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Showing posts with label JUDICIAL ABUSE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JUDICIAL ABUSE. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

JONATHAN P. WIEGAND, DEAD AT 31.

It is with sadness that I have to report the death of Jonathan P. Wiegand who died suddenly on Friday August 11, 2017.  See link:  

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/middletownpress/obituary.aspx?pid=186388780


During the 1990s, as a child of 4, Jonathan was in the center of an extremely controversial custody case in which his mother, Linda Wiegand, accused the stepfather, Thomas Wilkinson, of sexually abusing his stepson, Jonathan, and their younger son, Ben (3).  At one point, Ms. Wiegand fled to Las Vegas and two years later was discovered and charged with custodial interference.  

Jonathan P. Wiegand
This case set the stage for future custody switching schemes in which protective mothers in the State of Connecticut have lost custody, and indeed, all access to their children who are then transferred into the sole custody of the fathers who abused them.  The players in her case subsequently went on to become involved in other cases where good parents lost custody of their children.  This includes Judge Herbert Barall, Dr. Kenneth Robson, Attorney Louis Kiefer, and Dr. James C. Black.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

CALIFORNIA MOM ROISIN CASSIDY: VICTIM OF AN ATTORNEY DISCOVERY SCAM!

Many of us have come to believe that our own attorney was working for the other side. However, when we confronted our attorneys about our suspicions or brought the issue up before the Court, we have been scoffed at and mocked.  

In the letter below, you will see how one litigant, Roisin Cassidy, actually caught out two of her attorneys working in coordination together and with the opposing attorney so that she would lose custody through a scheme that revolved around court rules in regard to discovery.  What the attorneys did was collude with each other in a post judgment custody switching scheme to allow the abusive father discovery, while Ms. Cassidy was prohibited from doing so.

Monday, November 28, 2016

FAMILY COURT POLICIES BAR MOTHERS FROM PROTECTING THEIR CHILDREN!

There are two things that happened to me recently which set off an important chain of thought.  The first is that I was contacted by a person I'd met in the course of writing my blog.  She told me that when her children are at their father's home he is often drunk and violent towards them.  Unfortunately, there is nothing she can do because, in her divorce, she was designated the bad parent and had to go through multiple hoops to retain custody.  

The testimony of the children, the documentary evidence of the father's abuse didn't matter.  What mattered was that the court had decided to favor the abuser who was again the father, and the mother was left in a position where she could do little to protect her children.  

The second situation is that a close friend of one of my children committed suicide.  This friend was in his or her early 20s, just graduated from College practically.  I don't want to provide identifying details regarding who this person is just for reasons of privacy and respect. However, what I did want to say is that doctors suspect that the reason why this person committed suicide had to do with sports related injuries which led to serious depression. I then asked my child if she had sustained similar type injuries and she said "yes", in fact she had.  

Her response completely shocked me because it never occurred to me that she'd gone through this without my knowing.  Apparently, because my child didn't want to trouble me with information about a situation she knew I couldn't protect her from given the ongoing indifference of family court, she decided not to tell me. The concussions my child was newly reporting to me were over and above the other injuries I knew about, i.e. two broken shoulders, two broken noses, and irreversible nerve damage.  

Some of these injuries occurred because my ex husband failed to provide my child with the kind of proper equipment that is essential when you play the kind of sports my child played.  I only found this out when other parents pulled me aside during games to ask me what was going on and why didn't my child have the proper gear.  Unfortunately, unlike my ex, who is highly sports oriented, I was unfamiliar with what was necessary. Thankfully, once these concerned parents had clued me in, I was able to stay on top of the problem.  But not before the damage had been done.

Another reason these injuries occurred is simply because my child was a very slight and fragile young person who should not have been engaged in these kinds of activities because he simply didn't have the necessary bulk to participate safely.  

However, when I brought these issues up with my own attorney and with the guardian ad litem in my case, they made light of my concerns and laughed them off.  The guardian ad litem sneered and made comments that led me to believe that he thought I was bringing up my safety concerns regarding my child's sports activities simply as a means to get an edge in the custody battle.  My own attorney went on about how team sports would toughen my kid up and prepare her properly for the cruel world she'd face in the years to come.

Even though I repeatedly brought to the attention of my attorney and the GAL medical reports indicating that my child was sustaining more injuries than was healthy at his age, they both dismissed and mocked my concerns.  What gets me even now is that it wasn't the opposing attorney who amused himself at my expense and that of my child, it was my own attorney. This tells you how difficult it can be for protective mothers.  

As mothers, we are well aware that our children are being injured in ways that will affect them for their entire lives and yet the family court system and its associated attorneys make light of the situation and act like mothers who express their worry must have Munchausen's by Proxy, or something similar.  

In fact, as a consequence of the fact that I expressed such concern regarding my child's well being related to her sports activities, the GAL and the attorneys in my case insisted upon including an additional provision in our parenting agreement specifically giving my ex husband sole authority when it came to signing my child up for sports. This gave my ex permanent free rein to expose my child to potentially life threatening conditions within the sports arena.  

I have already spoken about this problem in a previous blog on this website which I entitled "The Kids Are Not All Right." What I am writing about now is just a reaffirmation of the ongoing existence of this problem.  

I am also saying that little did I know that the problem was much more severe than I had earlier thought.  

As mothers, when we hand our children over to their fathers for parenting time, we simply have to trust that father's behavior will be responsible.  What can you do about what you don't know about because you aren't there? In my situation, my child was sustaining even more severe injuries than I knew about in his father's care.  As I said earlier, it is only now that my child feels free enough to tell me about the concussions and the nerve damage he endured. Those injuries are for life.  

The loss of a friend through suicide is also an injury for life.  This is a friend my child grew up with from Kindergarten.

That friend who died was also a child of divorce.  I can only hope that my child will not end up the same way, but there is no guarantee.  

Bottom line, however, is we have a family court system that is thoroughly irresponsible about the way in which they are handling the physical and psychological health of our children. In its rush to whitewash the behavior of fathers merely because they are fathers, particularly the abusive ones, they have put at risk thousands of children, placing them in situations that are completely unacceptable, and then demonizing their mothers who try to protect them.  

I continue to be appalled by the fact that the media doesn't report on this situation, that our representatives haven't addressed this issue about which they were well informed in 2014, and that our CT Judicial Branch continues to stonewall any attempt to hold them to account regarding how it treats vulnerable children.  This situation is and remains a disgrace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

DID ATTORNEY ROSA REBIMBAS IGNORE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST WHICH SHOULD HAVE KEPT HER OUT OF THE STVAN CASE? PART IV: STVAN v. STVAN!














On September 25, 2015, during an "ex parte hearing" in the Stvan v. Stvan case, the Court transferred temporary full custody to Thomas Stvan. At the same time, the Court also appointed Attorney Rosa Rebimbas as the Attorney For the Minor child or AMC.  Just to note, for your information, by ex parte I mean that Ms. Paige Stvan was not present at the hearing to defend herself from the accusations again her, and in fact, she wasn't even informed that the hearing was taking place.  By law, 14 days after the ex parte hearing, Ms. Paige Taylor should have been allowed to have an evidentiary hearing where she could defend herself.  But as I have stated, she never had one, which is illegal.

Of course, the immediate question here is, why does a 12 year old need an AMC?  An AMC   primarily participates in a legal matter involving a minor child to ensure the client is accorded her legal rights.  It is a very limited role and is usually reserved for older teenagers around 15,16 years old who are almost independent. No 12 year old is mature enough to make life changing decisions and direct the actions of an attorney at such a young age.  In contrast, a GAL's role is more geared towards conducting investigations and working with the family, which would seem more appropriate where one party had made unfounded accusations. 

What I would suspect is that the reason the Court assigned an AMC is that Thomas Stvan exaggerated the situation to make it appear as though Ms. Paige Stvan's condition was so severe that she wouldn't be in the picture for months to come, and that there would be no need for an investigation and a report in preparation for the 14 day follow up hearing to see if the change of custody was truly necessary.

Another reason a jaded person like me would speculate that the Court diverted from its ordinary manner of doing business and appointed an AMC for the child at this juncture is that all conversations, all correspondence related to representing a child become secret and confidential if you are acting as an AMC. Because documentation created or received while acting as an AMC is not discoverable, this means that acting in that role allows any legal professional considerable leeway to hide any wrongdoing.  

So who is this Attorney Rosa Rebimbas who is supposed to be acting on behalf of the child in this case as AMC? Attorney Rosa Rebimbas is a State Representative in the CT General Assembly.  This is the same Attorney Rebimbas who not long ago saw fit to verbally abuse and attack a fellow member of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Minnie Gonzales, who has been so courageous in calling attention to the abuses and corruption of family court.  

Of course, those of us who fought for the Task Force that investigated the misdeeds of family court, those of us who had the courage to step forward, despite fears of retaliation, to speak out and provide testimony about our sufferings as a consequence of the wrongdoing of the CT Judicial Branch, have viewed Rep. Minnie Gonzales as our standard bearer.  Rep. Minnie Gonzales is the warrior who spoke out courageously on our behalf, who had compassion for our hurt and pain, and for the loss of beloved children and homes and college tuition accounts, who understood how it felt for us to be thrown out onto the streets, jailed and deprived of precious family bonds with our children as a consequence of the denial of our constitutional and human rights within the CT Family Court system.  

Attorney Rosa Rebimbas is the State Representative who took it upon herself to insult our standard bearer, Rep. Minnie Gonzales, and call into question her integrity and her devotion to the people of the State of Connecticut and also to the victims of family court.  This is the woman who appears in the middle of this case--Stvan v. Stvan--to orchestrate, what I believe to be, one of the worse cases of child stealing from a protective mother--Ms. Paige Stvan--that I have seen in years, and I've seen and written about some of the worst.   

Let me just say at the outset that it appears to me that appointing Attorney Rosa Rebimbas in a custody case before a family court judge represents a conflict of interest for her.  This is why I question whether it was appropriate for her to be in this case at all.  The reason why is because, at the same time she is appearing before Judge Gerald Adelman, she is also an active member of the CT General Assembly's Judiciary Committee.  It is her job to vote to reconfirm Judge Adelman to the bench when he comes up for reappointment.  So she is supposed to be appearing before Judge Adelman in a subordinate role, while at the same time she is also in the position of monitoring him and holding him to account for complaints that citizens make against him.  

Why is this even legal?  

There is also another conflict of interest.  At the start of this case during the ex parte hearing on September 25, 2015, Attorney Rosa Rebimbas was appointed to act as the Attorney For the Minor Child (AMC) in the Stvan v. Stvan case.  Again, we can call into question how come a child of 12 would ever in a million years have an AMC represent her, but be that as it may.  Later, in November 2015, Attorney Rebimbas switched roles and became the GAL for the minor child and handed the job of AMC to another attorney, Bradford Barney.  

I just personally find this switcheroo of roles very inappropriate.  

She shouldn't be playing two separate positions for the minor child, bottom line, of course, because it is confusing for the child, but most specifically because it blurs boundaries in regard to her responsibilities.  Of course, I am aware that in Connecticut Family Court it is a standard for an attorney to act as both Attorney for the Minor Child and Guardian ad Litem at the same time, but to me that's just one more example of the complete insanity of Family Court in Connecticut.  So now this little girl has been told she had one kind of relationship with Attorney Rosa Rebimbas, and now the page is turned and the relationship must transform to something completely different.  That's tough enough to do with an adult, but doing that to a child is outrageous!

As an aside, at this point it is worth noting that over half of the people elected to the CT State Legislature are all attorneys.  So it is like this private mafia of attorneys all together in this group, dominating the legislature, who I believe, engage actively in supporting and covering up for their comrades in the legal profession, even to the point where it is colluding with activities within the Family Court system which are causing harm and damage to Connecticut's citizens.  

If these conflicts of interest make you uncomfortable, you can imagine how uncomfortable they made Ms. Paige Stvan.  As a consequence, at the hearing on choosing a GAL for her little girl in November 2015, Ms. Paige Stvan strongly objected to the appointment of Attorney Rosa Rebimbas as GAL.   Not only did she object personally in Court, she also submitted two lengthy and detailed motions to the Court asking to have Attorney Rebimbas totally removed from the case, one on December 6, 2015 and another on December 8, 2015.  In doing so, Ms. Stvan had a strong legal position. Under CT Public Act 14-3, the Court must provide to the parties in a case a list of fifteen approved people to serve as the GAL.  The parties then have a right to agree on a person from that list of 15.  

Unfortunately, and this is where a huge loophole appears, if the parties disagree, then the Court is allowed to choose a person from that list of his own accord.  In the Stvan case, without even allowing the parties to confer regarding who would be the GAL, and without even providing them with the list of 15 potential candidates, Judge Gerald Adelman simply appointed Attorney Rosa Rebimbas over Ms. Paige Stvan's objections. Somehow, when it put CT Public Act 14-3 into place, I don't think that the State legislature intended the Court to ride rough shod over the wishes of the parties in a case as it did with Ms. Stvan, particularly when there were solid grounds to simply remove Ms. Rebimbas from the case entirely, i.e. her lack of neutrality and fairness towards Ms. Paige Stvan. 

As Guardian Ad Litem, it was Attorney Rosa Rebimbas' responsibility to carry out a full investigation into what was going on with Thomas Stvan, Paige Stvan, and the minor child.  As a result, If you review the record of the case, Ms. Paige Stvan brought to Court and made available to Attorney Rosa Rebimbas and the Court numerous mental health professionals and private citizens who supported her as an individual and as a mother.  There was Ms. Ashley Adamson, LCSW, Dr. Eric D. Jackson, Ph.D., Ms. Danielle Sileo, LMFT, Pamela Lape, M.S.W., Dr. Lawrence Lorfice, M.D., Dr. Linda Gunsberg, Ph.D., and Ms. Linda J. Gottlieb, LMFT, LCSW-R.  as well as friends who provided letters and affidavits to the Court.

However, even though some of these professionals personally travelled all the way to Court, some from out of state, and spent the entire day waiting to provide their testimony, Attorney Rosa Rebimbas, from what I understand, prevented the Court from hearing about or listening directly to their testimony.  Not only that, she simply ignored the recommendations that these professionals made.  

In an email dated March 6, 2016, one of these professionals, Dr. Linda Gunsberg provided a written overview of a conversation she'd had directly with Attorney Rosa Rebimbas in which she recommended that an independent forensic family expert evaluate the Stvan family to determine what was going on.  Dr. Gunsberg also recommended a mental status examination of both parents, psychological testing of both parents and an assessment of the child.  In specific, Dr. Gunsberg stated that "the forensic expert must be trained in the assessment of children, parental alienation, domestic violence, and the interrelationship between domestic violence and parental alienation."  

Despite these recommendations from a trained mental health professional indicating the most effective way of resolving the case in the best interests of the child, Attorney Rosa Rebimbas simply ignored them all and didn't follow through.  

Overall, obstruction and non cooperation were Attorney Rebimbas' way of interacting with Ms. Paige Stvan across the Board in violation of her professional obligation as a GAL to remain independent and objective and to show respect for persons.  

Eventually, Ms. Paige Stvan directed several discovery requests towards Attorney Rebimbas.  However, instead of responding promptly, as was appropriate, the latter chose to ignore the requests, even though she received a court order on March 17, 2016 from Judge Gerald Adelman to comply.  I would suspect Representative Rosa Rebimbas felt that she didn't have to be too concerned about a Judge's order, seeing that she was such an important person. And she was right.  What is particularly egregious is that, in her incomplete response to discovery, Attorney Rebimbas took the opportunity to slander Ms. Paige Stvan's character further and draw negative inferences in regard to the presence or absence of her ADA advocates which had no basis in the truth.  As I have stated, ADA advocates didn't remain in the case because the Court disrespected their work.

It is true you can take advantage of self represented parties like Ms. Paige Stvan because they are vulnerable and often don't know the rules.  The only question I'm left with here is what happened to Rosa Rebimbas' oath as an attorney "that you will do nothing dishonest, and will not knowingly allow anything dishonest to be done in court"?  What about her obligation to uphold the law?  Did these conflicts of interest I have detailed here compromise Attorney Rosa Rebimbas ability to act ethically in this case?  We will never know.  What we do know is that, as a direct result of her actions, Ms. Paige Stvan has had to endure the worst kind of pain and injustice that a mother can be subjected to.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A READER RESPONSE TO THE NEWS THAT THE FAMILY COMMISSION IS DISBANDING!

In late 2008, early 2009, Munro was given permission to invite certain non-judicial members of the bar to serve on her "Committee". Later, she changed the name to "Commission", I believe she changed the name on her own, and by no official process. She sent invitations to attorneys before she was given permission to do so, I believe. 

One of the attorneys was invited to join at the very time he managed to extract himself from a highly contentious Stamford case over which Munro had presided, and at exactly the same time she left Stamford for Middletown, after assigning that same contentious case to Middletown where she was heading... This attorney had admitted to a certain jurist that he had been aware of his client's fraud upon the court for nearly a year and requested to be relieved of the case. Before he abandoned his client, he had Munro order the family's pensions liquidated to address, pre-judgment, insane fees that were never before the court and were later found unreasonable, just after he had her invade minor children's trust funds to pay for bogus forensic psychological evaluations with Sidney Horowitz. 

Some of the first items on the Commission's agenda were emergency ex-parte motions for custody, GAL training and fees, and invasions of minor children's "custodial accounts" for payment of forensic psychological testing. These issues were urgent, because Munro had made some crazy rulings and needed some quick rule changes before she was personally sued. (Trust funds are not "custodial accounts" - they are independent legal entities that are specifically protected by state statutes) .

Munro and the attorney who proposed the rule change that would allow the court to order minor children to pay for their family's bogus psychological evaluations and did so under false pretext, for they failed to disclose to the Commission the fact that the case had been before Munro and Munro had ordered minor children's trust funds improperly invaded while she denied the mother a support hearing even after learning the mother and children had no heat or phone service and had been heating the home with an oven, that the mother and children had received zero dollars in child support in 2 years because that special attorney had made sure the mother never had her hearings by scheduling with Munro "emergency status conferences" (15 in 8 months!) during which she granted for him motion that were not even drafted, before canceling that mother's scheduled hearing and ordering the pensions liquidated without a financial hearing for inflated legal fees that later were found to be "unreasonable" but were until that point the cause for the attorney to bankrupt the family by placing a lis pendens on their home and failing to remove it upon court order…

Because all the orders were made "without prejudice and to be addressed at trial" the mother was unable to remedy the situation until trial, which was cancelled by Munro 7 times and ultimately never occurred due to the litigant's being stripped of their net worth. The mother could therefore not appeal.

Friday, July 17, 2015

MEDIA AND THE COURTS: BONNIE RUSSELL'S BLOG EXPOSES JUDGE BARRY PINKUS' PAST HISTORY!

According to journalist Bonnie Russell of "Media and the Courts":
"A few weeks ago, Family court litigant, Adrianne Oyola, received a temporary restraining order to prevent Tony Moreno, the father of Adrianne’s seven month old son, Aaden Moreno, from hurting Aaden.  The order was signed from a still as yet to be identified, family court judge.
But when Adrianne returned to court with a request to make the temporary restraining order permanent, Judge Barry Pinkus refused her request; and Adrianne’s temporary restraining order, expired.
“Expired” turned out to be the operative term.
Judge Barry C. Pinkus - killerjudges.com
Judge Barry Pinkus – killer judge
Barely a month after Judge Pinkus’s ruling, Tony Moreno threw seven month old Aaden off the Arrigoni Bridge, into the Connecticut River.
Aaden promptly drowned..."














READ MORE:

Sunday, May 31, 2015

"COUNTERPUNCH" ARTICLE ON WHY THE JUDICIARY SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY IS CORRUPT!

John Barth, Jr. in "Counterpunch" states as follows:

"We all would like to believe that, as when we were children in a family, there is in our society a final authority to whom we can turn in case we are seriously wronged. We are not predisposed to believe the accusers of the judicial process any more than the detractors of Santa Claus. Perhaps critics are merely sore losers or angry convicts, and perhaps judicial misconduct would be exposed by appeals courts or the mass media, and corrected. Why guess our way without the facts? Such pre-dispositions held by many otherwise educated adults allow pervasive institutional corruption of the judicial branch to remain hidden.
Judicial corruption is invisible to citizens, because lawyers are trained and motivated to deny and cannot safely speak of it, because mass media corporations agree with judicial prejudice and live in fear of judicial whims, because non-lawyers cannot obtain the facts without prohibitive cost and effort, and because the infantile myth of judicial salvation has broad appeal and is propagated as an opiate by the mass media. Judicial corruption is discovered by those of its victims willing to do years of tedious research, and only they will speak of it..."
For more on this interesting topic, please click on the link below:

Friday, April 10, 2015

ATTORNEY JAMES T. FLAHERTY SEEKS TO AVOID A DECISION IN NAPPO MALPRACTICE SUIT AGAINST HIM!

In a prior blog, I spoke about Attorney James T. Flaherty's legal abuse of his own clients.  He has a pattern of taking on cases where individuals are in considerable distress.  He then concocts major bills in the case, often double billing by working in tandem with his associates Attorney Sandi Girolamo and Attorney Pam Magnano.  Then because he often has little idea of what he is doing, Attorney Flaherty will wreck the case and leave his clients on the lurch.  

Some believe that Attorney James T. Flaherty simply doesn't know how to practice the law.  I actually believe that Attorney Flaherty blows off his cases in order to discredit his clients so that they are unable to retrieve their losses either through a complaint to Statewide Grievance or through Civil Court.  

Often, as their cases approach trial, either the day before or the morning of the trial, Attorney Flaherty will approach his clients and demand an immediate large payment.  When it came to me, Attorney Flaherty asked for an immediate $30,000 or else.  Then using one pretext or another, Attorney James T. Flaherty will withdraw from the case and then sue for payment of his inflated bills in civil court and then foreclose on your house.  

Attorney Flaherty has had several of these collection cases which he usually finds a way to settle.  However, the recent malpractice case of Mr. Jeffrey Nappo versus Attorney James T. Flaherty is apparently evading the usual script.  The case, which was originally filed on September 26, 2011, is still underway over four years later.  There will be a hearing in the case on April 22, 2015 and then a trial management hearing on June 9, 2015.  Of course, these have been scheduled before and have not been followed through on.  So what is going on with this case?  

Early in 2009, Jeff Nappo's mother had a post judgment matter in family court that simply needed to be resolved having to do with the release of a bond.  Jeff Nappo wasn't even a party to the case--he was just helping out his mother.  Mr. Nappo spoke to two well respected law firms before approaching Jim Flaherty, both of whom stated that they could handle the matter for approximately $2,500.00.  

When Jeff Nappo spoke to Attorney Flaherty, Flaherty stated that he would expect to receive a $10,000.00 retainer, but he anticipated that he wouldn't even come close to that amount in resolving the legal issue.  Fast forward, Jeff Nappo received a walloping bill because Attorney Flaherty had carried out his usual trick of adding Attorney Sandi Girolamo to the case and was essentially double billing by having her present during hearings and depositions.  

Later on, Jeff Nappo received a bill for November and December of that year which was an exact duplicate of earlier bills that he had received except there were different dates and a higher balance.  When Jeff confronted the accountant about these bills, reportedly she stated, "You're right.  We just make bills up for Jim."

Eventually, Jeff's mother's case went to a hearing and during a break in the hearing, Attorney Flaherty went up to Jeff Nappo and demanded another $10,000.00 or he stated he was going to walk out of the case and Mr. Nappo reluctantly provided him with ten checks for $1000.00 each.  After that, he didn't hear from Flaherty for another ten months.  

Ultimately, Attorney Flaherty went to court demanding that Mr. Jeff Nappo pay him additional money in legal fees and Mr. Nappo responded with several counterclaims including excessive billing, failing to complete the work within the agreed upon limits of expense as set forth between the parties, failing to file necessary and required paperwork as part of the representation, failing to communicate, and submitting bills with false charges on them as well as additional violations of the CUTPA (Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act).  

Of course, as I have said, this was well over four years ago.  So what is going on?  Why didn't this matter go to trial long ago like all other trials?  

I recall that when I brought my own malpractice case against Attorney James T. Flaherty for very similar practices, although I will add outright lying to the trial court to my list of complaints, it really did not last very long.  There was a year long period consisting mostly of discovery and some pretty ineffective pretrial hearings.  Finally, we ended up in court before Judge Domnarski  who pretty much said, we are going to trial and I am giving it two days and that's it.  

You will forgive me for being somewhat cynical, but I can't help thinking that this extraordinary situation where the case does not go to trial and there are ongoing continuances is an attempt by the Trial Court to simply avoid trial.  

Bottom line is they want Jeff Nappo to settle the way all the cases prior to Jeff have settled.  

For over a decade, Attorney James T. Flaherty has used the Hartford Civil Court as his own personal enforcement agency to wrest vast sums of money out of his former clients.  What networks of interdependence and mutual support Attorney Flaherty developed during these years to be able to wield such influence, who is to know.  But the evidence of the impropriety of the Civil Court in this area stands right before us in the ongoing Nappo case and in the records of the other 69 or so cases with very similar outcomes that Attorney James T. Flaherty initiated against his own clients.  

No other attorney comes near such an extraordinary record of pursuing his own clients in this manner.  

The Nappo case is an embarrassment to the Trial Court because it threatens to put on the record the fact that the Connecticut Judicial Branch has been allowing an attorney to conduct raiding campaigns against his own clients for years.  They would like to sweep this matter under the rug.  

For years, Attorney James T. Flaherty has been the teflon attorney--no grievance to Statewide Grievance has been able to stick.  He has evaded any kind of accountability for his cases in family court, walking out of these cases at will, even when he is right  in the middle of trial.  Nothing phases him, no disciplinary committee stops him, and judges will stick their necks out for him seemingly without hesitation, i.e. Judge Jorge Simon who praised his work in open court and Judge Solomon who found his work to be exemplary in a letter to the disciplinary committee.  

The problem, however, with trying to handle the Flaherty/Nappo matter with another coverup is that after the case is resolved, Attorney James T. Flaherty has every intention of coming back to Court with two more of his recently acquired victims.  Jim Flaherty has an addiction to money and such a gross disregard for how he obtains it that if the Court system doesn't do something to stop him, Flaherty's feeding frenzy will never end.   It is time for the trial court to refuse any further settlements with Attorney James T. Flaherty and to insist that the Nappo matter goes to trial right away.  Not only that, it also needs to make sure that the trial is fair, not the trumped up piece of nonsense that other litigants have been stuck with up to this point.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

FOR JUDGES, BULLYING SELF-REPRESENTED PARTIES IS A WAY OF LIFE: JUDGE CORINNE KLATT REPEATEDLY POUNDS KATHI SORRENTINO IN MAY 23, 2014 CUSTODY HEARING!

In an earlier blog on the Kathi Sorrentino case, I had spoken of the book "Man's Search For Meaning" in which Viktor Frankl stated that of all the many sufferings he endured in the Nazi Concentration camps, the worst he had to bear were not the physical privations, but the verbal abuse he had to put up with on a daily basis. When asked, "Why was this so?" his answer was, "Because it was so unfair." 

The context in which Mr. Frankl's words make the most sense in our Family Courts is in regard to how Judges bully and badger self-represented parties during hearings.  In ways that are very predictable, judges treat the represented party as if he can do no wrong, while judges consistently browbeat, harass, and pass judgment on the character of the self represented parties. This is one of the most unfair aspects of our corrupt Family Court system.

This phenomenon represents an ongoing, hidden disgrace in terms of how the Court treats litigants in Family Courts throughout the State of Connecticut.  In the hearing that took place on May 23, 2014, Kathi Sorrentino fell victim to the policy of abusing self-represented parties, and thus ended up losing custody of her son, Storm.

In this blog, I am referring to Judge Corinne Klatt who conducted Kathi Sorrentino's trial, but the bottom line is the techniques judges use in abusing self represented parties are well known and clearly judges discuss and share approaches.  So all of them stand guilty of the same abusive behavior, not just any single judge. 

Disregarding Court Rules:

The most common piece of nonsense Judges allow in hearings with self represented parties is to allow the opposing attorney to submit motions right when the hearing starts.  This is a violation of the due process right to know what you are being accused of in advance of the proceedings.  Thus, with Kathi Sorrentino, Dr. Eric Frazer submitted a status report that Kathi hadn't had the opportunity to see prior to the hearing.  Second, in Kathi Sorrentino's case, the judge allowed the opposing attorney to switch around the order of the witnesses right in the middle of the hearing which gave him considerable advantage.  As long as attorneys can manipulate the legal proceedings at will and a self-represented party has no recourse for that, it is unlikely that a self-represented party will ever have a fair hearing.

Often, judges will mislead self-represented litigants about court procedures as a way to disrupt their legal defense.  For instance, in my case the Judge told me that I did not have to object to decisions I disagreed with because the rules of the CT Practice Book had changed and objections were no longer necessary to preserve your right to appeal.  In fact, this was totally untrue. 

Likewise, Judge Corinne Klatt told Kathi Sorrentino that you are not allowed to object to a question that the opposing attorney posed, when in fact, of course you can.  Also, Judge Klatt told Kathi she was not allowed to object to an answer.  Ok, so you might not be able to "object" to an answer, but you can certainly expose the weaknesses in an answer during later examination.  

At other times when Kathi Sorrentino was legitimately standing up to state her objections, Judge Klatt responded with, "Please, stop interrupting." and "Stop shouting out in the courtroom."  So an attorney who objects is objecting, but a self represented party who objects is interrupting or shouting. This kind of judicial reframing of the actions of a self-represented party turns the application of a standard court procedure into a form of wrongdoing which could be punished by a contempt of court.  How can you possibly argue on behalf of your position under such intimidating conditions?  

Shouting loud commands:

Judges also bully self-represented parties by using repeated loud commands.  For instance this exchange during one part of the May 23, 2014 hearing:

Kathi:  Did I ever deny you any time during your parenting time?
Sam:  No.
Kathi: Not mine because, as you...
Sam:  No.
Kathi:  You admitted...
Judge Klatt:  All right.  All right.
Kathi: You do ask to...
Judge Klatt:  All right.  All right.  All right.
Kathi: Ok.
Judge Klatt:  He's answered the question.  You're not to argue with the witness; understand me?
Kathi: Ok.
Judge Klatt:  Ask your next question.

As I read through this transcript, I didn't see that Kathi had been arguing, but this is the point, that the Judge imposes an interpretation on a neutral situation and finds wrongdoing where there is none. 

Other behaviors like this include repeatedly going "Stop, stop, stop, stop" when Kathi Sorrentino was doing something minor like handing over an exhibit too quickly, or another variation, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!" when Kathi asked the other side to show proof in regard to a statement they made.  Or when Kathi tried to elicit testimony from her ex-husband as to why he refused to continue with court ordered co-parenting therapy, "No. No. No. No. No."  

There are also situations where a judge doesn't think you are conducting your examination fast enough as a self-represented party and after each question barks out, "next question!, next question!, next question!" as Judge Klatt did with Kathi Sorrentino.  Or consider this outburst from Judge Klatt when she didn't think Kathi was going fast enough in her examination "This is the last time, move on to the next question.  I have ordered you five times.  I've actually counted.  Five times I've ordered you to move on from that subject.  Next question or I will stop this cross examination." 

Treatment like that inevitably leads self-represented parties to feel hurried and fragmented and judges do it for that reason.  Judges also like to tell self-represented parties off for using up so much of the Court's valuable time on their miserable self-defense.  For instance, Judge Klatt: "We are not going to turn this into a three day procedure.  Please."  Or else this exchange during Ms. Sorrentino's cross-examination of her ex:

Judge Klatt:  Just ask your next question.
Kathi:  So we have it on the record that Storm is registered...
Judge Klatt:  Please ask your next question.
Kathi:  with Dr. Landis...
Judge Klatt:  Are you finished with your questions?
Kathi: Okay.
Judge Klatt:  Are you finished with your questions?
Kathi:  No.  No, I'm not.
Judge Klatt:  Please.  Then go.

Again, when Kathi Sorrentino was attempting to make her final remarks she didn't say them fast enough for Judge Corinne Klatt as the following interchange indicates:

Judge Klatt:  Other than that, what do you want to tell me because...
Kathi:  Why?
Judge Klatt: ...quite frankly, ma'am, I'm about to shut you off.
Kathi:  Why?
Judge Klatt:  We've got three minutes left.  You've taken all day.  And as I've indicated, I think that's been a deliberate behavior on your part...
Kathi:  I'm sorry.  It's not deliberate.

Soliciting or Providing Testimony Outside Judicial Role: Frequently, when judges see there are big holes in a case, they will simply find a way to get the testimony in that is necessary to throw it in the direction of the particular litigant they've decided will win.

In my case, I recall the judge asking my ex's attorney questions about some retirement accounts in my ex's name thus cluing the attorney in on what arguments to use to get my ex excused from the penalties he should have endured for not reporting them on his financial agreement. 

In Kathi Sorrentino's case, the judge intervened extensively  and simply elicited the testimony he wanted to get out of Mr. Sorrentino, rather that leaving it up to the attorneys to argue to argue their case.  If you have the judge inserting evidence into the case of his own volition, and disregarding his role as neutral decision maker, how can you possibly believe that you have a fair trial.

Direct Personal Attacks:

Then there are the direct personal attacks on the self-represented litigant's character which are the most difficult to take and are a matter of course when a self-represented party is involved in a hearing.  For instance, there is the interchange between Judge Corinne Klatt and Kathi when Judge Klatt makes fun of her for not knowing the meaning of the word "filibuster":

Judge Klatt:  This is not let's ramble on because, really, that's all you're doing.  Are you familiar with what a filibuster is?  Ma'am, are you?
Kathi:  No. No.
Judge Klatt:  You're not?  Not at all?
Kathi:  No.
Judge Klatt:  You're a college graduate, aren't you?  Or I know you're enrolled in college...
Kathi:  English and Studio Art major.
Judge Klatt:  All right.
Kathi:  And I'm in school now for...
Judge Klatt:  All right.
Kathi:  and Education major.
Judge Klatt:  And you don't know what a filibuster is?
Kathi:  No.  Not off the...
Judge Klatt:  That's where somebody keeps talking just to stretch things out without really getting to the point of the issues at hand and which is what I think you're doing to me here.

There is something inherently wrong when a Judge of the superior court thinks it is acceptable to make fun of a self represented party for not knowing the meaning of a word. 

Condemnation for being intelligent:

With women who are representing themselves, there inevitably comes a point where the Judge will comment on how intelligent you are.  I personally know several women this has happened to.  This occurs because in these cases of abuse, the Family Court racketeers particularly choose women who are intelligent because the misogynist court system, I believe, is immensely gleeful to have the opportunity to humiliate and demean intelligent women. 

Also, they are aware that bright women are very likely to fight long and hard for their children, so this means more money for everyone all around. 

In Kathi's case, as with so many others, Judge Corinne Klatt's commentary on Kathi's intelligence is predictably interlaced with insult as follows:

Kathi:  I'm confused, your honor.
Judge Klatt:  Ma'am, you know what, Ma'am?  It is my obligation to assess the credibility of witnesses and I don't think you're in the least bit confused.  You're a bright, intelligent woman that has thoroughly prepared for this hearing and I think you're deliberately presenting to the Court in a fashion that makes you--that you're attempting to tell the Court or imply to the Court that you're confused.  I am not believing you in that regard."

But then after celebrating Kathi's intelligence, albeit in a very abusive manner, Judge Klatt tries to insult that intelligence by pretending that the entire court proceeding is not a direct attack on Kathi in the following interchange:

Kathi:  What I'm sensing and I'm hearing is that--that this is about me being accused of [being] an alienator and not complying with Court orders and I'm doing what I can to show that I am.
Judge Klatt:  Well, I hesitate to accuse, ma'am.  That's -- it's an affliction.  It is not -- it is not a crime we're accusing you of.

Right, it's a mental illness not a crime, as if that matters,  because the outcome for Kathi will be the devastating loss of custody of her child.  So is Judge Klatt trying to say that Kathi shouldn't worry about it?  How irrational is that? 

Increasing the noise level to drown out the truth:

The bottom line is that whenever Kathi Sorrentino succeeded in making powerful points in her defense, which was actually quite frequently, Judge Klatt would find a frivolous reason to strike that testimony from the record.  In addition, if Kathi was pursuing a successful line of questioning that proved that she was innocent of wrongdoing, inevitably Judge Klatt would allow the opposing attorney to jump up and down with irrelevant objections and commentary, or else she herself would interject discouraging remarks and observations. 

While for the better part, Kathi was able to make her points nonetheless, I recall being completely sidelined by those kinds of distracting techniques in my day.

The represented party can do no wrong:  

Meanwhile, the represented party pretty much gets away with anything he wants.  He can provide extensive hearsay testimony, make unsupported and outrageous statements without being required to provide the slightest bit of evidence.  He can refuse to answer the questions or answer them with outright lies and get away with it.  In other words, for the person who has an attorney to advocate on his behalf, hearings like this are a breeze. 

For instance, at one point while examining Mr. Sorrentino on the stand, Kathi Sorrentino was able to point out that he had no evidentiary basis for his accusations.  Immediately, Judge Corinne Klatt rushed to his rescue stating, "Well, ma'am, to be quite frank, that -- those comments are stricken.  You want to know why?  Because I am the one who determines credibility, not you."  

A hearing solely for show:

What this adds up to is that Kathi Sorrentino's hearing on May 23, 2014 was simply for show, a casual bow to the legal requirement that the Court allow a citizen a hearing before depriving her of her constitutional right to parent.  The outcome of this hearing was already predetermined. 

But yes, given the fact that legal techniques and procedures are geared to expose the truth, it does take the active intervention of the Judge to subvert the proceedings and conclude with an entirely unjust final judgment as happened in this case. 

Many of the self-represented parties who undergo this trial by outright wrongdoing by a judge talk about how exhausted they feel afterwards.  They are exhausted by the direct personal attacks and exhausted by the constant perversion of the truth.  It can feel as though you are an exhausted boxer staggering around the ring flailing back at punches that appear to come out from all sides. 

There is nothing fair or just about such proceedings.  The fact that Connecticut Family Courts conduct such show trials is a disgrace.  With the passage of last years Bill #494 and with the upcoming Bill #5505, there is hope that we can correct these kinds of abuses.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

MICHAEL NOWACKI ADDRESSES ERRORS IN JUDGE BUZZUTO'S TESTIMONY RE H.B. 5505!

From: Michael Nowacki <mnowacki@aol.com>
To: Eric.Coleman <Eric.Coleman@cga.ct.gov>; William.Tong <William.Tong@cga.ct.gov>; Doyle <Doyle@senatedems.ct.gov>; dan.fox <dan.fox@cga.ct.gov>; John.A.Kissel <John.A.Kissel@cga.ct.gov>; rosa.rebimbas <rosa.rebimbas@housegop.ct.gov>; Al.Adinolfi <Al.Adinolfi@housegop.ct.gov>; William.Aman <William.Aman@cga.ct.gov>; Angel.Arce <Angel.Arce@cga.ct.gov>; David.Baram <David.Baram@cga.ct.gov>; Jeffrey.Berger <Jeffrey.Berger@cga.ct.gov>; Toni.Boucher <Toni.Boucher@cga.ct.gov>; cecilia.buck-taylor <cecilia.buck-taylor@housegop.ct.gov>; Beth.Bye <Beth.Bye@cga.ct.gov>; Vincent.Candelora <Vincent.Candelora@cga.ct.gov>; christie.carpino <christie.carpino@housegop.ct.gov>; Jeff.Currey <Jeff.Currey@cga.ct.gov>; Patricia.Dillon <Patricia.Dillon@cga.ct.gov>; Doug.Dubitsky <Doug.Dubitsky@cga.ct.gov>; mae.flexer <mae.flexer@cga.ct.gov>; Mary.Fritz <Mary.Fritz@cga.ct.gov>; Gerratana <Gerratana@senatedems.ct.gov>; Bob.Godfrey <Bob.Godfrey@cga.ct.gov>; Minnie.Gonzalez <Minnie.Gonzalez@cga.ct.gov>; Ernest.Hewett <Ernest.Hewett@cga.ct.gov>; David.Labriola <David.Labriola@housegop.ct.gov>; Roland.Lemar <Roland.Lemar@cga.ct.gov>; Art.Linares <Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov>; Ben.McGorty <Ben.McGorty@cga.ct.gov>; Michael.McLachlan <Michael.McLachlan@cga.ct.gov>; Bruce.Morris <Bruce.Morris@cga.ct.gov>; tom.odea <tom.odea@housegop.ct.gov>; Arthur.ONeill <Arthur.ONeill@housegop.ct.gov>; Robyn.Porter <Robyn.Porter@cga.ct.gov>; emmett.riley <emmett.riley@cga.ct.gov>; Robert.Sampson <Robert.Sampson@cga.ct.gov>; Joseph.Serra <Joseph.Serra@cga.ct.gov>; john.shaban <john.shaban@housegop.ct.gov>; Caroline.Simmons <Caroline.Simmons@cga.ct.gov>; richard.smith <richard.smith@housegop.ct.gov>; Joe.Verrengia <Joe.Verrengia@cga.ct.gov>; Toni.Walker <Toni.Walker@cga.ct.gov>; Gary.Holder-Winfield <Gary.Holder-Winfield@cga.ct>
Cc: melissa.farley <melissa.farley@jud.ct.gov>
Sent: Thu, Mar 19, 2015 6:51 am
Subject: Misremembrances of Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto in non-sworn testiomny on March 11, 2015 in opposition to HB 5505




To all Judiciary Committee members:
 
On March 11, 2015, members of the judiciary committee in attendance heard prepared testimony of Chief Administrative Judge of Family Matters who delivered prepared remarks and then answered questions posed by the judiciary committee members.
 
I want each of you to take less than ten minutes to review on CT-N archives (published transcript is not yet available), the judiciary committee meeting on the date of March 11.  Please use the cursor on the videoplayer and watch a series of questions posed by Representative Buck-Taylor concerning the subject of Part 1 of the bill, involving the use of supervised visitation.
 
I have watched the video carefully four times since March 11, and spoke to external affairs director, Melissa Farley about the statements of Judge Buzzuto which is in the process of being refuted with hard data about the "common practice" in family courts to order supervised visitation of long durations, entered as court orders regardless of whether the supervised visitation is affordable. 
 
Despite Judge Buzzuto's testimony was at times framed by the words, "To be honest with you, my experience", Judge Buzzuto's personal record as jurist and as the Chief Administrative Judge was not "sworn testimony" subject to perjury allegations.
 
However, the Code of Judicial Conduct does contain language which indicates a judge cannot use the powers of the office in a manner to use the prestige of their capacity as a public official, to make statements on public policy issues such as legislation which are designed to knowingly mislead another public official such as a member of this judiciary committee.
 
Last Monday, March 16, 2015, I approached external affairs director, Attorney Melissa Farley, indicating that at that time I had reviewed the testimony of Judge Buzzuto three times since March 11, 2015 and Judge Buzzuto had a responsibility to issue a letter of correction--similar to the letter issued by Judge Frazzini, who only issued such a letter of "correction" after I contacted him at his home email address stevefraz@Comcast.net.  This email address of Judge Frazzini can be found on documents published on the judiciary website on the date of January 16, 2015, when just Frazzini testified under oath and delivered "material false and misleading" testimony about his CT Chapter AFCC membership.
 
Yesterday, I sent an email to Attorney Farley seeking a copy of any communication to the judiciary committee members including  letters, faxes, texts, phone calls records to or from any judiciary committee member, email, text or documents defined in the FOI Act which emanated from any personal email or State of Connecticut email address of ANY members of the judiciary, including Judge Buzzuto, which corrected testimony provided to your committee.
 
Attorney Farley has not acknowledged that FOI request as of this date and she is copied on this communication.
 
Those, such as myself, who have been ordered to permanent supervised visitation as part of a Memorandum of Decision by a judge are not going to tolerate Judge Buzzuto's attempts to undermine the support of HB 5505, especially in light of the data we are now assembling to provide data to this committee to show the incidence of supervised visitation is not rare, is not short term, and subjects our children and the parents to unjustified humiliation in an environment which Judge Buzzuto described herself on March 11 as "an artificial setting".
 
Within three weeks time, an excel chart will be sent to this group of legislators to consider as hard evidence to refute Judge Buzzuto's statements, while not sworn were designed to mislead the members of this committee.
 
We hope to assemble in this document those who have spent as much as $125,000 in supervised visitation which ended only when there were no more financial resources available to a parent.
 
To suggest, that this committee would provide weighting to certain portions of Judge Buzzuto's testimony because she is a judge and assumed to be "credible and trustworthy" in statements made on March 11, 2015 should be a judgment to be deferred until which point in time we can assemble the data to refute the answers to Representative Buck Taylors questions on supervised visitation.
 
There are also "speculative " comments issued by Judge Bozzuto which were made on the other three sections of the bill, which parents will refute with hard data which contradicts the published comments made by Judge Bozzuto concerning section 3, 4 and 5 of HB 5505.
 
Those comments will be reserved for a later point in time in a separate email to the judiciary committee members.
 
HB 5505 is a bill which will provide much needed restraints on "judicial authority" acquired through decisional law cases and through self empowerment which occurred by the unmonitored adoption of PB Rules without the legislative "hearings" required by C.G.S. 51-14 (a) and (c).
 
We would ask for your indulgence to allow the citizens of this State to prepare documents to refute certain portions of Judge Buzzuto's testimony.
 
However, if a letter of correction is issued of any kind concerning the March 11, 2015 judiciary committee hearing on HB 5505, and sent to the Chairs of the Judiciary Committee signed by any member of the judiciary "misremembrances" of Judge Bozzuto, we would ask any such letter be routed immediately to all judiciary committee members AND published on the judiciary committee's published testimony of March 11, concerning HB 5505.
 
Judge Frazzi's letter to the judiciary committee dated Jan. 28, 2015 was never published on the judiciary committee website which corrected sworn testimony.  I only acquired a copy of the letter of Judge Frazzini by filing an FOI request of Attorney Farley, who did promptly provided a scanned copy of the letter of correction on the Monday after Judge Frazzini's nomination was approved by the members of the General Assembly on the date of January 30, 2015.
 
Please accept my apologies for the length of this communication, but the judiciary committee will be considering the merits of HB 5505 and deserves to be fully informed before considering the language and amendments of this proposed legislation.
 
Feel free to contact me at any time concerning any data which has already been collected, but is currently only a "work in progress".
 
It is the hopes of the parents aggrieved by the financial impact of these process will be able to overcome the "anecdotal" testimony of Judge Buzzuto who provided no "hard data" to support her "experiences" as a member of the bench for fifteen years.  We look forward to Judge Bozzuto's next re-appointment hearing to challenge the authenticity of the statements made on March 11, 2015 that were posited into the public record as non-sworn testimony.  We look forward to Judge Buzzuto's explanations of her "misremembrances" on March 11, 2015---but the next occasion Judge Buzzuto's testimony will under oath in the next legislative session.
 
I also enclose an attachment of a letter received from Deputy Chief State Attorney Leonard Boyle sent to me concerning sworn affidavits have been filed alleging perjury by Judge Thomas Parker, Judge Taggart Adams and Judge Stephen Frazzini.  The sworn affidavits involving Judges Adams and Frazzini were posted as public testimony on the date of January 23 of the judiciary's website.
 
Many in the aggrieved parents group are fearful of retaliation or retribution if they have currently active cases in the family court.  We are seeking permissions from those litigants who harbor legitimate concerns for
"future adverse rulings" to publish docket numbers and litigants.  We are respecting those who wish to publish information anonymously rather than for attribution in the excel document which will be sent to you in three years time.
 
Hopefully, you can accept these requests for anonymous posting of data on supervised visitation as "properly adjudged concerns."

Cordially,
 
Michael Nowacki
(203) 273-4296