If you have been through the (in)justice system, and battled your case before a judge or two, then you have already learned that courts have nothing to do with justice. A judge will make an order on your case with his career in mind. Emotion and common sense play no role inside the courtroom.
Because a judge needs to invest in his career, he will leave a paper trail of ‘responsible’ decisions, so that his higher-ups can review his ‘work’ and then bump him up into a higher court for the next calendar year. This means that the files are kept in such a manner that if anybody reviews the judge’s cases, the details will be carefully documented leading the reader to understand why decisions were made. Everything makes legal sense in those files.
What happens if a judge does not write in his notes the reason for a decision? What happens if a decision is made based on verbal testimony? The review board will not read the court transcripts, only the judge’s notes. What happens if no evidence or documents were submitted in your case, and the judge’s notes leave no indication as to why he made a decision?
That is a case where the judge will start feeling a little itchy. He will not want to continue on your case if you keep asking “I need a substantive written order that substantiates this decision”. Keep saying that, and eventually your judge will lose his cool. He will most likely NOT give you the reason for his decision, especially in family courts. Supreme court orders require substantiation written at the end of the order. Make sure that he answers you on the record, so that it gets recorded for the transcripts. If he goes off the record to say his reason, repeat after him when you go back on the record. “Your honor, I will repeat for the record that you just stated that the reason for this order is because…”. That will really tick off your judge.
Next, tell the judge you will be appealing this decision because it lacks substantiation. In the appellate division, three judges will review your case. Now, your judge will really get itchy. It’s okay if your appeal gets denied, because at this point, the judge will probably recuse himself. No judge likes to have an appeal on his record.
Additionally, you need to put in a motion to ask the judge to recuse himself from your case. A helpful link is at this page http://www.caught.net/caught/recuse.htm
Although your next judge might not be a gift of God either, it offers your case an opportunity to start from scratch. If your case never really had any substantiation for outrageous court orders, then the new judge will not understand what led to them, and demand a status update from both parties, as well as a case background. Plan wisely in advance, and you stand a good chance of representing your case anew, with better outcomes.
Also, you should make your complaint or inquiry known to the grievance committee that covers the county in which the judge or attorney’s office is located. Lawyers (and judges are lawyers) have to answer to the office of judicial contact. Therefore, you should submit a complaint in writing to the attorney Disciplinary / Grievance Committee so that your complaint goes on record. If enough people complain and the complaints are valid, there will be a hearing.
The following is a link to the attorney Disciplinary / Grievance Committee in NY http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ip/attorneygrievance/complaints.shtml
Finally, if a judge recuses himself from your case, the only way you will know is if he files a recusal notice, which has to be mailed to all attorneys on the case. If your case was suddenly reassigned for a new judge and you did not get the recusal notice, then there is a big chance that your judge was transferred in the nick of time before he messed up his career, and did that gracefully without recusing himself.