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Bloomington mother asks judge for arrest warrant in contentious child custody battle

Bloomington mother asks judge for arrest warrant in contentious child custody battle


Bloomington attorney Tristan Bullington, left, and Amber Buck, attended a hearing in early June at he McLean County Law and Justice Center, Bloomington, to argue that the father of her 4-year-old son, Mikey, be compelled to bring the boy back from Boston.

BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington woman has asked a judge to issue a criminal arrest warrant to force a father to return from Boston to McLean County with their son.

Michael Cadena has committed direct criminal contempt of court by refusing to show up in McLean County court with the 4-year-old boy, according to a motion filed by the child’s mother, Amber Buck.

McLean County Judge Lee Ann Hill has issued orders five times since November for Cadena to return to Illinois with the child.

At a hearing on Monday, Hill gave Cadena’s lawyer a week to respond to the request that, if granted, could result in Cadena’s arrest in Boston. A July 25 hearing is set for Hill’s ruling.

Buck’s lawyer, Tristan Bullington, said his client has no choice but to seek the more serious sanction.

“He has tied our hands. We had to pull out everything available to us in our bag of tools to gain compliance,” Bullington said after the hearing.

In her court filing, Buck also is seeking sanctions that include payment of her attorney fees and up to six months in jail for her former boyfriend for his refusal to comply with the judge's order.

On June 1, the judge found Cadena in indirect civil contempt of court and ordered him to be at a June 8 hearing, which he missed. A week later, the judge ordered Cadena’s arrest.

McLean County sheriff’s deputies won’t travel to Massachusetts to arrest Cadena on the civil contempt charge, but if the father returns to Illinois, he will be taken into custody and required to post a $25,000 bond to be released.

Buck, who lives in the Twin Cities, went to Massachusetts on June 19 to pick up her son, but returned without him after a judge there took under advisement Cadena’s motion to reconsider a previous Massachusetts court ruling that said Illinois has jurisdiction over the case. That ruling is pending. 

Meanwhile, in court documents filed by Cadena’s lawyer, Adele Saaf, Cadena argues that a psychologist who has treated the boy wrote in a December report that the child “is clearly struggling with significant memories of living with his mother” and “displays great anxiety” about the recurrence of alleged violence if he is returned to her.

Citing an upcoming visit with her grandchildren, Saaf asked Monday for more time to respond to Buck's latest court filing. 

"I understand your desire to see your grandchildren," the judge told Saaf in her denial of more time, "but this woman has not seen her child physically for over a year."

Cadena has accused Buck of physically and emotionally abusing the boy during the time the boy lived with his mother. 

Buck, 31, pleaded guilty last year to meth charges and was sentenced to 30 months of probation.

Cadena was awarded custody in February 2017 and left the state a month later with the boy while the 2014 family case was pending.

At a June hearing, Bullington told the judge that counseling services are planned to help the child adjust when he returns to Illinois.

Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

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