Italy-Carson custody battle ends quietly

A woman who defied a court-ordered custody agreement and fled to Italy eight years ago with her daughter was sentenced Monday to time served after ensuring that the daughter visited her father for a month this summer.

Toni Lee Adams, 41, has already returned to Italy where she lives with the 16-year-old girl. Her ex-husband, Chuck Adams, with the help of Carson City prosecutors and State Department lawyers, wrangled with his ex-wife in Italian courts since her departure.

"All I ever wanted was to see my daughter in my life," Chuck said at his ex-wife's arraignment. "But I won't get back the eight years that I lost."

The court battles between the parents and Carson City prosecutors ended when an Italian court agreed to extradite Adams on a felony kidnapping charge. The charge was reduced when Judge Michael Griffin, the Adams family and prosecutors felt they could resolve the dispute amiably on U.S. soil.

As part of a plea agreement by which Toni Adams admitted one count of unlawful removal of a child, the daughter spent a month this summer with her father. On Monday, prosecutors recommended a "time-served" sentence because she complied with the agreement after spending less than a week in jail.

Adams faced as many as four years in prison if she did not keep her word. The crime could have been charged as a felony or misdemeanor at sentencing. Griffin chose the latter.

Chuck Adams, who is remarried, also shares a 20-year-old son with his ex-wife.

He said Tom Baker, aide to Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., was instrumental in keeping the prosecution alive despite setbacks in Italian courts. The setbacks can be attributed to a wrinkle in Italian law that exempts child-custody cases from Hague-Convention standards on extradition.

Also part of the plea agreement between Toni and prosecutors is a provision that mandates repayment of the costs of sending two federal officers to Rome to get Toni. The cost is less than $5,000. She was also strapped with a local fine of $500.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment