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Friday, November 18, 2011

New York Family Courts Say Keep Out, Despite Order

New York Family Courts Say Keep Out, Despite Order
The New York Times by William Glaberson  -  November 17, 2011

New York State’s Family Courts were ordered to be opened to the public with much fanfare in 1997, supposedly allowing anyone to witness the cases of domestic violence, foster care and child neglect that inch through by the hundreds of thousands every year. But now, 14 years later, the Family Courts remain essentially, almost defiantly, closed to the general public.  Recent visits to the courts across New York City revealed officials and security officers routinely disregarding the open-courts rule in ways both large and small, direct and implied, insistent and even hostile.  Some courtrooms were locked, and many were marked with “stop” and “do not enter” signs. Court officers stationed at courtroom doors repeatedly barred a visitor, sometimes with sarcasm or ridicule, frequently demanding to know who he was and what he was doing. Armed court officers at times appeared so rattled by a visitor’s efforts to enter courtrooms that, in several instances, a group of them nervously confronted the visitor, their holsters in easy reach.  On the fifth floor of Family Court in Downtown Brooklyn, where people waited in bleak assembly areas for their cases to be called, an officer was asked whether a member of the public could attend — as is permitted in other New York courts. “Not allowed, not in Family Court,” he said flatly. Outside Judge Susan Larabee’s courtroom in Manhattan Family Court, an officer flashed his badge and said disdainfully, “You don’t just walk in.” In Staten Island Family Court, three officers challenged a visitor even as they stood beneath a sign that took official note of the 1997 rule:  “The court is open to the public.”

During one week in particular, a reporter tried to enter 40 courtrooms in the city’s five Family Courts as a member of the public or a civic group monitoring the courts would. Entry was permitted to only five of the courtrooms, some where no case was under way — a closing rate of nearly 90 percent. In those cases, the reporter did not identify himself. In other instances, officials insisted that, even for reporters, free access to courtrooms was not permitted.  In Brooklyn, a judge, Michael Katz, was quickly alerted to a visitor who had managed to slip briefly into a seat. “These proceedings are generally confidential,” the judge said.  But they are not, according to the law.  On Thursday, Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson, the administrative judge of the New York City Family Courts, was told of the many blocked attempts to enter courtrooms. She said she was troubled to hear that courts around the city had not been open and said she planned a review. It was an opinion echoed by several other court officials apprised of the reporter’s efforts.  “We don’t have policies or rules for them to be ignored,” Judge Richardson-Mendelson said. “We’re a court of law, and law matters.”  American legal principles have long favored open courts as a check on government, and New York law has specifically said for more than a century that “the sittings of every court within the state shall be public.”  But by 1997, the Family Courts had been closed for decades, with rare exceptions. Critics said the chaos of the courts was amplified by their secrecy — a veil that had grown over the years with the support of many of the courts’ judges, lawyers and social-agency representatives. Closed courtrooms, critics argued, kept hidden the courts’ struggles, as well as the sometimes controversial ways they dealt with those who ended up in the resource-starved system plagued by delays.

Citing a need for accountability, the officials who issued the open-courts rule presented it as the centerpiece of an effort to reform Family Courts that were perennially in crisis. The rule was announced by Judith S. Kaye, the state’s chief judge at the time, and the chief administrative judge, Jonathan Lippman, now the chief judge. It stated bluntly, “The Family Court is open to the public,” and assured access to all courtrooms, lobbies and waiting areas. The only exceptions were to be after “case-by-case” decisions by judges after the presentation of “supporting evidence,” like a “compelling” privacy concern.  Not everyone wanted the courts open. Some judges and lawyers argued that Family Court should routinely shield the privacy of families in crisis and young people, including those charged with what would be criminal acts if they were adults.  Today, the culture of secrecy has hardly budged. Leah A. Hill, a Fordham Law School professor who has written about and practiced in New York Family Courts, said the courts were largely as unaccountable today as they had ever been, even though they can hold a central place in the lives of poor New Yorkers.  “There hasn’t really been a public discourse about what goes on in Family Court, and part of the reason is that it is a closed institution,” Professor Hill said.  Several lawyers who practice in the Family Courts said they had generally been opened only for the rare cases that drew wide public interest.

“The courtroom is pretty much closed,” said Susan Jacobs, the executive director of the Center for Family Representation, which has lawyers who handle cases in Manhattan and Queens. She said visitors would be shocked if they saw some of the routine proceedings in Family Court, like one in which, she said, the final decision to permanently strip a mother of her rights to her children took seven minutes.  The reporter’s recent visits were only to Family Courts in the five boroughs. But over the last year, the Fund for Modern Courts, a court-reform advocacy group, has suggested in two reports that Family Courts statewide may also have routinely ignored the open-courts rule.  The Modern Courts group sent court monitors to Family Courts in Suffolk County on Long Island and Washington County in northern New York. In both cases, they found the public was not often welcome.  “The public has a right to know how courts deal with children and families,” one of the group’s reports said. “It is no longer discretionary when closing the courtroom to the public is done 100 percent of the time.”  The reporter who made recent visits in New York City often declined to identify himself. But even when he identified himself as a reporter, there were difficulties. At the gray Family Court building on Sheridan Avenue in the Bronx, a large sign did not seem to allow for public access: “Only persons having official business will be admitted.”  Inside, hundreds of people milled about in dark waiting rooms watched over by uniformed officers and lined by closed courtroom doors. Babies cried. Case names were shouted.  In her courtroom, Judge Carol Sherman immediately called the reporter to the bench and said he had to present his credentials to the court clerk on another floor. An hour later, the first deputy clerk, Nicholas Rapallo, said he had to get approval from the office of the state’s chief administrative judge. When that was granted, Mr. Rapallo first instructed that access was allowed only to Judge Sherman’s courtroom. After another wait, he authorized entry to other courtrooms but said, “You have to let it be known who you are.”

During the week that the reporter tried to enter courtrooms as a member of the public would, some officials and officers were antagonistic, with several saying explicitly that court policy was that the public was excluded.  In Queens, a uniformed captain, who declined to give his full name, mocked a visitor who presented a copy of the open-court rule. “The rule here is different,” the man, Captain Beneri, said. “I know the rule a little better than you do.”  On Staten Island, after the confrontation with the three officers, the visitor was directed to wait for the chief court clerk, William J. Quirk, to ask for permission. An hour and 20 minutes later, Mr. Quirk appeared at the clerk’s window. He seemed startled when the visitor said he wanted to watch court proceedings.  “You have to answer my questions,” Mr. Quirk shouted after a brief conversation, saying, “The court is not public in the sense that you just walk in.”  The reporter’s visits occurred early this month and late last month. On Thursday, judges and officials in some of the courts, including some of those who had barred entry, were asked for comment. Several of them acknowledged errors or misunderstandings of the open-courts policy.   Monica Drinane, the supervising judge of Bronx Family Court, said she had in response sent judges a new copy of a two-year-old memorandum reminding them that the court was to be open.  Carol Stokinger, the supervising judge of Queens Family Court, said staff members had been wrong in claiming a member of the public could not observe judicial proceedings. Fourteen years after the announcement that New York’s Family Courts were open to the public, she was asked why there still seemed to be resistance to the idea. “I think it’s a culture that has to be changed,” she said.

40 comments:

victim said...

New York courts just do whatever they want. Laws don't mean a crap.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this reporter should be sent a link to this blog?

Just like what is now occurring at Penn State, where the local reporter picked up the Sandusky story, that had been reported first almost 10 years ago, this reporter, too could help expose the behind the scenes dealings that pass for justice in NY.


Could this reporter be the one who would be willing to Expose NYs Corrupt Courts?

insider said...

Too much money in the court system and especially in the family court parts feeds a machine that won't be stopped. The corruption can't be stopped when the administrative leaders of the court system are themselves corrupt.

Anonymous said...

The animals that make their so-called living sucking from the lives of children in family court will rot in hell. Plain and simple. Wish them a slow painful death followed by an eternity of torture and misery.

Anonymous said...

This could be a set up so lawless lippman can swoop in and make believe he's saving the day.

Anonymous said...

Even the vermin on the Family Court bench loath their own conduct as judges.

Anonymous said...

Children have become chunks of meat that get federal funding for the crooked lawyer sharks to feast on.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else find it interesting how all these cases which have been covered up for years are suddenly being opened up again? Like the Syracuse coach and Natalie Wood?

Now maybe the time for all the complaints against all those corrupt judges to have those complaints against them reopened.

rememberMarthaMoxley? said...

Anyone reading this blog knows the factual existence of cover-ups. Those people you encounter over the upcoming holidays of disbelief; ask them to account for the Martha Moxley fiasco of Greenwich, CT. A murder covered up for years by big-money, corrupt Greenwich police & CT courts, and Kennedy connections. Then watch them shrug their shoulders and utter the classic sheep-herd mentality with, "well, I dunno..." Well, the truth is Mr./Ms. Denial, YES, you really do, or, what part of the Moxley event do you not get?

Anonymous said...

Mouth on floor these people are just horrific....When will this all stop? Something has to end this nonsense and crimes against families and individuals. They have been allowed to make up their own rules for far too long.

Anonymous said...

LIKE HELL THE LAW MATTERS! As a court watcher it is usual to be asked "What is your name?" When I reply I am a court watcher, some of the court officers boldly say "I asked your name?" I decline and of course the little minions that we all pay for trots up to the Judge with the news of a SPY in the court. Just getting into a court house is not easy, but there is a reason for that, the system doesn't want you there checking on them! All the rules and laws don't mean a damn, it's what the goons in black and blue say that counts and they make it up as they go along. Read it and Weep

Anonymous said...

Not limited to those counties in New York,no limited to Family Court.
Suffolk Family Court Magistrate Melissa Wilmott Riverhead Family Court.
I had filed a complaint concerning a fraudulent downward mod.in child support filed in regard to my child support case Mg.Wm.Rodriguez C.I.2003.
2008 tried to get back support owed.Case was adjourned at least six times.Had a mock trial in 2010.
Three weeks later I received in my mail.Another fraudulent Decision.Stamped unsigned filed.In my husbands favor.Why? He is the one giving the Decisions and filing them.
My Docket # changed.The Judges look away.They allow this.
I find it very interesting that.Each time I go before any Suffolk County Judge.The above happens..every time every court.
The county clerks office recordings filed real estate.These same Judges have been coincidentally.Showing Mers satisfactions on recent sub prime mortgages.That coincide with every judge every action that I have put through these courts.Could these Judges be guilty of being bribed by mortgage fraud to deny my family their rights? Is it possible that my husband is able to file his own decisions because, he has been given illegal access to filing within the Suffolk courts? Requires this access to file fraud mortgages, transfers & satisfactions. Is he also using same access to deny my rights? No wonder the Judges look the other way. Been sold out for mortgage fraud. Yes! I think so.

Anonymous said...

As an upstate Ct Clerk I was always asked by many, many judges in "Criminal Ct" who were the court watchers and the message was passed from courtroom to courtroom like wildfire. Good behavior and limited court dealings when the citizens were observing!

T Finnan said...

Video all court actions. Proposed law at
http://cuomotarp.blogspot.com/2010/04/whats-hiding-under-your-tarp-andrew.html

Anonymous said...

The judges in the dirty black bathrobes don't want any witness to their criminal actions, so it's easy to keep the folks out with their Gestapo lapdogs.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzjTWcU53jU

Folks, please watch this video a very clever individual decided to tape record his proceedings listen to this up state NY Family court judge make threats due to the litigant wanting to make an objection this is why they want the courts closed. She calls the litigant Crazy, is she a Doctor of Medincine or was that slander?
This Judge recused herself from my friend Louise's case along with the other judge Linda Grifin whom was Censored due to her making the same threats to litigants. Open those doors...
GOOD OLD RENSSELAER COUNTY TROY NY.

Anonymous said...

Judge William Kent 3rd. Suffolk County.The things that he insinuated during my attempt to divorce my estranged husband.Judge Kent just as cruel & inhuman as my husband.
Made ref. to a conversation he had with my husbands attorney William H. Sweeney also the 3rd.In Judge Kent's hiding place in back of the desk.
Judge Kent remarks."Mr. Sweeney here tells me in the back that "If you give me a year..I'll tell you all about Mrs..... Said in the most derogatory tone in the court room. I was not guilty of any such defamation. What I would like to proclaim here 12 years later is this.
"If Fanniemae/Freddiemac would give me that same year." I would like to tell the county of Suffolk NY & the rest of the world. A torrid tale about. Judge fixing.misconduct,illegal access to court filing, Judicial abuse,neglect of duty.About judges that were assigned to me in both Supreme and Family courts here in Suffolk County NY.Every one including Kent are involved with my husband in mortgage fraud.No discovery.The rules do not apply.Not when your husband is giving these crooked thieves satisfied mortgage notes in exchange for the abuse and deprivation,deceit that was heaved my way.Thrust upon my children.Not in the name of Justice.But to further defraud the federal government and what and whoever got in their way.

Judicial Accountabilty in NYS-Nicky Wells said...

http://judicialaccountabilityinnys.blogspot.com/

GO HERE TOO

Anonymous said...

These are not judges.They are organized crooks impersonating judges."What big eyes you have Grandma" The better to eat you with".

Anonymous said...

Anyone out there interested in helping author a book.Make the best seller list for a long time.GET THIS OUT THERE.

Anonymous said...

Hartford family court is very corrupt and is not run by the judges but by one or two attorneys that need to be investigated.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to investigate NYC Judge Laura Drager. She's either insane or corrupt. Check out what people think of her at www.robeprobe.com

Anonymous said...

Judge Laura Drager is corrupt, she is for sale to the monied spouse. This fact is an open secret. She routinely flouts the law, ignores precedents, overlooks facts and disregards Stips previously filed in her own court. She allowed my ex to steal our daughter's trust Fund, I won it back on rearguemnt yet she didn't deign to award me a penny, nor sanction my ex nor his counsel. She allowed my ex's lawyer to oversee a fund paying our CS while my ex was away. I complained about conflict of interest, yet Ken Burrows is known to be in bed with Drager, so he waa allowed to coninue his oversight and I was pro se. My ex is allowed to continue his DV against myself and my daughter, which the Judge overlooks even though I have court complaints about it going back to 2007! But "This Court knows of no incidents of DV." Prevaricate some more Laura, or maybe read your own Court papers? Our daughter has suffed greatly due to Judge Drager siding with her abusive mulitmillionaire father, again and again. Laura Drager should be investigated. Why are so many articles about previous corruption on her part defunct on the web? Hello Mr Vance...

Anonymous said...

The Suffolk County Family Court in Central Islip does not even allow spouses to go down the hallway and wait outside on a bench when the case is before a magistrate. My husband is a respondent to several petitions by his ex. We are made to wait in a "holding area" with benches lined up as if waiting for a train. Then his case is called and they have to cross through a 'barrier' (like the ones that delineate lines in a bank) that is guarded. The 'guard' asks who you are before allowing anyone through. The spouse (myself) is not allowed to go past that barrier, not even to sit with my husband on another bench where he will wait for his case to be called again so that he can enter the actual court and go before the magistrate. As if being there is not stressful enough for everyone, you can't even have your legal spouse by your side for support. To my knowledge he has the legal right to have me (or any trusted adult he chooses) go into the courtroom with him. He told the guard this and the guard said 'it's not going to happen.' The female guard was extremely rude and degrading toward myself and my husband.

Anonymous said...

I would like everyone to know someone needs to sit in courtrooms. Donald Clark Junior Jr. Jr or however you want to put it, of Washington County New York will grant retroactive arrears on a serving military person defending our country so he has a right to live here freely. He also thinks that a custodial parent does not have to use insurance and still make the non custodial pay these bills of over thousands of dollars and pay legal fees. He would rather judge along side a custodial parent who is married to a convicted felon, who has lived off the county for decade (while isnt increased child support supposed to get people off the system that costs your own county so much) and continue to not be employed at this time. This is our country. What kind of person are you Magistrate?

Anonymous said...

no..dont you know? the higher the child support the more money that the county gets. i forget the law, its something social services, the county gets money for every penny they collect, they even break laws to get it. please read your laws dont let them violate them!

meta kane said...

http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=3tol6dit4inpr

meta kane said...

Order of protection Index/Docket#0707005.01 Orders of protection mean nothing.

Anonymous said...

The New York FBI is well aware that the New York Family Courts, the only court that remains anonymous and non-public, remains this way precisely because it is actively used by foreign and domestic espionage, terrorist, activist, and other criminal organized crime elements for the purpose of entrapment, extortion, blackmail, covering up child pornography/sexual abuse/exploitation, and other criminal acts directed against certain targeted people for political, ideological, financial, or other nasty reasons, and most if not all of the Family Court Judges and Personnel are either aware of this, know about it, or actually take active part in it.

Again - it is the ONLY court in the nation which does not operate publicly and operates in the shadows as a proverbial Star Chamber - much the like the Disciplinary Committees - but even the Criminal Courts are part of the public record - so why not the Family Courts?

Now you know why.

Anonymous said...

The sad issue is: Nobody cares.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/305989456123787/
http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2011/11/congratulations-new-york-corruption.html?commentPage=2
https://www.facebook.com/groups/305989456123787/http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2011/11/congratulations-new-york-corruption.html?commentPage=2

Mary Sears said...

Thank you for sharing. Certainly one of the most emotionally charged aspects of your divorce concerns your child or children. Tragically, children all too often get caught in the cross-fire of divorcing parents, when what should be ultimately important to everyone concerned is the welfare of the child.

- child support attorney Nassau county, NY

Anonymous said...

Please visit Change.org and sign the petition against the corrupt Laura Drager of the NYS SC. The clean up of corruption and judicial crimes must start somewhere, so Laura Drager and her crew (Ira Garr, Felder, Blank/Rome, Ken Burrows) can be the first of the judiciary to warm the big house...

Anonymous said...

Everyone in the Family Court System knows the following facts: (1) The New York Administration for Childrens' Services ("ACS") works closely with the international child pornography industry (intermingled with the international fashion business/reality television show business/homosexual rights business) and supplies these child pornographers and sex abusers with a steady supply of neglected kids; (2) ACS and Child Protective Services ("CPS") working with the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") then covers up instances of child abuse all over New York City and the world, with the help and assistance of corrupt Family Court Judges of OCA, and Law Guardians employed by the New York Legal Aid Society; (3) the multi-billion dollar international child sex and child porn industry is based and headquartered in New York City, and there are more child molesters, homosexual child predators, and child sexual abusers within the New York Family Court System then in any court system in the world - why else would anyone work for $25,000 a year to be around little kids, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; (4) the number of child sexual offenders working within the New York Family Court System is currently epidemic, and they completely and totally dominate the New York Family Court system to keep protective parents away from being able to protect their own kids - it is worse than the Catholic Vatican System ever was.

Anonymous said...

Supreme Court of NYc is ridiculased by the power of Family court Mafia and by them impotency (FBI).

Anonymous said...

The thrue will come very soon by few law gardians. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Anonymous said...

It is well documented that the New York FBI works closely with Brooklyn New York Child Protective Services ("CPS") or ("ACS") headed up by Marie Vilus to silence complaints about child abuse, child neglect, child pornography, child exploitation, and child victimization because the United Nations is in New York City, and all those foreign diplomats need Child Prostitutes when they are visiting the United States.

And where do these children victims come from?

From poor low income disadvantaged socioeconomically Brooklyn New York, where it is perceived by the NY FBI and Brooklyn NY CPS and ACS that no one will complain or miss the kids that are lost within this system when they are turned over for beatings, rapings, molestings, force drug use, murders, child pornography, child abuse, and other horrible crimes against children.

Hillary Clinton of the US State Department openly allows this because she is "doing her part" to make "foreign relations" strong and robust.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/inside_papa_moammar_hell_harem_pUdogXkFftwdzYgB8mzb9L

Anonymous said...

Missing: 78 children from Oklahoma Department of Human Services custody

http://www.infowars.com/missing-78-children-from-oklahoma-department-of-human-services-custody/

Anonymous said...

Missing: 78 children from Oklahoma Department of Human Services custody

http://www.infowars.com/missing-78-children-from-oklahoma-department-of-human-services-custody/

Anonymous said...

If the American people knew that the Office of Child Support Enforcement ("OSCE") receives 25% of every dollar they collect in Child Support from browbeaten impoverished and bankrupted non-custodial fathers, they would quickly disband the entire organization.

This 25% collection fee literally creates an incentive for the OSCE to violate and break the law, their Attorneys to break Ethics Rules, Criminals to steal your case files in court clerk filing rooms, sabotage, murder, theft, extortion, blackmail, unlawful and unconstitutional property seizure, illegal prohibitions on your right to travel, and much much more.

To go against them, is to go against a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise industry which uses the natural love we have for our children against us, as blood-money extortion to get more money out of us.

They are more ruthless and dangerous than the Mafia, or Cosa Nostra.

The FBI and the US District Courts need to build a federal case against OCSE and indict them under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization ("RICO") Act, but they never will, because the federal government doesn't eat its own.

They are all fucking criminals.

Anonymous said...

THE LESBIAN MAFIA

What is the lesbian mafia? It is a group of loosely organized (and in some locations extremely organized) women based mainly in the United States of America, who prefer sexual relations with other women, but who have rigged the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of the US Government, as well as thoroughly infiltrated the different police departments, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and any and all federal, state and local agencies in order to make money, engage in criminal activity with impunity such as blackmail, extortion, international sex trafficking, child pornography and child prostitution, kidnapping, murder for hire, drug and other narcotics trafficking, human slavery and trafficking, terrorism, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. They routinely entrap unsuspecting and innocent men in loveless marriages, have 2 or 3 children, and divorce this man with contrived and fake allegations of domestic violence, thereby sending that hapless man to jail and then keeping him shackled with 33% of his income for life with child support and other state mandated debt slavery. Members of this Lesbian Mafia are located at all ranks of the US Government, both high and low, and they act in concert to rig lawsuits, criminal and family court cases, business deals, charitable organizations, law enforcement investigations, and audits. They are District Attorneys, IRS Agents, Child Custody and Support Magistrate Judges, Police Officers, Child Protective Service workers and investigators, Congresswomen, Senators, Councilwomen, Judges, Law Clerks, Bankers, and anyone with power in the United States. Their primary source of power stems from the “victim mentality” laws and guilt-trips of men through anti-Domestic Violence laws such as the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) which criminalizes nearly every social or physical interaction between men and women, to be against the man, should the female so choose. Additionally they are facilitated by the Family Courts which are universally and without question accepted to be biased and heavily dominated in favor of women against men, through the above referenced “male guilt-trip” laws and culture, as well as the “best interests of the child” mantra, which almost always results in children being given to the mother, even if she is in fact an alcoholic, drug addict, or a violent danger to herself and her own children. A federal investigation as well as urgent reform is needed now, and sexual favoritism in the USA needs to end immediately.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2