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.
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