Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kyron Horman, Kiara Horman, Terri Horman and Kaine Horman / a Tangled Web

At first reading the article (The Oregonian, 10/11/13, regarding Terri Horman’s legal efforts in the divorce and child custody hearing with her husband, Kaine), it didn’t seem like anything was particularly new or even interesting.  I read it a second time and it became more interesting.

Judge Henry Kantor, Multnomah County Circuit Court, ordered the following:

  1. 1.      A psychological evaluation of Terri Horman will be conducted.  However, the evaluator apparently will not ask about the disappearance of Kyron.  The evaluator will apparently be directed to ask little about Terri’s relationship and lack of custody with her biological child, Kiara (age 4) – which seems odd.  Terri Horman’s attorneys will be present to make sure that she does not make any legal misstep.
  2. 2.      The Judge ordered that Terri and Kaine’s shared marital assets be liquidated to cover the expense of the evaluator (presumably a well-qualified psychiatrist or psychologist).
  3. 3.      The Judge additionally ruled that Terri must submit to a deposition by Kaine’s attorneys.  The Judge stated that it was likely that Ms. Horman would invoke the Fifth Amendment, as was her right.  “She’ll be placed under oath and she’s going to answer what she’s going to answer.”

I think the Judge’s ruling was very clever and puts Terri and her attorneys in a difficult position.  How so, you might ask?  Well, the Judge has protected himself by appearing impartial while not giving much wiggle room to Terri.

She may very well pass the psychological evaluation.  After all, it has never been claimed that she is delusional – at least outwardly.  The evaluator apparently can ask little or nothing about the disappearance of Kyron.  And, with her attorneys there to hold her hand, what’s left to evaluate.

The deposition will, on the other hand, be a difficult hurdle.  It is not going to look good when the transcript of said deposition continually reflects, ‘On my attorneys’ advice, I refuse to answer that question based on my Fifth Amendment Rights.’  Kaine’s attorney will build a strong case, as well as a narrative, against Terri just by the nature and content of the questions asked.

Example:  Do you have knowledge concerning or are you responsible for the disappearance of Kyron?  Answer:  The Fifth Amendment; which means, in other words that Terri’s answer might tend to incriminate her in a criminal investigation.

Her attorneys will counter with, at this juncture, they do not know what crimes Terri could potentially be charged with.  Therefore, they are required to advise her to use the Fifth for protection against unspecified, ubiquitous criminal charges.

The Judge will not buy Terri’s attorneys’ rationale.  If Terri refuses to answer questions about the suspicious circumstances of Kyron’s disappearance.  That’s all he needs to know.  To give her any sort of unsupervised custody of Kiara could potentially cost him his reputation, as well as his job.  What if down the line something happened to Kiara while in Terri’s custody?  What if Terri is ultimately indicted and convicted in the murder of Kyron?  The Judge will have looked foolish in granting her custody of another child.  No, the Judge is not about to stick his professional neck out; and rightfully so.

I’m not sure what the extent of his final decision will be.  He probably will grant the divorce and some sort of equitable distribution of joint assets.  Whether or not he will require Kaine to pay for Terri’s attorneys, I kind of doubt.  Regarding Kiara, he will grant some sort of carefully structured and supervised visitation with Kiara, but nothing more.

True Nelson