The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in June that Shawn Harris would not be able to immediately see his two sons upon his release from prison. He was convicted in March 2008 of a sex crime on Crystal Harris, his now ex-wife and a Carlsbad stockbroker.
According to U-T San Diego, Crystal Harris said that she was also abused days after that incident, when Shawn grabbed her by the throat and forced her to have sex. However, a Vista jury was deadlocked on a felony charge of spousal rape. He is currently serving a six-year sentence.
In July of 2008, a San Diego family court judge ruled that Shawn Harris' actions caused only "incidental" harm to his sons, according to the paper, and that his crimes were only done unto the mother, not the sons.
But Judge Gregory Pollock argued that Harris should immediately reunited with his sons upon his release, pointing to evidence that he was a good father and raised the children a stay-at-home dad.
“As soon as Shawn is released from prison, reunification between the children and Shawn shall occur before Shawn completes any domestic violence classes or participates in any individual therapy,” Pollack said during his ruling.But the state appellate court recently overruled that decision, saying that Pollock "abused his discretion," according to U-T San Diego, and disregarded the opinion of the court's own psychological expert, who said that until the children had undergone their own therapy and felt ready for reunification, that Shawn Harris had to stay away.
The ongoing case of Crystal Harris, who as the sole breadwinner provided support payments to her husband and paid his attorney fees, sparked a new law in California, which was passed in January of this year. The law states that abusive ex-spouses are prevented from receiving financial support payments or any other compensation following a divorce.
In an email to U-T San Diego, Crystal Harris said that the appellate court's decision is "the biggest victory I could possibly hope for."
“Now I won’t be forced to deliver my boys into the arms of evil, which is how I felt I was being directed with the previous order. Now I can be a good mother and keep my sons safe," she told the newspaper.