Broward County, Florida Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen recused himself from a child custody case Thursday after NATIONAL FILE published audio of Cohen railing against “anti-mask people” and suspending a mother’s parental timesharing agreement for not wearing a mask in a photo posted to Facebook.
Melanie Joseph, the mother who had her timesharing with her 14-year old son suspended by Cohen, told NATIONAL FILE that she is determined to fight for a second chance to get her son back with a different judge presiding over the case. Joseph previously gave up her fight for custody of the boy after Judge Cohen made it clear that he hated her for the maskless photo. MELANIE JOSEPH’S GOFUNDME IS CURRENTLY LIVE.
“There is no reason for my son to be in this position that he is in right now,” Melanie Joseph told NATIONAL FILE. “I have not had hope for many years. The judge put the nail in the coffin of my effort to get my son back because he was carrying out a vendetta against me over one photograph in which I did not wear a mask. Now, I have hope. This is new hope. If it wasn’t for you and your team, this would not have happened,” Melanie Joseph told NATIONAL FILE.
Broward County Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen has repeatedly suspended parental timesharing arrangements for mothers who have been caught not wearing masks, according to interviews with parents and stunning audio and court documents obtained by NATIONAL FILE.
Cohen, who was originally appointed by Jeb Bush, indefinitely suspended parental timesharing for Melanie Joseph when he heard that she was seen in a photograph on social media not wearing a mask. Joseph said that she was merely trying to take a break from the mask. Joseph later made an agreement with heavy restrictions (including mandatory vaccinations and a mandate that her asthmatic 14-year old son must wear a mask) to get limited timesharing back. Judge Cohen also completely cut off timesharing for a mother of a less than 2-year old child when a court filing accused the mom of consistently not wearing a mask and photo evidence showed her not social distancing at the beach. NATIONAL FILE PRESENTS AUDIO OF JUDGE DALE COHEN AND AN INTERVIEW WITH MELANIE JOSEPH:
“My attorney said the judge already made it clear to my friend you will not see your son, just to stick it to me even more” Melanie Joseph told NATIONAL FILE after she finally signed an agreement to get limited time with her 14-year old son who has asthma but still must wear a mask during visits.
“The judge hates me. He feels that I am a COVID denier, and an anti-masker,” Joseph said. “My four other children have been suffering from not being able to see their brother,” Joseph added. “They’ve been mourning him all year.”
Judge Dale Cohen also completely cut off parental timesharing for another mother who was accused in court of consistently not wearing a mask, and photographed not social distancing at the beach. That mother eventually made an agreement that came with a gag order.
A man identifying himself as Joseph’s ex-husband has denied that the custody agreement was impacted by Joseph’s decision not to wear a mask for a photo posted to social media, and claimed that she has made unsubstantiated allegations regarding their relationship.
This article was modified on April 26, 2021 to reflect a statement from a man identifying himself as Joseph’s ex-husband.