IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON FOR JACKSON COUNTY --- 000-- SUSAN SAMORA COUTSOUKIS, ) Petitioner, ) ) Case No: 94-3846-D-3 vs. ) ) PHOTIUS COUTSOUKIS ) ) is, ) ) Respondent. ) ________________________________________________ ) TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS VOLUME I - CIRCUIT COURT SHOW CAUSE Medford, Oregon September 30, 1996 9:00 o'clock a.m. BEFORE: THE HONORABLE G. PHILIP ARNOLD, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, PRO TEM APPEARANCES For the Petitioner: Christina Sanz Attorney at Law 900 W. 8th St. Medford, OR 97501 For the Respondent: In Propia Persona THE COURT: Does anybody want to exclude witnesses? Are we going to keep all of the witnesses in the courtroom? SANZ: That would be fine, I'd move to exclude the witnesses. MR. COUTSOUKIS: She moves to exclude them? COURT: Any witness, anybody who' s going to be a witness in this case needs to wait outside and wait far enough away that you don't hear the testimony that goes on in this case. When we're ready for the witness we will call you and you will come in and testify at that point. The reason is, you're not to hear what other witnesses say. So is there anybody that's in that category? Any witnesses? I saw five hands before. But of course that doesn't mean the two parties, okay, you get to stay. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Yes- - I'm sorry, I was- - THE COURT: Mr. Coutsoukis alright? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Yes. THE COURT: If I understand, Mr. Coutsoukis you have filed a motion to dismiss a restraining order and that's what we're here to deal with. Is that right? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Yes. THE COURT: You have an opportunity to make an opening statement to let me know what your case is about if you want to do that. You don't have to. But do you want to do such a thing? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Um, yes, um- - I don't know if I'm allowed to- - uh - - question, to ask questions of this - - THE COURT: On the opening statement you just want to tell me what your case is about. Why are you here? Why did you do this? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Well, my contention is that one of the reasons why the restraining order is misdirected is because Christina has been taking advantage of a gullible client to get, to me - - - (inaudible) number one. Number two, in terms of the restraining order itself, it was put in as a tactic because, and we were told this ahead of time, because a motion of hers was dismissed in court and a trial was postponed and she said that if you do that we will put a restraining order, so consequently the restraining order is not because there's a need for it. Now furthermore, this restraining order is harmful to my child. We have a three year old disabled child that I take care of (inaudible) day and I will proceed to show why it is not appropriate to do this. THE COURT: Your welcome to put on any of that evidence about those things you want to but I suggest to you that your more likely to be successful if you'll focus on what are the child's needs rather than attacking Ms. Sanz. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay. THE COURT: I was going to give you a little suggestion there. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Fine. We will leave that for another time and we will focus on why it is not good for my child. THE COURT: Because that's something - - - And I just want you to understand. That's the thing I'm really interested in here this morning. MR. COUTSOUKIS: That's fine, no problem. THE COURT: Ms. Sanz? MS. SANZ: Yes, just to give the court a little bit of background. Um, this divorce case was filed in 1994. In July of 1996 1 filed a motion for the court to hear the custody, to have the court decide which party would be the custodial parent. They had been working out amongst themselves, without any temporary court orders, their own access schedule to the child. Which at times was a joint custody arrangement. We made a determination that that was no longer feasible, could not- - the joint custody provision could not work out, so I filed in July 1996 for show cause. I followed that with a second show cause motion asking also for a restraining order based on 107.095. 1 could have had that go ex parte but determined that it would have been inappropriate, that perhaps the court should hear our request for a restraining order. Mr. Jacobson was representing Mr. Coutsoukis. We appeared before the court on the day of the scheduled hearing, which was July 27- - 22, when Judge Karaman would have heard both motions. He asked for a postponement, it was granted. It was agreed that the new date to hear the restraining order issue and the custody issue was going to be heard on September the 3rd. Just prior to going to court on that Monday, I believe it was the Friday prior, Jerry Jacobson and I went to see Judge Karaman in chambers because Mr. Jacobson wanted to withdraw. The court heard our arguments. I filed an objection against the withdrawal. This issue has been going long enough. And basically the judge signed Mr. Jacobson's motion to withdraw, agreed with him that the show cause on custody would not be heard and either be heard at a later time at a show cause in October or at the trial itself which is also in October; but granted my motion for a restraining order. So all of that was - - you know - - Mr. Coutsoukis was represented by Mr. Jacobson, he made his best argument, so did I and that is how the restraining order was granted. It was a compromise because we wanted to go forward with the custody hearing but we let things be as they are. Um, We are objecting to the removal of the restraining order for several reasons. Although the parties have managed, on and off, to try to arrange their own custody for their child, Theodora Coutsoukis, it's very apparent that it - - there are a lot of tensions at all times. He is verbally abusive to my client. He is mentally abusive. He screams and yells at my client when the child is in vicinity or with her. He does the same thing with the caretaker of the child. Um, one minute he may be very charming and very cordial, the next minute he is very inappropriate in behavior and just for the duration of this proceeding and - - requested the restraining order be for a year because that is what the sheriffs needs in order to have it in the computer. That they not have contact with them - - with each other unless- - the only exception, of course, is to discuss issues concerning the child. THE COURT: What is the visitation that exists now Ms.Sanz? MS. SANZ: He is receiving visitation Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:45, usually 5:30, 5:45. Saturday from 11:30 - - between 11:30 and noon until 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., there's - MR. COUTSOUKIS: Excuse me your honor, - - THE COURT: You have to let her finish and then I'll hear youMR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay THE COURT: I'm not going to MR. COUTSOUKIS: She's not allowed to lie though. MS. SANZ: So that's about a three hour, four hour visit on Saturdays and then - THE COURT: Tell me, it was 11:00 until what? MS. SANZ: Well, the pickup and drop-off can range between 11:30 and 12:00 and then pickup/drop-off 3:30 to 4:00. THE COURT: Okay. But it's 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 Monday through Friday? MS. SANZ: 5:45 is kind of flexible, it goes between 5:00 to 5:45. THE COURT: Okay, anything else? MS. SANZ: And Sunday, uh- - no visits at that time. There used to be Sunday visits but my client decided - - she works full time, she needs to be able to have more time. So that's primarily, almost the same schedule, pre-restraining order, the only significant change probably is for Sundays. THE COURT: Ms. Sanz, the uh - - your show cause to hear the custody matter is still pending and not scheduled? MS. SANZ: What happened um - - I might add that Mr. Jacobson also countered with another show cause for custody also. That was scheduled for October 14 but since the trial is scheduled for October 17 and 18 that show cause was cancelled and we'll just have everything dealt with-in the trial on the 17th and 18th. THE COURT: October 17 and 18 is the trial? MS. SANZ: Yes. THE COURT: As far as you know you'll be proceeding? MS. SANZ: I hope so. They could have objected to the restraining order by filing a written objection, they did not. It was argued that - THE COURT: Well, well, I understand, I just wanted to know the status of the case. MS. SANZ: Sure. THE COURT: And I believe you've told me that. So, um What is your proposal Mr. Coutsoukis for what kind of order ought to be in effect at this point. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay, well I think it should be noted, but I'd like to point out some misleading statements that came from that side. THE COURT: It would be to your advantage if you'd answer my question. What is your proposal for what kind of order ought to be in effect between now and October 17? MR. COUTSOUKIS: There should be no order. When she THE COURT: There should be no order, is that what you're seeking this morning, no order? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Well dismissal of the restraining order which means the status that has been, contrary to what you've heard, that has been uh - what did she call it, mostly, -s e r es to convey to you the impression that Susan has some sort of a custody and that I'm the person that receives the visitation and we have the drop-offs and other such key words to make it seem as if Susan versus I have some sort of a custody and there is no such thing. THE COURT: What I've read is the restraining order here. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Correct, correct, but she threw that in for the purpose of making it seem like now the restraining order, uh - THE COURT: So what you're seeking is no order at all? MR. COUTSOUKIS: That's right, and that's what I would like to proceed on. THE COURT: Are you going to call yourself as a witness? MR. COUTSOUKIS: I have several witnesses. THE COURT: You're not going to call yourself as a witness then? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Uh, I don't think I need myself a witness. THE COURT: Okay. Call your first witness. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay, um- - Susan- - this is uh - THE COURT: Who is your first witness? MR. COUTSOUKIS: That's Susan. THE COURT: Okay, we'd like to swear you in please. SUSAN COUTSOUKIS was called as a witness to testify on behalf of the Respondent, and being first sworn by the clerk to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, was-examined and testified as follows: THE WITNESS: Susan Coutsoukis. DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. COUTSOUKIS: Q. Uh, this is a transcript signed by Eileen Leddy from a prior hearing on a restraining order where Susan, Christina filed a restraining order and I went in to ask them to dismiss the order and it was dated October 17, 1994. Now does this look- I'm sure it's MS. SANZ: Can I see it please? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Absolutely. I assume the court possesses the original of this. THE COURT: You shouldn't presume that Mr. Coutsoukis. MR. COUTSOUKIS: I'm not a lawyer, I'm sorry. THE COURT: It's okay. I didn't that as any kind of - MR. COUTSOUKIS: Oh, I know. THE COURT: Negative comment, it's just that we don't have any copy of that. Q. Okay, that is a hearing that took place just like today, where Christina filed a motion on behalf of Susan for a restraining order and I went there to ask them to dismiss the restraining order. Now you remember that Susan, correct? A. I don't remember it specifically, but I can remember that that happened. Q. Now, was that the first time you filed a restraining order for me or was it the second? A. No, I, it might be the - - Q. It was the second wasn't it? A. I don't know if there was one in California as well. Q. No. A. But anyway. Q. No there wasn't, in California you filed for a divorce right? Um, now how long have you and I been married? A. Thirteen or so years. Q. Okay. Now when you first filed for divorce- - when you first filed for divorce that was in California right? A. Yes. Q. Okay. THE COURT: Mr. Coutsoukis I want you to talk to me about the issues here and we have a restraining order. We have a restraining order that says you're not to molest or interfere with her. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay. THE COURT: And you're telling me that that interferes with your relationship with your child. It says that you're not to enter her home or place of employment and that you're not to contact her by phone at her place of employment or home except to tell her about access time with your daughter. That's what I want you to talk to me about. And that's what I want you to ask questions about. Not about when you got married and all that, we've got a very little issue-here. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay. THE COURT: A narrow issue, a big important one, but a narrow one. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay. Um, a couple things here. Number one is, visitation (inaudible) going to Susan's house. The status is that - THE COURT: Do you have a question? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Well. THE COURT: Do you have anymore questions of her? Q. Can you tell us where currently Teddy sleeps Susan? MS. SANZ: Objection, irrelevant. THE COURT: Sustained. Not relevant. Do you have a question about - - Q. Okay. Could you tell us when I last visited your house Susan? A. Uh, I believe it was last Saturday. Q. Last Saturday I came to your house? A. Yes. Q. What did I do? A. Picked up some of your things. Q. And how did I get in? A. I had a key under the door. Q. You put it there for me? A. Yes. Q. So I A. No, you were not invited. We made an agreement that there were some - - Mr. Coutsoukis is in the computer business he has some hardware or software that's stored and he was concerned about it being stored in a controlled environment, so he's left some in the spare room and he needed to ship some product so I suggested that one of his employees come in to pick up the goods and he countered that no it was impossible because they'd never find them. So I said, "Okay, you can come in but only when we're not there", I gave a specific time and then, um, and sure, you're in and out before we're back so there isn't any conflict. Q. According to my records this took place on or about the 7th of September. A. If it was last week or the week before, I don't know. Q. Last weekend actually on Saturday, you brought Teddy over?MS. SANZ: Objection, irrelevant and not in the form question. Q. okay, it could have been the 7th of September right? A. It could have been a week or two ago. Q. Now to my recollection and tell me if this is not correct, I received a fax from you on the 17th of September saying pick up Teddy at your house and take her to Hoover school for evaluation. Is that a correct statement? A. No. Wait a second, that's not how it started. THE COURT: Do you have this fax Mr. Coutsoukis? WITNESS: The fax was because of a phone call your honor. I was supposed to take Theodora to be evaluated at Hoover school and um, Mr. Coutsoukis is not allowed on the premises of Rogue Valley Medical Center's, the child development program, because of his outbursts and his inappropriate behavior. THE COURT: Where do you work? WITNESS: I work at Bear Creek. Anyway- - this is part of that whole special studies of situations. So, I was going to take her, he was arguing that the daycare provider shouldn't bring her there or meet me there to facilitate the time so I said, okay, why don't you just go then and pick her up and then take her so it would be easier on the child. Because he wanted the daycare provider to take the child from the home to his office so he could take the child and meet me at the Hoover school and I just thought that that was too ridiculous for Teddy to go through so I said, why don't you - - Hoover school is five minutes from my house, I said, why don't you just take her to the evaluation yourself, from the house, there. And that's the only reason - - I did not invite him to my house. It was just to make it easier for the child. THE COURT: Mr. Coutsoukis, we're getting nowhere here. I'm going to give you a little more guideline okay, and we'll try to help you on the - - because this is the guideline here. I'm going to continue the restraining order that restrains you from molesting or interfering with her. I'm going to continue the restraining order that restrains you from entering her home or place of employment and I'm going to continue the restraining order that prohibits you from contacting her by telephone or place of employment and I want you to tell me what else it is that I will do that would help you in the - seeing your child, that would go along with those things. And this says that you can contact her to inform her of your access time, not visitation, access time, with your daughter. What else is it that you would have us do? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Well, um THE COURT: You certainly don It expect that I'm going to say it I s okay for you to interfere with or molest her, and I I m not going to. MR. COUTSOUKIS: (inaudible) interfere or molest THE COURT: And so we're going to keep that part of the MR. COUTSOUKIS: (inaudible) into the house invited. THE COURT: We're going to keep that part of the restraining order in place. What else would we do other than let you contact her? MR. COUTSOUKIS: Okay, here is the situation and Susan brought it out about the stranger, the babysitter, bringing my daughter to my house. Now, the fact is notwithstanding, I have spent enumerable hours and days taking care of our daughter at Susan's house. From the time my daughter was born I have been the primary caretaker. THE COURT: You want to go to her house to take-care of the child, is that what you want? MR. COUTSOUKIS: I want to be able to go to where my child lives with my permission now with her mother, okay, not to do so I will not be in my child's eyes a parent but some uncle down the street. I do not want to separate my child from her mother, even though when divorce time comes you will see plenty of causes okay. THE COURT: We're going to separate you from her mother Mr. Coutsoukis, that's what we're doing. MR. COUTSOUKIS: But I think that her mother should at least make some personal - - at the cost of some personal convenience, accommodate what is essential to my child. My child has been disabled because of infantile trauma that was brought about by separation when she was a baby and she still has some serious anxiety. Now, Susan, when you came over to visit at my house, - my office, where Teddy was on Saturday before, instead of we were outside playing in the parking lot right. Now, did Teddy not take your hand and my hand and she wanted us to - - give us a walk together. Do you think it is important for our child to see us together? THE COURT: Mr. Coutsoukis, I'm not going to require her to work, be together with you and the child. If that's what your after you MR. COUTSOUKIS: This is not some fatal attraction case your honor THE COURT: It actually- - she's entitled to be separated from you in the (inaudible) MR. COUTSOUKIS: But is my child entitled to have a visit with my wife? She was already brain damaged because of what happened to her previously, because of the human rights and constitutional rights that her mother has. THE COURT: Do you wish to - - your asking her questions has turned into arguing with her so I'm not going to- -I'm going to ask you to- - MR. COUTSOUKIS: What are you going to do? You said you would give me the order and I - THE COURT: Do you want to call any other witnesses? MR. COUTSOUKIS: In view of the fact that you said you are not going to allow Susan and Teddy and I to be concurrently in the same place- - THE COURT: No, I said I'm not going to require it and I'm going to leave this restraining order in place. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Fine, in lieu of that then, in view of that, in view of the fact that on a prior occasion I was invited to Susan's house to pick up some computer equipment, uh, she called the police and at that time Christina, her lawyer, had said that there would be no dealings with me until I get a lawyer, unless I get a voicemail or (inaudible) MS. SANZ: Objection your honor. I don't know what basis he's speaking of. Certainly, we contradict the MR. COUTSOUKIS: Fine, I had a voicemail recording of Susan asking to come in and pick up some things so when I went there I did not enter the house, she called the police because- - if I didn't have that voice recording your honor I would have been in jail today. So if you do issue the restraining order could you at least modify it to the effect that if I am invited then I won't go to jail. In other words, if I'm told no the babysitter's not here today, would you mind going to my house and picking up Teddy or watching her so I can go to work. I should be able to do that without fearing THE COURT: So your request- - I'd like a response on that. MS. SANZ: He's describing an event that probably happened two years ago when the police were called when a former restraining order was there. My client - - and I have talked to my client in detail about this. She made an exception and allowed Mr. Coutsoukis to come to the home to pick up his computer equipment this time around. She is not going to do that anymore. If there are any personal property issues, that will be dealt with in the divorce decree. She will have no contact with him or initiate any contact from here on out. THE COURT: (inaudible) MR. COUTSOUKIS: Two weeks after the restraining order I was asked to take my daughter to school because she could not do it and rather my child not be taken like a package, by some stranger to school. THE COURT: Ms. Sanz tell me, is there any order or mediation agreement that deals with this scheduled of the child? MS. SANZ: There is none. MR. COUTSOUKIS: There was a mediation THE COURT: So this is something that you worked out MS. SANZ: Amongst themselves. MR. COUTSOUKIS: No, your honor, this is no correct. May I mention what happened with the mediation? THE COURT: Is there- - No sir, you may tell me if there is any order or written agreement setting up that schedule that you MR. COUTSOUKIS: No agreement, nothing in writing. It has been strictly discretionary between Susan and myself. THE COURT: Okay. I've told you that I'm not going to change any of these things and so far you've not told me any reason or any other suggested change that I ought to make . I'm going to give you one more chance. Mr. Coutsoukis, is there anything about this part of the order that you think if we changed, it would help you in visitation with your child. MR. COUTSOUKIS: Well, obviously I'm not interested in molesting - - (inaudible) molestation part (inaudible) but I believe I should be allowed to enter my child's home, where she sleeps okay. She spends her days with me, she sleeps with Susan. I would like to be able to see her there and I would like to make surprise visits with a- - she has a perfect stranger giving my child medication that is potentially lethal. We have to have blood tests every three months. It's a liquid medication. I walk in one day, she's got a syringe that's three times the size of what it's supposed to be. THE COURT: Is there anything else? You've told me that. Is there anything else that you think I ought to change? MR. COUTSOUKIS: I want to have some assurance that if Susan invites me to go do something in the house, and she will, believe me it's happened for years now, that she won't be calling the police on me. THE COURT: Anything else? MR. COUTSOUKIS: No, I guess that's it. THE COURT: Your motion to dismiss the restraining order is denied. Do you want to prepare an order Ms. Sanz? MS. SANZ: Sure. END OF PROCEEDINGS