A campaign to bring two Madison teens home to their mother has blown up local Facebook pages over the last few days. JJ's inbox has received a few messages from readers who are very concerned about this situation. The Facebook page posted this message on April 20:
On April 19, 2016, Madison County Judge Walker, helped an abuser take custody of two children. They were tricked into their father's car, while pleading to be taken to the detention center instead. The children were not allowed to say goodbye to their mother, family, and friends. Even their principle and teachers stood helpless, desperately trying to console the children. Instead of consoling his children, the father instead demanded the arrests of the bystanders, thankfully none were detained. These defenseless children left with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Three weeks before the end of the school year...gone. No contacts, glasses, favorite books, clothes, nothing. I am confused how this cruel-senseless act was in "the best interest of the children". The mother is not allowed to hear their voice for 3 months. 90 days. 2160 hours. Please help us take a stand and bring these Madison Siblings Home.The page is called "Bring Madison Siblings Home". The children at issue even created a Youtube video.
However, there is always another side to a story. There is an opinion from a Louisiana court that provides some more information. The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal stated in a February 2015 opinion:
In this domestic case, the appellant, Radhika Pochampally, appeals the judgment of the trial court rendered on November 20, 2013, and amended on December 18, 2013, granting Havijayendra Jaligam’s rule for contempt and for Attorney’s Fees and Costs, finding Radhika Pochampally in constructive contempt of court for intentional violations of visitation orders...
On March 8, 2012, the mother, Dr. Pochampally filed a motion to relocate the minor children. On July 31, 2012, after a full hearing, the trial court granted the motion allowing Dr. Pochampally to relocate the permanent residence of the minor children to Jackson,Mississippi...
On August 15, 2012, the father, Dr. Jaligam, filed an ex parte order granting permission to travel with minor children on a family vacation to Virginia. The motion requested that he be allowed to retrieve his minor children from Jackson, Mississippi on the evening of Thursday, August 23, 2012, and return the children to school on Monday, August 27, 2012.2 Pertinent to this order, respective counsel for both Dr. Jaligam and Dr. Pochampally participated in a teleconference with the trial court on August 7, 2012, wherein the court advised Dr. Jaligam that he would be permitted to travel with the minor children on August 23, 2013, through August 27, 2012, provided he received a letter from the school permitting the children to miss school. After providing the trial court with the requested documentation from the school, the trial court, on August 15, 2012, granted Dr. Jaligam’s ex parte motion allowing the children to travel with him.
However, on August 10, 2012, Dr. Pochampally filed an emergency petition for protection from abuse against Dr. Jaligam in an alternate jurisdiction, the Madison Municipal Court, State of Mississippi. On August 16, 2012, the Madison, Mississippi Municipal Court issued an ex parte emergency domestic abuse protection order against Dr. Jaligam. Dr. Jaligam was ordered to appear before the Mississippi court on August 23, 2012, the very day he was to depart with the minor children to Virginia for a family wedding, pursuant to the court ordered vacation. As a result of this ex parte emergency abuse protection order, Dr. Jaligam was effectively precluded from exercising his court sanctioned visitation travel with the minor children.
On August 28, 2012, pursuant to the ex parte emergency abuse protection order, Dr. Pochampally filed a petition for a final domestic abuse protective order which was heard before the Yazoo County Court, State of Mississippi on October 23, 2012. On October 30, 2012, that court denied Dr. Pochampally’s petition and issued an order finding that no evidence was present which warranted a finding of domestic abuse and denied the final domestic abuse and protection order. As a result of Dr. Pochampally’s actions, Dr. Jaligam was effectively denied his court ordered visitation with his children.
On December 19, 2012, Dr. Jaligam filed his first rule for contempt, pursuant to La. R.S. 9:346, against Dr. Pochampally for willfully refusing to comply with court orders, specifically visitation orders. A hearing was set for April 4, 2013. However, during this interim period Dr. Pochampally continued to thwart the father’s ability to visit with his children. On March 21, 2013, she was ordered to transport the minor children to Dr. Jaligam in New Orleans for his March 21-23, 2013 weekend visit; Dr. Pochampally failed to deliver the children.
On April 4, 2013, a hearing was held on Dr. Jaligam’s rule for contempt against Dr. Pochampally. While the rule remained open, the trial court issued an interim order which was signed as a judgment on May 6, 2013, ordering Dr. Pochampally to transport the minor children to New Orleans for Dr. Jaligam’s court ordered visitations. Dr. Pochampally, again refused to deliver the children in accordance with the May 6, 2013 interim order for the weekends of April 19-21, 2013 and May 3-5, 2013.
Based on Dr. Pochampally’s continued actions, which interfered with Dr. Jaligam’s court sanctioned visitations with his minor children, the trial court ruled on Dr. Jaligam’s initial and second rules for contempt. The trial court found that Dr. Pochampally was in constructive contempt of court for the purposeful and intentional violation of its previous visitation orders and judgments intentional violation of its previous visitation orders and judgments...
The trial court found that Dr. Pochampally, denied Dr. Jaligam’s his physical custody rights set out in prior orders and judgments. The trial court not only found Dr. Pochampally to be in constructive contempt of court but also awarded Dr. Jaligam make-up visitations as provided....
Dr. Pochampally argues that she was justified in denying Dr. Jaligam court order visitations because she felt threatened. Yet, she failed to produce viable evidence to support her contention.
However, Dr. Pochamplly appealed her setback to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Court denied her appeal on February 25, 2016. Justice Crichton wrote in his concurring opinion:
I write separately to note that the record abundantly evidences Dr. Pochampally’s repeated efforts to frustrate Dr. Jaligam’s custodial access to his children as well as her ongoing failure to comply with court orders. For this willful and intentional noncompliance, Dr. Pochampally has been held in contempt several times. Dr. Pochampally’s belief that the court’s orders are incorrect does not permit her ignore them.
The father apparently registered the Louisiana judgment in Madison County Chancery Court and moved to enforce it. Chancellor James Walker granted the petition although there is a flurry of motions and responses that have been filed over the last three months by the two sides.
The information available to this site on this case is rather lacking but the JJ made a serious attempt to provide both sides of this story that has drawn the attention of so many in Madison.