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Can I post Transcripts Online?

New York, NY |

I am in front of a Part in New York County Supreme Matrimonial Division. The judge has behaved in such a biased and undignified manner that I believe I cannot be alone in enduring this abuse. I am therefore starting an online petition for his removal ( Yes I know that is far fetched) But in reading the case of Gerald Garson and more recently a Judge in New Jersey, being removed from the bench, I feel someone must at least start the ball rolling on the "Judge" that I am in front of. What are the rules about disseminating transcripts and court information?

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer
Posted

Mr. Rothstein says, quite correctly, "be careful." But until your case is finished, do nothing at all. Why would you want to antagonize the judge who's going to decide your divorce and all the big issues that go with that? Do you want to get slammed in the divorce? Most judges are smart enough to be able to stick it to a party without the record showing that that's what's been done.

Have you discussed this with your attorney? Does he/she agree with you? Has there been a motion to disqualify on the ground of bias?

An online petition is a waste of time. After your case is done, file a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Provide transcripts or other documentary evidence if they support your claim for bias and lack of dignity. But the bias claim will be stronger if there is first a motion denied by the judge. The State Commission likes to see that a complainant tried to use available remedies without success. They will also want to know if you appealed the divorce judgment if you are unhappy with the outcome. The Commission does not like to see judicial complaints used as "sour grapes" for unhappy litigants, if the underlying reason is that you lost. Be mindful that it is exceedingly hard to get a judge removed in New York; public sentiment is pretty useless, unless every aggrieved person files a complaint with the Commission. By the way, the way they do things in New Jersey is of no consequence in New York. Every state has its own process for judicial oversight and discipline.

As for disseminating information, you raise an interesting question. While matrimonial files are sealed, I don't think the court proceedings are. On the other hand, your spouse might not be too happy if you start publishing info about your case.

I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice, and I disclaim any liability for the outcome if you do. Any opinions offered on matters outside New York State are for general informational purposes only.

Posted

The files on matrimonial cased are sealed by law so I would be careful.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

Asker

Posted

How much aside from names and places of employment would have to be redacted before transcripts could be published? Would the Judge's name have to be redacted, as that would be the whole point of this exercise.

Posted

You can because you are not under an obligation to keep your own case confidential. However, if the judge is out of control, he can enter a restraining order against you effectively halting your ability to cry out.

I would suggest waiting until the case is over and complain through appropriate channels as my colleague states.

Good luck.

Posted

DRL section 235(2) to me reads as a discretionary rule. Whether sua sponte (on its own) or on motion or application, the judge may seal a matrimonial transcript. However, publishing the transcript on a blog or starting an online petition isn't going to do anything about the problems you seem to have with the judge. It may be cathartic, but, practically, it will have no effect on your primary complaint. If you are having an issue with the judge that involves a lack of impartiality, or even outright prejudice, you are going to want to make a complaint to the commission on judicial conduct. www.scjc.state.ny.us/

I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not legal advice. These opinions are based on New York practice. We have no attorney-client relationship. conducting a conversation with me through the avvo comments section does not create an attorney-client relationship. I may be contacted at 212-553-9300.

Andrew Lawrence Weitz

Andrew Lawrence Weitz

Posted

and, as Mr. Horner points out, do so after a final disposition is had.

Asker

Posted

I've already done that, in advance of the final disposition, and it seems to have made the situation much worse. The Judge is threatening me with contempt if I don't pay for forensics, yet I can't even afford a lawyer for myself. My ex's attorney is taking advantage of this situation saying that I have money, when i don't. I've tried filing motions to correct this, but they have been ruled defective by the judge, as I am not a lawyer, or even a citizen.

Posted

If you feel the Judge has behaved in the fashion you've described, there are more constructive ways to loge your complaint. First, you may file a complaint with the NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct. Second, you can & should appeal any order from the Judge you believe is wrong. Not only can this result in reversing a bad order, but if the appellate court agrees the Judge was biased, they have the power to direct that future proceedings be held before a different Justice (though this is very rarely invoked). Moreover, reversals go on the Judge's record and will be considered when the Judge is up for reappointment or re-election.

* If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly.

Posted

Bad idea. It will only antagonize the situation even further. If the judge is as biased as you believe, you will have the opportunity to appeal what may be an unjust determination of your claims. At the conclusion of your case you can file a grievance as well. If you simply cannot wait until the case is over because of interim issues or because you cannot afford an appeal, you should at least talk to your current attorney about the more severe procedure of requesting the judge to recuse himself, by motion.

Andrew Lawrence Weitz

Andrew Lawrence Weitz

Posted

see asker's comment in my answer. he made the mistake of complaining during the course of litigation. I'm pretty familiar with this judge and I reserve comment. That said, the fact that the litigant is getting skewered coming and going is, well, just how it can be.

Mitchell Jan Birzon

Mitchell Jan Birzon

Posted

Agreed.

Asker

Posted

Thanks guys, this gives me some real insight. I'm actually doing a sit down with a someone who is golf buddies with the judge, to field out my hopes of rehabilitation in this case. But if I am the snowball in hell, I intend on being the loudest one ever.

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