Tennessee CPS Attorney Connie Reguli Arrested for Defending A Mother’s Constitutional Rights to Due Process
by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Attorney Connie Reguli turned herself into authorities in Brentwood, Tennessee today (July 17, 2019) after learning that there was a warrant out for her arrest. She was released the same day without bail, on her own recognizance.
Attorney Connie Reguli is well-known to the readers of Health Impact News and our MedicalKidnap.com website. She is the head of the LawCare Family Law Center in Tennessee, and also the founder of the Family Forward Project, which advocates for the rights of parents and children nationwide on matters related to abuses in Child Protective Services and Foster Care.
She is a frequent speaker nationally, and educates legislators on matters related to family law and child welfare. She has been practicing law defending the Constitutional rights of parents for over 25 years.
This week she received a phone call informing her that there was a warrant out for her arrest, encouraging her to turn herself in rather than having police come in to storm her office or home to arrest her.
After informing her Facebook followers of this fact, Raymond Schwab, a military veteran and father who had his own children medically kidnapped in Kansas (more info), called Reguli and interviewed her the night before she turned herself in where she explained the case related to the warrant.
Attorney Reguli begins by stating that she has:
never broken the law and never been arrested for nothing. I am 67 years old, I’ve never had a DUI… never had a single criminal charge.
And here we are because I tried to get a parent due process, which means notice and opportunity to be heard.
I am now going to be criminally charged that.
At a recent legislative session in Tennessee before a committee that provides oversight for Tennessee’s Department of Children Services (DCS) Attorney Reguli says:
I told them that this system is so broken, and that parents’ rights are being violated, that nobody will stand up for them. There’s no oversight, there’s nobody looking over their shoulder.
I’ve been an attorney for 25 years. I know the law. I know what Constitutional rights are for parents, and I have been a thorn in their side.
Reguli explains that the heart of the case involved with her criminal charge revolves around ex parte orders being used by DCS to take children out of homes, where no emergency exists, and sometimes, they don’t even have a valid court order signed by a judge to do so. With ex parte orders, there is no hearing before a child or children are removed from the home.
She goes on to explain that she represents a mom in Dekalb County, which is a small rural area about an hour away from where she lives. She has known and represented the mom, Wendy Hancock, for several years.
She’s been harassed by the Department of Children Services many many times. They’ve gone to school and pulled her kids out of class and harassed her.
In 2015 when they came after her, I represented her in court, and they dismissed the case with an email. I mean once I got in the case and I said they were violating the Constitution, and I was drilling him down to get me records and set the case for hearing, they sent me an email and said the case was dismissed.
In 2017, however, they allegedly started harassing the mom again.
This time, I called the DCS worker up on the phone and I recorded it, and this is what pissed them off in this case. I recorded it, and I said “Deedee,” Deedee Miller, that’s her name, Deandra Miller, I said “I want you to know that I represent this mom and you are not to call her again. You are to call me.”
And she goes, “I don’t think I can talk to you,” and she hung up on me.
I posted that recording on our Facebook Group, The Family Forward Project. I put it up there, that this is what it is like to talk to a DCS worker when you have counsel.
In 2018 there was allegedly another referral against the mom, Wendy Hancock, and again Reguli tried to work with the case worker, but this time she would not even take her call. She left a message stating she wanted to work with the department on behalf of her client and come up with a “safety plan,” a fact she says is not in dispute.
Because an investigation had been started, Reguli called the detective.
I say “don’t talk to my client again without me present.” He said “Okay.”
She asked the police detective if there was any emergency she needed to know about, and he allegedly said “no.” This was on a Friday, August 10, 2018.
On Monday morning, according to Reguli, she called the court and asked the clerk if anything had been filed against her client yet, and they said “no.”
They finally did file a case at 3:43 p.m. that Monday, just minutes before the court closed at 4 p.m.
She asked the clerk to fax her the file, and the clerk reportedly said “sure.”
But after waiting some time, Reguli called back and was informed they could not fax it to her, and that she need to drive out to Dekalb County courthouse to retrieve it.
Being over an hour and a half away, Reguli had to take a half day off just to drive out there.
They had not served my client. I did not know at that time, but they had already had another hearing behind her back. They didn’t call her and tell her they had a hearing. They didn’t call her and tell her they had filed anything.
They did everything ex parte.
Reguli goes on to explain the order from DCS to remove the children was not even signed by a judge in their county. They went to a different county to get the ex parte emergency order, and even then Reguli states that the order was not even signed by the judge.
These kangaroo courts, this donkey justice system that is going on – there is not another type of litigation that goes through this.
If I have a contract case, and I want to go get a restraining order against somebody or some other business, I have to file the document with the court, and then it goes to the judge, and then the judge makes the decision.
This being able to cart your documents off by DCS workers to another county, under the claim that they’ve got some feakin emergency – it has got to stop!
Reguli goes on to explain that the rationale behind ex parte orders is to deal with emergency situations where there is no time to wait for a court to convene and hear the case. The standard is supposed to be: “There is a risk of irreparable harm before a court hearing can be held.”
But DCS workers abuse the system by using ex parte orders to immediately remove children from homes when there is no emergency.
They’re making these ex parte orders on antonymous tips, on vague allegations that they have no substance, they’re doing no investigation.
Concerning the case where she is being charged with criminal charges of “Facilitation of Custodial Interference and Accessory after the Fact” Reguli states:
They made allegations that mom was a drug dealer. They never showed mom was a drug dealer. And that was last August.
The kids are home with mom. And DCS dismissed their case.
I filed four different complaints with the Department of Children’s Services, showed them all the violations. They had taken these children, they had shipped them 300 miles away in foster homes in which there were needles, and bars on the windows in a culturally inappropriate setting that was totally not the setting that foster care was supposed to be.
They have been in six placements in less than a year.
They told these kids that they would never go home to their mom.
Retaliation Against Attorney for Exposing Corruption?
When asked if she thinks this criminal charge against her is retaliation, Reguli states:
Absolutely. And they know in this case it is a federal “case” – it has civil rights violations, it is a civil rights lawsuit waiting to happen. And in Tennessee we have a very short statute of limitations. I already have the complaint about 80 percent drafted. This is just a distraction to steal my time..
So we’re going to make it a distraction for everybody.
When we have a preliminary hearing, I’ll get cameras in the courtroom, and we’ll video tape it.
I’m going to have my opportunity to cross examine some of these people, including the judges, the caseworkers, the police officers – we’ll get them up there and cross examine them.
Because there was never a finding that this mom was a drug dealer. And that was their whole basis for running off and snatching these kids.
Based on her phone call with the police, Reguli knew that they were charging the mom with “Custodial Interference” and charging her, as the mom’s attorney, for “facilitating a crime.”
And yet, the case had already been dismissed, and the children were already back home with the mom.
Reguli then goes on to give her perspective as to why they are so upset with her to the point of filing (bogus) criminal charges.
Here’s another reason they are mad at me. So, I record everything. I have Olympus digital recorders that plug into your computer. I carry them with me all the time. I lay them down on the desk. There is no secret. Everybody know it.
When I go into a courtroom, I lay a recorder on the table.
When we had a hearing on February 26th, I got my recorders out on the table, we take a short break to do something, and I left my recorder on. I just left it on. I didn’t turn it off as I walked out.
I came back in, and we finish what we are doing.
When I get back to my office, I’m downloading my audios and I was trying to find something on my audio.
So I pull up my audio, and I realized what I had done by keeping it on. Well, during the break, the DCS attorney and DCS workers were talking smack about me. Along with the court officer, the judge’s court officer who works for the sheriff department, is talking smack about me and my client. They’re sitting over there giggling and laughing it and I posted that online as well.
They are livid about that. They’re absolutely livid that they’re basically saying that the barrier to reunification is Connie Reguli.
Well, that shows you that it was personal right then.
This was a personal vendetta.
Watch the entire video above.
Post Arrest Interviews
Today, Attorney Connie Reguli turned herself in to the authorities due to a warrant for her arrest. The judge apparently did not consider her a threat to society, because at the arraignment she did not require any bail, but release Reguli on her own recognizance.
Bail for the mom, Wendy Hancock, was set to only $1000.00, meaning she had to put up $100.00 to get out.