Woman Denied Protection From Former Firefighter

Categories: Crime
Thumbnail image for john_fotinos_mugshot.JPG
John Fontinos
Michele Fotinos sounds desperate on the phone. She's been fighting for restraining orders and custody for her children for years now. And she feels the San Mateo County court system continues to fail her.

Her ex-husband, John Marcus Fotinos, was a former Newark firefighter for 17 years. He's also a convicted felon with a longstanding history of violence, according to his ex-wife.

Indeed, John Fotinos was arrested last week after his 15-year-old daughter told law enforcement about a cache of weapons her father had instructed her to hide with the aid of her 13-year-old brother. Police discovered 16 guns, two assault rifles, and 10,000 rounds of ammunition. John Fotinos is currently being held at Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City, and his bail has been set at $320,000. 

Michele Fotinos says she has had difficulty obtaining protective restraining orders for herself and her two children -- and she doesn't know where her son is. He disappeared after sending her an e-mail about moving to Oregon to buy guns.

John Fotinos still has legal rights to physical custody of their children. When Michele Fotinos left her husband in 2003, she took her children with her. But when her husband arrived in the middle of the night at the Santa Cruz house where she had fled, he brought the sheriff with him and removed their children. 

She's been fighting to get her children back ever since. "I thought he was going to kill me," she says. "And no one is protecting either of my children."

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19 comments
malindaws
malindaws

#safekids Protective parents are fed up with the treatment they and their children receive from the Family Law Courts. This guy is a convicted criminal with a well documented history of violence and an arsenal of weapons and this Court thinks that it is in the best interests of the children to be in his custody!?? I think this Judge should have a conversation with Judge Lemkau of San Bernadio County who allowed a known batterer to take a 9 month old boy against the warnings of his mother Katie Tagle and grandmother.... that he was a terrible threat to Katie and the child.  The Judge called the mother a liar and gave unmonitored visitation to the father in spite of his known history and hard evidence of the threats he made. Lemkau refused to look at the evidence Katie had in her hands. At the next visit he shot the baby through the chest with a 9 millimeter  and then turned the same gun on himself. The Judge in the Braden and Charlie Powell case gave visitation to a suspected murderer of Charlie and Braden's mom, with psycho sexual problems that were being investigated and against the grave concerns of Charlie and Braden's grandparents the Judge granted visitation with the boys to Josh Powell who hack his boys with a hatchet and then blew up the house. Judges that turn children over to... and favor suspected and proven criminals over the grave concerns of safe parents and grandparents are sending children into danger... with arrogance and impunity and it must stop! The body count in the badly decided cases is mounting across the Country each week. This country needs to wake up.

Fight2win
Fight2win

Many thanks to Peter Jamison for telling us this story when mainstream media looks the other way.  My heart goes out to the Mom and her children who are suffering from their separation when Mom was only trying to PROTECT her children from a maniac and sociopath of a father. Shame on Family courts to allow this to happen, the court system has failed and needs a total overhaul! This case is a disaster waiting to happen, and these children are in imminent danger!  What happened to the best interest of the child?  Thanks Peter for your excellent reporting and please continue to keep us informed regarding this case.

Fight2win
Fight2win

Many thanks to Peter Jamison for writing this article when most of the main stream media looks the other way!  It is unforgiveable that this Mom has been separated from her children for so long when trying to PROTECT them from this maniac, sociopath of a father.  Family courts need a total overhaul  if they believe that this case is in the best interest of the child!  My heart goes out to this Mom and her children who are all suffering and in danger.  Thanks Peter Jamison for keeping us informed on this case!

Strahberry
Strahberry

The court does not care that he has several guns and the bullets to load one in an attempt to kill the kids, just to get back at the mother for trying to protect the children and herself from a former fire fighter with a longstanding history of violence. The orders are in the descretion of the judge; having no more sense than what he believes to be right...not due to the facts, which are always presented in a case with tainted sides through the judge and the process itself. The accountability is ignored through the failure, but the failure sustains the decision in the eyes of the systems inner workings- it is not to protect, but to build on the business for profit. This case like 87% of other cases that have the failure working for them (the courts), has no other means to keep two people from using the courts to get justice (its a tactic), and the other person to do everything possible to keep the failed system running.  

Mpc_clausen
Mpc_clausen

How many more battered women and children need to die and/or be inevitably harmed before society takes DOMESTIC VIOLENCE seriously?  Batterers who have no conscience, have to win at all costs, and they will use and destroy their own children in their quest to hurt their partner.  We, as a society, need to learn what evil truly is in order to stop blaming victims of violence and to see through the mask of sanity that batterers wear.  Batterers/narcissists/sociopaths can look so charming and sane. But, behind their mask of sanity, they are anti-life.  They are "People of the Lie" (book by Scott Peck, M.D.).   Currently, the U.S. has to answer to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights for failing to protect the basic human rights of battered women and children.  Please refer to http://www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2011/92-11eng.htm to read how Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales)' three young children were murdered because a Colorado Police Department failed to respond to her call for protection.  In her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Jessica was given no remedy and the "justices" ruled that government generally has no duty to protect individuals from private acts of violence.  I have researched, for decades, the plight of battered women and children in America.  I am a licensed independent clinical social worker in MN. I am self-publishing a book, under a pen name, in order to expose what my three children suffered from a batterer and from legal abuse in the MN Family Court System.  I write to expose this corruption and these horrendous human rights violations in the U.S.  If interested, you can find this book at https://www.createspace.com/3798191.  It will be made available for purchase in several weeks.  (Mariah.P.Clausen).

Annieisa74
Annieisa74

give me a break-- have you been the victim of abuse before?  Do you know how many kids are ordered to live with molesters and abusers just because it is the "father"-- epidemic in this country- and other countries too because of sick pedo supporters like Dr. Gardner-- who by the way killed himself- who preached it is ok to want sex with kids-- this is the hero of the fathers rights movement-- it is junk- it is twisted- and every court ":professional" needs to be help accoutnable for the damage

Annieisa74
Annieisa74

wow-- you are not alone-- moms are losing custody to abusive fathers in record numbers-- it is an epidemic-- I too was denied a restraining order against my ex husband-- I sobbed and told police I feared for my life-- and they told me to suck it up--- grow up-- and get over it-- told me the town would be happy when I moved because it was a pain in the neck to respond to my calls for help-- this was after my ex tried to run me off the road with the kids in the car-- the next step they take is the PAS scam-- claiming "we do not encourage the relationship"-- this is done for the most part by abusive men who want to continue to control their victims- and punish them for leaving-- family court needs reform-- court "experts" need to stop bleeding families for this cottage industry business

Sumer3
Sumer3

When I wrote a negative review about San Mateo firefighters, yelp deleted my entire account. And all the reviews on it. Most of those people at 500 court place at redwood city City Hall are corrupt people. I recall trying to a traffic ticket, at 5:00 , which means it was closing. You don't know the way they behave. They treat everyone like thugs. While the truth is, themselves are thugs. - Sumer Kolcak

Exposethecourts
Exposethecourts like.author.displayName 1 Like

Everybody familiar with the San Mateo Courts know they are a corrupt "Good Old Boys Club" San Mateo judicial system is like a third world country where favors are passed all the time between judges and their friends. Go to San Francisco or Santa Clara and this sort of corruption does not exist.   Lets work together and put a stop to it, individually we are too imtimidated but if we put our stories together and the facts we have, we might be able to prompt a federal investigation. If you have information or want to share your knowledge about San Mateo's corruption send it to exposethecourts@gmail.com  

guest
guest like.author.displayName 1 Like

  So many people are being harmed by San Mateo Superior Court.  Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely - rings true in San Mateo County.  The only way to bring justice is to have accountability and this can only be done when people are not fearful of their government.  A federal investigation needs to be done!   What will it take - can the grand jury do anything?

Kte
Kte like.author.displayName 1 Like

Whenever women divorce judges, police, firefighters, attorney's, they get the short end of the stick.  It takes a death before the courts will do anything to protect the woman and children.  Lately, San Mateo County is laying down a record of bad decisions and failures to protect battered and abused women and children.   I don't know how the judges and commissioners in that county look at themselves in the mirror each morning.  They have lost all touch with the human condition.  

Montaramom
Montaramom like.author.displayName 1 Like

I hope that in his 17 years as a Newark, CA firefighter he did not harm anyone This man sounds like a sociopath. 

Fireman46
Fireman46 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I agree that this does have all the markings of "we should have seen this coming".  Hopefully he will be locked up this time for a while.  He has ruined the lives of his kids and wife by lying to the judges time and time again.  His favorite ploy is to start crying when he feels cornered, then it becomes hands across the nation for this poor crying grown man. I have seen him trick attorneys this way. I hope the judge wakes up this time.

Yoko61
Yoko61

It's Family Court Corruption in San Mateo Family Court. The same problem exists in San Jose,CA Family Court.

Montaramom
Montaramom

The San Mateo Courts should have corrected this 9 years ago, when the X husband took the children illegally.  What if this dangerous criminal makes bail?  Where is the restraining order for the mother and daughter? Where is her SON, is he being held to manipulate the situation in the fathers favor?  320,000 bail is not enough, there should be no bail. The son needs to be found immediately, if anyone knows where he is contact authorities, or the mother immediately.

guest
guest

How horrible that Fireman46 knows all about this and relates to this craziness....This has all the makings of a true tragedy, where everyone stands around after this guy kills people and they say "Well we should have known this would happen". Isn't there some supervisorial court or entity that can intervene in this? My God, the guy had enough weapons (and probably has more somewhere) to start a frigging huge gun battle!

Fireman46
Fireman46

I can assure as someone who is very intimate with this case that Mr. Fotinos is not getting special treatment because he is a former fireman. He is a true sociopath who is a master liar despite being very stupid. Go figure. He has bamboozled the judges, attorneys and his ex wife. he lives as a victim in a parallel universe.

guest
guest

 Transcripts of Judge Franchi Statements - October 29, 2010: "I saw this as a disconnect in law enforcement because really the Santa Cruz Police Department Sheriff’s Office should never had invaded the house with a good cause report on file with the San Mateo Sheriff or San Mateo’s DA’s office." 

Jean Manocchio
Jean Manocchio

THIS IS INSANITY!!  FIND THIS BOY, UNITE HIM WITH HIS MOTHER AND SISTER. WHY AREN'T BOTH THESE INNOCENT CHILDREN AND THEIR MOTHER AND BEING PROTECTED BY THE COURTS FROM THIS LETHAL AND TERRIFYING SITUATION? SHAME ON THE POLICE, COURTS, LAWYERS  AND ANY JUDGE THAT ENTERTAINS THE SLIGHTEST IDEA THAT THE HOME OF A VIOLENT, CONVICTED FELON AND HIS AIDING AND ABETTING  GIRLFRIEND HARBORING FIREARMS AND 10,000 ROUNDS OF LIVE AMMUNITION IS A HEALTHY, FUNCTIONAL AND SAFE ENVIRONMENT TO RAISE CHILDREN .     THIS IS YET ANOTHER EPIC FAILURE OF OUR COURT SYSTEM AND I WOULD HOPE SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THEIR WAY AROUND THE COURTS WILL INVESTIGATE AND BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO EXPOSE WHY IT HAPPENED AND WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR LETTING IT HAPPEN. JM

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