Judge Timothy H. Pogue

South Carolina Judge Denies Father Christmas, Saying he’s “Iranian-Muslim”

World Upside Down

I was sitting in my bedroom, devastated. My Charleston divorce lawyer had just called with the outcome of my child custody hearing. Judge Timothy H. Pogue ordered me to pay crazy money, starting with $25,000 a month in alimony. Another $50,000 a month towards maintenance and support. Plus $295,000 upfront towards my ex-wife Kristin Golestan’s legal fees (Later it was increased to $650,000 and I was forced to pay or face incarceration. I filed for bankruptcy— more on that later). I was losing my boys and my daily rituals of play, dinner, bedtime, and the endless cuddles, hugs and kisses with them… in exchange for a pitiful 2 days every other week, a total of 4 per month.

Judge Timothy H. Pogue “awarded” me the parenting plan the courts grant the father who doesn’t want to be a father. An absent father who misses every important function, from birthdays to long weekends, from school gatherings to doctor appointment. A father with documented history of drug and alcohol problem. What kind of justice was this? What is the deal with Charleston Family Courts?

My Proof, Their Word

Why was nothing I provided as evidence taken into consideration?

I gave the court endless transcripts of emails, texts, and phone calls, showing all the ways I was present in my children’s lives, from the delivery room onward. Everything shows that I was a 24-hour-a-day on-call dad, at home religiously at 5:30, attending every single school function, and each doctor’s appointment. To this day, no one has provided one instance of my not being there for my kids, much less one incident or piece of evidence of child care negligence. Unlike their mother, Kristin Golestan, I have never, ever, not even in one text message said “This is hard.”

[Related Post]: Who is Kristin Mehera Leiter Golestan?

Why did Judge Timothy H. Pogue give hearsay more weight than evidence?

The custody judgement entered by Judge Timothy H. Pogue was based on hearsay evidence. My proof against their word. And their word was taken at face value, despite countless other transcripts and recordings provided to the court regarding the negligence of the mother, Kristin Mehera Leiter Golestan. This evidence outlined her drinking problems, incidents of child negligenceincluding locking the boys in a closet for time outs—her reliance on psychics for almost daily advice on how to raise our children, her use of controlled substances in our home, and the countless texts and calls I got from her, a stay-at-home person with a housekeeper and full-time nanny, saying “Come home. This is too hard.”

I Was Labelled

What does racial profiling look like?
I’m an Iranian Muslim. I’m an immigrant who is also an American citizen. There were things said in the ruling that directly referred to my heritage. For example:

Assuming that, as a Muslim, I don’t celebrate Christmas, so naturally, I wouldn’t want any time with my sons at one of the biggest holidays of the year. I have proof of this ludicrous statement that not only assumes what’s important to me, despite my explicit, stated desire to celebrate Christmas with my children, but also uses my racial heritage and Muslim Faith against me in terms of celebrating the most widely celebrated holiday on Earth. Judge Pogue wrote: [See page 5, Pendente Lite Order]: “Father is an Iranian Muslim and does not recognize Christmas.” What does this Judge understand about modern, American Muslims? Not much, I imagine.

Truth? I have celebrated secular Christmases most of my life. You will not find a more crazy-in-love-with-all-things-Christmas guy than me.

Adding to this unjust judgement, my religious observance of Ramadan got called into question. And with no evidence whatsoever, only religious prejudice based on ignorance, it was suggested that my visits be monitored under the auspices of preventing me from harming the boys, even though I’d never done anything close to this ever in their lives. It seems like it was total fabrication that must have been based on religious prejudice, because there were no facts supporting this outrageous series of assumptions. [“Father not to have children during Ramadan fasting period (usually in summer) as Father is quite agitated (understandably) during the fasting period as he consumes no food or liquid for 10-12 hour stretches.”]

Truth? Studies show that “This finding indirectly indicates that fasting during Ramadan can strengthen the family institution and community.” After growing up in a religious tradition where we fast during Ramadan every year, it should be pretty obvious that I’ve figured a few things out about how to work with this in a healthy and peaceful manner.

Despite My Iranian-Muslim Label

The judge only allowed me to have the boys for 4 of the 25 Persian and Muslim holidays. [Page 6, Pendente Lite Order: (5) Religious Holidays; Father shall have the children for three days at the end of March to celebrate the Persian New Year. Also for the EID (End of Ramadan Dinner) and that overnight.”]

So—I am not allowed to celebrate non-Muslim holidays with my kids because I am Muslim, and, I am not allowed to celebrate Muslim holidays with my kids because, why?

Judge Timothy H. Pogue Was Offered the Chance to Correct Religious Profiling

We appealed the decision by filing a Motion to Reconsider, specifically bringing ethnic and religious prejudices to light. Judge Timothy H. Pogue denied our motion to reconsider. He wrote, on his own letterhead, that he was satisfied with his ruling:

“After fully considering the Motion and Return, the Court remains satisfied with the legal correctness and the essential justice of its Order. Further the Court emphatically denies that its Order was in anyway based upon ethnic and/or religious prejudice.

Does this seem fair? Or does it seem like a clear case of racism infecting the Charleston family courts? Put another way, what would it have been like if an Israeli born Jew had been ruled against thusly, saying that he couldn’t possibly want to see his children on Christmas because of his religion?

How would you feel if this punishingly cruel judgement had happened to you?

Please scroll down to the comments below and share your point of view on this painful situation. And again, thanks so much for your enthusiastic support! I don’t know how I could have made through all this without the love and support of my family and friends. This is the first step in our creating community around Helping Every Loving Parent (HELP) to spend time with their children. Every story is important.

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28 comments
  • I cannot stop myself from thinking this judgement is totally on discrimination grounds; lame reasoning to support a baseless decision that has led to depriving a father to see his children and vice versa. Does anyone within that legal system care about the long-term trauma this seperation could cause for either side? even if there was slightest chance the Judge was right about this argument (father doesn’t recognise Christmas), what could have wrose long-term damage on kids? not celebrating christmas but having the chance to celebrate any moment of life with their father or not getting to spend anytime with their loving father at all? how could legal system of this country justify such pressure on this parent and his children? would Amir’s case be different if he was born within a non-muslim family in a different country? as long as we turn a blind eye on to the pain of those suffering from oppression, we won’t achieve freedom!

  • I mean… most of the people who celebrate Christmas are not even religious (let alone know what the celebration even means), so how can he even use it as an argument or excuse to deprive the children from seeing their father !

  • Judge Timothy is nothing but racist ignorance individual that is far from knowing human rights to rule such judgements. It’s sadden me that SC has such judge. It’s shameful…

  • I am really sad about this story and judgement, no matter who are the parents. a child need them beacouse it is his identity and I think they need to meet each other beacouse it is their right. I hope that it will be possible for amir to get this chance again.

    • Mandana, I so agree with you that a child needs his or her parents to help them understand who they are and where they come from. You can see here how much I love and value my own family identity here. Thank you so much for your loving support and prayers.

  • What’s that even supposed to mean? Is this statement also included in parenting plan for parents of Christianity and Judaism faith who observe Lent and Yom Kippur respectively? I’m Jewish and I certainly didn’t find that in my divorce papers.

    Judge Pogue, do you realize that the country would be set on fire if you had made similar comments about a Christian father who wanted to observe Lent? Systematic racism, and likes of you, are what’s wrong with this nation. Indulge yourself, and look up “The Doll Test”.

    • Ross, I couldn’t agree more! And I did check out The Doll Test. Deeply compelling study that may well warrant a future post. Thank you so much for your insightful, direct comment and I hope to hear more from you in the future, because there’s just so much to this true story.

  • The ones most to suffer in this sad story are Sky and Ford, two innocent little boys who are being cruelly deprived of their passionately loving and caring father. Surely there could have been a more imaginative and human solution to this whole problem. Judge Timothy H. Poque has shown no empathy or sense of responsibility in this matter. His verdict reflects narrow-mindedness, cliched thinking and is to a high degree reactionary.

    I wish you, dear Amir, strength and courage to go through this ordeal – omnia vincit amor

    • You’re so right, Pervez! There could have been a much more imaginative, humane solution to this situation. I don’t know if you’ve seen this post, but it tells about the full picture and how I’m not stopping until I get to be in my son’s lives once more. Thank you so much for your timely reminder that love does indeed conquer all.

  • What remains is truth and truth, and what is lost is oppression and lies, which are like the bottom of the sea.
    Amir , I wish you success

    • Thank you so much, Nino. I love being an American, even though this situation absolutely embodies the worst stereotypes of an enclosed, unquestioned legal system in South Carolina, the birthplace of American racism. Have you seen this post about Maria Averill, the Guardian Ad Litem? I’m sharing legal proofs of her lying to the FBI about me to try and get me into trouble. It’s astonishing.

  • Karma is a beautiful thing. Isn’t the wife (Kristin) Jewish anyway? So who can have the kids if the father is Muslim and mother is Jewish during Christmas? This is the 21st century and still, we are dividing families bc of religious beliefs?

    • She is in fact Jewish! And I agree with you John — that nothing could be more nonsensical, especially in modern times. If you’d like to know more about Kristin Golestan, please check out this post that shares my experiences and evidence surrounding her. I was a man in love and wearing rose colored glasses. I still believe in love, of course, because I’m full of it.

  • I strongly believe that you will win 💪
    “The right goes to the rightful!“
    Be patient and trust GOD 🧚🏻‍♀️

  • Good morning Amir! I am really upset and sorry for what is happening to you because every day we fight racism and instead every day it repeats itself again! I am outraged that this is happening in the land of freedom where all human rights should be protected. I believe that those born under another religion and belonging to another education is a wealth and not a fault! Do not lose heart but go on in your battle because justice has a slow pace but in the end it always wins! Love always wins! God bless you!

    • “Justice has a slow pace but in the end it always wins.” Yes!! Thank you so much for this powerful reminder, Elizabeta. Another post that deals directly with the Justice System is “Is There a Code of Ethics for a Guardian Ad Litem in South Carolina“? It takes a 20/20 look at the actions of Sky and Ford’s GAL, Maria Averill. Please have a look and tell me what you think?

  • A true injustice within an already flawed system in this supposed “Free Country” – How can one person who is supposed to judge with an unbiased perspective label a good man in such a racist way? Not to mention the pure ignorance – come on people it’s 2020 , especially with everything going on right now to solve such racial injustices!

    • You’re absolutely right, Anahita joon! Now, in 2020, with #BlackLivesMatter, it’s time to create a new, egalitarian way of treating one another. If you’re curious to see how deep this goes, please check out Is There a Code of Ethics for a GAL in South Carolina? It may astonish you.

  • I can not believe you do not let Amir celebrate holidays with his kids. You should set an example for people. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere IGNORANCE and conscientious stupidity” – Martin Luther King, Jr. “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

    • Thank you so much for your loving support in these times, Amoo Jahangir. If you’d like to learn more about how deeply this ignorance (or is it corruption) goes, please read Is There a Code of Ethics for a Guardian Ad Litem in South Carolina? There’s a whole series of evidence that raises a lot of important questions for this point in connection with Maria Averill’s actions.

  • “When there is no dignity there is no shame”. You need to educated yourself about how popular Christmas is in Iran and Middle East. For so long as I remember we have been celebrating Christmas. If Jewish can celebrate Christmas, Muslim can too.

    I can already envision the day I’ll be reunited with my nephews, seeing them running to me this coming Christmas saying “Emah Emah (means auntie) I missed you.. so happy to see you Emah, come play with us.” Sky & Ford loved playing tag and get chased by all of us. Can’t wait to hold them and shower them with LOVE .

    There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Stay strong Amir.

    • Merci Sahel joon! I really appreciate your love and support for me, Sky, and Ford. We will be reunited soon. It’s coming. Did you happen to see the post I wrote about our family? It’s here. Hope you enjoy it.

    • Azadeh joon, may it be! Or something even better. If you’d like to explore more, please have a look at this post that explains how it might have been that Kristin Golestan lied to her attorneys about me, painting a horrible picture so she could get what she wants. We can’t say for sure, but I have to wonder, based on these outrageous acts. So much more is being written and evidence shared about her involvement.

  • My dear son,
    I’m sure you will be the winner because you have faith in GOD and truth will always prevail.
    I believe very soon I will have my grandchildren in my arms and I know how eager Sky and Ford are to see us and get all the love and attention.

    Miss you sooooo much

Written by Amir Golestan

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