It’s been over two months since my last posting on April 6, 2017. I have been focused on completing my first non-fiction book on the subject of corruption in America’s divorce industry. It is an alarming documentary which I hope will elicit nothing less than a parenting revolution for the sake of justice, overdue reforms and our children.
It is a truly profound literary work based on ten years in the reform movement and more than thirty years in the courts as a trial attorney, civil rights advocate and aggrieved parent. For those of you familiar with my ordeal, this is a must-read with immense educational value.
It was a project started in November, 2014 shortly after the Family Law Reform Conference sponsored by Dr. Joseph Sorge and Divorce Corp. in Washington D.C. It was during a flight to Paris where I was seeking to get international human rights agencies involved. In fact, Joe and I talked on the phone while in different parts of Europe engaged in the same mission of reform.
Some excerpts were published on this site in the spring of 2015 but they do not begin to reflect the caliber or quality of the finished product. Its completion was motivated by former New York Senate Leader Joseph Bruno. In his book released this past November entitled, Keep Swinging, Joe chronicled thirty years of corruption, but he blamed the criminal prosecution against him, in part, on apathy of the people to seek reform and justice.
Joe Bruno is quoted in my first chapter, one that I intend to reprint on this site on Fathers’ Day to give you a preview of the truly remarkable content which follows, 100,000 words altogether. At present, I have two publishers under consideration as I await a hopeful offer from a world class company. This was a phenomenally complex project.
Due to its compelling nature, there are footnotes and references throughout to back up my case for a federal investigation into Title IV-D funding and the corruption it has brought to our court systems and families. This is without question the most suppressed and censored epidemic of our day. My literary release aims to expose it so that serious protests will begin across the country.
When a model parent and judicial whistleblower is prevented from seeing his daughters on Fathers’ Day without any report of unfit behavior, not even an accusation of any criminal wrongdoing, while heroin addicts are being reunited for Mothers’ Day, it’s time to take serious action to a level never seen before.
With the completion of my twenty chapter manuscript, I will be making uncensored (raw) versions available on this site at a reduced cost of $20. Actually, the raw version is more valuable than the later published version which will be edited to exclude some material which could save litigants thousands of dollars in fees and court costs.
The book is bifurcated into two parts. The first (macro) part is largely a collection of stories from across the country obtained over the past ten years. Some are familiar, others are astounding, many are anonymous to protect the victims, but all of them make this a rapid-fire, page-turner. You or someone you know may even be in it.
These stories are conveyed not with depressing regurgitation but flavored by romance, humor, education and situations familiar to any parent in these courts. They come from both dad and mom perspectives with the latter derived from one I met in Paris. Hence it has international appeal even beyond English-speaking countries while touching upon most divorce and family court subjects, from custody and support to domestic violence and judicial misconduct.
The second (micro) half is a chronology of my personal ordeal. No one truly knows the full scope of persecution I endured for taking a conscientious stand against my profession. It’s the price I paid to make family courts more child-friendly and less lawyer-rewarding. This half is likely to attract lawyers, judges and politicians most because it contains renditions of high profile litigation contrasted by sweet stories about children which are sure to capture the heart.
There has never been a publication like this. If successful, it is my intent to start a new book about a victimized father in New York City and finish one about a mom in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. These are highly challenging assignments because no one wants to read about a he-said, she-said harangue in an isolated family case. Even Alec Baldwin was a failure in his book, A Promise to Ourselves, eight years ago. Media reports focused on his suicide attempts.
I apologize to all those callers I have not been able to help during these past six months of focused energy. I bear no animosities to anyone I may have offended along the way. Instead I am appealing to all fellow parents and court victims to join me in a reform effort to impact future generations. I truly believe that this book is the fateful reason for my suffering and sacrifices. They were not in vain after all. I will close with a relevant excerpt:
There were too many years of censorship by the Third Department (licensing and appeals court) which I compared to the Third Reich in my filings. True story. No mention was made of any of this in its reinstatement decision. I was simply responding with the same, if not greater level of boldness to government abuse, hence yielding a clear explanation behind the retaliation which was so severe and unjust.
So if you’re still here reading this, you’re in good company. My work has been monitored by judges, politicians, investigators, doctors, lawyers, maybe even an Indian chief. I got the interest of Donald Trump’s chief counsel in 2016. As stated, a family court gag order on my website was removed after I challenged it in New York Supreme Court. Seven website postings were attached in their entirety to a confidential ethics report. Never once was I charged or sued regarding them.
Civil Rights Advocate Leon Koziol joined by a Florida doctor, California dentist and Virginia engineer on steps of the Supreme Court to announce filing of a writ to rectify injustices occurring to parents in America’s divorce and family courts.
By Dr. Leon R. Koziol
We all know how our country was founded, but is there something from the Spirit of ’76 which tugs upon us today? Have the modern day trappings of electronic devices, moral depravity and self-love eclipsed the patriotism that defines America? Are we on a collision course with a new world order destined to erode self-governing principles to extinction?
Look no further than divorce and family courts. The rights of parents are being tortured beyond recognition for profit. Parallels to the Revolution should send chills down the spine of any conscientious lawyer truly committed to a professional oath. In plain terms, these courts have assumed monarchial authority over our children through “equity” powers carried over from feudal England, see i.e. Finlay v Finlay, 148 NE 624 (1925).
That power has expanded over time to a point where “constitution-free” zones have been erected among local tribunals fueled by a revenue generating scheme known as Title IV-D funding (family conflict incentivized by federal money from Social Security). It is a judge created “equity” power eroding a full range of rights protected by our Constitution. In so many respects, these tribunals have become more powerful than the NSA, IRS and CIA.
The parenting right traces itself well beyond the birth of our nation, indeed to the beginning of civilization itself. Governments have come and gone but families and parent-child relationships are the reasons we got here. It is that “bundle of rights” so fundamental to humanity that our founders saw no reason to put it in the Constitution. The Supreme Court declared it as our “oldest (protected) liberty interest,” Troxel v Granville, 530 US 57 (2000).
I call it the “Foxhole Syndrome,” parents anxious to tell their war stories without real concern for the greater reform movement. I have been contacted from across the country and remain unable to extricate dialogue from these foxholes, sometimes over a period of hours without donations in my suppressed state. Indeed the reform terrain resembles the movie “Terminator” with “Devil’s Advocate” as its theme. Parents are underground on the comfort of their keyboards “raising awareness” to no one who cares.
Like our Revolution, this terrain is infiltrated by traitors, spies, cowards and plain idiots which distract us from the real enemy. A key example is this CAPRA class action which should stand for Con Artist Promoting Ridiculous Action. It was concocted by a non-lawyer out of jail who managed to convince thousands of victims to join “for free.” Well a brain surgery is also free with a GED volunteer from ISIS. Fancy letters, a lawsuit face page without a person or corporate identity, and a link to an on-line dollar store should have “raised awareness” to a paper Titanic with “all hands on dork.”
This sick system extends to school programs, it is a core reason for escalating violence, the decline of all religions and immorality, and it must be dismantled and rebuilt as our nation was. Discrimination, alienation, financial exploitation and state child abuse are all forms of corruption subject to protest. So contact your neighbors, get the signs ready, and let’s show that we’ve had enough. It’s not a problem if they don’t see it, and no one sees a foxhole.
Tired of Getting Beat Up in Family Court?
America’s leading authority on family court reform, Dr. Leon Koziol, J.D., with over 25 years of trial experience, has developed a Family Court Survival Program specifically for you – regardless of how far along your matter is!
Exactly five years after an oppressed father protested discrimination by burning himself alive on the steps of Keene County Family Court, four victimized fathers calmly walked up the steps of the United States Supreme Court to file a writ for parental equality.
Media throughout the beltway were discussing it, news releases were confirmed everywhere, and these four made history outside the halls of our nation’s highest court. And it’s high time. Give dads their due. We sacrifice in the line of duty every day for our children.
Whether it be law enforcement in Orlando, firemen headed into the towers on 9-11, or our military in foreign wars, we are sick and tired of the abuses inflicted upon us in divorce and family courts. We are tired of returning to anything but “equal justice” as promised on the top of the Supreme Court edifice.
These four professionals, a doctor, lawyer, dentist and engineer made their case at a news conference on the eve of Fathers Day. They are Dr. Mario Jimenez, M.D., Dr. Leon Koziol, J.D., Dr. Dan Pestana, DDS and John Bautista, BSME, MBA, sacrificing their professional standings by taking up this cause. They need your help.
Yes it’s Fathers Day again with those worn out stereotypes about manning up. And that’s exactly what these professionals did from New York, California, Florida and Virginia. They asked our government to man up to its responsibilities for equal rights. Being born male does not give our courts a power to denigrate our authority as equal parents under supreme laws.
While other traditionally discriminated groups have made great strides in achieving reform, fathers continue to be remanded by our courts to lower class parent status with all the oppression which comes with it. Fathers remain 85% of all parents paying support, nearly 100% of those sent to a debtor prison for delinquencies and even shot dead in the back by a traffic cop while fleeing unarmed from a support warrant (Walter Scott).
After Fathers Day a group from New York City has committed itself to a protest march from the Oneida County Courthouse in Utica to a business on Broad Street. Its theme for Leon’s sake: Our children are not for sale. If you know of an organization which should join the equality writ at the Supreme Court, time is of the essence. Please call Leon, its author and presenter at (315) 796-4000.
He was an icon of American media, a whistle blower extraordinaire, a reporter and anchor for CBS 60 Minutes. He passed away today after a phenomenal career that spanned decades. When he spoke everyone listened. You easily became glued to your television sets on Sunday nights when Morley was telling a story. He did it with conviction, class and professionalism, not with political motivation or self service.
And so it was when he interviewed Dr. Leon Koziol at his law office years ago on the subject of Indian land claims and illegal gaming compacts. When an Indian tribe sued innocent landowners for their business and homes in violation of ancient treaties, Leon was hired when few other lawyers were willing to risk their careers. Leon counter-sued on behalf of a citizens group challenging an illegal gaming contact which federal, state and local leaders claimed could not be won.
Well persistence paid off. Despite all the attacks from media, judges and high profile law firms over a period of years, Leon ultimately won for the landowners. A billion dollar casino compact was declared unconstitutional in New York Supreme Court. Years later the land claim was also struck down. One of Leon’s successful rulings can be found at Oneida Nation v County of Oneida, 132 F. Support. 2d 71 (NDNY 2000).
Now Leon Koziol is seeking to declare divorce and family laws which discriminate against fathers unconstitutional. He is also seeking recourse for court corruption and parental alienation. New York Supreme Court recently signed an order against a family judge, Daniel King, to answer Leon’s mandamus and declaratory action regarding a gag order on this website, Leon Koziol.com. The lawsuit features unprecedented retaliations involving Leon’s children for his testimony before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.
It was set for a public hearing on June 10, 2016. However, today, at the request of defense counsel it was rescheduled for June 22 at 1:30 pm at the Supreme Court in Utica, New York. As a result the rally set for the earlier date had to be rescheduled for the later day, giving us more time to organize. Get involved, spread the word and join us. We can be reached at our office, Parenting Rights Institute, at (315) 380-3420 or Leon direct at (315) 796-4000.
Despite ongoing lack of donor funding on this site, Parental Advocate Dr. Leon R. Koziol continues to pursue overdue reforms to divorce and family courts. Today he attended a family rights conference at the United Nations where he introduced his Custody Court Dysfunction Report to nation delegates from around the world.
Parental rights are recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as fundamental to a civilized and free society. According to the United Nations Family Rights Caucus, the right to create and enjoy a family unit cannot be denied, it must be protected by the state. Unfortunately, parents and families are being destroyed by judges and lawyers who are exploiting children for profit through needless orchestrated conflict.
After presenting his report, Leon conversed with fellow human rights advocates and organizations. He also related testimony given before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption to a speaker and delegate from the Russian Federation. It is important that we bring world attention to the horrific abuses occurring in these courts. We will keep you abreast of follow-up and progress.
Divorce and family court victims as far away as Florida and California are already committed to attend public hearing on gag order, equal rights and parental alienation.
After ten years of litigating for parental justice as high as the United States Supreme Court, Dr. Leon Koziol may finally get his day in court on behalf of divorce and family court victims everywhere. A New York Supreme Court Justice has just signed an order to hear arguments in a mandamus proceeding on June 10 at 10:30 a.m. at the Oneida County Courthouse in Utica. Mandamus is considered extraordinary, in this case directed at a family court judge named Daniel King in Lowville, New York, and it is open to the public.
In the past, Leon was bombarded with technical dismissals, jurisdictional chaos and judge misconduct designed to suppress his overdue reform efforts in our third branch of government. Unscrupulous lawyers across America have turned our children into a lucrative trillion dollar industry eating alive our life’s earnings, retirement savings, health and college funds. And the corruption is escalating for reasons found in Leon’s ordeal described with horrific detail at Leon Koziol.com.
After 23 unblemished years practicing law in federal and state courts, he was suspended, threatened with contempt, deprived of a livelihood, denied access to (important people in his life) and now they are seizing his home. We can’t disclose who those important people are because this site is still subject to a gag order which Leon seeks to remove on June 10th so that fraud, perjury and judge misconduct can be conveyed to you when government commissions fail us.
The timing before Fathers Day and location of these arguments are also extraordinary. An opportunity like this may not occur for another ten years. Leon has sacrificed too much for this cause and is destined to lose this case because the establishment and gold mine he is seeking to reform are too powerful. But if we can finally rally together at the Oneida County Courthouse in a judicial district which includes the Fort Drum Army Base and former Griffiss Air Force Base, a profound message can be sent to courts all across America.
Leon is highly focused on protecting military, minorities and law enforcement, or those mostly harmed by the antiquated custody system. Instead of promoting shared parenting, our federal government today is obsessed with transgender bathrooms in North Carolina with Attorney General Loretta Lynch accusing us of being racists if we don’t support her. What??? Leon was a highly accomplished civil rights attorney and lawyer for a past president of the National Organization for Women. Racism and religious convictions are not the same. And while everyone else is demanding equal rights, fathers are still discriminated through an abuse of Title IV-D federal funding.
This courthouse in the center of New York state is three hours from New York metropolitan area and Buffalo, two hours from the Canadian and Pennsylvania borders. Already supporters are committed to attend from as far away as Florida and California. Hotel Utica and the Radisson downtown are less than a mile from Thruway Exit 31 (Interstate 90). These were the sites of various civil rights forums sponsored by Leon that were targeted by ethics lawyers engaged in the witch hunt against Leon. They were ultimately fired by a licensing court for falsifying their time sheets. No public charges were ever brought against them.
You may have heard about Arkansas Judge Joe Boeckmann charged this week with sexual predator crimes over a thirty year period through judicial favors. In the mandamus lawsuit and at Leon Koziol.com, you will read about Leon’s custody judge, Brian Hedges, removed from the bench for admitting to sexual misconduct on his five year old handicapped niece, family judges who fabricated college degrees to elevate Leon’s support obligations, and his consequential testimony before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption which led to more severe retributions. You will read about judges sent to prison in Brooklyn and Albany for soliciting custody and divorce bribes, and of course the “Kids-for-Cash” scandal in Pennsylvania.
It’s out of control people. Stop keyboarding in the comfort of your homes to one another and people who don’t care. “Raising awareness” this way is misguided and creates false hope. It’s time to make a stand against parent waterboarding by a corrupted system. Spread the word every way you can. After the June 10 arguments, Leon will file a petition for writ at the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C. concerning a similar mandamus action dismissed by a federal appeals court in Manhattan. An opening excerpt is provided below. For more information and desperately needed donations, contact our office, Parenting Rights Institute, at (315) 796-4000 or Leon direct at (315) 796-4000.
U.S. SUPREME COURT WRIT (OPENING):
While our federal government asserts itself around the globe to advance human rights, its military is returning to divorce and family courts which exploit children for profit. Public safety officers, such as our responders on 9-11, are being hauled into the same courts and subjected to discrimination on account of their gender or line of duty. Many are alienated from their children, committed to debtor prisons or oppressed as inferior parents to feed a trillion dollar industry.
It is a highly protected industry orchestrated under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 USC section 651 et. seq. States are rewarded by the number and size of “child support” orders manufactured by their courts. Superior and inferior custody classifications are essential to these money transfers and mandated by federal statute even when parents with near equal incomes and childrearing periods set up contrary agreements, see i.e. Bast v Rossoff, 91 NY2d 723 (1998).
Accordingly support judges have been rendered inherently biased against all those classified under the inferior “non-custodial” label with or without justification. Such classifications are arbitrary, stigmatizing and institutional in countless cases, requiring otherwise cooperative parents to compete over their children. Their infringement of a fundamental right to parent one’s offspring is easily replaced by childrearing plans and orders which retain more family oriented labels such as mother, father and parent, see i.e. Webster v Ryan, 729 NYS2d 315 (Albany Fam. Ct. 2001) at fn. 1(veteran family judge declaring “custody” and “visitation” to be offensive terms in an antiquated system which brings out the worst in parents when children need their best).
However such less intrusive custody substitutes are foreclosed by the blanket classifications and marginalized by overburdened courts committed to the funding scheme. Over time, such injustices have reached constitutional dimension while ever elusive, utopian and overbroad child rearing standards displace parental discretion without compelling state interest contrary to a right declared by the Supreme Court to be the “oldest liberty interest” protected by our Constitution, Troxel v Granville, 530 US 57 (2000)(prolonged custody case can itself violate parental rights), Parham v JR, 442 US 548 (1979)(fit parents presumed to act in their children’s best interests).
A full range of constitutional rights is easily trampled under principles of equity, or the power seized by family judges to “father” our children, see often cited Finlay v Finlay, 240 NY 429 (1925)(“paternal jurisdiction” derived from feudal common law). In plain terms, the Constitution is being ignored because the custody scheme is lucrative for those who depend upon family controversy for their livelihood. It is being facilitated by judges charged with the highest duty of safeguarding such rights, Federalist Paper No. 78; Marbury v Madison, 5 US 137 (1803).
Support inequities triggered by this scheme (child support standards act) are typically countered with custody tactics to result in untold harm to our children, i.e. Pearce v Longo, 766 F.Supp.2d 367 (NDNY 2011)($2 million city liability for police investigator committing murder-suicide with ex-spouse after exiting support court leaving children without parents). In his highly researched study, Is There Really a Fatherhood Crisis, Professor Stephen Baskerville places the blame on government: “What many are led to believe is a social problem may in reality be an exercise of power by the state,” Independence Review, vol VIII, n 4, Spring 2004, at pp 485-486.
Unsuspecting litigants are also exploited by an expanding bureaucracy under Title IV-D to finance welfare costs created by unrelated and irresponsible parents. The ones properly devoted to their children therefore shoulder an unjust burden merely because they reside separately from their partners. These support judges engage in highly abused fictions such as “imputed income” to raise obligations beyond realistic capacities. There is no express provision for shared parenting under the federal entitlement statute, and the regulatory scheme has replaced the child’s needs with “way of life” standards to elevate support even further. It has removed critical discretion from proper decision makers with outcomes that shock the conscience, see fn 3 and 4.
The “band plays on” in our nation’s family courts because civil rights attorneys and parental advocates such as petitioner are subjugated, vilified and punished for their exercise of reform efforts otherwise protected under the American Constitution. Meanwhile, gay, lesbian and trans-gender parents, soon to be victimized by this same lucrative system, have achieved far greater strides in equality with repeat court actions than fathers have over a century of discrimination.
This is a petition for writ of mandamus and prohibition directed to the federal court of the Northern District of New York. It seeks relief which is central to any self-governing society, namely, the right to seek reforms to this over regulated and oppressive system of child control. In that vein, it matters not whether the decision makers here agree with the foregoing legal posture concerning a federal statute. It matters only that the petitioner is accorded his inalienable human right to express public views and raise his offspring free of the severe retributions he sustained for criticizing our third branch of government, see i.e Garrison v Louisiana, 379 US 64 (1964).
 Petitioner’s revenue-bias conclusion was deemed frivolous by the lower court. However it is supported by our nation’s top civil rights experts at the Justice Department. They issued a report on March 4, 2015 after the Ferguson, Missouri race riots concluding that the region’s municipal courts were committing civil rights violations through concocted arrests and excessive fines as part of a revenue generating scheme. There is nothing to distinguish that conclusion from petitioner’s long asserted claims here regarding family courts which incite needless controversy to exact excessive support orders and attorneys fees. Unequal custody classifications are the workhorse behind all this with rampant prejudice against male parents which can no longer be denied or tolerated. The Census Bureau and private entities continue to report that nearly 85% of all support obligors are men. In his court filings, petitioner has described this as “the last bastion of institutionalized discrimination remaining un-checked in America today.”
 As this case verifies, money interests have displaced the “best interests of the child” in family court. Financial disclosures are mandatory for gauging child support but exploited by unscrupulous lawyers to concoct needless and even bizarre issues for fee maximization. When resources are exhausted from both parents, they orchestrate cause for settlement or client abandonment. Ethics violations are so numerous and even accepted as part of a litigious child control process that attorney disciplinary agents cannot logistically police all the abuses. Worse yet, these agents are able to abuse their entrusted positions to suppress accountability. This case features a chief ethics attorney and two lawyer subordinates who engaged in the witch hunt against the petitioner-attorney (and father) for his public disclosure of vast misconduct. They were terminated from their court-appointed positions as standard bearers of lawyer ethics after an Inspector General discovered their falsified time sheets. No public charges, ethical or criminal, were ever instituted, see Robert Gavin, Oversight lawyers quit amid inquiry, (Albany) Times Union, July 10, 2013.
 The injustices have reached epidemic proportions. Only one month after the Ferguson report, a fit and unarmed father named Walter Scott was shot dead in the back while fleeing a child support warrant during a traffic stop in South Carolina. He had been imprisoned a number of times due to a growing support debt based on imputed income capacities. Under prevailing law, an imprisoned parent for any reason continues to face support obligations at pre-commitment levels. Upon release, the debtor is typically overwhelmed and unemployable. He is nevertheless subjected to a rule that one should not profit from the mis-deeds which caused the incarceration even with full rehabilitation. Only because of the “mis-deeds” of this traffic cop, quickly charged with murder, was it publicly revealed that one out of every eight persons imprisoned in South Carolina resulted from support debts. Nearly all are male parents, and a review of warrants lists across New York reveals a similar pattern. South Carolina boasts one of the strictest support enforcement laws with jail terms of up to one year, yet it reports one of the worst collection rates under the federal (performance) statute, partial source: Robles and Dewan, Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat, New York Times (front page), 4/19/15. Debtor prisons have been invalidated since the mid 19th century but re-introduced through willful support violations. As the case before this court demonstrates, such a contempt avenue is an illusion behind a de facto debtors’ prison due to biased judges having a financial stake in the outcomes of support litigation. Such jurists bring court revenues and personal advancement through support performance measures and payments derived from sources other than the debtor parent, see i.e. Bast, supra. As relevant here, the petitioner-father issued public statements at the Walter Scott funeral before national media, civil rights groups and reporters of the New York Times as part of his ongoing reform efforts. He suffered further retributions in the lower court, state family courts and attorney disciplinary tribunals by actions and decisions beginning only weeks later.
Many loyal followers here at Leon Koziol.com have been misled by the notion that my support of shared parenting made me a fathers’ rights advocate opposed to mothers. Those who truly know my work recognize how wrong that assumption is. It’s the way our detractors profit from a corrupted court system, by pitting parents against one another. Children need both.
During my years as a practicing attorney, I saved many women from false charges and discrimination. In fact one such case led to the bias of my support court judge who was forced to step down from that earlier woman’s case. He then exacted revenge by staying on my support case and finding a violation. I also was the lawyer for a former president of the National Organization for Women.
Good mothers support shared parenting even where equal time is impractical, for example due to career demands or distance. When fathers are encouraged and facilitated, children fare best in life. That much is supported by human history and expert studies. A good mother never asks a judge to incarcerate a father for back support. No amount of money justifies the criminalization of parenthood or a debtors’ prison.
This was a stand I took against my profession eight years ago which I am still fighting today. You will receive important news on that later this week. In the meantime, as many of you know, I am writing book manuscripts for those parents wishing to publish their court ordeals for posterity or reform’s sake. The opening chapter of my latest project is offered for your education and amazement below.
It’s about parent alienation and we are hoping to get contributions for its marketing phase upon publication this year. If you have a story you would like to have published, it’s no small undertaking and requires publishing expertise and court room experience of the kind I uniquely possess. Feel free to contact me personally for details and a cost estimate at (315) 796-4000. You can also help represent yourself or seek litigation alternatives in a court program offered at http://www.parentingrightsinstitute.com.
The Tamara Sweeney Story
The first time I saw Tamara Sweeney, it was at a hotel lounge in Binghamton, a small city on the New York-Pennsylvania border. The remarkable aspect of our meeting was not how hastily it had been arranged or how we drove two hours there from opposite directions. It was her captivating smile which seemed to bring energy to a collection of fatigued business people that had congregated at the end of a work day.
Outwardly, all indications were that she was a motivated woman with a sense of confidence, a person who knew what had to be done in any given situation even if she had to acclimate to new levels of competence on a moment’s notice. Behind that flare, however, I knew this was not the real Tamara. The person I knew from my readings was hopelessly immersed in a cauldron of pain and anguish concealed by layered walls of self-preservation.
Imagine yourself a loving mom who gave life to four children in five years, three boys and a girl; a parent, days filled with feedings, baths, runny noses, kissing and hugging. The number of calendar and diaper changes would confound any corporate executive. Then, suddenly, after so many promising years with their father in a dream home, these children are seized from this mom, prevented from having any contact and left without her regular guidance and affection.
That was the Tamara Sweeney I had read about in a voluminous court record, a mother who could not have imagined the level of cruelty inflicted by her own government residing in the family courts of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She was not a criminal and despite my search of the record, I could find no evidence to justify the severe alienation she had suffered from her offspring. To the contrary, these children were her entire life.
As she approached, that incessant smile complemented the rest of her, a stunning lady which by all indications defied father time. She carried herself gracefully exuding everything genuine. Later she would boast photos of her family in diverse settings. As I gazed upon their similarly captivating faces, I could not help but conclude that a sort of Camelot had been underway in a pleasant valley community near Philadelphia, that city of brotherly love.
It was an idyllic setting without the paparazzi. However that setting would shatter when a corrupt court system seized it, a commonplace occurrence in America today. I had seen my share of shocking ordeals, but this divorce crushed logic. Having saved the falsely accused, securing record recoveries for victims of government abuse and even managing to strike down a casino compact worth billions of dollars, this story would set precedent in the court of public opinion.
The worst of my professional experiences resided in divorce and family courts which I avoided with a plague. People separate for countless reasons but that should not translate into lucrative custody battles for lawyers. Tamara had solicited me not as a lawyer but as a writer, someone who could distill her complex case into a literary work that might capture the world, not as her smile had done for me, but to tell a story which might prevent others from falling into that same cauldron.
It would be a project which took proper aim against a court system that was destroying the very fabric of a nation. As I liked to describe it, divorce and family courts were the Hotel California of the legal profession: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Resigned to her fate as a victim of a corrupted system, after exhausting civil recourse to the point of bankruptcy and homelessness, Tamara would nevertheless refuse to go quietly into the night.
No, no, hell no! I could envision her declaring. Come hell or high water, the world will know the horrific injustices inflicted upon a loving American mom. Lawyer reform and judicial accountability were high on her list of objectives, but towering over it was a fervent desire to be reunited with her babies. Unfortunately time was working against her as they approached adulthood with family court processes operating at the speed of a snail.
Competing against that process was a mother possessed by human nature. After all, is the umbilical cord ever truly cut between a loving mom and her offspring? We can put a man on the moon, split atoms, engage artificial intelligence and achieve vast breakthroughs in medicine but remain unable to tackle this extraordinary human phenomenon. It may well explain why our government is unwilling to extricate family courts from their twentieth century practices.
Those same practices made Tamara an ironic victim, swallowed whole by a gender biased system which women have been protecting for decades. Tamara was a “non-custodial parent,” a custody classification typically reserved for dads. She was not concerned about that aspect of the system. It was as if she had danced around it, the devil for years, never imagining how she could end up its prey. Instead she was obsessed with the symptoms and one in particular: Parent Alienation Syndrome or PAS.
PAS is the condition discovered and popularized by Dr. Richard Gardner three decades earlier which had yet to be recognized by the psychiatric profession or legal community. It was based on numerous cases involving parents who had suffered immense trauma from children rejecting their affection and very existence for no logical reason other than a spiteful parental counterpart. It remains a condition cultivated by lawyers anxious to pit parents against one another for profit.
American society is still unfamiliar with PAS, let alone in a position to embrace it as an epidemic. It is a single cause for health issues, moral dysfunction and social ills that have claimed more families than cancer. Indeed mass violence can be traced to this epidemic, one that finds its way into our schools, workplaces and homes. Of all the issues confronting our clergy today, few are more threatening to the viability of religion itself than this one.
However, if our government and regulated professions are unwilling to recognize it, there will be no cure any time soon. And the reason for that is the same as the explanation for tobacco, energy and drug industries. It’s all about the money. But here the cancer is eating away at the very souls of our children. PAS is the embodiment of evil depicted somewhat like it was in the film Devil’s Advocate, starring Al Pacino. The moral fiber of future generations is under siege in these courts.
Tamara’s objectives must be achieved if we are to stem this crisis. You will have to read on to know how and why, what it means to you and your loved ones. This story is about a jungle filled with primates in skirts and ties devoid of a civilized conscience. They pounce on unsuspecting parents and children for the primeval purpose of filling their bellies with modern day manna, the almighty buck. Shortsighted and self-serving, they blame their victims for the harm they cause.
Lawyers, psychologists, therapists, evaluators and former lawyers on the bench are among the predators anxious to destroy relationships which could be retained or salvaged through non-litigation alternatives. As a general observation, industrialists sell products, government sells services, businesses sell both, doctors sell advice and cures, psychiatrists sell therapy and medications, but lawyers sell controversies and promises.
Of all these stocks in trade, the last is most counter-productive to families. They do not belong in a forum created to protect our children. And when government makes it profitable for their participants to incite controversy, it is the worst kind of evil. Minor disputes erupt into major ones with the words of an unscrupulous lawyer adept at abusing the system for fee generating purposes. In the end, a protracted court battle yields irrevocable harm.
Laws have been drafted to incentivize conflict in these courts. The very structure for resolution is built upon artificially induced controversy and an unsupported foundation for distributing childrearing authority between superior and inferior parents. Shared parenting initiatives have failed time and again all across America due to a universal failure to invalidate the archaic system being protected. I have described it as the “Custodial Institution of Childrearing.”
If you are not yet convinced of the critical need for reform, consider the fact that there are more than 600,000 attorneys licensed in California and New York alone with as many candidates as there are practicing attorneys nationwide. There is no end in sight to this glut of lawyers entering the market, and the least qualified typically end up in family court. This is where apprentices learn their trade and marginal lawyers can instigate lucrative controversy to last an entire career.
The archaic process begets a host of forensic additions to the mix by request or court order, including law guardians and social workers, all in the business of dictating how our children are to be raised on vague, conflicting or utopian standards. It is job creation of the worst order, encouraging vulnerable children to hate one or both parents, destroying any notion of forgiveness and praising them for spying on their moms and dads toward a new world order of child control.
Accountability is as nonexistent as the number of malpractice cases arising in these tribunals. In the medical profession, a surgeon who performs needless operations for profit is discovered through an objective review process. In family court, when a lawyer performs a needless hearing for the same reason, there is no similar review, no real measure for competent performance. The all-encompassing child’s best interests can be satisfied by any half baked participant.
Making matters worse, parents learn too late that child alienation is a damage claim that cannot be recovered monetarily like other injuries. Hence there is no remedy for the child predator disguised in professional attire feeding on college funds, retirement plans and the very shelters of human beings until there is nothing left to consume. If you are a person who has not yet been harmed by this system, you pay for it in taxes, crime and productivity at the very least.
Tamara had no idea what she was getting into when she first retained a lawyer in April, 2012 to separate amicably with her husband of twelve years. Rick Cohen would certainly not advise her properly. As with most divorce lawyers, his goal was to generate as many fees as possible. His firm probably had a performance measure based on the number of billable hours he could orchestrate much like the federal government does for purposes of support enforcement funding.
Indeed everything was working against Tamara when she made that fateful call to his law office. Even her husband was enraged by that phone call when he learned of it. Still recoiling from the knowledge that she had entered into an extramarital relationship, he was pleading with and threatening her to call it off. Nevertheless he was served with divorce papers the following month. It was a regrettable by-product of escalating abuse in the homestead.
Years earlier, Tamara had been forced to compromise her role as primary care taker when her husband quit his lucrative position to start an on-line business. Revenue projections did not materialize, and before long the family homestead and finances were at risk. She then became a breadwinner only to learn that the boundaries which she had worked so hard to establish for her children were now in ruins. Unbearable conflicts escalated as a natural outgrowth.
When a mother verifies through proper testing that her seventh grade child is consuming alcohol and smoking marijuana, it is a shock of the worst kind. A responsible parent cannot and does not ignore the vital signs particularly as grades and social conduct tank as a predictable result. Her husband responded with more of the same, parties at their home Wednesday through Sunday and abuses so severe that Tamara found herself in a closet or locked in a bedroom afraid to come out.
Her teen boys emulated such abuses. Tamara was made out to be a disease in the homestead by an alienating parent who could not forgive let alone realize how his unrelenting anger could jeopardize crucial long term relationships. Soon it became necessary for mom to move out until the situation could stabilize. But this only harmed her custody position later on. It was the beginning of her ordeal with parent alienation and the end of the world as she knew it.
When I met Tamara in Binghamton four years later, she was a mother desperate to save the very lives of her children. She was a parent running recklessly into a burning building prepared to sacrifice herself if necessary. There were many things which amazed me about her dedication but one stood out even as I began preparations for this book. The scheduling of our first meeting had to be made around her daughter’s team event at school. Everything else took a back seat.
Days later, Tamara took a call from me while watching a ball game featuring her son. It wasn’t her presence at those events which fascinated me but that she continued to promote her children from a distance while under court orders to stay away over a two year period. The tactics used against her were the same as those inflicted upon separating parents everywhere. The idea was to shoe horn mom and dad into unequal custody roles so that child support could be justified.
This was the real Tamara Sweeney heading my way for the first time at a hotel lounge in Binghamton, New York. I had read her ordeal in substantial part. Volumes of court papers, photos and diaries sent to me the prior week. Too much to digest so early in the assignment, I was more eager to hear her story first hand, to listen intently for purposes of sizing her up, to study her facial expressions and reactions to a bevy of questions I was prepared to unload on her.
This would be best achieved in a relaxed setting, carefully but meticulously executed over a period of hours. I remained in awe over her unending smile after such a horrendous ordeal which was still ongoing. Dressed casually, blond hair feathered back to shoulder length and cosmetics applied sparingly, she angled her slender figure between a pair of table stools before arriving at my tight spot. We composed ourselves when nearby patrons made room for us.
“I was beginning to think you wouldn’t show after reading my stuff,” she opened with an embrace. “I got us a table over there in the dining area so we could be more private,” pointing over to a location by the window. “But this is okay if you like. I’m sure no one around here cares about our craziness,” she asserted jokingly but uncomfortably. Her smile expanded a bit as if it was even possible and her left arm was wrapped around a file that seemed ready to explode.
“No this is fine Timera, did I pronounce that right?” I answered, doing my best to compete with the noise and her pleasant demeanor. How did she manage it, I asked myself, wishing for the moment that we had made that move to her selected area.
“It’s alright, you said it like so many do. It’s actually Tamra, but I’ll accept either one. Not so picky you know.”
“The correct way sounds much better so I’ll stick with that. Are you hungry? Because I’m starved and ready to order.” I searched the crowded bar for service. “It was all I could do get out of Dodge before some phone call derailed our last minute meeting here. I haven’t eaten since breakfast.”
“Yeah thanks for that. I’m really not hungry but I might order something light to nibble on.” Anxious to get down to business, it wasn’t long before she moved past the perfunctory exchanges. “So how much of my material have you gotten through?”
“Enough Tamara, enough to get a decent impression of your nightmares. To be candid, it is an unbelievable story so far, and I’m not even close to an overriding theme. There’s so much going on like most divorces. But yours is an extraordinary one. I have a lot of questions.”
“Good! I’m ready. Fire away.”
“No, not so fast. We just got here. Let’s have a drink, relax a bit, have a bite, and your cross examination will come. As I explained on the phone, I like to get to know the real person I’m writing about, not just the client. Your files do that in abundance. Let’s talk for awhile on the lighter side. Then when the time comes, it’ll occur naturally. This is not a lawsuit you know.”
“Thank God! You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh of relief.
I guided her to another table away from the noise and laughter. She then placed a large binder on a nearby stool, guarding it like a sheep dog over her flock. As she explained excitedly this morning, she was able to locate it after a desperate search. This binder contained a synopsis of her divorce and family history which a judge refused to review. Privately I concluded that it had not been properly offered. For me, however, it was a blessing in disguise, a fateful error of a robotic jurist meant precisely to become the book I was about to complete. Then I continued.
“You see I’ve changed my approach on this kind of assignment. Trust me, Tamra, it works. I’ll give you references. My last subject was a woman who engaged me with conflict and dictates regularly. She came across like one who could never be satisfied. There are only so many hours in a day, and if I was billing at lawyer rates, such books would never be possible.”
Tamara nodded in agreement. She knew my own ordeal after discovering my website during a parenting conference at our nation’s capital. Anyone writing her story would have to demonstrate a requisite level of expertise before she could entrust him with her sensitive files. They were years in the making, and I certainly understood her fears. That’s because I took a conscientious and long overdue stand against my own profession in these matters and was vilified on all fronts.
“This witch hunt which my profession did against me for exposing misconduct had the fate of permitting your book. And go figure, the lawyers in that witch hunt ended up getting fired by the court for falsifying their time sheets. So much for our standard-bearers of lawyer ethics. These are the same guys charged with a duty to correct overbilling practices. I don’t know about Pennsylvania but corruption in New York is a cottage industry.” I chuckled briefly.
Tamara was immediately engaged with enthusiasm over an experience she had already read about. Now she was made a part of it, joining my amusement to where her smile might reach both ears. “Oh no, once we dig in, you’ll find that it’s just as corrupt, maybe even worse in Montgomery County. Any day I’m expecting them to be exposed and come crashing down.”
The conversation was going better than expected. We were joined not only by common experiences but clicking as if we were telepathic. That’s what tends to happen when human beings have gone down similar emotional highways. We were getting more relaxed and committed to our joint goals with each sip of our drinks.
“After months of hard work,” I continued, “that woman is now a believer. I’ll play her last phone message if you like. She called her finished book ‘brilliant.’ It’s in the hands of a publisher.”
“That won’t be necessary. I’ve read your work since that parent conference two years ago. I’ve actually been targeting you for my book ever since. I know what I’m doing.”
I was sincerely impressed that Tamara had become committed to me for so long before her first phone inquiry only three weeks ago. It made me realize that my hard work might have to eclipse my last manuscript. That would be a tall order, but so far so good. It was like entering uncharted waters, an unexplored wilderness, a journey to the edge of humanity, all for a cause destined to impact future generations.
We talked into the night like schoolmates on a first date. Anyone observing this exchange would have no idea the horrific pressures we were hiding beneath our laughs and discourse. For the time being at least, this was wonderful. Our mutual pain had subsided. Moments that meant everything to each of us became merged through a sense of shared identity. But the lightheartedness soon graduated to our business at hand.
Later that night I would summarize our opening session as a contest over who could hide their pain better. Talking about it here so freely and so far away from our homes helped us open up. And boy did we open up. On and on we went until before you knew it, the crowd had dwindled to a few stragglers from a wedding reception in a nearby ball room. The bride was now snuggled up to the bar with her newlywed and the rest of the bridal party was taking pictures in the lobby.
“Come on let’s get a picture of us too,” Tamara offered with sudden enthusiasm. “I like photos. It helps me remember special events, and I’m feeling real good about this book now.” She reached for my arm and pulled me into the open. We searched for the ideal location with a view from an expansive window. The father of the bride was drafted for the photo op.
We ended our meeting shortly after that. To my surprise we had talked incessantly for over four hours, never expecting to become so energized along the way. She turned over some additional materials from her file after walking me through her binder, cautioning me again that it had become her life’s treasure and a major reason for our trips here. I was veritably impressed with its content. This was a mother who meant business, and I was not about to disappoint.
As I turned for the hotel exit for my trip back home, I took note of the newlyweds embracing at the bar. I felt compelled to give them some friendly advice of the kind I dismissed so many years ago. I mused for awhile but opted against it. After all, there are lifetime marriages of the kind I always admired. Then I walked out into the night, a rainy, miserable and cold one while glancing up briefly into a black foreboding sky. Perhaps a storm was on its way.