Open letter to Rockland County from Deborah Goodman
I have been hurt by the Rockland County Court system – have you? For the past five years I’ve been trying to get divorced. The judge on my case, Honorable Victor J. Alfieri Jr., chooses to ignore legal procedures; fails to read documents filed for my case, yet lists those documents in his decisions; can’t recall what’s going on; and overturns his own decisions. For his own Standards and Goals he repeatedly removed my case from the court calendar causing motions to be submitted in order to restore my case, which caused unnecessary legal expenses. On December 20, 2013 Honorable Judge Alfieri made a final decision to close my case because he did not like that the case was three years old. His only concern was my case bringing attention from those above him. He said, on the record:
“Now without prejudice to either side, I am going to deny that motion. And I’ll tell you why. I’m going to deny it mostly because of a housekeeping detail. The case is three years old, which will bring note of people above me, as I’m only here by virtue of someone’s signature on an order. I’d like to stay. So I’m going to deny the motion to restore it to the calendar; however, I’m going to do that 30 days from today.”
It was clear that the court was acting out of self-interest, not in the interest of justice. Despite Honorable Judge Alfieri stating on the record that he would give me 30 days to file a new action, he closed my case 17 days later. I was expected to file a new divorce action and start with a clean slate, ignoring the fact that I had already incurred huge legal expenses.
In order to protect my children and myself I filed a new divorce action as well as appealing Honorable Judge Alfieri’s decision to close my case. What Honorable Judge Alfieri was doing to me was wrong. On January 14, 2015, the Appeals Court overturned Honorable Judge Alfieri’s decision and ordered my case to be re-opened and to date my case remains closed and in front of Honorable Judge Alfieri. I feel Honorable Judge Alfieri will continue to prejudice me and continue to make decisions that will hurt my children and I. My attorney of record clearly informed me that Honorable Judge Alfieri should have opened my case based on the Appeals Court’s decision and that I am left to go to trial in front of Honorable Judge Alfieri and appeal the mistakes he will make.
I fear walking into court due to Judge Alfieri’s state of mind. I will be put in a position to incur more legal fees in front of a judge that should not be sitting on the bench. No one should be forced to go in front of a judge who consistently handles cases in the manner as Honorable Judge Alfieri has handled my case and be left with no option but to appeal. My attorney refuses to put a motion into the Court (Honorable Judge Alfieri) to ask him to recuse himself and open my case as he was ordered to by the Appeals Court. My attorney has made me feel hopeless that I can be heard in a court that is fair and just. It was made clear in my appeal that I could not get a fair and just hearing in Rockland County due to the appeal addressing Honorable Judge Alfieri’s decision to close my case out of self interest, and again not in the interest of justice. To date, all I have is a temporary order of custody and a temporary order of child support from 2010.
What I’ve done is to set up a Twitter feed (@screwedrocklaw), a Face Book Community Page (Screwed by Rockland Courts), a website (www.screwedbyrocklandcourts.com), and a YouTube Channel (Screwed by Rockland Courts) to let people know just how serious the issues are in the Rockland County Courts. The focus is on Civil cases such as divorce and family law and how cases are being mishandled and causing harm. In my webisodes on YouTube, I share my experiences in an effort to make people aware of what goes on so they don’t walk into the court naively expecting the court to be just. I am also hoping that others who have already been harmed will come forward and share their stories by reaching out to me in any way they feel comfortable.