Poundstone Regains Custody of Adopted Children

Comedian Paula Poundstone regained full legal custody Wednesday of three adopted children she lost last year after pleading no contest to child endangerment, her lawyer said.

Poundstone appeared in a juvenile courtroom but it was a formality, said attorney Rich Pfeiffer. Poundstone's children had already been staying with her for a few days at her Santa Monica home.

Last year, Poundstone pleaded no contest to a felony count of child endangerment and misdemeanor infliction of injury on a child. The endangerment charge involved drunken driving with children in her car.

Outside court, Poundstone was critical of the family court system.

"I made mistakes and I broke the law and I'm more than willing to pay a price for that," she said. "But there's a price beyond that that my children have paid, and that's not what was supposed to happen."

The children were placed with a court-approved foster parent, a friend of the comedian. Poundstone, 42, was allowed daily, monitored visits with the children.

In October 2001, Poundstone was sentenced to 180 days at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, plus five years of probation.

"She's been alcohol-free for 18 months," Pfeiffer said. "And all of the sustained child abuse against her -- every bit of it -- was alcohol-related."

Poundstone and her attorney await an appellate court's review of a challenge of the court's jurisdiction in child-custody matters.

In that motion, which was presented in August, Pfeiffer claimed the criminal court overstepped its jurisdiction when it decided on the children's visitation and custody rights. The panel is expected to review the challenge Jan. 15.