Leon R. Koziol, J.D.
You hypocrite, first cast out the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to cast out the speck from your brother’s eye. Mathew 7, verse 5
Few would argue that the best way to end the war in Ukraine would be to take out the person who started it, Russian president Vladimir Putin. Any other approach risks a chain reaction to Armageddon or escalating carnage among the military and civilian population.
As sanctions continue to impact the Russian people, potential grows behind a coup, but any support behind it has been ruthlessly suppressed. Protesters have been arrested for a failure to comply with state-sanctioned speech with repeat offenders risking twenty years in prison.
To be sure, thousands have already been detained. News sources continue to be shut down while Moscow journalist, Elena Chernenko, was stripped of her access to top government officials simply because she publicized a letter signed by 280 other journalists opposed to the war.
Here in America, we are appalled by such events. However, we have also seen an alarming increase in content targeting against people similarly exercising their basic rights. Parents protesting school practices are being compared to terrorists, massive surveillance by tech companies has become center stage, and a freedom convoy is being treated as an insurrection.
Whistleblowers have become a common thread among these forms of population control, preventing us from becoming victims as our counterparts are in Russia. In recent years, our government has been compelled to legislate protections for whistleblowers. But to date, none have been extended to lawyers who expose misconduct in our judicial branch.
As a civil rights attorney, unblemished for more than 23 years, I am one such victim. Having sponsored public forums, news conferences and precedent-seeking litigation to secure reforms to our nation’s family courts, I was ruthlessly targeted by judges and disciplinary tribunals.
I exposed corruption, Title IV-D funding abuses in the child support system, and parent alienation practices that were causing suicides, child murders and domestic violence. Within three months of my testimony before Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption in 2013, I was deprived of my daughters, law practice and means of alternate income.
It became a scene right out of the former Soviet Union based primarily upon a gold mine in fees and revenues that I was threatening. Most retaliation victims could withstand a demotion, job termination, adverse publicity, family harm or even a public beating by errant police officers. But my ten-year ordeal had all these combined and much more which nearly cost me my life.
In 2019, I sponsored a three-day event known as the Parent March on Washington. Victims from across the country participated in strategy sessions, lobby day in Congress, a march down Pennsylvania Avenue under police escort, and a candlelight vigil at the Capitol dedicated to those lives lost to a dysfunctional court system. It was an all-American affair without incident.
Unfortunately, not one government official replied to our demands for congressional hearings and a Justice Department investigation of the widespread human rights violations occurring in these courts. It lent substance to George Floyd protesters one year later who complained that peaceful protest was ineffective.
In my case, the persecution was easily conducted off-grid due to a commonly held belief that the judicial branch was above reproach. It persisted despite exposures of pedophile activity by a family judge, harassment of court clerks, and a city judge who blamed me for a mere public censure caused by his racist remarks and abuses of judicial office.
Unlike other criminal-type prosecutions, lawyers subjected to discipline as a means of suppressing free speech possess no jury right, comparable proof standard or discovery rights. The process resembles more of a star chamber inquisition with a predetermined outcome. In New York, the judge and prosecutor are essentially one with the former appointing the latter.
Indeed, the chief attorney and two deputy ethics lawyers engaged in the witch hunt against me were allowed to resign when an inspector general discovered their falsified time sheets. These are the standard-bearers of lawyer ethics charged with preventing over-billing practices. There were no public charges, criminal or disciplinary, brought against them.
My horrific ordeal resulted in a condition which may be compared to the innocent people suffering in Ukraine. You can kill a targeted person directly by use of a gun or a series of events that predictably accomplish the same objective. While my days may be numbered, the hope is that my ordeal will lead to overdue reforms.
This ordeal has been documented in a newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris.
Leon R. Koziol. J.D.
Former city councilman and civil rights attorney