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  • FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT AGAINST NEW YORK FAMILY COURT SEEKS INJUNCTION AGAINST ALLEGED SHAM CHILD CUSTODY CASE

FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT AGAINST NEW YORK FAMILY COURT SEEKS INJUNCTION AGAINST ALLEGED SHAM CHILD CUSTODY CASE


Susan Chana Lask with Maggie Rhee-Karn 
Susan Chana Lask with Maggie Rhee-Karn

In April, 2010, Maggie Karn filed a petition for custody of her daughter Sarah in the New York City Family Court.  For almost 4 years since then the Family Court Referee Marva Burnett refused to give Maggie a hearing.  Instead, the Family Court issued orders alienating Sarah from Maggie for over 4  years since that filing.  The first Order was issued without a hearing on August 19, 2011 and all orders thereafter simply continued that order made without a hearing or a basis to separate Maggie and Sarah.  Maggie was never found unfit nor was there ever any harm found to support the orders seperating the mother and daughter.  Sarah's only access to her mother for 4 years has been every other Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.  The Family Court has refused to end the custody case despite the law mandating its termination within 90 days after the custody petition was filed (Uniform Rules for Trial Courts 22 NYCRR §205.14, Uniform Rules of the Family Court §205.14 and CPLR §2219(a))


In 2012 and 2013, Maggie made two requests to appeal the interim decision of August 19, 2011.   Her requests to appeal were made because in Family Court appeals are not allowed until the there is a final order.   The requests to appeal were denied by the First Department appellate court holding the custody case was only " temporary".  In February, 2014, Maggie and her counsel made three complaints to the Family Court Administrative judge that Maggie and Sarah's constitutional rights to due process and an expedient custody hearing were being violated.  The Administrative Judge  never responded.   It was obvious that there was no relief at the state level.  

On November 25, 2013, Maggie filed a civil rights complaint entitled "
 "MAGGIE RHEE-KARN, individually & as the parent and natural guardian on behalf of SARAH KARN against REFEREE MARVA A. BURNETT, individually and as a STATE actor Referee for the New York County Family Court, ROSEMARY RIVIECCIO, STEPHANIE BRANDT,THE STATE OF NEW YORK, OFFICE OF COURTADMINISTRATION and DOES 1-3", CASE NUMBER: 13 CV 6132 (Administrative Judge Edwina Richardson-Mendelson is a named defendant inadvertantly left out of the caption, to be corrected).   The complaint alleges various state and private actors made material misrepresentations to the Family Court, which in turn has denied any hearings before interfereing with Maggie and Sarah's rights to access each other.  That Complaint was voluntarily withdrawn 

 In June, 2013, Susan Chana Lask drafted Bill A7808 with Assemblyman Dan Quart to protect children and families from the devastating consequences of protracted custody cases such as Maggie and Sarah’s. The bill mandates dismissal of the case and all interim custody orders if it does not terminate within 90 days after filing the custody petition. Bill A7808 is presently before the assembly judiciary committee.