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Showing posts with label AFCC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AFCC. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MICHAEL VOLPE REPORTS THAT THE AFCC WHICH HAS LONG OPERATED OUT OF THE CT JUDICIAL BRANCH ACCUSED OF FRAUD AND RACKETEERING!

Making Divorce Pay:  The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts takes back -scratching to a new level
By Michael Volpe, Organization Trends, July 2015 (PDF here)
Summary:  You’ve probably never heard of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, but its 5,000-plus members are lawyers, judges, and family court professionals who have enormous power in family legal disputes.  The group claims to be guided by “the best interest of the child,” but it is beyond dispute that it serves well the financial interests of its members, who are able to require the use of each other’s services and force parents to pay.  Members also make use of dubious psychological theories that can do injustice to parents as well as children.
For more information on this, please click on the link below:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

CORRUPTCT POSTS THE NAMES OF AFCC OF CT CHAPTER MEMBERS!


AFCC Connecticut Chapter Listing Of All Members


AFCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, AFCC Connecticut chapter and the listing of all members.  as well as international has a chapter, a group of professionals that say they are dedicated to resolving conflicts in the family courts. If this “dedication to resolving conflicts” it is not working, in fact, it is hurting more than helping citizens going through family courts. Connecticut has enough issues regarding the family court system.

The AFCC is the foundation for all of the people involved, making it extremely difficult for people in family court. It is just another service, for the other side.

AFCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – the premier interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict. AFCC members are the leading practitioners, researchers, teachers and policymakers in the family court arena.

For a list of the names, connect with Corruptct at the link below:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

JUDGES AND ATTORNEYS LIKE NORM PATTIS NEED TO GROW UP AND JOIN THE ADULT WORLD!

I know that in many ways I am a person of privilege because I received a top rate education.  And it all began with my Mom. 
 
When I would return home from elementary school in the afternoon, my Mom would immediately insist that I sit down and do my homework right away.  So while all the other kids were outside playing, I'd be working at my homework.  And if I didn't do my homework properly or didn't appear to be showing sufficient enthusiasm for the task, my Mom had no problem reaching over the coffee table and slapping my face, or else giving me one of her favorite lines which was, "That's not good enough.  Do it again!" 
 
Those were the good/bad old days of the 60s.  Today I was listening to the hearing on the reappointment of DCF Commissioner Joette Katz, and I can just imagine what she'd make of my mother's behavior.  
 
Of course, my parents were teachers and so these kinds of high expectations regarding achievement were simply par for the course. 
 
My father was a Physics Professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey who mentored considerable numbers of graduate students through to their Ph.D.s which is no easy feat.  For those of you who are familiar with the process, it usually takes approximately six years to obtain a Ph.D., and it involves finding an original area of research where you can do an investigation and write up your results in a dissertation of around 100 pages or so. 
 
The most challenging part of your Ph.D. is when you have to do a defense of your dissertation, which means that a committee of top scholars in the area of your research meet in a Committee.  You are then required to stand before this Committee and field a broad range of questions that they level at you regarding the content of your dissertation and the significance of the discoveries you made in your original research.  You have to stand there, on your feet, and from your memory defend criticism of your ideas from all sides by some of the most elite and challenging scholars in your department. 
 
If you do a good job, you can then obtain approval for your dissertation and move forward to receive your Ph.D. and take your place among the self same scholars who challenged you.  Notably, some people will do the original research, write up their thesis, and then refuse to defend their dissertation--a well known example of this behavior would be the poet T.S. Eliot, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.  The point is that not everyone makes it because not everyone has what it takes to make it to the end.
 
Once I graduated from College, like many English majors I then decided to proceed with teacher training and eventually taught at a local community college here in Connecticut for 12 years. 
 
During my teacher training, I was subjected to classroom observation by the teacher who was mentoring me.  I also had my College professor come in and observe my work.  Both of these individuals wrote up detailed evaluations at the end of my student teaching providing feedback regarding areas of strengths and weakness and suggesting approaches to how I could improve my teaching skills. 
 
Eventually, I ended up before a classroom and at the end of each semester the students in my class would write up teacher evaluations responding to detailed questionnaires regarding my performance in the classroom.  In addition to that, the Chairman of the Department regularly came to my classes, observed me, and then wrote up her insights regarding my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and submitted reports to the administration regarding my work. 
 
As a teacher of these young people, and as an employee of the Community College I was held accountable for maintaining a high quality of performance as an educator.  Try to be stupid or ill prepared in front of a classroom--trust me, students have no problem confronting you about that!
 
As a writer, I don't think you can begin to imagine the constant scrutiny that I've been subjected to from the beginning of my career.  As a student, drafting and redrafting my papers was fundamental to my process; I'd receive commentary from my professors on the margins of my papers, take them home, redo them, hand them in, receive more commentary and go through the process repeatedly until I had gotten it right. 
 
When it came to the first article I had published in "Glamour Magazine" years ago I recall having to write and rewrite the article at least fifteen times before the editor found it acceptable.  And even then I remember how she called me on the very day the magazine went to the printing press saying, "We need you to rewrite the final paragraph because it isn't quite right yet.  Get it to me in an hour." 
 
I continue to face accountability and feedback from my readership on this blog who comment all the time in regard to the content of my blogs.  If I make a misstatement or I am not accurate about my facts, or my argument is weak, you can be sure that someone reading my work will contact me and bring me up to speed. 
 
If you doubt me, look at some of the comments on the website yourself.  I am by no means free to shoot my mouth off.  So I may not have a single editor, but I do have 100s and 100s of very earnest persons who consider themselves in charge of me, and who follow me around waiting for me to make a mistake.  
 
Imagine my surprise then, to read this opinion piece by Attorney Norm Pattis, "Despite Accusations, Family Courts Aren't Corrupt".  So let me get this straight about what he was saying. 
 
Judge Stephen Frazzini was up for reappointment, and was undergoing a process of evaluation before a Committee to see if he met the standards for reappointment, a process very similar to a Ph.D. candidate defending his thesis, and somehow it was "disgraceful" of committee members to hold him accountable by asking him tough questions. 
 
I have just one thing to say and that is "why?" 
 
If you ask any taxpaying, Connecticut citizen, do you face performance evaluations at work, do you have to answer for the quality of your work, I'd bet the vast majority would answer "yes." 
 
It is part of what's involved in being a mature, adult employee. 
 
And yet Attorney Norm Pattis and his ilk thinks that judges and attorneys should be excused from this process? 
 
They are too special for that?  Again I ask, "why?" 
 
You see, we have laws, and one of these laws dictates that Judges must come up for reappointment before a Committee, and when they come before that Committee they must be held accountable for their actions during their prior terms.  It is supposed to be an opportunity to evaluate their performance, not just a "love-in" although the sycophancy of some members of the Judiciary Committee might make it appear so. 
 
Ok, so Judge Stephen Frazzini "forgot to list his membership dues in a professional organization of family lawyers and judges on a disclosure form." 
 
How conveniently Attorney Norm Pattis avoids naming this particular organization, the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts, which family court reform advocates have repeatedly identified as packed with the names of judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, and judicial branch employees who have been identified as associated with fraudulent billing practices, cheating their clients, perverting the law and colluding together in order to siphon massive amounts of money from unwitting family court litigants, and destroying their families. 
 
And how convenient that Judge Stephen Frazzini had a memory blank about his membership in that group and ended up providing false testimony to the Committee as a consequence.  If I'd been standing before Judge Frazzini in Court and had memory loss like that while providing my testimony, I doubt he'd be that merciful!  
 
Indeed, Attorney Norm Pattis is correct.  "There is no evidence to suggest that the Justice Department has convened a task force to investigate the corruption in the Connecticut Judicial Branch."  But how disgraceful that they have not after years during which litigants have regularly reported that the CT Judicial Branch is exploiting and defrauding family court litigants and violating the law.  And yet nothing has been done. 
 
I have reported on many of the details of this corruption on this website; the evidence of corruption is overwhelming.  In fact, if you talk to anyone in the family court reform movement, the first thing they will show you is the documentation of the wrongdoing that happened to him or her.
 
So let us not go through some pretense of talking about "principled disagreement".  There is no principled disagreement here, only judges and attorneys such as Attorney Norm Pattis who prefer to live in a childish fantasy land where they are considered too special to be held accountable for obeying the law the way the rest of us are. 
 
The news is, family court reform is here to stay, and like the revelers in Nathanael Hawthorne's "Maypole of Marymount" it is time for attorneys, judges, and court personnel to grow up, rejoin civilization and restore justice and order to our Family Courts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

NEW YORK BRANCH OF AFCC UNDER INVESTIGATION BY IRS: ANNE STEVENSON REPORTING!

This news in from investigative reporter Anne Stevenson.  See below:

"NEW YORK, June 17, 2014 — The IRS has revoked the tax exempt status of a New York corporation founded and operated by sitting family court judges and the professionals who appear before them for failure to comply with federal tax laws.

This is just the latest string of punitive actions authorities have taken over the years against the national trade association whose members oversee cases involving the State’s most vulnerable children and families. Legal industry professionals are now asking questions about whether the authorities should do more to protect families from sub-regulatory corporations, and whether or not a bigger cover up is afoot?"

For more information on this topic, please click on the link below:


Friday, April 25, 2014

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SITS ON COMPLAINTS AGAINST ABUSIVE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS!

This report in from Ms. Susan Skipp:
 
My complaints against Horowitz and Krieger with the Department of Public Health "DPH" have been open for well over A YEAR, and are well stocked with criminal activity. This was after I found out the DPH was giving me false information (on paper) that they needed both parents' release to investigate. Lengthy discussions with the Secretary of State's office as well as Corporate Counsel for DPH revealed this is untrue as the DPH has full subpoena power.
 
When I inquired recently about the progress of this case, I was told by Maribeth Mendes and Katherine Boulware that the investigation is still open because no one has volunteered to decide it: I believe that is largely due to my insistence that no AFCC affiliated person be involved in the investigation. They usually cover for each other. For example, Dr. Elizabeth Thayer, who was on the Task Force to Study Legal Disputes Involving the Care and Custody of Minor Children which has now resulted in bill #494 and was co chaired by to AFCC GALs.  See the article below:
 

All but three members of the task force were AFCC members. Thayer, who also derives a sizable income via court appointments, finds no wrong doing as does Zazlow in DPH complaints against AFCC members. They are the two of the most often called upon volunteers. 


These kinds of conflicts of interest in connection to the AFCC's association with the CT Judicial Branch has led to numerous ethical violations.  For example, in my case, Judge Lynda Munro did not disclose her shared business interest with two witnesses against me.  Dr. Sidney Horowitz was a fact witness who perjured himself five times during trial. Although, at the time, Munro was purported to be a board member for the Connecticut AFCC, along with Sidney Horowitz, in the national AFCC newsletters; Still, the AFCC was not a registered entity with the state.  This is entirely improper.  Furthermore,  the AFCC ran unlicensed and unregistered for three years in my case, and illegally for almost 30 years prior.  For more information on AFCC ethical violations, see the article below:
 
 
AFCC policies and procedures in regard to court programming were and are unregulated because the principals of the now registered entity show two court support services division employees as principals. The third is an often court appointed and of the ilk of Horowitz, Elizabeth Smith. The CSSD workers, one in charge of family relations, implement and evaluate programming in family relations.  What is more, the AFCC does the GAL training which is required of all GALs employed in the State of Connecticut.  So this illegal operation was and continues to operate within the CT Judicial Branch in violation of all ethical principles.


The judiciary has been aware of these conflicts of interest, as has been the state's attorney and Secretary of State for over a year. Still, nothing has been done to stop this outrage, and, as a result, nothing has happened to the mental health providers who bypass state bidding procedures and find ways to avoid signing contracts with standard anti-discriminatory language.  Not only that, nothing has been done to punish the profiteering AFCC trained GALs who take college funds, retirement funds, 401k's, insurance policies", all in the name of the children involved who are left penniless with parents who are facing foreclosure and the loss of their jobs because of constant interference from the CT Judicial Branch.  The power behind this ripoff are the CT Family Court judges who act as collection agencies with the excuse that this forced contract shakedown for assets is justified because the have ruled without any statutory basis that GAL fees are also child support.
 
The courts receive federal funding that facilitates children being placed with violent, abusive and/or sexually abusive fathers. It's difficult to ascertain exact numbers as the judicial branch does not have a statistician to obtain accurate numbers, but it seems that since 2006, when AFCC programming was put into the Family Court System, and HHS fatherhood.gov money started pouring into the Family Courts, which spread through the State into Martinez grants, women started losing their children at alarming rates and "high conflict"/ high revenue cases emerged for family law attorneys and the myriad of other professionals. This has led to large number of custody conflicts, where protective mothers are losing children at more than triple the rate than before.
 
For a good example of how the process works, see the link below:
 
 
Many are forced to another unregulated institution of supervised visitation centers, many AFCC run, extending the ability of AFCC related businesses to continue their profiteering activities. These too have no oversight and are not recognized by the Consumer Trade Commission. 


Family court is a broken system that is harming many. The liability for the ADA violations for these AFCC practices can bankrupt the State of Connecticut in sanctions alone should the CT DOJ choose to pursue the many thousands of cases throughout the State. The CT Judicial Branch entered an agreement in 2003 for it's non-compliance with ADA. If the judicial branch wants to live up to the lie on their website "we are Ada compliant" first thing that needs to go is the AFCC which is not compliant with the ADA, and next the discriminatory federal funding that allows these policies to be implemented must go. 


When abusers and victims are placed in the adversarial position of a divorce court, the abuser will usually win.  This came to light by the DOJ commissioned Saunders report and Connecticut's skimpy data also shows that trend.  Attorney Stephen Dembo, a notorious wrongdoer in connection to incentivizing high conflict divorces on behalf of abusers, is ironically on the Family Commission.  FYI, Attorney Steve Dembo and Dr. Sidney Horowitz and been partners together in an extraordinary 68 high conflict cases conducted in Family Court.  Munro and Krieger started RFTD. These are just tiny cogs in a the dirty wheel of justice that spins in favor of the new carpetbagger class that has inundated the CT Judicial Branch in the last few decades.
 
 
The state's judicial practices have not just destroyed me and my children, but tens of thousands of others, ensuring future generations of dysfunction with which to reap ongoing revenue. This is a phenomena I imagine many people reading this article are experiencing. 


The fact that these crimes are well known--Attorney General George Jepson and Attorney John Hughes of the DOJ have been fully informed, and yet do nothing is indicative of the graft, corruption and greed driven practices by many which are subtly and not so subtly tolerated or even furthered by some of the most powerful politicians and government functionaries in this State. I have mentioned twelve crimes in this email and it's being sent to the entities responsible for investigating these crimes.  It is time that fit mothers, protective mothers, finally saw some action and that those individuals who are responsible for holding criminals accountable do something about the crimes that I have described in so much detail here in this email.
 
Family law in Connecticut, and that in so many states, has become an embarrassment to honest and moral citizens. It doesn't seem that many within the system are reaching into their personal wells of honesty and morality to fix the situation and that too many generally ignore the unlawful and criminal injustices occurring in family court as well as the many civil rights violations that have been documented.
 
This is a holocaust of our families and children in the State of Connecticut.  Something needs to be done now.  Citizens of the State of Connecticut cannot afford to remain silent.
 
In the words of the great Holocaust protestor, Pastor Martin Niemoller,
 
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
 
Sincerely,


Ms. Susan Skipp,
Family Court Activist,
Mother of Lost Children
 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES INVESTIGATION INTO THE CONNECTICUT JUDICIAL BRANCH!

After years of begging the Department of Justice to take action, Anne Stevenson reports that the Department recently announced its intention to take steps to investigate the Connecticut Judicial Branch.  For more information, please click on the link below:

 



Friday, October 11, 2013

THE AFCC UNDERCUTS THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS LEAVING DEFRAUDED LITIGANTS WITHOUT ANY REMEDY OR OPPORTUNITY FOR RELIEF!

When I look back at my case, I realize I spent a considerable amount of time on submitting grievances in regard to the ADA.  I was denied ADA reasonable modifications for three years even though I had solid documentation indicating that I was eligible. 
 
From the beginning, since I was aware of how the Judicial Branch can obstruct a litigant from obtaining their rights, I knew that obtaining modifications would be difficult. In particular, I was concerned about the 3rd prong of the ADA which is the "regarded as" category because it is slightly less straightforward than the other prongs. 
 
Thus, In order to collect as much information as I could to support my claims, I contacted the New England ADA Technical Center with my questions.  Since my questions were somewhat complicated, I ended up being referred to Attorney Kathy Gips for more details.  She was reasonably friendly, but did not answer my questions and tended to be vague and non supportive. 
 
Just talking to her was enough to discourage me completely from following through on trying to obtain the protections from discrimination that I required. 
 
Fast forward three years and I was talking to Sandra Lugo-Gines the ADA "Project Manager" and I happened to mention my work with Attorney Gips and Sandra made a comment that interested me, that the Connecticut Judicial Branch itself works with Attorney Gips on compliance issues. 
 
After I investigated the issue further, I found out that Attorney Gips had been paid for conducting several ADA training sessions over the years.  I don't know how much money she earned from the Connecticut Judicial Branch and other agencies in the State of Connecticut doing these training sessions, but I can imagine it was considerable. 
 
And if she didn't earn a lot of money, I suspect she established positive relationships with Connecticut Judicial Branch employees and established friendships with them which would have encouraged her to be far more loyal to those employees rather than to the rag tag conglomeration of consumers like me who called to find out how we could protect ourselves from the way the Connecticut Judicial Branch was violating the ADA on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basis.  

So the bottom line is that Attorney Kathy Gips gave me no support or information at all because she had already sold out to the CT Judicial Branch. 
 
The New England ADA Technical Center is based out of Boston, far away from the Connecticut Judicial Branch in Hartford, and yet Attorney Gips had that alliance.  Who would ever figure that out?  If you didn't know you might think Attorney Gips had an independent opinion, but she did not.  
 
When it comes to litigant complaints, the same situation is going on when it comes to the Connecticut Judicial Branch and the AFCC both of whom are trying to protect their interests at the expense of Connecticut Citizens. 
 
According to the report by independent journalist Anne Stevenson, since the AFCC is run by Judicial Branch employees who are Judicial Branch managers and judges, they are in a position to control the outcome of all consumer complaints and lawsuits filed with the Courts regarding AFCC programs and members.  Some examples of this are as follows:

Until quite recently, or until she was caught, Judge Lynda Munro, an AFCC member, was Chief Administrative Judge of the Family Court.  This means that all complaints about judges, attorneys, and the court's administrative programs had to be filtered through her.
 
Furthermore, Judge Munro oversaw the GAL training and certification program.  Currently, GAL's receive qualified immunity, but there is no oversight authority and no decertification process.  The protocol for filing a complaint about a GAL is that you are supposed to take it up with the presiding family court judge assigned to your case, who is ultimately beholden to, you guessed it, AFCC member Judge Munro.
 
Complaints about attorneys are directed to the Statewide Grievance Committee, which includes AFCC member Attorney Sue Cousineau.
 
Complaints about violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act are directed to AFCC member Phyllis Cummings Texiera.
 
Also, until recently, complaints about the Court's administrative services, federal funded grant projects were directed to AFCC supporter Judge Barbara Quinn.  At this point I believe Judge Quinn has left her position, as Judge Munro did.  However, there is no reason to believe that another person similarly connected or similarly obligated to AFCC will not be appointed in her place.
 
Complaints about judges are directed to the Judicial Review Council whose members include AFCC member Attorney Barbara Aaron.
 
The AFCC has essentially reached its tentacles into all aspects of the grievance process to the extent that litigants have no recourse in circumstances where they face injustice and wrongdoing.  This is why litigants can report that there has been outright wrongdoing in their cases and yet the systems in place to address their complaints simply disregard those complaints and make light of the most outrageous behavior on the part of judges, attorneys, and GALs.
 
For instance, you have an attorney firm such as O'Connell, Flaherty, and Attmore, LLC, now renamed O'Connell, Attmore, and Morris, LLC, which has defrauded its own clients on a massive scale, has sued up to 69 of its clients in wrongful collections cases, has settled prior malpractice suits, and is currently even now being sued in malpractice cases in Civil Court simply evading and avoiding all accountability to the Statewide Grievance Committee despite overwhelming evidence of improper dealings. One of their attorneys was even caught by the FBI and is currently in jail, and yet Statewide refuses to take complaints about this firm seriously.  How else can you account for this outrageous, irresponsible hands off type attitude if not by attributing it the whole influence peddling schemes of the AFCC which are right out there in front of peoples noses.
 
And now we have the ultimate outrage where two legislators--Rep. Brandan Sharkey and Sen. Donald Williams--have appointed two AFCC members to co-chair the task force established to investigate the AFCC's wrongdoing and its criminal infiltration of the Connecticut Judicial Branch: Attorney Sharon Wicks Dornfeld and Attorney Sue Cousineau.  So we have two foxes looking into how well the foxes have been illegally raiding the hen house.  You can imagine how this will end!

So far, from what I see of their actions, it looks like Attorney Dornfeld and Attorney Cousineau are there to undercut the goals of the task force by deflecting and suppressing any information which might expose the AFCC to scrutiny.  The attorneys, judges and GALs who are part of this scheme, and the legislators who support them have no shame.  They believe that they are invulnerable and they will never be held accountable.  So they stick Dornfeld and Cousineau right in our faces and don't care what the consequences are in terms of the loss of credibility and the loss of citizens' faith in the legitimacy of this task force.
 
This is why citizens in the State of Connecticut, people who have experienced abuse from AFCC members within the CT Judicial Branch and its circle of influence must continue to keep the pressure on and hold the Judicial Branch and our Legislators accountable for rooting out the AFCC corruption in our legal system.  We cannot continue to allow the CT Judicial Branch to abuse emotionally and financially extort vulnerable parents and their innocent children.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TASK FORCE ALERT FROM CHERYL MARTONE OF U.S. CONCERNED PARENTS SUPPORT GROUP!

Dear Constituents of CT. and Legislators,
activists, parent and child advocates,
 
 
In regard to the Task Force to Study Legal Disputes Involving the Care & Custody of Minor Children which is meeting tomorrow at the LOB in room 1B at 10:00am, please note the following:
 
 
It has come to my attention that there are  2 members that are appointed on this Task Force who have been and are a detriment to our society, in particular, to Connecticut's vulnerable children.  Not only are they appointed to the Task force but they are co-chairing it, which is very appalling. 
  
 
They should not be on the Task Force since they both have violated our children and us as fit parents. They are the problem in the courts should not be here at this meeting to view the criminals at the helm.
 
 
I recommend to the Legislators who appointed them to remove them.
 
 
That would be Senator Donald Williams who appointed Attorney Susan Cousineau and
 
 
Representative Brendan Sharkey who appointed Sharon Dornfield the 2 Chairs of this task force.
 
 
Please call their offices and let them know we do not want them on this task force for the crimes they committed on our families in the courts. We do not want them to be making laws to help themselves in the courts. They will only make matters worse and we can not let them do that.
 
 
Please call these respective offices to tell them we want 
Susan Cousineau and Sharon Dornfield removed from this task force effective immediately~



Sen.Donald Williams PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
860-240-8614 Karla,
860-240-8634 Stephen
his residence: 860-774-0164  



Rep. Brendan Sharkey  SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
860-240-8577,
860-240-8517 
his residence: 203-281-4647   J.Brendan.Sharkey@cga.ct.gov

LIST OF APPOINTED MEMBERS OF THE TASK FORCE TO STUDY LEGAL DISPUTES INVOLVING THE CARE & CUSTODY OF MINOR CHILDREN!

1.  Sharon Wicks Dornfeld, Esq. Danbury (AFCC Member)

2.  Sue A. Cousineau, Esq. Middletown (AFCC Member)

3.  Elizabeth Thayer, Avon

4.  Joseph J. DiTunno (AFCC Member)

5.  Rep. DebraLee Hovey, Monroe

6.  Jennifer Verraneault, East Haven

7.  Linda Allard, Esq.

8.  Rep. Minnie Gonzalez

9.  Judge Thomas Weissmuller, Pawcatuck

10.  Rep. Ed Vargas

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MICHAEL NOWACKI LETTER TO JUDICIAL REVIEW COUNCIL ATTACKS ETHICAL VIOLATIONS COMMITTED BY PROMINENT JUDGES WITH TIES TO THE AFCC!

Scott Murphy Esq.
Executive Director
Judicial Review Council
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, CT
 
                                                                   September 16, 2013

Dear Attorney Murphy:
 

As we discussed in July, here are four complaints filed with the Judicial Review Council concerning four judges (The Honorable Lynda Munro, the Honorable Gerald Adelman, the Honorable  Holly Abery-Wetstone and the Honorable Harry E. Calmar) who are alleged in having engaged in conduct which violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.
 
 
In our July phone conversations, you indicated it was not necessary to produce 14 sets of the identical exhibits to be shared on each of the four complaints which are properly notarized.  I have included 14 sets of the relevant documents to support the claims for the individual complaints—since they all cite the same violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct adopted on January 1, 2011.
 
This letter provides the background on establishing grounds for sanctions for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct for all four complaints.
 
 I am also seeking the recusal of the Honorable Eliot Solomon and the Honorable Julia D. Dewey, who have long standing ties to the four respondents for these complaints inasmuch as they both served for a period of time on the Family Commission and as family court judges during the six year period of time in which the Honorable Lynda Munro served as the Chief Administrative Judge of Family Matters from September 1, 2007 to August 30, 2013.

 
The regulations of the Judicial Review Council concerning conflicts of interest state:

 
1.  Any member of the Council who has a conflict of interest in any matter before the Council shall be disqualified from participating in any proceeding of the Council in that matter.
 
2. A member shall have such conflict of interest when such member, his or her spouse, his or her child, or his or her business associate (a) has a direct personal or financial interest in said matter; (b) has a business, personal, or financial relationship with any complainant, witness, or respondent in said matter; (c) has a direct personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary matters before the counsel; (d) is related to a complaint, witness or respondent in said matter; (e) is a judge whom the complainant has made a previous complaint; (f) is an attorney who has any matter pending in a trial court or an appeal court involving a respondent against whom a complaint has been made; or (g) in any other situation, believes that he or she has, or may appear to have a conflict of interest. (emphasis not added).
 
On April 19, 2013, the Committee on Judicial Ethics issued four important advisory decisions that were labeled 2013-2015, 2013-2016, 2013-2017 and 2013-2018.
 
For the first time, the Committee on Judicial ethics provided a jurisdictional and directional opinion that indicated that sitting on the Board of Directors of a not for profit corporation (which was not referenced as the AFCC specifically) , in which contracts have been awarded to Board of Directors firms would violate the Code of Judicial Ethics Rule 3.7 (a) (6) (B).
 
“…Based upon the foregoing, an appearance of impropriety would arise if a Judicial Official serving on the board of directors of a nonprofit organization or members of the Judicial Official’s staff were to refer clients to the nonprofit organization.  Further the nonprofit organization may use or attempt to use the prestige of the Judicial Official’s office when seeking additional contracts with the Judicial Branch or others.  Accordingly, the Committee, with one member recused, unanimously determined serve on the nonprofit organization’s board of directors would violate Rules 1.2, 1.3, 3.1 and 3.7.”
 
Despite this clear admonition from the Committee on Judicial Ethics, Judge Lynda Munro continued in her position as a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut AFCC Chapter and further involved members of the judicial staff in the preparation of materials for the AFCC’s 50th Anniversary Convention to be conducted in Los Angeles from May 28 to June 1.
 
Judge Munro appeared on a panel she recruited in Los Angeles with Sharon Wicks Dornfeld (the Connecticut Bar Association Chair for Family Relations matters), Dr. Sidney Horowitz (who has been appointed in hundreds of family relations cases as a court appointee doing substantive assigned work in family courts in the State of Connecticut including cases in Judge Munro’s direct supervision), and Dr. Howard Kreiger (who also does outsourced work as a court appointee including in Judge Munro’s courts since here appointment in 2007 as the Chief Administrative Judge in the State of Connecticut).
 
In addition to these four panelists, a number of Board of Directors members of the Connecticut AFCC Chapter, not only are appointed for work by judges in the family courts, but specifically testified in Judge Munro’s courtroom without any acknowledgment of the direct professional, non-courtroom contact with Judge Munro.

 
The Committee on Judicial Ethics advisory opinions including 2013-15 and 2013-16, (while not definitely binding on the Judicial Review Council by virtue of “adopted” rules governing the operations of the Committee on Judicial Ethics) can be considered a “bright line” guidance in the determination to the whether Rules 1.2, 1.3, 3.1 and 3.7 were violated as alleged in the filing of four properly filed, sworn and articulated grievances naming Judge Lynda Munro, Judge Gerald Adelman, Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone and Judge Harry E. Calmar.

 
As the Chief Administrative Judge of Family matters, Judge Munro had an influence on the direct operations of all family court docketed cases, and then influenced which cases were reassigned to the regional family trial docket.
 
Only Judge Adelman now remains as a judge on matters reassigned to the Middletown Superior Court where Judge Adelman remains on cases referenced to the Regional Family Trial docket.
 
My case FST FA 04 0201276S was without motion transferred to the RFTD and assigned to Judge Harry Calmar, after I began investigating Judge Munro’s operations in the Family Commission—many of whom attended AFCC conferences and ran its operations from their desks as employees of the Connecticut Judiciary.
 
The use of employees of the Connecticut judiciary to produce materials for the CT AFCC meeting on April 12 and for the AFCC National Convention and use federal grant funding for ‘court operations” to expense such a trip to “accompany” Judge Munro to Los Angeles, Orlando and other undisclosed locations from 2007-2013 is an alleged violation of Rule 1.3 which states: “A judge shall not use or attempt to use the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of  the judge or others, or allow others to do so.”

 
In sending out invitations from judicial mailboxes from the Connecticut AFCC Organizing Committee, Marilou Giovannucci operated as the President Elect of the AFCC Connecticut Chapter on behalf of the Board of Directors, who included Judges Munro, Adelman and Holly Abery-Wetstone.
 
It could not be determined as to whether the list of attendees of the AFCC Conference was kept on judicial computers, but it certainly requires the JRC to investigate the use of judicial employees to recruit participation in a private organization which Judge Munro had such a documented relationship having expensed trips to the taxpayers from 2007-2013.
The expense reports to validate these assertions that Rule 1.3 was violated are attached to this complaint.
 
Despite the rulings on these four advisory opinions issued by the Committee on Judicial Ethics, The Honorable Lynda Munro (and members of her administrative staff) continued to utilize judicial financial resources to promote an organization, the Connecticut Chapter of American Family of Conciliation Courts whose Board of Directors have ties to contracts awarded by the judiciary.

 
It was only on March 26, 2013, when it was revealed that incorporation status was filed by the Connecticut Chapter of the AFCC, through a member of the Board of Directors, whose name is Robert Zaslow, that three judges were sitting on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut AFCC Chapter.

 
On or about March 14, 2013, a Connecticut judiciary employee, Marilou Giovanucci, (listed on the registration for non-stock corporation status as the “President Elect of the Connecticut Chapter of the AFCC) from her judiciary mailbox address, sent an email “on behalf of the Ct. AFCC coordinating Committee to a “Annual Conference” to be held to an estimated 700 lawyers who have been appointed to positions by The Honorable Lynda Munro, The Honorable Gerald Adelman, the Honorable Holly Abery-Wetstone and the Honorable Harry E. Calmar which invited them to the “First” AFCC Connecticut Chapter Conference on April 12, 2013 to be conducted at Quinnipiac University, where Judge Munro also serves as an adjunct professor.

 
The notice of the conference fees for attendees of AFCC failed to note that sales taxes were due for attendees at such the April 12 conference.
 
The list of the “invitees” included over 700 lawyers who have been appointed to assignments as Guardian Ad Litems and Attorneys for the minor children, family court employees, appointed psychologists/psychiatrist and others who completed the GAL and AMC training mandated by Connecticut Practice Book Rule 25-62 and 25-62a.
 
The use of public employees of the judiciary of the State of Connecticut to promote the nonprofit Connecticut Chapter of the AFCC for which Honorable Lynda Munro, Honorable Gerald Adelman and Honorable Holly Abery-Wetstone are listed as members of the Connecticut Chapter of the AFCC Board of Directors is alleged herein to be a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 1, Rule 1.2.

 
Inasmuch as Judge Lynda Munro’s presentation to the AFCC  meeting in Los Angeles listed four judges who were involved in the GAL and AMC training:  Judge Lynda Munro, Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone, Judge Harry E. Calmar and Judge Gerald Adelman, there is little question Rule 3.7 (6) (A) and (B).

 
In the case of this complainant, the Honorable Harry E. Calmar in March 2010, appointed Dr. Kenneth Robson to conduct an updated psychological/psychiatric examination of the complainant, while at the same time promoting the GAL/AMC training seminars at Quinnipiac University---without acknowledging the connection between the presiding Judge Calmar’s ties to Dr. Kenneth Robson. 
 
Dr. Robson, spent less than three minutes with me, in April 2010, and then Judge Calmar used that opinion of Dr. Robson, as a significant benchmarking tool in my docket file FST FA 04 0201276S.  A copy of that psychiatric opinion of Dr. Robson, who in three minutes, issued a psychiatric opinion which had no validity.
 
Dr. Robson, in the Liberti v. Liberti case, in sworn testimony suggested he could complete a psychiatric evaluation in three minutes or less.  Such “quackery” espoused by Dr. Robson in my family case and in the case of Sunny Kelley Liberti ended her custodial rights as well.

 
The use of judicial employees to carry out the promotion of the private interests of Honorable Lynda Munro in the AFCC Section 3.7 (4) as a fundraising activity for the Connecticut Chapter of the AFCC on April 12, 2013, is alleged to violate the Code of Judicial Conduct 3.7 (6) (A) and (B).

 
After the issuance of the opinion by the Committee on Judicial Ethics on April 19, 2013, listed as 2013-15, Judge Munro is alleged in this complaint to have further “sullied” the reputation of the judiciary, by billing her trip expenses to attend the AFCC 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles to an account identified as SID #22523 ($1,607.65), “identified in the supporting documents as a Court Improvement Grant.”  Also attending the Los Angeles AFCC meeting were Connecticut Judiciary “Court Operations” employees.
 
Judge Munro and others also traveled to Orlando, Florida for the 2012 AFCC National Convention which was also billed to SID #22523—all expensed to various budget centers.    
 
Please see the validation that expenses were also paid to travel to Los Angeles out of the same state funds for the travels of Marilou Giovannucci ($1,195.71) , who lists her title as Manager, Court Services Operation, Johanna Greenfield ($1.062.33) , Caseflow Management Specialist (who also sits on the Family Commission), David Iacarrino ($1,0687.09)  Deputy Director of Court Operations (who also sits on the Family Commission, which Judge Munro served as the Chair), Linda Sabatelli ($1,110.60) and Rhonda Lucino. ($200.00 conference fee).

 
Judge Lynda Munro’s 2012 AFCC trip fees were also “expensed” by Judge Munro for Orlando for the AFCC convention , along with Marth Boyer ($1,159.39) Linda Sabatelli$1,423.38) and Marilou Giovannucci ($1,160.35).
 
Expense reports for the attendance of Judge Lynda Munro and Marilou Giovannucci go back to as early as 2007, charged to SID 22151.    

 
Included on the panel discussion in Los Angeles for the period of time of May 29-June 1 were invited panelists Dr. Sidney Horowitz (who was listed as a member of the Connecticut Chapter and Dr. Howard Kreiger.  It is not known as to whether Dr. Horowitz and Kreiger had their expenses paid through the judiciary or not.
 
So, the question for the JRC is this, how can proper sanctions been put into place to hold these four judges accountable for their conduct in family cases in which AFCC memberships are not able to be traced back to prior years.

 
The appointment of Judge Elliot Solomon to the Assistant Chief Administrative Judge of the State of Connecticut, effective October 1, 2013, creates additional conflicts of interest inasmuch as a Judge Solomon has an administrative role in the training of judges for the proper implementation of the Judicial Code of Ethics.

 
There is little debate at the Committee of Judicial Ethics about the declaration of impropriety of sitting on the AFCC Board of Directors in which contracts were doled out by members of the judiciary.

 
The Auditors for Public Accounts issued reports for Judiciary Branch and Child Protective Services (a division of the judiciary until Public Act 10-48 changed the reporting responsibilities of CPS to the Office of Public Defenders.

 
The reports from the Auditors of Public Accounts clearly defines material weakness in the operation of the judiciary in which there are no receipts or contracts for for millions of dollars of federal funding granted to the judiciary.
 
The minutes to Judge Solomon’s videoconferencing committee record a “grant” was awarded for the expansion videoconference capabilities, but Judge Solomon also said that the funding was not specifically awarded for that use.
 
With Judge Solomon’s recent appointment to the JRC, there are serious credibility issues for the JRC which are inherent in Judge Solomon’s tenure on the Family Commission.
 
In the recent history of the JRC, hundreds of complaints have been issued against family court judges including Judge Munro.
 
There is no way to assess how many judges have been sitting on Connecticut Bar Association Committees (a matter addressed in advisory opinion 2013-16) or the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (2013-18) because the committee structure of the CBA is not a publicly accessible document.
 
The allegations set forth in these complaints establishes beyond a reasonable doubt the ties to the AFCC violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and sanctions are warranted via the conducting of a public hearing on the allegations set forth in these four complaints.
 
Please do not hesitate to contact me to testify with others at a public hearing at which point in time transcripts will be presented to the counsel which validate that the conflicts of interest in the AFCC and its ties to the AMC and GAL training commenced in 2011 were never acknowledged to the parties engaged in family court litigation in the courtrooms of these four judges.
 
As an aggrieved party, from such bias and prejudice, only sanctions will send a clear message that such affiliations with the AFCC were inappropriate inasmuch as they were never disclosed as a “clear and present danger” to the integrity and independence of the family court system in Connecticut.
 
Cordially,

 
Michael Nowacki
319 Lost District Drive
New Canaan, CT  06840
mnowacki@aol.com
(203) 273-4296

 

Enclosures:

 

1. List of Council Members—2 pages

2. Handbook of Committee Regulations—6 pages

3. Committee on Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion 2013-15 dated 4/19/2013—2 pages

4. Purpose of the CT AFCC Chapter—1 page

5. Email dated March 12, 2013 from Marilou Giovannucci inviting over 700 people listed on the email chain sent from her email address marilou.giovannucci@jud.ct.gov

6.  Four page description of the First Annual AFCC Conference on April 12, 2013 including fee structure

7.  Four page article appearing on Washington Times raising conflict of interest issues for Connecticut judges and history of Connecticut AFCC chapter—4 pages

7.  Committee on Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion 2013-16 dated 4/19/2013—2 pages

8.  Committee on Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion 2013-17 dated 4/19/2013—3 pages

9. Committee on Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion 2013-18 dated 4/19/2013—3pages

10. Copy of Four pages of FOI requests and responses from Melissa Farley—4 pages

11.  Copy of document expensing the membership of the AFCC of Judge Munro—1 page

12.  Copy of 4 pages of emails approving various judiciary employees to attend AFCC meeting on April 4 sent from mailbox of Debra Kulak one of the founding members of the CT AFCC Chapter noted in Washington Times article—4 pages

13.  Expense reports for travel from Judge Lynda Munro, Marilou Giovannucci, Johanna Greenfield, David Iaccarino, Linda Sabatelli, Rhonda Lucino, Mary Kay West, Martha Boyerl

14.  Program for AFCC conference in Los Angeles—Judge Munro was on Panel 64

15.  List of Family Commission members as of September 15, 2013