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February 05, 2009


Rita B

Here is an article on Congressman Smith's trip to Brazil with David.



Hi Rachel,
To de olho nesse caso e acho um absurdo como a (in)justica brasileira funciona.
Talves vc queira ver esse site http://www.globoonliners.com.br/icox.php?mdl=pagina&op=listar&usuario=10674&post=37669

Lisa Kauffmann

I do so hope that David Goldman gets his son back. It breaks my heart to see how such a loving doting father ( a rarity anywhere) wasn't even able to see his son in almost 5 YEARS.

Odete Surjan

My heart and prays will be with him today and I hope he can finally see his son and bring him back home.

Ray Adkins

This case makes my blood boil!
Brazil has to get over the "Colonial" period mentality when the people who had money behaved as if they were above the law of the land.
Let's see if Brazil can show democratic maturity and show it's justice system is above the aristocratic elite's wishes and has evolved into a fair a balanced tool to defend society from injustices.
That is the least we can expect from a country that has been reharsing it's entrance in the first world for 30 years now.

Ray Adkins


Congressman aids American in Brazil custody fight
SAO PAULO A U.S. congressman was in Brazil Thursday trying to help an American citizen who has tried for more than four years to see his young son and get custody.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said he hopes to persuade Brazilian authorities to reunite New Jersey resident David Goldman with his son.

Speaking with The Associated Press on their way to Brasilia, Smith and Goldman said he has not been allowed to see his 8-year-old son Sean since his former wife Bruna took the boy for a two-week vacation to her native Brazil in 2004 and never returned.

She later divorced him in Brazil - a divorce Smith says is not valid in the United States - and married Rio de Janeiro lawyer Joao Paulo Lins e Silva. The woman died last year of complications from the birth of another child, and according to Goldman and his congressman, the lawyer has tried since then to replace Goldman's name with his own on a new birth certificate.

Goldman "has done everything by the book, he wants to be with his son fair and simple, and his son should be with him in New Jersey," Smith said.

Lins e Silva did not immediately respond Thursday to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

Both sides are scheduled to meet Friday with a high-ranking Brazilian federal judge who is expected to attempt mediation or decide whether the case should be heard in federal or state courts in Rio de Janeiro, said a court spokeswoman who spoke on condition of anonymity because of department policy.

Smith also planned meetings with Brazilian government officials before and after the closed door hearing, and was waiting to learn if his request to meet with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be granted.

Smith introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday accusing Brazil of violating an international treaty requiring the government to quickly reunite Goldman with his son.

Goldman, who owns a charter boat business and sells real estate, said he doubts mediation will solve the case, since the boy's Brazilian relatives have resisted all attempts at negotiation.

"It's been 100 percent cold shoulder," he said. "As far as they are concerned I don't count and I don't exist."

Rita B

NJ Senators Menendez and Lautenberg have followed the lead of Chris Smith and written an open letter to President Lula calling for the return of Sean.

Dear President Lula:

We are writing to bring your attention to an international custody dispute involving David Goldman, a United States citizen from New Jersey , and his son, Sean Goldman. In 2004, Sean, a United States citizen, was taken to Brazil by Mr. Goldman’s late wife, Bruna Goldman, for a two-week vacation. Once in Brazil , Mrs. Goldman informed Mr. Goldman that she would permanently stay in Brazil with the child without Mr. Goldman’s consent. Since that time, Mr. Goldman has not been permitted to visit with or gain custody of his son, even after Mrs. Goldman’s death in 2008.

For the past four years, Mr. Goldman has been working within Brazilian and U.S. courts, to secure return of his son and assert his parental rights. On August 26, 2004, two months after the child’s arrival with his Mother in Brazil , the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey issued a ruling ordering that Sean be returned to the United States . When the child was not returned, Mr. Goldman filed judicial proceedings with the Federal Court of Rio de Janeiro based on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of the International Abduction of Children. Under the Hague Convention, of which both the U.S. and Brazil are signatories, a child who is a habitual resident in one party country, and who has been removed to another party country in violation of the parent’s custodial rights, is to be returned to the country of habitual residence.

The failure to return Sean to Mr. Goldman appears to be in direct contradiction to the intentions of the Hague Convention. It is our understanding that Mr. Goldman has been prevented from securing the return of Sean to the United States based upon Article 12 of the Hague Convention, which states that it is within a judge’s discretionary power to refuse return of a child if the application for return is made more than one year after the date of the taking and the child has become settled in the new environment. However, this application of Article 12 hardly seems fair under these circumstances, and seems inconsistent with the language and purpose of the Treaty. Mr. Goldman did petition for the return of his child within a year of his being taken to Brazil . Additionally, it would set a dangerous precedent to deny parental rights based of the length of time for which the parent was denied access to the child and time-consuming judicial proceedings.

Further, with the death of Bruna Goldman, any possible argument of the child having become acclimated in the care of his Mother has dissipated. Mr. Goldman is Sean’s remaining biological and legal parent.

As we are sure you can appreciate, these four years have been extremely painful for Mr. Goldman. He has not been permitted to see his son Sean since 2004 – and even when Mr. Goldman traveled to Rio de Janeiro in October 2008 for visitation ordered by the Brazilian court, Sean was hidden from him and those rights were violated. Many diplomatic efforts have been made to ensure Sean’s return to his father. The U.S. Embassy in Brazil has repeatedly urged Brazilian authorities to recognize Mr. Goldman’s paternal rights and the international and national laws that favor his case. Furthermore, the Special Secretariat for Human Rights of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil, the central authority for the Hague Convention in Brazil, has sent a request to the Office of the Attorney General for the return of Sean to the U.S.

Given the strong and friendly relationship between our two countries, we are writing to respectfully ask that you examine this case and take appropriate action to reunite Sean and his father. We also request a meeting with Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota at his earliest possible convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.


As a pro-choice, nonreligious woman from New Jersey, I find much of Rep. Chris Smith's politics personally offensive, but he does have a strong record on international human rights and I hope his intervention can help David in his fight to get his son back.


There is something that NEEDS to be pointed out here. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) is not even David's Congressman. He is a Congressman from the adjoining district who had been aware of the case but just had enough after last week's Dateline special. David's Congressman Rush "Do Nothing" Holt (D-NJ) has done nothing for four years. Congressman Smiths HEROIC actions yesterday had Holt and Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg, who, to be fair had met with David and talked to the US Ambassador on David's behalf, and Bob Menendez, who like Joe Biden, has been an unresponsive embarrassment, scrambling like sheep with their heads cut off to jump on the Bring Sean Home bandwagon.

Thank you Congressman Smith. You are a Congressman who rises above politics, votes your conscience and fights for what you believe in. Your actions this week make you a hero on the level of Chesley "Sully" Sullenberg. Don't worry about the PC pantywaists that your polics offends---- every American deserves a representative like you who is willing to lay it on the line for their consituents.

When all of the above mentioned politicians crowd around David and Sean for the Homecoming Photo Op, we will remember who was responsible.


Estou torcendo muito, muito para que Sean volte o mais rápido possível para casa com seu pai.
Rezarei por eles.



American in Brazil Custody Fight to Visit Son

Published: February 6, 2009

Filed at 8:59 p.m. ET

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- An American who has waged a four-year custody battle for his son in Brazil reached an agreement Friday to visit the 8-year-old boy.

David Goldman reached the agreement during a five-hour mediation session. The custody battle started in 2004 after his wife took the boy to her native Brazil, according to Goldman.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, who traveled to Brazil with Goldman in an attempt to reunite him with his son, announced the agreement after attending the session, which was presided over by a high-ranking federal judge.

Smith said the agreement included a deal that no details of the visit will be disclosed.

Goldman called the hearing ''a first step'' and said he hoped he would see the boy soon.

He said he has not seen his son since his former wife Bruna took the boy for a two-week vacation to her native Brazil in 2004 and never returned.

She later divorced Goldman in Brazil -- a divorce he says is not valid in the United States -- and married Rio de Janeiro lawyer Joao Paulo Lins e Silva. She died last year of complications from the birth of another child.

Lins e Silva and his lawyer did not speak to reporters after Friday's session.

Smith, a New Jersey Republican, introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday accusing Brazil of violating an international treaty by failing to reunite father and son quickly.

New Jersey's senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, also wrote an open letter to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva asserting that Brazil has failed to comply with the treaty.

Goldman is from Tinton Falls, New Jersey, where he owns a charter boat business and sells real estate.

Brazilian law prohibits publication in Brazil of names of minors in legal cases for privacy reasons.


Associated Press writer Alan Clendenning contributed to this story from Sao Paulo.


I'm not sure why we should care that you find Chris Smith's politics "offensive," whether it's because he is a Republican, pro-life, or a devout Catholic. And very generous of you to acknowledge his human rights record.

This campaign to bring Sean home has never been about politics. I think we should keep it that way and just appreciate the fact that a very good man has decided he can do something to right this injustice. Please read the House resolution he introduced. This goes way beyond David and Sean.

Rita B

This is an absolutely DEVESTATING article on the David Goldman case and how judicial corruption and "excesso di liberalidade" in Brazilian family law in attempting redefine family relationships has had a chilling effect on the attempt to enforce the Hague convention. An eye opening look at the strategy of David's adversaries and the criminal behavior of Brazilian judges.






@art. Well said. I don't follow NJ politics very closely, but it sounds like we could use more like Chris Smith in Congress.

Fabrício Vasconcelos

I am a brazilian student from Rio and I have a different opinion about the case. Since we are both democratical countries I think it would be nice to present another view. I had contact with the case for the first time on facebook, and when I read: "help bring Sean home from your country", I thought "what?". Then I started to read the case. I also watched all youtube videos about it. Then reading the website bringseanhome.org I ended up here. And I think there are some precipitations. My perspective could make you angry and it is not my intention, but I think some of your perspectives are not right and could be even classified as sensationalism.
Let´s begin with "Hague". Maybe you don´t know, but brazilians are, if not the biggest, one of the biggest contribuitors for this cause. "The Brazilian delegation in the first hague convention was led by the statesman Ruy Barbosa, who won international acclaim as "The Eagle of The Hague" for his stout defense of the legal equality of nations." I can assure you we have great commitment with that cause.
Going to the case. It is, as we say here in Brazil, "a 3 day discussion"( a very long discussion that usually doens`t result in anything, you don´t convince me, I don´t convince you) about the applicaton of the hague convention in this case. I think it is reasonable the mother´s allegation that she was too much scared to tell she was moving back to her country with the kid. I would be. And if she had divorced in the US I have my doubts if she would be able to bring the kid to Brazil. But that is not the problem, even if it was 100% applicable, according to brazilian laws, and I totally agree with them, in a divorce case the kid stays with the mother. No judge would send the kid back, his attorney should know that. Let´s think the other way. Imagine the same situation, but the mother is american and the father is brazilian, in Brazil. Would USA send the kid to the brazilian father? Can you show me an example of a similar case? And dont come with Elian Gonzalez (like I saw you guys doing in other foruns), he took 7 months to be sent back even though his mother died at the trip. And the american pilots of that plane that caused the crash in Brazil were also considered guilty here, they went to america and nothing will happen to them, they were even considered heroes. How did the heroe forget to turn a plane transponder on? And of course, they blamed the brazilian control tower, lazy, unneficient bla bla bla.
Coming back, till this point (mother`s death) I am with the brazilian judge. In my perspective David committed a mistake when he didn´t come to Brazil and at least tried to solve this friendly.

"Further, with the death of Bruna Goldman, any possible argument of the child having become acclimated in the care of his Mother has dissipated"

Then we reached an agreement. The kid must go back, now. But some things just don´t help, and as a supporter of your point of view, and as a proud brazilian I will tell what you should pay attention to if you want a good feedback from us. We care too much about what people say about our country, and we get easily offended. Emotional statements don´t help at all. Comments like "judicial corruption and "excesso di liberalidade" in Brazilian family law" (USA doesnt have judicial corruption does it?), "criminal behavior of Brazilian judges",( remember it is a brazilian judge that will judge it),"This case makes my blood boil!", "colonial period bla bla bla" (even though it was written by a brazilian, at least she has a brazilian name) and specially some videos I saw on youtube on those sensacionalistic programs where the guy is perfect father, the best, and those brazilians are unfair, bad people, very bad justice, lame worldwide bla bla bla... thats not good...
Avoid generalizations. (I know that there were some cases where innocent people where sent to death in america, or am I watching too much prison break?) I don´t take any conclusions from it...
Don´t push it the wrong way. We are also not happy when we realize a foreign power is pushing our institutions. Not that it is happening, it is not, obamas letter was just awesome, and thats the way to do it, also the other american congressmen were very good , but the more the repercussion grows, it could evolute to a less diplomatic way...

All my respect to the land of the free and home of the brave, the leader of democratical countries, home of the 2 best teams in the world, Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots, lol, hope everything goes ok in this mediation and that Sean returns to the USA soon...

Sorry about my english, I tried my best, I lived in Canada in 2004, I don´t practice it since then...

My apologies if I offended anyone, you don`t have any idea of how I admire the United States of America.

My best regards
Fabrício Vasconcelos

Rita B

I did not make an "emotional statement". I linked to a Brazilian article that used the terms that you are offended by. I am interested in your thoughts on the article.




It appears that you are less concerned with the facts of the case and more concerned with Brazil's image (which is certainly not being helped by this case).



I personally have knowledge of the Brasilian Federal Court System working and effecting Hague returns.

You seem to me to be making this a emotional issue and there are certainly emotions involved. But the truth is it is a jurisdictional issue. Their marriage was in New Jersey and that is where it should be dissolved and custody of Sean determined. All should have been told to return to NJ to have custody determination made there.

My opinion is Bruna didn't like that story and that is why she fled. David would have retained at least joint custody and she would not have been able to take Sean out of New Jersey. She wanted full custody of Sean and she took it. Too bad she tore David's heart out and stole from her son his father.

The problem is this: Judges in Brasil (and other countries that are not fully compliant with the Hague) see these not as jurisdictional returns but as extradition. They also think the child is fine because he (in this case) is with his Brasilian mother. Judges in Brasil (and elsewhere) are effected by their cultural upbringing.

And yes, USA makes these jurisdictional returns. That is how they can argue for other countries to comply with this international law without the fear of being challenged with hypocrisy.

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