Friday, January 2, 2009

Attorney Sanctioned For Web Site Post

The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department imposed a five year suspension of an attorney found to have committed a laundry list of ethics violations in two matters. One involved misuse of funds entrusted to the attorney in connection with his representation of a not-for-profit tenants housing resource center; the other involved representations to and about a court in a domestic relations case where custody had been transferred from his client to her ex-husband:

The respondent represented Yevgenia Shockome, the mother in the child custody matter, and in a divorce action in the Supreme Court. The respondent wrote an article entitled, "A Call for Genia's Law by Barry L. Goldstein, Stop Family Violence," which was posted on a web site for the Battered Mothers' Custody Conference as part of a campaign to free the respondent's client, who had been imprisoned after being held in contempt by Judge Amodeo. One or more of the following excerpts from that article were dishonest, false, or misleading:

i. "Without an evidentiary hearing or any written explanation, Judge Amodeo took the children from the mother who has raised them and sent them to the abuser."

ii. "Judge Amodeo got around this in his decision by constructing a bizarre conclusion that he, the Judge, had caused the mother's PTSD."

iii. "At one point it was discovered that the court had erased two of the transcripts[,] further delaying the appeal."

iv. "The decision demanded that the mother stop therapy with her present therapist and instead use someone selected by the court."

v. "I had to make a motion to withdraw from the case in front of Judge Amodeo for medical reasons... The law requires that when a party loses an attorney for medical reasons, that she is entitled to at least a 30-day stay to obtain another attorney. Instead, Amodeo continued to make her come to court unrepresented, to face more abuse. After the 30 days has passed (with no stay) he decided that she had enough time to find an attorney."

vi. "The police were called and they found that the supervisor had attacked the mother and child."

viii. "Judge Amodeo called numerous conferences to attack and berate the mother for interfering with the phone calls and the father's relationship with the children."

The court rejected the following contentions:

In determining the appropriate measure of discipline to impose, the respondent asks the Court to consider, with respect to the escrow violations, that they were "technical errors," that "he was just an honest attorney attempting to help others," and that he has since corrected his ways. The respondent's witnesses testified to his reputation for cooperation, honesty, and sincerity.

While the respondent contends, with regard to the charges relating to the Shockome matter, that these disciplinary proceedings were brought by the Grievance Committee in retaliation and as a penalty for his criticism of Judge Amodeo and the courts, we find no basis for such a contention. To the contrary, we find the respondent's utter failure to appreciate the fact that his conduct exceeded the bounds of propriety as a courtroom advocate, his complete lack of remorse, and the pervasive nature of his deceptive conduct to be aggravating factors. Irrespective of the respondent's sincerity in his beliefs, his overzealous behavior which took the form of disparaging remarks on the court, false accusations about Judge Amodeo disseminated in a public forum as part of a campaign to pressure the court into changing its rulings, and noncompliance with multiple court orders, truly constituted conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The attorney had no record of prior discipline.(Mike Frisch)

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Comments

This is a link to the Court's decision...
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_10622.htm

It rather speaks for itself.

Charge 15 seems very hard to refute, unless Goldstein wants to claim that the court is just plain lying about him...

"On August 31, 2004, the respondent appeared before Judge Amodeo on behalf of his client and represented to the court that he had just seen a videotape recording which reflected that the court-appointed supervisor had been sleeping during a visit for approximately 15 or 20 minutes. Despite a directive by the court to produce the videotape for the court's review, the respondent did not produce the videotape and claimed it was lost. At one court appearance, the respondent indicated that the videotape was in his car. When questioned by the court regarding the whereabouts of the videotape, the respondent denied ever having the videotape in his car or possession. The respondent's client, when questioned, also advised the court that the videotape was lost. The respondent's client ultimately produced the videotape, but not until the court made findings that the respondent and his client deliberately attempted to prevent the court from having access to an important piece of evidence and had defied a clear mandate of the court.After review of the videotape, the court stated that "anyone looking at that video will see that there is nothing on that video which suggests that [the supervisor] was asleep for 20 minutes." The court stated that the most important part of the videotape was that it showed that the mother made attempts throughout the visit to have the children say things, which the mother thought would be helpful to her case."

Also, in his response Goldstein gives no reason as to why so many charges were upheld (17 by my count), most of these having nothing to do with Shockome , but with matters concerning his handling of clients' money. Goldstein probably didnt think anyone would hit the link at the top of the article.

Posted by: Porky | Jan 8, 2009 5:40:49 PM

My apologies, the names are below the posts, my post is intact. Mr. Goldstein is a highly professional lawyer and a caring individual. I have never met him, but his battle against abusive men who would torture women and chidlren using the legal forum goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Posted by: Jennifer | Jan 8, 2009 5:41:33 PM

Barry's assertions about the Shockome case are superficially appealing. Before I had examined Shockome, in my mind the case was 50-50 and could have gone either way. From examining the Shockome case (including Goldstein's filings) it quickly became clear that the courts acted correctly, and I think anybody looking at the case objectively (or even semi-objectively) would come to the same conclusion.

Below I've pasted in my findings on the case. If the blog moderators feel this is too long and prefer to delete it, readers can find it on my blog at http://glennsacks.com/blog/?p=3148.

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks

My Findings on the Shockome Case

The premise of the Genia Shockome story hinges on the notion that Tim battered Genia prior to 2000 and, in repeatedly violating court orders to allow her children access to their father, she was acting to protect them. However, Genia's allegations of domestic violence and child sexual abuse have never been substantiated in any court proceeding, nor supported by any witnesses. Writing with admirable restraint, Judge Amodeo, whose decisions in the case have been repeatedly upheld by higher courts, noted:

"In [Genia's] August 2000 complaint in the divorce action, no mention is made of the domestic violence which Genia later asserted. She claimed that she was unaware that she was the victim of domestic violence; however, such a lack of awareness would not have made her unable to recount historical facts, especially if the severity and frequency of the abuse she alleged were true. Why didn't she mention the abuse earlier in the case?"

There were three independent custody evaluations in the case, none of which found anything negative of substance against Tim Shockome. The first one called him a good parent, and the other two went as far as to recommend he get custody because of his parenting and because of Genia's relentless attempts to drive him out of his children's lives.

The most recent of these evaluators, Dr. Meg Sussman, has a feminist background and worked for Pace University's Battered Women's Justice Center. Sussman, who specializes in domestic violence and child abuse cases, recommended that Genia have only supervised visitation until she could accept the children's father's role in their lives.

In two in camera (in chambers) interviews conducted with the Shockome children on May 27, 2003 and January 22, 2004, neither child recalled any physical altercations between their parents, despite Genia's claims that her children had witnessed Tim's alleged violence against her. Moreover, neither child expressed any fear of Tim.

Genia's only support for her contention that she had previously been battered came from the FFLM domestic violence advocates who testified in her trial. Yet none of these "experts" had ever spoken with Tim Shockome, and had no evidence of Tim's abuse except for Genia's assertions.

In trying to deny the children their father, Genia also made the obligatory child sexual abuse allegation. Tim consistently and adamantly denied this accusation, and Child Protective Services investigated these claims and concluded they were unfounded.

Two of Genia's own witnesses testified that, in hundreds of visits made to Tim's home, they never observed any inappropriate or sexually provocative conduct on the part of the children. Dr. Sussman concluded that Tim had not sexually abused the children, and noted that the children did not display any symptoms consistent with children who have been sexually abused.

Ina Berg, the children's therapist, did not observe any sexualized behavior in the children. The children themselves did not speak of any inappropriate behavior exhibited by the father. Genia alone professed to see the children's behavior as indicative of sexual abuse, and none of the neutral experts in the case supported her interpretation.

Genia's "evidence" of her husband's sexual abuse of her children was that Tim ran the back of his fingers on the backs, arms, and legs of the children. However, during the trial, Linda Meeker, the nurse-teacher at the children's school, testified that Genia herself had admitted that she also had engaged in the same innocuous method of massaging the children.

The mother's side also alleges that Timothy harassed and threatened Genia through excessive phone calls and letters, and that Timothy was observed banging on Genia’s door while shouting expletives at her. An alleged witness to the door incident, Rebecca Watson, was supposed to testify on the mother’s behalf and confirm Timothy’s alleged violent outburst; however, Watson inexplicably failed to appear in court on two separate occasions to corroborate this incident. The Court noted in its findings:

“While it is acknowledged that the number of telephone calls made by father to the mother may have been outwardly excessive, these calls were not unjustified in light of the mother’s persistent refusal to abide by the terms of the Court order with respect to the father’s right of telephone contact with the children...[the calls] were not made with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm the mother, but were a direct and logical consequence of the mother's lack of compliance with specific Court directives...Even if the father engaged in some rude conduct, that does not rise to the level of a family offense, particularly when viewed in the context of his frustration with the mother’s longstanding interference with his contact and involvement with the children.”

Newsweek pictured Genia holding up a large drawing apparently drawn by her children, and explained:

"Parents like Genia keep fighting. ‘It's so hard, having my children lost,' she says, her voice breaking. ‘This was my life--my children.'"

What Newsweek ignores, though it's right there in the court records, is that it is Genia who refuses to visit her own children, despite ample opportunities to do so. When asked during the trial why she had not visited her children, Genia claimed that she could not afford to pay the supervised visitation program's fees. These programs were originally available to her free of charge, and later cost all of $25. At the same time, Genia had just purchased a new television set for her home.

In the type of exchange typical of Genia's behavior throughout the case, Genia then claimed that she hadn't paid for the television set--it was her boyfriend who bought it. However, the boyfriend, Aja Butler, later testified that he had no knowledge of how the TV set was purchased.

Genia refused to visit her children for two long periods prior to the May, 2004 decision, including the period which included her daughter's birthday in November of 2003 and also Christmas of 2003. At one point, Genia refused to visit her own children for a stretch of nine weeks. The law guardian--another neutral party--said that Genia had explained that she didn't visit her kids as part of her "strategy" in the case. Genia Shockome claims her children are "her life," but apparently they weren't even as important as a new TV set or a custody "strategy."

Nor did Genia's professed concern for her children lead to a desire to provide for them financially--she failed to make court-ordered child support payments until it was involuntarily deducted from her pay.

Genia and her FFLM allies attempt to portray her as a weak, naïve Russian immigrant. However, Genia earned a college degree in Mathematics at an American university, had a very high grade point average, and works a well-paid technical job at IBM.

Genia's supporters have touted her as "Mother of the Year," but this deceptive "award" has nothing to do with Genia's parenting skills. As the New York Post explained, Genia was "named mother of the year by two victim-advocacy groups in 2003 after battling in court with her husband."

The FFLM portrayed Judge Amodeo as a bully for jailing Genia for contempt in May of 2005; however, the transcript of the hearing shows that Genia interrupted Amodeo on over 50 separate occasions. Amodeo bent over backwards to accommodate Genia, and only held her in contempt after countless warnings. Genia appealed Amodeo's holding of contempt but a four judge panel of the New York Supreme Court unanimously upheld Amodeo's decision.

Genia and her supporters, including Goldstein, contend that Genia has been the victim of "gender bias" and a judge with a grudge. This explanation fails to account for the fact that Amodeo's decision was based on the opinions of many neutral experts, both male and female, some of them with feminist backgrounds. The ample legal help Genia has been provided by domestic violence organizations allowed her to appeal the case, and apparently all of the justices on the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division are also biased against Genia, because they unanimously rejected her appeal in June. The court wrote:

"We discern no basis, on this record, to interfere with the Family Court's findings, inter alia, that the mother lacked credibility…or that the opinions of her [domestic violence] experts were of little value, since none of them had ever spoken with the father…The Family Court concluded, among other things, that the mother's animosity toward the father and her attempts to undermine the children's relationships with him were harmful to the children and rendered her the less fit parent…Exercising our independent review, we find that the Family Court's determination is supported by a sound and substantial basis in the record."
In fact, though Genia's bankruptcy case had nothing whatsoever to do with her family law matter, she even managed to annoy the bankruptcy judge, Cecelia G. Morris. Morris--no surprise--noted numerous contradictions in Shockome's statements, and decried Genia's "refusal to accept any order or ruling that is in conflict with her demands."

Genia Shockome's supporters expected Judge Amodeo--who was presented with no evidence of any violence against Genia beyond her own statements--to simply take her word for it, and allow her to destroy the bonds between the Shockome children and their father.

Genia claims that a video filmed at the visitation center which shows her kids jumping up and down on a couch actually shows them masturbating--an interpretation which no other participant in the court proceedings shared.

In court and/or in letters to me Genia accused Tim of all of the following: being a pedophile who got sexually aroused by changing his daughter's dirty diapers; sexually abusing his children; masturbating in front of his children; taking his children to a sexual store; having a ferocious sexual appetite for women; having a ferocious homosexual appetite for men; being an abusive father who "beat the kids very often, 2-3 times a day" when Genia and Tim lived together; being a wife-beater; secretly beating his former wife who had a secret miscarriage; beating Genia so she almost had a miscarriage; intimidating five of Genia's witnesses; insurance fraud, identity theft; immigration fraud; defrauding the federal government of $60,000; stealing; embezzlement; extortion; bankruptcy fraud; almost driving over Genia's neighbor's little son; and of violating a protection order over one million times. What judge in his right mind would take this woman's word for anything?--Glenn Sacks

Posted by: Glenn Sacks | Jan 8, 2009 5:43:56 PM

Thanks Stephen for providing your insight. Here is mine or rather a sliver of Mr. Goldstein's self-imposed conundrum. On the issue of the Court appointed visit to be taped; Mr. Goldstein initially told the court several times that the tape was lost. Then later when the Court questioned him sternly, he implied the tape was in his car but that the supervisor slept through twenty minutes of the visit therefore the tape was of no value to the Court. Then the Court asked Mr. Goldstein's client Genia Shockome where the tape was and lo and behold she says it was lost too. Until the Court was to rule by default in favour of the father, the tape then magically re-appeared and horrors to horrors the supervisor was not asleep but the mother was shown to clearly interfere with Court order contrary to the explicit direction of the Court! This was but one small window into Mr. Goldstein and Genia Shockome.

So despite all the other collusion, perjury and many other contempts of Court by both Mr. Goldstein and his client Genia Shockome; I am still somewhat surprised that Mr. Goldstein and Genia Shockome received such preferential treatment. Who knows perhaps justice will be cruel and Mr. Goldstein may chose to reside in a federal goal alongside the fathers whose children he has cheated and innocent men he has wrongly prosecuted some of which are incarcerated for lengthy terms. Procedural issue Stephen? Methinks not.

Posted by: Pat | Jan 8, 2009 5:56:19 PM

I raised the first amendment issues in pre trial arguments and cited several cases in support of my position. The referee said he was troubled by some of the first amendment issues and came to a much different result than the appellate division.

I also raised the conflict of interest issue at the beginning of my final legal argument. I understood that a court that could decide the issue of a pay raise for itself would claim the legal right to decide this case. Obviously the problem is who can decide a case like this when there is a fundamental conflict of interest. I asked the judges to consider the potential conflict and if they did not think they could be fair to recuse themselves. They obviously failed to do so.

We are starting to see misinformation on this blog. I assume this is because the male supremacist groups are encouraging their members to post here and obviously Mr. Sacks has a history of taking his information from the abuser in the Shockome case and assuming it was accurate.

The actual facts on the tape of the supervisor sleeping are that my client played the tape for me one time. It showed the supervisor sleeping throughout most of the tape, but was not always focussed on her. she was usually shown in the background and if you can believe it was sleeping while the children were playing air hockey. When they claimed they didn't see her for 20 minutes they were not counting the time she was sleeping but in the background or not on camera (but again shown sleeping later in the tape so you would fairly assume she continued to sleep when she was off camera.

I never had the tape in my possession. It was always kept by my client and she gave it to others because she did not trust the abusive judge. I urged her to provide the tape because I still believe it supports her case. The abuser claims the mother was alienating the children against the father. The tape shows that even with the supervisor sleeping, the kids said how much they hate the judge and law guardian but did not make negative statements about the father.

The claim that I said the tape was in my car came from the tape of the court session in which they claimed to have heard something I said under my breath. A copy of this tape was admitted over my objection even though I complained that I thought the original had been altered. I cited case law that barred such admission.

The only way the referee could hear the alleged partial statement (and there was no way to determine what I said before or afterwards that might have changed the meaning) was to eliminate all the other microphones and play only the microphone I was using very loudly.

That raised an interesting question. How was it that this was discovered. The attorneys on the other side were evidently given access to review the days transcript. How could they have known to look at just that part and eliminate all the other microphones unless an alteration had occurred? As with all serious issues in this case, the court ignored inconvenient evidence that would interfere with the desired result.

Posted by: Barry Goldstein | Jan 9, 2009 4:12:18 AM

Pat, the section you refer to (and that Porkey quotes) begins "Charge 15 alleges that..." and the following section "Charge 16 alleges that...." It is a statement of what the charges were and what rules were claimed to have been violated. It is not a statement of the conclusions of the Appellate Division though it has been written in such a way as to confuse the reader into thinking that it is and to generally to paint the respondent in a poor light. This particular charge is also noteworthy because it has been written to confuse the actions of the respondent and his client. Obviously, the actions of the client are irrelevant to the question of whether the respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. The only analysis of the charges by the Appellate Division contained in the entire case is the single statement by that court that "Based on the respondent's admissions and the evidence adduced at the hearing, we find that all charges are sustained, with the exception of Charge 10 (Statement No. vii), Charge 11 (Statement No. vii), and Charge 23." This is what I mean when I say that the case is procedurally flawed. I expect more than this. I expect some sort of analysis – especially in such a sensitive case such as this.

Stephen

Posted by: FixedWing | Jan 9, 2009 4:12:59 AM

The event described by Pat happened exactly as it is described, so I guess Pat was either in the courtroom or read the transcript. It is but one example of why Mr. Goldstein lost credibility with the court. It is that lack of credibility he now refers to as "bias".

I know because I was there. I was the Respondent.

Mr. Goldstein's approach only works when people who have no firsthand knowledge of the events aren't around to contradict him. When the Appellate Court says "dishonest, false, or misleading statements", that is exactly what I experienced.

Let's look at his "dishonest, false, or misleading statements" made on this blog:

1. "The Newsweek reporter spent weeks confirming that Ms. Shockome's case was overwhelming. She spoke with myself and Ms. Shockome and with the abuser and his attorney".

Wrong. She never spoke with me, ever. Mr. Goldstein also seems to like to refer to me as “The Abuser” for some reason. As if by repeating it over and over, saying it will make it so.

2. "She spoke with national experts and male supremacist representatives."

What do any of those people have to do with my case? Again, an attempt to import legitimacy or lack therof into my case from people who have nothing to do with me or my family.

3. "The mother had 11 witnesses including five experts and neutral witnesses such as the school nurse, son's therapist and couple's counselor, The abuser was his only witness."

So what? Is Mr. Goldstein implying that he who has the most witnesses gains the moral high ground? Also, the School Nurse later testified to having filed one of the several failed CPS Reports against me, but Mr. Goldstein wants to call her neutral?

The person Mr. Goldstein refers to as my son's "therapist" was in fact someone who saw him a few times as part of his client's failed attempt to establish non-existent abuse. Judge Amodeo ordered that this so called "therapy" be stopped after I and the children's then attorney Mr. Lane complained. Mr. Goldstein knows that my children's REAL therapist was Ms. Berg who interviewed them multiple times outside of my presence and confirmed that no abuse had ever occurred.

"Couple's counselor"? Give me a break. My ex wife and I saw the woman ONCE together. She was later deemed not to be credible by Judge Amodeo.

"The abuser was his only witness".

Again, so what? The whole case revolved around false accusations, so who did I need to call? My experience was that so many witnesses actually worked against Mr. Goldstein because it made him look like he was desperately trying to establish something that didn't exist.

4. "The evaluator admitted the father probably abused the mother physically, verbally and emotionally throughout the marriage and was probably witnessed by the children."

Absolutely false. This woman is your "proof"? In fact, when questioned as to whether or not she thought abuse ever occurred, she said that she thought that "something might have happened" but that she couldn't be sure, which in my eyes was a way for her to play it safe since she really had no way of knowing one way or the other. Furthermore, this woman was so persuaded by Mr. Goldstein that she still recommended that I retain primary custodianship of my children.

Also she NEVER said that the children witnessed any abuse. This was seconded by the children's own therapist Ms. Berg.

5. "She said the mother's PTSD was probably caused by the father's abuse ".

Absolutely false. The woman never said this.

Mr. Goldstein’s “case” was all one big house of cards where all the cards were lies. Once you peeled away the layers of innuendo, exaggeration, hyperbole and hysteria you were left with a whole lot of nothing.

I have enough bad memories from this to last me a lifetime. The above posting is a drop in the bucket of what took place during the years I went to Family Court in Poughkeepsie. Some people would be shocked at what I saw and experienced. I have been asked to write about it and have so far declined. I have never publicly commented on this case before now and have kept my kids away from any media and will continue to do so.

I only took the time to post this because I heard about the Court's ruling and saw the garbage posted by this poor man and felt compelled to write a few lines to set the record straight.

Posted by: Tim Shockome | Jan 9, 2009 4:14:21 AM

Its terrible that the court did this to a tireless advocate for battered mothers. Where is the justice?

Posted by: Anonymums | Jan 9, 2009 7:04:29 AM

Golstein writes "obviously Mr. Sacks has a history of taking his information from the abuser in the Shockome case and assuming it was accurate."

Not true. I "took my information" from the court records, testimonies, and decisions, and I also considered Genia Shockome's letters to me. I invite others to do the same. Like I said, anybody looking at the case would come to the same conclusions I did--Genia Shockome and her attorney aren't credible.

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks

Posted by: Glenn Sacks | Jan 9, 2009 12:12:20 PM

The title of this article is misleading. After reading the ruling,, it is clear Mr. Goldstein is being sanctioned for numerous offenses, not just his web site post.

Those include numerous situations where he breached his fiduciary responsibilities to safeguard funds held in escrow which he was overseeing as well as numerous charges (found to be substantiated by the Court) that he engaged in unprofessional conduct and fraud with regards to the Shockome case.

He should be thankful the Court and the NY Bar have been so lenient in this case.

Posted by: mjaybee | Jan 9, 2009 12:13:00 PM

There is also an excellent representation of the facts on several sites besides glennsacks.com. One excellent source is here:
http://justice4mothers.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/the-women-and-children-are-chattel-attitude-rules-court-decision-again/

Posted by: James | Jan 10, 2009 4:19:40 AM

Fixedwing claims...

"Pat, the section you refer to (and that Porkey quotes) begins "Charge 15 alleges that..." and the following section "Charge 16 alleges that...." It is a statement of what the charges were and what rules were claimed to have been violated. It is not a statement of the conclusions of the Appellate Division though it has been written in such a way as to confuse the reader into thinking that it is and to generally to paint the respondent in a poor light."

This is not true, as these detailed descriptions of the charges come after this section...
" After a preliminary conference and a hearing, Special Referee Krane sustained Charges 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and 29, "

In other words, they tell us that these charges were sustained and then proceed to detail said charges-the word "alleges" has to be taken in the context of these charges having been "sustained", and amongst the sustained both charges 15 and 16 are found.
I notice Goldstein hasnt addressed the financial charges that were sustained against him. Were these the doing of we so-called "male supremacists"?

Posted by: Porky | Jan 10, 2009 4:20:30 AM

We will see who is telling the truth and who are the liars in this case, one day. It is that simple. As many a wise person has said, there are always THREE sides to every story... HIS, HERS and the TRUTH lies somewhere between the two. Now how far from the center (truth) is Genia's side and how far from the center (truth) is Tim's side?

We are oustiders and we will never know. Transcripts only provide what is brought out in court. We did NOT live with Genia and Tim. I for one feel that anyone (male or female) who will utilize a phone as a torture device (repeated calls to a person who does not want them) is a control freak. I am not saying Tim is a control freak however. I AM saying that ANYONE who makes repeated UNWANTED phone calls to torture another is a control freak, and quite simply a freak. For a judge to give a free pass for someone engaging in a pattern of behavior that looks to an outsider to be harrassment is unfit to be residing over a courtroom and making rulings affecting people's lives.

One day the truth will come out. We must simply look to the children - the TRUE victims in this case. One day when neither parent in a divorce has a hold over a child's head, the truth will come out. It always does. So my advice to any parent who abuses the other parent, you might want to watch yourself. You might have these children now, but when the truth is revealed (and it always is revealed) your precious little court battle will come back to bite you - those children will not want to speak to you.

To all victims of abuse and of judicial bias due to lack of due process, if you are being truthful, you will be vindicated. The children will vindicate you. And to those abusers, may there be mercy on your soul. I truly feel for you when your end comes, as you have been a nasty, evil, vile person. Yours will come.

Barry please keep up the good work. Come back when you are able. You have many, many victims who are finding a voice. I speak for myself only, but my voice IS getting louder and one day we will be heard. We are coming together. We will be heard.

Posted by: Jennifer | Jan 10, 2009 4:20:59 AM

Porky, one of the things you need to understand about New York’s disciplinary process is that although the Special Referee might recommend, he has no power to determine. His roll is to investigate and report. When the Appellate Division determines a matter, they do so on an original basis. In the past they have rejected a Referee’s factual conclusions favouring the respondent and recommendation that punishment not be imposed, substituted their own factual conclusions and then imposed punishment without any explanation.

Indeed, this happened in this very case where the Appellate Division sustained all charges but for three including a significant number of charges that were not sustained by the Special Referee. Especially, note that the Appellate Division sustained most of counts 10 and 11, the First Amendment charges, where the Special Referee had not sustained those charges. No explanation or legal analysis for this finding was given despite the significance of this issue and despite the Appellate Division ruling contrary to the Special Referee who investigated the matter.

What makes this particularly outrageous is that New York’s system of justice is designed so that one gets an original hearing in a lower court, then an appeal as of right in the Appellate Division and finally, an appeal by permission, what has effectively been turned into a certiorari process, in the Court of Appeals. Since the Appellate Division determines a disciplinary matter on an original basis, this means that an attorney has no appeal as of right where every other litigant in the state does. So when the Appellate Division determined this matter with one sentence, that is, in all likelihood, the only due process that the respondent will ever receive. I believe that totally unreasonable.

Porky, you have to realise that I’m not addressing the specifics of the underlying case. I too am disturbed by much that I read here. I don’t like the way that the respondent attempts to paint others with labels – just as I don’t like the way others attempt to paint respondent with labels. I don’t think any of us paid much attention to the fiduciary account violations because there is not much that is noteworthy about those charges. Lawyers are disciplined for trust account violations every day. What makes this matter interesting from a disciplinary perspective is primarily the First Amendment issue and secondarily the due process issue. Neither of these issues have anything to do with whether the respondent is innocent, guilty, an angel, the devil himself, or whatever.

Stephen

Posted by: FixedWing | Jan 10, 2009 8:18:21 AM

I find it interesting that most, if not all, of the supporters of Goldstein on this site are from fringe feminist groups associated with some hate sites against men. Why would Goldstein attract such women to his cause? Is this part of a hysterical fringe who don't understand ethics but seem to believe the end justifies the means. Visit some of their blogs to get an idea of what I'm talking about. Many of them believe there is a world wide conspiracy of patriarchs who want to subdue them into a form of indenture.

Its just a little bit scary.

Posted by: Mike Murphy | Jan 11, 2009 4:36:29 AM

Posted by: Mike Murphy | Jan 11, 2009 12:50:28 AM

I find it interesting that most, if not all, of the supporters of Goldstein on this site are from fringe feminist groups associated with some hate sites against men. Why would Goldstein attract such women to his cause? Is this part of a hysterical fringe who don't understand ethics but seem to believe the end justifies the means. Visit some of their blogs to get an idea of what I'm talking about. Many of them believe there is a world wide conspiracy of patriarchs who want to subdue them into a form of indenture.

Its just a little bit scary.

How correct you are Mike. And the more nefarious side of family law machinations have Nifong types like Goldstein in charge !

Posted by: PJ Lem | Jan 12, 2009 11:10:18 AM

As an employee of the same New York State court system who has retaliated against Barry Goldstein, I can tell you that the clerks who work at one of the courts where Mr. Goldstein frequently practiced considered him one of the best advocates for his clients. He seemed to really care where some other seemed not to care.

If he is being sanctioned for saying something publicly that the court finds to be untrue, we have lost the first amendment and no activist lawyer will ever be able to practice again

Anonymous Court employee

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 18, 2009 11:26:48 AM

As a member of the bar and based on my experience, Judges are much harder on women who claim abuse than men who defend themselves against abuse (or even use the legal system to protect themselves from being found out). The problem here is that it is much easier for a court to give custody to a father who is an abuser (who needs to keep the primary witness -- the child -- under control) than for the court to give credence to the allegations of abuse. That easily gets rid of the case because an abuser in a custody battle is fighting for his life and usually has more resources. Once a Judge decides in his mind that there is no abuse present, he (or she) has an interest in being allied with the abuser -- which also means go after any attorney who tries to prove the abuse proposition. I could not believe that this was the way it worked until I witnessed it myself in several child custody cases. The entire family court system has to be revamped to fix this problem -- not target individual attorneys who defend the rights of their clients.

Posted by: RM | Jan 18, 2009 11:27:37 AM

There are times when one deemed to be a "courtroom advocate" contrasts with being an advocate for a client. I professionally routinely witness despotic behaviors from the bench placing children with abusers while teams of auxiliary personnel drain the entire estate of the family. These children have psychologists, attorneys, evaluators, investigators but no parents in a stable and safe arrangement. This is not about women or men. This is about some who take power for power's sake and believe that they are unquestionable whether on the bench, or attorneys, or groups that are narrowly focused. The children pay the price. These children need to be safe, have a say in their placement, and to be believed. Some who have been victimized by this kind of oppression are now grown and are bringing legal action against the powers that damaged their formative years and assets. None of the issues raised above rise beyond petty power and low-level name calling and accusations. An atmosphere of honest services, respect, due process, right to redress, and acknowledgment of inviolate rights is lacking. I am shocked how attorneys are oppressed and controlled to the point annihilating the creativity of some of our best and brightest.

Posted by: Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T. | Jan 18, 2009 12:06:19 PM

Wow, I am truely amazed. It would appear to me that Mr. Goldstein is in effect, trying to preserve the career of being an attorney, judge, psychologist and other health professionals from becoming "general labor" low paid positions. It is clear to me that many women are representing themselves in highly emotional custody cases because there are so many bad people in the system. These women will find no reason to call an attorney for other suits in their lives later on. Their children...won't either. It is also apparent that this syndrom that is such a big deal, this perpetraters aligning syndrome, is often nailed on the woman instead of the man! The men are the ones who perpetrate domestic violence, not the women. My kids want to go to medical school, perhaps they will make the same ethical choices as the judges do should they find the judges on their operating table. Those who are smart will follow Mr Goldstein's example. When laws are outlawed, only outlaws will have them.

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