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Fifteen years ago, a neighbor came to my door, asking me to watch her son. She had three young children all under the age of six, and was on her way to court. Her husband had left her for another woman, and refused to sign off on their home so it could be sold. Her job alone was not enough to pay the mortgage, and he would have received a portion of the proceeds in equitable distribution. The husband also rarely complied with child support, which would have been reduced had he cooperated in the sale of the property. The home was in foreclosure, however, for no other reason than the misconduct and bias of the judge. He was focused on providing hourly fees to repay campaign contributions, to the fellow bar association member that represented her husband. My neighbor could not afford an attorney, and was representing herself.
A judge does have the power to remove a non-cooperative spouse from the deed, and enforce economic relief. They have a duty to mitigate the harm to the family, that is directly written in the domestic relations statute. At the time, I also had three young children under the age of six. I could not believe what she was telling me; surely we have laws that protect us from this sort of thing. She could put in a complaint regarding the judge, right? My neighbor said to me ,“You don’t know how bad it is until you are in it.”
Ironically, fifteen years later, I had the same judge preside over my own divorce. It has been eight years, and I too, have had to represent myself. The same things have happened to me. My home is needlessly in foreclosure over a simple signature for a modification of the mortgage. Judge Kelly Wall, in Montgomery County, was indebted to the bar for campaign contributions. She let a motion for relief go unaddressed for four years, and failed to disclose it on the Rule 703 reports, which require them report timely disposition of issues. After four years of contacting the Judicial Conduct Board, I managed to get a meeting with them. They did force her to recuse, but apologized that they have no restitution mechanisms. My anger is not so much with my revengeful spouse, as it is with the people who are being paid to control these situations.
Maybe if I had gotten involved fifteen years ago, with trying to repair our severely decayed justice system, I would not be now battling for eight years, still not even divorced. Whether you are involved in family court or just a plain civil matter, the problem is all from the same source. No checks and balances over the Judicial Branch. They are directly responsible for all of the government corruption we are seeing. So I understand the apathy; but I cannot understand when those that are involved, how they still do not participate in trying to stop this from happening to their children in the future.
It took Martin Luther King, Jr. over twenty years, to get enough people to actively participate in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. This is where our trouble with the courts began. You can learn about it here. Since that time, the bar associations increased their power over the courts, to take away those rights that were fought for during that time. There is a lot of information on how this occurred on Pennsylvania Court Watch – it regards the Open Meeting Laws and Sunshine Act.
But in the interim, I have an historical case – one that no one in the state of Pennsylvania has had as much success on, in suing the opposing attorney in my divorce. If I prevail, it will set precedent for others to use. The reason I was able to get as far as I have, is because ONE judge, did not take campaign contributions, and is not subservient to the bar. For the last four years I have been in litigation against this attorney and it has given me valuable information that I would like to share.
Last week, the defendants attorney made a mistake. He filed what is known as a Motion for Reconsideration, for dismissal of his preliminary objections, by the first judge, from years ago. When he did this, under the collateral judgment doctrine, the decision process went back to the first judge, who had been removed from the case after she allowed my case to move forward. The current judge, who took a large amount of campaign contributions, has been allowing the defendants to use dilatory tactics, and drag the case out for the last three years.
The first judge denied their attempts to dismiss the case again. and it gave me something invaluable. She wrote an opinion, which gives the Pennsylvania Law, to sue an opposing attorney for abuse of process. Only about a dozen states in the country provide for this. You can view the law on the site here: Order of Judge on Attorney Abuse of Process. Use it in your own case; maybe if enough people sue the opposing attorneys, it will help end judicial corruption.
Pennsylvania Court Watch
Court Reform Advocacy