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Thursday, February 12, 2015


“Misrepresentations” versus “Misremembrances”

The events of this week regarding Brian Williams and the posting of an “opinion piece” quilled by Attorney Norm Pattis entitled “Despite Accusations, Family Courts Aren’t Corrupt” merit a response.

After reading Attorney Pattis scribed observations, I reached out to Attorney Pattis via phone messages left to his offices, to his well followed Twitter account and by email.  Attorney Pattis suggested that I contact the editors about the concerns in regards to factual statements which are unsupportable by evidence and in regards to other “observations” about sworn testimony provided by Judge Stephen Frazzini’s recent re-appointment hearing on January 23, 2015.

First, Attorney Pattis was not present on January 23 2015 at the public hearing in front of the legislative judiciary committee.  I was present as both as an observer and as a participant. 

Apparently Attorney Pattis never reviewed the CT-N coverage available for fact verification before his articulation in the Connecticut Law Tribune.

Attorney Pattis indicated that that “disgruntled litigants appeared before the Judiciary Committee where whipped up by the likes of Hartford State Representative Minnie Gonzalez, they flung as much mud as they could muster at the man.  It was disgraceful.”

Misrepresentation versus Misremembrance #1:  CT-N footage available on line will show not one “disgruntled” litigant spoke to the judiciary committee in opposition of Judge Stephen Frazzini on January 23, 2015.  Attorney Pattis refused to correct his error and readers can draw their own inferences about whether that represents a misrepresentation or misremembrance. 

Misrepresentation versus Misremembrance #2:  Representative Minnie Gonzalez whipped up the “disgruntled litigants” on January 23, 2015.  The question here:  How can you whip up an empty bowl?

Misrepresentation versus Misremembrance #3:  “The Justice Department might be looking into his failure of memory of some deeper conspiracy.  This is tripe, pure and simple.”

On the evening of January 27, 2015 at 8:29 pm, I sent an email to the address of Judge Frazzini at and copied the external affairs director, Attorney Melissa Farley for good measure, indicating that portions of Judge Frazzini’s sworn testimony on January 23, 2015 was “material false and misleading” in regards his national only membership in the AFCC and whether he knew whether the chapter in Connecticut ever got off the ground.

In this email, I suggested that Judge Frazzini issue a letter of correction to his testimony because he was listed as #43 on the Connecticut Chapter’s 2014 membership roster, yet failed to recollect than membership.

I asked him to post such a “letter of correction” on the public testimony of the judiciary committee.  I indicated that if he failed to do so, I would be posting a letter on his behalf in opposition to his re-nomination because he had delivered “material false and misleading testimony” under oath, a criminal charge pursuant to the application of C.G.S. 53a-156. 

Judge Frazzini denied that he had conflicts of interest defined in the Committee on Judicial Ethics ruling in 2013-15 in appointing AFCC Board members to positions as court appointees as GALs, AMCs and court appointed psychologists in essence because he correctly stated that the advisory opinion related to “members of the Board of Directors. 

Judge Frazzini indicated however, that he “would consider” these issues “seriously”.

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, Judge Frazzini wrote a letter to the Chairs of the Judiciary Committee to “recant” portions of his testimony.  The problem with the letter was that it was not posted on the judiciary committee webpage as “public testimony” and the letter to Senator Eric Coleman and Representative William Tong was not immediately distributed to all of the committee members.

So, let the record note that the AFCC CT Chapter membership list and my letter in opposition to Judge Frazzini was sent for posting on the judiciary committee’s website inasmuch as Judge Frazzini still had to be confirmed by the members of the General Assembly.  That vote was to be conducted on Friday, January 30.

Misrepresentation versus Misremembrance #4: Representative Gonzalez spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives concerning a letter received by the Chairs of the Judiciary Committee which attempted to “correct statements made” by Judge Frazzini.

As Representative Gonzalez began to speak, the Chamber had to be “quieted” in order to hear her comments.

The letter from Judge Frazzini contained more misstatements of fact.  Although this letter was not a sworn affidavit it contained three specific flawed statements.

First misstatement in the letter involved properly recollecting who had posed questions in the Judiciary Committee hearing concerning his CT Chapter membership.

To correct the misremembrance of Judge Frazzini articulated in his letter dated January 28, 2015, it was Representative Gonzalez, not Representative Dan Fox, who asked questions about his membership in the CT Chapter of the AFCC.  If Attorney Pattis had reviewed the video on CT-N before defending Judge Frazzini’s testimony, you would have seen that Rep. Gonzalez held up a list of the CT Chapter members and tried to present that list to Representative Fox and Senator Coleman suggested that be done outside of the committee proceeding of January 23.

Second, Judge Frazzini incorrectly stated that his membership to the Connecticut Chapter started in 2012.  The Chapter was not incorporated with the Secretary of State’s Office until March 26, 2013.  The list provided to the judiciary committee was a membership list in 2014.  An additional membership list obtained last week lists judge Frazzini as an AFCC national chapter in 2010.

Third, Judge Frazzini’s sworn statement on January 23, he was not aware of whether the “CT Chapter of the AFCC had gotten off the ground” was either a misrepresentation or misremembrance inasmuch as Judge Frazzini identified Judge Lynda Munro as a “mentor” and Judge Murno was listed as a member of the Board of Directors of the AFCC when the incorporation documents were filed.

“Plausible deniability” is a principle of law.  It is not plausible that Judge Frazzini knew “nothing” about the existence of a CT Chapter, inasmuch as Judge Frazzini was sitting on the Family Commission with Judge Munro.

Fourth, and perhaps the most egregious of the gaffes in Judge Frazzini’s letter of January 28, 2015 is that he called the national AFCC offices in Chicago.  The AFCC headquarters are in Madison, Wisconsin.  Representative Gonzalez called attention to this misrepresentation in her oratory on January 30.

Misrepresentation versus Misremembrance #5:  Attorney Pattis comments concerning whether the DOJ was investigating this issue of “perjury” misstates a fact.

The Office of Chief State Attorney received a sworn affidavit from me on Monday, January 26, indicating that sworn testimony to the judiciary committee of Judges Thomas Parker on January 16, 2015 and Judge Taggart Adams on January 23, were “material false and misleading.”  The sworn affidavit detailing the allegations of perjury were posted on the judiciary committee website under public testimony on the date of January 23. 

In addition, the Deputy Chief State Attorney Leonard Boyle also acknowledged the receipt of my complaint letter detailing the perjury allegations made on Judge Frazzini’s testimony on Wednesday, January 28.  If Norm Pattis wants to fact check my sequence of events, he can contact Attorney Boyle at (860) 258-5800.

In addition to reporting the information above to the Deputy Chief State Attorney, these same allegations were reported to the FBI Task Force hotline as well last week.

Attorney Pattis has no more knowledge as to whether the FBI or the DOJ will be considering any actions on the perjury allegations or other matters of family court corruption being reported daily to the FBI Hotline.  His commentary on that subject is merely speculation not a fact.

Intakes have been taken by the FBI hotline include judges failing to include foreign dividend income and foreign assets (including Swiss bank accounts) in family court utilized financial affidavits or the failure to report income by court appointed GALs and AMCs.

Misrepresentation vs. Misremembrance #6  Attorney Pattis has a well-regarded, well-respected and well-earned reputation as a civil rights advocate over his distinguished career.

Those of us who are involved in seeking “much overdo” legislative reforms in the operations of the family court system had our views validated in a “family court satisfaction survey” issued by the judiciary on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 and available for Attorney Pattis review on

Yesterday, the judiciary committee agreed to move forward to draft legislation to address the misuse by judges of “pay per view” parenting issued in orders of supervised visitation as an example of an abuse of “judicial discretion”.

What Attorney Pattis seems to have “misremembered” is that “the liberty” interests of parents to the care, custody and companionship of their children is well defined in federal case law since Yick Wo v. Hopkins 18 U.S. 356 in 1886.

This citizen will assist in the defense parental rights as an unenumerated right pursuant to the application of the Ninth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment.

In publishing his article yesterday entitled “Despite Attorney Pattis seems to have “misremembered” his earlier years where “civil rights” mattered to him as a matter of principle and of law.

We trust that Attorney Pattis will admit to the errors of factual misrepresentation and issue a proper correction.

Whether Attorney Pattis places any value on the “court of public opinion” when “misrepresentations” are arm-wrestling in the headlines with the word “misremembrance”, is “of the moment”.




Michael Nowacki
Family Court Reform Advocate
319 Lost District Drive
New Canaan, CT  06840



  1. Here's what is going on: In the Foy juvenile matter, which is before Judge Frazzini, Pattis apparently filed a habeas writ in civil court that should have been filed in juvenile court. This created a big kerfuffle, particularly when the Connecticut Law Tribune and other media wanted to publish article about the writ. This led Frazzini to issue his since withdrawn prior restraint order.

    However, Pattis still has massive liability for the erroneous filing in the Foy matter. The mom's lawyer (Steve Dembo) and the GAL (Sue Cousineau) have apparently asked the judge to order that Pattis pay for all of the costs incurred by his errant filing. That issue is still before Frazzini.

    So Pattis has served up a favorable story about Frazzini, who could use some good publicity after being caught lying about his AFCC membership at his renomination hearing. And in return Pattis is expecting Frazzini not to order Pattis to pay the costs incurred by his errant habeas filing.

    Viewed this way, Pattis article about the nonexistence of corruption in family court is really just corruption in the juvenile court. Pattis is giving Frazzini something of value -- a favorable article -- and expects back something of value in return -- a favorable ruling.

    Anyone familiar with courts in Connecticut can guess what will happen next. Will Frazzini recuse himself? No. Having gotten the benefit of Pattis's article, Frazzini will deliver on the requested ruling.

    This state really is unbelievable.

    1. Maybe I'm stupid, but is it really OK for a lawyer to write an article about a judge he is currently before? Strikes me that that has to be a conflict of interest. And isn't the judge gonna have to recuse himself?

    2. There is probably a legal ethics rule against writing an article about a judge you are currently appearing before. But in CT, lawyers are only held accountable for violating ethics rules related to commenting about judges when they criticize the judge. (Mr. Pattis knows this from his prior representation of Attorney Serafinowicz.) Since Pattis is complimenting Frazzini, he'll get off scott free.

  2. Apparently Judge Frazzini didn't issue a Prior Restraint Order prohibiting the Connecticut Law Tribune from publishing Pattis's article! I suppose that's progress.

    1. How do you know? The juvenile matter is sealed. No one knows what Frazzini has ordered. That is the problem.

    2. When is the Law Tribune gonna publish their article on the Foy matter? Now that the prior restraint order is gone, they can publish whatever they want. Apparently they care more about the theory of freedom of press than the practice of it.

    3. I may be a skeptic but I think the whole prior restraint case was a fabrication to bolster the CT Law Tribune's status as a legitimate news outlet, when in fact it is simply the propaganda arm of The CT Judicial Branch. Goebels couldn't do it better.

    4. The Law Trib doesn't work for the Judicial Branch as much as it does for the legal industry. However, in this state the legal industry and the Judicial Branch operate as one and the same. So in that sense your point is well taken.

  3. Norm writes nicey-nice about federal judge Janet Hall, too, and Judge Hall gives him favorable rulings. Like declining to reprimand him when Norm admitted to the charges brought against him by the Federal Grievance Committee.

  4. I watched the Frazzini hearing with interest, and I was surprised that NO ONE testified against the guy. So I don't understand the claims in the Pattis article. I knew that Frazzini had threatened to incarcerate parents over GAL fess, so I was surprised that no one spoke against his nomination. Moreover, I thought that many free speech advocates would object to his clearly unconstitutional prior restraint order, but none did. I don't see what Pattis thought Frazzini's hearing was newsworthy. Also, having watched what Rep. Gonzalez said on the floor of the House, she was very understated. She never accused Frazzini of lying, even though that is one very plausible interpretation of what happened. And to my knowledge, Rep. Gonzalez made no effort to get anyone to speak out against Frazzini. Instead, she merely called to public attention Frazzini's letter recanting/clarifying his public testimony, which Frazzini himself had not made part of the public record. This happened AFTER the hearing. Bottom line: Notwithstanding what Pattis portrays, the Frazzini hearing and Rep. Gonzalez's statements were non-issues. Nowacki writes that HE raised the issue with the State's Attorney. That's all that happened. Apparently Pattis wasn't even aware of that when he wrote his article. Rep. Gonzalez gave a restrained statement on the House floor about Frazzini's letter. She and 8 or so other reps voted "no" on the renomination. But she didn't whip up any frenzy, and no family law reform advocates other than Nowacki did anything to Frazzini. Pattis is just wrong on the facts (and the analysis). He is welcome to his own opinion, but he doesn't get to pick (or make up) his own facts.

  5. Did Norm Pattis and the Connecticut Law Tribune defame Rep. Gonzalez and members of the family law reform movement? I think yes to the former but probably no to the latter.

    Here's a snippet from what Pattis wrote: So I write today to plead with the cabal of frustrated family litigants dancing to one another's erratic drumbeats to stand down on their campaign of hatred and destruction. The latest chapter was a broadside against Superior Court Judge Stephen Frazzini on the occasion of his reappointment hearing. Disgruntled litigants appeared before the Judiciary Committee where, whipped up by the likes of Hartford state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, they flung as much mud as they could muster at the man. It was disgraceful.

    The elements of defamation are: defamatory language of or concerning the plaintiff(s), publication to a third person and damage to the plaintiffs' reputations. Since the family law reform topic is almost certainly a "matter of public concern," the plaintiff's must also show falsity and fault by Pattis. Moreover, I assume Rep. Gonzalez is a "public figure," so she must prove that Pattis acted with "actual malice" (i.e., knowledge the statement was false or reckless disregard as to whether it was false).

    Pattis's claim that Rep. Gonzalez whipped up the family law reformers at the Frazzini hearing is clearly false. If Pattis had even bothered to attend the hearing, watch the CT-N recording or even ask one person who was actually there, he would have known that. So even if he didn't know his statement was false, he wrote of it with reckless disregard as to whether it was false. And accusing a legislator of whipping up a cabal of frustrated family law litigants certainly seems harmful to Rep. Gonzalez's reputation. The false statements cast her in a bad light (and were written with that intent).

    So why won't the family law reformers prevail in a defamation action against Pattis? Because they are members of a large group (even if Pattis and others deny it; the reality is that nearly all of the family court litigants are part of the "cabal"). Members of a small group who can be individually identified as group members may sue when the group is defamed. However, group defamation suits are much harder when the statements are made about a large group.

    Bottom line: I think Pattis and the Connecticut Law Tribune defamed Rep. Gonzalez.

    1. Not only is Rep. Gonzalez not whipping things up, she is calming things down. She preaches moderation. She is practical not an extremist. She never said anything outrageous about Frazzini. I don't understand where this is coming from.

    2. I feel slandered by Pattis even if, as a family court reformer, I cannot sue him for defamation. I've done my best to discuss the problems in the family court system in the most professional manner. My family has been financially devastated by blatant cronyism and corruption. Yet I haven't threatened anyone with violence or done anything extreme. All I've done is speak at public hearings and communicate with my legislator. In fact, all of the other parents I know who have had their families (and their children's futures) destroyed by the system have been equally professional and polite. Never before have so many people been treated so unfairly, suffered so much as a result of it, and been so polite about it. That's the real story here.

    3. "Campaign of hatred and destruction"?! That's not me. I'm legitimate upset that the family court system has ripped off my family. I'm politely and professionally trying to get some justice and prevent families from getting ripped off in the future. I'm not involved in any "campaign of hatred and destruction," and I don't know anyone who is.

  6. Pattis isn't known for verifying what he writes about. In the wee hours of an April morning a couple of years ago Pattis was posting an article to his blog and the New Haven Register identifying a missing Indian American student as the perpetrator of the Boston bombings, taken on rumors he gleaned from the Internet, and presenting his ideas for the boy's defense in his coming trial, no doubt hoping the boy's parents would retain him in a high-profile case. At that very hour there was a manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers in the Boston suburbs. Later Pattis had to eat crow for writing on mere speculation after taking heat on Twitter for it. The poor student was subsequently found dead. Imagine his parents' grief compounded by having their son accused of heinous crimes, not only in Internet chatter but by a lawyer publishing in a well-known newspaper.

    1. I have to say that I have totally lost respect for Norm Pattis after reading the article he wrote for the CT Law Tribune. He showed a great deal of disrespect for the many victims of Family Court here in CT who have spoken very reasonable in regard to the corruption they've faced.

  7. But principled disagreement is not a symptom of corruption. In the zero-sum game of litigation, some win and others lose. That's the way it is.

    1. Principled disagreement isn't a symptom of corruption. But the fact that I had to liquidate my kids' college savings and my IRA to pay the GAL who was supposedly representing their best interests and, when I complained about it to the judge was told I'd be ordered to pay her and her fees would be non dischargeable in my bankruptcy (before the judge ever heard my explanation) IS A SYMPTOM OF CORRUPTION.

    2. In real litigation, one party wins and another loses. In corrupt family court litigation, both parents lose and some court-appointees with close connections to the judges walk away with all of the family's cash.

  8. The Connecticut Law Tribune has replaced the original Pattis article with a corrected version. However, the new article does not explain what corrections were made.

  9. I encourage everyone who has been harmed by DCF wrongdoing and corruption to write to the FBI Task Force.