Welcome to the www.perjuryanddivorce.com website. The mission of this website is to provide informational and educational resources for individuals and organizations who share the common vision of ensuring procedural fairness in divorce and marital dissolution cases, exposing the problems of perjury and advocating for perjury victims in judicial proceedings. I use my own experiences as a case study to illustrate the struggles with perjury and divorce. I welcome additional case studies on this topic, so please contact me at email@example.com if you have personal stories, experiences or information that you would like to share with our community.
When my wife Isla Roop (aka Isla Roona) lied under penalty of perjury in the documents she submitted as part of our divorce process, I embarked on a journey to discover the procedures for holding perjurers accountable and obtaining restitution for perjury victims. During the time my wife and I were going through our divorce, several high profile perjury cases were in the news. Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury for lying about his role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity. Home run king Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury because he allegedly lied about using steroids. Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty because he lied about having an affair with his chief of staff. My case, however, was not high profile. To the legal system, it was just another divorce case. So while I had "smoking gun" evidence that my estranged spouse committed perjury and I shared that evidence with the judge and the attorneys involved in our case, no one in the legal system seemed to care about Isla Roop's criminal behavior. The legal system seemed to accept perjury as a fact of life in divorce cases, rather than treat it as the serious crime it is.
In New York State (and presumably most other states), the first step in the divorce process involves each spouse producing a statement of net worth, which is then used to determine an equitable distribution of marital assets. These net worth statements begin with a solemn oath in which the person submitting the statement, "being duly sworn, deposes and says that the following is an accurate statement". Once each party has the other's statement of net worth, then the two sides submit questions to one another in the form of interrogatories. Responses to these interrogatories (in New York State) require certification "under penalty of perjury that ... all information contained in the document is true and accurate in all respects". These oaths are meaningless if there is no penalty for perjury. Worse yet, they put the law abiding person at a distinct disadvantage in the divorce process, because the person who respects the law by fully, honestly, and completely disclosing all assets and income subjects those assets and income to distribution upon dissolution of the marraige, whereas the person who does not respect the law and uses perjury to conceal assets and income effectively protects those assets and income from distribution to the former spouse.
As a sociologist and political scientist trained to see beyond one person's troubles to the underlying social problem, my experiences with the legal system made me increasingly concerned that there might be many other decent, honest people like me who were victimized by perjurers while going through a divorce, and then re-victimized by the legal system that is charged with ensuring procedural fairness yet seems unwilling to hold perjurers accountable. As a scholar who has studied social movements and the history of public policy, it appeared to me that those of us who are victims of perjury in divorce cases have much in common with victims of crimes like rape, vehicular homicide, domestic violence, and employment discrimination. It wasn't that long ago that rape victims in America were re-victimized by the legal system, especially if they were dressed a certain way or were in a place police officers thought a proper lady should not be. Today, however, such re-victimization is much less common thanks to rape crisis counseling centers and others who advocate on behalf of rape victims. Even victims of date rape now are treated as crime victims rather than people who "asked for it", whether they dressed provocatively for their date or even got drunk or ingested drugs on their date. On the vehicular homicide front, before groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) became powerful social movements, automobile accidents caused by drunk drivers were often treated as unfortunate accidents rather than criminal acts, but today a drunk driver who harms someone is almost certain to do time in prison. As for domestic violence, while it was once generally treated as just a personal matter between marriage partners, today many legal jurisdictions implement mandatory arrest policies to hold abusers accountable. The one thing underlying these changes in the legal system's response to rape, drunk driving, and domestic violence is the activism of advocacy and support groups. The legal system's response to these crimes changed because advocates for victims forced it to change. Without the efforts of advocates for reform, change would not have occurred.
Change isn't always easy, but people who persevere sometimes bring about change. Lilly Ledbetter is a case in point. For decades she was underpaid by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company compared to her male coworkers. She took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but even there she lost. Nonetheless, she did not give up just because of bunch of judges told her it was over. She took her case to Congress, which eventually passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the first bill signed into law by President Barack Obama. While Lilly Ledbetter never got the money she was rightly owed by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, she did change the way employment discrimination cases will be dealt with in the United States for years to come.
This website documents my efforts to compel the legal system to ensure procedural fairness in divorce cases by holding perjurers accountable. The documents page includes copies of my correspondence with attorneys and the judge in my case, affidavits filed with the court, and related documents. This website is a work in progress, and as such will grow as I scan more documents in my files and as my advocacy efforts evolve. I am not a lawyer and cannot offer legal advice, but I hope that by being transparent and publicly sharing what I have done and the results of my actions, other victims of perjury might be able to learn from my experiences.
Divorce can be a very contentious experience and it is precisely for such contentious experiences that we have rules. If you are going to play hardball, then you must play by the rules. If you are going to fight, you have to fight fair. If you violate the rules, then you need to do time in the penalty box. I know I'm mixing sports metaphors, but all of these sayings embody principles that we as Americans hold dear.
A few short decades ago, victims of domestic violence were routinely re-victimized by the legal system when they tried to file criminal complaints. Insensitive police and prosecutors would dismiss legitimate criminal complaints as nothing more than the grumbling of a disgruntled spouse. Today that is no longer the case in most communities. Most police officers and prosecutors who handle domestic violence cases today are offered sensitivity training and often work closely with domestic violence counselors to elicit the information needed to pursue a criminal case without further traumatizing the already traumatized victim of abuse.
Victims of perjury in divorce cases, unfortunately, are in the position today in which domestic violence victims found themselves a few decades ago. The legal system does not want to deal with perjury, and the perjury victim who tries to file a perjury complaint is dealt with dismissively as a disgruntled person going through a divorce rather than with the respect that should be afforded to all crime victims and the sensitivity that should be afforded to crime victims who are going through a traumatic experience like divorce.
Divorce is difficult enough, but when your estranged spouse commits perjury and/or your spouse's attorney lies in sworn affidavits filed with the court (as my wife's attorney Justine Spada did) and the court turns a blind eye to these crimes (or worse yet sweeps evidence of criminal behavior under the rug) rather than vigorously deal with them, the trauma of divorce is compounded.
Domestic violence victims are treated better today than they were in the recent past because supporters of domestic violence victims banded together and formed advocacy organizations that put pressure on public officials. It is my hope that this website will help to organize victims of perjury in divorce cases so we can put pressure on judges and prosecutors and force them to deal with perjury as the serious crime it is and to treat victims of perjury with the respect and sensitivity they deserve. For a good example of how a website can be used to organize a community of victims, see NoDaddy.com. This website was created by one person, but quickly became a group effort as other self-described victims of GoDaddy.com's business practices came forward. If is my hope the PerjuryAndDivorce.com will similarly become a group effort, containing information about perjury victims across America and their struggles for justice.
The highest political office in the United States is the office of citizen, and we the people need to learn how to hold public officials like judges, prosecutors, and sheriffs accountable when they fail to enforce perjury laws. My next step will be to file a complaint with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct against the judge in my divorce case for ignoring the evidence of perjury presented to him. As I said, I'm not a lawyer and I don't know whether this is the best next step to take, but I do know that Judge Joseph Teresi was twice censured for judicial misconduct and his mishandling of Roona v Roona could be the third strike that gets him thrown off the bench. Whether that happens or not, it is imperative that all of us who are perjury victims file such complaints when judges ignore evidence of perjury, for then we might begin to force the legal system to treat perjury as the serious crime it is.