Contempt and Incarceration Is Reversed by the Appellate Division

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. is one of Long Island's largest Divorce and Family Law firms. By decision of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, dated April 17, 2010, the firm of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. successfully reversed a contempt decision which had held a mother in contempt for interfering with visitation, willfully violating a Court Order and resulted in the mother's incarceration.

Upon being retained, the law office of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. made an application to stay the incarceration of the mother that was being held in contempt. She was released from where she was incarcerated and within days the matter was before then Presiding Judge Andrew G. Tarantino, Jr. of the Family Court in Suffolk County, New York.

The contempt was upheld.

An appeal was immediately made staying (delaying) the sentence of incarceration that was handed down by Judge Tarantino. Judge Tarantino had held that the mother was guilty of willfully violating prior Orders by depriving the father of the parties' child of certain visitation time. In successfully preventing the imminent and certain incarceration of this mother, the appeal was brought and aggressively litigated. The mother was able to stay outside of jail pending decision, which was rendered on August 17, 2010, in favor of the mother and granted the relief requested by Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. on behalf of the client.

By the Order dated August 17, 2010, the Appellate Division of the Second Judicial Department reversed the decision of Judge Tarantino, dated November 10, 2009 and reversed the decision of December 4, 2009, which ordered incarceration. The Court held that:

"The evidence at the hearing did not establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the mother had
willfully violated the Court's Order and the evidence did not, beyond a reasonable doubt, show that she
deprived the father of certain visitation with the child so as to hold her in contempt."

The mother was therefore not held in contempt and the sentence of incarceration has been reversed and costs granted to the mother as a result of the appeal prosecuted by Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C.

It is rare for the Appellate Division to reverse a Family Court in such matters. Matters of contempt and proof adduced at trial are often in the discretion of the Trial Court. Indeed, a Judge, such as Judge Tarantino, often is the best person to determine the mother's truthfulness and her actions in connection with the litigation. It was Judge Tarantino that held the mother in contempt by listening to the testimony and judging the mother based on her truthfulness and weighing the facts as they were presented. It was after the mother was held in contempt that she hired the law firm of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. and they were successful in overturning this Judge's decision with the Appellate Court litigation.

It is very rare that a law firm is able to successfully overturn the Trial Court's decision in a contempt matter by using the Appellate Division. The reason it is rare is because the Appellate Division did not personally see the mother or listen to the argument, and they often defer to the Trial Court to determine the weight of the evidence and/or the truthfulness of the client. It was through the brilliant legal writing of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. that this matter was reversed on appeal, and the mother was found not to be in contempt and the sentence of incarceration was vacated.

This is a prime example of why sound legal representation is imperative in Family Law matters. Not only do you need an attorney with zealous representation in court, but you also need an attorney whose papers speak for themselves. A mother who protects their children and is threatened with jail when they do so needs to know that they are represented by an attorney whose tongue is as sharp as their pen and as strong as their will.

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. is one of Long Island´s largest Divorce and Family Law firms whose practice is limited to Divorce and Family Law. Their office is located at 1145 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, New York. If you have a Divorce, Family Law or Custody matter and would like a free consultation, contact us online, or call Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. at 1.631.479.3839.