In a recent post, we featured a 15 page report and demand for resignation submitted to Syracuse Family Court Magistrate James Gorman. This came only days following a related comprehensive report naming the same magistrate in a complaint filed with the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct. First Amendment retaliation was evident from the text and impact of a support decision by Magistrate Gorman issued within days of this complaint. It went so far as to fabricate a PhD degree for support purposes while admitting to intentional violations of statute. The illegal acts of this magistrate caused Leon Koziol, an outspoken parental advocate, to lose newly secured employment.
Numerous violations of the state’s Judicial Code of Conduct were cited in both complaints. Because a support magistrate is subject to local administrative review, a second complaint was necessarily filed and promptly referred to a referee (“special counsel”). Only one week later, a response letter arrived stating that nothing would be investigated here. This follows additional concessions in another “confidential” forum that the state was in fact targeting the public criticisms of Leon Koziol. In short, the subjects of criticism are going to every extreme to punish the whistleblower. Welcome to America.
Below you will find a two page rebuttal which summarizes this shocking display of retaliation and injustice. An independent Judicial Review Commission has been proposed to overcome the inaction and whitewashing of judicial misconduct. Self regulation of our judiciary is simply not working to benefit the people who entrust such important duties to the public servants in our third branch of government operations. We are presently engaged in soliciting investments and donations behind this cause. We need extensive resources to be able to come into your individual communities and root out misconduct through investigation, report and complaints before the media and related government entities. Please look us up at Leon Koziol.com and make your contribution today.
Office of Leon R. Koziol
Civil Rights Advocate
1518 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13502
May 30, 2013
Gerard J. Neri
Fifth Judicial District
Onondaga County Courthouse
Syracuse, New York 13202
Re: Support Magistrate James Gorman
Dear Mr. Neri:
On May 13, 2013, I submitted a 15-page resignation demand and formal complaint regarding serious ethical misconduct and gross incompetence exhibited by Onondaga County Support Magistrate James Gorman. It was provided to Family Court Judge Martha Walsh-Hood consistent with a procedure outlined by a Family Court clerk. I then received a May 16, 2013 letter from Judge Hood acknowledging my “complaint letters” and informing me that the matter was being assigned to you “for review and response”.
One week later, I received your letter dated May 23, 2013 which concluded the entire matter with peculiar, boiler-plate statements to the effect that “it appears you are objecting to legal decisions made by Support Magistrate Gorman… that this office does not have authority to intercede in litigation or over-turn decisions of the Judges within the District… however, any objections to decisions/orders of the Support Magistrate should be made in accordance with the statutory requirements of the State of New York”.
I am appalled that such text was actually contained in a formal statement under the office letterhead of James Tormey as Fifth District Administrative Judge. To this, I have two questions: who are you, and did you read my submissions? If you are a referee for judicial incompetence and misconduct, the Walsh-Hood transfer notice did not specify this. And if you had read my material, you would have discovered the identity of your immediate supervisor as a related subject of complaint. In that case, consistent with ethical duties of a lawyer or a judge, I am not sure which classification fits your job description, you should have disqualified yourself.
When I submitted my complaint, I did so on the good faith premise that an independent entity was in place to investigate and prosecute violations of our state’s judicial Code of Ethics. It “would appear” that there are no such ethics applicable to this hybrid animal known as a “support magistrate”. Like you, he or she is treated as neither a judge nor an attorney. Therefore these publicly paid officials can go about abusing government authority by simply making up material facts and exploiting them to suppress the free exercise of First Amendment rights.
Is it “competent” to find that I possessed a PhD contrary to anything stated in a court record and then abuse such a fact to orchestrate a jail-able support violation in retaliation for offensive public criticisms? Did you really think that I was unaware of the “objections” and “appeals” process? If you read my submissions, you would have known that I was complaining about gross incompetence and judicial misconduct of Magistrate Gorman derived from matters outside of the court record. As “special” counsel, you would then also have known that such matters are not subject to either “objections” or “appeals”. Even a rudimentary reading would have caused you to conclude that Magistrate Gorman was being grieved for his proximate retaliation upon my filing of a published complaint against him before the Judicial Conduct Commission.
This decision came only days after the publicized event, more than six months since our support hearing concluded, and five months after the same decision was promised on the record. The delay alone was bad enough. To reiterate aspects of my complaint, Magistrate Gorman admitted to intentional violations of “statutory requirements of the State of New York” in his decision copied upon you. This is not simply an issue for appeal. It is an unethical and unlawful act which caused me to lose a new job. An appeal of his decision will not get the job back. It is furthermore unethical for you to “shoe-horn” my complaint within the convenient confines of a support case in order to insulate a colleague in the same courthouse from accountability. This is a complaint showing numerous violations of ethical code requiring a truly impartial and detached review.
Only today, the Syracuse Post Standard and Syracuse.com featured a civil rights case by a professor against SUNY Institute of Technology for First Amendment retaliation resulting in a $600,000 verdict, or the same amount obtained against your boss for violating similar rights of a Family Court clerk. A support magistrate may attempt to claim immunity from monetary recovery of this kind, but he or she is not immune from ethical accountability for the same unlawful act. Otherwise there would be no purpose to any code of ethics, conduct commission or your “office” for that matter. Please do the right thing here by disqualifying yourself so that a proper “review and response” can be made in connection with this very serious matter.
The public has a right to expect some kind of accountability in our third branch of government operations. A truly impartial “support magistrate” would not only honor our ethical codes but he would commence every case with notice to the litigants that they are being subjected to a tax as well as a child support obligation in any final order. I have explained the logic of this in my submissions but that would of course impair the same magistrate’s overall impartiality due to a financial stake in the outcome (principally impairing fathers and non-custodial mothers). This is all part of my continuing effort to alert you of an escalation in tensions and violence arising from this kind of bureaucratic cycle of abuse, harming good parents, families and innocent children.
Very truly yours,
Leon R. Koziol
Cc: Martha Walsh-Hood
Judicial Conduct Commission
U.S. Justice Department
Syracuse Post Standard