By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
Why is judicial accountability so crucial to democracy? The answer is simply this: too much power vested in a single person invariably leads to corruption. We see this everywhere today. As it is said, tyranny begets anarchy, and when judges fail to honor the rule of law established by the people, the natural consequence is to take the law into one’s own hands. This is the very underpinning of American society and how our country came to be.
However when judicial power is usurped in domestic relations courts, a more serious form of corruption emerges. This is because families and parent-child relationships have long been considered sacred, private matters. Unfortunately, despite a constitution that created a form of government divorced from the mother country, a judge-made doctrine in feudal England managed to evade our Bill of Rights by finding its way into these courts.
That doctrine, known as Parens Patriae, has been relied upon to invade our privacy rights in ways never before imagined in a free society. As an accomplished civil rights attorney who became a victim of this doctrine, I set out to expose the corruption it caused to me and fellow victims. I sought to convert family court from a lawyer-friendly system to a parent-oriented one. Over time it cost me my professional career, father-daughter relationships and ultimately my very health.
When my ex-wife and mother of my children began to see the consequences of my principled stand, she took advantage of the retaliation by filing petitions that received the favor of judges seeking to suppress my First Amendment rights. Indeed in November, 2015, that ex-wife, Kelly Hawse-Koziol, filed yet another family offense petition having an ulterior goal of removing me from my daughters’ lives. Over the years, all her offense petitions were thrown out, but this one featured a gag order disguised as a protection order on this whistleblower website, http://www.leonkoziol.com.
The illicit scheme was profoundly exposed when I obtained a court order in New York Supreme Court challenging it. Despite motions denied over a six month period, the presiding family judge who issued that gag order (Daniel King), cancelled his hearing on the offense petition and vacated (removed) his own gag order. Weeks later, the same Judge King stepped off the case entirely after three years of harm to my father-daughter relationships. He never ceased his retaliation for my 2013 whistleblower testimony before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. There I exposed fabricated college degrees used to elevate my child support obligations for incarceration (contempt) purposes.
Throughout this crusade, my daughters and law license were used as ransom to elicit my silence. For her part, rather than honor the sacred interest in a father-daughter relationship, Kelly Hawse-Koziol exploited the clear retaliation by asserting one false accusation after another which I was forced to defend. I did so to an extreme of seeking constitutional protection in federal courts. But by then the fix was in, the record too tarnished, and any basic rights I might have once had were ignored or shamelessly violated. Hawse-Koziol was never held accountable for her perjuries and abusive petitions.
That favoritism was made possible by a judge made doctrine known as judicial immunity. Under that doctrine, judges can actually abuse public office by maliciously targeting a critic. To illustrate its absurdity, Michigan family judge, Wade McCree, was removed from the bench after his adulterous relationship with a litigant was exposed. It featured an adversary father that McCree placed on a child support monitor to appease his paramour. The father sued for civil rights violations in federal court but was denied recourse based on immunity, leading to the bizarre conclusion that sex in chambers with a litigant is now a protected judicial act.
This website, Leon Koziol.com chronicles more than ten years of efforts to reform this system and the retaliation which has yet to earn an Innocence Project outcome. Critical to my ordeal was a willingness of biased jurists, acting without a jury, to ignore perjury in the petitions and hearing testimony of Kelly Hawse-Koziol. Anything that could be used against me quickly found its way into decisions and orders that systematically destroyed proven father-daughter relationships. The judge prejudice was so extreme on one occasion that I was ordered to cease objections to such testimony under penalty of being removed from the courthouse (Family Judge Daniel King, January 14, 2014 transcript).
That willingness to ignore perjury was well demonstrated at a June, 2016 hearing where I was challenging a city marshal who claimed service of a support violation petition upon me at a local restaurant (known as a traverse hearing). After his sworn service document and testimony were introduced by Hawse-Koziol’s lawyer (one of many she retained), I cross examined him on a segment which claimed recitation of veteran status during the service of the petition. Knowing of an upcoming witness of mine in the waiting area, the marshal admitted that he never gave such a recitation. He then admitted that he had lied on the sworn document and in his testimony before the court.
Although the petition was consequently dismissed, no referral for perjury prosecution was made to the Syracuse district attorney. Such lack of accountability became potentially fatal when a scheme was hatched one year later to have an Oneida County deputy sheriff acting in the capacity of court security to serve the next violation petition upon me during a custody hearing. Unlike all other court litigants, Hawse-Koziol was not charged for this service as prescribed by law and the deputy sheriff was acting outside the scope of his security duties. So disruptive was this unlawful act that it caused yet another assigned judge to step down from my case.
More than 40 trial level jurists were assigned to my family matters over a 14 year period, a national record by most accounts. That alone warrants a federal investigation. There was no disciplinary action taken by this deputy’s superior, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, and no investigation by the state judicial conduct commission or attorney general, proving clearly that the state courts are unable to police themselves. The unlawfully served petition ultimately led to a “shoot on sight” threat from a traffic cop purporting to enforce a violation warrant issued by Utica City Judge Gerald Popeo. He was assigned to replace the one who stepped down and to avenge a public censure of that judge.
The corruption here was so rampant and unchecked that it forced me to take a bold stand against this irreparably infected process. Law enforcement would be well served by looking into such corruption because it puts them needlessly in harm’s way. One of Sheriff Maciol’s deputies was fatally shot during a stand-off with a parent trapped in a garage during a domestic incident. Had the officers who had him surrounded let time and talk take its course, that deputy might still be on duty today.
Throughout my ordeal in this corrupted family court system, I was proven justified time and again. To cite only a few examples, I filed a motion to remove one of my custody judges from my case and to prevent a private meeting with my young daughters in chambers. Opposing lawyers condemned it as an assault on a judge whose reputation was “beyond reproach.” Only months later, that judge, Bryan Hedges, was permanently removed by New York’s high court after Hedges’ public admission to sexual abuse of his handicapped five year old niece.
Judge Hedges’ replacement, Syracuse family judge Michael Hanuszczak, was forced to resign after a state judicial commission had found that he sexually harassed subordinate court staff. Judge Gerald Popeo, as stated, was publicly censured (when he should have been removed) by the same judicial commission for making racist remarks, jailing litigants for such conduct as a “smirk,” and threatening violence from the bench to remedy such indiscretions. The ethics lawyers who also targeted me were allowed to resign after falsifying their time sheets. These removals are all a matter of public record.
While this is only a partial list, it underscores the problem I set out to correct. A mother truly committed to her daughters and a co-parenting environment that was once so promising would counsel them on the righteousness of my cause. Instead she exploited the clear misconduct for selfish gain. My parenting liberties were so monitored that nothing I did was acceptable. Conditions were imposed that were not only contradictory, something I described as a “contempt by ambush,” but they forced me to avoid all contact with my precious girls.
This ordeal is detailed, in part, in my published book, Satan’s Docket, available on this site and http://www.parentingrightsinstitute.com. I am asking all court victims to carry on this cause so that my sacrifices are not in vain. For more information, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 796-4000. Kindly share this post to overcome continued censorship and suppression.