But as she performed her own research Fisher learned a tragic truth about how deep the rabbit hole of corruption really extended. “Over 3,000 kids were incarcerated during Kids for Cash, and I’m going to tell you how they did it: they picked all of the low-income students who were on the school’s free student lunch program. They knew they couldn’t afford attorneys before they ever even went into court.”
Mrs. Mickman fears judicial and court retaliation for sharing her story with the Gazette, but feels she is simply out of options. While she and her children once lived a very comfortable upper-class lifestyle, she is now left financially devastated as a result of her decade-long legal horror story.
Frank Sorick joins us in studio this week, and kicks off the discuss with Wilkes-Barre currently under Federal investigation. A brief review of the many investigations that the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette has initiated. Do other nations now have better justice systems than the United States, with less corruption? Our Custody4Cash investigation advances, with a number of interviews conducted during the week. Bruce Levin calls in. Lou exposes a potentially explosive finding about Lackawanna County (PA) Guardian ad Litem Brenda Kobel and her financial interest in the family court system. Lastly, we kick off our IndieGoGo fundraiser.
When was the right to free speech, once protected by the First Amendment, declared illegal? When the courts decided what—where and when—could by spoken of or report on; that is when. When GAG ORDERS issued by courts against the press, litigants, professionals, and non-litigants became a popular form of intimidation; that is when.
So, why was this leaked Custody4Cash video ordered to be removed from YouTube by Lackawanna County Guardian ad Litem Brenda Kobal? Was it because mentioned herein are the Lackawanna Family Court system, Brenda Kobal, Judge Munley, and many others attached to the courts? Or because this is merely one story among so many needing to be told.
The team stresses the importance of free and equal elections, and takes our elected officials to task on passage of Pennsylvania’s SB195, the Voters’ Choice Act. Lou calls out Budweiser on their hypocrisy in supporting the troops fighting for democracy abroad, yet they sponsor the Presidential Debate Commission, a private entity that actively locks out third parties from the debates. Lastly, the Custody4Cash scandal is reviewed in the context of corrupt judges issuing gag orders to cover up their corrupt and criminal behavior, with audio of the late Georgia State Senator Nancy Schaefer (famous for her criticisms of the family court systems and Child Protective Services), in honor of her heroism.
Listen to the March 1, 2014 show.
This is the second in a series of reports by the Independent Gazette chronicling the judicial systems and child custody practices of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania. The Gazette, through exclusive interviews, begins to paint a picture of a legal — not justice — system run amok, fueled by greed, kept intact through intimidation, and veiled in secrecy. A complex web has evolved in which the abuse of power is rampant, and lawyers routinely close their eyes to misconduct to avoid being blackballed. The fear of being severed from the “money feeding tube,” as one court insider observed, is a very real dynamic.
Congressional candidate (PA-11) Andy Ostrowski joins Lou and Mike to offer his valuable insights—as a former civil rights attorney and longtime judicial reform advocate—into the dynamics that have led to developments such as Kids for Cash and Custody for Cash. In a word, the lawyers within the system have been “acculturated.” Ostrowski also discusses his bid to unseat Congressman Lou Barletta in Pennsylvania’s 11th District. One of Ostrowski’s campaign emphases: restoring the true meaning of the “consent of the governed.”
Listen to the full February 8 show.
Longtime public critic of the Lackawanna County Family Court system, Bruce Levine, calls in to the show to recount some of his experiences spanning a number of years.
Listen to the full February 1 show.
This is the first in what will be a series of reports by the Independent Gazette chronicling the judicial systems and child custody practices of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and surrounding counties. Through exclusive Lackawanna County interviews obtained by the Gazette, a picture will emerge of a legal — not justice — system run amok, fueled by greed, kept intact through intimidation, and veiled in secrecy, a complex web in which the abuse of power is rampant, and lawyers routinely close their eyes to misconduct for fear of being blackballed — and losing their homes and practices should they dare to speak out. This is a fear of being severed from the “money feeding tube,” as one court insider observed.
Within the culture of the court systems of Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties jurisprudence victims, court officers, police, lawyers, and civil employees will only come forward under anonymity out of concern of retribution from the powerful and well-connected. Reports are emerging of bizarre behavior unbecoming of judges, constituting clear violations of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct and kept under wraps lest swift and damaging retaliation befall the whistleblower. These whistleblowers describe judges throwing objects from the bench in fits of rage and making decisions in street clothes before receiving any actual evidence or testimony. Theirs is a legal system run afoul, where justice is often based not on facts, but on “who you know,” and delivered only to the well-connected.
In the aftermath of the “Kids for Cash” scandal the courthouse climate seems to have remained similar in Lackawanna County to that which fostered the Luzerne County travesty. Behavioral patterns appear to coincide, given surfacing claims that individual lives and the families associated with them have been wrecked by an over-aggressive, power hungry, and greed-filled judiciary.
Read the rest at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette.