Judge Moukawsher Says Connecticut Family Court Is Rotten to the Core

Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher did not like that Attorney Cunha challenged the process of CT Family CT. He disbarred her.

While many are oblivious to the scandal that is Connecticut Family Court, and most judges are entrenched in keeping their territories safe from criticism, Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher, presiding judge of the Regional Family Trial Docket, is outspoken.

He knows the Family Court system in his state stinks and he said it:  Politely, of course, but the fact that he put it on the record at all shows how bad it is.

Here is what he said, “There are those who say the Family Division of this court currently isn’t serving the public interest very well. The undersigned is one of them. Indeed, the undersigned is not alone in hoping for a better system. The leadership of Connecticut’s Judicial Branch has been giving the Family Division special attention precisely because it has openly declared that our system can better serve the public….

“Sometimes the problems in the Family Division appear to be the process that has grown up over time. It’s slow. It’s cumbersome. Cases haven’t moved quickly enough, glacially in some instances. The pandemic hasn’t exactly helped.

“In some cases, over-analysis by costly experts and guardians-ad-litem has unfairly delayed cases from getting decided or has even financially broken the parties with enormous expenses. Judges traditionally don’t police this aspect of a case, so it has too often gotten out of hand. This court wrote about this issue in its decision in Templeton v. Kannan.

“But sometimes, it’s about the lawyers. Sometimes the lawyers waste time. Sometimes the lawyers tie up a case for years with frivolous motions, harassing discovery, and baseless accusations that divert the court in custody cases from where it should focus like a laser: on getting a decision about the best interests of the children and allowing that decision to be reviewed by an appellate court if needed.”

Connecticut is a small state and the legal community is as avaricious as anywhere else, maybe worse, because of propinquity.  Though there are 3.5 million people, and 21,000 lawyers, the state is only 112  miles wide and a two hour drive separates one lawyer from one end of the state to a lawyer from the other end.

Lawyers meet more easily in Connecticut than say in Colorado, which has the same number of lawyers, but is 19 times larger in size and has 60 percent larger population.

Judge Moukawsher, tempering his words, masking the harsh truths with studied understatement, deserves to have his words analyzed a little.

He said the Connecticut Family Court, “isn’t serving the public interest very well.,,, [it’s] slow. It’s cumbersome. Cases haven’t moved quickly enough- glacially in some instances…””

For a judge to admit this is novel. And credit goes to Judge Moukawsher for admitting it. The Family Court system is one where judges rule over the destiny of disputing parents and their children, with no input from the people. There is no jury, which is always a recipe for corruption.

If ever the adage was true that “it’s good to know the law, but it is better to know the judge,” it is not true in Family Court. For there is no law. Everything is based on opinion. The opinion of the judge, So one does not need to know the law. One need only know the judge.

Moukawsher, in his critique, added, “In some cases, over-analysis by costly experts and guardians-ad-litem has unfairly delayed cases from getting decided or has even financially broken the parties with enormous expenses.”

What is a guardian-ad-litem or GAL?  She is a lawyer. According to the American Bar Association,  “A lawyer appointed as ‘guardian ad litem’ for a child is an officer of the court appointed to protect the child’s interests without being bound by the child’s expressed preferences.”

GALs like other lawyers bill by the hour and the more strife they provoke or uncover, the more they can bill,

GALs are lawyers with no special knowledge of the needs of children.  In the Ambrose case, which we have been reporting on, the GAL, Jocelyn Hurwitz, has billed almost $200,000 yet has met the children four or five times and the case is not half over

Jocelyn Hurwitz is one of the leading GALs in Connecticut. She bills between $400- $500 per hour.

Moukawsher adds with a bit of irony,Judges traditionally don’t police this aspect of a case, so it has too often gotten out of hand.”

Actually most judges DO police GALs and other experts. They police them to ensure they get enough billings and with the extra billings permitted for the GALs and mental health experts comes more billings for lawyers for the parties on the case.  Custody evaluators, therapists, psychologists, social workers etc. are brought into the case by the GALs who are brought into the case by the lawyers and approved by the judge.

It’s a referral business and everybody who plays along makes more money.

Judge Thomas Moukawsher,

High conflict custody and divorce disputes with affluent parents means everybody in the business is happy.

Moukawsher adds precociously, “Sometimes the lawyers waste time. Sometimes the lawyers tie up a case for years with frivolous motions, harassing discovery, and baseless accusations that divert the court in custody cases from where it should focus like a laser: on getting a decision about the best interests of the children.”

Attorney Nancy Aldrich, who represents Chris Ambrose, works closely with GAL Hurwitz in numerous cases.

The good judge ought to know better, and of course he does: Family Court is never about the best interest of the children. Why would lawyers care about that? Lawyers care about billing. And if anyone can make a case that lawyers are more ethical or compassionate toward children than other breed of humankind, I have yet to hear it.

A laser focus there is — on billing.

Family Court is about lawyers transferring assets from disputing parents into their bank account.

Divorce and custody lawyers on opposing sides often conspire with each other, pretending to write angry letters to each other for their clients, pretending to zealously represent their client, but really, with a wink and a nod, working to provoke the fight, to enlarge it, to get the parties angry with each other and bill more as they file frivolous motions, harassing discovery, and baseless accusations.

The truth is naked greed trumps the welfare of children in Family Court and Judge Moukawsher was good enough to announce it publicly.

As for Judge Moukawsher, he was appointed to the Connecticut superior court in 2013.

He worked in business, politics, and law,  A graduate of The Citadel Military College and the University of Connecticut School of Law, he was a banking lobbyist, a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, then special counsel to the Connecticut senate president and counsel to the Commerce Committee.

Significantly, Judge Moukawsher was counsel to the Connecticut Democratic Party and outside counsel to Congressman John Larson when he was chairman of the House Democratic caucus under Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In 2000, he was a partner in an investment banking boutique, and conceived of, wrote, and won passage of a $500 million program of urban investment tax credits for Connecticut allowing a form of corporate welfare meant to spur development of government social engineered projects.

Before taking the bench, as a lawyer, Moukawsher became an expert in pension law fraud, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen and defrauded pension funds for plans and plan participants.  He was co-counsel in CIGNA v. Amara, which led to a Supreme Court ruling impacting the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Moukawsher practiced before seven U.S. courts of appeals and 13 federal district courts from California to Connecticut.

He was chairman of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association and a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

He was a contributing author and editor of the Employee Benefits Law (BNA), a regular speaker on employee benefits law, including at Georgetown University Law  Center, the Federal Judicial Center, the American Bar Association, The Pension Rights Center, and Thompson Reuters. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

On the bench, Judge Moukawsher has sat in criminal, and civil courts, and of course, Family Court, the cesspool of our legal system and the one where the jury – 12 of the people – are excluded – in contravention to the US Constitution and common law,

Judge Moukawsher was good enough to explain it — the Family Court system is driven by money.  Naked greed,

He said it politely. Children who have lost their parents and parents who have lost their life savings – in the hands of lawyers, GALs and mental health experts – presided over by a biased judge, have said it more bluntly.

The system is corrupt. It will always be corrupt.  And we will explore the judge’s view of it, alongside others’ views.

Yes, as Judge Moukawsher has said, Connecticut Family Court is rotten to the core and —  we intend to prove it.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Consider me a checks-and-balances personal system for you, #fakejudgemoukawsher. Base your decisions on judicial dictates and case law as you are bound to do.

  • Hey, #fakejudge! Newsflash. Judges make decisions based on case law, you moron. Judicial Dictates. Judicial Precedent. I read your 22 pages of absolute garbage. Guess what else? YOU are bound to Judicial Canons. What law can you cite to support your friends’ unlawful decision to award sole custody and no contact with the mother to Chris Ambrose? NONE. What Supreme Court decision can support that order? NONE. You are a fraud. Your decisions must be lawful and constitutional or else they are VOID. I hope you get sued, #fakejudge. You are actively violating the Constitution and trampling on the inalienable rights of the constituents of the U.S. You took an oath to defend our constitutional rights. You failed #fakejudge. You best recuse yourself. Your tyranny is over.

    • FYI- Karen is lawfully able to see her children per court order. She just chooses not to because it’s not on her terms. If she missed them that much and truly had their best interest in mind, she would take every minute of visitation she was given.

      • She is the mother. That’s unconditional Any conditions requiring her to admit wrongdoing or abuse, in order to see the children is an outrageous injustice. She will win her fight. She should not have to pay someone thousands for supervised visitation. Those who took these children from their loving mother will have to pay and the cost will high.

  • No jury. Witnesses are suppressed/silenced. Witnesses are banned from the judge’s chambers where fraudulent live altering decisions are made.

  • Everyone in America should know about corrupt Child Protective Services (CPS) and family court. It is time for the news media (NBC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC…..) to expose this crime against humanity. There are innocent broken-hearted families who are losing their children!

    • You’re exactly right. It’s going to be a house of cards crumbling. We will have to regroup and pick up the pieces. We can do better. We must do better.

  • It is all about greed. It is every one of our fifty states. This has been evolving into a cartel for the last century. It is so big now only an abrupt stop will change things. Many, many, many should be jailed.

    I for one would like my driver’s license back. No… I am NOT going to buy it back! It is not a privilege today. It is a necessity!!!

    First step… suspend all judges’ and lawyers’ driver and professional licenses. Immediately without warning or reason.

  • I think there are many family law attorneys who abuse the system. Sometimes they even will admit to the other counsel(lawyer).

    Good article Frank!

    PS Tax Credits are [redacted]

  • Another Connecticut child molestation story

    CNN Producer Charged With Shocking Underage Sex Crimes

    Worked alongside disgraced CNN host Chris Cuomo on ‘New Day.’

    A CNN producer who worked alongside former host Chris Cuomo has been arrested and charged with luring minors to his home for sexual activity. The accused pedophile wanted to “train” his victims to be “sexually submissive.”

    John Griffin, 44, worked alongside disgraced CNN host Chris Cuomo on ‘New Day’, and most recently served as producer for John Avlon, the liberal network’s senior political analyst. Outside of work, however, the Connecticut man’s interests were dark and disturbing, and Griffin was arrested on Friday and charged with three counts of attempting to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity.

  • The Connecticut Family Court is the foulest vilest hellish despicable place to use children to make money by the hour. It’s grueling and it’s gruesome to see those unhappy little faces when I take their mothers away. But she’ll fight back and 200 billable hours later their tears will dry and my tears of joy will remain wet.

  • My research is showing that parents who decide to go pro se in these cases, show a discernible advantage over corrupt family courts. It puts the courts in a position to have to protect and support the plaintiff in a way that they don’t have to when the parent is supported by an attorney and this seems to be producing significantly better results. It seems like this case couldn’t do worse.

    • —My research is showing that parents who decide to go pro se in these cases show a discernible advantage over corrupt family courts.

      That’s categorically false. Anyone, who goes pro se gets their ass handed to them.

      • Not so. I’m working with a woman who is killing it right now going pro se. She changed the whole game. You need to be smart, articulate and willing to the work, but there are successes. I also personally know of one other mom who is getting her kids back in a couple of weeks because she turned it around going pro se. In the end, it turns out that the law is on our side, we just need to step into our power and start wielding it.

        • Wendy Wells,

          I stand corrected. I don’t have any knowledge of your friends and, therefore, I haven’t a clue what their individual IQs are.

          Sincerely, I apologize!

        • I fought in one divorce for 10 years, and now a second for 7 years. Lost 2 daughters for 3 years the first go around; and lost 4 sons for the past 7 years this go around. I was a homemaker, had no money for an attorney, and judges act like I’m not even in the court room. I’m forced to defend myself and my children against our abuser. Four little boys ripped from their sole caregiver (dad played/plays video games 24/7) at 16months (still nursing between 3am-5am every day), 3yrs, 4.5yrs, and 7yrs old to live with the father at his mom’s house and basically be raised by the mean abusive grandmother.

          The first Family Relations Counselor was offended when I said it’s in the Lord’s hands. She said she takes her job very seriously…sometimes makes her decision first time meeting the parties, sometimes changes her mind the morning of court. First GAL said “As long as the parent staying in CT has basic minimal parenting skills, there’s no reason for kids to ever move out of state”. Those two hearings were clearly lost before they began. Second FRC was offended of my religious view that homosexuality is a sin, his testimony was 100% assumptions.

          Second GAL from CT Children’s Law Center (the director) admitted in court she didn’t do her job, and was more concerned about me possibly withholding the children than she was about my ex who actually did withhold the children many times. Now, the current FRC didn’t even investigate my concerns, did a half-assed investigation, and is completely ignorant. She just see dollar signs and doesn’t want to lose 4 kids and my education concerns weren’t asked about, pediatrician confirmed they get check-ups every year but my medical concerns were not asked about, new information regarding previously discussed issues were not looked into, information in the FRC report is wrong, the list goes on and on. This was my last chance to finally get my boys back after 7 years.

          They post comments online about the abuse at home and police and DCF do nothing. I moved out of state to stay with my parents to get on my feet. I became a law enforcement officer and correctional officer. There is no justice in CT. No children are safe in CT. I hope to only go back to CT one last time to remove my children and NEVER step foot in that state ever again. Please pray for a miracle for my last hearing coming up.

    • Other than savings on lawyer’s bills, I’m not sure how you would measure an advantage. For sure a case will go more quickly and more cheaply if there aren’t any lawyers involved. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the outcome is better.

    • Yup, had to go to court self-represented. It is the only way to speak to a judge. You will be locked out of the courtroom if you use an attorney. It will be told to you that it is cost ineffective to argue your case and present evidence in court. You will be forced to agree to things that drag out your case. Cost $$$$$$$. Happened to me.

  • So much more to the story! Wait until you find out why all the domestic and family violence and incest is allowed! Has nothing to do with parents’ money: Federal money! of which wee little Connecticut is in the top 5. Connecticut, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and California are the most endowed with federal money to do this to to people, mostly women and children. So Colorado, being bigger and having more people doesn’t have 1/4 or what CT gets. It’s bigger than greedy lawyers and shrinks. The legislature knows, but who wants to be the one to lose billions in federal money for the state for the good of the children? None

  • Well said Judge Moukawsher. I know of three children and a Mom [thanks to Frank!] who will be very glad and relieved to hear this.

    Love and courage to the Riordans— things are looking up!

    • Did you read his decision? Riordan’s attorney is going to be sanctioned because of meritless motions. Can’t see that being a good thing for Karen!

      • Read the judge’s admission, as Frank put it, that the Connecticut Family Court is “Rotten To The Core” – and that’s all, time constraints. My apologies if I misunderstood!

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com