By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
Cynthia Nixon, candidate for New York governor is calling on incumbent Andrew Cuomo to initiate a probe of corruption in state government. This comes on the heels of guilty verdicts involving SUNY Polytech Institute ex-president Alain Kayloyeros and developers connected to the Buffalo Billions Scandal.
As a former student body president at Polytech’s Utica-Marcy campus and a victim of corruption in nearby New Hartford, New York, I applaud the gubernatorial candidate in her calls for reform. However, nowhere in her public statements outside of a Manhattan federal courthouse does she mention that third branch of government known as the judiciary.
Fresh from her successful endorsement of Ocasio-Cortez in an upset primary victory over long time Congressman Joseph Crowley, Nixon is hoping to do the same against Cuomo. A long shot at best, Nixon might still shock the world if she wins upstate together with a probe which, like the 2013 Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, implicates the governor in the scandals around him.
As a judicial whistleblower speaking at the Moreland Commission hearings, I exposed corruption in New York’s divorce and family courts. Within three months of that presentation, I lost contact with my daughters and was denied reinstatement of my law license. During the same year, ethics lawyers in Albany engaged in the witch hunt against me were allowed to resign quietly for falsifying their time sheets without any criminal or ethics prosecution brought against them.
This past week I obtained a sworn statement from a former client disclosing certain lawyers in Utica who participated in the 2008 witch hunt that led to my first license suspension after 23 unblemished years of practice. They sought him out at his place of employment to testify falsely about a case I successfully litigated during the nineties.
This former client was recently the victim of a sting operation by federal marshals at his brother’s home for child support delinquencies. Yes, you read that correctly. He nearly died of kidney failure after spending six months in county jail for a child support debt. Another father, Walter Scott was shot dead in the back five times unarmed while fleeing a child support debt. Meanwhile, Cuomo and other liberals are protecting illegal immigrant parents from being separated from their children.
This is the extreme to which our judicial branch has gone to destroy legal parents, veterans and especially dads in a gender biased “system.” The Census Bureau continues to report that 85% of all parents paying child support are men, and nearly one out of every five inmates in our nation’s prisons are “dead beat dads” (a still advertised sexist slur).
As a civil rights attorney, I won many race and gender discrimination cases, even representing a former president of the National Organization for Women. But when I turned my energies to end father discrimination in the same courts, I was subjected to severe retaliation. I sought to protect all parents from corruption of the worst kind, like my family court judge, Bryan Hedges, removed from the bench after admitting to sexual abuse of his handicapped five year old niece.
On Friday, July 13, 2018, Governor Cuomo sought to distance himself from the Buffalo Billions convictions much like he sought to distance himself from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos after they were similarly convicted following their exposure at the Moreland Commission hearings (which the same Cuomo prematurely closed). Here is what New York’s current governor had to say:
Can you stop people from doing stupid things? No. Can you stop people from doing venal things? No. But you can have a system in place which that says, if you do something wrong, we will be as aggressive as the law allows in prosecuting you?
Seriously Andrew? Tell that to all our family and divorce court victims, the ones repeatedly thrown out of those same federal courts after seeking recourse for constitutional violations. Tell that to suicide victims, persecuted whistleblowers and alienated parents.
If you want to prosecute for stupidity, tell that to the state’s Commission on judicial Conduct which merely slapped the wrist of Utica City Judge Gerald Popeo in 2015. He was found guilty of wrongful incarcerations using such threats from the bench “to wipe that smirk off” a litigant’s face. He was excused of a so-called joke to an African-American attorney that downstate blacks refer to upstate blacks as “country niggers.”
And now this criminal judge has somehow managed to become assigned as an “Acting Family Court Judge” to my child support case. It is part of an ongoing scheme to incarcerate me on false pretenses after 39 prior judges were disqualified or removed from my originally uncontested divorce case, a national record by most accounts. A stand-off is forthcoming as I refuse to submit to this kind of judge and judicial “system.” I may even end up like former Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer.
If Cythia Nixon is truly sincere in her convictions and not just a politician little different from her opponent, she will look into judicial corruption and the failed Moreland Commission which also led to a quick cover-up of Cuomo’s child support issues. She should read the case involving the administrative judge in Syracuse who assigned all those judges to my case, including Popeo. In that case, a chief family court clerk recovered $600,000 due to unlawful retaliation for her refusal to engage in political espionage, Morin v Tormey, 626 F.3d 40 (2nd Cir. 2010).
By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
It’s hard to believe but true! Roseanne Barr was removed from her reboot television show due to a single racist tweet. But in our courts of law where we would least expect such shocking behavior, a New York Commission on Judicial Conduct decided to merely censure an upstate city judge for a lot more. He was not removed but excused for more serious racist remarks to an African-American attorney. He joked that New York City blacks think of upstate blacks as “country niggers.”
This reckless and arrogant judge caused one of my former African-American clients to attempt suicide in a city jail cell for minor (targeting) nuisance charges that were later dismissed by a jury. He even threatened a violent act from the bench to another litigant. His name is Gerald Popeo, and he was recently assigned to my family court case to complete the retaliation for my public criticisms after 39 prior trial jurists were removed from my 12-year originally uncontested divorce case.
Where is the outrage to all this from ABC, or any other news medium for that matter? Will Facebook and other secondary media suppress this story as well? A major stand-off is forthcoming after Judge Popeo lied in a decision on my motion for his removal. He lied in the same manner that he denied the racist remarks in Utica City Court. For the sake of all people, victimized parents and our precious children, let us overcome that censorship of us ‘”little guys” in society. Help make this story viral. Contact ABC news, NAACP, your elected officials, etc.
Here’s that story at http://www.leonkoziol.com published only weeks ago:
If you’ve been following my family court matters in recent months, you already know about a racist judge in the City Court of Utica, New York who was assigned as an Acting Family Judge on my never ending custody and support matters. He is Trial Judge #41, a judicial record by most accounts, and he was assigned despite a recent censure by the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct after a hearing judge concluded that he had made racist remarks to an African-American attorney, threats from the bench and abuses of contempt powers in violation of due process.
The Commission Chairman dissented and voted to remove Judge Gerald Popeo altogether as a judge because such misconduct cannot justify continued deliberations for the diverse people served by our courts. So how did this local city judge suddenly end up on my case after judges from as far away as Oswego (Lake Ontario) and Lewis County (near Canadian border) were assigned and disqualified for undisclosed reasons?
As a former civil rights attorney who has clashed with this judge as recently as last summer at a local bar, how could he be deemed impartial by Judge James (Bond) Tormey, the Syracuse Administrative Judge who assigned him after judges #39 and #40 were removed only weeks ago? Very compelling circumstances dictate that this “Acting Family Judge” has been assigned to provoke and finish me off.
These circumstances were embodied in a cross-motion to add Judge Gerald Popeo to my extraordinary hybrid case filed in New York Supreme Court. It is a parental equality case which names the state’s Chief Judge, James “Bond” Tormey and my custody and support judges as respondents. It seeks overdue precedent for victimized parents everywhere, i.e. full legal recognition of parental alienation.
Although a decision on the Chief Judge’s dismissal motion and that of the New York Attorney General has not been formally issued, an argument date was set for May 24, 2018. Such a scheduling order would not have logically occurred if the dismissal motions were granted (already argued). But nothing surprises me anymore given the horrific ordeal I have survived thus far due to relentless retaliation for my public criticisms of our courts.
At the same time I am filing a motion for removal of Judge #41, Gerald Popeo from ongoing lower court proceedings. I have asked the NAACP to join me on that motion with the hope that other groups will follow, both conservative and liberal since this affects people of all political and religious beliefs. Portions of my formal request to the NAACP President is reprinted below.
The NAACP headquarters and Washington Bureau were closed for the past couple days due to the east coast storm but a director at the NAACP Hollywood Bureau responded by phone the same day with a referral to the NAACP legal department. If you would like to join us at the courthouse, upcoming arguments on May 24, 2018 or learn more about the escalating atrocities here, feel free to call our office at (315) 380-3420.
Formal request to NAACP President Derrick Johnson:
March 21, 2018
Dear Mr. Johnson:
On February 12, 2015, the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured an upstate city court judge for abusing his authority, sending litigants to jail without due process, and making injudicious remarks from the bench. Relevant complaints over time came from a district attorney, public defender and African-American lawyer, among others.
The injudicious remarks which a Commission judge found to be true included the following:
(to an African-American lawyer): “Do you know what black people from New York City call black people from upstate?” (no reply) “Country niggers.”
(to a prosecutor on at least two occasions): “Mr. Scully is the perfect cigar store Indian.”
(to a litigant upset with his unfair treatment): “You’re standing there with a grin that I would love to get off the bench and slap off your face. How about 30 days in jail for contempt, that’s hilarious too, isn’t it? What’s wrong with you? We done smirking?”
(to the same litigant ordered to return for a contempt sentence): “(You) gave me a nice, big smirk (while leaving court) … as if to say, blank you, Judge.”
As a successful and unblemished civil rights attorney for more than 23 years, and another ten as a litigant and parental advocate, I have displayed countless facial gestures during jury trials and other proceedings in both federal and state courts. A grin, smirk or other involuntary expression would be routine and rarely, if ever, considered contemptuous . . .
In January, 2010, (Judge Popeo) committed a former client of mine, the city’s first African-American Public Works Commissioner, to jail for non-appearance on a business nuisance case despite a compelling explanation. During his first time ever in jail, the former Commissioner Stephen Patterson attempted suicide after a belt was placed in his cell.
Among the reasons given for the suicide attempt was Mr. Patterson’s inability to find an attorney after a witch hunt was begun against me due to my litigation successes, civil rights forums and whistle blower reports critical of our courts. I was suspended from my civil rights practice due to an ex-secretary influenced by racist adversaries to create ethics issues in my office. Despite my criminal complaints, highly supported internal report and complaints from numerous other victims, she was not timely arrested or prosecuted.
This left me vulnerable to “witch hunt” ethics lawyers who were later allowed to resign quietly after a state inspector general discovered their falsified time sheets, the same ones declaring in confidential proceedings that my license reinstatement would be opposed so long as my public criticisms continued. Only many years later, after I was out of my law practice long enough, was this white ex-secretary finally picked up in Illinois and jailed on felony convictions involving later law offices. By that time, countless crimes and injustices occurred without accountability.
There was certainly sufficient provocation for the witch hunt. For example, I saved an African-American Public Safety Commissioner . . . from an orchestrated indictment by a vengeful prosecutor, such charges as “misuse of city stationery.” I obtained a $333,820.32 record jury verdict on a federal civil rights case, Patterson v City of Utica, 370 F.3d 322 (2nd Cir. 2004). I settled another at $90,000 for an African-American pastor harassed by the same city.
My work was not limited to race. I was among the earliest locally to win a sexual harassment case, Currie v Kowalewski, 842 F. Supp. 57 (NDNY 1994). I obtained a declaratory judgement invalidating a billion dollar casino compact against some of the nation’s finest law firms in both federal and state courts, Oneida Indian Nation v County of Oneida, 132 F.Supp. 2d 71 (NDNY 2000); Peterman v Governor Pataki, 2004 Slip. Op. 51092(U). First Amendment was also one of my major concerns, sacrificing my position as city corporation counsel to successfully challenge a mayor’s gag order upon public employees, Koziol v Hanna, 107 F.Supp.2d 170 (NDNY 2000).
All that unblemished success changed when I began exposing corruption in our courts, the kind which harms minorities the most. My uncontested divorce became contested, and twelve years later it has become a personal holocaust with 40 trial jurists disqualified to date, a record by all accounts. One was removed from Family Court altogether after he admitted to sexual abuse of his handicapped five year old niece, In re Bryan Hedges, 20 NY3d 677 (2013). A federal judge (Gary Sharpe) dismissed my last civil rights case with an anti-filing order despite his removal from an earlier case due to his claim of a human gene to sentence criminals which would not be discovered for another fifty years, United States v Cossey, 632 F.3d 82 (NDNY 2nd Cir. 2011).
The persecution has been relentless to discredit my public message, punish me into submission and protect a self-regulated judiciary from public disgrace. Its conduct commission refused to credit the “country niggers” remark because it would seriously harm its modern day reputation, not because it was untrue.
Now, because it set Gerald Popeo free, this racist judge has been assigned to finish me off as an “Acting Family Judge” in a forum where he makes a mockery of domestic violence prevention by his violent threats from the bench, where African-American fathers suffer debtor imprisonment to the extreme of being shot dead five times in the back while fleeing unarmed from a child support warrant. I spoke out on the latter event before national media at the Walter Scott funeral, spending a week there in South Carolina for reform purposes . . .
If such persecution can happen to a white civil rights attorney well north of the Mason-Dixon line, what kind of horror could occur to disadvantaged African-American fathers who, like Stephen Patterson, rely on me to protect them? That question is now at the forefront of this letter. I will be appearing before Judge Popeo this Friday, March 23, 2018 in Oneida County Family Court, Utica, New York. I will be filing a motion for his removal from my case with a request that the NAACP join in that motion as an intervenor or supporting presence in the courtroom.
In making this formal invitation, I am mindful of the work load which confronts you daily, but it presents an extraordinary opportunity for national attention and widespread benefit to your members and reputation . . . The chairman of the New York Commission dissented from the rationalizations used to excuse Judge Popeo’s racist remark to an African-American lawyer. He agreed instead with the findings of the judge who heard the evidence and voted in the minority for Popeo’s removal.
Now, as fate and the grace of God would have it, the Commission’s shocking 2015 decision is resurrected in a way least expected. Judge Popeo’s mere censure . . . allowed this travesty to occur. His remarks would have been contemptible even if related at a local bar, yet he made them as a judge in a black robe well into the 21st Century. Our courts are the last places where this can be tolerated in any form.
An intervenor motion by the NAACP supporting mine for Popeo’s removal would send a powerful message to our judiciary at a time when it must earn the greatest respect. So that my life sacrifices for a righteous cause were not in vain, I am including only a few articles regarding the Patterson cases for verification and ask that you favor me with a reply as soon as possible.
Very truly yours,
Leon R. Koziol, J.D.
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.
Help us take this post viral
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.
By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
This month I completed an expensive business plan for the Parenting Rights Institute to secure major funding for an initiative to reverse the escalating process of criminalizing fathers in our nation’s family courts. It is based on my thirty years of litigation experience, countless case studies across America and ten years of courageous reform efforts in a conscientious stand taken against my profession. Below is the powerful opening statement behind this latest initiative. Please do your part by promoting it, sharing it and supporting us financially.
Over the past half century, western society has seen an alarming transformation in fatherhood, from its traditional respected status to an incompetent, violent, absentee reputation. We have seen this trend in politics, entertainment, school districts, child rearing and social institutions. The act of denigrating a male parent or blaming him for a myriad of problems has become fashionable, even encouraged without so much as a critical footnote from mainstream media.
The infection of social thought with dad stigmatization might not be rectified any time soon, but when reverse sexism obtains legal protection, it is the duty of a self-governing people to respond. That duty begins in our family courts because this is where protected discrimination is most blatant and harmful to all society. A Supreme Court Justice once described these tribunals as “kangaroo” courts, but conditions since the time of that opinion have only seriously worsened.
This prospectus will show how that occurred, why corrective action is urgent, and it comes from a parental advocate who successfully litigated complex cases in federal and state courts for over thirty years. The goal is to raise sufficient funds behind a research, watchdog and lobbying entity to properly police and reform a self-regulated judicial bureaucracy where support enforcement and domestic violence by fathers obtain state prosecution but false accusations, clear perjury by spiteful moms, custody abuses and extortion through incarceration are ignored or covered up.
For background, during the 1970s, Congress began legislating laws to track down absentee fathers to ease a growing welfare burden. Well intentioned, these laws were never divested of male parent targeting. Exemplary is a January, 2016 “Dead Beat Dad” crusade by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Over time, the scope of enforcement practices was enlarged to include all “noncustodial parents.” Its effect was to merge good, bad and absentee dads so that federal funding could be vastly increased while jeopardizing the long term viability of social security.
In a quest to maximize state revenues under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, performance quotas were devised based on the number and magnitude of child support orders manufactured in family courts. The new rule of law became a profit motive for lawyers and lawyers on the bench. Through these “incentive grants,” judicial impartiality was sacrificed to the almighty buck with much less value placed on father-child relationships. In callous manner, family judges were incarcerating dads to alarming levels for a debt euphemistically termed “child support.”
In other debt instances, such imprisonment would be unlawful. But with children as its pretext and contempt of court as a weapon, the unconstitutional debtor prison was functionally resurrected with no public outcry. Gradually, these tribunals were rendered inherently prejudiced against fathers who may have simply been the victim of a bad economy. Lawyers were retained often with borrowed funds on a good faith belief that basic rights would avert the horror of being caged like an animal. No one came to the rescue because foxes were guarding the hen house.
In one of the most ironic twists, girls, women and moms were slaughtered along the way. Their own fathers, brothers, sons and partners became victims while countless dads recognizing the futility of fighting for their parental rights simply walked out of their children’s lives. This only added to the epidemic, undermining the original goals behind these laws. As the carnage grew, so did the number and variety of beneficiaries in the way of evaluators, “experts,” psychiatrists, pharmaceutical companies, mediators and more. They turned sparks of conflict into forest fires.
At first blush, the notion that courts are criminalizing fathers for profit is a hard pill to swallow. However, stripped of all the legal jargon and propaganda, draconian enforcement practices have been making criminals of non-criminal parents for many years while inciting crimes of horrific proportion including those committed by fatherless children in our schools, communities and workplaces. If those debtor practices were limited to the standard income and asset executions, we would not have the dubious distinction as the most imprisoned nation in the “free” world.
Despite profound advancements in equal rights for women, minorities and newly recognized classes of people, the Census Bureau continues to report that nearly 85% of parents paying child support are fathers. If those statistics were recorded for male employment, women would be rioting well beyond Trump’s White House. A review of public warrant lists shows that as much as 20% of arrestees are connected to support. Inmate lists follow the same pattern. Nearly all are fathers with veterans and minorities most vulnerable to suicides, violence and drug addiction.
Fatherless children are often a factor in mass shootings. Even where dads remain active in separate parenting environments, their authority is countermanded by judges purporting to act in the “best interests” of children they can never truly know. The emasculation of men, a futility in asserting a father’s basic rights and the sexist stigma of “dead beat dads” promote abandonment of vital parenting roles which have stood the test of time. This is a system which presumes that a dad has no desire to support his offspring while torturing the very incentive for doing so.
There is no refund or accountability when recipients of these welfare styled benefits spend their tax-free “awards” on drug abuse, gambling or vanity excesses. Meanwhile, judges charged with the highest duty of safeguarding our rights are eroding them instead. An antiquated “child custody” system remains “the law” in most states in lieu of progressive shared parenting because custody and support “wars” are lucrative whereas co-parenting is not. For the same reason, the damage caused by this revenue generating scheme is highly suppressed from public knowledge.
Money has become the priority in place of our children’s true best interests turning family courts into a socialist industry while making a mockery of our constitutions. Criminals, even violent felons, often receive lower sentences, less stigma and far greater rights than dads do here. They have freedom from self-incrimination, indigent free counsel, stricter due process protections, mandated disclosure, highest standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, jury rights and more.
In shocking contrast, a father can be incarcerated for extended periods without so much as an accusation of a crime and none of the rights just cited. And it can be wrapped up in a matter of months, even weeks. So reckless has it become that a contempt prosecution can be commenced by mail service of a summons with boldface capital letter warnings of arrest and imprisonment for up to seven years. Any non-appearance is ruthlessly answered by an arrest warrant instead of the standard default for other civil cases with an undertaking (bail) as a condition for release.
Should an errant debtor be fortunate to avoid immediate incarceration on a warrant, he will be “released on his own recognizance” no differently than an accused rapist. The entire process has been turned upside down with only the prosecuting parent given the benefit of free counsel. Indeed, when viewing the substance and not the formalities of these “family” court cases, they bear all the trappings of a criminal prosecution without the necessary constitutional safeguards.
In short, these “constitution-free zones” facilitate the easy imprisonment of fathers for profit. Worse yet, unlike any other targeted member of society, a debtor can become a revolving door inmate for an indefinite term of confinement, theoretically to the extreme of life imprisonment as a repeat offender. This is achieved through other draconian practices such as “imputed income” (judge speculated earnings), accruing monthly support obligations during incarceration, and a federal felony conviction should a father cross state lines under circumstances of flight.
Collection practices mirror those of loan sharks and underworld figures. Family judges know that payment will be made by high risk loans, employers or loved ones. The fleecing process is backed by the power of confinement. It was this sort of civil contempt, depicted as “keys to the jailhouse,” which landed California attorney and judicial whistle blower Richard Fine in solitary at age 70 for 18 months. As the Los Angeles County Sheriff aptly decried on CNN, such cells would have been better occupied by criminals given early releases due to prison overcrowding.
The most ominous aspect of this court process is that the parent who has been advised to war against the other has little knowledge of the potential magnitude of destruction until it is too late. The children may suffer most in the end while the lawyers and beneficiaries simply walk away from the damage they cause when the money has all been tapped. Then they blame the outcomes on their clients. There is no honor, remorse or concern for any of the carnage because this is “the law” without any mention made of the bar associations and special interests which produced it.
In consequence, meaningful reform efforts have failed across the board. Protests have likewise been suppressed through abuses of a parens patriae power that would be the envy of the FBI, CIA and IRS. Viet Nam veteran Thomas Ball protested by burning himself alive in front of a New Hampshire family court. Unlike the self-immolation he tried to copy in Morocco resulting in global media coverage, this one got little notice. They merely swept his ashes into a sewer. Still, he left a manifesto showing how to construct Molotov cocktails for attacking courthouses.
What little reform may be evident is focused on symptoms such as domestic violence prevention. Its futility is borne out by such cases as an upstate New York police investigator who committed a murder-suicide leaving four children without either parent. A high conflict divorce led to the easily obtained protection order against the dad followed by career damage and the confiscation of weapons. When support court left investigator Joseph Longo subsisting on marginal income, it was the last straw. He resorted to a common kitchen knife to register his form of protest.
The tactic of child exploitation to serve an illicit purpose is not new. It has been routinely employed by tyrannical regimes throughout history. For example, Adolph Hitler advised in his book, Mein Kampf, that if the state simply declares it is acting for the benefit of children, the people will “happily” give up their rights. Here, the tyrant is not so much a person as it is a giant bureaucracy and the illicit nature is not a war machine but an insatiable taxing monster. It has been unleashed on sensitive family relationships with little regard for the higher laws of nature.
While all this background was not known by Walter Scott on April 4, 2015, the gist of it was when he fled a child support warrant at a traffic stop in South Carolina. A “repeat offender” of child support orders, he had done enough prison time without commission of a crime and was shot dead in the back five times unarmed by a white officer. It would have been publicized otherwise but the horrific act was captured on cell phone by a concealed pedestrian. That event was blamed on racism, but as we shall see, our family courts were now killing for money.
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By Dr. Leon Koziol, Director
Parenting Rights Institute
It’s bound to happen. Some day soon, a falsely accused, financially abused or wrongfully incarcerated parent is going to unleash on some judge, law office or family member to bring overdue attention to an ever growing level of corruption in our nation’s divorce and family courts. Until the perpetrators of greed and back room deals are made to feel like the victims they create, this corruption and its suppression from public knowledge will continue unabated.
The signs of it are everywhere: a police investigator in Utica, New York committed a murder-suicide after exiting support court leaving four children without parents. In one news report, the local district attorney remarked that he had been dealing with that officer on the morning of his killing in a routine way. He even described him as unusually jovial, nothing that could offer any sign of pending disaster.
Years later, the best they could do to prevent such horrific violence is to start a fundraiser against domestic violence. Of course, that will change nothing. Indeed violence is on the rise in countless ways, most of it suppressed from public knowledge because the preventers are focused on the leaves and branches as opposed to the root of this crisis.
That root is court corruption fueled by greed, politics and lawyer-induced conflict for profit. And this corruption is rampant not only because of protected misconduct but also a giant structural flaw in the court process. We have an antiquated child custody system in the vast majority of states which causes parents to fight needlessly over their children. Shared parenting is opposed by the bar associations, drug companies and other special interests because it is not lucrative and would result in a virtual elimination of federal Title IV-D funding to the states.
And so the carnage continues in the form of violence not only among the court combatants but also among children and fatherless teens who have little or no moral fiber. They’re now shooting up our schools while outraged victims again focus on the wrong cause in the way of repealing our Second Amendment right to bear arms. We have a society degenerating to a barbaric form like we have never seen before. More than ever in modern times, we the victims must therefore protect ourselves even from our own government. That was the primary reason for this Amendment.
When Thomas Ball burned himself alive in front of a Keene County, New Hampshire courthouse, he was protesting father discrimination and CPS abuses. He even left behind a manifesto on how to incite a revolution through the use of such easy-to-make weapons as a Molotov cocktail to throw into court buildings and government offices. In the case of police investigator, Joseph Longo, it was much easier. After they confiscated his weapons, issued all the usual protection orders and finished off his career reputation, Joe simply resorted to a common kitchen knife, and it cost the City of Utica $2 million in wrongful death recovery for the children.
Seriously? What else did they think the city could have done to prevent this travesty? Or is this just the latest form of child support? You might think so after another police officer killed a parent but in a more shocking way. An unarmed African-American dad fleeing a child support warrant at a traffic stop in South Carolina was shot dead in the back five times by a white cop. It was not racist as much as it was father abuse because the murderer’s black partner who came upon the scene moments later simply cuffed the dying dad without performing any CPR. It was all captured on a by-stander i-phone in 2015. The children of that victim, Walter Scott, recovered $6 million from the City of North Charleston.
Still the carnage escalates along with corruption. Our Census Bureau continues to report that nearly 85% of all parents paying child support are men. One out of every five people on countless warrant lists are child support debtors. Nearly all are fathers. Twenty-two veterans are committing suicide each day, a vast number of which are influenced by divorce and family judges. If those were employment statistics for women, they would be rioting all over America.
So why has no politician or news organization declared the blatantly obvious War on Fathers? The result of society’s inaction and father persecution is violence on an ever hideous scale. Many would call it self-defense to an oppressive government operation. Debtor prisons? Custody “wars?” Lawyer induced perjury and false accusations? In my two decades as a trial attorney and another one as a victimized dad, I have reported bribery, overlooked misconduct and caused the removal of nearly 40 trial jurists from my originally uncontested twelve year divorce, a judicial record by most accounts. Yet not one court has made mention of this in its decisions.
Perjuring mothers suffer little or no consequences despite the clear crimes being committed while “dead beat dads” are being locked up for non-criminal money debts for six months, and as much as seven years under federal non-payment laws. These are longer than countless sentences given to violent felons. How much more can a discriminated class of parents sustain before it acts out? In the case of Investigator Longo, I described his reaction as a product of a dysfunctional, senseless and abusive child control system. When he could obtain no fair ruling from our courts, he took the so-called “law” into his own hands and issued his own ruling of sorts. It was a final one with no right of appeal.
Crucial Note: This site, Leon Koziol.com, has had a family court gag order imposed on it, later removed when the judge was sued in New York Supreme Court. It has also been monitored and exploited to harm the author and his vital message. Therefore it is important for the sake of parents, families and children everywhere that you help us share this post and donate to our cause. You can call us at our office at (315) 380-3420 or Dr. Koziol personally at (315) 796-4000.
By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
“You’re standing there with a grin that I would love to come off the bench and slap off your face”
“Mr. Scully (prosecutor) is playing cigar store Indian at the moment.”
“You know what black people from New York City call black people from upstate New York? Country Niggers.”
According to an ethics judge, these comments were made by Judge Gerald Popeo of the City Court of Utica, New York. In 2015, he was merely censured for those remarks instead of removed from that bench by the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct. Now Fifth District Chief Judge James “Bond” Tormey has elevated him to “Acting Family Judge.” This comes after Judge #39 and Judge #40 were disqualified from my 12 year originally uncontested divorce case.
Welcome to Trial Judge #41, a judicial record by most accounts. You have to believe that Judge Jerry “Rocky” Popeo filling the latest slot was a monumental joke. After all, with the violent threats and racist remarks he was prosecuted for, the last thing you would expect a rational court system to do is appoint him as a family judge. Isn’t that the court where domestic violence is being condemned? Isn’t that where African-American fathers are discriminated most, even shot dead five times in the back while fleeing unarmed from a child support warrant (Walter Scott)? What is Judge Jerry doing here?
Imagine if this wanna-be Rocky treated an African-American father this way? (let’s just call him Apollo Creed). He compares Apollo to a “country nigger” and threatens to come off his bench to “wipe that smirk off (his) face?” When Larry Nassar, ex-physical education director of Michigan State University was facing his sentencing for sex crimes, a father of three victims lunged for him across the trial table. He was restrained by court security but never charged with contempt by the female judge because she understood his rage.
But what happens if it’s the judge provoking violence? What if the litigant in the Popeo case accepted Judge Rocky’s challenge to come off that bench and wack him? Who would court security restrain or taser? We may soon find out as I face this pompous judge next week. Talk about domestic violence, provocation and father discrimination! What was the Commission thinking when it released this judge on his own recognizance to put law enforcement in harm’s way? They have families too. And what kind of coward hides behind them in a black dress when making such threats? (it’s a robe only when the person in it acts accordingly.
I have asked the same Commission in a formal complaint to reconsider its decision in light of the misconduct which occurred by Judge Popeo in my own court cases as a civil rights attorney over the years. There is also an effort being started by a veteran U.S. Marine to make a stand against this sort of discrimination and misconduct due to the vast number of daily suicides occurring to his brothers as a result.
Get the details by clicking here and supporting us at http://www.parentingrightsinstitute.com. You can also call our office at (315) 380-3420. It’s important that you share this post and make it viral in light of the vast censorship of this site, Leon Koziol.com and court corruption across America today.