IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
CIVIL ACTION – LAW
SONYA HEALY : #2007-12477
TERANCE HEALY :
REQUEST FOR RECUSAL OF JUDGE R. STEPHEN BARRETT
Defendant respectfully requests the recusal of Judge R. Stephen Barrett and the reassignment of the case to another Family Court judge for the following reasons:
Judge Barrett began the hearing about 30 minutes after the scheduled time.
Judge Barrett was neither patient, dignified or courteous to the defendant during the proceeding.
Judge Barrett was unrelenting in his constant admonishment of the Defendant each time the Defendant attempted to speak in his court.
While not permitting the Defendant to speak, Judge Barrett granted the Plaintiff’s attorney, Valerie Angst, the opportunity
– to misrepresent the basis of the Defendant’s petitions,
– to misdirect the statements presented in the Defendant’s petitions,
– to misinform the Court of the case history,
– to speculate regarding the recusal of Judge Emanuel Bertin
Any, and every, attempt by the Defendant, the petitioner, to speak during this conference was treated by Judge Barrett as an interruption to the proceeding which was then elaborated upon and admonished.
Even while responding to a direct question, the Defendant’s response was treated as an interruption to the proceeding.
Judge Barrett conjured an atmosphere of constant interruption. Each statement by the Defendant was either
– precluded by a statement he was interrupting,
– or was interrupted by an accusation that he was interrupting,
– or followed up by a rebuke that he was interrupting,
– or threatened and intimidated with charges of contempt.
Any sign of frustration, or emotion, by the Defendant in response to these tactics was quickly elevated to exaggerated levels by the judge and followed with threats of contempt.
Tactics, such as these, to mischaracterize the Defendant had been used previously during proceedings with Judge DelRicci.
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It should be noted that a few minutes prior to the scheduled hearing time of 10:00AM, Judge Del Ricci entered and exited the courtroom from chambers. This was perceived as Judge DelRicci seeking to speak with Judge Barrett, who began the short list conference at approximately 10:30AM.
Judge DelRicci presided over the case from December 2007 through July 2009. His statement on July 6, 2009 regarding his recusal confesses the impropriety with which he handled the case.
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The Defendant was prepared to present his case on each of his submitted petitions, and was adequately prepared to address the Plaintiff’s responses which indicated that each of the documents referenced could “speak for themselves.“
Judge Barrett issued orders scheduling the matters for hearings in April 2011, and February 2011, with briefs to be filed one month prior to the hearing date. The judge indicated that those were the earliest possible dates on his schedule.
A review of the schedule for Judge Barrett which is available online through the Court web site contradicts that scheduling information which was offered in court.
On September 22, 2010, responding to the Plaintiff’s continuance request, Judge Barrett issued an Order scheduling the following petitions for Short List Hearing on October 7, 2010 at 10:00AM.
Filed by Plaintiff:
Exceptions to the Recommendation of Conference Conciliator (1 page) filed 8/6/2010
Filed by Defendant:
Exceptions to the Conference Officer/Master in Support (4 pages) filed 8/10/2010
Emergency Petition for Relief (3 pages) filed 8/12/2010
Failure to Comply with Court Order dated August 22, 2007 (3 pages) filed 8/24/2010
Contempt of Court Order in Support (3 pages) filed 8/24/2010
Petition Regarding Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Communications (2 pages) filed 9/14/2010
Petition Regarding Discrepancies/Errors on Invoice for Fees (4 pages) filed 9/14/2010
Plaintiff electronically filed responses on October 5, 2010 at 12:35PM to:
Petition Regarding Discrepancies/Errors on Invoice for Fees
Petition Regarding Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Communications
Plaintiff electronically filed responses on October 6, 2010 at 10:49AM to
Contempt of Court Order in Support
Failure to Comply with Court Order dated August 22, 2007
Plaintiff provided copies of responses and counter-petitions to the Defendant immediately prior to the Short List Hearing.
Plaintiff’s responses to the statements in the Defendant’s petitions indicate no prior recollection of their statements in the case, only indicating that the Court Orders and other documents speak for themselves.
Plaintiff has sought to delay resolution of any matter relating to this case. A continuance request, which was granted to the Plaintiff, indicates the unavailability of her counsel for the hearing on October 5, 2010. Yet, the Plaintiff’s response documents regarding two petitions indicate they were filed electronically on that date at mid-day. Two additional responses were electronically filed the next morning on October 6, 2010.
Judges are expected to be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants subject to their direction and control while providing litigants the full right to be heard. Judge Barrett showed no respect to the Defendant making it clear that he had no intention of permitting the Defendant to speak at this conference. The Petitioner/ Defendant, can hardly believe the judge will behave differently towards the Defendant during any other type of further proceeding.
Prompt disposition of the court’s business requires judges to devote adequate time to their duties, to be punctual in attending court and expeditious in determining matters under submission, and to insist that court officials, litigants and their lawyers cooperate with them to that end.
Defendant respectfully requests that Judge Barrett recuse himself and advise the Court Administration offices to assign another Family Court judge, or another court, as appropriate.
Terance Healy, Pro Se