This report is part 24 of an investigative series looking into reported corruption in the Missouri Judiciary and family courts. For the rest of the investigation visit the catalog here.
Guardian ad litem (GAL) Elaine Pudlowski and her colleagues in the family court cabal continue to be awarded get-out-of-consequences-free cards by their co-workers in the 21st Judicial Circuit Court of St. Louis County. On Tuesday, Pudlowski’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against her by The Fathers’ Rights Movement media personality Kenneth Rosa was dismissed by Judge Joseph Walsh. The defendants were given quasi-judicial immunity. Awarding immunity to court professionals means that even if all the allegations are true, the defendants are immune from prosecution.
Pudlowski’s attorney, A.J. Bronsky, argued that “the guardian ad litem is an arm of the court and should not be exposed to lawsuits by disgruntled parents.”
Not only did Judge Walsh refuse to even consider Rosa’s arguments and hear the case based on the facts, but he also denied Rosa his request to have the hearing on the record. Why the hearings in St. Louis are not automatically on the record is a question litigants have been asking without an answer for years. Judge Walsh got audibly upset when Rosa asked for the hearing to be on the record and scolded him for not speaking up sooner.
“Is this off of the record or on the record?” asked Rosa. Walsh did not respond. “If the proceedings have been off the record, I respectfully request that it be on the record,” Rosa asked again. The judge replied, “You’re a little late now. You could have asked to be on the record.” This, however, was not true. PJ Media was in the courtroom and witnessed that the court did not give Rosa an opportunity to speak until that moment and he did ask right away for the hearing to be on the record. The judge forced him to waive his right to have the hearing on the record. It is exactly this type of scenario which leads litigants in St. Louis to disobey court rules by recording their own proceedings because the court regularly holds secret hearings that are purposefully held off the record so litigants have no proof of due process violations.
As a pro se litigant, Rosa is awarded more protection by the court for not knowing all the rules and procedures and the court should have granted his request. Fortunately for Rosa, several members of the media and others were observing the proceedings and provided their own audio recordings.
Judge Walsh awarded both GAL Pudlowski and therapist Skaggs immunity based on their status as court-appointed professionals. Attorneys for Skaggs and Pudlowski argued that neither defendant had any “duty of care” towards Rosa, even though he was ordered by the court to pay them tens of thousands of dollars.
Judge Walsh appeared to ignore Rosa’s introduction of a 5th Circuit Court case that sets the standard for immunity that should apply in Missouri. Rosa argued that “defendant Pudlowski and defendant Skaggs are to act as witnesses for the court in place of the children. Both defendants in collusion with one another provided injurious services by violating their oath along with federal civil rights amendment 6 and 14.” Rosa then went on to state each section of the Missouri state law he believes the defendants have violated, including Missouri Supreme Court guidelines and a 5th Circuit Appeals ruling in Nicholas v. Fahrenkamp that set a standard for deciding immunity. According to that ruling, Rosa argued, “Guardians ad litem who submit recommendations to the court contrary to their duty that are NOT in the child’s best interest… waive their immunity. The Supreme Court has long recognized as a component of substantive due process the right to familial relations. See Prince v. Massachusetts.”
PJ Media spoke to Rosa about the decision. He said, “A biased decision was expected from Judge Walsh to protect his everyday colleagues. After all, they did state in the infamous leaked video that ‘all the judges were in on it.'”
Rosa is critical of Missouri legislators who have turned a blind eye to the problem in the judiciary. “Where is the Missouri legislature putting safeguards in place to protect all of these parents coming forward with story after story of court corruption against our children?” he asked. “No one that watches this hearing can say I was heard on any actions before the court and the court’s stance wasn’t predetermined against a pro se litigant because no one will go against the courts in fear of retaliation.”
You can hear the entire hearing below.