By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
Author’s Note: The term doctor is necessarily employed to distinguish between the role of PRI Director and practicing attorney. This summary reflects the former and is not intended to convey legal advice particularly with the censorship and targeting we have endured. A family judge went so far as to issue a gag order on this site but it was removed after we obtained a show cause order against him in New York Supreme Court. This post will explain, in major part, why we have been so persecuted by our own courts.
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In recent posts here at Leon Koziol.com, we introduced segments of our new report which reveals alarming misconduct in the divorce and family court industry. This report opens with a focus on discriminated fathers based on Census Bureau statistics which still show that they are nearly 85% of all parents paying child support well into the 21st Century. Empirical evidence also continues to show how fathers unlike mothers have been effectively criminalized by this industry without commission of any crime.
This report is already well received on its first day of release, May 1, 2018 (with final editing yesterday). It is available on request but we must necessarily focus on those capable of supporting its reform goals through networking, marketing skills and donor contacts. The report summarizes twelve years of reform and whistle blowing activity involving countless moms and dads victimized by this system across the country. The censorship and retributions have continued to reach epic proportions, and it may be coming to a head very soon based on some of the emotions registered lately.
Critical to our success as aggrieved parents is a united front, one that is being promoted by Mark Young and others behind a Mothers Day rally in Washington D.C. We sponsored similar rallies in our nation’s capital at the Supreme Court on Fathers Day Eve, 2015 and a Founding Fathers March in 2011. Unfortunately the turn-outs were far short of our goals, and even though the Washington Post and other major media contacted us regarding our news conferences, no major news stories resulted, thereby leaving the custody and support epidemic escalating in scope.
That is why major funding is needed. The report is being circulated with this in mind. We urge you to assist us in this cause for the benefit of you, your families, America’s children, our society and future generations. You can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our office at (315) 380-3420, personally at (315) 796-4000 or mail the Parenting Rights Institute; P.O. Box 8302; Utica, NY 13505. The opening and concluding segments were provided in our last two posts. The reform crusade is a longer one (12 year summary) which is sure to shock you today. It is reprinted below.
Report Title: Funding Request to end Discrimination and Criminalization of Fathers in Family Courts
Segment: Crusade for Reform and Justice
As a civil rights attorney, Dr. Koziol avoided divorce and family courts. But when he became a victim of both, it was natural to begin a crusade against sex discrimination practiced on fathers. It started innocently enough with public meetings and a plan of action patterned around other civil rights causes he had spearheaded. For example, in 1998, he was retained by a landowners group in upstate New York to fight a 250,000 acre land claim approved for the Oneida Indian Nation by the Supreme Court. That group was highly disorganized and grossly underfunded.
Accordingly, the strategy became multi-faceted insofar as nearly all political leaders were benefitting from the Oneida Turning Stone Casino with its new jobs, entertainment venues and world class resort. But a citizen protest recommended and directed by Leon became an instant success, yielding hundreds of vehicles to surround that casino, frustrating access and drawing national attention with a feature on 60 Minutes. This led to groups elsewhere retaining him for the same purpose regarding other claims. Thousands attended his speaking events, and after six years of fundraising, rallies, and lawsuits, the Supreme Court overturned its earlier decision.
In the case of father discrimination several years later, the same period of effort has yielded little success due to the overwhelming nature of opposition and an utter lack of funding. Nevertheless, Leon devised a similar strategy beginning with a planning session in the Plaza Hotel at Central Park in 2010, a parent convention the following year featuring a five time Super Bowl winner, and a Founding Fathers March in Washington D.C. It ended with a lobby initiative in Congress and the Justice Department where Leon had earlier met with lawyers and officials.
In June, 2012, a rally was held outside a federal appeals court in Manhattan during deliberations on Leon’s precedent seeking case, Parent v New York. Three years later, he was recruited to promote an awareness campaign at the Super Bowl in San Francisco. Then, on June 17, 2016, a doctor, dentist, lawyer and engineer, all victimized dads from Florida, California, New York and Virginia, joined in a Fathers Day eve news conference on the Supreme Court steps to support Leon’s filing for a writ to open our federal courts to victims of constitutional violations in family courts. He has vigorously pursued justice and overdue reform despite overwhelming odds.
Dr. Koziol’s personal ordeal has fatefully transformed the current crusade into a life commitment. It began as a candidate for Congress in 2006 when child support under parental agreement was being diverted by the ex-spouse to his adversary in the way of donations made by her divorce lawyer. In the years which followed, family court was exploited to harm his subsequent runs for public office, it impaired operation of his law practice and ultimately caused the loss of contact with his precious daughters, all in retaliation for his reports and reform efforts.
The divorce lawyer’s advice and intervention into a two year separation without incident incited controversy between cooperating parents. It was blamed entirely on a model father who was never been found to be unfit or the subject of any agency report. Three early years of litigation over the amount of child support resulted in a state supreme court judge ruling after trial that the figures contained in the parents’ original and modified separation agreements were just and proper under the Child Support Standards Act (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act).
Similarly, after another three years of custody litigation, a family judge restored Leon’s parenting time to the levels contained in those same agreements. However, during all six years of divorce, support and custody proceedings into the year 2012, Leon exposed vast misconduct not only on his case but among others across the country. With each public forum, news conference or legal challenge, a corresponding act of retaliation occurred among biased judges and ethics lawyers. It led to a record removal of 40 trial level jurists from his ever complicating family court matters.
For example, Leon moved for disqualification of his custody judge before trial in 2011 based on “political espionage” successfully litigated against that judge by his chief family court clerk in the federal civil rights case, Morin v Tormey, Hedges, et. al., 626 F.3d 40 (2nd Cir. 2010). Leon was highly criticized by opposing lawyers for that motion claiming that Judge Bryan Hedges had a reputation beyond reproach until he was removed permanently from the bench after admitting to sexual abuse of his handicapped, five year old niece, In re Hedges, 20 NY3d 677 (2013).
Leon also reported the misconduct of lawyers. Like the political donations, child support was being diverted for fees to effectively avenge and censor public criticisms. The divorce lawyer was reported for filing papers in the wrong court, making false charges of “hiding income,” offering a boiler plate decree with his own client guilty of cruel and inhumane treatment, and a protection order for publicizing entrusted information. The judge-appointed, child lawyer was reported for clear perjury. No action was taken against either while Leon was being pursued for “discrepancies,” set-ups and anonymous complaints eventually verified to come from lawyers.
Such reports triggered the first ethics prosecution against Leon on January 9, 2008 after more than two decades of unblemished practice. It was commenced the same day as arguments before an appeals judge who was also a member of the lawyer disciplinary court. Those arguments reiterated the misconduct of that divorce lawyer who, unknown at the time, happened to be a member of the prosecuting ethics committee appointed by the same court. Over time, the discreet mission became sadistically clear: to divert harm upon court reputation by defaming a credible whistle blower and his reform message through an abuse of judicial immunity and public office.
In 2010, Leon took a personal stand against the ongoing discrimination against fathers in these courts. He did so by withholding child support payments resulting in the first suspension of his law license. The event gained immediate front page news with the twist that no one is above the law replete with dead beat slurs and other defamatory matter. In continuing news reports and editorials, Leon countered with comparisons to Susan B. Anthony who refused to pay her fine for the crime of voting and Martin Luther King Jr. who refused to leave Birmingham jail until centuries of race discrimination was finally addressed. It expanded into a national reform effort.
When state courts refused to hear Leon’s constitutional challenges,  he resorted to federal court with a civil rights case attempted initially as a class action. While victimized parents across the country were anxious to join, funding was never included to maintain such a vast undertaking. It was therefore allowed to proceed by a federal judge under the fictitious name, John Parent, to signify all fathers similarly situated. To overcome a complex set of obstacles, it was necessary to name judges individually who were now substituting as parents or oppressors of free speech.
As a seasoned lawyer, litigant and parent at the time, Dr. Koziol was simply following “the law” when he sued so many individuals as opposed to the state as the principal defendant. This law was articulated by the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Young, 209 US 123 (1908) to overcome state immunity and Supreme Court of Virginia v Consumers Union, 446 US 719 (1980) to overcome judicial immunity. Neither case was cited in a 46 page opinion in Parent v New York, 786 F. Supp. 2d 516 (NDNY 2011). Instead the case was dismissed on a series of grounds which routinely protect judge and lawyer misconduct. It was affirmed by a federal appeals court on yet another ground of abstention in deference to state courts for the vindication of federal rights.
Such good faith deference proved to be highly misplaced as the persecution by state judges only elevated in retaliation. On Constitution Day, 2013, Dr. Koziol testified before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption along with federal prosecutor Preet Bharara and future U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (footnote 2). He exposed the latest family judge for his finding of fictional college degrees in a scheme to elevate child support for punitive contempt and incarceration purposes. Within three months of that testimony, that same judge ended all contact with his critic’s daughters through gross violations of due process, such bizarre conditions as “prohibited alcohol related gestures” (wedding toast) and disregarded severe parental alienation.
This triggered a fourth civil rights action in 2014 essentially to prove that the preceding federal judges were wrong in their deference practices given the intervening events, appellate abstention which displaced any decision on the merits, and a 2013 Supreme Court opinion in Sprint v Jacob that unanimously condemned federal court abuses of abstention practices to dismiss valid cases. But the last judge, Gary Sharpe, was adverse from the outset causing a motion for his removal based on Sharpe’s prior removal from a case by the same federal appeals court in United States v Cossey, 632 F.3d 82 (2nd Cir. 2011). There, Judge Sharpe was sharply condemned for his finding of a human gene for decisions that would not be discovered “for another fifty years.” Because family genetics were at issue in the Koziol lawsuit, the motion was proper but denied anyway as a “Hail Mary pass,” resulting in punitive sanctions and even a conditional future filing order.
More than 100 decisions and orders were issued since Dr. Koziol filed his divorce in 2006 as an uncontested case. It was based on agreement and co-parenting. Nearly all those edicts came about through a process Leon has described as “Orchestrated Law” in his latest book, Satan’s Docket: Corruption and Carnage in America’s Divorce Industry. It is a tell-all literary work that documents his horrific ordeal with an education and reform objective. In short, an orchestrated decisional process features judges bent on achieving a predetermined outcome by citing only those facts and laws which enable it while ignoring the proverbial “elephant in the court room.”
In retaliation for that publication and editorials of 2017, judge #41 was assigned in 2018 to this endless divorce. Gerald Popeo is a Utica, New York city judge who was publicly censured in 2015 by the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct. He was never removed despite a hearing judge who found that he had made racist remarks to an African-American attorney, violent threats to litigants from the bench, and contempt sentences in violation of due process.
Gerald Popeo was assigned as an “Acting Family Judge.” He denied a disqualification motion supported by a sworn witness statement disclosing that only months earlier, citizen Popeo had approached Leon at a bar irate over the false belief that he was part of the witch hunt resulting in that censure. As judge, he denied the bar incident as he did the off-record racist remarks in the censure case. There was also a civil rights case history between the two including a black city official who attempted suicide after Popeo jailed him. All charges were dismissed by a jury.
The serial misconduct of Judge Popeo mandated removal. But a former state supreme court judge was his defense counsel, and he was let loose as a repeat offender might to harm more litigants. His assignment to “family” court was particularly alarming given his condescending arrogance, abuse of contempt power and violent temperament both on and off the bench. Leon’s crusade is a testament to his commitment for judicial reform but it also shows the extreme cruelties that will be inflicted to keep this family court gold mine intact. In the end, this conscientious crusade may save vulnerable parents in our family courts with their high percentage of self-representation.
 The early profound refusal was demonstrated in the decisional series, Koziol v Hawse-Koziol 60 AD3d 155 (4th Dept 2009). There a state appeals court affirmed the rulings of a lower court divorce judge who stated on the record that he would not entertain constitutional challenges to the federal and state Child Support Standards Acts (Title IV-D) or the related misconduct of lawyers and state agents. Hence the statutory prerequisite of notice to the state attorney general was not made pursuant to New York CPLR 1012. However, its companion requirement, Executive Law section 71 placed that duty in the hands of the presiding trial judge if the challenger failed to do so. That legal duty was never mentioned in the 2009 appellate series, hence facilitating the adverse outcome. A simple review of the decisional series and cited statutes shows without question that this high level state court was proclaiming that the people were required to follow our legislated laws but judges could disregard them for self-serving reasons. One year later, that same entire appeals court disqualified itself from all domestic and disciplinary matters then pending, only to return in 2013 with a vengeance after the Supreme Court refused to hear Leon’s Parent v New York case.