December 28, 2016–New York, NY, U.S.A.
The Families Civil Liberties Union (“FCLU”)–a United States organization comprised of thousands of parents, children, grandparents, and family members–has released its 2016 list of “Most Corrupt Judges.” FCLU is the nation’s leading family court reform organization. FCLU is comprised of families–not family court professionals such as lawyers, judges, or psychologists. If you are a member of a family in New York or the Northeast, this group is a tremendous resource to assist you in navigating the unusually dangerous waters of family court. Contact the highly-accomplished documentarian Sebastian Doggart at FCLU.org.
Family court is extremely harmful to the well-being of families in crisis. It is populated by unaccomplished, dishonest, and even criminal beings. Few advocates for the well-being of families exist. FCLU has assembled a group of parents with knowledge and experience to keep you and your family safe from the family court wolves. Get in touch at www.FCLU.org. It’s free, giving, and a tremendous public service for families in crisis.
From the press release:
THE 20 WORST FAMILY COURT JUDGES
IN NEW YORK STATE IN 2016
After an exhaustive, four-month survey of litigants, attorneys and judges in New York State’s family and matrimonial courts, and with the cooperation of numerous organizations and individuals, here is a list of the twenty judges who have most egregiously failed to perform their statutory duties in 2016. In the interests of our children and families – and of the citizenry that pays their lofty salaries — they all need to be investigated, audited, and removed from the bench.
- Matthew Cooper (NY Supreme Court): His background at the Teamsters has set the tone for New York State’s most abusive and wasteful judgeship. In 2001, Cooper was elected to the bench with no experience in matrimonial or custody cases, having been chief legal counsel to the Teamster 237 for nearly two decades. His ‘election’ to the court is shrouded in secrecy as his campaign documents are sealed and not publicly accessible. Intoxicated by his power, Cooper screams in court, like a hybrid of Mr. Burns and Grand Moff Tarkin. Cooper often threatens parents that they will never see their child(ren) again unless they do exactly what he says. He uses his press contacts at the New York Post and the New York Daily News to humiliate and ruin litigants. He has set up a quid-pro-quo relationship with these tabloids, offering reporters like Barbara Ross and Julia Marsh juicy stories in return for positive press coverage of him. He then uses media pressure to intimidate and shame litigants into outcomes he desires. Cooper has been captured on video stating that he creates “printable soundbites” to draw media attention to his cases, which, by law, are sealed matters. He has publicly calls litigants “deadbeat dads,” “bed-pooping cokeheads,” “the shyster of smoked meat” and “fools.” So arrogant is Cooper than he allows himself to be filmed, stating that he “lives for threatening litigants” and gloating about incarcerating fathers in the cases before him. However, whenever Justice Cooper feels threatened by potentially critical media attention, he will engage in any means necessary, including criminal acts, to silence them. He intimidates journalists by threatening to incarcerate them if they don’t hand over their electronic devices. He has also denied journalists the right to counsel, or to plead the 5th Amendment, after he has hauled them up to the stand. To protect himself, he falsifies the record with his court reporter, Jacqueline Glass. He also uses his friends in the First Department Appellate Division – especially Judge Saxe – to ensure his rulings are not overturned. He hides behind his absolute immunity from prosecution in state courts, afforded to him by the egregious US Supreme Court decision of Stump vs. Sparkman. To reward his work, New York taxpayers give Cooper an annual salary of $192,300 – a 40% hike from what he received in 2011, and a higher salary even than NY Governor Cuomo. However, he may soon be held civilly liable for several million dollars, thanks to a pending case in the Federal Court of the Southern District of New York. Judge Katherine Failla is currently hearing allegations of gross misconduct being made against him by NY attorney Anthony Zappin, whom Cooper has stopped from seeing his child, and persecuted through the press. Judge Faille is due to rule on the matter in April 2017. To defend himself, Cooper is misusing public funds by using NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to represent him – an indication of how deep and wide the corruption in the family court system is. Zappin has filed a formal complaint to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct for engaging in extrajudicial communications with media outlets about pending cases. But the CJC is an under-funded charade of accountability, rarely investigates complaints, and has an execrable record of holding the feet of corrupt judges to the fire.
- Esther Morgenstern (Kings County, Integrated Domestic Violence court): A former law clerk, who came to the bench in 1996, she is overwhelmed by cases she has taken on with the criminal court, divorce, and family courts. That case-load has been increased by taking over the cases of another abusive Judge, Patricia Henry, who thankfully retired in July 2016. One attorney states that Morgenstern “was hand-picked by Sheldon Silver’s cronies to eviscerate Brooklyn’s families for federal money from the Title IV-D program… She is a loyal mutt for a corrupt master.” Morgenstern’s bleached blond hair and arrogant demeanor give her the look of an aging Barbarella on a bad acid trip. A divorcee herself, she takes the bench at a leisurely 11am and speeds through cases taking away children, jailing fathers and imposing impossible conditions as part of orders of protection. She interrupts and derides attorneys, recently scolding one public defender to “grow a pair” when he asked to be relieved from the case. She gives pro se litigants very short thrift – and discriminates viciously against fathers. Trials are a travesty: defense experts are precluded, court favorites are included and decisions take months while children have no contact with one of their parents – almost always their father.
- Rachel Adams (Kings County Supreme Court). Adams prioritizes three things in her courtroom: the sanctity of her orders; a bullying pressure on parties to settle; and the appointment and ingratiation of her favored ‘professionals’ who have donated to her election campaigns. Adams regularly fails to schedule mandated hearings prior to custody flips. She delays pre-trial proceedings for years. She neglects to issue decisions six months or more after the conclusion of a trial (although she is mandated to release decisions within 60 days). In one ongoing case, she ordered a mother to undergo years of supervised visitation and ignored Appellate Division directions to reverse the order. Two kids are growing up without their mother as Adams delays a final order after trial. In one case, she put a father on “supervised visits” by the disreputable agency Comprehensive Family Services for eight years – enriching CFS with $15,000, but deeply harming the child. She appoints Brad Nacht as Attorney for the child in the vast majority of her cases. Nacht has charged the parents $45,000 – all thanks to Adams’ appointment. It’s no coincidence that the firm where Nacht worked, Hymowitz & Freeman, was a significant donor to Adams’ election campaign. In that same case, the attorney for the party to whom she awarded custody, was also a donor to Adams’ campaign.
- Dean Kusakabe (Kings County Family Court). Incompetence, bigotry, cronyism and casual cruelty are Kusakabe’s main characteristics. He came to the bench in July 2012 with no training as a judge. He was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg, who was trying to burnish his poor diversity record. His ignorance of the law was vividly demonstrated when he recently allowed the powerful attorney-mother of a mother-litigant to represent her daughter, even though she was a principal witness in the case. This was a clear violation of the attorney-witness law — Rule 3.7 of the NYRPC — and case-law, established by the Second Department Appellate Division. As such, he knowingly violated judicial cannon Section 100.2 (A) (“A judge shall respect and comply with the law”). In violation of another judicial cannon — section 100.3 (B)(4) — Kusakabe is deeply biased in favor of mothers. In one recent case, he allowed unsupervised visitation to a mother, despite conclusive evidence that she was mentally unstable. Kusakabe is terrified of pro se litigants, whom he persecutes. In one ongoing case, he delayed court proceedings by six months just to decide whether or not the father could relieve his attorney, and proceed pro se. Meantime, he denied that father any contact with his daughter, without giving him any hearing on the allegations made by the mother. Kusakabe has a wholly inappropriate relationship with the taxpayer-funded Children’s Law Center (CLC), whom he appoints as the attorney-for-the child in every case he takes. So cosey is his relationship to the CLC that he even has a mailbox openly on view in his courtroom for his correspondence with the CLC. He allows the CLC to testify in cases before him, in violation of the attorney-witness rule. He denies applications to disqualify the CLC, even when conflicts of interest have been proved. For example, he denied disqualification applications when it was proved that the mother’s attorney was also employed by the CLC, or when the CLC was employing the babysitter of a subject-child. Kusakabe’s calendar is managed by his hapless court attorney, Bonnie Gershon, who contributes to the Dickensian atmosphere of Kusakabe’s courtroom. Clutching her coffee thermos like a baby’s blanket, she wanders aimlessly around the 9th floor court corridors, like Mrs Havisham. In court conferences, she regularly resorts to screaming, or just breaks down in tears. According to Gershon, she has over 1,100 pending cases on Kusakabe’s docket. How can any judge get his head around that number of custody cases? As a result of this gross irresponsibility, Kusakabe regularly gets the names of litigants wrong. He sends orders to the wrong addresses, or just neglects to send them out. The orders he does send out are often ambiguous, or mis-spelled. He neglects to set trial dates for years, and when he does, he stretches trials out over many months, in violation of court rules, and judicial cannons, that a trial must complete within 90 days of its start. He also ‘loses’ documents that have been submitted to the court under sub-poena, especially when such documents do not support one of his arbitrary ‘temporary orders of visitation’. According to two sources – a retired family court judge and a family attorney close to his former partner — Kusakabe is a fanatical Christian who gives ten percent of his income to the Church. But his conduct more closely resembles the sadistic 17th century persecutors of Christians in the Japan portrayed in Martin Scorsese’s Silence. The New York taxpayer rewards Kuskabe with a whopping salary of $181,848 (excluding benefits and bonuses, or the pay-rise he is seeking for 2017). Last year, Mayor diBlasio extended his tenure, without any election, or public hearing, until 2025.
- Deborah Kaplan (New York Supreme Court). According to one NY matrimonial attorney: “The daughter of a Luchese associate who ran a mob warehouse and a intermediary for mob hit orders, Judge Deborah Kaplan, aka the Mafia Princess, sat as Co-Chair of the Gender Fairness Committee of the Criminal Court of the City of New York. Ironically, she is anything but gender neutral. She claims she became a lawyer to get her father out of a 27 year prison sentence so she can be with him once again. In a perverse twist of fate, she has managed in her short matrimonial tenure to rip countless children away from their fathers, regardless of evidence (as can be seen by the famed Madonna v Guy Ritchie case where a mature child did not want to be with the mother and yet was ordered by Kaplan to return to the United States to be with her). Kaplan cherry-picks court appointed guardians by going through her donors lists. She applies a double standard “rule of evidence” for men and women and has a weak grasp of the law in general. She writes sloppy and hasty decisions, often creating more ambiguity and opening up more opportunities for gapping divides in peace between former couples. Although it has been alleged she has been reassigned based on a panoply of complaints, she now sits as Statewide Coordinating Judge for Family Violence Cases– even though she once testified against a victim of domestic violence– citing there were no marks to prove it. While her newly appointed position may very well be the “padded room” or the “Island of Elba” for undesirable Judges, she should really be kept far away from any gavel. “She is also on the Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts and a card carrying member/past president of the insidious and openly discriminatory New York Women’s Bar Association. According to another NY attorney, who has filed various complaints about Kaplan to the Commission on Judicial Conduct: “Her procedural foible is to mislead the public about her orders. She has a predilection for labeling initial orders as ‘temporary’ as a ploy to mislead the losing side to accept the order on consent. The litigant believes that the temporary order (for example for custody or support) can be modified later after trial, when in fact Kaplan intends for the temporary order to be permanent. When the litigant fires up the boilers and goes to trial for a permanent order, the burden of proof is unclear (in the case of custody — initial award/best interests versus modification of an order/change of circumstances) to the litigant and sanctions/losses are the result. However, it is not clear whether this is the result of malevolence toward the general public or whether Kaplan is ignorant of the law of orders. ” Kaplan seems to enjoy taking down alpha-male fathers. Her persecution of Dr Eric Braverman, from whom she has blocked all access to his children for more than two years, is a case in point. Kaplan’s biggest donor is the notorious Raoul Felder, who is the mother’s attorney in the Braverman case. Felder is a regular advocate in her court, and she rules in his favor every time.
- Anna Culley (Supreme Court, Queens County): Daughter of Anthony Seminerio, a corrupt corrections officer and politician who was convicted for influence peddling, and died in prison in 2011. In 2014, Culley ran on both Republican and Democratic tickets and won her judgeship unopposed. Her record on the bench shows scant regard for due process. In one recent case, she refused to enforce demands that mother produce records of her daycare business which dad paid for and assisted in starting for mother’s benefit. Instead, Culley QDRO’d his pension, but gave him no credit toward his contributions to mother’s business. In another ongoing case, Culley ignored an appellate division reversal of a contempt order against father. This would have allowed medical records to enter the case file and would have benefitted the father in the long run. Culley also refused to enter an order of visitation because the kids refused to see their father. Unless Culley can be removed sooner, her term expires on December 31, 2028.
- Carol Mackenzie (NYS Supreme Court, Central Islip NY). Mackenzie has blood on her hands. She presided the case of Dr. Richard Demato, inciting him to commit suicide, on April 30, 2013, the day before a trial was due to begin in front of her. In that case, Mackenzie had ordered 63-year-old Demato to pay his wife $5,000, even before a trial had been held. When he was unable to pay, Mackenzie improperly jailed him. The three- month incarceration caused him to lose his medical practice as a podiatrist, his car, and his home. Dr Demato also lost any hope of fair treatment at trial. Mackenzie callously registered the case as “settled, abated by death.” In other cases, she refuses to order drug test results when documented history of drug use have been before the court and child custody, visitation and decision-making are being decided. She also threatens and verbally abuses attorneys and litigants. She storms out of the courtroom when her mistakes are being addressed. She refuses to conduct contempt hearings despite being directed to by the Appellate Division. Without conducting hearings, she goes directly to sentencing, especially when she wants to incarcerate a party for “contempt”. She ignores irrefutable evidence, well settled statutes and case law. She plays favorites; incorporates deliberate arithmetic mistakes to favor one party; and uses threats of incarceration to bully litigants into settling with unfair terms.
- Jeffrey Sunshine (Kings County Supreme Court): The most inaptly named judge in America, Sunshine is another judge who has presided over the tragic destruction of families. He was elected to this position in 2011, and his current term expires in 2024. He has somehow risen to the powerful position of ‘supervising matrimonial judge’. The biggest stain on his record is his role in the murder of a three-year-old-child and the suicide of his father, Dmitriy Kanarikov. According to an attorney connected to the case: “During a typical divorce proceeding, the mother used the usual domestic violence accusations to cut dad off from his son. Dad freaked out as he never heard of anything like this before. He appeared before Judge Sunshine, who is a rubber-stamping bureaucrat. He granted an order of protection to [the mother] – as usual – with no proof of any actual violence of any kind. Outraged by the lies, Dmitriy obtained his son for an unsupervised visit and proceeded to go up to the top floor of a West 60th Street building. He flung his son off the top floor and then jumped after the son. The press followed Sunshine’s orders. Dad was branded violent and deranged. [The mother] was branded the abused spouse. An important difference between Kanarikov and the typical American is that Americans behave like sheep. We are led around by rings in our noses and no matter how the court behaves, we go along with the scam no matter how absurd. But Russians are far hardier than that, and the mother’s attorney really screwed the pooch. I do not believe Sunshine received any kind of sanction for any of hs involving the Kanarikovs.” According to another now-retired family court judge: “This Judge was the primary reason that I stopped practicing law, and that is a shame because I used to love being a lawyer and was quite good at it. He forgot where he came from–a Court street lawyer — like the rest of us trying to make a living in an ever increasing impossible profession. Cases I had before him seemed to be more about him than the poor souls I represented who had real problems. His ego gets in the way of administering Justice. His Courtroom, like many others, is more like a cattle call than a revered Courtroom. Almost every client I ever had, even if they received a favorable ruling, always said the same thing: “Is that the way all judges act’?” As supervising judge, Sunshine has shown no leadership, and offers no relief to litigants who have been denied due process. In a recent case, he took punitive action against an attorney who had complained to him because a subordinate judge had not entered a decision on an application for a parent to see his child, after eight months of separation. Rather than treating such complaints seriously and confidentially, Sunshine immediately informs the judge about whom a complaint is made, often leading to retaliatory action.
- Terrence McElrath (Kings County family court): A vicious bully, bigot and trampler of constitutional rights under the color of law, McElrath has a long pattern of misconduct, His worst period was a decade on Staten Island, when he trafficked hundreds of children into single-parent homes. His hallmark is issuing bizarre orders, the most violent of which was jailing a parent when their child disappeared from foster care. He favors vague ‘temporary orders of visitation’ (TOV), arguing that inclarity helps parties to resolve issues amongst themselves. In truth, he issues these TOVs because they are ‘appeal-proof’: the Appellate Divisions immediately dismiss any applications to appeal TOVs. Exploiting this loophole, McElrath and many other family court judges just keep on issuing TOVs for years, turning them into a permanent status quo – and causing chaos to families, and incalculable harm to children. In one recent case, he issued a TOV which took away two kids from a mother simply because her divorce judgment omitted a custody order to her favor. The father petitioned in front of McElrath, won, and then excluded the kids from the mother until they became adults. This caused a mother to have to prove her sanity by hiring a therapist, whom McElrath then refused to allow to testify. In another case, he issued a continuation order on a previous TOV that was no longer in effect, thus creating an entirely new status quo, without any hearing. In another ongoing case, he handed over power to his friends at the Children’s Law Center to decide whether a child should even be allowed to receive a birthday card from her father. When the case became too hot in social media, he passed it over to Judge Kusakabe, to ensure that any trial was further delayed. Meantime, the child is still not permitted to receive any gifts or letters from her father, and there is no prospect of any trial. In breach of judicial cannons, and Constitutional case-law, McElrath holds ‘ex parte’ hearings that exclude the party he disfavors. This practice is a violation of judicial cannon, section 100.3(B)(6) (“A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties or their lawyers concerning a pending or impending proceeding.”) McElrath’s ex parte hearings are usually done through his law secretary, Karen Cortes, who regularly meets with the CLC and the favored party – but not the losing party or their attorneys. In those rare conferences where all parties are present, Cortes tells the assembled group: “I am the Judge now”, issues arbitrary orders herself, and she keeps no record of the conference proceedings. McElrath does not read motion papers from litigants he dislikes. He neglects to provide a hearing for years, in violation of the judicial cannon to provide all parents with a prompt and comprehensive hearing. He has a vengeful spirit, punishing litigants who he believes to have written negative reviews on sites like com (which he refers to as “the ‘I hate my judge’ website”). In one case, he falsely accused a father of posting online his private address, and then issued an order depriving him of any access to his child. Before the father’s attorney had a chance to object, he suddenly adjourned proceedings for six months. He bullies litigants, regularly interrupting them with the mantra: “The way the rules work here, is when I talk, you listen!” McElrath has an inappropriate partnership with the CLC, allowing their attorneys to testify, in violation of the witness-advocate rule, and then blindly following their recommendations on custody. He also has a cronyistic relationship with Comprehensive Family Services, sending them hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business in supervised visitation. McElrath has been a leading advocate for judicial pay raises, forcing the NY taxpayer to fund a 40% hike in judges’ pay.
- Margaret McGowan (Queens county Supreme Court). Treating due process like a toilet, McGowan holds all her “pre-trial conferences” in chambers or table-side, with no court reporter to make a record. She assigns counsel with no regard to financial ability and coerces settlements by taking away rights from her intended loser, usually the father.
- John Hunt (Queens County family court). A man of unknown pedigree except for his St. John’s education, he railroads kids as a juvenile delinquency judge. He always sides with the prosecution (corporation counsel). He is the go-to judge by family-court insiders to flip custody and impose ridiculous ‘temporary orders’ followed by transfers to referees. In one case, he isolated the father from the child causing the child to abandon the mother. In another case, he caused the loss of a daughter by a mother by siding with assigned counsel. He leans on the support of his supervising judge, Carol Stokinger, to ensure he is unaccountable for his actions. The pattern of his rulings is not one that denigrates the reputation of the court, and as such violates judicial cannon Section 100.2 (A) (“A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”)
- Eric Prus (Kings County Supreme Court). Arrogant and obnoxious to litigants, Prus regularly fails to enforce stipulations entered into by the litigants in his own court. In one case, Prus had the father arrested in the courtroom and entered an order of protection where he could not even see his two daughters. In another case, he refused all applications by the father even though he was the custodial parent. He then jailed the father for failing to follow an oral order and caused his savings to be placed into escrow for many years – ruining him in the process. His conduct is unbecoming of a judge: he recently yelled at a lawyer regarding a statement of net worth; screamed at a father about paying money; and bawled at a mother about visits. This conduct is in violation of judicial cannon, Section 100.3 (B)(3) (“A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity”). To top it all off, he regularly falls asleep during hearings.
- Machelle Sweeting (Manhattan family court). In an unopposed ballot, Sweeting was elected in November, 2014, for a term that expires in 2025. Various court attorneys have affirmed that Sweeting always favors the mother regardless of the evidence in favor of the father. Like many of her judicial colleagues, she works on the principle that a father is guilty until proven innocent, while a mother is innocent even when proven guilty. This is a violation of two judicial cannons: Section 100.3 (B)(4) (“A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice against or in favor of any person”) and Section 100.3 (C) (1) (“A judge shall diligently discharge the judge’s administrative responsibilities without bias or prejudice”). Prior to becoming a judge, Sweeting worked in the District Attorney’s office and as a law clerk. Her court attorney, BB Liu, is a recruit from the Children’s Law Center – a cornerstone of NYC’s family court mafia – and helps ensure that ‘mommy always wins’.
- Sharon Bourne Clarke (Kings County family court). Negligent, inexperienced, and out of her depth, she ignores drug tests, meaning that addicts regularly get custody of the child. She hands out a self-righteous ‘Bill of Rights for Children’ to litigants, but then denies basic rights of due process. She imposes her version of evidence law, as long as her desired winner emerges. She shows very limited knowledge of the rules of motion practice, which she applies in violation of judicial cannon section 11.3(B) (“A judge shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it”). As one example of this pattern of violations, she allows her assigned counsel at the Children’s Law Center to take months to file opposition on the smallest of procedural matters. She claims to encourage African American fathers to carry out their paternal duties, but there is no evidence to support this. Her negligence in imposing interminable, illegal restrictions on children’s access to both parents is ever more apparent. In the ongoing matter of Welch, she continues to restrict the father to two hours a week parenting time with his son, even though the mother has an ACS report indicated against her, and is facing incarceration for assaulting an ACS officer. Her current order means that the subject-child has not sees her father at all over the past two holiday periods. She is a regular no-show to scheduled hearings, and neglects even to advise litigants of her absence – adding to the financial and emotional burdens on the children and parents for whom she is responsible.
- Douglas E. Hoffman (New York and Bronx): A very powerful figure in the family court system, Hoffman is the supervising judge for the New York County Family Court. He has held this position since 2009. He was reappointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, without any public hearing, in April, 2015, for an excessive term that will expire in 2025. He also works as an acting justice in the Bronx Supreme Court. In Manhattan, Hoffman has taken on many of the cases from disgraced judge Gloria Sosa Lintner, who was removed from the bench in January 2016 (see below). However, he has continued much of her family-destroying This is especially true in the Matter of Altman, where he has failed to move the case forward, and to give the parties any fair and comprehensive hearing. This is a violation of the following New York judicial cannons: Section 100.3(B) (6) (“A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person’s lawyer, the right to be heard according to law”) and Section 100.3(B) (7) (“A judge shall dispose of all judicial matters promptly.”) According to an investigation by the Child Victims of the Family courts, Hoffman has “committed grave errors in legal adjudication which were allowed to go unchallenged because of clear conflict of interest relationships on the Appellate Court and courts were closed to court watchers, violations of the open court system of New York. He is also following the same malignant process of cronyism, overlooking multiple forms of violations; appointment of questionable experts, a get along to go along practice of local politics of an immoral, unethical, improper level of legal practice.”
- Adetokunbo Fasanya (Manhattan family court). ‘Ade’ earned his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ife, Nigeria, and was appointed as a judge in 2013, with no apparent experience in New York family law. Since Mayor di Blasio appointed him in 2015, without any public hearing or election, his case record shows that he always favors the mother no matter the facts against the mother. His term is due to continue until at least 2024.
- Maria Arias (Kings County family court): In all her cases, she sides with her appointees, particularly the Children’s Law Center. In numerous cases, Arias denies parents due process by imposing a parenting plan, without a hearing, and setting a trial at least 12 months in the future. She makes arbitrary rulings such as punishing parents for taking vacations with their children.
- Hope Schwartz Zimmerman (Nassau County Supreme Court): Creates false narratives to justify her punitive financial judgments. Accepts allegations of domestic abuse made by mothers as a matter of fact, without any investigation.
- Tracey Bannister (Erie County). Attorneys regularly complain of her off-the-wall legal decisions. Uses police officers to intimidate litigants she dislikes. In one case, she based a ruling to deny a father access to his children on her disapproval of a parent’s “Biblical Christian beliefs.”
- Victor Alfieri (Rockland County). Elected to the court in 2006, he routinely jails parents for not paying the other side’s legal bills, even when they are indigent. This was what he did with Daniel Bruen. Alfieri also routinely threatens parents who request a jury trial, telling them he will punish them with harsher sentences if a jury finds against the parent seeking the jury trial – a pattern of intimidation and revenge that permeates the NY family court machine. Mercifully, Alfieri is being stood down from the bench at the end of 2016.
Gloria Sosa Lintner: Retired from the bench in 2016 further to irrefutable proof of her unfitness, the public outrage at her misconduct is an inspiration for other citizens seeking to expose and oust corrupt and unfit judges. Sosa Lintner was appointed to the New York Family Court bench in 1988. For nearly 30 years, she handed down numerous string of rulings which adversely affected children and their parents. Perhaps her most notorious ruling was in the Matter of Altman, where Sosa Lintner tried to win a place in legal history, by redefining parenting. Asserting that “biology is irrelevant”, she transferred custody of a young child from the biological mother to that woman’s female partner, even though the latter faced many personal challenges of psychopathology and criminal behavior. This particular transfer was one of many such flips ordered by Sosa Lintner. She treated litigants and the public with dictatorial contempt, often barring the public from entering her courtroom. Sosa Lintner is the subject of a detailed investigation by the Foundation for the Child Victims of the Family Courts, which has found that she “demonstrated a pattern of finding in favor of the client whom she evaluated to be the parent with the highest/most stable income…. We found that, for Sosa Lintner, “having the most stable income” meant that that parent would hire whatever “connected” attorney, psychologist, parent coordinator who uniformly could wage a virtual war against the parent who asserted concerns and claims against the parent, who had a secret to hide, related to the family interaction and or specifically the dealings with the child, (children). Investigation into the custody transfers ordered by Sosa Lintner, sans objective fact, made clear a pattern of life threatening circumstances to the subject children, ignored in favor of the Ipse Dixit/Discretion standard which prevails in Family Court and is not subject to Appeal.”
Carol Sherman: Supervising judge of Queens Court, she is also the founder of the Children’s Law Center, which receives $60 million in taxpayer funding to provide ‘attorney-for-the-child services in Queens and Kings county courts. Sherman ensures that almost every child is represented by CLC attorneys – a clear conflict of interest which requires immediate investigation by the Office of Court Administration, Preet Bharara, and the Department of Justice. Sherman has also failed to investigate the hundreds of complaints made against attorneys and judges for whom she is responsible. As such, she has neglected the administrative responsibilities she has sworn to uphold, as part of New York’s 22 NYCRR §100.3(C).
Amanda White: As supervising judge in Kings County Court, she has ignored numerous complaints about the judges cited above, allowing mistreatment of New York families to run amok. She also perpetuates the Children’s Law Center racket by instructing her judges to appoint CLC attorneys on every case, and giving the CLC offices within the court-house, and many other material privileges.
COMING IN 2017: A survey of the most fraudulent, wasteful and abusive organizations within the New York Family Court rig, including: the Commission on Judicial Conduct (including the improperly collusive relationship between its administrator Robert Tembeckjian and his wife Barbara Ross, who covers the courts for the New York Daily News); the Administration for Children Services; the Children’s Law Center; the Attorney Grievance Committees; the Office for Court Administration; Safe Horizon (supervised visitation services); Comprehensive Family Services (supervised visitation services at a rate of $150 per hour); Jacob Gold; and the New York Bar Association. Please submit all your evidence of fraud, waste and abuse – and any corrections or additions to the above survey — to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Family court research team, c/o The Foundation for the Child Victims of the Family Courts, 275 Madison Ave, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Notes on this Survey: Prior to publication, this survey was sent to New York’s Chief Judge, Janet DiFiore, who is responsible for the conduct of all the above judges. We asked Ms DiFiore to make any corrections or comments that she or her office felt appropriate. Ms DiFiore did not offer any comment or correction. Meanwhile, most of the names of litigants, parents, children and sources from within the family courts, have not been cited in this survey, to protect them from retaliatory action from agents of the court system. Thank you to all those who contributed to this survey, and to those who can help in the future to expose fraud, waste and abuse in our court system – and to protect our families and children.