Judge Lisa Gorcyca Hearing Update

Here are videos from today’s Hearing. It’s shocking for a judge’s conduct to be put on trial like this publicly. Also with the pending custody hearing with Judge Joan Young and with minors involved, it is odd to hear portions of the custody case adjudicated.

What is the most shocking is co-examiner Margaret Rynier’s line of questioning toward a judge and what appears to be her attempt at using the race card in the second video.


Margaret Rynier, Staff Attorney at the Judicial Tenure Commission

There were a number of Oakland County Michigan Judges attending the opening statements to show their support for Judge Gorcyca.

Judge Daniel Ryan
Judge Gorcyca’s Attorney, Tom Cranmer of Miller Canfield
Margaret Rynier, Co-examiner for the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission
Judge Lisa Gorcyca

Judge Lisa Gorcyca
Karen Gullberg Cook, Attorney for one of the children

Patrick Anthony (Michael) Dean, Attorney for one of the children

Brittany Kelso, Oakland County Children’s Village

William Lansat, Guardian Ad-litem
Keri Middleditch, Attorney for Father
Randy Maloney, Sheriff’s Deputy for Oakland County

Day 2 Videos including Closing Statements

Here’s a short summary of the hearing from Courthouse News Service.

Fiery Start to Ethics Case Against Michigan Judge by Andy Olesko

Editor’s Note: It is very sad to see legal resources and taxpayer dollars used in this manner to publicly disparage the reputation of a judge. There are critics of our nation’s Family Court System but if any system is broken, it’s the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission proceedings. Some of the inappropriate questions almost sound like the Supreme Court Hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas. By today’s standards, Margaret Reiner’s questioning of Judge Gorcyca about the religion of the Tsimhonis were extremely insensitive. Finally, as this trial proceeds, it appears that the Director of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has some political agenda in this case with his attempts to interview the children in this case as well as facilitate a meeting with the Israeli Consul General in Chicago and the children.


32 Responses to Judge Lisa Gorcyca Hearing Update

  1. Margo/Mom says:

    Still slogging through the videos. But it seemed as though the prosecutor was going after the attorneys appointed for the kids. Gorcyca’s attorney objected several times, but I couldn’t always hear the Judge’s response.

  2. Jules Lane says:

    I don’t think she was accusing Judge Gorcyca of being too soft on the mother. I think she was trying to show the court that Judge Gorcyca never did that to the mother because the mother’s lawyers would have stepped in and put a stop to it. Those poor children did not have a chance with the inefficient lawyers they were given. These kids need a good lawyer and the need to have that shoddy GAL William Lanset removed.

    • underwatch says:

      Jules, how can you blame the children’s lawyers and GAL? In following these high profile divorce and abduction cases over the past 20 years this one has children who appear to so much more manipulative and disrespectful compared to the children in the other cases. This has included recovered children who are being reunified with a remarried parent with new younger siblings. These children appear to have no compassion for their parents moving forward with their lives after the separation and divorce. They want to keep the conflict and situation at an impasse. Their sophomoric behavior of turning their back to an adult and locking arms is horrific — as Mother and her supporters cheer the children on to keep up the fight. If you were the GAL or an attorney for the children you would have no solutions either to reunify this family so they could at the very least co-exist and tolerate each other. And even after the children turned 18, who is paying for college? The children’s dad? It sure feels like the primary root cause of this situation is the Mother. It was certainly inappropriate for Ms. Rynier to inject religion or dad moving the family to their birth country, but those issues would impact any teenager or young child. It also sounds like the mother has done everything in her power over the past 5 years with her 17 attorneys to withhold custody and alienate these children from their dad. How can you possibly blame him since they have most likely spent such little time with him since the separation and family abduction from abroad. It’s myopic for you to blame the GAL and lawyers in this case.

    • Margo/Mom says:

      At one point Rynier (sarcastically BTW) referred to Gorcyca not wanting Mom to go to prison where she would be strip-searched. There is a lot of irony in Rynier’s comment because Gorcyca did make reference to being strip-searched in prison as she forewarned Mom of consequences for continuing to refuse compliance with the visitation requirements of the JOD. Mom’s fans have been very critical of Gorcyca (actually they are very critical of Gorcyca for daring to breathe and walk the earth) for having made those remarks. Rynier’s comment yesterday was “who cares if she is strip searched?” Rynier’s suggestion seemed to be that Mom should be bearing the responsibility for the children’s behavior.

      While Mom does in fact need to own up, the kids have gone so far in their own behaviors, that they, at this point, must also be held to account if they are ever to learn, grow and develop in a normal fashion. I have pointed out to many that had these children targeted teachers in their school with the behaviors they have exhibited towards their father, the court, deputies and even the attorneys appointed to defend them, they would have experienced far worse in terms of consequences and court-ordered solutions.

  3. Jules Lane says:

    Have you read the court transcripts and documents? Did you know that the original psychologist Ron Rice sent William Lanset a letter in 2011, this is a direct quote from that letter” His resentment that the children are not more receptive to him is the problem , not the children. There is NO evidence of parental alienation syndrome and this has been ruled upon in prior legal proceedings.” Also at the end of the letter Ron Rice states to William Lanset ” It has been suggested that you had a prior relationship with Mr. Omer Tsimhoni and therefore I feel that it is your responsibility to recluse yourself from this case.” That was never spoken about again instead they replaced a psychologist with the lesser qualified Jennifer Hayes O’Neill Clinical Social Work/Therapist who seemed to believe the mother was at fault for everything. These children were screaming out for help telling anyone who will listen that they were afraid of their father but instead of listening they stuck their fingers in their ears and sang parental alienation syndrome. Which I would like to point out has been discredited by the Scientific and Legal community. These children were bullied and abused by the court and their father.If you look back at the court records you will see that the mother complied with everything that was asked of her and she was still blamed for the children not wanting to see their father. His actions were never called into question. In fact when one of the kids was assaulted( kneed in the chest and grabbed roughly) by the dad during his visit the parenting time supervisor conveniently did not see it but he did admit that he had his back turned for several seconds which was long enough for the incident to occur without him seeing it . Despite the medical records offered documenting the injury (swelling to the forearm and chest contusion) as well as offering the physicians to testify about the injuries Judge Gorcya dismissed the claims stating the parent time supervisor did not see anything. This is not the first time Mr Tsmihoni lost control during a visits. In 2010 the kids called 911 because their fathered was threatening them and they were afraid. That same day he assaulted the mom in front of the children. A CPS report, substantiated this as Category III Abuse. Omer “threatened harm” which is defined as Abuse and showed “failure to protect” which is defined as Neglect.” None of this seemed to upset William Lancet or Judge Gorcya. Did you read the transcripts? The way she talks and degrades the mother threatening to have her stripped search and have to squat down down naked??? That was done to humiliate her and giving her ex husband so much power over her? Did you hear her telling the kids how they will have to use the bedroom in front of people?? This woman likes having the power to humiliate and degrade people even children. She should not be on the bench. She should not be in any position of authority because she abuses it! As for the lawyers that were suppose to represent the children they were an embarrassment! They did not fight at all for there clients. They did nothing but let an out of control judge send 3 kids to jail. Oh I am sorry they probably did do something…they probably billed for their inadequate services. Here is a link to all the court documents ://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B52A8Z1Gjojafms0YWlSMDJWdC1sZlhlenFvWjJtbnctRnNzWW1tNWhtLTNjQkJrM2lINlk&usp=sharing

    • underwatch says:

      Jules, it really sounds like at some point the mother now believes she has a license to encourage her children not to be cooperative with the professionals in this case like Lancet. She has no respect for any of the professionals so she isn’t going to listen to any of them. Is that true?

      • Margo/Mom says:

        One new tidbit I picked up from the hearing. The Judge, with both sets of attorneys and Mom worked out a script for Mom to deliver to the kids while they were in the Jury Room explaining to them that she wanted the children to have a relationship with their father (this is consistent with multiple statements Mom has made in court), and that she was in no danger ( consistent with some of Mom’s statements, not to mention multiple safeguards in place) and that she wanted them to cooperate with parenting time with their father. THEN she addressed them in Hebrew. That part makes me wonder. Maybe she simply said, “I love you, be good.” However, she may also have said, “they made be do it, keep doing what you are doing, you know your Daddy is a bad man.”

      • underwatch says:

        @Margo – Your point about what the mom said in hebrew, with her future actions such as flying the banner over the school (“Mommy loves you – be strong” is possibly what she might have said in Hebrew). Jules and other members of Team Maya are really not open to any sort of deescalation in this case. The points they raise sound to me like old issues the mother continues to bring up.

    • Margo/Mom says:

      Jules, indeed I have read extensively in the record. So I know that Ron Rice was not “the original psychologist,” so far as the case is concerned. He seems to be one of several professionals that Mom sought out to try to bolster her belief that the Dad should be denied custody/contact. The first was at the time of the Hague Hearing, where the judge accepted the report but “gave it no weight” in issuing her decision. The first evaluator of record–ordered by the court–noted pathological levels of separation anxiety and a certain fixation on “rehearsing and reciting” the park incident, giving it an exaggerated importance, fueling fears and keeping the family stuck. She was very thorough, incorporating information from a social worker who served a combined role of parenting supervisor and family reunifyer, as well as another doctor who Mom had sought out in hopes of getting a diagnosis of PTSD. The doc ruled out PTSD but reported the Mom was hyperfocused on bad-mouthing Dad in the kid’s presence. I believe that Ron Rice fits in somewhere after that. However his “report” is peculiar. Actually, it is an email to GAL Lansat. The copy circulating publicly (not from the record) has a cover sheet appended and a business card stapled to it. Where a professional evaluation would normally include such details as the conditions under which subjects were seen, time-frame and methods of evaluation, this has no such detail. Further, about half of the text is dedicated to describing Mr. Tsimhoni’s thought processes–with no claim to ever having met the man. Then there is the inclusion of what actually appears to be a threat that Mr. Lansat should recuse himself.

      Now, as this email was sent exclusively to Mr. Lansat–as the email heading indicates, and he never made it a part of the record, how is it that this has gotten into circulation, and who appended the cover sheet? My guess would be that Mom hired this guy to do a hack job (or he may have been a friend doing her a favor) with the intent of scaring the GAL off. And he blind copied Mom–who has since added the cover sheet and handed it off to her allied groups.

      But Dr. Rice is on the witness list for the custody hearing. We’ll see if he actually gets called. And if so, how he does on cross. His website boasts free phone consultations–so maybe he’s never actually had a face-to-face with the kids.

      • Hi peggy says:

        Thats funny. It was in the record because it was evidence from the first trial. And fyi…there was no mediation. It was a settlement. Mom has primary custody.

      • underwatch says:

        Hi Peggy,

        The parents have “joint custody” and the parents have agreed to “coparent” which is certainly the desired outcome in all Family Courts in America.

        For the benefit of the privacy of these children, I wonder if the “pro-Mom base” and the “Bloomfield Hills girls alumni club” would ever have the moral character to consider removing all the court documents that were posted online?

        These documents should have been sealed from the very beginning of this custody hearing and all parties should have respected and been accountable for this. But now that the new judge has ruled to seal the documents, why wouldn’t these documents be taken down? I can already hear the haters claiming free speech and the First Amendment. None of these teenage children would ever want any of this information about them permanently online! How can any parent justify leaving this information online?

        Peggy, I can almost predict your response word for word. I would like to hear Margo/Mom’s opinion on this. In the aftermath of this horrible custody case, does anyone have a suggestion on how this can be accomplished?

  4. Jules Lane says:

    When I first read about this case I believed that the mother probably influenced the children but after reading all the transcripts and documents I changed my opinion. This case is insane and scary. It sounds like you don’t believe the father is abusive and the children’s fear of him are unwarranted? Well, just for a moment say he is abusive and the kids have every right to fear him. Then think about what they have been through. The respect I keep hearing about is the children begging and pleading not to have to interact with a person they fear. Abusers are very good at hiding what they are doing. This man watched his 9 year old daughter sobbing being led out of the courtroom thinking she is going to jail maybe until she is 18. He knows he is the only one who can visit her and his other children so he leaves the country for over 2 weeks. I read the transcripts and I got to watch the video of Judge Gorcyca talking to the kids in court. The children were not disrespectful the one acting like a disrespectful bully was the judge. Mr Lancet instead of looking out for their best interest was just as bad as the judge. One more thing… do you know what it is called when tapping like using moss code but not using moss code is? Just tapping!! That GAL is off his rocker

    • underwatch says:

      Jules, if you were told the father wasn’t abusive, would that be a good or bad thing? It was brought up this week that the mom has been through 17 attorneys. You keep attacking these professionals that have some very good credentials. Do you have any criticism of this mother at all?

      • Jules Lane says:

        She picked a lousy man to marry.:) OK, joking aside I think she went through so many lawyers because they were not going after the judge and her continued bias. I understand why going up against a judge is scary. It could ruin your career if you are blacklisted in the courthouse. Judge Gorcyca worked with Mr Tsimhoni’s lawyer Ms Middleditch and seems to be friends with William Lansat. They seem like they have ganged up on the mother. As for the lawyers at the contempt hearing I thought they are suppose to defend their clients. They just pushed them to have lunch with a father they were afraid of. They did not object or ask for a continuance so they could properly look over everything. The little girls lawyer was the worst. Instead of questioning why a 9 year old girl would chose jail over lunch with her father? She just considered it as be disrespectful and defiant. I have seen lawyers argue for violent clients not to get jail but not one of these upstanding lawyers offered up a peep to keep 3 traumatized children out of jail. They were suppose to defend those children and they did nothing but I am sure they got paid for doing it!

    • Margo/Mom says:

      Jules–I have heard your words so many times that I begin to wonder if you have another persona that you have posted under.

      In fact, Jules, one of the things that first drew my interest to this case is that I have known and worked with abused and neglected children from time-to-time; they do not present as these children do. Abuse or neglect by a parent is complex and confusing to a child–who loves and wants to be loved by a parent. They do not present as arrogant, empowered, rejecting of the parent. They don’t want the parent gone, they want the hurting to stop. They frequently blame themselves for the abuse.

      The CPS report that has been shared (inappropriately) with the public suggests to me that there might have been something “off” regarding the incident, such as providing the children–all quite young at the time–with cell phones. Instructing the children to call 911 is also bizarre–given no prior history of anything remotely abusive. However, the reality is that the findings by CPS are very mild in comparison to what is being alleged repeatedly by Mom’s supporters. Called further into question by the more recent claim of physical assault–refuted by the witness account of the parenting supervisor, who I regard as highly credible.

      I wanted to respond to your belief that parental alienation is accepted conceptually by neither the courts, nor professionals. http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed161124. This is from a British professional journal, so the legal cites are not strictly applicable. But the article does a very good job insofar as describing the phenomenon–by whatever name/diagnosis, the need for professional responses that may be counterintuitive to many therapists schooled in more traditional relational/transactional theralies. It also discusses the frequently necessary role of the family court to order therapies, and in extreme cases actual changes in custody/residence. But it is far from true that the notion of alienation has been summarily rejected by courts and professionals.

      • Jules Lane says:

        So because you have worked with abused kids and in your opinion they do not act like abused kids are suppose to act then therefore they were not abused? I also don’t get the arrogant they seem afraid as for empowered do you know the definition of empowerment? Empowerment : make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. Children should realize that have no rights and lucky for them the had Judge Gorcyca to show them that.

        The CPS report was in the court records. I actually put exactly what their findings were on the CPS report, substantiated this as Category III Abuse. Omer “threatened harm” which is defined as Abuse and showed “failure to protect” which is defined as Neglect.

        The assault at the visit with the parenting supervisor there. He said he did not witness anything but he did admit having his back turned away for a few seconds. The er doctored found swelling to the forearm and chest contusion the next day.

        Parental Alienation Syndrome
        Even has a shout out to Judge Gorcyca in it

      • underwatch says:

        Jules, in the Family Abduction Trials we have followed, the protective mom’s defense that she was fleeing DV has always included these CPS Incident Reports. The moms know that if they disclose an incident, under the mandatory reporting laws their therapist, a DV worker, a teacher, a doctor will need to fill them out. At the trials, when cross-examined the testimony almost always was not first hand accounts of what they saw. It was usually the mother’s account of what happened. The protective mom was thinking that a series of the reports would be her so called proof. It seems that the mother in this case was using this in her playbook. She wanted sole custody and was going to do anything to get it. We’ve also seen these protective moms declare themselves dictator of the custody schedule and kidnap or abduct the children for short periods of time. This would go on for years. When the mom moved the children from Israel back to the States, that was a parental kidnapping. She solely made that decision and did not inform her husband prior to the kidnapping in this “moveaway”. You can’t do that. It is not difficult to conclude that the mom is orchestrating these allegations and using the kids to do it. And that appears to be the conclusions reached by these professionals with many years of experience.

      • Margo/Mom says:

        Jules–READ the ER report. It specifically rules out swelling, abrasions, visible discoloration. X-rays were negative. Confronted with with a kid saying “it hurts” and a Mom describing a physical assault, he made a diagnosis based on a speculation of internal contusions–which would not show on X-ray, nor produce skin discoloration.

        Many on Mom’s team have taken the word contusion and run with it. Contusion means bruise, bruise means discoloration, hence the man SAW bruising. This is not the case, as he explained to the GAL later. As did the pediatrician who saw the child on follow-up, who stated that the child’s report of pain did not match up with the physical evidence of injury.

  5. Jules Lane says:

    August 2010 Dr. Robert Erard, Ph.D.,- Psychologist, He just stated the mother did not kidnap children as the father claimed. Also the children trust their father or feel safe with him and did not feel loved by him.
    October 2010 Rebecca Hobson, LMSW,- Parenting Time Supervisor- she observed the children did not want to visit father and their body language showed genuine fear. She did not believe the children were brainwashed by mother
    March 2011 Dr. Katherine Okla, Psychologist- she submitted a confidential report.but I am betting it is favorable to the mother since the mom listed her as an expert witness in upcoming hearing
    June 2013 Jennifer Hayes, LMSW- The children’s GAL requested Jennifer Hayes to assess bother parties. Jennifer Hayes, who claims she discovered evidence of parental alienation (PAS).
    February 2015 Jennifer M. Zoltowski, MS, LLP- She stated the kids were still traumatized from the incident in the park. The fear is real , whatever the adults believe happened or not. Recommends trauma therapy and sees no direct evidence that mother She recommends children stay in mothers custody and the father should not become the custodial parent “A change of custody will potentially destroy any limited chance that still exists to repair this relationship, and would be akin to throwing a child afraid of water into the deep end of a pool without a life preserver.”

    • Margo/Mom says:

      Dr Okla’s report is available and I have read it. It’s somewhere in the Justice dropbox. Since it was originally not submitted into the record, I think it turned up at a later point as an exhibit or attachment. No–it was not particularly favorable to Mom. There were MMPIs on both parents. Mom’s could not be interpreted. Her answers were typical of someone trying to portray themselves in the best light, rather than answering honestly. There was the observation of separation anxiety outside the normal developmental range, the oldest child seeking to control the siblings–speaking for them ( Hobson noted something similar–the older child reaching to pull the sibs back when they approached Dad). Okla also interviewed Hobson, who apparently felt somewhat out of her range with this family–her more usual role being more of a supervisor to observe and possibly diffuse, ensuring safety of parties. And her approach of gradual reintroduction of Dad was ineffective.

      Okla was not able to work with the family–essentially aghast at trying to work through 5 adults and a flurry of emails just to schedule an appointment. I believe they ended up with Dr. Platt.

      Ms Zoltowski is a new one on me. But, as I don’t recall her services being ordered by the court, I am thinking this was someone Mom sought out individually?

    • Margo/Mom says:

      BTW–how does a psychologist become the arbitor of whether it was an abduction when Mom snuck the kids out of Israel?

  6. Jules Lane says:

    They were only in Israel for 3 months. The children were not assimilated in Israel yet so America was still considered their home.

    • Margo/Mom says:

      The children were bonded with their father. Mother removed them abruptly with no prior discussion with Dad–who came home to find his family missing.

      But you dodged my question. How does Dr. Erard’s field of expertise relate to determining whether the children were abducted?

  7. Jules Lane says:

    Omer left for Israel in November of 2008 . In January 2009 Omer threatened to take the kids to Israel to live without the mothers consent. That is when she petitioned the court for divorce. They reconciled and Maya and the children went to Israel for an extended stay. She never quit her job in the US and she told Omer not to put her down as a returning resident but Omer did anyway.and admitted to that under oath. He tried to trap her in Israel but luckily she and the kids were able to flee. As for Dr. Robert Erard, Ph.D., Psychologist assessment report confirmed Maya did not kidnap children and the children didn’t trust their father nor miss him; they didn’t feel secure with him; didn’t believe he loved them; children see mother as their primary caretaker. (Oakland County Friend of the Court Report on Parenting Time found in Omer’s.

    • underwatch says:

      Jules, you have a way of spinning the story. If a family moves from the United States to Israel in January during the middle of a school year, most would conclude they intended to move there. You call it an extended stay but the family moved there. For many, that might have been great opportunity for the family to experience living abroad. It doesn’t sound like they would be “trapped” there. After 3 months, the father comes home from work and the family is gone. That sure sounds like a “move away”, parental kidnapping or International Family Abduction. She didn’t communicate with her husband separately or have a family meeting so they can tell the children together. She unilaterally appointed herself in charge of custody and fled with the children back to the States. And when Maya returned to the United States, I doubt she afforded her former spouse with very much custody time, phone calls with the children etc. That’s certainly not coparenting and respectful of the person she married and had three children with.

  8. Jules Lane says:

    Omer admitted himself that Maya did not want to be put down as a returning resident to Israel and behind her back he put her down as as that anyway. This is not my spin on things this is exactly what he admitted to in court. She did not want to be considered a resident of Israel in case she and the children did not like it there. He tried to trap her. She gave it a chance but they were not happy. Why is it all about Omer’s wants and needs? They gave it a try and Omer tried to force them to live there even though they were not happy.. 3 months is a visit. Also I don’t understand why you believe the kids ever had a warm fuzzy relationship with their father. The man sounds like a selfish domineering bully.

  9. Margo/Mom says:

    As I recall from his testimony the returning citizen discount is a one-time available benefit. The savings on import taxes was considerable (I am thinking in the neighborhood of $8,000), and it committed them to nothing regarding citizenship (and in fact, I believe that both are still Israeli citizens), or continuing residence. Mom’s thought-process seemed to be a tad hysterical, where Dad was evaluating the realities. I do believe that he also harbored high hopes that his family would remain together and in Israel–just as I believe that Mom harbored a belief that withholding the children might bring Dad back.

    That detail brings to mind, however, Mom’s testimony that she met with several Israeli lawyers who were the ones advising her to say nothing and to take the children and flee the country. This seems to be odd advice, as it placed Mom in peril of being charged with abduction (and in fact there was an ex parte ruling in Israel finding that she did abduct the children), and that there would be long-range ramifications of such a choice, as she has been experiencing in her belief that she would be arrested should she ever return to visit parents and other family. It is unclear to me what her actual legal status in Israel is–there have been various opinions.

    She has other instances of using supposed instructions from attorneys (or judges) to cover her own actions. At one point she told the children that she wasn’t allowed to let them talk to their father on the phone. She told the Social Worker Hobson that her attorney told her not to let the children accept any gifts from their father–driving away and leaving a bag of holiday presents in a parking lot. I honestly don’t know if she believes some of these things (delusional, perhaps), or if she is so personally terrified of being accused of wrong-doing that she always reaches out to put the responsibility on someone else.

    In following this case, I have found the Mom to be a far more sympathetic actor in the drama than several others, such as Mom Wolferts or Mom Rucki. Mom T. appears to be dealing with some very real demons of her own–about which I could speculate, but I will not. But, I frankly see her far more as frightened than vindictive. That doesn’t make her a better mother, or the children any better off. But I do continue to hope for her, and to hope that the children will ultimately develop some perspective.

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