Saturday, May 07, 2011

Divorced Wilton (Connecticut) father struggling to change system

This post is update [from here]

Francis Knize/photo matthew vinci

The below re-posted [from here, The Wilton Villager]
Check link for interesting comments posted to article


Hour Staff Writer

Divorce is never an easy process, especially when children are involved, and Wilton resident Francis Knize says being a father makes it exponentially more difficult.

Knize went through a nasty divorce a few years ago, and, based on his own experience, he feels judges in divorce cases "have an inherent bias against men."
"Basically the judiciary has worked hard to erode (father's) civil rights on many levels. In my divorce case my person, property and papers were what I wanted protected, and they were all broken in the divorce. There was nothing I could make a free choice of in my life."

Knize said the immediate reaction of the courts is to place children with the mother in the vast majority of divorce cases.

"Basically the child remains with the mother right away until further notice, and the father may not see the child for the first year after the divorce," Knize said. "That's unconscionable."

One of the basic problems, according to Knize, is that divorce cases are tried in civil court, where the burden of proof is far different than that of a criminal proceeding.

"I know lots of men who have serious problems seeing their children because women take the stand claiming severe abuse," Knize said. "They make a criminal kind of charge, without having to support it with any kind of evidence. In a civil court the burden is a preponderance of evidence, and conclusions come much more easily. Women are making claims without corroborating evidence or proof."

Given certain allegations, such as abuse or neglect, divorce cases in Connecticut should require concrete evidence to back up the claim, he said.

"Why can't Connecticut be more like New Jersey, where you need clear and convincing evidence, if not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, like a criminal case?"

To that end state Rep. John Hetherington, R-125, has introduced House Bill 5247 to try and close some of those civil rights loopholes for parents and guardians.

HB 5247, which Hetherington said has passed the Judiciary Committee and now awaits discussion in the General Assembly, is described as "an act concerning the presumption of innocence and protection of Constitutional rights in proceedings alleging child abuse or neglect by a parent or guardian."

The body of HB 5247 reads: "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That the general statutes be amended to: (1) institute a presumption of a parent's or guardian's innocence in any proceeding alleging child abuse or neglect by the parent or guardian; (2) require the petitioner to prove a parent's or guardian's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in any proceeding alleging child abuse or neglect by the parent or guardian; (3) require the protection of a parent's or guardian's constitutional rights, as afforded to persons charged with criminal offenses, in any proceeding alleging child abuse or neglect by the parent or guardian; (4) require the dismissal from employment of any municipal or state employee found to have violated the constitutional rights of a parent or guardian in any proceeding alleging child abuse or neglect by the parent or guardian; and (5) ensure that any such municipal or state employee not receive immunity."

Hetherington said this is a "relatively simple" bill that will not apply directly to court proceedings but could prevent a parent or guardian from self-incrimination, or keep them from allowing a Department of Children and Families (DCF) representative into their home without cause.

"I heard a number of complaints from parents and guardians in cases of child neglect or abuse that DCF representatives are rather heavy handed," Hetherington said. "Now the DCF has the right to interrogate, to insist on coming into the home to find evidence of abuse, and what they collect is admissible in proceedings or as evidence to take a child away."

Hetherington admits that the bill does not have much sanction behind it, but it provides some peace of mind to parents and guardians.

"Parents and guardians have rights, and (DCF) can't intimidate people," Hetherington said. "There's no doubt DCF people are good, but they can't make people suspects without some evidence."

Hetherington is not sure how far -- or how fast -- the bill will move.

"It's received a joint favorable report out of Judiciary, and I hope it goes to House floor," he said. "There's such a crowd of bills, you never know."

Knize never intended his efforts to be a mother-father battle. He just wants to see each case, and each parent, judged on their own merits.

"What's the percentage of men that have to pay child support over women? Over 90 percent," Knize said. "My argument is that maybe that should have been the case in the 1950s, when there were different gender roles. In today's world, after women demanded freedom and are working, the payment structure should be more equalized."

Knize said his ex-wife had college degrees and plenty of earning potential and he did not, and while he was self-sufficient, he still was taken for $1 million.

"You're liable for child support and possibly alimony because you have earning capacity, but my wife had enormous earning capacity," Knize said. "A judge can assign an unreachable child support level, and a father who can't pay is in contempt. They're handcuffed, they have their ankles shackled. They throw you in jail until you pay up, like an old English debtor's prison. We're supposed to be above that. We want it to be equal parenting." For more information on some of Knize' concerns, visit

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Connecticut Court Corruption- The Nowacki FOIA Case 4.11.11

Text with video:

Uploaded by on Apr 19, 2011

Citizen Michael Nowacki is exposing how the Conn. Judicial Branch has been illegally engaging law-making practices:

On March 18, 2011, the Connecticut Ethics Commission undertook investigation into Chief Family Judge Lynda Munro's alleged unlawful solicitation for "sponsorship" from members of the Connecticut Bar Association for mandated family court directed training for Guardian Ad Litem G.A.L.s held at Quinnipiac University. They dismissed it.

Audience is asked to respond to as to whether Munro's solicitation of Bar funding for the GAL Program constitutes "making law from her secretive back chambers accountable by some state enforcement agency?

The FOIA Commission hesitates for having jurisdiction, saying Nowacki's contentions are not Administrative as defined by Conn. Supreme Court. (29:40 & 01:05:40) The hearing officer was referring to the 2006 decision, Clerk of GA 7 v. FOIC. That decision expanded the definition of "adjudicative" records to include simple docket sheet data which would become not subject to FOIA. The hearing officer attests @ 27:35 that he needs no coaching on the law by Mr. Nowacki because he's a professional 22 years on FOIA Law. Yet...

Clerk has nothing to do with the Nowacki case because Nowacki is not asking for anything to do with an individual case and privacy issues. He's asking for information on Public Hearings. The Law Tribune writes : "Three of the seven justices in Clerk favored test based on the 1988 case of Bar Examining Commission v. FOIC. Notes: Quinn: March 3, 2008: We do believe that administrative function should be defined as including the management of the internal institutional machinery of the court system, accounting, budgeting, personnel, facilities, physical operations, scheduling, record keeping, and docketing." That statement is answer to Officer Perpetua's J. Quinn question at 45:50.

In the 1983 case of Rules Committee v. FOIC, Chief Justice Ellen Ash Peters noted that the state FOI Act applies only to the Judicial Branch "administrative records" and not to "adjudicative records" that might interfere with the courts' critical function of deciding individual cases. Peters narrowly defined "administrative" matters as the "budget, personnel, facilities and physical operations of the courts." However, that was surpassed as shown above in 2008 by J. Quinn's notes which included all that encompasses internal institutional machinery, the point being Administrative acts as acknowledged by society are quite broad.

At the very least, it can be claimed Nowacki's failed FOIA to J. Munro and others about the GAL program and rule-making procedure was discovering the following: to know about records dealing with GAL budget or sponsorship, GAL personnel and even trainees, facilities at Quinnipiac and physical operations of the courts concerning the GAL. AMC "commando programs". After all, those Public Agency programs are physical operations that accommodate the efficient operations of the court, are administrative; and Nowacki is not seeking "adjudicative records" that might interfere with deciding any individual case.

Rules Committee v. FOIC is not so narrow that it limits the breadth of which administrative functions can still be carried out despite Clerk, thus is still under FOIA juris and oversight.

The hearing officer, Mr. Perpetua, @ 1:51:30 is dead wrong to have gone to such a narrow definition when "internal machinery" is the mantra, and when Nowacki points out the Superior Court and Appellate Court, and Chief Adm. J. Quinn acknowledges their rule-making falls as an administrative act @ 31:15 & 1:12:00. And when the Supreme Ct. NEVER limited Administrative tasks past docket and case sealing. Administrative function should be defined as including the management of the internal institutional machinery of the court system, which must include activity related to Rule-making. Why does Perpetua say different @ 1:21:15 ? Perpetua himself comes under scrutiny for then denying evidence relevance concerning Rule-making 1:15:45 . Judge Lynda B. Munro spearheaded a program aimed at influencing private law firms' hiring and employment practices. This is highly controversial behavior showing impropriety and warranting investigation of a conflict of interest, ethics, and even criminal allegations.

When a judge creates and manages, schedules,and coordinates a program like the GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) or AMC (Atty for the Minor Child) training sessions, a program under great social controversy whether or not it's actually destructive to families, promoted independently by this J. Munro, ... is that or is that not an Administrative function subject to FOIA Commission jurisdiction?

Use YouTube LIKES Vote for YES
Use DISLIKES Vote below for NO

Citizen Reporter

Michael Nowacki

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"In the Interest of Justice", A Documentary Primer

Text with video:

Uploaded by on Oct 7, 2007

more information:
Dr. Richard Codero battles it out with Federal Judge Ralph Winters in Brooklyn, NY, Federal Courthouse on a national hearing on judges judging judges.

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This blogger's email:
stevengerickson AT yahoo Dot Com



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