“You know what downstate blacks call upstate blacks?
After hearing all the evidence, a judge appointed by the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct determined that Utica city court judge, Gerald Popeo, made this remark with a black attorney present during judicial activities. However that Commission refused to accept his finding and issued a mere slap on the wrist in the way of a public censure in 2015.
If that was all, it might be excused by the people served, but Judge Popeo went on to exact revenge on those he believed to be involved in the censure, thereby violating additional provisions of the ethical code in New York. One of his targets was Leon Koziol, the former civil rights attorney for Stephen Patterson. Judge Popeo presided over Patterson’s case in 2010 leading to a suicide attempt in the city lock-up.
Neither this attempt nor a shocking ordeal which followed came before the state commission. Consequently, in light of today’s racial crisis with Judge Popeo still on the bench, Mr. Koziol is lodging a complaint against Popeo with the same Commission seeking removal and a permanent ban from any judicial office. The content published here is designed to secure public support behind this initiative.
The above news interview features Stephen Patterson, the first African-American Commissioner of Public Works in Utica, New York. He was wrongfully fired, leading to a jury verdict of $330,000 obtained by long time civil rights attorney Leon Koziol. It was argued before Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a federal appeals court prior to her elevation to U.S. Supreme Court, see Patterson v City of Utica, 370 F. 3d 322.
A second recovery of $90,000 was obtained for Steve’s dad, a pastor, when retaliation occurred to his church through an abuse of code violations. That retaliation continued for many years after Steve opened a social club using the monies recovered against the city. A barrage of charges followed, resulting in an arrest warrant for non-appearance and first time incarceration. They were thrown out by a jury, yielding yet another civil rights case in 2009.
This news conference (both clips above and below) describes the trauma that Steve endured with a suicide attempt when a belt was placed in his cell that night. Steve was rushed to the hospital and actually arraigned there on the nuisance and code charges by city judge Gerald Popeo. Judge Popeo was later found guilty of using racial slurs during judicial duties by a judge of the state’s misconduct commission.
However Judge Popeo was merely censured and not removed, allowing him to exact revenge against Mr. Patterson’s civil rights attorney, a vow made during a bar conversation witnessed by a marine veteran in 2017. Six months later, Popeo managed to have himself assigned as a city judge to Koziol’s personal family court matters. He started with a nonappearance warrant.
When that was corrected, Popeo persisted with a support warrant based on a fraudulent, concealed record to achieve incarceration. It resulted in a “shoot on sight” threat by a traffic cop in 2018. Mr. Koziol was forced to take a stand against this warrant consistent with his rights of self-defense. In reports, he compared himself to the Rodney King beating with “fists and batons replaced by orders and edicts.” Either can achieve a fatal outcome.
This news clip adds to the ongoing problem of retaliation and lack of diversity in Utica city government. The Black Lives Matter movement has taken aim against racial injustices in this city, but as this highly followed news conference shows, nothing has changed. If anything, given this week’s racial incident involving Jakeila Phillips, the divide may have gotten worse since this 2010 news conference occurred. That shocking incident is detailed later.
There were multiple civil rights cases underway against the City of Utica and Town of New Hartford when Attorney Koziol was suspended as part of a witch hunt in retaliation for his many successes including a $300,000 recovery in a race discrimination case against the Oneida County Sheriff Department. That suspension caused at least four such cases to be dismissed or abandoned, including those by Stephen Patterson and Casey Stuckman in this interview.
In this week’s racially charged incident to be addressed below, video taker, Jakeila Phillips, complains of racial discrimination in the community. She was denied entry to a white-owned bar based on black stereotypes as trouble-makers. Both Patterson and Casey Stuckman operated a prominent bar and social club in Utica to make up for this. Both went out of business due to city harassment.
In Mr. Stuckman’s case, he was gang tackled and body-slammed to the ground, face down, before handcuffs were applied. And it occurred as a victim of a domestic incident shooting. When police arrived, the assailant was a woman holding a gun. Casey was the obvious, hapless victim of both race and sex discrimination. His depiction brings to mind images of George Floyd.
In this clip, Mr. Stuckman describes the racial divide between city police and the black community. In articulate manner, despite his false arrest and injuries, he does not condemn his attackers. He outlines a plan for change to make Utica a great city again, change that Ms. Phillips is seeking 10 years later which has yet to materialize.
In this clip of the same news conference, Attorney Koziol announces a public forum, one of many he sponsored over the years to influence change. It was well attended with numerous testimonials submitted to the Justice Department seeking an investigation into racist city practices.
To this day, there has not even been an acknowledgement of this report, including those recently hand-delivered to members of Congress and discussed personally with prominent national leaders. Today, we learn of movements erupting from the George Floyd murder focused on both police and judge accountability.
However, as this publication proves throughout, the responses from our governments are mere window dressing to detract from a much larger crisis in race relations. Will Black Lives Matter be patronized as these victims and their attorney were? Why lodge misconduct complaints when our public servants go to private extremes to ignore them, discredit them and literally kill the messenger?
Cornell Maye was the first African-American Public Safety Commissioner for the City of Utica, New York, placing him in charge of the police and fire departments. He was an aggressive commissioner and former city marshal quickly responding to numerous crime scenes.
One night he came upon a traffic stop in which a white patrolman was placed in serious danger. He came up undetected on the opposite side of the vehicle and prevented the passenger from using a concealed weapon. It turned out to be a drug bust but Mr. Maye turned up with charges against him for a misuse of firearms by local prosecutors.
As a civilian, it was alleged that he was not authorized to use his gun, despite the fact he may have saved his subordinate’s life. The gun charge was obviously a pretext for removal followed by a piling-on of additional charges. These included “misuse of city stationery” when Mr. Maye presented a written defense to the gun charge before a county judge. All the charges were ultimately dismissed (“no-billed”) by a grand jury.
Contrary to attorney recommendations of non-appearance before any grand jury (because of a prerequisite waiver of constitutional rights), Maye’s selected attorney, Leon Koziol, boldly advised the opposite because the charges were too absurd and retaliation so obvious. A civil rights action followed but dismissed on grounds of judicial immunity, prosecutorial immunity and police quasi-immunity, issues that are current after the George Floyd murder.
Only three years later, a city patrolman was murdered after a similar stop and drug bust without back-up on the scene. With his employment record saved, Mr. Maye went on to a successful career with the Raleigh, North Carolina Police Department. He is now happily retired and still married to the woman once employed as a minority codes enforcer with the same City of Utica.
Persecution of a civil rights attorney
As Mr. Patterson warns, retaliation is very real in civil rights cases and used to suppress change, free speech and whistleblowers such as his attorney.
The above news clips depict the final series of civil rights cases prosecuted by attorney Leon Koziol after 23 years of practice. That was in 2010 when he was targeted, subjected to false ethics charges, and punished with an ongoing 10-year suspension of his law license. It all came in retaliation for his filings, public forums and conscientious stand against draconian child support collection practices.
Like Susan B. Anthony who refused to pay her fine for the crime of voting, and Dr. Martin Luther King who opposed his release from Birmingham jail, Mr. Koziol risked his life and livelihood in a cause for fair treatment in our nation’s family courts. In retaliation, he was ultimately deprived all contact with his daughters, even denied notice of a 2020 graduation ceremony at the New Hartford Central High School.
The unwarranted and excessive punishment led to at least five applications for reinstatement since a 6-month suspension was completed in 2013, a term imposed due to an insider secretary influenced to tamper with office calendars. She was belatedly imprisoned on felony convictions in 2016. A sixth application is currently underway.
An ethics committee in Albany has opposed every reinstatement to date based largely on whistleblowing activity cited from this website, Leon Koziol.com. Its chief attorney and deputy attorneys engaged in the witch hunt against him were terminated by the ethics court after an inspector general exposed their falsified time sheets.
They were the standard bearers of lawyer ethics charged with a duty of preventing lawyer over-billing practices. Unlike Mr. Koziol’s highly discriminatory treatment without any criminal wrongdoing or malpractice, these “ethics” lawyers were allowed to return to private practice with no public charges, see Robert Gavin, Oversight lawyers quit amid inquiry, Times Union (Albany, New York) July 11, 2013.
In contrast, the indefinite license suspension has prevented Mr. Koziol from continuing with these and other civil rights cases. They were ultimately dismissed in the hands of lesser qualified counsel or abandoned altogether due to a lack of interest or affordable representation.
To illustrate the absurdity, Attorney Stanley Cohen was reinstated in 2018 only two years after his release from federal prison for tax evasion on some $3 million in unreported fees and income. These were felony convictions that routinely lead to a seven-year disbarment. However he somehow incurred a short term suspension instead and was known for representing cop-killers, drug dealers and terrorists.
In contrast, Mr. Koziol was punished more severely for representing true victims of racial injustice and a conscientious stand against corruption. He issued a series of reports since the one depicted in the front page story above. A 2015 report predicted his potential demise following the Walter Scott murder in 2015.
At the Walter Scott funeral in South Carolina, Mr. Koziol addressed national media, civil rights groups, Al Sharpton and Congressman James Clyburn, among others. He did so because this particular black lives victim was a father shot dead five times in the back while fleeing unarmed from a child support warrant uncovered during a traffic stop.
His report the same year was submitted to then Attorney General Loretta Lynch who testified along with Mr. Koziol, Preet Bharara and other invitees at a hearing of Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption at Pace University in 2013. His prediction was realized in 2018 when a “shoot on sight” threat was made by a traffic cop to a driver of Mr. Koziol’s vehicle at a toll booth in Albany, New York.
As fate would have it, Mr. Koziol was not present in the vehicle, but a sworn statement, traffic report and court record corroborate the incident. Another consequential report that year was discussed personally with Senate Judiciary Chair Lyndsey Graham. It asks for a Justice Department investigation of this horrific ordeal supported by a peaceful, three-day lobby initiative and March on Washington.
As race related protests continue across America, leaders are praising peaceful demonstrations over violent ones. But as Mr. Koziol has experienced, his peaceful protests have earned no reforms. This one in 2019 featured a police escort from the White House to the Capitol and a lobby day when 600 reports were delivered by parents to members of Congress and Justice Department.
The “shoot on sight” threat was based on a secret bulletin attached to a child support warrant leaked to local media to further discredit Mr. Koziol and his message, not unlike attorney whistleblowers in China. Local Sheriff Robert Maciol admitted that the leak was unlawful and has yet to respond to a misconduct complaint against his deputy who triggered it.
The support warrant was issued by Utica City Judge Gerald Popeo. He was appointed under suspect circumstances to Mr. Koziol’s family court matters in 2017 to avenge a public censure issued against him by the state’s judicial conduct commission in 2015. Its startling racial aspects are presented below.
All recourse was closed off by federal and state judges abusing judicial immunity and other judge-created obstacles to be detailed in a later post. Ultimately a conditional filing order was orchestrated by federal judge Gary Sharpe despite an earlier order by a higher court which removed him from a case based on his use of a human gene in a sentencing decision, one that would not be discovered for “another fifty years,” see United States v Cossey, 632 F.3d 82.
Such Hitleresque decision-making is easily concealed, and it warrants removal from any American bench. But Judge Sharpe refused to step down from Mr. Koziol’s personal case, and impeachment is the only means for achieving removal for life appointments in the federal system. Such a rare process has shown to be prohibitive and costly this year. The filing order was to be challenged at a federal appeals court in Manhattan but put off due to the pandemic.
This is only some background needed to further understand the outrage among groups such as Black Lives Matter. If a civil rights attorney can be persecuted in this way, victims of racial abuse are denied recourse and accountability. When our justice system breaks down as evidenced here, the natural response is to take the law into one’s own hands.
Mr. Koziol’s ordeal is also critical to events relating to Jakeila Phillips in Utica, New York, victim of a race-laced, verbal assault in downtown Utica, New York this past week. That connection is now explained for the benefit of victims, reform groups and genuine accountability in government.
By Dr. Leon Koziol
Civil Rights Advocate
On July 1, 2020, headline news in upstate New York featured a racist video gone viral. A pregnant, black woman managed to capture a road rage incident four days earlier in downtown Utica. What Jakeila Phillips recorded as a pedestrian by-stander was beyond shocking at a time when racial tensions are skyrocketing.
According to the local Observer Dispatch newspaper in Utica, New York, a white passenger in a vehicle was engaged with a person in the one ahead of him. Attention then turned to the by-stander with her unnoticed camera activated.
That passenger actually, if not moronically, identified himself in the video as Barry Wardell while accosting Ms. Phillips with racial slurs and offensive statements such as “Black lives don’t matter.” The victim then calmly asks: “Anything else?” The offender answers by declaring that “Blacks should be slaves, give me back my property,” and further, that “he hangs n_ _ _ _ rs on the weekends.”
Yes this actually occurred in the geographic heartland of New York State during a nationwide crisis focused on the police murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, a horrific event which ignited mass, violent protests. It triggered protests in Utica and suburban New Hartford where the racist passenger lived. Joined by local black leaders at a recent news conference, Ms. Phillips is seeking “change” and justice as police investigate whether any crimes were committed.
But what Ms. Phillips and her supporters are likely unaware, any charges, i.e. harassment, hate crimes, may come before the city court’s longest tenured judge, Gerald Popeo, who was charged with using racial slurs while in office. According to Syracuse.com and a February 12, 2015 decision of the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct, this is what Popeo was accused of saying:
“You know what downstate blacks call upstate blacks? Country n____rs.”
Of course, that “country” classification would include Ms. Phillips and the black leaders who accompanied her at this week’s news conference. Unlike the road rage incident at the core of that conference, the Popeo slur could not be defended as an emotional outburst. It was premeditated, witnessed in court (not on a street) and conveyed in the presence of a black attorney .
Predictably Judge Gerry denied all this as he did other ethics charges such as a young prosecutor “standing there like a cigar store Indian.” He jailed litigants for such things as a “smirk” and threatened to come off the bench to assault the one who gave the routine facial gesture. His demeanor and arrogance were off the charts, and he was simply censured instead of removed altogether by the Commission.
Today, we see Black Lives Matter and other protesters tearing down statues and taking aim at events occurring decades, even centuries ago. But these are symbolic aims that mean nothing to perpetrators that are long gone. In Popeo’s case there is a critical opportunity to take aim at a racist who is still on the bench. Specifically I am submitting a formal complaint to the same judicial conduct commission which issued that “slap on the wrist.”
I am also seeking an action which permanently bans Popeo from seeking any future appointment or election as a judge in any court. Such recourse has precedent in the case of ex-family judge Bryan Hedges in Syracuse. He was among the 40 trial level jurists removed from my originally uncontested divorce since 2006.
I filed a motion to remove Judge Hedges from my custody case because such judges were allowed to interact with children in chambers without the parents present. I was chastised by lawyers on grounds that this judge had a reputation beyond reproach. But I had two young girls to protect who were my utmost priority.
To my surprise, Judge Hedges granted my motion due to “an appearance of impropriety,” and as fate would have it, Judge Hedges resigned abruptly one year later after being caught in an admission that he sexually abused his handicapped five-year old niece decades earlier.
The judicial commission was unmoved by the resignation and proceeded further with a permanent ban from any judgeship. Hedges appealed to New York’s high court but was slapped with a scathing opinion which left the ban in place, see In re Bryan Hedges, 20 NY3d 677 (2013). Judge Popeo’s misconduct is not decades old and it cannot be tolerated in the current racially charged environment. To ignore Judge Popeo is to ratify his racism in public office.
FYI: Both Hedges and Popeo were represented by former Utica Supreme Court Judge Robert Julian, currently a prominent personal injury attorney and former chairman of the Oneida County Legislature. If you would like to join my complaint for the removal of Gerald Popeo, contact me at (315) 796-4000 or e-mail me at email@example.com. In the meantime, let’s make this viral for the sake of true justice everywhere!
On the heels of a highly successful Parent March on Washington and Congressional Lobby Initiative which I was able to put together in less than three months, I promised my followers a next step which I hope will ignite similar (regional) marches and protests across the country.
I am focused on a motorcade from Fort Drum in northern New York to Utica, New York with a protest seeking a removal of four judges in addition to Judge James McCluskey of Watertown, New York. I have a sufficient local following to make this happen but welcome all from around the country who want to keep our momentum going.
The motorcade is designed to draw attention to the veterans who have committed suicides as a result of family court abuses, see i.e. Purple Heart’s Final Beat, Second Class Citizen.Org. Fort Drum is among the largest military installations in the country charged with training and mobilization of all active services. In 1959, it was the site of Agent Orange experiments which later prevented healthy births for Vietnam veterans.
Fort Drum exists in New York’s Fifth Judicial District which has become a hotbed of judge misconduct. Corruption here is being ignored or glossed over by a state judicial commission dominated by lawyers. Over a 12-year period, all of my 30-plus complaints have failed to produce a single inquiry without explanation. Such vast inaction only encourages more misconduct.
Adding to the corruption, certain judges here are being allowed to retaliate against judicial whistle blowers. It is a shameless abuse of judicial office with my ordeal as a quintessential example. If they can do this to a prominent civil rights attorney and model parent, imagine what they will do to you.
For example, one of my custody judges, Gerald Popeo, was merely given a public censure by this commission in 2015 despite being found guilty of making racial slurs to an African-American attorney. He referred to a prosecutor as a “cigar store Indian,” threatened to come off the bench to assault a litigant for giving him a “smirk,” and he jailed men for contempt in violation of their due process rights. How much more misconduct is required for removal?
Because he was not removed, he managed to get assigned to my family court matters (as a city judge!). Among so many other abuses, he failed to provide a child support hearing transcript for appeal which showed a $45,500 fraud (2015 payment never credited to me by the state’s child support collection center). Instead, he issued a support warrant with a near fatal outcome after blaming me for that public censure at a local bar.
Now comes a judge who I sued last year for a continued abuse of my reform work as a judicial whistle blower. Judge James McClusky refused to give any jail time for a 26-year old bus driver who was found guilty of raping a 14-year old girl earlier this year. Over 70,000 signatures have already been obtained seeking his removal in only a few months.
McClusky’s boss, Administrative Judge James Tormey, heads the Fifth Judicial District, but he is playing politics with accountability that litigants rightfully demand. For example, his chief family court clerk recovered $600,000 against him (and my pedophile custody judge Bryan Hedges) in a civil rights case due to retaliation against her for refusing to engage in “political espionage,” see Morin v Tormey, 626 F.3d 40 (2nd Cir. 2010).
As victims, we need to join forces to bring accountability to this judicial district. We need to make an example here so that other regions of our country will do the same. We have reports delivered and discussed with members of Congress during our May 2nd Lobby Day which seek a federal investigation of human rights abuses in these courts. We must now make follow-up calls to those members before they sweep it aside like so many others on the subject.
There will be no conference call tonight after my efforts to unveil this “next step” was upstaged by a pair of “moles and trolls.” Those interruptions have been recorded and reported. In the meantime, I have been given a new access code with the same call number. Just contact me for that code if you wish to participate in our continuing reform effort. You can call the Parenting Rights Institute at (315) 380-3420 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, after taking a $5,000 loss on a March and Lobby event valued in excess of $50,000 (if sponsored by a special interest), I continue to seek donations and product purchases on my website, http://www.leonkoziol. com. That site will continue to serve as an information source. Please spread the word.
In August, 2017, Family Judge Richard Miller was removed from his duties on the bench and reassigned by the New York Unified Court System. No details were released at the time to explain why. Now comes the revelation that he forced his court attorney and clerk to view pornography including nude photos of a co-worker. Among other “family friendly” duties, Judge Miller made sexual demands and even asked his clerk (Gallagher) to engage in sex acts with an elected official to curry political favors.
Yes, it’s all there in a federal court complaint filed on December 21, 2018 which reads, verbatim in some segments, like my precedent seeking action on behalf of abused family court litigants in Parent v New York, 786 F. Supp. 2d 516 (NDNY 2011). Indeed, so closely does the complaint pattern mine that one might easily conclude that it was used as a template by the law firm which filed the action last week.
Of course the difference is that the plaintiffs in my case were litigant parents whereas the current one features court employees. Judges have fashioned a special rule for themselves known as Absolute Judicial Immunity from lawsuits by litigants whereas they get no such protection from lawsuits by subordinates even if the misconduct is identical.
For example Michigan Judge Wade McCree was given immunity in a federal lawsuit brought by a father in a child support case whose opponent got pregnant by the married McCree in chambers while presiding over the case. Such immunity carries over from the King of England and finds no authority in our Constitution.
So committed was I to removing that immunity that I filed four federal lawsuits which earned a filing restriction by a federal judge, Gary “not so” Sharpe. Gary was removed by a federal appeals court from a case due to a human gene he used for decision making which he claimed would not be discovered by scientific experts for another fifty years. The appeals court found his bizarre conduct to harm public confidence in the judiciary.
Yet Judge Gary Sharpe was never impeached, he did not resign in shame as he should have, and he refused to step off my case afterward, see United States v Cossey, 632 F.3d 82 (2nd Cir. 2011). The Cossey ruling is one of the few in which the decision itself was found to be sufficient grounds for bias and disqualification.
Another case which illustrates the unjust disparity between litigant and employee in judge accountability is Morin v Tormey, 626 F.3d 40 (2nd Cir 2010). This case featured my administrative judge and ex-custody judge, Bryan Hedges. They were successfully sued by a chief family court clerk based on unlawful retaliation for her refusal to engage in “political espionage.” She recovered $600,000.00.
Hedges was removed from my case in 2011 and from the bench altogether one year later after he admitted to sexual misconduct on his handicapped, five year old niece, see In re Bryan Hedges, 20 NY3d 677 (2013). His co-defendant, Judge James “Bond” Tormey is still on the bench even after assigning 41 trial jurists to my originally uncontested divorce case. Over a 12 year period, nearly half were removed by motion due to bias or misconduct.
Like the 2017 reassignment of Family Judge Richard Miller, no reasons were given, and like Tormey, Miller is still a judge hauling in close to $200,000.00 in annual salary. The “immoral” of this story is that a lawsuit by an employee is acceptable but one against a judge containing similar claims is “rambling” and even “incomprehensible.”
This is one of the many reasons why I have asked fellow victims to join me in a march on Washington, May 3, 2019, to start in front of the White House and ending on the Supreme Court steps. Get the details on the 6-minute video here produced by an NBC production crew. A more startling one is forthcoming, ironically on the subject of judge misconduct across America. Look for it on this site, Leon Koziol.com and spread the word.
Administrator’s Note: Because we received so much support for our last post entitled, Why are there so few judicial whistleblowers, we have decided to upgrade it here. This is now a highly valuable publication with solid proof behind the credibility of our professional work on behalf of countless victims of court corruption. It should be shared with fellow victims, media and potential investors. It is a crucial publication to benefit parents, families and future generations.
Why are there so few whistleblowers in the Judicial Branch of Government?
It’s a good question if you’ve ever stopped to think about it. Yet it is directed to a full one third of our government, the elusive judicial branch. A single judge can derail an entire act of Congress or a major agenda of the president. In the states, children can be permanently alienated from good parents without so much as an amber alert. Protracted litigation can cost its victims millions in lawyer fees and court costs. Yet no one seems to know who the abusers are and why they get away with this. Media rarely reports on them perhaps out of fear. Hence, corruption flourishes in our courts with little or no accountability.
That is because it is a self-regulated profession (lawyers) which controls the judicial branch and pretty much everything else that goes on in America in one way or another. Shouldn’t that then translate into a need for greater accountability? According to lawyer Stephen Kohn who wrote the manual on whistleblowers, those who expose corruption on the inside of government or corporations produce the greatest savings and benefits for the people.
In the judiciary, the most effective whistleblowers are lawyers, and among those, civil rights attorneys are most reliable when it comes to exposing corruption. Yet to date, there remains no protection for such individuals.A lawyer who exposes corruption can incur orchestrated ethics charges, in my case by exploiting an ex-secretary (finally convicted of felonies in 2016) to suspend my law licenses and harm capacities to support my children.
The public relies on judicial whistleblowers to apprehend judges such as Gerald Garson of Brooklyn or Thomas Spargo of Albany for soliciting bribes in custody and divorce cases. In Morin v Tormey, 626 F.3d 40 (a 2010 decision of a federal appeals court in Manhattan), a chief family court clerk ultimately recovered $600,000 in a judicial retaliation case due to her refusal to engage in “political espionage” directed by a chief judge and family judge. The first one, James Tormey of Syracuse, is still on the bench and the family judge, Bryan Hedges, was permanently removed three years later only because he was forced to admit to sexual abuse of his own handicapped, five year old niece.
How much of this corruption is never exposed? The answer is likely astounding for unsuspecting litigants who foolishly pay exorbitant fees for lawyers in cases which are already a “done deal.” And the reason there are so few judicial whistleblowers to expose this is the severe retaliation which can be expected. In my case, it was the loss of my children, law firm and basic liberties within months of my whistleblower testimony before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption at Pace University in 2013.
The agenda for suppressing whistleblowers or any reform message that harms lawyer profits is to destroy their credibility, make them appear “crazy,” take away their means of sustenance and even incarcerate them, if necessary, on some made-up or minor allegation. Against me, that agenda took a long time, twelve years and counting, but I’m still standing. A look at my true accomplishments will show why my website, Leon Koziol.com is so highly monitored by ethics lawyers, judges, law enforcement and politicians.
They can take away pretty much anything but not my long term accomplishments. For victims of corruption, such a proven background should verify the credibility of my reform work. For example, I secured judgments in both federal and state courts to invalidate a billion dollar casino compact, the largest in the state, on constitutional grounds. I defeated giant law firms as a sole practitioner including one of the most prominent in the nation, Cravath, Swaine & Moore of Manhattan. Look it up at Oneida Indian Nation v Oneida County, 132 F.Supp. 2d 71 (NDNY 2000) and Peterman v Pataki, 2004 NY Slip Op 51092(U).
In the Oneida federal case, so concerned were they regarding a little guy from a small city that the opinion had me as co-counsel for a much larger Syracuse law firm, Bond, Schoeneck & King, even though that firm had nothing to do with the victorious client. Its president had no idea who John Dee was or why his firm was listed because it had never represented the citizen group or had any contact with it. But there it was, black and white, and you cannot retroactively amend all those case books worldwide to correct it.
I won my first appeal out of law school DeNigro v DeNigro, 543 NYS2d 777 (4th Dept 1989), an interstate divorce case, and secured a restraining order within months of passing the New York bar exam on a $30 million high school project. It caused the new Rome Free Academy upstate to be built at a better location in the Griffiss Technology Park. I won that opening decision alone against the highly influential law firm Hancock & Estabrook.
I won my first federal court trial, a sexual harassment case, in Currie v Kowalewski, 842 F. Supp. 57 (NDNY 1994). That case was front page news because the first decision was lost in Currie I (810 F. Supp. 31 (1993), but I had it reversed by unanimous decision of a federal appeals court in Manhattan to secure the final victory. The lower judge there was forced to reverse himself on the same trial record, a highly unusual feat which angered him, the same federal judge who dismissed my civil rights case in Parent v New York, 786 F. Supp. 2d 516 (NDNY 2011) after the targeting of my public criticisms of the judiciary began.
Although I could get a million dollar project restrained and billion dollar casino invalidated in federal and state courts, I could not get a family judge to order phone contact with my daughters after that. Prior to the targeting in cases involving many of the same judges, I secured a $333,000 jury verdict which was argued before a Supreme Court Justice (Sonia Sotomayor) when she was a member of the same federal appeals court in Manhattan, Patterson v City of Utica, 370 F. 3d 322 (2nd Cir. 2004)(settled at $220,000).
As former corporation counsel for that city, I sued its mayor to remove gag orders on city employees yielding another favorable jury verdict in Koziol v Hanna, 107 F. Supp. 2d 170 (NDNY 2000). I earned a perfect record of acquittals primarily for those falsely accused by employers. While I could go on, I served the people, my profession and my family without blemish and with distinction for nearly a quarter century. Suddenly when I began exposing corruption and promoting parental equality, nothing I could do was right. I have now been suspended from practice for eight years, one longer than the period for felony disbarments.
In stark contrast, lawyers in my judicial district were allowed to continue practicing law despite criminal convictions or serious ethical misconduct. Attorney Robert Sossen was convicted of tax evasion on some $2 million in unreported client income. A law partnership, Petrone and Petrone, mismanaged hundreds of thousands of dollars in client money. And if you can believe this, the lawyers engaged in the witch hunt against me were allowed to resign quietly after an inspector general discovered their falsified time sheets (Torncello, Zayas and Devane). These are the standard-bearers of lawyer ethics I previously reported as an “unethical ethics committee” charged with a duty of preventing overbilling practices.
It’s the foxes watching the chicken coup. That is what I concluded before the Moreland Commission after disclosing that my family judge upstate (Daniel King of Lewis County), used fabricated college degrees to elevate child support for punitive incarceration purposes. The New York Commission on Judicial Conduct failed to act on my complaints as it did to some 90% statewide. This prompted me to recommend closure of the judicial commission due to its window-dressing nature which only encouraged more corruption. Instead it was the Moreland Commission that was shut down after its work implicated top state leaders.
If you still do not believe that judicial whistleblowers are sadistically targeted by those with the highest duty of assuring justice, consider this: The first speakers before the Moreland Commission were lawyers who took aim at corruption in the first two branches of state government. I was one of the few focused on the third branch. Preet Bharara went on to fame as a top federal prosecutor and Loretta Lynch was elevated to United States Attorney General. I went the opposite direction, hounded to a degree of seeking human rights safety in Paris. It reads like a John Grisham novel and featured in my new book, Satan’s Docket: Corruption and Carnage in America’s Divorce Industry.
So when you view our court corruption site and public positions wondering how the before and after pictures can make sense, just read the cited cases here. Then you will know why there are so few judicial whistleblowers, why you have become so victimized. You will also recognize the value in the services we offer at www.parentingrightsinstitute.com.
Please share this crucial public message and support our cause financially. I am looking for major investors in my judicial watch organization, Parenting Rights Institute, focused on divorce and family courts. With proper funding, we can come to your courts and expose the corruption which is being ignored by our judicial conduct commissions. You can even call me personally at (315) 796-4000.