The Story of Eris
Judge Orders Little Four Year Old
Eris to Scotland
Atlanta, GA October 17, 2011: Little Eris Chafin, just four years old, was ordered removed from her father's care in The United States where she had resided for the past eighteen months, since February, 2010. Federal District Court Judge, Inge Johnson, Clinton Appointee to the Northern District Court of Alabama, turned little Eris over to her Scottish mother, Lynne Hales Chafin. Without intervention from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Chafin will be forced to plea to Scottish courts for access to his daughter. Within hours of Judge Johnson's ruling, Ms. Chafin removed Eris from the United States.
Ms. Chafin abandoned Scotland as her residence and relocated with Eris to Alabama in February, 2010. She was deported in February, 2011 after being arrested on multiple occasions for public intoxication and domestic violence. Since Ms. Chafin's last arrest, little Eris had been exclusively in her daddy's care. One year after Mr. Chafin filed for divorce in the Circuit Court of Madison Alabama and 15 months after Eris moved to Alabama from Scotland, Ms. Chafin filed a Petition for Return of Child to Scotland under The Hague Convention's Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Ms. Chafin alleged Mr. Chafin had illegally and wrongfully retained his daughter from Scotland, which she asserts is Eris' habitual residence. International family law attorney Michael E. Manely, who is experienced in child abduction cases under the Hague Convention, asserts that the evidence at trial overwhelmed Ms. Chafin's claims. Attorney Manely continues, "According to the 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, which country will retain jurisdiction over the child depends heavily upon the shared, settled intention of the parents to abandon the previous habitual residence of Scotland and take up residency in The United States. According to every document Lynne Chafin wrote and every person she talked to, she intended to abandon Scotland and take up residency with Eris in the United States as of February 2010." Court testimony demonstrated that the Army relocated Ms. Chafin in February based on her intent to reside in the United States. Ms. Chafin in her words "moved all of my worldly possessions" to The United States in April 2010 and applied for a green card in September of 2010. She remodeled the family home Mr. Chafin had purchased with his Army re-signing bonus, all showing she and Mr. Chafin intended to reside indefinitely with their daughter in the United States.
"Little Eris is in grave risk of physical and psychological harm and her circumstances intolerable with Ms. Chafin in Scotland, a defense to releasing a child into the jurisdiction of another country under The Hague Convention," says Attorney Manely. Ms. Chafin is a habitual drunk and violent. Local police testified that they arrested Ms. Chafin multiple times for drunken, violent behavior while she was in The United States. On December 14, 2010 in response to a call that she was assaulting a cab driver, police video of Ms. Chafin's arrest shows her barely able to stand without assistance, unable to speak coherently and having to be placed in leg irons to prevent her from kicking officers. The cab driver who called for police assistance is heard on tape complaining of her hitting him in the head with her shoe and kicking the door panels out of his cab. Mr. Chafin explains, "I was at home caring for Eris when her mother was arrested. I've been the only parent who has cared for her since her mother was again arrested and subsequently deported some 10 months ago. Who'll be there for Eris now?"
There was another outburst of drunken violence on December 24, 2010. Ms. Chafin was arrested after wielding a knife over Mr. Chafin while little Eris lay asleep in the next room. Ms. Chafin awakened him threatening, "You are not getting out of here alive." Mr. Chafin retreated, putting himself and a locked bedroom door between his wife and his daughter, and called the police. Once again, upon arrival the police found Ms. Chafin heavily intoxicated. While being transported it took three officers to subdue her. Arresting Officer Gramling, of the Madison Alabama Police Department stated in his incident report, "Upon transporting Ms. Chafin to PSB she started kicking the windows of the patrol car." Additionally he reports that after processing, ". . . Officer Niles applied hobbles to Ms. Chafin . . .While enrout [sic], she yet again became combative." According to the report and the assisting officer's testimony in federal court, it took three officers to secure Ms. Chafin in her outrageous, violent conduct.
Mr. Chafin feels Judge Inge Johnson's Order is a miscarriage of justice, has harmed his little girl and puts her in grave risk. He prays the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will move quickly to bring little Eris home. Attorney Manely is filing an appeal before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to expedite Eris' return. Mr. Chafin continues, "I'm still in shock the Judge would do such a thing to a child. Judge Johnson gave Eris just four hours to say goodbye to me in a parking lot before sending her away with nothing except the clothes on her back."