Governor’s Commission on Court Evaluations closes with much anger and demands

Administrator’s Note:

On Thursday, September 23, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul obtained a mound of testimony from aggrieved parents regarding the abuse of forensic evaluation orders in the state’s domestic relations courts. It was the second of two public hearings conducted virtually on Webex, and it featured psychiatrists, therapists. lawyers, experts, parents and public officials. The testimony was widely divergent with some calling for abolishment of forensic evaluations altogether (a position joined by Leon Koziol) and others calling for overhauls.

One attorney-parent, a former U.S. Attorney, broke down emotionally for much of her testimony while outlining her ordeal as an alienated mother fighting a powerful system. Another, Francesca Amato-Banfield, jumped right into the fray from her vehicle phone condemning the hearing itself, its sponsors, “everyone,” even the speakers, before lamenting 15 years of accountability efforts that yielded no progress whatsoever. It was highly offensive but also very useful in reflecting the sheer anger and frustration of court victims.

Many speakers focused on their personal ordeals citing corrupt judges, narcissistic adversaries and evaluators masquerading as concerned experts. A number of presenters appeared in rough condition which is becoming increasingly common today (like they just got out of bed). It reflected a societal decline which accords little respect for other participants and oneself. After all, this is a formal proceeding financed with public money, and such sloppy appearances only draw adversely upon the quality of such testimony. For our part, formal attire and preparedness ruled the presentation, and Leon Koziol’s testimony is reproduced below,

Leon R. Koziol, Director

Parenting Rights Institute
1336 Graffenburg Road
New Hartford, New York 13413
leonkoziol@gmail.com

     (315) 796-4000

Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Commission                                                      

on Forensic Custody Evaluations

Executive Chambers

Albany, New York 12224

Hearing Testimony on September 23, 2021

Good Morning Members of this Blue-Ribbon Panel.

Before I begin, I would like to preface my remarks by emphasizing my position here as a judicial whistleblower. This Commission is focused on accountability and that cannot occur without whistleblowers. In fact many of the presenters today could be considered whistleblowers in various contexts. I would also take issue with the speaker from Pennsylvania who raised some kind of complaint regarding fathers rights groups. This is not a fathers rights issue, a mothers rights issue or any other select group but a human rights issue, and we need to work together to solve these problems. Finally I would like to join those who have called for an abolishment of forensic evaluations.

My name is Leon Koziol, Director of the Parenting Rights Institute. I am also a civil rights advocate who practiced law in the courts of this state for more than 23 years. As a victimized father of two daughters now in college, I bring a comprehensive background to the work of your panel and the refreshing objectives of our new governor, Kathy Hochul.

There are countless parents, children and families victimized by forensic evaluations in our divorce and family courts. They are part of a lucrative process and silent epidemic that is causing needless murders, suicides, domestic violence, parental alienation, criminal activity, and an overall decline in the health and productivity of the people of this state.

At another time and place I might be citing cases such as Utica police investigator, Joe Longo, who committed a murder-suicide that left four children without parents, Thomas Ball who burned himself alive on the steps of a family court, or the mother who murdered her two-year old child, Gabriella Boyd, rather than submit to a custody change.

But I need not expound because I too am a victim. Set to testify here on September 9th, I was instead recuperating at a hospital from a heart condition caused by the stresses I endured as an attorney whistleblower. Fortunately it proved to be a minor condition fully corrected. The 40 trial jurists removed from my originally uncontested divorce included a pedophile, Bryan Hedges, and Gerald Popeo who was censured for racist remarks and physical threats from the bench. I also testified before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.

Such whistleblowing elicited a systemic bias as I have never been found to be an unfit parent, no convictions or agency complaints, and all offense petitions of a child alienating adversary were thrown out. Yet none of that mattered as I was denied contact with my precious girls for seven years on such bizarre grounds as an “alcohol related gesture.”

Yes, you heard that correctly, a champagne toast at my niece’s wedding, and you will find it in a December 2, 2013 decision of Lewis County Family Judge Daniel King. That decision was halted on appeal, but reborn the next month with concocted forensic orders. This illustrates the extreme to which reform efforts are persecuted. I have asked the Justice Department to investigate the human rights violations here.

This whimsical manner in which forensic orders are issued, vacated and then re-issued infringes upon a fundamental right of parenting which the Supreme Court has declared to be the “oldest liberty interest protected by our Constitution.” Such violations are fueled by an adversarial framework that yields undue profits for service providers and federal revenues under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

In my litigation experience, parents have been subjected to evaluations strictly for tactical reasons. In the end, moms and dads rightfully stressed over the threat of losing their children in a custody battle or debtor imprisonment for child support, could be found defective on some 300 disorders approved by the psychiatric profession in its DSM-5 manual.

If the parent was a father, his condition might be nothing more than resistance to a justice system sworn to equality which still discriminates on account of gender. I have compared this to the anger issues of slaves. Reports are laced with human defects without tracing them to their structural cause, rapid fire torture which can incite a violent reaction.

High conflict divorce with its immense carnage was criticized in the 2006 Matrimonial Report to our state’s chief justice and in countless cases such as Webster v Ryan, where veteran family judge, Dennis Duggan, made a stand for overdue reform with the following edict:

At the outset, the Court notes that the terms ‘custody’ and ‘visitation’ have outlived their usefulness. Indeed their use tends to place any discussion and allocation of family rights into an oppositional framework. ‘Fighting for custody’ directs the process towards determining winners and losers. The children, always in the middle, usually turn out to be the losers…

This Court has abandoned the use of the word ‘visitation’ in its Orders, using the phrase ‘parenting time’ instead. If the word ‘custody’ did not so permeate our statutes and was not so ingrained into our psyches, that word would be the next to go… This misplaced focus draws parents into contention and conflict, drawing the worst from them at a time when their children need their parents’ best.

Abusive forensic orders can be mitigated by a shared parenting model for adjudications. But my reform efforts in that regard read like a John Grisham story. And as fate or timing would have it, that saga is now found in my newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris. A copy is being provided to this Commission because this forensic crisis is too extensive for purposes of this hearing. I am therefore joining others today seeking genuine accountability.

Respectfully submitted,

Leon Koziol, J.D.

Parenting Rights Advocate Leon Koziol to Testify Before Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Panel on Forensic Evaluation Abuses in Divorce and Family Courts

Administrator’s Notice:

Parenting Rights Institute Director, Dr. Leon Koziol, has been asked by family court victims to testify before a blue-ribbon commission appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul to report on the forensic evaluation process in New York’s divorce and family courts. That process has become part of a silent epidemic which has harmed countless families and led to escalating levels of murder, suicide, criminal activity, parental alienation and serious harm to society. Much of this is documented in various reports issued by this institute.

Dr. Koziol will focus on the abuses of forensic evaluation orders, the suppression of shared parenting efforts, and the retributions he experienced as an attorney/parent whistleblower. These retributions over a period of years led to forced seclusions and hospitalization for a stress-related heart condition on September 9, 2021. It necessitated a rescheduling of his commission testimony the same day. Koziol’s saga as corruption whistleblower is now the subject of his newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris. A PDF copy is available.

The censorship of reform efforts may render futile the testimony of speakers if this commission is treated the same as the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. That oversight entity was created by former governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013 to address a “culture of corruption in Albany.” Dr. Koziol testified at a hearing there to no avail due to its premature dissolution that led to federal convictions of the leaders of both houses of the legislature and a top Cuomo aide by a Moreland speaker, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

You can listen in by using the following link and password:       

https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?MTID=e65aa488ff9698d6a8a553b7bfaa638c7

Password: NewYorkState2021

Censored: Who is Alec Baldwin to compare Governor DeSantis to cult leader Jim Jones after his 2008 suicide disclosures?

Dr. Leon Koziol (fully vaccinated by choice)

Parenting Rights Institute

NOTE:

This post, first published yesterday, September 14, 2021, was derailed from its normal track on this website and Facebook, thereby denying the public access to vital information that is central to our First Amendment value system. American military sacrifice daily for these rights but Big Tech, Big Pharma and now Big Family are trampling all over them to transform our society into a socialist one. You see the proof everywhere in the way of retail establishments closed due to a lack of staffing.

For this reason we are re-publishing this post with the hope that you will help defend our rights on the domestic front by making it viral. Our site, http://www.leonkoziol.com, has been the target of various government entities offended by publications that accurately expose public corruption. Such censorship includes a family court gag order disguised as a protection order which was removed after a challenge in New York Supreme Court in 2016. At one time, we received thousands of shares or likes on various posts. Today we are lucky to get a few.

Censorship? Fear of identification, association or retaliation? Whatever the explanation, it is entirely un-American and typical of the regimes we confront overseas. We do not expect agreement with all our reports or opinions but excluding certain ones is nothing more than an attempt to conform us all to a single thought or way of life. The number who seriously misunderstand free speech and press is staggering. But rest assured, our postings do not coddle hypocrites who exploit their fame to influence public discourse with wild, reckless and highly disparaging analogies. This is one such example:

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Hollywood headlines today in Breitbart and other news outlets featured Alec Baldwin comparing Florida governor Ron DeSantis to cult leader Jim Jones who caused over 900 suicides among his followers in a South America commune 40 years ago. The radical liberal actor was making the radical comparison of face mask freedoms to suicide by those who fail to comply with federal Covid-19 mandates.

This bizarre comparison was obviously designed for shock effect and not genuine public safety given the actor’s periodic aspirations for public office. But it is seriously infected with grave hypocrisy after the actor’s suicide revelations in his 2008 book, A Promise to Ourselves. At page 183, he itemizes such things as a hike deep into the woods to shoot himself, overdosing at a bed and breakfast, and daily thoughts of jumping out his apartment window in Manhattan.

It was all headline news back then after a vulgar answering machine message was made public during a contentious divorce with Kim Basinger. Baldwin’s book was intended to influence a reform of our divorce courts which caused parental alienation and phone messages such as this one. But the actor’s suicide disclosures stole the media hype, taking the focus away from the book’s main objective.

I attended Alec’s book-signing in New York and was pleased to add our group to his cause, but he exited the movement as quickly as he entered the fray, no doubt to avoid further damage to his acting career caused by his status as a controversial whistleblower. Unfortunately in doing so, he crushed the hopes he created among countless other victims.

Suicide choices may have been Baldwin’s right in reaction to a contentious divorce. But that right has no place in a discussion over vaccination choices. And it cannot be excused simply because a famous actor chooses a different one from fellow citizens. How many other divorce victims have been moved to consider suicide based on this actor’s book disclosures? And can we then make the comparison of Alec Baldwin’s influences to that of Jim Jones?

Needless parental alienations and the suicides they cause formed an impetus for my own (newly released) book on divorce court corruption titled, Whistleblower in Paris. Alec Baldwin’s time would be better spent promoting this book especially after he orphaned fellow divorce reformists years ago. Get a free insight on that reform at http://www.whistleblowerinparis.com. And here is the relevant excerpt from Alec Baldwin’s book, reprinted at page 21 of my book:

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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are the latest victims of divorce and parent alienation after decades of failed reforms

Dr. Leon Koziol, Director

Parenting Rights Institute

Unless the California Supreme Court thinks otherwise, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will have to start their five year divorce all over again after a middle level appeals court disqualified their trial judge in July, 2021. That judge had awarded the couple joint custody and 50/50 parenting time, a proper outcome if one abides by the laws of nature, common sense and gender equality. After all, there was no finding of unfit parenting on either side here.

But unfortunately, divorce and family courts throughout the country do not operate under that logical framework. They continue to deliberate under the antiquated foundation of custody awards, lawyer profits and court revenues supplied by federal entitlement laws known as Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. 42 USC 651 et. seq. It is a funding law which incentivizes court conflict while causing an inherent bias among decision makers who benefit financially over the number and size of support orders they issue.

The Pitt-Jolie trial judge was actually selected by agreement as a way of avoiding publicity and harm to the couple’s five children over which a custody battle had been underway. But like so many cases, that objective was lost as the legal teams on both sides found ways to inject strategies to increase their fees many times over. By the time this fiasco is concluded, most of the impacted children will be in college or capable of emancipation from these parent contestants.

How is any of this now in the so-called “best interests of the child,” that tired old justification used by these courts to seize jurisdiction over such matters? It is a seizure based on a judge-made doctrine dating back to feudal England, known as parens patriae, and carried over to the courts here despite its conflict with our Constitution. It is also the source of legal authority used to establish a child custody framework tailored to a period when moms stayed home as caregivers while dads went off to work for support purposes.

A shared parenting model remains elusive even well into the 21st century because it is a serious threat to a service provider’s gold mine. Under an ideal model, parents would not be required to name a “custodial parent” as a condition for legal separation or a valid divorce decree. Instead, the focus would be on two reasonably fit parents (in this day and age) who are treated as co-equal figures.

Under a shared model, the arbitrary remand of one parent to the inferior and stigmatizing role of “noncustodial parent” would not be in play unless serious abuse or neglect was found by an independent state agency. In most divorce cases, such agencies are not even involved. Nevertheless, unscrupulous lawyers are allowed to concoct all sorts of reasons to select one parent over the other in a “winner-take-all” contest reminiscent of the Roman Coliseum.

Indeed, here is what a veteran judge stated to justify his revolutionary departure from this antiquated custody framework in the case of Webster v Ryan, 729 NYS2d 315 (Albany Fam. Ct. 2001) at fn. 1:

At the outset, the Court notes that the terms ‘custody’ and ‘visitation’ have outlived their usefulness. Indeed their use tends to place any discussion and allocation of family rights into an oppositional framework. ‘Fighting for custody’ directs the process towards determining winners and losers. The children, always in the middle, usually turn out to be the losers…

This Court has abandoned the use of the word ‘visitation’ in its Orders, using the phrase ‘parenting time’ instead. If the word ‘custody’ did not so permeate our statutes and was not so ingrained into our psyches, that word would be the next to go… This misplaced focus draws parents into contention and conflict, drawing the worst from them at a time when their children need their parents’ best.

It is long past the time for a universal shared parenting law so that our government can truly state that it is promoting the “best interests” of our children and not its lawyers. This goal is well supported by other famous actors who tried in vain to influence such reforms. The late Robin Williams made a graphic case against parental alienation in the blockbuster movie, Mrs. Doubtfire. Released nearly thirty years ago, if anything, the alienation is much worse today.

In 2008, during his divorce with Kim Basinger, Alec Baldwin published his book, A Promise to Ourselves, as part of his effort to modernize the California court system. But as quickly as he entered the fray, he abandoned the movement altogether no doubt because it was impairing his acting career or even his very existence given the suicide considerations revealed in that book. Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric were similarly motivated to change this system but they too exited the movement upon achieving their personal goals.

As a consequence we see an unprecedented impact upon our society. The time and resources needlessly expended in these courts have harmed our families, children, productivity, health, law enforcement and moral fiber as a nation. In my own divorce, originally uncontested, a 15-year protracted court battle has caused irreparable harm to all concerned. The retributions I endured for a conscientious stand against this system remain off the charts.

This silent epidemic is far too complicated for a website posting. Instead it is detailed in my recently published book, Whistleblower in Paris, available on all the major bookseller sites. It is a literary work years in the making based on a true story that features a civil rights attorney and model parent targeted for suppression and extinction by powerful beneficiaries. It is a story that would make John Grisham ecstatic.

Get a free insight regarding this epidemic on the book’s website at http://www.whistleblowerinparis.com. And help us overcome the censorship of this message by sharing and promoting it everywhere.

Giuiliani is wrong to defend Cuomo after his own pretrial license suspension

By Leon R. Koziol, J.D.

Former civil rights attorney and upstate city councilman

Politics makes for strange bedfellows. That may be the best summation to depict Rudy Giuliani’s rash decision to defend Andrew Cuomo after a scathing report by New York’s Attorney General which found that the defiant governor had fostered a hostile work environment based on unwanted sexual advances. Even Cuomo himself urged the public in March to reserve judgment until that report (and investigation) was completed.

Had that report favored the governor, he would have been all over the news (that he craves) demanding apologies. As for Rudy, he could care less about Andy or due process. He is crossing party lines to troll for public support behind his own self-interests. In recent headline news, as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani had his law license suspended based on the public clamor he caused at the Capitol with false claims of election fraud. It was no small matter since Mr. Giuliani was repeating his false statements even after being warned or proven incorrect. He was using his fame, former public office as New York mayor and professional status as a licensed attorney to sway protesters in a dangerous direction.

This was more than sufficient for ethics monitors to take action that many might argue was too late. There was no laudable purpose, whistleblowing or lawsuit disclosure behind these repeat statements. It was pure politics. Action was authorized prior to any evidentiary hearing because of the imminent danger to the public. Now Rudy is using his ordeal to make a parallel cry for justice by exploiting Cuomo as is latest crutch despite the governor’s physical and emotional harm to state employees. Resignation or impeachment is proper under these extraordinary circumstances and not to be confused with any civil or criminal case which might follow.

So let’s keep this in perspective. The ultimate hypocrite, Andrew Cuomo, is defying everyone like he did the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption in 2014. From the president of the United States to his many sexual harassment victims, he continues to disregard the caliber and number of citizens calling for his resignation. The persecution exhibited against me as a corruption whistleblower, victimized parent and civil rights attorney far exceeds the injustices claimed by these politicians. But I have no political influence.

Should this be a surprise to anyone in today’s double-standard world that protects the rich and famous? Andy is not your average governor as he himself professes. He is way beyond average but not the way he would like to be known in his self-love books. At one point during all the hoopla surrounding the public comparisons of his brother Chris to Fredo, he threatened to punch out Donald Trump, falling back on his Italian heritage for justification. Now how can that violent reaction be squared with honorable service or due process? One could easily make the case that Andy is promoting violence as much as Rudy may be.

Now Andrew Cuomo is using that same heritage to justify sexual harassment of women and a hostile work environment which the newly released report condemned in resounding fashion. Since when does a politician use his or her family and heritage to explain kissing, caressing and hustling of women while collecting an exorbitant state salary in a state owned mansion? Worse yet, he is using the power and prestige of public office to achieve such misconduct. In the process, he is giving both his family and heritage a bad name.

None of this is registering in Cuomo’s constantly scheming head. And there is no insecticide, vaccine or remedy to eradicate this political cockroach. In the past, we at Leon Koziol.com saw through his sick rhetoric and an ego that makes Donald Trump appear tolerable. For example, at the onset of the pandemic, we ran a series known as Corona Chronicles to expose the real Cuomo during the height of his popularity. We were not so duped as the liberals were to hold their media darling to the same standards as those they routinely scrutinized in public office.

Maybe they finally discovered a sliver of moral fiber to do the right thing here.

Leon R. Koziol is a former civil rights attorney who took a stand against his profession for its abuse of parents in divorce and family courts. He was invited to testify before Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption in 2013. However that commission was prematurely dissolved one year later when deliberations began implicating the governor himself. Not to be duped, one of the presenters, federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, seized commission files resulting in the convictions of the leaders of both houses of New York’s legislature and a top Cuomo aide. The governor managed to dodge similar liability. As a civil rights attorney, Mr. Koziol was among the pioneers in upstate New York to hold sexual harassment predators accountable in our workplaces, i.e. Currie v Kowalewski, 842 F. Supp. 57 (NDNY 1994).

The Legacy of Susan B. Anthony merits consideration in a Supreme Court overhaul

Dr. Leon Koziol

Director, Parenting Rights Institute

Former New York trial and appellate attorney

President Joe Biden’s new commission to study an overhaul of our Supreme Court met for the first time today, April 16, 2021. According to a New York Times story by Charlie Savage, that commission will now explore changes well beyond an increase in the number of justices proposed by a group of lawmakers yesterday. This is a positive development given the political motivations behind the expansion plan which has already crashed and burned.

That does not mean the idea of an expanded high court should be dismissed altogether. As I urged in yesterday’s post, it simply means that any such proposal should be based on merit, one that places the interests of aggrieved citizens over the categorical ideologies of the current nine-member bench. Leaders on both sides of the aisle wisely recognize that the Supreme Court must not be transformed into a political institution, however implausible that may be.

To that end, the legacy of Susan B. Anthony may be instructive. This famous leader of the women’s rights movement was arrested in Rochester, New York for the crime of voting in the 1872 elections. She asserted the newly adopted Fourteenth Amendment as her justification. Her criminal case went to trial the following year before a presiding justice of the Supreme Court named Ward Hunt. He was born in Utica, New York, my home town, during its heyday as a thriving industrial hub. After serving as its mayor, he was appointed chief judge of New York’s high court before being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ulysses S. Grant.

At the time, justices of the Supreme Court presided in both trial and appellate capacities among various federal circuits. So bizarre was this practice that when I first learned of it in the Anthony case, I immediately believed that she was tried before a justice of the state supreme court which, unlike all other states, is the trial level court in New York. Ward Hunt deliberated in a way that might shock today’s conscience, but then again, startling parallels can be made to modern day courts when I revisit my ordeal shortly as a persecuted civil rights attorney, aggrieved parent and judicial whistleblower.

Judge Hunt essentially conducted a star chamber trial. He used Anthony’s unsworn statements at the arrest scene as testimony against her while refusing to let her take the stand, directed the jury to find against her, and even issued a guilty opinion prepared prior to opening statements. He ordered her to pay a fine of $100 which she refused and then failed to incarcerate her as a consequence so that no appeal could be taken to the full Supreme Court. Such egregious deprivations of due process were not rectified until 1895 in the case of Sparf v United States which prohibited judge verdicts in place of the jury in criminal cases.

The effective merger of trial and appellate courts did not end until the circuit courts of appeals were created by act of Congress in 1891. There are currently 13 circuits with justices ranging in number from the First Circuit in Boston with six to the Ninth Circuit in California with twenty-nine. They all operate with 3-judge panels that decide most appeals and full court, or en banc review, for high profile matters. A loser in a panel appeal can petition for full court review, but it is rarely granted (much like the petitions denied by the Supreme Court). This two-tier process of appellate review assures that all properly filed appeals will be heard.

The current proposal to expand the Supreme Court from nine to thirteen is merely an increase in number, a bureaucratic exercise bent on avenging President Donald Trump’s conservative appointments. It does not assure that more cases will be heard and may even reduce the high court’s capacity when more justices delay outcomes through complex opinions, i.e. unanimous, majority, plurality, concurrent and dissenting. To be truly beneficial for the people served, that proposal should incorporate the two-tiered circuit court structure which has proven effective for many decades. A thirteen member Supreme Court, for example, could feature four three-judge panels with a chief justice focused on administrative duties.

The Susan B. Anthony trial was known for its positive impact on women’s suffrage, but it also helped shape a better court structure for the delivery of justice. So outraged was this defendant by the miscarriage delivered to her that she openly defied the orders of a Supreme Court justice, including a fine that was never paid. We look back today with great admiration for her courageous stand. However when a similar one is taken by reformists and whistleblowers of modern times, retaliation is common with the typical reputation damage that comes with it. By killing the messenger, corruption thrives in all branches of government.

Therefore the Biden Commission must take a hard look at judicial immunity doctrines and compensation of whistleblowers for the wrongs committed against them. My ordeal is exemplary. Like the Susan B. Anthony criminal case, my family court process featured judge verdicts on child custody and support with no jury at all. I was directed to cease making objections by one judge, Daniel King, which compelled me to exit and waive my rights to testify. After his disqualification, replacement Judge James Eby, forced the litigants and their paid attorneys to make a 160 mile round trip from Utica to his Oswego courthouse to receive a decision that had already been completed.

Ironically the appellate courtroom in Rochester named after Susan B. Anthony is the same one where my law license was first suspended for the stand I took against the Ward Hunts of today. Don’t let my sacrifices be in vain. Help us in our cause to reform our nation’s broken justice system. Share this post with media, public officials and aggrieved litigants. Make a donation here at Leon Koziol.com or call our office at (315) 380-3420. I can also be contacted directly at (315) 796-4000. E-mail option is leonkoziol@gmail.com.

Persecuted Civil Rights Advocate Seeks Removal of Racist Judge in New York

“You know what downstate blacks call upstate blacks?

Country n____rs.”

After hearing all the evidence, a judge appointed by the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct determined that Utica city court judge, Gerald Popeo, made this remark with a black attorney present during judicial activities. However that Commission refused to accept his finding and issued a mere slap on the wrist in the way of a public censure in 2015.

If that was all, it might be excused by the people served, but Judge Popeo went on to exact revenge on those he believed to be involved in the censure, thereby violating additional provisions of the ethical code in New York. One of his targets was Leon Koziol, the former civil rights attorney for Stephen Patterson. Judge Popeo presided over Patterson’s case in 2010 leading to a suicide attempt in the city lock-up.

Neither this attempt nor a shocking ordeal which followed came before the state commission. Consequently, in light of today’s racial crisis with Judge Popeo still on the bench, Mr. Koziol is lodging a complaint against Popeo with the same Commission seeking removal and a permanent ban from any judicial office. The content published here is designed to secure public support behind this initiative.

The above news interview features Stephen Patterson, the first African-American Commissioner of Public Works in Utica, New York. He was wrongfully fired, leading to a jury verdict of $330,000 obtained by long time civil rights attorney Leon Koziol. It was argued before Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a federal appeals court prior to her elevation to U.S. Supreme Court, see Patterson v City of Utica, 370 F. 3d 322.

A second recovery of $90,000 was obtained for Steve’s dad, a pastor, when retaliation occurred to his church through an abuse of code violations. That retaliation continued for many years after Steve opened a social club using the monies recovered against the city. A barrage of charges followed, resulting in an arrest warrant for non-appearance and first time incarceration. They were thrown out by a jury, yielding yet another civil rights case in 2009.

This news conference (both clips above and below) describes the trauma that Steve endured with a suicide attempt when a belt was placed in his cell that night. Steve was rushed to the hospital and actually arraigned there on the nuisance and code charges by city judge Gerald Popeo. Judge Popeo was later found guilty of using racial slurs during judicial duties by a judge of the state’s misconduct commission.

However Judge Popeo was merely censured and not removed, allowing him to exact revenge against Mr. Patterson’s civil rights attorney, a vow made during a bar conversation witnessed by a marine veteran in 2017. Six months later, Popeo managed to have himself assigned as a city judge to Koziol’s personal family court matters. He started with a nonappearance warrant.

When that was corrected, Popeo persisted with a support warrant based on a fraudulent, concealed record to achieve incarceration. It resulted in a “shoot on sight” threat by a traffic cop in 2018. Mr. Koziol was forced to take a stand against this warrant consistent with his rights of self-defense. In reports, he compared himself to the Rodney King beating with “fists and batons replaced by orders and edicts.” Either can achieve a fatal outcome.

This news clip adds to the ongoing problem of retaliation and lack of diversity in Utica city government. The Black Lives Matter movement has taken aim against racial injustices in this city, but as this highly followed news conference shows, nothing has changed. If anything, given this week’s racial incident involving Jakeila Phillips, the divide may have gotten worse since this 2010 news conference occurred. That shocking incident is detailed later.

There were multiple civil rights cases underway against the City of Utica and Town of New Hartford when Attorney Koziol was suspended as part of a witch hunt in retaliation for his many successes including a $300,000 recovery in a race discrimination case against the Oneida County Sheriff Department. That suspension caused at least four such cases to be dismissed or abandoned, including those by Stephen Patterson and Casey Stuckman in this interview.

In this week’s racially charged incident to be addressed below, video taker, Jakeila Phillips, complains of racial discrimination in the community. She was denied entry to a white-owned bar based on black stereotypes as trouble-makers. Both Patterson and Casey Stuckman operated a prominent bar and social club in Utica to make up for this. Both went out of business due to city harassment.

In Mr. Stuckman’s case, he was gang tackled and body-slammed to the ground, face down, before handcuffs were applied. And it occurred as a victim of a domestic incident shooting. When police arrived, the assailant was a woman holding a gun. Casey was the obvious, hapless victim of both race and sex discrimination. His depiction brings to mind images of George Floyd.

In this clip, Mr. Stuckman describes the racial divide between city police and the black community. In articulate manner, despite his false arrest and injuries, he does not condemn his attackers. He outlines a plan for change to make Utica a great city again, change that Ms. Phillips is seeking 10 years later which has yet to materialize.

In this clip of the same news conference, Attorney Koziol announces a public forum, one of many he sponsored over the years to influence change. It was well attended with numerous testimonials submitted to the Justice Department seeking an investigation into racist city practices.

To this day, there has not even been an acknowledgement of this report, including those recently hand-delivered to members of Congress and discussed personally with prominent national leaders. Today, we learn of movements erupting from the George Floyd murder focused on both police and judge accountability.

However, as this publication proves throughout, the responses from our governments are mere window dressing to detract from a much larger crisis in race relations. Will Black Lives Matter be patronized as these victims and their attorney were? Why lodge misconduct complaints when our public servants go to private extremes to ignore them, discredit them and literally kill the messenger?

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Cornell Maye was the first African-American Public Safety Commissioner for the City of Utica, New York, placing him in charge of the police and fire departments. He was an aggressive commissioner and former city marshal quickly responding to numerous crime scenes.

One night he came upon a traffic stop in which a white patrolman was placed in serious danger. He came up undetected on the opposite side of the vehicle and prevented the passenger from using a concealed weapon. It turned out to be a drug bust but Mr. Maye turned up with charges against him for a misuse of firearms by local prosecutors.

As a civilian, it was alleged that he was not authorized to use his gun, despite the fact he may have saved his subordinate’s life. The gun charge was obviously a pretext for removal followed by a piling-on of additional charges. These included “misuse of city stationery” when Mr. Maye presented a written defense to the gun charge before a county judge. All the charges were ultimately dismissed (“no-billed”) by a grand jury.

Contrary to attorney recommendations of non-appearance before any grand jury (because of a prerequisite waiver of constitutional rights), Maye’s selected attorney, Leon Koziol, boldly advised the opposite because the charges were too absurd and retaliation so obvious. A civil rights action followed but dismissed on grounds of judicial immunity, prosecutorial immunity and police quasi-immunity, issues that are current after the George Floyd murder.

Only three years later, a city patrolman was murdered after a similar stop and drug bust without back-up on the scene. With his employment record saved, Mr. Maye went on to a successful career with the Raleigh, North Carolina Police Department. He is now happily retired and still married to the woman once employed as a minority codes enforcer with the same City of Utica.

Persecution of a civil rights attorney

As Mr. Patterson warns, retaliation is very real in civil rights cases and used to suppress change, free speech and whistleblowers such as his attorney.

The above news clips depict the final series of civil rights cases prosecuted by attorney Leon Koziol after 23 years of practice. That was in 2010 when he was targeted, subjected to false ethics charges, and punished with an ongoing 10-year suspension of his law license. It all came in retaliation for his filings, public forums and conscientious stand against draconian child support collection practices.

Like Susan B. Anthony who refused to pay her fine for the crime of voting, and Dr. Martin Luther King who opposed his release from Birmingham jail, Mr. Koziol risked his life and livelihood in a cause for fair treatment in our nation’s family courts. In retaliation, he was ultimately deprived all contact with his daughters, even denied notice of a 2020 graduation ceremony at the New Hartford Central High School.

The unwarranted and excessive punishment led to at least five applications for reinstatement since a 6-month suspension was completed in 2013, a term imposed due to an insider secretary influenced to tamper with office calendars. She was belatedly imprisoned on felony convictions in 2016. A sixth application is currently underway.

An ethics committee in Albany has opposed every reinstatement to date based largely on whistleblowing activity cited from this website, Leon Koziol.com. Its chief attorney and deputy attorneys engaged in the witch hunt against him were terminated by the ethics court after an inspector general exposed their falsified time sheets.

They were the standard bearers of lawyer ethics charged with a duty of preventing lawyer over-billing practices. Unlike Mr. Koziol’s highly discriminatory treatment without any criminal wrongdoing or malpractice, these “ethics” lawyers were allowed to return to private practice with no public charges, see Robert Gavin, Oversight lawyers quit amid inquiry, Times Union (Albany, New York) July 11, 2013.

In contrast, the indefinite license suspension has prevented Mr. Koziol from continuing with these and other civil rights cases. They were ultimately dismissed in the hands of lesser qualified counsel or abandoned altogether due to a lack of interest or affordable representation.

To illustrate the absurdity, Attorney Stanley Cohen was reinstated in 2018 only two years after his release from federal prison for tax evasion on some $3 million in unreported fees and income. These were felony convictions that routinely lead to a seven-year disbarment. However he somehow incurred a short term suspension instead and was known for representing cop-killers, drug dealers and terrorists.

In contrast, Mr. Koziol was punished more severely for representing true victims of racial injustice and a conscientious stand against corruption. He issued a series of reports since the one depicted in the front page story above. A 2015 report predicted his potential demise following the Walter Scott murder in 2015.

At the Walter Scott funeral in South Carolina, Mr. Koziol addressed national media, civil rights groups, Al Sharpton and Congressman James Clyburn, among others. He did so because this particular black lives victim was a father shot dead five times in the back while fleeing unarmed from a child support warrant uncovered during a traffic stop.

His report the same year was submitted to then Attorney General Loretta Lynch who testified along with Mr. Koziol, Preet Bharara and other invitees at a hearing of Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption at Pace University in 2013. His prediction was realized in 2018 when a “shoot on sight” threat was made by a traffic cop to a driver of Mr. Koziol’s vehicle at a toll booth in Albany, New York.

As fate would have it, Mr. Koziol was not present in the vehicle, but a sworn statement, traffic report and court record corroborate the incident. Another consequential report that year was discussed personally with Senate Judiciary Chair Lyndsey Graham. It asks for a Justice Department investigation of this horrific ordeal supported by a peaceful, three-day lobby initiative and March on Washington.

As race related protests continue across America, leaders are praising peaceful demonstrations over violent ones. But as Mr. Koziol has experienced, his peaceful protests have earned no reforms. This one in 2019 featured a police escort from the White House to the Capitol and a lobby day when 600 reports were delivered by parents to members of Congress and Justice Department.

The “shoot on sight” threat was based on a secret bulletin attached to a child support warrant leaked to local media to further discredit Mr. Koziol and his message, not unlike attorney whistleblowers in China. Local Sheriff Robert Maciol admitted that the leak was unlawful and has yet to respond to a misconduct complaint against his deputy who triggered it.

The support warrant was issued by Utica City Judge Gerald Popeo. He was appointed under suspect circumstances to Mr. Koziol’s family court matters in 2017 to avenge a public censure issued against him by the state’s judicial conduct commission in 2015. Its startling racial aspects are presented below.

All recourse was closed off by federal and state judges abusing judicial immunity and other judge-created obstacles to be detailed in a later post. Ultimately a conditional filing order was orchestrated by federal judge Gary Sharpe despite an earlier order by a higher court which removed him from a case based on his use of a human gene in a sentencing decision, one that would not be discovered for “another fifty years,” see United States v Cossey, 632 F.3d 82.

Such Hitleresque decision-making is easily concealed, and it warrants removal from any American bench. But Judge Sharpe refused to step down from Mr. Koziol’s personal case, and impeachment is the only means for achieving removal for life appointments in the federal system. Such a rare process has shown to be prohibitive and costly this year. The filing order was to be challenged at a federal appeals court in Manhattan but put off due to the pandemic.

This is only some background needed to further understand the outrage among groups such as Black Lives Matter. If a civil rights attorney can be persecuted in this way, victims of racial abuse are denied recourse and accountability. When our justice system breaks down as evidenced here, the natural response is to take the law into one’s own hands.

Mr. Koziol’s ordeal is also critical to events relating to Jakeila Phillips in Utica, New York, victim of a race-laced, verbal assault in downtown Utica, New York this past week. That connection is now explained for the benefit of victims, reform groups and genuine accountability in government.

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By Dr. Leon Koziol

Civil Rights Advocate

On July 1, 2020, headline news in upstate New York featured a racist video gone viral. A pregnant, black woman managed to capture a road rage incident four days earlier in downtown Utica. What Jakeila Phillips recorded as a pedestrian by-stander was beyond shocking at a time when racial tensions are skyrocketing.

According to the local Observer Dispatch newspaper in Utica, New York, a white passenger in a vehicle was engaged with a person in the one ahead of him. Attention then turned to the by-stander with her unnoticed camera activated.

That passenger actually, if not moronically, identified himself in the video as Barry Wardell while accosting Ms. Phillips with racial slurs and offensive statements such as “Black lives don’t matter.” The victim then calmly asks: “Anything else?” The offender answers by declaring that “Blacks should be slaves, give me back my property,” and further, that “he hangs n_ _ _ _ rs on the weekends.”

Yes this actually occurred in the geographic heartland of New York State during a nationwide crisis focused on the police murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, a horrific event which ignited mass, violent protests. It triggered protests in Utica and suburban New Hartford where the racist passenger lived. Joined by local black leaders at a recent news conference, Ms. Phillips is seeking “change” and justice as police investigate whether any crimes were committed.

But what Ms. Phillips and her supporters are likely unaware, any charges, i.e. harassment, hate crimes, may come before the city court’s longest tenured judge, Gerald Popeo, who was charged with using racial slurs while in office. According to Syracuse.com and a February 12, 2015 decision of the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct, this is what Popeo was accused of saying:

“You know what downstate blacks call upstate blacks? Country n____rs.”

Of course, that “country” classification would include Ms. Phillips and the black leaders who accompanied her at this week’s news conference. Unlike the road rage incident at the core of that conference, the Popeo slur could not be defended as an emotional outburst. It was premeditated, witnessed in court (not on a street) and conveyed in the presence of a black attorney .

Predictably Judge Gerry denied all this as he did other ethics charges such as a young prosecutor “standing there like a cigar store Indian.” He jailed litigants for such things as a “smirk” and threatened to come off the bench to assault the one who gave the routine facial gesture. His demeanor and arrogance were off the charts, and he was simply censured instead of removed altogether by the Commission.

Today, we see Black Lives Matter and other protesters tearing down statues and taking aim at events occurring decades, even centuries ago. But these are symbolic aims that mean nothing to perpetrators that are long gone. In Popeo’s case there is a critical opportunity to take aim at a racist who is still on the bench. Specifically I am submitting a formal complaint to the same judicial conduct commission which issued that “slap on the wrist.”

I am also seeking an action which permanently bans Popeo from seeking any future appointment or election as a judge in any court. Such recourse has precedent in the case of ex-family judge Bryan Hedges in Syracuse. He was among the 40 trial level jurists removed from my originally uncontested divorce since 2006.

I filed a motion to remove Judge Hedges from my custody case because such judges were allowed to interact with children in chambers without the parents present. I was chastised by lawyers on grounds that this judge had a reputation beyond reproach. But I had two young girls to protect who were my utmost priority.

To my surprise, Judge Hedges granted my motion due to “an appearance of impropriety,” and as fate would have it, Judge Hedges resigned abruptly one year later after being caught in an admission that he sexually abused his handicapped five-year old niece decades earlier.

The judicial commission was unmoved by the resignation and proceeded further with a permanent ban from any judgeship. Hedges appealed to New York’s high court but was slapped with a scathing opinion which left the ban in place, see In re Bryan Hedges, 20 NY3d 677 (2013). Judge Popeo’s misconduct is not decades old and it cannot be tolerated in the current racially charged environment. To ignore Judge Popeo is to ratify his racism in public office.

FYI: Both Hedges and Popeo were represented by former Utica Supreme Court Judge Robert Julian, currently a prominent personal injury attorney and former chairman of the Oneida County Legislature. If you would like to join my complaint for the removal of Gerald Popeo, contact me at (315) 796-4000 or e-mail me at leonkoziol@gmail.com. In the meantime, let’s make this viral for the sake of true justice everywhere!

RIP Gary Woodruff: While rioters protest the death of George Floyd, another loving dad succumbs to our corrupt family courts without concern. Join our call 6/4 @ 7 pm ET (605) 313-4427; access# 583326.

The above video summarizes our 3-day Parent March on Washington last year. It was peaceful, respectful, but ineffectual. The photo below shows the comparison with violent protests today. They’re getting all kinds of attention. Is the message then that it is better to be violent to get overdue reform from public servants?

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By Dr. Leon Koziol

Parenting Rights Institute

He was 63 years old when he could take it no more. Gary Woodruff had struggled for 18 years to have a God-given relationship with his only son. But a money-driven “custodial parent” was more bent on having another man as the dad of that only child.

They say you got to fight for your kids. But that’s a lawyer-created battle cry because it puts billions of fees in their pockets annually with a typical outcome worse than if the victim was never represented. Don’t look to family judges for sympathy. They profit from federal Title IV-D funds which reward them by the number and size of child support orders they issue and satisfy.

We protested peacefully against this carnage last year at our Parent March on Washington, focusing on those parents and children lost to family court carnage, including veterans who are committing suicide at the rate of 22 per day. We had a police escort down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. It started at Lafayette Park where rioters today are burning churches and park grounds in front of the White House.

Shockingly, these violent protesters are getting all kinds of attention while we could not even elicit an acknowledgement letter from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer after our meeting in his conference room on May 2, 2019. No reply was given to our 600 reports delivered to all members of Congress by aggrieved parents from across the country. Are Washington leaders sending the message that it is better to engage in violence than peaceful protests?

Our report identified numerous victims of family court abuse ranging from a city police investigator who committed a murder-suicide on his ex-wife after leaving child support court to a protesting dad who burned himself alive in front of a family court in New Hampshire. No one gave a rat’s ass, and today we are supposed to be sympathetic to these rioters.

Politicians need to stop the posturing, the propaganda and fake respect for peaceful protesters. Now we’ve lost another good dad to court corruption. On the next nationwide conference call of the Parenting Rights Institute (a family court watch group), Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 7pm ET, we will feature Glen Gibellina, a parental rights advocate in Florida who will present the details behind the demise of his friend, Gary Woodruff.

Glen shocked us with the news at the opening of our last call on Monday before we introduced guest speaker Dr. Anthony Pappas. As the emergency contact for Gary, Glen will relate how he was prevented from securing the body for a proper burial, how he got caught up in red tape that required permission from a 22 year old son alienated by an evil mom. So, as Glen put it, the body remains on a slab for more than a week now.

These are the gory details of a money lusting family court system which is refusing to reform itself. While its members routinely memorialize dead judges in official ceremonies, they have no regard for the families they effectively kill as public servants.

God bless Glen Gibellina for his humanitarian effort to give this loving a dad a proper send-off. Our conference call promises to be a profound one. It’s free and open to all at (605) 313-4427; access # 583326. Join us at 7pm ET on June 4th and spread the word. We must assure Gary that his suffering and early death were not in vain.

Holding Police and the Judiciary Accountable: Attorney and Civil Rights Expert address the George Floyd riots

In this brief interview conducted by the Law Center and Philadelphia Attorney Larry DeMarco, former civil rights attorney, Dr. Leon Koziol, reveals alarming dysfunction which contributed to the horrific killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

Dr. Koziol also provides a solution to end the riots across America while assuring effective reforms that can prevent a recurrence of such racially charged incidents. It is based on 30 years of civil rights litigation in federal and state courts.

Because this website, http://www.leonkoziol.com, is being censored, viewers are asked to share this video with civil rights victims, news organizations and social media heroes who could make it viral.

All who would like more detail on the content of this video are encouraged to view the solo version below:

Civil Rights Advocate draws on 30 years of court experience to promote an end to violent protests of Floyd Murder

 

By Dr. Leon Koziol

Parenting Rights Institute

In this video, I bring 30 years of litigation experience as a civil rights advocate to expose the cause for ongoing carnage upon people of color in the United States. I show how government inaction led up to the George Floyd murder on May 25, 2020. I also chart a course for bringing race victims, government officials and law enforcement together to end the violent protests that are rampant across the country.

Due to the censorship of my website and suppression of whistleblowing activities, I am asking people of all backgrounds to make this highly revealing message viral on social and mainstream media. You can contact me directly at (315) 796-4000 or leonkoziol@gmail.com.