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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Perfect Example of NY's Corrupt Court System's Crimes Against Families

Secrecy Surrounds Onondaga County Family Court in Wake of Judge's Departure  

The Syracuse Post-Standard by Jim O'Hara  -  April 15, 2012

Bryan HedgesBryan Hedges, an Onondaga County Family Court judge, abruptly left his job April 5. Court and state officials are not discussing the case.
Syracuse, NY - The state agreed to pay $600,000 in damages to the former chief clerk who claimed she was forced from office for refusing to engage in political espionage against a judge. Two attorney/referees were terminated, one under fire following a state Inspector General's investigation. And this month, the longest serving judge currently on that court suddenly gave up his job. That's all happened within the ranks of Onondaga County Family Court, the taxpayer-funded court that's supposed to be helping families with problems.
Through it all, local and state court officials have refused to comment on the upheaval. That includes the mysterious departure of Judge Bryan Hedges from the bench in the middle of the work day. A court spokesman initially referred to Hedges’ departure as a resignation. Now it’s being called a retirement by the court and Hedges’ law clerk. The local administrative judge has refused to comment. And Hedges’ colleagues on the Family Court bench all say they are in the dark about what has happened. David Bookstaver, the spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, declined comment beyond noting that Hedges’ privacy should be respected.  “It should be made perfectly clear that Judge Hedges’ retirement had nothing whatsoever to do with any lawsuit. Judge Hedges chose to retire for personal reasons stemming from his private life and we should therefore respect his privacy,” Bookstaver said. Bookstaver would not comment on the other matters from that court. “I’m not going to start picking apart the history of that area,” he said. “I don’t think it’s productive.” Hedges, whose salary was $136,700 last year, did not return phone calls left over several days. But his law clerk, William Dowling, said Thursday that Hedges had opted to retire effective April 25.  Dowling declined any further comment beyond saying that he and the judge’s secretary would still hold onto their jobs.  The legal community has been abuzz with speculation about Hedges’ sudden departure in the midst of his third 10-year term. But lawyers who practice in Family Court have consistently declined to talk publicly about the turmoil.
The Bobette Morin case
Bobette MorinBobette Morin
Some of the behind-the-scenes feuding threatened to spill out in public after former chief clerk Bobette Morin filed a federal lawsuit in 2007 claiming she was harassed out of office because of her refusal to participate in a conspiracy to discredit Family Court Judge David Klim when he ran for state Supreme Court in 2002.  Morin claimed she was the victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by Fifth Judicial District Administrative Justice James Tormey and carried out by former Executive Assistant John Voninski, Hedges and Dowling.  Court papers indicated the existence of a widening rift in the ranks of the employees with some siding with the ouster of Morin and others claiming they were being strong-armed by Dowling to do so against their will.  Five days before that lawsuit was set to go to trial in federal court last May, Hedges agreed to a settlement and Morin agreed to drop her claims against all four defendants. The state agreed to pay Morin $600,000 to settle the case which had threatened to lay bare a lot of the bitterness dividing employees within the Family Court system had it proceeded to trial.
The referees
This past October, a politically connected Family Court employee whose hiring sparked controversy was fired. Attorney/referee Gina Glover, who handled custody and visitation matters, was fired without any public explanation. The position carried a salary of $115,000 in 2010, according to a government watchdog site. Glover is married to the cousin of former U.S. Rep. Jim Walsh. When she was hired in 2005 at Tormey’s recommendation, Glover did not have the required eight years’ experience and a lower position had to be created for her to stay on the court payroll.  Glover’s hiring also played into the Morin lawsuit.  Morin and her lawyer contended Glover was hired about the same time Walsh was being asked to recommend Tormey’s son for the U.S. Naval Academy. Walsh and Tormey both denied any connection.  Morin and her lawyer claimed Glover’s inexperience led to a delay of more than a year in the implementation of a special court section to handle child neglect matters. And they contended it resulted in Family Court being understaffed because Glover and Walsh’s sister, Family Court Judge Martha Walsh Hood, couldn’t work in the same court due to a familial relationship. Hood was moved to the state Supreme Court’s divorce section. Glover was the second of the two attorney/referees hired at the same time in 2005 to lose the job.
2010-06-02-mg-carter1.JPGGeorge Raus
George Raus was suspended from his job in June 2009 pending the outcome of a state investigation into his conduct. Two weeks earlier, he said, he had been questioned for several hours by an inspector general’s investigator about whether he ever threatened to hold anyone in contempt, held any ex parte conversations with lawyers whose cases were pending before him in court and used a swear word in court. Based on the results of that state investigation, Raus was fired in October 2009. Officials declined to make the results public and Raus contends he was never told why he was fired. The job paid $111,964 a year. State court officials would only say more than a dozen lawyers had filed complaints against Raus. But court officials refused to make public the report from the year-long investigation into Raus’ conduct despite the position of the executive director of the state Committee on Open Government that the report should be made public. Raus contended this past week that he had been “laid off.” No one in the court system ever told him he was losing the job because of any wrongdoing, he said.
Hedges’ departure
101804 HEDGES.JPGBryan Hedges
Then, on April 5, Hedges suddenly left his job on the Family Court bench. That reportedly followed a meeting in his chambers with Judge Michael Coccoma, the deputy chief administrative judge for courts outside of New York City.  Hedges has not returned any phone calls since his departure and Tormey declined comment. Tormey referred all questions to Coccoma’s office which referred all questions to Bookstaver. Bookstaver said last week he had been told only that Hedges “resigned” for personal reasons. But Thomas Dadey, the chairman of the Onondaga County Republican Party, said Hedges called him that afternoon to report he had “just retired.” The timing of the departure raised questions since it comes just as state judges were about to see their first pay raise in more than a decade. The lack of a pay raise was something that Hedges routinely complained about, often from the bench in open court.  District Attorney William Fitzpatrick declined comment Thursday, referring any questions about Hedges to the Office of Court Administration. County Attorney Gordon Cuffy said he did not know the reason for Hedges’ departure. The other local Family Court judges have expressed bewilderment at whatever it was that resulted in Hedges’ sudden departure from the bench. Judges Michael Hanuszczak and Martha Mulroy declined comment on any of the turmoil when contacted Wednesday. Walsh Hood declined comment through her law clerk when contacted last week after it was reported she had been summoned from matrimonial court to handle Hedges’ calendar after he left court in the middle of the day  “I guess I would say the loss of a colleague under any circumstance is a sad event,” Judge Michele Pirro Bailey said Wednesday when asked about Hedges. The loss of any personnel results in a workload shift, she said when asked about the departures of Hedges, Glover and Raus  “But our first obligation is to serve the public which I will continue to do to the best of my ability in a timely fashion,” she said.



court victim said...

Family courts in New York are largely machines to churn legal fees. No one really gives a crap about the children or families. It's all about the lawyers and their fees. And the behind-the-scenes games of retaliation like the Morin case clearly shows how dysfunctional the problem really is. Where's Jonathan Lippman on this, you might ask? Well, his head is in the sand.

Anonymous said...

Ex-parte meetings were cause for suspension here,but were acceptable to the Appellate Divisions. NY courts are corrupt. The corruption exists because the NY Appellate courts do nothing, when it is before them. Judge Lippman claims to have no power to end court corruption and routinely reappoints Acting Supreme Court Judges, who Lippman knows are corrupt.

OCA insider said...

The truth is that one of OCA's top thugs-for-hire, Judge Coccoma, confronted Hedges to tell him that he (Judge Bryan Hedges) was going to be arrested for stealing something from another judge's chambers. But of course Coccoma could "fix" everything if Hedges would retire, resign, go to the moon, etc. Hedges was so flustered he simply walked out within hours of the "offer" he couldn't refuse.

This is how OCA works. The spineless wimps directed Coccoma to confront Hedges. Ever since the Morin mess, they needed a scapegoat, and Bryan Hedges was a very convenient warm body.

another victim said...

I can't stop laughing at the picture of George Raus. As bad as he was, there are worse court workers who haven't been pushed out yet. Raus should be the poster boy for the dirty law clerks, law guardians, law secretaries and court officers who collect easy state paychecks while improperly fixing cases and abusing litigants. I still see Raus stumbling around Syracuse- at least he can't destroy families anymore- from a state paycheck, anyway.

Anonymous said...

It looks like they woke that mope Raus up to take his picture. Was there an empty bottle on his desk?

pissed taxpayer said...

Blame the TAXPAYERS for putting up with this junk justice. Illegal public conduct by state workers must end. It's abuse of power and the taxpayers pay. Vote everyone OUT of office who stays silent or who does nothing to address illegal conduct by state workers.

in the know said...

There we're over 30 complaints filed against Raus from various attorneys about his lack of respect in the courtroom, poor performance and his complete disregard for doing what was right when it came to custody hearings. Letting mothers who test positive for cocaine, levels much higher than tested for, keep their kids and sticking it to good dads who were fighting for their children. There were also allegations of an inappropriate relationship with 2 female attorneys, that Raus steered Law Guardian cases towards. These lawyers, who are still in the Law Guardian pool, are currently under investigation by the state as to why so many child custody cases landed in their laps from Raus and what transpired between them and Raus to receive so many cases. Raus was as good as his picture indicates.

Anonymous said...

What a complete mess. Does Andrew Cuomo have anything to say about the 3 Billion Dollar Court 'System' ??????? Or does Shelly Silver keep the governor quiet on this too.

Anonymous said...

The system for disciplining attorneys and judges is rigged. As is the system for selecting who can run for a judge.

It is a closed "old boy" network, with no public accountability. The old rationale for allowing only attorneys to discipline their own was flawed from the beginning. There is nothing mysterious or difficult to understand when someone is a crook. The problem is when that crook is an attorney and has the protections of the entire third branch of government protecting them.

On another note, it's interesting to see how many articles criticizing the US Supreme Court and it's decisions which are now based on politics and not the constitution. At least some people are beginning to understand the corruption in the courts.

Anonymous said...

How does anyone believe that the TAXPAYER has any responsibility for judicial jobs and addressing corruption.
Most judges are now appointed from within, even if they are elected to lower judgeships.. as many judges sitting in all courts have been given appointed jobs and salaries to higher courts, but remain sitting in the lower cts.. and the public is totally unaware of this..unless you are reading this blog.
If for some fluke you get to vote for a judge... the term is 14 long, long yrs...and the media reports all goods things about the candidates, and the choices are always high level.. political.
The public at this time cannot control the judicial corruption through elections of any kind.
The Government of NY State and NYC Judicial Adminsitration are the monsters of our judicial disaster!

Anonymous said...

@10:27 Cuomo is the problem. Look at all the crooked judges he defended in Federal and State courts. His duty was to defend corruption, instead of oppose it.

Anonymous said...

Yet another corrupt example of Cuomo's/Lippman's criminal enterprise, only the Fed's can take this down as they did with the corrupt Judges in PA.

Anonymous said...

There is no “Faith and Trust” to be had with the judiciary anymore. For that matter, any other governmental institution. They have all been corrupted beyond repair. I invoke the words of our “Declaration of Independence” from the British Empire when I say I no longer recognize the authority of the courts.

Anonymous said...

Here is an eye opener.The Support MagistratesMelissa Wilmott and William Rodriquz Suffolk County. They allow my ex husband to answer and file answers in my support hearings. He makes over $100,000 per. year and has extra income from mortgage fraud. Done for the clerks and judges.
Ex alters my docket# slightly changes the spelling of his name. Writes a new petiton replacing mine. He signs my name. Signs for the judge. I got $100.00 per week.

Anonymous said...

Was an employee of OCA..had a new judge rule on college expenses from my CPA ex... because the original judge had retired..the new judge made several alterations to the original document..changing it completely..totally illegal to change a 7 yrs old court authorized and certified divorce document....and ex never paid one cent towards child's college even though he made more money and orig decree had him paying.....Adminstrative judge was asked to address the jduge's corruption..she kept it for a month but when a discrimination claim was filed against court.....nothing to do with divorce..she sent it back and said nahhh you filed a complaint against us for something else and I want to keep the corruption in place! Guess who she is..upstate?

Caste said...

Here is an eye opener.The Support MagistratesMelissa Wilmott and William Rodriquz Suffolk County. They allow my ex husband to answer and file answers in my support hearings. He makes over $100,000 per. year and has extra income from mortgage fraud. Done for the clerks and judges. Ex alters my docket# slightly changes the spelling of his name. Writes a new petiton replacing mine. He signs my name. Signs for the judge. I got $100.00 per week.

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.

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Anonymous said...

Can we complain about one of the most corrupt Judges sitting today, Laura Drager of NYSSC? She is infamous for being for sale to the monied spouse, selling women and children, their civil rights and best interests down the river of filthy greed. She overtly flouts law, refuses to enforce her own court orders, won't award legal costs to the nonmonied spouse, and permits deadbeat millionaire dads to perpetrate domestic violence. She is a screaming shrew who is emboldened by the refusal of the OCA, Disciplinary Committee and all Feds to hold her accountable. This woman is a common criminal and should trade her black mafia robe for a jail cell. Well known her favorite deadbeat dad lawyers like Ken Burrows et al direct "donations" to be made through her former court attorneys like Ira Garr and partner Judy White. Felder has one of them too. It is wholly criminal what passes for Judicial Theatre in Part 71. Sign the petition about Injustice Drager on!

Anonymous said...

Funny how Judge Laura Drager's PR machine must be working overtime to scrub the comments about her that saturate the internet. See the now-garbled Dec 31st post. It's an open secret Laura Drager Her Dis-Honor makes innocent women and children her victims, she sells them out. This shrew screams in her own court room and puts cuffs on victims who ask her not to yell and remain professional. All that corruption has to be released somehow. In her part forget justice, this woman is an evil criminal who rips children from moms and sends them to boarding schools. This criminal is double dipping, first from the monied spouse then a kick back from boarding schools. She's too blatant, soon the cuffs will be on the rightful person..,

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...

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.

Anonymous said...

Missing: 78 children from Oklahoma Department of Human Services custody

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