Saturday, April 26, 2014

Justice appointed to Appellate Division after Office of Court Administration & Supreme Court Clerk Cover for him

On April 15th Governor Cuomo announced the appointment of 5 Justices to Midlevel Positions in New York’s Appellate Division. Among those appointed was Albany Supreme Court Justice Michael Lynch.

In a statement, Cuomo cited the Justices  "will be continuing their exemplary record of service in our judicial system, “ Each have established an impressive career history within our courts.  I will here describe how "exemplary" Michael Lynch's conduct is, at least from what I experienced personally.

On Nov 8th 2013 I was co-petitioner to a Writ of Habeas filed under DRL 70 &72 for the immediate return of my granddaughter who was unlawfully released and taken by the so called father from Albany School of Humanities in September of 2013.  

As a pro se litigant I thoroughly learned about the law that applies to the writs of habeas corpus in New York state court proceedings.  Under CPLR a Writ of Habeas is to be given a priority treatment especially  when it comes to the welfare of child. 

Unfortunately when you have the likes of a Judge or his law clerk who lacks knowledge of how a  Writ of Habeas filed under Domestic Relations is to be processed  most likely because they have had no prior experience.   

Needless to say our Habeas was put on the calendar like as if a though it was a motion.  However the other petitioner applied to be given poor person status, even though that process was delayed.  When approval was finally given now thanks to NY Chief Judge Lippman who formulated the Pro Bono program the first two assigned attorneys withdrew causing a bigger delay.  

The second attorney assigned openly admitted he had never done a Domestic Relations Law Writ of Habeas and stepped down.  Now finally after the third attorney was assigned , Attorney  Nancy Stroud,  who knows it all, tells us we did it all wrong &  we  should have filed in family court.  WRONG !  In New York Court a writ of Habeas has  to be filed in the Supreme Court.  

Now the issues was service of the Habeas upon an out-of-state respondent.  However, the father who claims to be in the US Military had hid his address and the location of the child, while service must be made personally. But  Attorney Stroud claimed she had done it a million times, that all you do is call down to the base get his commanding officer to serve him.  Wrong again!  Its not that simple, of course.

When personal service couldn’t be completed application was made to service father by Email.  So now what we have been patiently waiting to put in front of was already on the wrong track due to a know it all assigned attorney . Who from the get go was intimidated by me as a Pro Se Litigant that was proven to have been right.  Here is the famous words when put on the spot   “well you are not a lawyer”!  

What does this attorney do? She attempts to dig up everything she could find, formulates an opinion not knowing the facts starts acting like she is fighting a criminal case but instead it was against her own client.  Does all that and says she knows the whole case WRONG!

This case took years for it to be created and it would take years to even begin to understand!  The real killer is the fact she made all kinds of phone calls accessing all kind of records that were not relevant to the case without talking to her client first. Who does things like that? 

Finally Stroud was asked step down from the case.  After some discussion she was given the opportunities to take heat to what was being said WRONG GO!   Stroud did exactly what she wanted, completely clouding the issues by filing facts of the case which were not pertinent to the primary issue.  

Now when it came to me as the answers were submitted and I being a party of course made a reply.  I went to the Albany County Clerk’s office to file my answer,  NO file on hand only a poor person application.  

I was sent to Supreme Court Clerk who told the same.  However, my papers were date stamped and the clerks of the Albany County Supreme Court, one of them by the name of Tina, directed me to go to the Supreme Court chambers of Judge Michael Lynch personally to submit my filings.

What I got for their order to go to the chambers and for their mismanagement of the records is a lash out from Judge Lynch who, according to my telephone conversation with the undersheriff Cox from the Albany County Sheriff's department, has orally issued an order of surveillance on me for his own protection, something that he was not authorized to do. 

 The mess in how the Supreme Court of Albany County handles court papers is amazing.  On Jan 31st  2014 all papers  had  been submitted and two week later nothing! At that point I ask the supreme court clerk’s for a status update. 

Unfortunately they  couldn’t  tell me a thing   because the entire file was in court chambers  and of course I was directed go directly to chambers to make my enquiry. 

It just so  happened to be  that the law librarian had some material for me so seeing  that the law library was on the same floor as Judge lynch ‘s chambers I popped in , waited patiently as Amy  Boyce, Lynch’s  law clerk who, was seated talking to someone. 

She quickly came over after she noticed me. I simply asked what the statues was on our Writ? Amy informed me that  all the filings have been submitted and we just have not gotten to it yet,  I asked Amy if she was treating it like a motion?  

The reason why I asked her that question is because I have read that the writ of habeas corpus may not be treated like a motion and must be given priority on the court's calendar.  She suddenly went silent after given it a second thought to my question.   She replied “ oh no“ it’s just that we have a lot of other cases.   

I simply said to her your know under CPLR 7003 a Writ of Habeas takes priority over other cases  especially seeing that we have no idea where my grand child is and the history of abuse by the father is very concerning  to us.  

I could see in Amy’s face her body language was saying how dare you tell me about the law or question what we are doing?   Sure enough  the following week  just 20 day after the return date a denial decision was made, cover letter  stated that parties came to chambers  and  that Lynch does not permit parties to come to his chambers.  There was no order of surveillance though against me in the court file.  Just in case, I've got a certified copy of the file so that the court clerks should not mess with it.

Even though my name was not mentioned it was direct to me. Thanks to the know it all assigned counsel the decision was clouded and issues were completely over looked, dates are wrong and  both me and my co-petitioner were  sanctioned $200.  Each ordered to pay the father who illegally took the child out of school $100 for what he claimed was out of pocket expenses that we allegedly caused him.  

At the same time, there was no question that the father took the child out of school illegally and disappeared with the child somewhere, so that the  mother did not see the child since September of 2013.

The sanctions were to be paid within 20 days of  the notice of entry.  Since I could not make heads or tails of what the judge’s decision was  referencing  I went to look over the file. 

Seems Judge Lynch holds onto all the filings after decision he then files them all at one time and just forget about making sense of what was listed on the index it’s just one big sloppy mess!  So I then decided to file a motion to reargue and renew which I submitted to the supreme court clerk on the 18th of March 2014. 

On the following day I am called back to issue a return date to the parties which I gave the date of March 28th.  However I was unable to serve the parties on time.  The father who claims he is a member of the US military gets  all the free legal help he wants as a perk for being in the military and mails his stuff at the expense of the military "at commercial rates".  So, it is clearly for his own personal use, but he uses the taxpayer money for mailing and nobody disciplines him for that. 

When I filed my reargue motion Lynch sent a letter out to all the parties informing them of my filing.  The Father who jumps the gun before even receiving my motion submits a memorandum of law on why I cannot reargue.   Its mailed out electronically on the 22nd of March and arrives to all the parties on the 24th.  In the meantime my motion is served and a new return date is set for the 9th of April.

On the 28th of March I enter the courthouse with a friend of mine to file my affidavit of service along with my new return date, and I am stopped and told by a Albany County Sheriff Officer Flynn who is manning the front entrance of Court house that a surveillance order was issued because I had "some sort of a problem" with Judge Lynch so therefore I must have a police escort when I am in the building. 

I was then escorted by Officer Flynn and a Sgt Albert to the Supreme Court Clerk's office where I filed my papers and then escorted out of the building.  Unaware of any incident I had with Judge Lynch as I never even appeared in front of him, I wrote to the Supreme Court Clerk Charles Diamond and to The Office of Court Administration for the 3rd Judicial District asking for a copy of this order.   It should be that simple - if an order exists, it must be in writing, it must clearly state the reasons why surveillance is imposed and must clearly state the name of the person who issued the order.  Here is where the mysteries started.

Seeing that my access to the court was being denied or restricted, I patiently waited  for a response to my letter before I could respond to father's opposition to my reargue  motion as well as if the order did exist I would motion for Judge Lynch’s recusal as there was no bases for a surveillance order.

I simply got no response from the Supreme Court Clerk Diamond whose staff members would tell me he was in a meeting whenever I attempted to call for him or he was gone for the day, so I understood that was a runaround. 

However, a letter was sent out to me by the Office of Court Administration on the 10th of April,  2014.  Conveniently,  on the 11th of April  Clerk Diamond was available to speak with me on the phone making me aware that a letter had been sent out stating upon a search of the court records there  is NO  such order.

Once again, my access to court was restricted on March 28, 2014, I was escorted around the courthouse by two police/security officers who claimed they are doing it because of a surveillance order coming, as far as I understood, from Judge Lynch, and in two weeks' time I am told there is no surveillance order.

Moreover on that same day, April 11, 2014, Judge Lynch denied my motion to reargue allegedly for lack of standing and because as I never signed the original petition which is what thefather claimed in his opposition to my motion.  If I did not sign the petition and was not a party there, how come the same Judge Lynch sanctioned me and refused to vacate the sanctions?  I am either a party and can be sanctioned or I am not a party and cannot be sanctioned, but I cannot be a non-party and be sanctioned, which is what Judge Lynch, a judge with "an exemplary record", did to me.  Now he is in the Appellate Division, and there are real issues as to his competence from what I see how he operates.

 On the following Monday April the 15th , 2014, all my letters and the decision arrived, and on that same day Cuomo appointed Judge Lynch to serve on the Appellate Division.  It gets better, on the following day I decide to make contact with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department   as per instruction in my letter by  Attorney Bet Diebel  of the Office of Court Administration.   
I talked on the phone with the Albany County Undersheriff Cox, and he told me that Judge Lynch called Captain Roy who is now Inspector Roy to Lynch’s chambers on the 25th of March, 2014 where Lynch  instructed  Captain Roy to issue Surveillance order on me.

I was totally baffled as to why an order would be issued against me especially on the 25th of March when I had not been in the courthouse since the 19th of March,  but it seems  the order is issued the day after Father's memorandum  of law  is delivered  to the court's chambers!

In fact, even though I am a pro se party, I checked the law and you can only file your papers with the County Clerk, this is the proper procedure.  The father sent his papers directly to the chambers for filing, and Judge Lynch accepted it!  Does he know the procedure?  How can he handle appeals when he doesn't know the law?

However, I wanted to see what judge Lynch actually looked like thinking that perhaps I had passed him and not knowing  who he is considering he does hold oral arguments or any kind of open court that I know of as everything is done on submission according to what the clerks told me. 

I entered Judge Michael Lynch’s name into my search engine to obtain a picture.  Upon my search The Albany Times Union used a 5 year old picture of Lynch for the newspapers announcement of his appointment to the appellate division. Which, just goes to show you how much Lynch is in the public eye.  It was then I learned of Lynch’s new appointment .  
On Monday the 21st of March I returned to the Court house to look at the file again to try to have a understand to what Judge Lynch was referencing in his second order that I was clueless to.  I arrived at the court house with the other petitioner and my same friend who was with me on the 28th of March. 

I was forced to remain in the lobby to wait for an officer to come to escort me.   In the meantime an officer by the Name of Ricardi had a piece of paper with an enlarged picture of me on his clipboard that was accessed through the DMV as it is my picture on my New York  State Driver’s license.

Being concerned I asked to see the order that Officer Ricardi had in hand he abruptly told by not to worry about the order as it was my picture for them to see and read  not me!  I was finally escorted to the Records room and from there I went to talk with Supreme Court Clerk Diamond who had his staff direct the escort officer to come into his office along with the other petitioner and my friend while I spoke to Diamond about confidential information. Mind you this was the same man that was not available for me to speak with until there was a letter denying that Lynch ordered such  an order  and who had claimed the same.  

It's ironic that Diamond has his  staff direct the officer to stand in his office  while we meet.  I discuss this matter with Mr Diamond who at first denied he knew about the order but when I confront him out right  Diamond tried to say the officer was just doing his job .  

I ask how that is Mr Diamond when  you just had your staff instruct the officer to enter your office with me?, Just then Diamond admitted to an  order.  I ask for a copy,  he made an excuse he didn’t have a copy he had only looked at it quickly.  

So then  Diamond  turned to the officer  asking him  to give me a copy, the officer said  I have to get it from his boss.  Upon leaving Diamond's office I am escorted to the Sherriff office in the Court house.  The escort officer went in the back room and Sgt Albert came out who, tells me I have to make a FOIL request to be given a copy of the order .
Justice  Lynch used his judicial authority to issue a Surveillance order against me without any basis, does not make it in writing or on record, does not serve me with it, and then it's out and out denied by not only the Office of Court Administration  but by the Supreme Court Clerk as well.   There are no such things as secret court orders in the state of New York.  If it affects me, it should have been served on me!  Does Judge Lynch know the law? Does he care if he follows the law?

My motion is answered and denied the day after the letter is sent out, I was deprived access to the court house and wasn’t able to respond to the opposition filed.  Then the following Monday Cuomo appoints Lynch to the Appellate Division and I am still not in receipt of the Order that was issues.   I am told that Lynch is going to continue to do is duties as an appellate court justice from chambers in the Albany County Supreme Court House so my access will continue to be denied .    This is total Abuse of Power!

So If Justice lynch is capable of using his position to issue a surveillance order outside his judicial capacity without any bases on a Pro Se Litigant   as well as the Office of Court Administration and Supreme Court Clerk Diamond cover for him perhaps because an act like this might be shown in a negative way  possibly hindering Cuomo from appointing him to the Appellate Division.
So just think of what he will be capable of doing as an Appellate Court Judge! Especially think of those people whose life depend on him applying the law in the right way to their appeal when he  himself acts in an unlawful and others cover for him.  Is this what justice is all about promoting those that make their own rules as they go along !   

Is this what we call Justice for All or is it Justice for Some ?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Judge Keefe of Albany City Court, New York, should consider washing his mouth when dealing with pro se parties

Some time in February of this year I appeared in front of Judge Thomas Keefe, of the Albany County City Court.

As far as I know, Judge Keefe was recently transferred to the Albany County City Court from the Albany County City Court, Criminal part, because of an ongoing investigation in Judge Keefe's alleged misconduct.

I do not know why anybody who transferred Judge Keefe to the civil court thought he is safe for civil litigants if he was unsafe for criminal litigants.

I learnt about Judge Keefe's misconduct first hand and the hard way.

Throughout the hearing Judge Keefe was disrespectful to me and another pro se litigant, yelled at us, told us not to teach him law when we were trying to make objections as to points of law, interrupted us at every point.

What absolutely floored me was that Judge Keefe used against me, a grandmother, four-letter language.

Specifically, he told me to "sit the f**k down" and used the same word in other situations.

The petitioner, an alleged limited liability company, did not exist.  I brought that to the judge's attention, and he did not care, even though the previous judge dismissed the previous petition on that ground and told the attorney not to come back until she fixes the problem.

I, as a pro se litigant, and the other party respondent, also a pro se litigant, obtained from the law library packages for pro se parties about laws of real property and procedure, and tried to use them.  Judge Keefe cut off our arguments before they even started, telling us not to attempt to teach him about the law, because he was practicing for 32 years and 12 years as a judge.

I thought that no matter what the judge's experience is, that has nothing to do with my ability to raise objections at a trial.

I am not sure whether Judge Keefe ever practiced civil law during his 32 years of career, but to me, granting a petition to a non-existing party, after that was established in court, was bad.

How can a pro se party win in court if a judge does not even allow her to speak, make objections or present her case?

I asked the court for a copy of the disc under Judiciary Law 255, because I have a right to a copy of my record, but the court denied it to me, instead telling me that the only thing I am entitled to is a transcript, and not the digital recording.

What I did want was the digital recording with the ravings of Judge Keefe and his use of the four-letter language against me, because I am not really sure whether the stenographer will be given a direction to take it out or not.

I am not aware of any law, nor did the clerk care to explain to me, why I cannot get the copy of the digital recording, but I put the investigators of Judge Keefe's behavior on the alert of what happened.

I think that Judge Keefe is a danger to the pro se litigants and should not be allowed around indigent people who cannot afford a lawyer.