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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Skelton Divorce; An "Only in America" Moment

John and Tanya Skelton
in Lenawee County Circuit Court
I remember having a bad feeling about this story as it broke over the news during the Thanksgiving weekend last year.  Three young boys missing; clueless father.

Fast forward seven months and now we have the Skelton divorce in the Lenawee County Family Court making headlines.

In those intervening months, the three Skelton brothers have not surfaced.  For his part, their father simply states that he gave them to "an [unnamed] organization".

He stuck to this story, forcing his wife into a divorce trial where he represented himself in the proceedings before family court Judge Margaret Noe.  Accordingly, Judge Noe awarded custody, such as it is under the circumstances, to thier mother, Tanya Skelton.

As each month passes without any trace of the boys, the case grows ever colder.  The Lenawee County prosecutor has charged John Skelton with parental kidnapping; a capital offense with a potential life sentence. 

Regardless whether this case highlights the depth and horrifying scope of mental illness or, perhaps more ominously, it is a barometer of our post-modern culture, there will be no happy ending to this carnival side-show.

Only in America does a depraved father, who [at best] gave his three sons away to unknown individuals, seize headlines by insisting on a divorce trial where he represents himself; for the headlines, no doubt.  Alas, even his suicide attempt was botched.

Stay tuned, as our next debacle can only be moments away.

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Blogger Teri said...

What, exactly, is a capital offense? Can you please explain the legal meaning. I've always found terms like capital murder and capital punishment confusing.

June 14, 2011 at 6:01 PM 
Blogger The Law Blogger said...

Teri: a capital offense is one where life imprisonment is a possible penalty. So, criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree, 1st degree murder, and kidnapping are all examples of capital offenses.

June 14, 2011 at 6:05 PM 
Blogger Teri said...

Thank you.

June 14, 2011 at 7:05 PM 

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