BY CAROL MCILMURRAY
NEW CITY- Local attorney William A. Gerard was placed under arrest by Judge Sherri Eisenpress at a custody hearing in Rockland County Family court last month.
Gerard was representing an hassidic mother, Kalya Biener. Biener has been denied visitation by her hassidic ex-husband,Yoel Biener by different tactics over the past 4 months according to Gerard.
Judge Eisenpress ordered children visitation exchange to happen at the court building at 11 a.m., but the Yoel Biener and the children did not show up until the court telephoned Biener to remind of the mandatory exchange that day.
Yoel Biener arrived after 2 p.m. and the young children were acting so unruly that probation worker, Debbie Whitaker, called the Rockland County Sheriff’s to help contain the situation.
A bystander who went by the name of Joelene said, “It was crazy the kids were running around the parking lot, running in between moving cars and screaming their heads off. I [have] never seen anything like it before, I was very worried for their safety.”
The father locked the children in the car when the Sheriff’s department responded and said the children never left the car. He stated to the cops that four and six year old children were too terrified of their mother to exit the vehicle.
All parties, except the children, reported to Judge Eisenpress’ courtroom along with their attorneys, the attorney for the children, and responding police officers. Remaining police officers stayed outside with children while the court proceeding took place.
Sheriff Jose Nunez told the court that Debbie Whitaker, a Rockland probation worker called the Sheriff’s 911 department and when Sheriffs arrived the children “were huddled together and crying in the back seat of the car.”
Attorney for the mother, William A. Gerard asked the Judge to hold the father in contempt for not showing up on time, and coercing the children to not visit with the mother. Judge Eisenpress denied the request and further stated she was not prepared to have the sheriff’s physically remove the children from the back seat of the four door vehicle for the visitation with the mother to occur.
Gerard retorted that the mother has habitually been denied her visitation rights but “That’s just A-okay with you Judge, isn’t it?”
Judge Eisenpress told Gerrad to leave the courtroom and Gerard responded, ” No, Judge you leave the courtroom!”
Judge Eisenpress ordered the court officer to ” Cuff that man and put him down in the [jail] cell!”
After Gerard, a licensed attorney for 33 years, was hauled out of the courtroom in handcuffs, his second counsel, Larry Weissman, took over and pled with the Judge. “Your Honor, this is the craziest custody case I have ever seen,” Weissman continued, “My colleague is sitting in jail right now!…The father is the one that clearly violated your orders.”
Judge Eisenpress decided to hand over the case to Referee Dean Richard Mendelson because the Judge stated that her calendar was full and the matter could be resolved in a more timely fashion with Referee Mendelson.
Judge Eisenpress then said she would release attorney William Gerrad from jail if he came back to the courtroom and apologized to the court for his behavior.
After William Gerrad addressed the court and apologized to the Judge, he spoke exclusively with the Rockland County Times.
According to Gerard, the case has been going on for years and Yoel Biener is on his sixth attorney on record. Gerard went on to state that Biener had the court appoint his last three counselors.
“I didn’t want to apologize to her at all because what she has done to this family is wrong…I would have gladly taken the 30 days in jail, but I had adult soccer practice tonight, I’m in an over 50 league and I didn’t want to miss practice.”
The Biener case has moved over to Referee Mendelson’s courtroom and was heard on Wedensday. Referee Mendelson ordered visitations with the mother to take place at Big Brother/Big Sister, at the recommendation of the child psychologist who was hand picked by the father, Yoel Biener.
William Gerard told the court that he and his client did not want the visitations to happen at Big Brother/Big Sister, and wanted the first and only court appointed child psychologist, Dr. From, to be put back on the Biener case.
The motion was denied by Referee Mendelson because Mendelson stated he worked with this child psychologist before and has found him to be very good and impartial to the parents.
The matter is scheduled to continue in Referee Mendelson’s court.
The contentious case, comes amidst the backdrop of a federal investigation that many rumors have indicated includes Eisenpress. The FBI informant Moses Stern is a longtime Eisenpress associate who apparently had helped funnel money to her Family Court campaign.