Insane: Judge McGowan, After Recusing Herself, Still Rules On Case 

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Judge McGowan. Photo: Rick Kopstein/ALM Media Properties LLC

(Originally published in 2020) 

Only in the New York Courts system. 

A New York State Supreme Court Judge handling a contentious divorce case in Queens County has ruled against a defendant even after the judge had already recused herself. 

The defendant, Dr. Siranush Cholakian, has on numerous occasions accused the judge, Margaret Parisi-McGowan of bias, including allegedly retaliating against her after she refused to withdraw criminal charges she’d filed against her husband, Frederic Leeds, who is a federal immigration judge. She’d claimed her husband broke her arm during a domestic incident. 

Even after several articles about the case McGowan previously had refused to recuse herself. 

A clerk of the court, Maureen Heitner via e-mail message at 10:59 AM on Monday informed this writer that a hearing scheduled for that day had been cancelled because McGowan had recused herself, a move welcomed by the defendant Dr. Cholakian. 

In the Oct. 19 order she signed, McGowan wrote, “The undersigned is hereby recusing herself from the above action to avoid the appearance of impartiality. This matter and the pending motion defendant’s counsel to be relieved and a motion for contempt is respectfully referred to the Administrative Judge for re-assignment.”

Yet, according to court records, after recusing herself, Judge McGowan subsequently filed another order where she ruled on the issues, thereby denying Dr. Cholakian’s pending motions. The post-recusal order bearing Judge McGowan’s signature is dated Oct. 23. Curiously, it’s stamp marked as having been filed on Oct. 22, the day before it was signed by McGowan. 

Unless the Administrative Judge re-assigned the case back to her the next day, it’s unclear how she could have taken any additional action. 

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesperson for the New York Unified Courts System didn’t respond to an e-mail message inquiry seeking a confirmation that the Oct. 23 order was indeed signed by McGowan, how she could rule on a case where she’d already recused herself, and why it was stamp marked Oct. 22. 

Dr. Cholakian said, “I’m dealing with a lawless judge, hiding behind her immunity, punishing people she does not like for whatever reason. She has complete disregard that she is affecting the life and the whole future of children. Her reactions are completely erratic.” 

Another medical doctor, Robby Mahadeo, whose divorce case was also presided over by McGowan has also accused her of bias and claimed that in one hearing she told him that “all doctors lie.” 

Note To Readers: After this article was published, Judge McGowan vacated her insane illegal ruling

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