Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How they deny access to the court file in Delaware County Family Court, New York

Today my daughter came to review her file in Delaware County Family Court.

She came earlier and asked to look at her file, and she was told that she cannot look at her file without somebody else being there with her.

There are no rules requiring that a court official should sit and watch what a pro se party is looking for in her file. 

I know that attorneys are not watched when they are looking through a file, so why should a pro se party be watched.

Moreover, the Family Court should be scanning files by now, so they would not have to watch.  As far as I know, there is not even an index of the file in Delaware County Family Court, so the court clerks can mess up with the file any way they want, and nobody will know about or can prove anything.

I walked into the room with my daughter and wanted to look at her Family Court file.  My daughter is an adult, and she allowed me to look at her file.  One of the clerks of the Delaware County Family Court, Michael McGovern, came into the room and off the bat told me that I cannot look at my daughter's file.  He looked extremely nervous and as though he was shaken.

I asked Mr. McGovern what is the basis for such a prohibition.

First Mr. McGovern said that I am not a party to the proceedings.  I told him I was in some of the proceedings, and I told him that my daughter gave me permission to look at her file.  By the way, Family Court proceedings in the state of New York are presumed to be open to the public, and my daughter allowed me to look at her file, which is all that matters.

Mr. McGovern still told me that "he was told" that I cannot have the court's permission to look at my daughter's file.

I then asked my daughter and she asked him in my presence, who exactly told him that I cannot look at the record.

Mr. McGovern then said that he talked to "County attorneys".  I asked him who those "County attorneys" were, by name.   Mr. McGovern went silent.  Yet, I know that there is only one County Attorney in Delaware County, his name is Porter Kirkwood, and that he is a friend of Judge Carl F. Becker whom my daughter sued twice, and I served the first lawsuit on him.  Judge Becker recused from my daughter's case and his friends should not be regulating my daughter's or my own access to her court file.

Moreover, as far as I know, a county official may not regulate access to a court file, it should be done by the court administration.

When I asked Mr. McGovern, who those "County Attorneys" were who told him that I cannot see my daughter's Family Court file, he then said that it was actually Judge Carl F. Becker's law clerk, then he said "and a judge in Otsego County", while we were in Delaware County Family Court.

I asked Mr. McGovern who was the judge in Otsego County who prohibited my access to my daughter's file despite her consent?

Mr. McGovern said it was allegedly Judge Brown.  Judge Richard Brown is a support magistrate, and I told Mr. McGovern that Judge Brown has nothing to do with what my daughter is looking through.

Then Mr. McGovern said that it was Judge Brown's clerk by the name of Nathaniel Getman.  Yet, later on I discovered that Nathaniel Getman is not the law clerk for Judge Brown, instead, he is the law clerk for Otsego County Court judge Brian D. Burns who has nothing to do with my daughter's file.

Actually, at this time upon my personal knowledge, a motion is pending in my daughter's case, and the assigned judge is Frank B. Revoir of Chenango County, and Mr. McGovern did not tell me that my daughter's assigned judge or his law clerk was consulted.

It was obvious that Mr. McGovern has made up various stories to protect Judge Carl F. Becker who blocked my access to my daughter's file, even though he recused from her case in August of 2012, nearly 2 years ago and pledged to the federal court where he was sued by my daughter that he has nothing to do with her cases, and that's how her case against him was dismissed, but is on appeal to the 2nd Circuit now.

Maybe today was a bad day for Judge Becker because the appeal was submitted in the 2nd Circuit in Bracci v. Becker and the judge was acting out.

After I heard the stories from Mr. McGovern, I then went to the Chief Clerk of Delaware County Family Court Lori Metzko to ask her why I am not allowed access to my daughter's court file despite my daughter's consent.

Lori Metzko started to explain to me that they have a "procedure" in Delaware County Family Court as to how to allow or not to allow access to court files.  The "procedure", according to Ms. Metzko, was to call the County attorney if they have a question.   I was spooked because the County attorney is not part of the court administration, and I knew that the County Attorney was Judge Becker's former subordinate and his buddy.

I specifically asked Lori Metzko if she gave the name of who is asking for access to the file when she called the County Attorney today.

Lori Metzko got on the defensive and said that they do not give names, just ask whether access should be given.  Then, I directly asked her whether and whom did she call.  Lori Metzko tried to tell me about procedure again, but I insisted to now whom did she call.   

When Lori Metzko was cornered, she said she did not call anybody, and that Mr. McGovern did not call anybody either.  Then Lori Metzko said that she is the court administrator and she makes the rules.

So now I have the following versions of who issued that order:

According to Michael McGovern, the following people issued the order prohibiting me to look at my daughter's file despite her consent:

  1. Delaware County Attorney Porter Kirkwood;
  2. The law clerk for Judge Becker, Lauren Clark;
  3. Judge Richard E. Brown;
  4. Nathaniel Getman, who, according to Michael McGovern, is the law clerk of Richard Brown, but, according to the website of Otsego County Court he is the law clerk of judge Brian D. Burns
According to Lori Metzko, there is a procedure in Delaware County Family Court to call the County Attorney to verify whether access to court files may be given, but allegedly names of individuals who seek such access is not disclosed.  But, Lori Metzko then did not follow that procedure, neither did Michael McGovern, and Lori Metzko then claimed that she is the court administrator and that she makes her own rules as to access to the file.

The bottom line is - was it Judge Becker pulling the strings and preventing from seeing my daughter's file, to prevent me from successfully testifying in Albany County Family Court the next day?

The court administration vigorously denied they issued an order of surveillance upon me, but it is there, my picture from my driver's license which was illegally obtained by the court security, is plastered on the clipboards of Albany county supreme, family and justice courts and the security officers follow me around, yet, the Court Administration claims there is no order of surveillance and no such order is in my court file.  I was never served with any such order, but the security is following me around when I am in Albany County courthouses, sometimes in groups of 3-4 people running around me like they are on a sniper mission, putting me in fear for my life.

When I was in Delaware County Family Court, the security was right there telling me to leave the room where my daughter was reviewing her file and wanted me to review it together for purposes of testimony on her behalf the next day.

Apparently, judge Becker who recused from her file 2 years ago, not only has access to her file, but controls access to her file, while the file was supposed to be sent to Albany 3 years ago and the Delaware County Family Court claimed for three years that they do not have the file, until the Albany County Family Court claimed they also don't have the file, and that the Delaware County Family Court has it.

Multiple decisions were made by the Albany County Family Court in the meantime claiming that they reviewed her file, which obviously never happened.

My question is - how can all this be taking place?  Who controls those people? Does anybody control them?  Are there any rules?

Why would my daughter not be able to allow me to look at the file when an attorney can allow a group of people to look at the file and nobody watches what he is doing?

What kind of discrimination is that?