Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jordan Cardella, Product of Child Welfare System

Odd twist on Cupid turns simply stupid

In a story that has gone viral, Jordan Cardella is being touted on the world wide web as stupid. He asked a friend to shoot him so that his ex-girlfriend would feel sorry for him and take him back. 

This isn't the first time Cardella asked a friend to injure him in order to obtain sympathy and to manipulate someone.

About ten years ago, Cardella was a child who was the subject of a child welfare case in Walworth County, Wisconsin. I worked on this case. I have observed the outcomes of Jordan's experiences as a direct result of that intervention. The outcomes for Jordan Cardella aren't pretty, but they are typical outcomes that children who are "protected" by the state experience. 

Walworth County touted the outcome of their intervention for Jordan Cardella as positive. I disagreed. Readers will note that Jordan is a felon. That is only the tip of the iceberg. Not credible proof of a job well done when one is bragging about the outcomes of child welfare interventions being positive. 

This is where I get to say I was right. Again. 

Jordan's mother was accused by the father--her ex-husband--of physically abusing Jordan. This was a transparent attempt to have a child support/custody dispute resolved in dad's favor by using child welfare to report mom for abuse and have the children placed with him, and then collect child support from mom. This happens all the time, and one would expect that the professionals who administer these cases could discern when they are being manipulated by parents. . . and children. The professionals in Walworth County demonstrated they do not posses the most basic discernment skills. That includes the bonehead judge, Carlson. 

Mom gave Jordan a spanking because he was threatening his older sister with a butcher knife when he was ten years old. Mom was charged with felony child abuse for that spanking. The story garnered international attention. Now, here's the rest of the story. . .

Mom gave the boy twelve swats with her left hand on his bare bottom, one for each year of his age and two to reinforce the lesson. There was no bruising at the time of the spanking. There were half a dozen adult witnesses to the spanking, and none reported that it was excessive or unreasonable. 

Left image filtered to make bruising look worse.
The district attorney, Phil Koss, insisted that mom caused serious bruising, and even took photos of the boy's bottom. Then he enhanced. . .aw, let's not pull punches, he tampered with the photographic images to make the bruising appear worse. See for yourself. These images come directly from the district attorney's file. The original photos were hidden in the back of the file and fell out right into my lap. (Incidentally, immediately after I filmed this tampered photographic evidence, I was approached by courthouse security officer Hausner who demanded I surrender my video tape. I refused and was arrested. I got the charges (disorderly conduct and obstruction) dropped, sued for false arrest, excessive use of force and more. . . and won.  Oh, and I got my tape back. We discovered the tampered evidence several years after the incident.) 

Back to the case. . .mom didn't cause that bruising. If you haven't already guessed, I conducted an investigation into this spanking incident and the administration of the child welfare civil case and the criminal case that arose out of that event.

The child welfare agency sided with dad, and recommended that Jordan be taken away from mom and placed with dad. Guardian ad litem, Frank Lettenburger, also sided with placing Jordan with dad, and went to great lengths to have mom convicted. It was a vendetta. But Lettenberger and the caseworker were adamant that the child's best interests were served by placing Jordan with dad, despite the record showing and multiple reports from reliable sources showing dad was a drug user and batterer. 

I received reliable reports that dad had coached Jordan to get mom to spank him, Jordan even bragged about it, taunting his mom. Then, out of the blue several years later, one of Jordan's little friends confessed to me that Jordan had told him to spank Jordan with a board to cause bruising. The friend did it, brutally beating Jordan's willing bottom with a board until it was bruised. And plucky little Jordan took the beating like a man. He then told dad mom spanked him, and dad reported it to the police. Mom was arrested and all her children placed in foster care. 

Koss used the tampered photographic evidence to coerce a misdemeanor plea bargain out of mom. She never saw the unaltered photos until I went to the courthouse several years later. But, Dad was ultimately charged with perjury arising out of his testimony about this event, and accepted a plea bargain to a lesser charge. Phill Koss was immune from liability for his prosecutorial misconduct. Mom got probation, but Jordan--and society--are the biggest losers. 

The dependency court, accepting the recommendations of child welfare and GAL Lettenberger, placed Jordan and his sister with dad. Lettenberger reported to the court that the children "are thriving in their father's home. . .doing well in school. . .have a number of friends, and are working through issue in counseling." The case was closed and nobody ever bothered to follow up on the welfare of the children. 

Jordan had learned his lessons well. Oh no, not the lessons his mom tried to teach him about proper conduct, responsibility and obedience, but the lessons his father and the professionals who administer child welfare taught him. 

He learned how to use the system to protect him from being corrected. He learned that even when the child lies, the professionals believe the child. His defiance escalated, and he became uncontrollable, engaging in bizarre, violent and dangerous conduct. Why not? He learned that he could tattle to the state if his parents tried to discipline him or correct him. He succeeded in having his way and having his mom thrown in jail when she tried to raise him to be a responsible adult. 

When Jordan turned fifteen, dad kicked the little monster he and Walworth County had created out of the house. Under Wisconsin child welfare laws, this constituted abuse and neglect, yet teflon dad never came under the scrutiny of child welfare. 

In order to survive on the streets of South Milwaukee, Jordan sold drugs, a skill he had reportedly learned from his dad. His felony conviction was for drugs. I won't even go into the rest of the illegal conduct that surround young Cardella's teenage years, but it was substantial. 

This begs the question. . .was that spanking a fork in the road? Would Jordan have turned out differently if Walworth County had not removed him from his mother because she spanked him? What if, instead of punishing mom for correcting Jordan, the state had supported mom? 

Certainly, if mom hadn't spanked him, he wouldn't have learned any lesson about not engaging in felony menacing and mom wouldn't have had her children removed and been thrown in jail. 

So, spank him and risk being arrested, don't spank him and be held responsible for his crimes because you didn't correct him? Does this sound fair or reasonable? Yet it is so. Parents are responsible for their minor children's criminal and tortious conduct, yet their hands are tied by the state from correcting them effectively. 

And what about dad? He is reportedly the laughing stock at work. I say, it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. 

You see, he also falsely reported me for kidnapping his daughter when he had seen into my car and saw she wasn't there. He chased me through the streets of South Milwaukee while I was on the phone to the police. They police--complete with a damned paddy wagon--surrounded me, detained me, stated he had accused me of kidnapping his daughter, and questioned me before letting me leave the scene. So make fun of dad, he deserves it. 

But let's not forget those incredible professionals who insured a willfully disobedient boy had no chance to grow up with the proper values and lessons: Judge Carlson, Frank Lettenberger and Walworth County case worker Leslie Mollet--I won't even go into the offensive naked butt checks she did on the kiddies.

All these professionals who walked away patting themselves on the back for a job well done need to know just what they did, don't you think? Make them the same laughing stock that dad is, after all, Jordan is the fruit of their labors. 


  1. Suzanne,
    You had no right to put this out. You are a sick individual that twists things to make them into what you think they should be. This is MY family you are messing with. No one needs to know about MY family affairs. Whose to say this wouldn't have happened even if the system didn't suck?
    Not to mention you put pictures up of Jordan's naked ass. Why would you even still have those?? Sick much....
    This doesn't need a response, just know that I'm pissed that you put my family into something you have no clue about.

  2. The writer of this comment claims that I twist things into my version, that I don't know the facts. She is in error. She was only a child when much of this happened, and as a child in the child welfare system, she was not advised of these adult matters. . .unless, of course, her father inappropriately told her his version as these events were happening. Given the acrimonious custody dispute, and given his history of putting his spin on events, the reader is invited to draw their own conclusions. Yet, she was still a child then, lacking adult knowledge and perspective. She is now an adult, albeit a young one.

    As for “messing” with her family, dear child, this is a commentary on a news story. Jordan made the news. I have information about this news story that nobody else has. I have every right to publish this because it is newsworthy, especially in the context of child welfare outcomes, which is my arena of reporting and news gathering.

    Those photos are part of a public record in a criminal proceeding, as are certain other facts I recited, which gives anyone the right to publish them. I have the court and agency records. I was personally involved during the pendency of both cases and subsequent associated events, which makes me a first hand witness to many of the events. I collected all this information to include in a documentary video about this case, with the consent of the mother, who is the subject of that video.

    So, as you see, I have every right to publish my information on this blog.

    Your personal distress arising out of this news story is unfortunate, but I did not point a gun at Jordan or anyone else (pun intended) and force them to do anything, ever. They did this—and all their other deeds—all by themselves. Nobody is shielded from the consequences or public critical analysis of their actions, especially when those actions make the news or become part of a public record.

    Calling me names and making nasty personal attacks because of what Jordan or anyone else did—and Jordan did it in such a big way as to make the news and go viral on the Internet—just shows that your anger is misplaced.

    I am not responsible for your discomfort, which was already manifest on other Internet sites before I published this blog. Jordan (and whoever did the deed) is responsible for your discomfort. If they didn't want their embarrassing or otherwise untoward deeds to become the subject of public criticism, they should have not done them where they would be included in a public record nor make the news. That they didn't consider how their deeds would affect their own family members is something they must answer to you for.

    Lastly, I did not say Jordan would have turned out better if child welfare hadn't gotten involved. I asked if it would have been different, and let the reader draw their own conclusions. It is obvious that what happened to your family didn't result in a positive outcome in this regard, which was my point.


Leave the emotions, propaganda and rhetoric at the door. This blogger is only interested in intelligent, logical, well-thought out, factually based comments which are on-topic, indicating the writer has an open mind and a mature ability to reason.