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In this case, Paula Michelle Mitchell took her son and moved throughout at least eight states avoiding the boy's father (Las Vegas Sun, 3/24/09). Private investigators finally located her in Oklahoma where the father served her with court papers. But before the day-long custody hearing she again moved the boy, this time to Texas, beyond the reach of the Oklahoma court.

After the hearing in which the judge awarded the father custody and ordered her to hand over the child, she fled again. Mitchell ended up in Las Vegas where she filed a petition in family court to gain custody of the boy claiming she didn't know the whereabouts of the father. The Las Vegas judge gave her custody of the child, but Nevada police figured out who she was and arrested her. She pled guilty to second-degree kidnapping and got a suspended sentence and probation. Apparently no restitution was ordered for the father who had spent "tens of thousands of dollars" trying to regain custody of his son.

So in addition to the sentencing discount, we have another gatekeeping mother who did everything in her power short of murder to keep a father from his child. She violated numerous criminal laws and deprived a little boy of his father for over two years. And there's no suggestion that the father was unfit to care for the boy.

Paula Michelle Mitchell kidnapped a child, lied to one court and violated the order of another. And for all that she goes essentially unpunished. She has to comply with the conditions of her three-year probation. After that, she's as free as a bird.

Is it any wonder this happens as often as it does?

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