As I continue watching a new case of another child abducted to Poland (Anika Kamiński), I realized one thing: I have never acknowledged a group of judges and prosecutors who ARE doing their jobs in Poland. Attorneys who DO follow the law in regards to Hague Convention cases. Many times going against their own colleagues, Polish media, and very common, blind Polish nationalism. Many times these representatives of the law in Poland, dearly pay with their personal carriers and are being discriminated by politicians and corrupt bosses.
Up until now, I never used the names of any particular individuals, who were involved in my cases throughout the years. I didn’t see any reason to create any unnecessary spectacle. I simply believed that keeping things in the courts, without media circus would be best for the case and the children. I only went to Polish media twice, in order to solicit their help in finding my children. Telling my story publicly, was the price that the newspapers demanded in exchange for publishing the pictures of Amelia and Daniel. The story that came out was slanted towards the mother, but still, I thought worth the price of getting the message out.
Today, however, since the Hague Convention law became irrelevant in my case I decided, that it is the time to break my silence. At least, acknowledging the good, if not name the bad or corrupt (I am still thinking about it), must be done. It is the right thing to do.
In my case, the example of good is represented by Judge Hanna Ostaszewska, who originally adjudicated my Hague Convention application case in Regional Family Court in Gdańsk. She is the one who needs to be recognized at this time. She agreed with my arguments from the beginning and issued an order for my children to return. For that, this lady paid a great personal price, paid with her carrier. I notice that after my case, this woman was NEVER promoted to the higher court, even though she seemed to best-qualified person for the job in that court.
Actually, she was one of the very few people, who did the right thing, by following the spirit AND the letter of the law. She never took sides, was fair, and demanded facts and truth, from both sides of the conflict. She was as harsh in questioning me, as she was with my, then still, wife.
By the way, during the first hearing, she was NOT the only court representative involved in the case. There was another lady, regional prosecutor, who also oversaw the case, questioning both me and my ex-wife, and also agreed with the court, supporting my application for the return of my children to their home in California.
Judge Ostaszewska was ridiculed in court, and publicly in media. She had to endure accusations of a bias and corruption, by the local media, and my opponents. Not only she was not helped, but sabotaged by her certain superior at a very crucial point, by warning my wife that the police was coming to pick up the children, shortly (2 hours) after my private investigators provided the place to the court and the police, about the location. To this day, even after my letters to the top official in the Polish Government (Minister of Justice, Prime Minister, the President), no investigation about this breach of security and public trust has been conducted, nor the person responsible was found. The only reaction to my complains and request for answers was a threatening letter from… another prosecutor in Gdańsk, 1 year later ( I will keep her name for a separate post).
In a very obvious retaliation, Judge Hanna was “put in her place” by her superiors. She has been kept in the regional family court unappreciated for last 14 years (the last time I checked Google), even though her original decision prevailed, and the legal arguments acknowledged after two long years of litigations, by two higher courts, as well as the Supreme Court of Poland itself. I feel that the reason, why judge Ostaszewska was never prompted to District and/or appeals court was a direct response to her stand in my very public and controversial case, and her going against the corrupt legal establishment in Gdańsk.
This lady NEVER gave in regardless the consequences She saw the evil of parental abduction, the harm it caused to my children, the lies of my ex-wife, and decided to follow the law, to do the right thing. She gave my wife the opportunity to do the right thing too. I later learned, that judge Ostaszewska even arranged with the US Embassy to enable my wife to return to the United States, and avoid any prosecution. Still, for that, she was not recognized, nor thanked. Instead, she was constantly attacked, showed no mercy.
Evidently (Google is such a great resource), she still is being viewed as an anti-Polish, unpatriotic sell-out, who went against Polish mother supporting American (mind you, I was born, educated and lived in Poland, and still hold dual citizenship) father.
Unlike her, another judge, her colleague from the same court, elected to take a different road. Ambitious attorney, who decided to issue a completely opposite and illegal decision, supported only by her own personal speculations and opinions. For her, the law did not matter (her own words, not mine), as did not the facts in the case. Hague Convention did not matter either, and the Convention on Child Rights was pronounced as a direct violation of the Polish Constitution! This woman kept issuing order after order contradicting directly articles of the Hague Convention, delaying the case, trying to force me to take psychological evaluations(!), refusing to issue any ruling for a year. I had to intervene with the Ministry of Justice to get ANY ruling from this judge. From the beginning, I realized that the ONLY way I was going to win, would be the appeal. I was right. Her decision was SO biased, that it was sent to the Ministry of Justice and laughed at. The final appeal decision, three judges overturned Judge Czynsz-Wolska in EVERY point that she made. Some of their decision remarks were blunt ridicule to her reasoning, and knowledge of the law.
And still, Judge Magdalena Czynsz-Woska was promoted by her superiors in 2006 (five years later) from Regional to District Court, given medals (and related with it monetary bonuses) as an alleged judicial example of excellence. She was a “team player” of a corrupt system and has been rewarded accordingly. You can find references made by different people in cases where she exhibited her version of “justice”: For example, an unemployed father collecting temporarily $200 a month in unemployment benefits, complaining about being forced to pay $300 a month in child support to a working mother… Judge Magdalena, would not contemplate a temporary order, revisiting the case… No the “nasty” bum of a father got what he “deserved”. And a feminist judge made sure he got what he deserved. I am sure, with a little effort on Polish social media, one could solicit more similar examples of judicial misconduct and misapplication of the law by this woman.
Same goes with prosecutors in Gdańsk. As I said earlier. I did meat a very nice lady who was NOT interested in promoting feminist nor nationalistic agenda as she looked at the facts of the case. She was as thorough in questioning me, as she was with my ex-wife. She never suggested that her office was against the law included in ratified by Poland conventions (unlike some other District prosecutorial “geniuses” in Gdańsk, who took over the case later on).
I met one of the top heads of prosecution office in the District DA office, whose only response to my complaint about one of her subordinates misconduct during the appeal case, responded “I DON’T CARE about the law! Don’t talk to me about Hague Convention!…”. Right there, right then, I knew I was in trouble. Maybe, she (yes, there are a lot of women in Polish courts) viewed me as another winning man, or a guy who betrayed her Poland, and left to live in the USA. The person who was responsible to represent THE GOVERNMENT of Poland and defend the law was closely working with my wife in beating me in court. Who knows. Maybe one of her employees, also took part in protecting my wife from the police, as the others couldn’t find her for 8 years, and refused to start a criminal investigation. My wife knew exactly how to avoid being caught by the police. My ex-mother-in-law was always behaving, like a well trained Soviet spy trying to spot the following FBI agent: never using personal phones, traveling miles to a different public phone booth using multiple taxis, just to make a phone call to her daughter or some other conspirators. This may be coincidental, but there were too many coincidences in my case, so I will remain skeptical if you don’t mind.
I still insist, that a Polish judicial and law enforcement system IS CORRUPT (sometimes by mentality) enough, so judges in other countries should be very cautious making any decisions in the family and other cases, which relate to Poland. Applying the same level of trust, as they would normally do with other courts, ends up hurting not only left behind parents but the children themselves.
Today, Poland and their media have a field trip with a massive scandal that covers many judges and prosecutors in Gdańsk, Exposed HEAD judge, who wanted to “work” with the Prime Minister Donald Tusk, on dealing with a thief, prosecutors who consistently protected the same crook, and effectively allowing him to rob regular people (mostly poor old retirees) for $300 mln. I guess the “helpful” judge was working on a promotion to the Supreme Court in Warsaw. Today, he lost his position of the Court leader and still faces possible disbarment.
It is NOT an isolated incident however, it is a reflection of Poland’s day-to-day reality. The reality, which is recognized by regular Poles, and acknowledged by many politicians, as well. I aches me to say these unflattering, difficult to accept, things about my own homeland, but unfortunately, these are the facts. There is a reason that young people are leaving Poland, and not all are about lack of employment. Many of them don’t want to live in a corrupt society anymore. I myself, many times question the wisdom of keeping my Polish citizenship every time I think of the state of anarchy in Poland.
Until Polish legal system is reformed from the ground up, the judges and the prosecutors stripped from ill-thought immunity from prosecution, there is NO reason to have any trust the law and the common sense, when legal issues have to be decided in Poland. It is still too difficult to withstand local politics and corruption, and inability or unwillingness to act by the central authorities in Warsaw.
I am not writing this to get even with Poland. I love this country. I love it because I was born there, educated there, and still have a family with lots of my dear friends living there. I am writing this, and voicing my very harsh opinions about Poland for a simple reason – I still DO CARE about my homeland, my Gdańsk, and people who live there. I continue to run this web site making sure that parents like me, and children like my Amelia and Daniel, will never have to go through the vicious cycle of violence. All caused by arrogance, indifference, and corruption of people, and ideas, which exist to this day in Poland, and many other European countries.
Yes, parental abductions and parental alienation constitute a very dangerous form of child abuse. Until people understand that parental abductions are NOT to be looked like a game, or fight between genders, or nationalities, the problem of children being abused by one of the parents, will never stop. Actually, it is getting worse, as the numbers seem to indicate.
It may be late, but I would still like to personally acknowledge, and thank judge Hanna Ostaszewska, for her courage and integrity, as she had to endure humiliation and constant attacks throughout the years, for simply trying to do the right thing. I hope that the new generation of judges in Poland takes an example from her, and others like her. Same thanks go to the prosecutor (I seem to misplaced her name), who was not afraid to do what was just, and not politically expedient.
Thank You Judge.