NSA WHISTLEBLOWER EDWARD SNOWDEN has weighed in on the presidential document scandal by citing lawyers in the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the real culprits given their select treatment of influential officials. Along with a hopelessly divided Congress, their focus remains on career advancements and notoriety to the detriment of those exposing court corruption.
In contrast, low level whistleblowers face immediate prosecution and punishment. As one such victim, a civil rights attorney who fled to Paris for asylum in 2014, I blew the whistle on criminal activity in our justice system. Yet no one to date has reported on my shocking ordeal repeatedly litigated and made public at www.leonkoziol.com.
Leon R. Koziol, J.D. practiced law for more than two decades in federal and state courts. A former city councilman, school board attorney and corporation counsel, he developed a diverse professional background to become ideally suited to exposing corruption. He appeared on the CBS program 60 Minutes for his defense of landowners targeted for eviction by Indian tribes alleging violations of ancient treaties. In 2004, he secured a judgement in New York Supreme Court invalidating the billion dollar Turning Stone casino gaming compact.
His recoveries feature substantial jury verdicts for victims of government abuse. Case citations include, Koziol v Hanna, 107 F.2d 170 (NDNY 2000); Patterson v City of Utica, 370 F.3d 322 (2nd Cir.2004); Oneida Indian Nation v County of Oneida, 132 F. Supp. 2d 71 (NDNY); Peterman v Pataki, 2004 NY Slip Op 51092(U); Currie v Kowalewski, 842 F. Supp. 57 (NDNY 1994) and Parent v State, 786 F. Supp. 2d 516 (NDNY 2011).
The latter was a consolidated case intended as a class action on behalf of parents defrauded in domestic relations courts. It was part of a bold and complex challenge to judicial and sovereign immunity which yielded severe retributions upon the author’s licenses and parent-child relations. The horrific ordeal which led to a near death climax was captured in his book, Whistleblower in Paris, published in 2021.
Daniel King is seeking re-election as county/family judge in Lewis County, New York. But an antiquated court structure allows him to preside in all the larger counties of the Fifth Judicial District which includes the cities of Syracuse, Utica and Rome. Put another way, by succeeding quietly to judicial office in a county having roughly 25,000 residents, a judge candidate here can end up presiding over non-residents numbering well over a million without their consent.
That makes the judge race here critical to all litigants of this upstate district not only because it features an outdated and irrational court structure, but the vast and unpredictable assignments take time and resources away from the people who actually need it and voted for it.
Most voters are not aware of this bizarre assignment system headed by an administrative judge in Syracuse. Even though the New York bar issued a convincing report to reform the state’s 11-trial court structure on a par with our country’s largest court system in California which has one, that effort ended when a constitutional convention was turned down by voters with union influence in 2017. And that means that if Daniel King is re-elected, his own influence will extend well beyond county borders without any vetting process for impacted voters.
In Dan King’s case, a Jeckle-Hyde demeanor makes him the worst nightmare for the entire Fifth Judicial District. As an unblemished trial attorney in federal and state courts for nearly a quarter century, I have been privy to countless judges, juries and litigants. But when I challenged this antiquated structure as an impacted litigant and qualified whistleblower, I was suddenly targeted and destroyed professionally to an unprecedented degree.
The relentless retaliation coming at me from all directions over a fifteen-year period finally landed me in the emergency room at Albany Medical Center last year with a dire prognosis. The details of my ordeal are now a part of my recently published book, Whistleblower in Paris, as well as the shocking exposures on this blog site, http://www.leonkoziol.com. Daniel King was assigned without litigant consent to my family court matters, and he promptly asserted himself as the “protector” of my precious daughters in July, 2013, six months after his first election.
Judge King was not present when my girls were born, he knew nothing of their upbringing and there were no neglect or abuse petitions lodged against me before any state agency. Meanwhile competing cases were being delayed and criminals allowed to roam free. King’s demeanor on a first appearance was therefore suspect at the very least, but he proceeded to avenge my “audacious” challenge to his superiority by issuing a series of parenting orders that effectively made it a contempt risk to see my offspring in any meaningful way.
This judge, charged by oath and constitution to exert impartiality, refused to hear my side of a custody violation petition, many of which were dismissed among the 40 or so jurists assigned to my domestic matters since 2007. This was and remains unprecedented in judicial history by most accounts, but that same number was sufficient on the record to demonstrate systemic bias after my motion for transfer to another district was denied the same year. It ultimately caused permanent separation from my daughters.
An increasingly informed public has described this as Parent Alienation Syndrome or PAS. So absurd were Dan King’s retaliatory orders that he rendered one on December 2, 2013 suspending child contact based on, among other bizarre conditions, a “prohibited alcohol related gesture” (wedding toast). I am not making this up. Anyone can find it on page 5 of his relevant decision. This order was stayed (temporarily overturned) one week later, but by this time, others came to his rescue due to my continued whistleblowing activity.
My commitment to justice helped expose such corruption as my custody judge which King replaced, namely Brian Hedges, permanently banned from the bench by the high court of New York due to his admission of pedophile behavior with his handicapped five-year old niece. In 2016, Judge King issued a gag order disguised as a protection order on this site. It was removed when I challenged it on First Amendment grounds in state supreme court.
Within weeks of a relevant court order signed against him, Judge King finally stepped down. Not surprisingly, all these exposures and challenges to judge authority made me a pariah, ultimately forcing me to seek human rights protection in Paris. The notion that I could be jailed for a non-criminal debt called “child support” (caused by retaliatory law license suspensions) was too much to bear when considering a parent suicide influenced by a Judge King support contempt order (more on that in a future post).
Today I remain a victim of joint whistleblower targeting which would be questioned by the public at the earlier time. However, with all the bold arrests, false charges and preferential treatment being made public these days regarding national figures, my ordeal is now quite believable. To be sure, Judge King was relying on memory loss of his voters and victims when he abused judicial office, but we did not forget with this election opportunity now upon us.
So please, for the sake of families, parents and litigants everywhere, help us end Dan King’s Jeckle-Hyde tenure by electing a worthy and highly qualified opponent, Caleb Petzoltz, for Lewis County judge. Although he was unsuccessful in his Republican Party primary challenge this past June, turnout was low, and he was able to obtain a place on the November 8th ballot on other major and third-party lines.
Do not be fooled by King’s boyish appearance, friendly rhetoric, number of campaign signs or endorsements. A similar onslaught of sign pollution failed to get the late Utica Mayor Ed Hanna re-elected, and presumably none of the politicians endorsing this man experienced his Jeckle-Hyde conduct as a court litigant. Even if they did come before him, would they now get favored treatment as a result?
To conclude, in contrast with the crusade of recent years to discredit my reputation, my prior record as a prominent attorney, dedicated dad and office holder cannot be erased. Among my many accomplishments are precedent decisions, successful jury verdicts and client recoveries totaling well over a million dollars.
I was even able secure decisions in federal and state court against high powered law firms and Department of Justice invalidating the Oneida Indian Turning Stone Casino gaming compact on behalf of politically disadvantaged rural landowners. It earned me an interview on the CBS program, 60 Minutes. A documentary regarding my ordeal is in the works but will not be in time for this crucial publication.
A few case citations proving my true record are provided below:
Koziol v Hanna, 107 F. Supp, 2d 170 (NDNY 2000)(successful First Amendment jury verdict ultimately obtained in federal court)
Patterson v City of Utica, 370 F.3d 322 (2nd Cir. 2004)($333,820.32 federal jury verdict argued beforeb Justice Sonia Sotomayor)
Oneida Indian Nation v County of Oneida, 132 F. Supp. 2d 71 (NDNY 2000)(removal of injunction upon state court challenge to gaming compact); see also Peterman v Pataki, 2004 NY Slip Op. 51092 (U).
The ongoing ordeal of a judicial whistleblower has necessitated an update to the epilogue (concluding summary) of my recently published book, Whistleblower in Paris. If you have already purchased a copy, available at any Barnes and Noble store, Amazon or major bookseller on-line, this update should energize you to demand reform and accountability. It may also prevent you from becoming a victim of abuse, prevent undue fees and educate you to the realities of these courts. If you are learning of the book for the first time, this update might convince you to obtain a copy. It is a highly intriguing insight based on more than thirty years of litigation experience from a former trial and appellate attorney. That concluding summary is reproduced below:
As a civil rights attorney, I spent over two decades litigating for victims of race, gender, religion and ethnic discrimination. This included sexual harassment cases when they were unpopular. Many successful verdicts, monetary recoveries and precedent outcomes resulted. But my crusade for justice was not limited to minorities. It also extended to white landowners wrongfully threatened with eviction in the Oneida Indian land claim. Police brutality cases were similarly prosecuted for diverse victims, and I represented a public safety commissioner, police chief and rank and file officers whenever they were falsely accused.
In short, I was motivated to correct injustices to a point where I managed to have a billion-dollar casino compact invalidated on constitutional grounds in New York Supreme Court. The Las Vegas Sun reported it as a David-Goliath battle won by “the small Utica law firm that won the case.”  Among the defense firms was Cravath, Swaine and Moore, one of the most powerful in the nation. These achievements earned me praise from federal and state judges. The court transcripts, headline news and published opinions bear this out.
However, when I turned my energies to correcting human rights violations in divorce and family courts, I was viciously targeted. Suddenly, my arguments were incomprehensible, rambling and frivolous after twenty-three unblemished years. Even I underestimated the wrath of a corrupt regime bent on retaliation for my exposure of corruption involving a judge-lawyer gold mine. In numerous public statements, I cited federal funding abuses and lucrative custody battles that were inciting child murders, veteran suicides and needless parental conflict.
As a consequentially victimized parent, I was then forced to assume the mantra of a judicial whistleblower devoid of legal protection. The horrific ordeal here remains unprecedented in modern times. Among the practices I condemned in chapter two and an earlier book, Satan’s Docket, was the abuse of forensic custody evaluations. Then, in January, 2022, a blue-ribbon panel appointed by New York’s governor voted to eliminate these evaluations altogether. I made a presentation at a virtual public hearing sponsored by that panel asking for this very outcome, but like the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption (where I also appeared), it is doubtful that any genuine reform will be implemented. That is how powerful this gold mine has become.
So, in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, I sponsored a three-day event at our nation’s capital in May, 2019. Its goal was to elicit a Justice Department investigation and congressional hearings into the rampant human rights violations and federal funding abuses which continue to be ignored in these custody and support courts. We featured planning sessions, a lobby day among the offices of Congress, expert speakers at a hotel ballroom, a candlelight vigil in front of the U.S. Capitol, and a march down Pennsylvania Avenue under police escort from the White House to the Supreme Court.
All of this was accomplished without incident on a shoestring budget. At least four necessary permits were obtained together with regulatory compliance. Parents came from all parts of the country to register their peaceful protest against divorce and family court corruption. Yet not a single member of Congress responded. Then-president Donald Trump never materialized in front of the crowd assembled at the White House. Not even a representative was sent. The Justice Department weighed in with the same message that parental rights were not even on their radar. His successor, Joe Biden, proved oblivious to this crisis altogether.
So what is the lesson to be realized from all this? Peaceful protests to benefit parents, children and families of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds will be ignored. They yield no respect whatsoever while the same politicians beg for our support on election day through such things as a voting rights bill. Therefore, it is time for those struggling against parental alienation, custody abuses and support debtor prisons to take matters into their own hands. Stay away from lawyers and these courts, set aside your custody and support disputes, and keep abreast of fellow victims who need your help. In this way at least, we might succeed in closing the gold mine.
Thinking back to all the craziness I endured for more than a decade under the yoke of this antiquated child custody regime, it still amazes me that not a single inquiry was made by the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding the many complaints I lodged. How could so much corruption become so buried? I am also amazed at all the physical restraint I practiced. Under our form of government, when the courts break down, victims can seek recourse outside the system. Nevertheless, my restraint led to poetic justice in so many ways.
Among the Sadistic Seven, Michael Daley is no longer a judge, having failed to garner enough support for re-election to the bench. His unpopularity was borne out later when he was defeated in an election for his old job as a local prosecutor. Last I heard he was representing traffic clients in Utica city court.
Judge Martha Walsh-Hood continues to serve as a family court judge as does her colleague Michele Pirro-Bailey in Syracuse. Judge Daniel King is still on the family court bench in Lowville, New York, but is up for re-election in 2022. At a minimum, my whistleblower testimony before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption should be raised by any opposing candidate. The judge collusion inferred by King’s sudden removal of his gag order during my mandamus action in state Supreme Court remains a part of the public record. The manner in which this was all arranged behind closed doors demands a proper investigation.
Regardless, not one of these judges was elevated to higher office. This includes Judge James Eby who no longer presides over my case in Oswego, New York. In the aftermath of his uncorrected bias, innocent third parties were irreparably harmed. During his bombastic antics directed at me, he gave no concern for extended family similarly denied all contact with my daughters. He simply pressed on with his ego-driven agenda of retaliation to maintain favor among colleagues on and off the bench.
To be sure, as director of the Parenting Rights Institute, I continue to receive complaints about him, one from a custodial mother regarding his knack for keeping the fees coming. He makes a mockery of this self-serving rationale of acting “in the best interests” of our children whose basic needs and college funds are raided. Entire families are bankrupted in the process while inciting domestic violence. An adversarial process rationalized by truth-seeking objectives cannot withstand the ultimate injury it yields when children are placed at needless risk compelling parents to resort to uncharacteristic extremes to protect them.
Similarly, Judge Gerald Popeo in Utica is also no longer presiding. He declined re-election prospects following my crusade against him in 2018. The judge censure which he blamed partly on me no doubt played a role in his decision. Magistrate Natalie Carraway continues her routine in support courts of Herkimer County, presumably charting a course for higher judgeship. Meanwhile, I continue to receive unsolicited praise from countless parents who publicly credit me for private changes in attitude among certain well-meaning jurists.
But it may also be said that poetic justice was served beyond the Sadistic Seven. My pedophile custody judge, Bryan Hedges, was permanently banned from the bench by the high court of New York, his colleague in Syracuse, Michael Hanuszczak, was forced to step down for sexual harassment of his court clerks, and Magistrate G. Stephen Getman lost an election for family court judge. His license suspension for mishandling client money caught up to him in that race.
My ex-secretary was jailed for crimes upon later victims. Her scheme with outsiders to orchestrate ethics issues in my office together with her tampering of mail and files resulted in the removal of a $220,000 mortgage claim on my home. It is unlikely that she will ever be hired for another law-related position given her felony convictions and our creation of a pretend lawyer website that features her. She would not have contemplated such crimes unless cloaked with some concealed protection while my office supervision was derailed by the family court battles.
My ex-wife was removed from the millionaire’s home in 2016 after wasting untold resources to pursue a needless parent alienation campaign bent on greed, revenge and jealousy. She too could not have succeeded without the undisclosed backing of many of the judges assigned to our case. But this particular campaign exceeded the worst I have come across. It can only be described as something hatched out of hell itself, a new form of evil. It harmed not only her children and their father but it devastated her own world. Yet she pressed on like the proverbial energizer bunny.
You would think that this “custodial parent” learned a profound lesson when her relocation scheme to that millionaire’s home was exposed. It featured the “gmai.com” concoction which she and the child attorney tried to pass as proper notice of a new residency. At a minimum, a parent has a right to know where his or her children are residing and with whom so that they can be better safeguarded. But here, despite undeniable proof of deceit upon the father, court and schools, this scheme was accorded no accountability in contrast with money obligations (child support) which were hounded to a point of arrest warrants, jail commitments and even death.
This one-sided persecution had no effect on her commitment to forever end all father-daughter relationships developed since birth. In August, 2021, the newly married Kelly Usherwood contrived an exit from the region on the day after my youngest daughter’s eighteenth birthday. She placed her home on the market and relocated both my girls to an undisclosed residence without even an identity of colleges they were now attending. By text message, she directed that any information was to be exchanged through the maternal grandmother nearby.
As fate would have it, this grandmother deceased only three months later. Meanwhile, circumstances showed that the e-mail exchanges made between father and his daughters were actually being made by the mother. This is how devious the alienator had become to achieve her objective of a family unit completely isolated from the biological father, one who had never even been found to be an unfit parent. It proved to be spite, greed and status which motivated Kelly Usherwood to pursue the unimaginable while the band played on in these corrupt family courts.
None of this should surprise the reader given the content of earlier chapters and the growing horrors of parental alienation throughout the country. The unilateral directives of this deranged mother comported with no court order, but with the long confirmed systemic bias among numerous assigned judges in New York’s Fifth Judicial District, and the deference repeatedly given them by federal court, all courthouse doors had been closed in terms of any civil recourse. If Daniel King could invent a “prohibited alcohol related gesture” (wedding toast) as a reason to suspend child contact, how could I expect any sanity from the judges who replaced him?
The recent concealment of my daughters raises concerns that could warrant an amber alert given the bizarre conduct of the alienator-abductor. It occurred in the aftermath of my extended hospital stay only months earlier. Despite a life-threatening condition, no direct contact was received from my daughters. By the time the realities of brainwashing caught up to them, it would be too late to revisit countless precious moments captured in home videos and photos.
In the end, it begs the question: what kind of evil lurks in the body of Kelly Usherwood? The answer may lie in some sequel of American Greed or a psycho movie. Even my girls were not spared the karma behind their immoral disregard of dad during his hospital stay, the man who made their existence possible. Both daughters were forced to suffer through a pandemic which is continuing. Graduations, proms and other once-in-a-lifetime events were either canceled or subjected to highly diluting regulations.
As for the ethics lawyers who helped facilitate this chaos, they were forced to resign after an investigation into falsified time sheets. Would-be clients continue to be denied qualified representation. Even after eleven years of license suspension, I continue to receive calls from victims who cannot secure basic legal advice. The system justified this by support obligations that cannot be satisfied without the licenses, resources and liberties that were seized.
This so-called disciplinary process was abused to achieve censorship, thereby making its perpetrators complicit in the resulting crimes upon humanity. Despite all this, corruption was exposed on a vast scale after unprecedented numbers of jurists were removed from my originally uncontested divorce. Those removals helped alter the divorce culture in a positive way while exposing the underbelly of a court system hell-bent on revenues and profits.
But I paid a high price. Out of law school in 1987, I was able to secure a restraining order on a $30 million high school project,  I won my first interstate divorce appeal two years later,  my name appears on two dedication plagues of the Utica city courthouse as an elected councilman and corporation counsel, I was a featured speaker regarding Native American land claims across upstate New York, and I won a $300,000 civil rights recovery against my local Sheriff which may have factored into the later antics. Other high-profile cases are cited at footnotes 7-11.
Today I am unable to get a family judge to order phone contact with my own daughters.
In raw terms, you can kill a targeted person with a gun or accomplish the same outcome with a drawn-out process that chips away at your existence. Parent alienation is such a process. It is more than a psychological syndrome or human rights violation, it is a proven killer of victimized parents. Whether it be a suicide, terminal illness or some other brutal consequence, the needless separation of a loving parent from his or her children is simply unconscionable. And when forcing the victim to pay for the child abduction through support payments under penalty of a debtor prison, it becomes utterly barbaric.
Judges are quick to overlook this reality as they routinely find breaches of various duties in personal injury cases to achieve million-dollar verdicts. But when greater breaches of ethical duties are presented regarding their own conduct, they cloak themselves with judicial immunity on the rationale that such liability would deter qualified candidates from seeking judgeships. Utter nonsense, most lawyers crave these prestigious titles, and a judge complying with job requirements has nothing to fear. If anything, this absolute immunity encourages misconduct while politically-appointed oversight commissions fail us time and again.
This ordeal warrants a Justice Department investigation and congressional inquiry. It would benefit countless moms, dads and families similarly situated. There are tremors of unrest throughout this country which are being ignored. Hardly a day goes by without some child murder, needless suicide or unpredictable homicide traced to these dysfunctional courts. What remains of a stable society is largely made possible by the free exercise of parental liberties and self-governance. It is my fervent hope, therefore, that a powerful movement emerges from my sacrifices that forces our government to pay attention to its own parents.
This literary work is by no means an indictment of our justice system or legal profession. However, it verifies in painstaking detail how a conscientious attorney, model parent and judicial whistleblower can be so ruthlessly punished for his crusade to deliver overdue reforms to our system of family court justice. The people rely on qualified insiders to alert them to corruption in our third branch of government. It accentuates the need for attorney whistleblower protection.
Finally, this book is directed against the divorce industry and the family court predators who are dragging justice down to hell, a people’s courthouse reduced to a giant profit center. All this corruption might compel another victim to resort to violence. But I was able to forbear it and achieve some justice in more constructive ways. My old friend, Sir Walter Scott, gave me sage advice in that regard:
For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good he performs, but the evil he forbears
66. Michael Gormley, Judge strikes down pact, Las Vegas Sun, June 29, 2004. Peterman v Pataki, 2004 Slip. Op. 51092. The final judgment was affirmed on appeal.
67. In Rome Concerns Citizens v Rome City School District, this restraining order made possible a state-of-the art high school now located at the Griffiss Technology Park. As fate would go, a base realignment commission led to the closure of the former Griffiss Air Force Base after my controversial litigation. It was the region’s top employer. A tech park became its replacement which benefits faculty and students in a myriad of ways today. The former proposed school location could not have facilitated such benefits due to remoteness and land constraints.
68. DeNigro v DeNigro, 152 AD2d 951 (4th Dept 1989)
Would it have been such a burden to notify hearing presenters of a report issued on January 11, 2022 by a state Blue-Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations? Instead, a final report was released to media with no indication that many who made presentations at two virtual hearings were respected. Those hearings in September were conducted in haphazard fashion, some presentations without video recognition, and no reply to complaints regarding their conduct by a domestic violence employee.
Welcome to New York, land of useless oversight bodies appointed at taxpayer expense to create an illusion of public accountability. Like the 2013 Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, this so-called blue-ribbon commission assumed the mantra of a window-dressing entity. By a vote of 11-9, it recommended that forensic custody evaluations be eliminated in the state’s divorce and family courts. It also recommended that in the event such evaluations are continued, evaluators be monitored, qualified and stripped of qualified judicial immunity from civil liability.
Of course, none of these recommendations will be adopted by New York Governor Kathy Hochul whose predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, created both the Moreland and forensic panels. His non-elected replacement is being publicly criticized as a state leader who may be worse than her predecessor, preserving that long entrenched “culture of corruption in Albany” which these oversight panels were created to address. But the corruption has only worsened as the “band plays on” in Albany.
There were presenters who identified certain judges, evaluators and wrongdoers but none were mentioned in the report. Moreover, if the evaluators are to be stripped of their immunities from civil liability, i.e. from a consequential child murder, parent suicide or court-induced mental condition, why were judges given a free pass, those who often rubber-stamp the reports of these same evaluators? We all know that lawyers in robes will never consent to waiving their “absolute” immunities as they impose million-dollar judgments for comparable negligence on their litigants.
Therefore, we victims must take matters into our own hands as the time is long overdue for a legislative enactment or constitutional amendment to eliminate that self-protection. Let’s face it, the state’s Judicial Conduct Commission is yet another useless window-dressing entity investigating less than 10% of complaints annually. Civil suits would make up for that void. Besides, if judges are complying with ethics and criminal laws, they have nothing to fear. And you know that few would leave these prestigious posts if immunities were removed to comport with the accountability applied to the rest of us.
This blue-ribbon commission has yet to respond to my complaints, separately submitted from my testimony, which addressed the conduct and outcomes of these public hearings. This includes severe parental alienation caused by judge-appointed evaluators and a requested referral to the Justice Department and state attorney general for a comprehensive investigation. Such disregard in advance of the recent final report shows how state government remains an elitist body far removed from the people being served.
These evaluators, often appointed to yield campaign contributions, have produced horrific outcomes that warrant monetary compensation. When the Moreland Commission was prematurely dissolved by Andrew Cuomo to evade growing evidence, a federal prosecutor seized commission files resulting in federal prison terms for the state’s legislative leaders and a top Cuomo aide. The federal-state corruption investigation known as Operation Greylord ended with the convictions of nearly 100 judges, lawyers, law enforcement and state officials in Chicago.
In contrast, this impotent blue-ribbon panel proved to be yet another political exercise without accountability or reform. And where was any genuine investigative report from our mainstream media despite all the notice given to them? We victims need to join forces and protest government corruption as the population exodus from New York continues to escalate along with the abuses, taxes and overregulation of the people.
Due to the oversight dysfunction, a citizen commission was recently organized as a nonprofit known as the Citizen Commission Against Corruption. Get the details at http://www.citizencommissionagainstcorruption.org or call its office at (315) 864-8176.
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.
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.
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.
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The alarming video above is unprecedented. It exposes corruption in New York’s court system while addressing the need for overdue reform nationwide. It is being submitted to media and key government officials to demand accountability especially in our divorce and family courts where innocent children and unrepresented parties are most impacted.
The whistleblower here, Dr. Leon Koziol, exposes the abuse of federal funds and human rights in these courts based on more than two decades of litigation experience as a trial attorney and twenty years as an aggrieved parent. You can get a free insight on his book, Whistleblower in Paris, at the book’s website http://www.whistleblowerinparis.com.
Help us publicize this video so that reform may finally become a reality.
As a long time victim of retaliation for my exposure of corruption in our divorce and family courts, I have had little contact with my precious daughters for the past seven years. The exposed judges and lawyers have made this happen by exploiting a vulnerable “custodial parent” to complete a punitive agenda of erasing me from their lives. Their goal, reckless or otherwise, was to deter future whistleblowers while rewarding their parent accomplice.
That accomplice, Kelly Hawse-Koziol, was sufficiently naive to sacrifice her moral fiber in this evil agenda for monetary gain and status. I have never been reported for child abuse or neglect, nor have I ever been found to be an unfit parent. Instead I was subjected to abusive and conflicting conditions to render any child contact impractical. I called it contempt by ambush. It was either surrender my rights or face jail time on concocted grounds.
So evil was this agenda that its parent accomplice was recommended for an exorcism in a third party affidavit. It happened shortly before our custody judge was banned from the bench after admitting to sexual abuse of his handicapped five-year old niece, Bryan Hedges, 20 NY3d 677 (2013). His replacement, Michael Hanuszczak, was forced to resign after sexually harassing his court clerks. Another replacement, Gerald Popeo, was publicly censured for physical threats and racial slurs made from the bench. It is all a matter of public record.
Although it may have appeared extreme at the time, this recommendation of an exorcism has been justified repeatedly over time. I have spent more than 30 years in these courts, 23 as an accomplished trial attorney, 15 as an alienated “non-custodial parent,” and I have yet to see anything like the evil which enveloped my case. How could a biological mother work so ferociously and so long to kill an exemplary father in favor of her preferred substitutes?
More alarming, how could 40 trial level jurists ultimately disqualified from my originally uncontested divorce overlook this deranged agenda? How could our First Amendment be so mindlessly erased along with my parenting rights simply to avenge opinions that hurt their feelings? The simple answer is that this agenda was never treated as a human rights violation as it should have been. So let us analyze one aspect of this right known as parental alienation.
Syndrome, Symptom or Satanism: How Can Parent-Child Alienation Be Rationally Explained?
This exorcism event may not stand for any legal precedent, but its evolution could help victims better understand parental alienation. A growing outcome of an antiquated child custody system, it has proven to have no remedy or loss compensation in either federal or state court. Many observers, qualified or not, have focused on a complex analysis, but as you should discover here, parent alienation is really quite simple and begging for overdue reforms.
Parent Alienation Syndrome
The needless destruction of parent-child relationships in divorce and family courts was recognized early on by a psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Gardner, during the 1980s. He gave it the name Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS), and despite its popular recognition, this syndrome was never accepted by Gardner’s profession. Meanwhile, hundreds of conditions in its DSM manuals continue to be employed in custody evaluations for insurance purposes.
Parent Alienation Symptom
Similarly, the same courts have refused to give this horrific condition any meaningful acceptance. To answer this abdication of duty, I have asserted in my reports and legal briefs that parental alienation is neither a psychological condition nor a syndrome of any kind but a symptom of a dysfunctional judicial process focused more on lawyer profits and court revenues than the so-called “best interests” of our children.
Parent Alienation: A Human Rights Violation
Parental alienation is, very simply, the by-product of a toxic and adversarial court system. Our federal government rewards it by the number and size of support orders it issues. Parents are therefore required to name a “custodial parent” as a condition for a lawful separation or divorce not because it advances any child interests but because it yields untold profits and billions of dollars in performance grants under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. This implicates a number of basic rights.
Fundamental Right of Parenting
Like the abortion right, the parenting right is not found among the textual provisions of our Constitution, but the two have taken opposite paths since their earliest recognition by the Supreme Court. The more recent one that prevents life, Roe v Wade, 410 US 113 (1973) has grown in legal protection whereas the older one that enhances life has been seriously eroded, Meyer v Nebraska, 262 US 390 (1923). This is very evident in divorce and family courts where the latter right is rarely even mentioned.
The notion that judges and their agents can torture that right simply because two parents are separated is little more than propaganda to justify a lucrative enterprise. Profits and revenues do not constitute a “compelling state interest” sufficient to overcome the kind of sweeping destruction which parent alienation clearly produces. However, the strict scrutiny required for such intrusions is routinely sidestepped without so much as a pause in countless cases. Mine is one but compounded by other fundamental rights that are, in fact, stated in our Constitution.
The parenting right continues to receive protection by our Supreme Court but analyzed predominantly in modern day contexts, i.e. Troxel v Granville, 530 US 57 (2000). However the federal incentive grants which harm this right have yet to be addressed despite their creation of an inherent or systemic bias which also violates due process, Gibson v Berryhill, 411 US 564 (1973). Put simply, jurists are given the financial incentive to manufacture as many “custodial parents” as possible while ruling against their “noncustodial” counterparts.
This prejudice, in turn, incites emotional outrage among the inferior parents who rightfully feel discriminated and abused by a decisional process that they are not properly acclimated to by their legal representatives. Such grants are not justified when this two-caste framework is replaced by a shared one where parents are treated equally under our Constitution. But this would produce vast harm to to a bureaucracy built on support collections and court battles.
This all explains why shared parenting legislation is opposed by special interests across the country and why I was so viciously targeted for my precedent-seeking cases. Such opposition is mindless given the collateral damage which the outdated system produces. The arbitrary custody mandate can transform a cooperative child rearing environment into a barbaric contest reminiscent of the Roman Coliseum.
Over time, the antiquated custody mandate can create monsters among parents and children alike. Its source in a parent classification law compels a federal inquiry into funding abuses and human rights violations. In my newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris, I document the carnage with numerous examples of child homicide (i.e. Gabriella Boyd), suicide attempts (Alec Baldwin), murder-suicides (Investigator Joe Longo) and even a self-immolation (Thomas Ball).