The Supreme Court can no longer ignore judicial retaliation against attorney whistleblowers

NOTE: The following column is being considered for publication by a major newspaper

Leon R. Koziol, J.D.

Constitutionl Rights Advocate
1336 Graffenburg Road
New Hartford, New York 13413
leonkoziol@gmail.com

(315) 796-4000

The Supreme Court can no longer ignore judicial retaliation against attorney whistleblowers

There are a number of cases being heard by the Supreme Court these days regarding free speech. We also see it revisiting a privacy right in abortion first recognized in 1973.[1] However, the high court remains silent on the subject of judicial retaliation against attorney whistleblowers. There is no independent forum to hear such cases.

Mine is an exemplary one involving both free speech and parenting rights. The Supreme Court has declared the latter to be “the oldest liberty interest” protected by the Constitution. [2] Yet it has refused to hear my case since a witch hunt was initiated years ago to suppress my alarming reports of court corruption. They include my custody judge banned from holding judicial office due to pedophile admissions, [3] another found guilty of sexual harassment of court clerks by a judicial commission, [4] and a bullying judge censured for racist remarks from the bench.[5]

The Court’s refusal to act on this issue has harmed all of us because such retaliation continues to chill disclosures of misconduct from qualified insiders. Legal protection for this class of whistleblowers remains elusive or nonexistent. Any reports carry the high risk of punishment which in my case led to the loss of livelihood, child relationships, and unblemished reputation as a civil rights attorney. This kind of persecution is commonly associated with tyranny.

Meanwhile the same court heard one case which gave protection to a 14-year old cheerleader punished for off-campus vulgarity against school officials. The value in such expression paled when compared to the abuses I was exposing. They featured veteran suicides, unprecedented violence, parent-child separations, and vast declines in productivity caused by a federal funding scheme that incites conflict between cooperating parents in separated environments.

Due to my status as attorney and parent, exposed wrongdoers were able to censor a vital message of reform by exploiting highly confidential and intertwined domestic and disciplinary processes. Real or invented, the resulting complexity insulated them from investigative reporting and public accountability. Unlike others obtaining whistleblower recourse in our courts, I was being violated by the justice system itself.

Concededly my ordeal remains an extraordinary one. But the genius behind our form of self-governance is that each and every one of us is protected by virtue of individual rights against any abuse of power. The third branch is not above the law any more than the persons who are brought before it. To assure that equality then, our Supreme Court must take up this long-neglected case or join the movement to expand its number in conformity with our nation’s growth and not its politics.


[1]  Roe v Wade, 410 US 113 (1973)

[2]  Troxel v Granville, 530 US 57 (2000)

[3]  In re Bryan Hedges, 20 NY3d 677 (2013)

[4]  NY family court judge resigns over misconduct accusations, https://apnews.com (9/21/20)

[5]  Bullying Utica judge censured for calling lawyer a ‘cigar store Indian”www.syracuse.com 2015/02

Judge King’s “Alcohol Related Gesture” shows how far an ego will go to avenge public critics

On November 25, 2013, Lewis County Family Judge Daniel King was prepared to throw a judicial temper tantrum. He was eager to avenge public exposure of his gross incompetence by Leon Koziol two months earlier before the state’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. Among other things, King had used two college degrees that this attorney-father never earned to raise his support obligations in a family court case then pending.

Some background is in order. Judge King was newly elected, demonstrably inexperienced and assigned to an outside case. That assignment was exploited to concoct degrees as a means for punishing a qualified whistleblower of court corruption. This would please other judges similarly exposed, and Dan was anxious to be a part of their club. He would issue the highest of obligations to justify a jail term for support violations while income was being deprived through similarly orchestrated license suspensions.

Now, on this day, November 25, 2013, King was hearing a custody matter involving the same targeted father of two girls. Based on the slightest allegations of a scorned ex-spouse bent on replacing this father with a substitute boyfriend, he issued an order directing both parents to refrain from any alcohol use in the presence of the children. He also directed that these same children be lodged in separate rooms at any hotel near the location of a wedding reception involving the dad’s niece one week earlier.

The nefarious agenda of this judge came into focus again when the attorney-whistleblower-dad was accused of alcohol consumption at that reception. A so-called “mini-hearing” was therefore held on a first appearance that day to decide whether King’s conditions for attending this reception were violated. Because the proceeding was not duly noticed consistent with due process requirements, no witnesses or evidence could be provided.

Nevertheless, Judge King concluded that a champaign toast, even if never consumed, constituted a “prohibited alcohol related gesture” sufficient to justify a suspension of parenting time, one that would extend over an ensuing eight-year period to the present day. To further support that barbaric outcome, he found that the girls, aged ten and eleven at the time, although lodged in separate bedrooms of a hotel suite, were not technically in a separate location from the dad’s then fiancee.

An appeals court temporarily blocked that bizarre decision unsupported by any unfit parenting. Indeed, there had never even been a complaint to any protection agency, no alcohol related event, and no criminal record while prison inmates were being favored. However, for reasons never disclosed, the same appeals court allowed a second fully noticed hearing to go forward one month later. In that proceeding, Judge King simply set aside basic trial protocols to orchestrate a record that could support his earlier bizarre rulings. It forced the victim to walk out of that hearing after undue threats were made from the bench.

It was all simply a foregone conclusion that this so-called family judge would abuse public office for illicit reasons. Accordingly, the victimized father commenced his own inquiry into the hypocrisy of this judge based on his rumored alcohol use in the presence of his own children at a bar near the family courthouse in Lowville, New York. Together with other court victims, he was able to find that Judge King was a regular at Jeb’s Restaurant.

The interviewed bar staff even had King’s standard cocktail committed to memory with his own children seated at a nearby table. It was much more than a “prohibited alcohol related gesture” because his subjects in the courtroom could not possibly know what such a gesture might be for violation purposes. Beyond the obvious, Daniel King was a judge held to the highest standards of public office exhibiting a hypocrisy of monumental proportion.

There is so much more to the abuses of judicial office not only by King, but by many of the forty trial level jurists removed or disqualified from Leon Koziol’s 15-year proceedings. The human rights violations and whistleblower punishments over this needlessly protracted period are more than sufficient to justify an investigation by the Justice Department and Civil Rights Bureau of the New York Attorney General. Complaints before both have been filed. The ordeal is detailed in a newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris, available at any Barnes and Noble store, Amazon, publisher Author House or major bookseller on-line.

If you are a resident, litigant or voter at Judge King’s upcoming re-election in 2022, you should make your own inquiry into this judge and his protected misconduct. Many readers have expressed doubt that such bizarre orders and outcomes could be real. But a copy of the December 2, 2013 decision containing them is available for inspection. If you have anything more to offer, feel free to contact Leon directly at (315) 796-4000 for the sake of victims, parents and children everywhere.

Lawyers to Litigants: Thanks for the fees in divorce and family courts, $10 million from three clients alone!

Dr. Leon Koziol, Director

Parenting Rights Institute

Former trial attorney and judicial whistleblower

$5 million was spent in divorce fees by Dr. Eric Braverman, now in bankruptcy, $2 million by Professor Anthony Pappas without child custody issue, both in NYC, and another $2 million from small business owner, Mike Seale, to become a record for upstate Warren County. That’s nearly $10 million for three clients alone. Unlike other professions, there’s no insurance for this.

As I continue to warn such victims, if you have the resources, they’ll take every last dollar for every needless service they can concoct. They will remind you that “it’s the law” (which they created) that requires filings, petitions, motions and appeals. They dupe you into believing they are acting in the “best interests” of your children even though they know nothing about them, never conceived or birthed them, and had nothing to do with the demands of upbringing.

Indeed, many of these court predators never had children after exiting law school during a lawyer glut hungry to find anything for a fee. And yet, time and again you fall prey to their slick sound bites, only $5,000 up front before they bill you to death. You have fallen into the web of a black-widow spider, and you can’t do anything to escape, scrambling from one law office to another after regular disappointments or malpractice in search of elusive justice.

If you are successful in any of this, you might boast of your exploits against your “adversary” (the mom or dad of your own children). But the truth is, in the end, it’s the lawyers on both sides of this barbaric process who are celebrating in chambers or local country club. Come on man, as Joe Biden would say, why do you think they scrutinize your financials? It’s not so much to get you that so-called “award.” It’s to gauge how much they can bill you.

When you are tapped out, it’s suddenly time to settle. Phone calls are not returned so regularly. And your children have been deprived of their college funds, the other parent with an extended family and/or their faith in your example. So why should anyone wonder why a whistleblower like me was so viciously targeted? I’ve been exposing this corruption for more than ten years only to confirm that this is a gold mine beyond reach of accountability.

To be sure, what can a “lone wolf,” victimized dad, and conscientious attorney accomplish without financial or organizational support against bar associations and special interests?

So the best thing we can do in our foxholes is to educate one another on the realities of this epidemic. We must choose private resolution over greed, ego and vendettas. The latter is what these predators crave. Putting them out of business turns out to be your best weapon based on their refusal to restrain and reform their gluttonous practices.

To that end, subscribe to our YouTube channel, Leon’s Library, our highly censored website at http://www.leonkoziol.com, and get vital assistance at www.parentingrightsinstitute.com. If your ordeal is sufficiently outrageous, contact the Citizen Commission Against Corruption, Inc., a nonprofit devoted to keeping our public institutions accountable at (315) 864-8176.

Help us where you can. At the very least we all deserve a thankful greeting card from these unscrupulous lawyers and service providers during the holidays.

A great holiday gift for your lawyer, judge, the unwary litigant and those who properly seek to educate themselves: newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris, available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, publisher Author House, or any major bookseller on-line,

Enjoy Delmonico’s Festive Restaurants for their support of Dads during the Holidays

Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse Restaurants are noted for their superb atmosphere, nostalgic music, fine food and a staff that really makes you feel at home. On Fathers’ Day 2021, I waited patiently for my daughters Kristen and Cassandra to show up for a Fathers’ Day dinner that we had not shared in years. They never showed, not even a courtesy call, thanks to our dysfunctional family courts, Judge Daniel King and vindictive custodial parent, Kelly (Hawse) Usherwood. She worked overtime for many years to alienate them from me.

It’s a standard feature these days when lawyers concoct false petitions as a custody tactic to incite lucrative conflict between cooperating parents. Never mind the consequences to innocent children and families on such occasions, there are easy fees to be collected and federal revenues to be earned in this manner. As a dedicated dad and former civil rights attorney, I can attest to the carnage reflected by my gross mistreatment on this special day, another retribution for a conscientious stand against my profession.

Although unaware of my personal crisis on that day, I was fortunate to receive a Fathers’ Day gift from restaurant management at the Utica, New York location, 147 North Genesee Street, just south of New York Thruway exit 31 (I-90). It brought me a measure of unexpected happiness, and I took advantage of that gift with a fine steak dinner today (Sunday, December 12, 2021) for the holidays. It was a dinner coupon which was soon to expire. What a sweet Christmas present as I will again be denied my precious daughters this holiday season.

We should all thank the Delmonico’s restaurant chain for their ongoing faith in families, American traditions, their loyal patrons and making our days so special. You will see their locations in upstate New York and Orlando, Florida on the gift card attached to this post above. Treat yourself to a visit flavored by the timely photos below. You will be overjoyed at the experience. Stay in touch with our crusade for justice and shared parenting at Citizen Commission Against Corruption and http://www.leonkoziol.com.

Family Judge Daniel King, up for re-election, sent an unemployed father to jail for a noncriminal support violation leading to death at age 46

The child support practices in New York and many other states have become so draconian that they are increasingly causing early deaths among their target victims. Such practices are often mindless, revenue- driven and devoid of accountability. In too many cases, they produce jail terms and effectively kill debtor parents without commission of any crimes, thereby ending child support altogether.

Worse yet, debtor parents, desperate to avoid incarceration, surrender their parenting rights to appease underlying goals of their adversaries to secure a substitute particularly in married settings. Such was the case involving Michael Brancaccio, a father of four who was coerced into giving up his daughter in 2018 to avoid a recurring jail term imposed by Lewis County Family Judge Daniel King who is now up for re-election.

Mike had already served a six-month term for child support arrears in 2015, the maximum allowed by law, and he was now facing another identical term involving several thousand dollars. He had been through a number of jobs and could not keep up with the support orders being issued against him. During the first stint, he was committed to toughing it out by doing his time but that turned out to be a nightmare. He was also unaware that his monthly obligations continued to accrue while incarcerated in Lewis County jail.

Unable to reconcile the early release of fellow inmates on serious crimes, he was finally set free after serving a full “sentence.” He fell into a bad state of mind and was soon hospitalized for kidney failure and other complications. He survived that brush with death only to fall victim again to another support violation petition. This time he was coerced into waiving all parenting rights and access to his little girl, then aged nine, in order to have this debt erased and incarceration avoided.

The adversary mom quickly had his daughter’s last name changed to that of her new husband. This outcome devastated Mike who then returned to a depressed lifestyle while entertaining thoughts of serious revenge. On October 11, 2020, he was found dead at age 46 in his Utica, New York apartment. Those close to him who had witnessed his lively parenting periods and regular phone chats with his little girl knew that this debt-induced, permanent separation was the core reason for his downfall and early death.

That little girl cried at the funeral and asked those around her whether it was all “the court stuff” that caused her daddy’s death. She would now suffer his absence from her graduations, birthdays, weddings and other cherished events. In the end, no one in the family court system gave a rat’s ass about this barbaric outcome as they simply moved on to their next victims. Judge Daniel King who presided over it was likely unaware of the early death of the young dad he had sent to a debtor prison.

Instead, Judge King was too busy satisfying performance grants awarded to him (the state) by the federal government based on the number, size and collection of support obligations under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. Mike was simply another statistic, a means for satisfying pay hikes under the state’s new compensation law. That law was influenced by a highly controversial lawsuit brought by the state’s chief judge and court system against the governor and state legislature, the ones constitutionally authorized to decide state salaries.

It was called the judicial pay raise trilogy, Maron v Silver, 14 NY3d 230 (2010). As a result of that lawsuit, judicial pay raises are now set by an appointed group and virtually automatic. The people would likely be shocked at the judge salaries we see today, and the money had to come from someplace. Federal funding incentives and legal fictions to maximize support orders were a big part of the answer. And it did not matter that impartiality and due process had to be sacrificed to make it happen.

While there is much more to understand about this pay-to-parent scandal, the bottom line here was that a mom got her substitute dad, a little girl lost her real dad for life, that dad got a funeral, and Judge King did his part to make it happen, all in the so-called “best interests of the child.” Greater detail exists in the newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris, available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and major bookseller sites. Mike’s ordeal can be found in Chapter Five.

Upcoming Family Court election in Lewis County, NY requires a Primary against Judge Daniel King

Leon R. Koziol, J.D.

Parenting Rights Institute

Administrator’s Note: This is a column worth reading due to its exposure of court corruption that could harm any potential family court litigant. You will learn of inside practices not revealed elsewhere. Share this with others so that they can avoid similar judge abuses.

Author’s Note: As a practicing civil rights attorney until 2010, I became privy to much concealed misconduct in our courts which I exposed only to incur immense retributions. The following column is a part of my ordeal.

Daniel King had a stint as a lawyer in rural Lewis County, New York before managing to have himself elected to the position of family judge in 2012. Upon taking office, he was assigned to cases in much larger counties of New York’s Fifth Judicial District (Syracuse, Utica-Rome and Watertown). These included criminal court matters beyond the limited jurisdiction of family court under the state constitution. But because of a highly abused assignment provision in that same document, he was able to become assigned to cases normally handled by other specialized judges.

This bizarre assignment process took Judge King away from duties properly committed to his Lewis County constituents but he must have enjoyed all the prestige it was giving to him. It is a court process largely off-record and beyond challenge by impacted parties. It represents only one of many reasons cited by the New York bar for a constitutional convention in 2017 to rectify the state’s complex 11-trial court system. That system was compared to our most populous state of California which has a single trial level court. For the same reason, this judge in a county barely having more than 25,000 residents was able to preside in counties having over 460,000 residents. These were places where he never would have been elected, where the voters now had no say in his assignments.

As corruption or bad luck would have it, Daniel King was assigned to my custody and support matters in Oneida County (Utica-Rome) only six months into his term. It was ordered by District Administrative Judge James (Bond) Tormey. Jim acquired the spy designation because he was named in a successful civil rights lawsuit brought by a chief court clerk who refused to engage in “political espionage” (according to a federal judge). This chief clerk was ordered to spy against judge candidates of an opposite political party and was subjected to retaliation by assignments to remote locations.

This retaliation patterned my family court assignments to many of the same remote locations in retaliation for my whistleblowing activity. The clerk recovered $600,000 because, unlike litigants harmed by comparable wrongs, court employees are not subject to judicial immunity. I know the corruption exposed here at Leon Koziol.com is often hard to believe, but this one can be verified at Morin v Tormey, 626 F.3d 40 (2nd Cir, 2010)(a federal appeals court ruling in Manhattan). Somehow the learned judges who reviewed the retaliation against me could not see a problem with any of this. It was not even mentioned in their subsequent decisions on my state appeals and federal civil rights cases.

Emboldened by those unjust decisions, Judge King began a process of systematically alienating me from my precious daughters. The tactics used are beyond conscience, but you will have to simply brace yourself for the revelations made now, years later, so that one can see how truly corrupt, hypocritical and political these family court processes can be. Daniel King was eventually forced to step down from my support and custody cases but not before irreparable harm was inflicted, the kind that warrants not only millions of dollars in state compensation, but a profound investigation by both the U.S. Justice Department and Civil Rights Bureau of the New York Attorney General.

The voters of Lewis County must be made aware of King’s reign in their family court because any one of them could become victim to his juvenile behavior. This rural county is dominated by Republicans and Conservatives, hence a voting democracy here is best served by a primary candidate. If party leaders are mindlessly committed to an incumbent endorsement, a Republican challenger can easily overcome this by going directly to the people. That much is easy to do here. No media or special interests will prevent a door-to-door campaign. Even a third-party candidate will send the message that we are sick of do-nothing, politically-appointed, window-dressing, misconduct commissions.

To be sure, why not send a profound message that the rest of our nation can applaud and emulate in a state where our country was born, where Revolutionary War sites abound? Judge King exhibited exactly what his name suggests, a petty tyrant too immature to restrain his ego, impressing his judicial superiors so that an endorsement would be a given and his abuses forgotten years later. If anything, the value of our voting power lies in our ability to remember, to exert recourse when our oversight entities fail us. This is such a case, and we must find a judge candidate while time allows, and that time is now.

This judge tyrant acted on his first day of assignment issuing an order based on the one-sided assertions of an ex-spouse hell bent on replacing me with a childless millionaire having questionable motives. The accuser was not present at an event she was describing which warranted no intervention. She cited or produced no witness to back up her self-serving narratives. In short, anything that could be thrown at the lawyer-dad (judicial whistleblower) by a scorned party would be accepted as gospel with no moral compass or remorse of any kind. This King could care less about the grave consequences to wonderful, long-established, father-daughter relations at the time.

When asked in open court what basis was being used to issue his child access limitations, King managed to rationalize that he was somehow “protecting” my children, two girls he had never met, never raised, or made possible in the first place. This “best interests of the child” standard was abused beyond reason with power that had simply gone to King’s head. Only weeks later, he increased a child support obligation using college degrees (PhD and Masters) that I had never received. When called to task in later court filings, he refused to acknowledge his blunder, clear from the record, and dismissed it as “harmless error.”

Because there is no meaningful judicial oversight commission, I was forced to expose that blunder, among others, in testimony before ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption at Pace University on September 17, 2013 (Constitution Day). Ironically that governor dissolved this commission prematurely when testimony began implicating top state officials in criminality. But fortunately one of the speakers was a federal prosecutor incensed by this maneuver. He seized commission files and ended up convicting the leaders of both houses of the legislature and a top Cuomo aide. Within three months of my highly public and damning exposure, Judge King ended the parenting time granted to me one year earlier by a veteran family judge in Syracuse.

Unlike that judge there was no trial here, and the one King concocted on another first appearance was labeled a “mini-hearing.” Because no advance notice was provided, no proof could be offered. No complaint had ever been filed with any child protection agency and I possessed no criminal record. Nevertheless, an infuriated Judge King suspended all child contact based on an admitted champaign toast at a niece’s wedding with my girls present. He called it a “prohibited alcohol related gesture” which was never prohibited anyway assuming one could figure out what such a gesture could be.

This is not something that can be made up. Despite prison inmates who were being treated with greater respect, this “prohibited gesture” can be found on page five of a December 2, 2013 decision. It was quickly stayed (stopped) on appeal, but when a panel of judges in Rochester got hold of it, my parenting time was again suspended without explanation one day before a properly noticed plenary (full) trial before Judge King. Shortly into that trial, conducted without jury, the sworn narratives of an unrepresented ex-spouse was allowed to proceed without any logical or legal constraint. This presiding judge directed me to cease making objections under penalty of removal so that he could orchestrate a desired record to back up his earlier bizarre rulings.

That plain scheme forced me to exit proceedings early not only due to its gesture in futility but to prevent a clearly biased judge from using me as part of any legitimate process. However, my exit also enabled King to treat the one-sided concoctions as true. Apart from a few holiday hours, I was then denied all parenting time to the present day, eight years later. Judge King was finally removed from my case after I successfully challenged his 2016 gag order on this website, Leon Koziol.com, thereby adding a First Amendment dimension to his combined assault on my parenting right. The Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that right to be “the oldest liberty interest protected by our Constitution,” Troxel v Granville, 530 US 57 (2000).

This is only a portion of my horrific ordeal which prompted me to seek international protection in Paris. It also prompted my September 23, 2021 testimony before Governor Kathy Hochul’s blue-ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations. Such evaluations were abused here to carry out the retaliation agenda. This is no John Grisham story but a true human rights odyssey captured in my newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris. Available at any Barnes and Noble store, Amazon (which gave it a five-star rating) or major on-line book seller, this book should be obtained by anyone seeking a candidacy or poetic justice in Lewis County.

Spread the word, kindly contribute to our cause, and many thanks for your support.

Shared Parenting: Why has it been so stifled despite decades of carnage caused by the antiquated custody system?

By Leon Koziol, J.D.

Director

Parenting Rights Institute

The above news article published by a mainstream newspaper in 2009 reflects the lack of progress in attaining fair treatment in our divorce and family courts. Despite surveys showing overwhelming support for shared parenting laws, relevant bills in Congress and our state legislatures have failed to achieve any meaningful progress. This dilemma exists despite vast increases in suicide, child murders and crime statistics traceable to the current antiquated child custody system. That system was constructed around a child rearing framework featuring stay-at-home moms and working dads.

I established the National League of Fathers, Inc. in 2008 to promote fair treatment consistent with my decades of practice as a civil rights attorney. However, that organization collapsed early due to misplaced priorities and a lack of financial support while the retributions suffered as a consequence violated all manner of human rights. Sadly, one of its board members hung himself from a tree in response to the horrific treatment he endured. Our goal was to reverse an alarming trend of fatherless families and the targeting of male parents to fund a court system which still discriminates on account of gender.

The Census Bureau steadfastly reports that over 80% of persons paying child support are men. Had that statistic reflected discriminatory employment against women in this day and age, riots would have erupted. To be sure, countless dads continue to be forced out of their children’s lives due to the hostage treatment exhibited in these courts and the draconian, one-sided manner of support enforcement.

I have explained all this in a recent post entitled, The Torturing of Child Support and its escalation of Parental Alienation. Specifically, our federal government, already reeling from a spending crisis, continues to supply these courts with incentive grants to the tune of billions of dollars annually under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. This funding law is based on the number and size of support orders manufactured in the states. It therefore incentivizes lucrative conflict between parents forced needlessly to fight over their own offspring.

In my newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris, I have likened this parent alienation process to the Roman Coliseum. That book provides a valuable crash course for unsuspecting litigants and parents on the realities of our domestic relations courts and could prevent thousands in lawyer fees. It is important, therefore, that you do your part in exposing this silent epidemic virally and donating to our cause at http://www.citizencommissionagainstcorruption.org.

Shared Parenting: Has Anything Changed in Thirty Years of Discrimination?

The following Guest Column appeared in a mainstream newspaper of upstate New York 12 years ago. Read the highly informative content. Has anything changed today?

Steven Boyd feature: A father loses his child to a deranged mom doing a life sentence

Syracuse vs Villanova: A Fathers Rights Classic

The storm is upon us as time runs out to unmask an alluring image of our divorce and family courts

Tonight’s college basketball game between Syracuse and Villanova harkens back to an incident twelve years ago when a member of the National League of Fathers, Inc. called in requesting a postponement of a meeting so that he could experience the same rivalry at the Carrier Dome.

Tonight’s game at 9 pm EST will be played at Madison Square Garden as part of the Jimmy V (Valvano) Classic, so it is unlikely that a similar request will be made. However, the phone conversation, as recalled today, helps explain why fathers continue to be discriminated in our nation’s divorce and family courts.

Unlike the hard-hitting advocates for special interests and women’s rights, many fathers or men’s rights groups continue to be misguided in their priorities. Some assume that fathers are inherently incapable of being parents and require education of some kind. Others feed the stereotype by recommending therapy and inspirational guidance (reimagination).

Still others cannot see the forest for the trees, providing no lobbying effort to secure meaningful reform. They view public protests as a gesture in futility, something beneath their high status, when laziness or depression is the true explanation. Finally, there are the self-appointed, voodoo lawyers giving useless advice while contributing nothing to the cause (keyboard warriors in the comfort of their homes).

The long-ago conversation mirrors what continues today, and it went something like this:

“Hey, this is Adam, and I’m wondering if you could postpone tonight’s meeting because Syracuse is playing Villanova at the Dome, and a lot of guys are going.”

“Well it’s too late for that, maybe you should’ve called sooner because too many dads are already attending our meeting. We can’t just cancel for a basketball game.”

“Too bad, ’cause more of us would be at your meeting if it could be changed. That’s just common sense.”

“Alright, let’s look at common sense. You’re asking us to postpone a long-scheduled meeting of concerned citizens so that you could attend a game which goes something like this: a group of five guys runs down a shiny wooden floor to throw an orange ball into the air with the hope it falls through a white net. When that happens, the scoreboard lights up and a bunch of people jump up and down with applause. That routine goes on until the group with the highest points finishes in time. Have I got this right?”

“No need to break my balls, I was just making a suggestion.”

“Break your balls? Seriously? Because while you’re playing with your balls, orange, white or brown, your opponents in the real world are getting bills passed and lobbying to preserve a gold mine with this antiquated, lucrative and incendiary child custody system. You were insulting all the hard work we do with that lame request, sacrifices that you take for granted. This is why you keep getting your butts kicked in divorce and family courts.”

“So how’s your meeting going to help me?”

“This is not all about you, and we can’t do much for you anyway while you’re at some ball game. Beyond that, without donations to rival the millions used to protect a gold mine, we can only do what we can. Our meeting seeks to turn the tide of a fatherless society that is causing suicides among veterans, escalating violence in our schools, crime in the neighborhoods and a total breakdown of moral fiber. You do understand this, don’t you?”

“Oh go screw yourself, you guys don’t know what you’re doing anyway. I may only have a GED, but I can do better.”

“Where, at tonight’s bleachers, jumping and yelling to no one who cares?”

DIAL TONE …