Judicial Review Council
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
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). Los Angeles
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
acknowledging the connection between the presiding Judge Calmar’s ties to Dr.
Kenneth Robson. Quinnipiac University
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
for the 2012 AFCC National Convention which was also billed to SID #22523—all
expensed to various budget centers. Orlando, Florida
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
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. Los Angeles
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
, 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. Connecticut
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
Michael Nowacki319 Lost
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Munro was on Panel 64 Los Angeles
15. List of Family Commission members as of September 15, 2013