because of your father. And one day you are going to realize what’s going on in this case and you’re going to apologize to your dad. … Dad, if you ever think that he has changed and he’s no longer like Charlie Manson’s cult, then you let us know and we can [review the case].


She then issued an ultimatum to the children: Have lunch with your father or be incarcerated. She delivered this particularly stern warning to Tsimhoni’s 9-year-old daughter:

You want to have your birthdays in Children’s Village? Do you like going to the bathroom in front of people? Is your bed soft and comfortable at home? I’ll tell you this, if you two don’t have a nice lunch with your dad and make this up to your dad, you’re going to come back here [after lunch] and I’m going to have the deputies take you to Children’s Village.

And Gorcyca once again denied the children’s allegation of domestic abuse:

One day you can watch this video and realize that you two have been brainwashed. Your dad is a good man. … This is not normal behavior. No adult in this courtroom, except one, thinks this is normal. Every single adult in this courtroom thinks you have been brainwashed.

The judge then sent the children to the detention center and ordered them to “be kept away from each other as much as possible.” She also refused to let Tsimhoni say goodbye to her son. The children have now been incarcerated for more than two weeks. An attorney representing Tsimhoni has filed a writ of habeas corpus, demanding that the judge reverse her ruling or explain why the children are being detained.