April 18, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Dorothy Lee Barnett appeared in court in Australia via Skype to consent to her extradition to the United States to face charges of parental kidnapping and falsifying passport documents. Back in 1994, she lost custody of her one-year-old daughter to her ex-husband, Benjamin Harris Todd. She’d claimed he was abusive toward her and their daughter, but the South Carolina judge in the case found against her and required her to undergo psychotherapy. That was based on a psychologist’s diagnosis of bi-polar disorder.
So one day, on the pretext of taking the child to a birthday party, Barnett disappeared. She fled first to South Africa and then to Australia where she and her daughter were discovered and Barnett was arrested. She’d changed her and her daughter’s names and apparently carried a false passport. My guess is that she was assisted in her disappearance by Faye Yager and her blatantly illegal network called Children of the Underground.
Here’s the latest (ABC, 4/16/14).
A woman accused of kidnapping her daughter in the United States 20 years ago and fleeing to Australia has agreed to be extradited to face charges.
It is alleged that in 1994, Dorothy Lee Barnett abducted her then 10-month-old daughter, Savannah Todd, from the child's American father, who had been granted sole custody.
According to US authorities, Barnett left for a birthday party with her daughter in South Carolina and never returned.
A US arrest warrant was issued the same year.
In November 2013, Australian and US police found the pair living on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Barnett, 53, is charged with parental kidnapping and falsifying passport documents.
In November, Barnett appeared in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court and was refused bail on the grounds she was a flight risk.
She has remained in a Queensland correctional facility, where she has had regular visits from her daughter.
On Thursday, Barnett appeared in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court by video link and gave consent to the extradition.
Magistrate Annette Hennessy has sent a letter advising Attorney-General George Brandis of Barnett's decision.
If he decides to send her back to the US, Senator Brandis will also advise whether Barnett will be held in custody or granted bail.
He could make the decision as early as next week.
I’m surprised that it’s up to the Attorney General whether Australia will abide by its extradition treaty with the United States, but apparently it is. I’d be surprised if he’d refuse to do so, but, when it comes to Australia, mothers and international kidnapping, I’ll believe just about anything. Authorities there don’t exactly have the greatest record of abiding by international law or just using good sense. Remember Tommaso Vincenti? The Australian Embassy in Rome actually aided and abetted his ex-wife, Laura Garrett, in the kidnapping of their four daughters, a fact made abundantly clear by the Australian 60 Minutes.
So I’ll believe Dorothy Barnett will stand trial in the United States when I see her in the dock, and not until.
Then there’s that nasty little tossed off line that the AG will also “advise whether Barnett will be held in custody or granted bail.” Let’s put it this way, to grant such a person bail would be tantamount to rubberstamping her abduction of the child. Denial of bail is particularly appropriate in situations where the accused is likely to flee. Dorothy Barnett of course did exactly that back in 1994 a fact the Attorney General might want to take into consideration. If he grants bail, she’ll be gone by the next day and authorities there and in the U.S. will have to start looking for her again. Who knows? Maybe it’ll take another 20 years to find her. So a grant of bail will be an unspoken endorsement of child kidnapping by no less than the Attorney General of Australia. If the embassy in Rome can do it, why can’t he?
We’ll see, but my guess is that Dorothy Barnett will be back in this country in shackles fairly soon and that she’ll face criminal charges in South Carolina, the state in which the custody order was issued and from which she fled. And then will come the real test. Will the South Carolina (federal?) court give her the standard wrist tap reserved for mothers who commit the most outrageous crimes regarding fathers and children? Or will it be serious about sending a message to other parents considering the type of child abuse Dorothy Barnett engaged in?
Again, we’ll see.
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