Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

What Injustice One Judge Signs Off On Let No Other Set Aside
Suzanne Stephans v. Marc Warnock
Westchester County Family Court, White Plains
Family Court Judge Charles Devlin Presiding

Last Thursday morning, October 25, Suzanne Stephans, of Irvington, appeared in the Family Court of Judge Charles Devlin. She last appeared before Judge Devlin on September 17th, little more than a month earlier. Ms. Stephans, the mother of three children - a daughter nearly 12 years, and two younger sons, all attending Irvington Public Schools - was attempting to modify two conditions of visitation, and seeking to remove and replace her children’s Law Guardian, Therese Malach.

With regard to the conditions of visitation, it is important to note that until April of this year, Ms. Stephans, the children’s natural mother, had had residential custody. That custody was transferred to the father in April by Supreme Court Justice William Giacomo, one of four Supreme Court, Matrimonial Part, judges transferred nearly a year earlier, out of Westchester, by Administrative Judge Frances Nicolai, in an “Historic Rotation” called for by Chief Judge Judith Kaye, in response to a deluge of complaints by Westchester litigants.

Giacomo, dealing with the custody issue, brought on five years after their divorce, by Stephans’ former spouse, Marc Warnock, also of Irvington, had commented, after meeting with the children, as to how well-mannered and obviously well-raised they were under the care of Ms. Stephans, but seemed to have no compunction about taking custody from that same mother, under the pressure and influence of Marc Warnock’s attorney, Clifford Kleinbaum, and appointed Law Guardian Therese Malach.

At the September appearance before Devlin, the judge, in response to statements from Kleinbaum opposing Devlin’s involvement in motions brought by Stephans, had said, “You know that I understand that the judges in Supreme Court are far more knowledgeable than us judges here in Family Court, but Ms. Stephans has every right to be in Family Court.” That statement had given hope, perhaps false hope, to Ms. Stephans and her attorney, Sandra Mattessich, of Legal Services Of The Hudson Valley, that perhaps some avenue of at least partial relief from Judge Giacomo’s counter-intuitive, very destructive, but conspiracy-compliant decision might be modified, if not reversed.

Specifically, Stephans was seeking to remove Therese Malach, who was originally appointed by Supreme Court Justice Donovan. Stephans alleges that Malach has already been paid more than $43,500 by Warnock and has conducted a onesided involvement with, and for, that parent, that has brought about complaints by the children to their therapist and to Ms. Stephans, following Malach’s unorthodox social engagements with them and with their father.

Additionally, Stephans was seeking to reinstate a five-day vacation with the children as well as an adjustment to her alternate-weekend visitations that would permit her to bring the children to school on Monday mornings following such visitations rather than having to bring them to their father at 7pm on Sunday night.

Following a 40-minute “attorneys only” conference in chambers, Devlin addressed the parties in open court with, “Ms. Mattessich has filed an amended petition with respect to an order of Supreme Court by Judge Giacomo.

That decision of Judge Giacomo was a post-judgment in a divorce proceeding. That is what we discussed in the attorneys-only conference. There is an 80-page decision by Judge Giacomo. I must say I was impressed.”

He went on, “There was an access schedule, a very detailed one.” Devlin then alluded to the fact that the 80-page decision by Giacomo, actually drawn up by Giacomo’s law clerk, Barry Swersky, a tight associate of Therese Malach, provided no specificity with regard to an alleged personality disorder of Ms. Stephans.

Devlin declared, “I have not found a finding by Judge Giacomo as to what the personality disorder is, and that puts me in a very funny position. One way or another, this case must go back to Judge Giacomo. I should grant a stay of these proceedings and they should be removed by Judge Giacomo.”

Attorney Mattessich then spoke up, “Obviously, I am not consenting to that. Based upon complaints and grievances by my client, it is not possible for me to proceed.”

Attorney Kleinbaum then offered, “I believe that this matter should go back to Judge Giacomo. I believe there is forum-shopping here. She uses the children.”

Then Therese Malach weighed in, “I have already met with my clients. I have a very real relationship with them.”
Then, moments later, responding to a comment by Attorney Mattessich regarding complaints against Malach by the children, Malach contradicted herself, saying, “I haven’t seen those children since May or June. So I believe there has been some prompting by the mother.”

Returning to the issue of an alleged personality disorder, the judge then said, “Mother’s access is conditioned upon dealing with her personality disorder.” Then, looking directly at Ms. Stephans, he said, “If I were the litigant, I would be saying ‘So what is it; what am I supposed to be doing?’ “

Then, turning 180 degrees, Devlin declared, “I rarely remove law guardians, but, I have. In those cases I have appointed a guardian ad litem, and in those cases, I have interviewed the children in the guardian’s presence.”


It was obvious that Judge Devlin was all too keenly aware that this mother was up against a well-practiced team of high-priced ‘matrimonial parasites’. However, despite his empathy and compassion for the plight of this mother, and more importantly her three young children, he felt powerless, in the final analysis, unwilling to step into the situation in a meaningful way, even to make relatively minor adjustments to visitation procedures, given the freshness (April 2007) of Judge Giacomo’s ‘ruling’.

If Warnock has paid her $43,500 as reported, then, from his standpoint, Therese Malach, so-called Law Guardian whose activity, both in and out of Court, suggests she is far more concerned about his needs and objectives than she is about the welfare and well-being of her “clients”, the children, has been well worth it.


Anonymous said...

I know this so called mother, she should not ever be left alone with a child let along a dog

Anonymous said...

I know the father and the law guardian. The father should not be left alone with children. The law guardian should be removed.

Anonymous said...

When is someone with some backbone going to do something? It is obvious that the monied spouse is favored. The Judges do not care in the least for your children or you. In fact, often their children are in trouble and on the bottom rung with respect to intelligence levels. That is why the public should not support a pay raise without requiring substantial further education and testing for qualifications.

Whether it is corruption or just mere laziness on the part of the Courts, the Judges pick on the weaker spouse, the one without assets or family support and who has usually been abused and is dealing with emotional issues and a massive attack and law suit.

Shame on these attorneys who engage in this conduct and shame on the Courts. The abuse issue is only a political issue for the Courts, most Judges (and certainly not all) could not care less if someone has been abused.

Robert A. Lifson stated the following:
"It doesn't really matter if this is happening or not, in fact it's far better that this happening than not. It's better to have it happen than it be false. From Rita A. Cogswell @ www. WatchOverMe.Org"
People do not know what is going on. When an attorney stands up to a Judge, or asks for a litigation, he is frequently ostracized.

Ms. Stephans is a great mother. Not only did the Courts illegally take her children, they tried to destroy her in the process.

I hope Ms. Stephans uses this horrible time in her life as a stepping stone to help others and educate others about the Courts.

I hope people begin to write to their party leaders about the conduct of Judges and get them out of office.

I hope Ms. Stephans fights for her children and gets them back someday. She was a great mother with three (3) beautiful children.

Courts do not like people who fight. It jeopardizes the Judge's job and the records shows when they act in an incorrect or inappropriate manner. The key is not to let the monied spouse lawyer turn the Judge around by disparaging the non-monied spouse so she or he cannot get a fair trial.

Judge's want to get paid; how about doing their jobs which is to try cases!

nevergiveup1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anyone who knows Ms. Stephans knows that she is a phenomenal Mother to her three children, they adore her, and are a great reflection of her. one needs only to look at the Warnock clan to see the parental skills of Domenica and S. Howard Warnock.
Marc Warnock can be found at the town bar most days, he is trailer park with money a very dangeruos combination.
He, wife #2, and that family should really hold up a mirror and take a good hard look. They coud never handle what they saw if they were honest.
They funnel all their rage at Ms. Stephans because is is far easier to do that, than to look inward. We are all behind you Ms. Stephans, we have seen both sides in and around town for years, and know the truth of this case. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Just another fine example of law guardians and judges working together for the worst interests of the children and the best of the moneyed spouse. My heart goes out to Ms. Stephans who is a great Mom.

Anonymous said...

law guardian Therese Malach should not be practicing as a child advocate. She is a foul woman and an angry compulsive liar as well as a chain smoker. But the best is ... she does not even have any children and was raised by her father! No wonder she favors the men!

Anonymous said...

Come on Justice Giacomo, admit your mistake and give the Warnock children back to the one person who truly loves and cares for them. The disenfranchisement your decision has cast upon Ms. Stephans is quite troubling to say the least. She has been through enough, moreover the children have, oh yes, did you know that the second Mrs. Warnock has also seen the light and has ended their marraige? Remember a snake is a snake sir.

Anonymous said...

take it from us, the court appointees work for the monied spouse: the father. The good mothers are portrayed by the appointees/court system as "delusional" and "crazy" while the calm, abuser: the husband, comes across, convincingly, as sincerely interested in his children. From Althea Richardson to Therese Malach, these court appointees are generally inadequate lawyers to begin with and the" bottom of the barrel." No wonder Warnock cannot keep a wife; abusive men/fathers go from wife to wife. These men have enourmous self-esteem problems often accompanied by drug and alcohol problems as well.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Malach is, to put it simply, a vulture. She is a rough, chain-smoking creature solely interested in money. She hasn't any children of her own. Thank god. Any family that gets her as an appointee should contact us. Let's start a petition list against her and her fellow corrupt court appointees.

Anonymous said...

After having familiarized myself with the details and history of this case, I am utterly appalled with and disillusioned by the "justice" system. Ms. Malach commits perjury in court over and over again and yet, she seems to have been given carte blanche to present these blatant lies. Not once has she been called to account for her "mistruths" by the judge despite glaring facts to the contrary.

I would also mention that Ms. Malach's main tool, "Parental Alienation Syndrome" is an unfounded, non-empirically supported "idea" with no, repeat NO, validity. It serves only to fill the coffers of divorce attorneys, vindicate angry men and move cases along more quickly within the court system. If any thinking, intelligent person bothered to read even the first chapter of Gardner's book (I have read the entire text), they would realize how ludicrous his claim is. Indeed, this type of behavior can occur but it DOES NOT constitute a "syndrome". However, alcoholism, pornography addiction and verbal/physical/emotional abuse by a father are all behaviors that ARE deemed by society to be destructive, mental health issues.

It is clear to me that this case is an issue of money and revenge, not the welfare of the three Warnock children. It also appears to me that Mr. Warnock's legal team have a heavy investment in keeping him convinced of the veracity of their fabrications. I do not believe that Mr. Warnock is interested in a decade-long battle with his first ex-wife. I am sure he would like to get on with his life and find some peace.

I cannot comprehend how Mr. Kleinbaum and Ms. Malach look at themselves in the mirror, let alone sleep well at night.

This case is distressing to me as a parent; I cannot say that I would be as gracious, forgiving and composed as Ms. Stephans. I dare say, I highly doubt I would continue to fight fairly as Ms. Stephan does. But I would also add that the opposition has sorely underestimated her strength, resolve and faith in this matter.

Anonymous said...

This case is so unbelievable it should be made into a Lifetime Television movie for women. The fact that the Warnock children are now living with two convicts is sickening. My heart goes out to the kids for the life that the court system has subjected them to. What kind of judge allows this to happen, Marc Warnock- "Alcoholic", convicted Drunk; Amy Warnock- Drug amd sex addict, two prior arrests, not even a high school diploma, They both live with at home with their very emotionally cut off and disturbed parents, They sure have done a great job with their two kids, both adults living at home with no future except to leech off the family money.
This is white trash that happened to get the family real estate.

Come on lets get the kids the hell out of that hell hole they are now living in.

Anonymous said...

Marc Warnock, 40, of Irvington, was pulled over for driving 49 mph in a 30 mph area of Route 27 on Thursday, March 19 at 9:51 p.m., whereupon the officer noticed the strong odor of alcohol on his breath and he was unsteady on his feet. Warnock allegedly performed poorly on all field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated

Anonymous said...

Marc Warnock, 40, of Irvington, was pulled over for driving 49 mph in a 30 mph area of Route 27 on Thursday, March 19 at 9:51 p.m., whereupon the officer noticed the strong odor of alcohol on his breath and he was unsteady on his feet. Warnock allegedly performed poorly on all field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Anonymous said...

i know these kids and the mother, the kids are NOT in a stable environment. the kids are not healthy from living there and NEED to get out. the father doesnt even allow these wonderful kids to call there mother. he talks to the law gaurdian n the phone all the time. the kids NEVER see there law gaurdian. the father is a drunk who is always out drinking and has been arrested three times for drunk driving and has a DWI. the aunt, is considered the "town slut" in irvington, where the warnocks live. the grandfather, is a chane smoker and a pervert. the grandmother, has a very strange attachment to her son, marc, like they are a couple. she takes so many drugs everyday and is very off. the environment is so umsafe for these children. someone NEEDS to do something. the kids need to be with there mother. suzannne, is the nicest women i have ever met. she is a great mother and influence to these three children. these children need to get out of the warnock house.

Anonymous said...

Malach you can only control this horrible travesty of justice for so long. The worm ALWAYS turns, and your day will soon come. You will be exposed as the liar you are. Pergury, suborning Pergury, obstructing justice and most aggregious- WHAT YOUR ACTIONS HAVE DONE TO THE WARNOCK CHILDREN. You are a blight on the name "law gaurdian". It will all be exposed.

Anonymous said...

February, 2010

Now Malach is behind a Rye Brook, NY father. Is she not always working for the monied spouse? Never has she represented the children nor their best interests. Inevitably she will be exposed; hopefully, her time as a low-life, vulture/lawyer is near its end. No wonder she has no children and thank god for that. True she chain smokes and her mouth is so vulgar. She joins the ranks of the unethical, greedy and barely educated lawyers/court appointees in the White Plains court system. Terri, you didn't go to even a decent law school did ya you piece of dirt. How many more children do you want to take away from their loving mothers. You were unable to have your own isn't this true. Terri Malach is baron and extremely and maliciously envious of women who, unlike herself, were able to bear children.

Anonymous said...

This case has finally come full circle. Ms. Stephans has so many supporters and the children do as well. Malach is devoid of any integrity. She is a bottom feeder, and has some very deep and disturbing personality disorders. She exhibits a Narcisstic personality disorder as well as an anti-social classification. I am just so happy that she has been outed and many now she her clearly. Ms. Stephans finally has her children back where they should have been all along. They were given to an alcohol addicted skirt chaser. An abuser and a bully who ALWAYS put himself before his children or anyone else. Remember folks, when you lie down with dogs -- you wake up with fleas. Kudos to Judge Tolbert for seeing the real Marc Warnock, and rescuing those kids. And to Ms. Stephans, your resilience and grace under fire are admirable and an inspiration to me as a mother of three also.



Anonymous said...

The problem in Westchester County is that there is no accountability. Attorney's and Judges can team up and ruin lives. I know from first hand experience. What I saw and witnessed was criminal. Perjury, suborning perjury, officers of the court making money from spouses that can provide them with it. Justice has taken a back seat to finances. It is criminal and children are being used as pawns.
The people we think will help us - won't unless we pay for it- through the nose... Every year there are more cases that re-victimize the victims. Children and their best interests take a back seat to personal interests and monetary gain. It gives me some hope to read that Ms. Stephens got her children back, she and the children seemed to have been put through hell while the vultures Theresa Malach, Barry Swersky, Cliff Klienbaum, Joel Arnou and the list goes on profited from the pain of Ms. Stephens and her three children. There will be a judgement and an accountability if not here in the legal system - upstairs in the Ultimate system.

Anonymous said...

Malach is as bad as her father was. The laugh at the system and do as they please. It's all about money and dishonesty with that family.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping that Therese Malach would have been barred from practicing law by now. How is it that a person can do the kinds of illegal things she has done over the years and not be held accountable for them? What a mess!!!

Anonymous said...

Malach is what truly makes our system difunctional. She's a filthy liar. To lie in open court is reprehensible. She's a sad ugly women. To play the part of child advocate and be nothing more than a money hungry liar. Wow, isn't our system great.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that the children of Suzanne Stephan's are finally happy and doing a great job all around- two are Honor roll students and they are finally living in a stable home again with their mom, as they were and should have been all along. After the nightmare that the Westchester County Supreme court made of their lives, it amazes me to see how full of joy they all are. These kids are a great reflection of their mother - strong, kind and possessing great resilience and faith. I know that what goes around truly does come back around again and that the cream ALWAYS rises to the top. I hope that Ms. Stephans continues to help other victims of the system - she has much first hand knowledge to offer, and does so with bravery, confidence and truth. Thank you Ms. Stephan's.

Anonymous said...

How can we get in touch with Suzanne. MS. Malach is torturing my family!

Anonymous said...

She is on linked in and facebook - I found her there. try that.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Do NOT accept Malach as your child's law guardian of you are the MOTHER. Malach is incapable of helping women- she is very mentally impaired and delusional with her perceived power. Avoid her like the PLAGUE!!!

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Anonymous said...

Theresa Malach is the worst excuse for a lawyer I've ever seen. She SUCKS!

Sam Warnock said...

You are wrong.

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