This is a breaking development in the CT Family Court divorce and custody case of Christopher Ambrose versus Karen Riordan.
It looks like a checkmate – a mistrial. The legal errors of two judges make it impossible for the trial to be resolved.
I will have more to report on this matter, but here is the quick analysis based on an appellate ruling that came down this morning.
Based on complaints and possibly because of numerous reports on Frank Report and elsewhere, on November 9, 2021, CT Family Court Judge Gerard Adelman declared a mistrial in the Ambrose case. Later that day, he issued a sua sponte order asking that CT Judge Thomas Moukawsher to hold a hearing to decide whether he [Adelman] should be removed from the Ambrose trial for bias.
The children in the Ambrose case have been separated from their stay-at-home mother and her extended family for almost two years – and kept in isolation by their affluent father, despite their repeated pleas to be allowed to see their mother.
As he admitted in court, Ambrose confiscated his wife, Karen Riordan’s, share of the marital assets and admitted stealing her inheritance in open court; an inheritance Riordan received from her mother before their marriage.
Inexplicably, Judge Adleman did not require Ambrose to return the money.
The Ambrose trial, which was in progress in November, was interrupted by Adelman’s sua sponte order.
Judge Moukawsher, however, got confused over Adelman’s referral for him to review his disqualification.
Because, perhaps it had never happened before in CT – where one judge asks another judge to determine if he should be removed from a case – Moukaswher did not understand the issue to be reviewed, failed to ask for clarification, then solicited a motion from Riordan’s attorney, Nickola Cunha, to disqualify Adelman for his review, absent jurisdiction. Cunha complied.
Moukawsher failed to realize he lacked authority/jurisdiction to solicit a disqualification motion on a case he is not presiding over. He could not hear it himself. By law, any disqualification motion from litigants [Cunha for Riordan] goes to the trial judge, Adelman.
Not realizing this, Moukawsher held the disqualification hearing and determined that there was no bias on the part of his fellow judge and chose not to disqualify Adelman for his role in the Ambrose case. Instead, he decided to disbar Riordan’s attorney Cunha, who had been a thorn in CT Family Court for years.
With Cunha disbarred, Adelman happily resumed the Ambrose trial in February with a penniless mother who was now without legal counsel.
Then Judge Moukawsher made another legal mistake. He moved his disbarment of Cunha out of the Ambrose case and into a case of its own as Judge Adelman hastily proceeded with the Ambrose trial, now that Riordan was without counsel.
Judges can do many things and have a lot of power. But one thing the Constitution does not grant them is the power to create a case themselves. Parties must do that outside the judiciary, such as private parties or the executive branch of the government.
But Moukawsher ‘judicially created a case, taking the disbarment of Cunha out of the divorce proceeding, and, acting illegally, judicially created a case named ‘In re:‘ Cunha – separating it from the Ambrose divorce and custody case.
Adelman did not realize the legal error and set a new trial date for Ambrose v Riordan.
Riordan made a motion asking Adelman to adjourn the restart of the trial since she did not have an attorney [because CT courts told her that Cunha was disbarred] and because her husband Ambrose admitted in court that he took all the marital money and stole her inheritance, thereby leaving her with no money to retain another attorney.
Meantime, Cunha’s attorney, Norm Pattis, filed an appeal of the disbarment in the ‘In re:’ Cunha case.
Fearing that this would ignite a forest fire if Cunha won her appeal, for this was targeting if ever there was one, the Attorney General for CT, William Tong, filed an appearance on behalf of the entire Judicial Branch to counter Cunha’s appeal.
Of course, this is illegal. Tong cannot represent the entire Judicial Branch of the State of CT before three appellate judges of the same Judicial Branch.
Soon someone at the appellate court realized all the legal mistakes, including that there could be no appeal taken from a judicially created case, “Re; Cunha”: you can only appeal an actual case, and the AG certainly cannot appear in an appeal on a fabricated case representing the judiciary while the judiciary would be the judge and the party to the case they will judge.
Cunha’s appeal was dismissed for this technical reason – that Judge Moukawsher was outside the law.
The appellate court then directed Cunha’s lawyer to file the legally proper Writ of Error, brought under PB§72, as part of the Ambrose case, the only case at hand.
But wait, according to PB§72, a Writ of Error triggers an automatic stay of the disbarment order, meaning Cunha is not disbarred until the appeals court hears it – but no one knew that when Adelman rushed to return to trial.
Adelman ignored Riordan’s request for an adjournment, and he resumed and thought he concluded the trial without the defendant and her counsel of record in attendance.
Adelman violated the due process set down in practice rule by ignoring Moukawsher’s misconduct, his fabricated case, and the requirements of PB§72, which spell out the automatic stay of Cunha’s disbarment.
Foolish Adelman went ahead with the trial, not giving notice to Cunha, who was not disbarred because he did not know the law, and concluded the case, leaving only the final ruling.
Adelman cannot go back in time and eliminate the last two days of trial without the attorney or the defendant and start all over with them.
A mistrial is now inevitable, as I shall prove by citing the laws applicable in my next post.
I just wanted the public to know, and the three lonely children, who take solace in the Frank Report as their last bastion of hope, that they may be able to leave their brutal father and return to their mother whom they spent every day of their life with for 13 years while he was out of town.
Now, all that is left of the Ambrose case after 400+ docket items, over 980 days of protracted litigation, 36 days of trial spread over a year, a million dollars or more in legal fees, all payments made by Ambrose (using his and his wife’s money without her consent) is a MISTRIAL.
There is no other way out of this one.
It is a sad thing when judges do not know the law. It is worse when they don’t care; so eager are they to crush any opposition to their money-driven freakish process of non-law and bias.
Stay tuned for the next in this series.
Meantime, children be happy – your captivity by your father is nearing its end, and who knows what will become of the coconspirators of Family Court – Adelman, Moukawsher, Nancy Aldrich, Jocelyn Hurwitz, Jessica Biren-Caverly, Dr. Bill Horn, Ed Nusbaum, Rich Callahan, Judge Jane Grossman, and a host of others to be named.
And what will happen to Chris Ambrose, a man who would not only rob his wife, of 18 years, of all her assets but cruelly deprive their children of their hearts’ desire – to be with their mother.
We will clean this Augean stable yet.