Five women whose divorce cases were heard by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon are petitioning the New Jersey General Assembly to impeach the Judge they say violated their rights of due process and equal protection.
WABC-NY first reported the story of the impeachment petition.
Under the New Jersey Constitution, the General Assembly has the sole power to impeach judges by majority vote of the members. Should a judge be impeached by the Assembly, a trial is held in the Senate. A conviction and removal from office requires the vote of two-thirds of the Senate members.
Patricia Madison aka Patricia Pisciotti, Rachel Alintoff, Tameka Hunt, Paula Diaz Antonopoulos Wolfe, and Kristen Williams are represented by Robert A. Tandy, Esq., a Woodcliff Lake civil rights and employment attorney.
The women argue that they have no recourse against Escandon, other than impeachment and removal from office, for violating their civil rights due to the broad immunities granted Judges. They make the following allegations in their petition:
- · In one case, without the benefit of a hearing, Escandon awarded custody of three (3) minor children to a two-time violent felon, confessed killer, and known mob informant who refused witness protection. Despite rejecting such witness protection and being absent, due to criminal incarceration, most of the children’s lives, Respondent, without any such hearing did limit, restrain, alter, terminate, or suspend a parent’s right to the custody of her minor children in violation of the law;
- · Through his decisions, Escandon has repeatedly ignored instances of fraud and funneling of funds by husbands in matrimonial litigations he presided over; permitted child support and pendent lite evasion; dismissed and/or utterly failed to enforce Appellate Division Orders; and signing Orders submitted by Counsel for husbands without a notice of motion being served on the wives or opportunity for hearing;
- · Escandon has repeatedly and continuously failed to allow female litigants to engage in the discovery process and has otherwise served to prevent the search for truth relating to the financial condition of male litigants to the direct detriment of female litigants;
- · Despite his denial of pendent lite support and/or a nominal awards of same, Escandon has routinely and repeatedly ordered female litigants to remain in the marital home without any financial possibility to pay for same whereby forcing female litigants into poverty and, in multiple cases, the filing of bankruptcy petitions, which all have adverse consequences in the award of child custody;
- · Escandon repeatedly and continuously erred and abused his discretion by eradicating parties’ custody and parenting time agreements without conducting a plenary hearing;
- · Escandon repeatedly and continuously erred and abused his discretion by eradicating parties’ custody and parenting time agreements without a finding of imminent harm or threat to a minor child;
- · Escandon repeatedly and continuously erred and abused his discretion by eradicating parties’ custody and parenting time agreements without providing female litigants with an opportunity to respond or be heard;
- · Escadnon repeatedly and continuously erred and abused his discretion by eradicating parties’ custody and parenting agreements without scheduling a return date within 35 days;
- · Escandon repeatedly and continuously erred and abused his discretion by failing to assess and consider the factors the Court is required to consider in making custody and parenting time determinations in favor of male litigants to the detriment of female litigants;
- · Escandon repeatedly and continuously erred and abused his discretion by failing to assess and consider the options of custody and parenting time evaluations to the detriment of minor children;
- · Escandon repeatedly and continuously erred and unjustly enriched male litigants in making pendente lite support and often reduced and/or eliminated such support obligation to female litigants;
- · Escandon has repeatedly and continuously erred and unjustly denied female litigants the opportunity to reclaim their pre-marital personal belonging, including their clothing, maintained at the marital residence;
- · Escandon has repeatedly and continuously held female litigants in contempt for violating orders that the female litigants, most of whom were stay-at-home mothers, had no financial means of complying;
- · Escandon has repeatedly and continuously engaged in the maternal alienation of female litigants;
- · Escandon as repeatedly and continuously failed to make determinations in the best interests of children having special needs in direct contradiction to documented recommendations;
- · Escandon has repeatedly and continuously denied attorneys’ fees applications by female litigants while allowing male litigants to recover attorneys’ fees from destitute female litigants that he has forced into poverty despite the excessive annual earnings of male litigants.
The women allege that Escandon’s decisions are not supported by the facts of their cases and are evidence of his “discriminatory animus” on the basis of their gender in violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of the United States and New Jersey Constitutions.
They allege that after Escandon was transferred out of Family Court, that the Judges who replaced him on their cases were ordered by their superiors not to reverse Escandon’s errors.
Tandy told MMM that he has filed the petition with Speaker Sheila Oliver’s office and delivered copies to Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and the legislative leaders of both parties in the Senate and Assembly. He declined to say whether he has spoken to any members of the Assembly or if any member has agreed to sponsor a Bill of Impeachment.
Tandy said that his clients want the Assembly to investigate their allegations and deliver a Certification of Impeachment, if appropriate.