Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society
By Documentary Film Program on March 29, 2012 at 12:00 am
In 1994 Holly Collins became an international fugitive, hunted by the FBI after she grabbed her three children and went on the run. Holly felt she had no choice after a family court had dismissed her as crazy, ignored her children’s pleas, Holly’s broken nose, her son’s fractured skull, her daughter’s graphic pictures and mounds of medical evidence and gave full custody of Zackary and Jennifer to their abusive father. Holly came to believe she and the children had No Way Out But One.
She fled the United States and made it to Amsterdam where she blurted out a plea for asylum, based on the fact that she was fleeing domestic violence and would not be protected if she were returned to the US.
At first, she and her children were placed in a refugee center with other poor souls fleeing violence torn hell-holes from around the world. Living shoulder to shoulder with people learning to use indoor plumbing for the first time in their lives, Holly and her kids made the best of it. At least they were safe. Holly eventually became the first U. S. Citizen to be granted asylum by the government of Netherlands.
She lived a quiet, low profile life for the next 14 years, until the FBI agents came calling. Hoping to return Holly to the United States to face kidnapping charges, they interviewed her now grown children. They told the agents that far from being their kidnapper, their mother was their savior and their hero.
Eventually, all charges against Holly were dropped, save one: contempt of court. Holly readily acknowledged that after all she and the children had been through, she did indeed have “contempt of court.”
The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.