In 2009, I was forced under the threat of imprisonment to liquidate my sons' college funds to pay a corrupt GAL who did nothing to help my sons. $28,000 was paid to this GAL – who did next to nothing.
In March of 2012, we had another incident where my ex-wife abused my sons, one of whom has autism - all of it captured on police station surveillance video. I approached the family court with this video and asking them to help me protect my sons - but I did not want my ex-wife to have no contact, because I didn't believe that was needed or that it would be beneficial to my sons.
A new GAL was assigned to my case, and she immediately demanded I seek full physical custody - which I explained to her would not help my sons, especially the one with autism, and was not needed. They needed to see their mother and I had no right to interfere with that relationship – I just wanted her to follow court orders and to be able to make decisions in their actual best interests. Upon hearing this, the GAL cut off all contact with me and ignored me, while continuing to completely ignore ongoing violations of court orders by the ex-wife and as she worked to cover up yet another incident of abuse of my sons.
This GAL billed $26,000 for spending less than three hours with my sons, which neither I nor my ex-wife could afford to pay. I already took out everything I could from my retirement to pay her and my attorneys. I found out recently that my ex-wife was forced to sign over the child support checks I gave her to this GAL - who has no children of her own and has never raised a child. She has never practiced family law. She is not even registered to do business in this state.
Last October, the court issued orders finding that I was right – that my ex abused my sons. And then without a required financial hearing, or any motion before the court asking it make changes, the judge doubled my child support, ordered I pay 2/3 of the GAL’s fees and $7,500 to my ex’s attorney. In essence, financially rewarding my ex for abusing my sons.
In October, this GAL, without any prior compliant or notice, ran to court and demanded that the court order my ex and I to pay her everything we owed her, immediately. My ex worked out a sweetheart deal, because her attorney is also a GAL and a member of the AFCC. They garnished her wages at $50/week.
For me - the head of our state courts' "Family Commission" targeted me. The now FORMER GAL, who withdrew from our case, filed a Motion for Contempt, hired an attorney to threaten and harass me with jail if I didn’t pay, and issued a subpoena seeking all of my bank statements.
All of this was completely illegal, unconstitutional and without any basis in state law, regulation or the Practice Book. Because the now FORMER GAL, had no standing in my family case to file or do anything.
All of this fell on deaf ears as Judge Bozzuto worked to railroad me to jail as quickly as possible. All of our motions were ignored, the fact that we had two appeals that stayed everything, was ignored. Due process and the proper scheduling and hearing of motions, was ignored.
On November 21st, without me being present as I had to care for my sons, Judge Bozzuto walked into a hearing with orders already in hand. She came into the courtroom with hanging orders - she talked for SIX PAGES of the transcript without either counsel saying a word or having an opportunity to be heard. She made up “facts” and made comments about me that had no basis in any evidence before the court. She focused only on what I was bringing home and now the draconian costs the court imposed on me – which made it mathematically impossible to pay what was ordered and to care for my sons.
She issued a capias against me with a $9,600 purge, which no attorney who saw it could believe or ever saw before. I spent a night in a hotel room to avoid a marshal and being arrested and taken away in front of my sons and family.
After hiring a new attorney, we negotiated with the marshals to have me turn myself in this past Wednesday morning, and with a 60 Minutes camera crew filing the event. This so my sons would not be impacted, as on Wednesdays they go back to my mother. Prior to this, we lived in constant fear that a marshal would knock on the door and take me away - leaving no one to be able to care for my sons, especially my son with autism.
On Wednesday morning, I was handcuffed and put in leg shackles. I was paraded into court in front of Judge Bozzuto, whose first words were her surprise and amazement that after two weeks I couldn't come up with the $9,600 purge amount.
My attorney fired back, and informed her that she had no legal standing or authority to have me incarcerated. As an expert in appeals, her forcefully cited state law and the Practice Book - illustrating that as we had two pending appeals, everything at the trial court level was automatically stayed, and what she did in allowing the contempt hearings to continue, was illegal.
After some very tense moments where she threatened the attorney, she said she wanted to review the case and continued it for the next day. She ordered me released - but there was even a moment where she left it unclear as to whether I was still incarcerated or not.
The next day, in front of news media, with 60 Minutes sitting in the courtroom, and many supportive parents and court watchers, she backed down. She agreed to wait until the Appeal's ruled on the appeals and "temporarily vacated" the capias against me.
THIS IS WHAT IS POTENTIALLY HUGE:
What is before the Appeal's Court, for the very first time, is the question of whether the GAL's fees are attorney's fees or "in the nature of child support." If they are attorney's fees, I win and the GAL will have no option other than to go across the street and pursue her fees in civil court - where this belongs. If this is ruled as support payments, then I lose, and the question becomes why aren't the GALs payments added as part of the child support guidelines worksheet?
We also filed a federal lawsuit against the judge, the GAL and her attorney - citing violations of my Constitutional rights and state and federal debt collection laws.
I'm hoping that the four hours I spent in jail - may make a difference.
The Court Documents relating to Peter Szymonik's case:
2013-08-17 Invoice for Professional Services Rhonda Morra
2014 Payment History of Rhonda Morra Guardian ad litem Bill
2014-10-17 Fax from Teller of Contempt
2014-11-14 Invoice for Professional Services Rhonda Morra
2014-11-21 Judge E Bozzuto Orders
Maine Guardian ad litem Alert (MeGALert) supports Peter in what he is trying to accomplish in Connecticut. Peter has been in the forefront of Family Court reform in that state. If you have been threatened by your Guardian ad litem we encourage you to contact us at MeGALalert@gmail.com of find us on Facebook.
Phone 207-370-9801 (open 24/7)