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Nuestra Historia – Cronologia Legal
Below is a chronology of the key events that have taken place from a legal standpoint relative to the abduction of my sons in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Technically, this is a case of international parental child abduction (IPCA).
- June 26, 2008: My wife and I were legally married in Saint Joseph, Michigan in the United States and, apart from vacation trips to Mexico, we lived in the United States up until the boys were abducted.
- First Half of 2009: My wife obtained her U.S. permanent residency.
- May 16, 2010: Our first son, Pablo Richard Haan, was born at Lakeland Hospital in Saint Joseph, Michigan, USA.
- September 9, 2011: Our second son, Joshua Francisco Haan, was also born at Lakeland Hospital in Saint Joseph, Michigan, USA.
- November 14th, 2012: My wife obtained her U.S. citizenship in a ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In order to obtain her U.S. citizenship, she was legally required to live in the United States for 3 years after having obtained her permanent residency in 2009 so, in addition to a lot of other evidence, my wife's U.S. citizenship unequivocally proves that our family's legal residency is in the United States.
- November 29th, 2012: My wife, our 2 sons (Pablo Richard Haan, who was then 2 years old and Joshua Francisco Haan, who was then 1 year old), and I flew down to Mexico from our home in Frankfort, Michigan to spend the holidays with my wife’s family, staying at their home in Puerto Aventuras. We had return airfare to fly back to our home in Michigan on January 31st, 2013. Here is a video of us playing on the beach in Puerto Aventuras after we arrived in Mexico:
- January 5th, 2013: After having a heated, but strictly verbal and completely non-violent disagreement with my wife and her family regarding where my youngest son should be sleeping, I was told by my father-in-law that he would not allow my wife and children to return to the United States unless I abandoned the business that my wife and I were starting, got a different job in a different state far away from Michigan, and had a new house and a new car for my wife. (He obviously has no legal right to do this and I told him that I would not agree to this.) My father-in-law had already confiscated the passports for my 2 sons, which concerned me.
- January 8th, 2013: In a follow-up discussion with my wife and father-in-law, my wife and I agreed on somewhat of a compromise solution of returning back to Saint Joseph, Michigan instead of Northern Michigan. My father-in-law told me that “his house was my house” and that I was welcome to stay there so, although there were still significant relationship issues, I thought that the situation had improved.
- January 10th, 2013: I arranged a counseling session between my father-in-law, my wife, the pastor of the church that my wife and I were attending in the area, his wife, and myself to try to improve the situation. This counseling session took place on this day in my in-laws’ home. My wife and her father rejected the advice of our pastor and his wife though. My father-in-law was visibly very angry about the advice that he was being given and the conversation ended with my father-in-law saying that I was now no longer welcome in the house. (We left it at this and there was no further discussion regarding exactly what this comment meant.)
- January 14th, 2013: I was falsely charged with domestic violence by both my wife and her father. There are a vast myriad of lies included in the accusations and I (and many other people) believe that this was done to prevent my children from being returned to the United States, just as my father-in-law had threatened just 9 days previously. I was evicted from the home of my in-laws by the local police with my wife and father-in-law having a restraining order preventing me from having any contact with my wife, her family, or our children while these charges were being investigated. Despite a vast number of requests to see our children since then, promises from my wife to allow this, and even obtaining court orders that this take place, I still have not seen my children since January 14th, 2013. Since this took place, I have been advised that international law was violated in how these charges were executed by officials in Playa Del Carmen. First, under international law, the charges needed to be explained to me in English by an interpreter. Second, the officials were required to inform me of the U.S. Consular Office in Playa Del Carmen and that I could contact them for assistance. This never happened. Basically, it appears that none of the officials in Playa Del Carmen had any understanding of international law and completely violated it.
- February, 2013: Since my wife refused to talk to me, I tried to work through my wife's lawyer to resolve matters. I was told by him that I needed to begin giving my wife $5000 USD each month in order to even begin talking with her, which is far more money than what I had and which I believe constitutes extortion. He also really wanted me to travel to Monterrey, Mexico (where he is located and where my wife's family is originally from) to talk with him in person regarding the situation. This involved traveling all the way across Mexico and there was no logical reason for me to meet with him in person, so I declined his offer. I have since been told by another lawyer from Monterrey that my wife's lawyer has a poor reputation in the Monterrey legal community for being corrupt and unethical. Since then I have also been told by Ildefonso Ortiz (an award-winning investigative journalist who has become involved in my case) that my wife's lawyer is heavily involved in organized crime in Mexico. Thus, I am very glad that I never traveled to Monterrey to meet with him as I am not honestly not sure if I would have ever returned from that trip.
- March 14th, 2013: I filed international child abduction charges against my wife in accordance with the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which both the United States and Mexico have committed to follow and have ratified into law in each country. As discussed in this excellent article in Wikipedia, I have since learned that Mexico has a poor reputation in the international community for failing to honor their commitment to follow the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.
- Early June, 2013: In defiance of orders from the Mexican court, my wife failed to appear in court relative to my child abduction case and the hearing was rescheduled for late June.
- Late June, 2013: My wife appeared in court for the hearing on my case, but presented an amparo (a lawsuit against a government authority claiming that one’s rights under the Mexican constitution) against the local family court judge and my case was suspended until my wife’s amparo was resolved.
- July, 2013 – February, 2014: My wife’s lawsuit against the local family court judge was rejected by a federal judge in Mexico, but she appealed the ruling. This appeal was then rejected by a 3-judge federal committee, but my wife then appealed this ruling to the Mexican Federal Court of Appeals. The Mexican Federal Court of Appeals rejected this appeal as well, my wife could not appeal things any further, and in February, 2014 my child abduction case was allowed to resume.
- March 24th, 2014: Hearings on my child abduction case resumed and I attended the hearing with my father, lawyer, and interpreter. My wife again did not appear in court and the local family court judge ordered my children to be brought into state custody. Upon leaving court, I was arrested by a number of police officers, told that I was being prosecuted for “psychological violence” against my wife, and incarcerated in the local jail. Here again, I have been told that international law was violated in terms of how this was executed in that no interpreter was provided and I was not informed of the U.S. consular office and their ability to assist me as a U.S. citizen being arrested in Mexico. In what I have been told is another violation of international law, without my consent a Playa Del Carmen official contacted the U.S. consulate regarding my arrest, which I have been told is a violation of my privacy and a violation of international law. (This contacting of the U.S. consular office is recorded in official court records.) As with the events on January 14, 2013, it appears that basically none of the Playa Del Carmen officials had any understanding of international law and significantly violated it accordingly.
- March 26th, 2014: In violation of Mexican law, my wife’s lawyers visited me privately in jail in the morning or early afternoon and I believe threatened me. (They did not speak English and my limited Spanish skills prevented me from fully understanding what was being said. When I asked for an interpreter, they immediately walked away from me.) My father paid bail for me that day and I was released on bail in the late afternoon while the prosecution of me for “psychological violence” continued. Given my wife's lawyer's apparent connections with organized crime and his apparent threatening of me while I was in jail, I am very thankful that I was released that day as I not sure what would have happened to me if I had remained in jail any longer.
- April, 2014: My wife filed another amparo against the judge and a federal judge ruled that it was excessive to take the children into state custody at the current point in time. Unrelated to my case, there was a personnel change and a new local family court judge took over my child abduction case.
- May 22nd, 2014: My child abduction case resumed with a hearing with the new local family court judge. The judge issued an order for my wife to take our children to the local family services organization every Friday starting May 30th for them to be able to spend time with me. The next hearing was rescheduled for July 16th, 2014.
- May 30th, 2014 – August 29th, 2014 (inclusive): For 14 consecutive Fridays while my child abduction case was being heard, I showed up each Friday at the local family services organization (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, or "DIF" as it is commonly referred) to see my children. Every Friday my wife failed to show up. My lawyers, the child psychologist, and I repeatedly informed the judge of my wife’s failure to appear with the children and my lawyers and I petitioned the judge to enforce her ruling, but inexplicably the judge refused to enforce her own visitation order and I never saw my children. Given my wife's lawyer's reputation and his actions, I am concerned that the judge was either threatened or bribed to not enforce her order. Sometime during this timeframe my wife also filed an amparo against the Mexican Department of Foreign Affairs, claiming that they were also violating her rights.
- July 16th, 2014: The hearing on my child abduction case was held. My wife, her father, and her mother all stated in court that my wife, our sons, and I have been living in Mexico since early 2012. This is completely untrue and there is overwhelming evidence that clearly shows that that we live in the state of Michigan in the United States. (Among lots of other evidence that has been presented in my case, the photos and videos that are provided on this site clearly show that we reside in Michigan, not Mexico.)
- August - October, 2014: The new local family court judge ruled on my case. In what my lawyers and I believe is a clear violation of international law, she denied my petition to have the children returned to the United States, inexplicably falsely referring to me as a convicted criminal in her ruling and saying that it was dangerous for my wife and children to return to the United States. (I have never been convicted of any crime in any country.) Here again, I believe that this decision may have been the result of coercion by my wife's lawyer. I filed my own amparo in Mexican Federal Court against the local family court judge relative to this decision. Court hearings relative to the criminal prosecution of me for “psychological violence” continued, with my wife’s lawyers committing additional violations of Mexican law from my understanding of Mexican law. The local criminal court judge ordered that my wife be given an independent psychological exam. When the psychologist appeared in court to schedule the exam, my wife said that she did not want to take it. In what we believe to be a clear violation of Mexican law, the judge revoked his previous order and said that my wife did not need to take an independent psychological exam because she did not want to do so. My criminal lawyer initiated a lawsuit against the judge in the state of Quintana Roo’s judicial governing body relative to this violation of Mexican law that we believe has taken place. On October 1, my pastor in Mexico and his wife both testified in court on my behalf based upon what they have seen in terms of the aggression, anger, and hostility of my wife and her father towards me and their unwillingness to listen to the advice that my pastor and his wife provided in the counseling session that we had on January 10, 2013.
- November 2014: On November 10 a female police officer that had investigated my wife's domestic claims appeared in court to testify because my criminal lawyer, Magdalena Hernandez, had requested her testimony as evidence on my behalf. The officer presented her testimony and, as a result of her testimony, a confrontation between the officer and my wife was ordered by the judge to take place on February 17, 2015. Neither my wife nor any of her lawyers appeared for the hearing, which was typical for the hearings and which I still do not understand. The other significant event from a legal standpoint that happened that month occurred relative to my complaint against the local criminal court judge relative to his decision to revoke his previous order that my wife be given an independent psychological evaluation, which my wife has refused to take. The appellate judge rejected my complaint and ruled that the local judge had only changed his mind and not revoked the previous order. Whether it is referred to as changing his mind or revoking his decision, there was an original decision by the judge (documented in a written order from him) that my wife be given an independent psychological exam and that decision was later changed / revoked by the same judge, which in my understanding is a violation of Mexican law. I could pursue this issue further, but, in discussion with my criminal lawyer, we decided not to do so due to the cost and time involved with doing so. Thus, although we believe that an independent psychological evaluation for my wife is a critical piece of evidence in the charges of “psychological violence” against me, this independent evaluation never took place. ((I have since been told that Quintana Roo's judicial governing body supports local judges even when they are violating the law.)
- February 2015: After a slow period in December and January (in part due to the holiday period), activity on my legal cases increased in February. After my wife had claimed for many months that our sons' U.S. passports and her passports (she has both U.S. and Mexican passports) were lost, she brought them into court and they were introduced as evidence in the criminal case against me on February 10, 2015. The date stamps that are on the passports match perfectly with everything that I have stated and further prove that the statements that my wife and her family have made about where we live are untrue. We showed up in court on February 17 for the confrontation between my wife and the female police officer and discovered that the court was closed for carnival. (It obviously would have been helpful if this had been considered when the confrontation was scheduled in November for February 17.) The new confrontation was rescheduled for March 13. We also found out that the Federal panel that was making a decision on my lawsuit against the local family court judge would be holding a public discussion on the hearing on February 20. Mexican law allows individuals to have personal discussions with judges regarding their case, so on February 19 we went to Cancun to meet with each of the 3 judges and discuss my case. We also went back to Cancun the next day for the public hearing and in the hearing on February 20 the judges ruled against me and in favor of the local judge's decision.
- March 2015: On March 2 there was a rather technical hearing in court on my criminal case in which the Spanish translations of several documents that were in English (e.g. U.S. government regulations regarding citizenship) were officially introduced into court as evidence. On March 10 we officially filed my appeal of the Federal judges' decision (on my lawsuit against the local family court judge) with the Mexican Federal Board of Appeals in Cancun. Later that week we found out that my appeal would be decided by the Mexican Supreme Court. On March 13 the confrontation between my wife and the female police officer finally occurred. The contradiction involved was that my wife had told this female police officer that I had physically punched my wife in the face on January 5th, 2013. This, of course, never happened. This police officer had been assigned to investigate the accusations against me after they were made by my wife and her father on January 14th, 2013. In the statements that my wife made in the prosecutor's office on January 14th, 2013, there is absolutely no mention of me having punched her in the face just 9 days previously. Obviously if this had occurred, then it would not only have been mentioned in the meeting with the prosecutor, but it certainly would have been the most critical and incriminating accusation against me and would have been very central and key to the discussion. There was absolutely no mention of it on January 14th though and we believe that the mention of this at a later date shows a major contradiction in my wife's statements, which is further evidence that she is lying. During the confrontation between my wife and the police officer, basically neither of them backed off of their statements and the female police officer reiterated that she had been told by my wife that I had punched my wife in the face, so nothing was resolved relative to the contradiction. At the end of the confrontation, my lawyer motioned for the closure of the evidence period. The prosecutor then requested that the judge execute a final review of the case to verify that all evidence had been presented. In March I also found out about a wonderful group for parents of internationally abducted children, the iStand Parent Network, which has truly been a great blessing to me since then. Through that group, I was also blessed to make contact with Carlos Alvardo, a true expert lawyer in international parental child abduction in Mexico. Carlos and I discussed my case and he agreed to help with my case.
- April, 2015: In April, 2015 I talked with a family therapist and psychologist in Michigan, Dr. Gary Vann, and was told by him that the actions that have been done to my sons in not being allowed to see their father constitute child abuse in Michigan. Dr. Vann has documented this diagnosis in writing.
- May, 2015: Carlos Alvarado (my new attorney) and I began pursuing additional legal actions to allow me to see my sons. Although I love my wife and hate to have to pursue criminal charges against her, in discussion with Carlos, I realized that, for the sake of my sons and their right and need to have their father in their life, things had come to the point where I really needed to pursue criminal charges against my wife for her repeated failure to comply with Mexican court-ordered visitation. We began pursuing these charges in May. This case has been moving very slowly in the system and I have still not been able to see my sons. Upon the advice of counsel, at the current time I cannot comment further as to why it is moving slowly and I cannot provide further details regarding this case.
- June, 2015: Carlos and I implemented a lawsuit in the new Oral Court in Playa Del Carmen requesting that I be allowed provisional visitation with my children while the Supreme Court of Mexico continues working on my amparo against the local family court judge in Playa Del Carmen. Unbelievably, this lawsuit was not accepted by the Oral Court with the Oral Court judge ruling that this decision needed to be handled by the Family Court, even though it is clearly established under Mexican law that visitation is one of the issues that can be handled by the Oral Court. We appealed this decision.
- July, 2015: A particular Supreme Court Justice, Ministro Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo, was assigned to my case with the Supreme Court of Mexico. A final meeting for the criminal charges against me took place during which me, my wife, the prosecutor, and my defense lawyer made final statements. The case against me then went to the local criminal court judge for a decision. Under Mexican law, a decision is required from the judge within 6 weeks, but I was told that this law is basically never followed by the court in Playa Del Carmen, so we prepared for a long wait for a decision.
- November, 2015: In November the local criminal court judge found me guilty of domestic violence against my wife and I was sentenced to something like 1 year, 2 months, and 10 days in jail or a fine to the court and my wife totaling around $2,500 USD. (I think I would choose the fine.) Given the numerous contradictory statements that my wife and her family have made and the fact that there are not even any accusations of actual physical violence in the charges against me, it is absolutely unbelievable that any judge could find me guilty of these charges. In his decision the judge placed considerable weight upon statements against me from the court psychologist, which is surprising since, by her own admission in court, the court psychologist never even met me, let alone conducted any kind of psychological assessment of me to determine if I was indeed violent or abusive. Given my wife's lawyer's reputation for corruption and his apparent connections with organized crime, I suspect that the judge was either threatened or bribed into making this verdict. Needless to say, I have appealed this verdict, which will be a long and slow process. My wife also appealed the verdict, claiming that the penalty against me was too light. The prosecutor of my case also appealed this ruling, also claiming that the sentence was too light. I have been told that it is very unusual and odd for a prosecutor to be appealing a decision where someone has been found guilty of minor charges against them (particularly when there are not even any accusations of actual physical violence against the person) and that this action is also likely a sign of corruption and coercion in my case.
- December, 2015: December was a positive and eventful month. First, the Supreme Court of Mexico verbally ruled (4 to 0) in my favor, ruling that the local family court judge in Playa Del Carmen had violated the Mexican Constitution in her decision in which she denied the return of my sons to their home in the United States. I thank God and the Supreme Court of Mexico (particularly Ministro Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo) for this decision! In December we also won our appeal relative to the decision of the local Oral Court in Playa Del Carmen to deny my petition for provisional visitation with my sons. The appellate judge ruled in my favor and strongly ordered the local judge in Playa Del Carmen to allow my petition to move forward and for the judge to actively support me being allowed to see my sons and, basically, for her to "make this happen". I praise God for this decision as well! The only negative development in December was that when a court worker went to my wife's home to inform my wife of my decision to appeal the ruling on the criminal charges against me, the court worker found my wife's home abandoned. I obviously have no idea why my wife, sons, and in-laws have moved, but the timing and circumstances surrounding the move are very suspicious and indicate that my wife may now be trying to hide from Mexican legal authorities.
- March, 2016: In March the Supreme Court of Mexico issued their final written ruling on my case. In addition to ruling that the local family court judge in Playa Del Carmen violated the Mexican Constitution, they ruled that the Mexican Federal Court in Cancun had erred in upholding the judge's decision. They ordered my case back to the Mexican Federal Court in Cancun for that court to correct their errors.
Current Legal Status:
Things began to move in my favor in December and we are awaiting further developments. The biggest issue right now is that we do not know the location of my wife and sons, which effectively prevents all 3 of the lawsuits against my wife from moving forward. We are pursuing multiple avenues to locate my wife and sons right now. My son Pablo Richard Haan is now 5-years-old and my son Joshua Francisco Haan is now 4-years-old. In violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (which Mexico has legally committed to follow through ratification into Mexican law), my sons have not been permitted to see their own father in more than 3 years now. In addition to violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the local court in Playa Del Carmen continues to violate the Hague Convention regarding International Child Abduction. With the recent Supreme Court decision in my favor, we are hopeful that the courts in Quintana Roo (the Mexican state in which both Cancun and Playa Del Carmen are located) will soon choose to comply with international law and the Mexican Constitution, which we believe they have consistently violated over the past 3 years, and allow me to see my sons and for them to be returned to their home in the United States in accordance with international law.
Over the last 3 years I have been told by several lawyers that Playa Del Carmen (and the entire state of Quintana Roo) has a very poor reputation in Mexico for corruption and that Quintana Roo is one of the most corrupt states in Mexico. Given this and what I have been told about my wife's lawyer and his reputation for corruption and his apparent connections with organized crime in Mexico, I believe it is quite possible that judges and prosecutors have been threatened or bribed in my legal cases. Indeed, I believe that it is also quite possible that my own life may be at risk, but I love my sons far more than my own life and absolutely nothing in this world will stop me from trying to be in their lives and letting them know and feel their father's love for them. I am again thankful for the recent decisions in my favor from upper courts in Mexico and for overruling decisions that have been made by the courts in Playa Del Carmen. I believe that my story shows considerable dysfunction and corruption in the Playa Del Carmen legal system, but it also shows the rule of law and justice within upper courts in Mexico.
In defense of my wife, I should point out that she is probably not the one who is paying her lawyer. In understanding the actions of any professional, it is always helpful to know who is paying for their services as that is the person that they are truly working for. She also may not be aware of her lawyer's reputation, his apparent connections with organized crime, or even of some of the actions that he has taken on her behalf. A number of lawyers have expressed concern that my wife is receiving very poor legal counsel from her lawyer, that this counsel is now putting her in danger of serious criminal prosecution in both Mexico and the United States, and that she may be being manipulated into doing things that are not in her own best interest.
All that I am having to do, I hate doing; but I need to do what is right and necessary for my sons and for their welfare. My sons, like all children, need and deserve to know the love and care of both their mother and their father. I do not know what the future holds, but I will simply continue to move forward with unconditional love for my wife and sons and with an unbreakable desire and longing to fully be the father of my sons and, if my wife will let me, to work to heal my marriage and to do the absolute best that I can to be a wonderful, loving, and caring husband for my wife.
If my wife reads this, I hope that she will choose to do the right thing, have faith in God and in the husband that He gave her, stop believing in lies, and return our children to their home in the USA before things escalate to a point where criminal prosecution in Mexico and in the USA cannot be halted. I deeply love her and deeply desire to care for her, hold her, love her, and protect her for my entire life. Like everyone, I am not perfect, but I am a good man and a good husband who truly desires God’s best for her and who absolutely hates having to pursue legal actions against her for the sake of our sons (but who will do absolutely everything that is legally necessary for the welfare of our sons). If she is afraid, then I wish that she would pour all of her fears out to me and let God and I eliminate all of those fears. I truly desire to heal and grow our marriage and for her to be a joyful and happy woman and I would love to start to move with her in this direction, with counseling as needed. If she would just contact me and take a step towards me, I know that the love that both God and I have for her would end all of her fear, pain, and suffering and would bring her much joy, peace, and happiness.
Eric Richard Haan
Para ayudar a devolver a mis hijos a su casa en Michigan y para evitar este tipo de sustracción internacional de menores que se produzcan a otros niños en el futuro, estamos tratando de atraer la atención internacional a mi caso y lo que se está haciendo para mí y mis hijos. Para este fin, estaríamos muy agradecidos si quieres compartir esta página web en su página de Facebook haciendo clic en el botón de abajo:
También agradeceríamos enormemente su apoyo a nuestros objetivos por nosotros gusto en Facebook:
Si está interesado en los detalles adicionales con respecto a esta situación, te invitamos a leer mi Historia Completa.
Gracias tan mucho por sus oraciones, apoyo y ánimo! Dios los bendiga!
Eric Richard Haan