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Lawyer claims law license suspension results from parents rights violations
Marques Phillips/Utica Daily News 02/15/2010 04:49:00 pm
NEW HARTFORD, Feb. 15, 2009 -- Attorney Leon Koziol said that the suspension of his legal license is the result of a system that has prohibited him from seeing and providing for his children. His ex-wife's attorney, Rebecca Crance, says he's had plenty of opportunity to see and provide for his kids, but has refused to do so. THE SUSPENSION The suspension of Koziol's license came on a Supreme Court Appellate Division ruling binding on Feb. 5 as a result of unpaid child support. Koziol said he wasn't yet given the decision and was unsure of the amount he owed. In a press conference at his New Hartford Home on Monday, Koziol said he can't make the payments, and many of them were scheduled despite an unclear outcome in ongoing custody hearings. "They take about 1/3 of my income for taxes, they want to take 25 to 30 percent of my income for child support, and you're left with 20 or 30 percent of your income," he said. "How am I going to make a living?" He said that his practice would continue, with many of his cases going to his colleague. He also said that he still has a federal license and plans to continue perusing federal cases, even indicating that he'd be filing federal lawsuits in the near future. Koziol added that he would continue to represent himself in family matters, and he's even sent his grievances to the United Nations. "They're taking everything from me," he said. "They've taken my license, they're in the process of taking my practice and my home." THE QUAREL Koziol's main gripe was that, in his opinion, the court structures custody arrangements in a matter that ranks parents. "They pit one parent against the other and they fight over the children in between," he said.

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He admits he hasn't seen his kids since July, Crance said he has had the opportunity to see and support his children and has refused to do so. "We feel the appellate division made the appropriate decision," she said. "My client wanted this to be a private matter and to keep it out of the media, but Mr. Koziol has left us no choice. Mr. Koziol has not provided for these kids for over two years and has refused every opportunity and court order to do so so." He said, although not paying child support may constitute breaking the law, it's similar to Susan B. Anthony or Rosa Parks' decision to break an unjust law. He said before the state was involved, he was happy and seeing his kids regularly. He calls himself a "weekend warrior" only able to see his children on alternate weekends, a time he said wasn't sufficient enough to parent. He said he will continue to advocate for an equal partnership. When asked why he hadn't just paid the child support orders, his response was forceful: "You're looking at it," he said pointing inside of his home. "I haven't gotten any payments either. I provide a house and an environment for my kids to live in. My child support is being paid on a day-to-day basis. Otherwise, I have no reason to make mortgage payments or go to work everyday. I have no reasons to make welfare payments, where there is no accountability to how the money is spent." BEST INTEREST OF THE KIDS Answering whether or not going public with his complaints was in the best interest of his children, Koziol said he was the one with no choice. "It became public when they took my license," he said. "I didn't go public. They knew this was going to be public. The state has a child support law that they aggressively enforce because it makes the state a lot of money. In the courts, my cases have been denied, denied, denied. As a lawyer, I've had cases where you win some and you lose some, but I've never seen so many denials as I've had in my own case. It's been four years, how much longer should I wait?" Koziol said that the process of litigating his claim has taken away any chance he had of arguing that he's been an equal parent to his children, because he wasn't awarded custody in the interim. He said child support collection in the state has become a multi-billion dollar industry masked under the guise of doing what's best for the children. During the press conference, Koziol showed video of his children on a boating vacation with him and played calls of his children telling him they love him. He had pictures on the table of them doing things together and said it was all evidence of the bond he had with his kids before state intervention. "Father's are not visiting, you have that at prisons and you have that at funerals," he said. "Fathers are supposed to be parenting."

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