12 April 2016

Sacramento Superior Court Watchdog Group Calls on Presiding Judge Kevin Culhane to Rectify Improper Judge-Clerk Relationship

California Supreme Court Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, Justice Ming W. Chin, Justice Carol A. Corrigan, Justice Goodwin H. Liu, Justice Mariano Florentino-Cuellar, Justice Leondra R. Kruger Supreme Court of California
Kern County Judge Cory Woodward was punished by the Commission on Judicial Performance for having an improper personal relationship with his courtroom clerk. Sacramento County Judge Matthew Gary reportedly has had a similar relationship with his courtroom clerk, Christina Arcuri, for at least four years. 

"[I]t is time for this charade to end." 

Sacramento Family Court Corruption, a Facebook watchdog group with over 600 followers, has issued an open letter to Sacramento County Presiding Judge Kevin Culhane regarding an alleged improper relationship between a Sacramento Superior Court judge and his courtroom clerk. 

The whistleblower group alleges that Judge Matthew Gary has been in a consensual, personal relationship with his clerk, Christina Arcuri for more than five years. Both Gary and Arcuri also have been involved in a number of controversies involving the alleged mistreatment of indigent, disabled, and financially disadvantaged family court parties who are self-represented.

In the letter to Culhane, the group invoked California Code of Judicial Ethics canon 3D(1), which requires a judge to take "corrective action" if they become aware of misconduct by another judge. In addition, as the designated presiding judge, Culhane is responsible for the supervision of all other judges, according to California Rules of Court rule 10.603.

The group contends that the alleged Gary-Arcuri relationship is similar to the judge-clerk relationship of Kern County Judge Cory Woodward and his clerk. In 2014, Woodward was punished by the state Commission on Judicial Performance because a judge is not allowed to be in a supervisory role over someone with whom the judge has a personal relationship, among other charges. The Woodward CJP decision is embedded at the end of this post.

The open letter to Culhane, with edits for clarity, is reprinted below:     

Dear Judge Culhane,
This letter shall serve as notification pursuant to canon 3D(1) of the California Code of Judicial Ethics regarding misconduct by a judge under your supervision.
As you may know, canon 3D(1) mandates that you take or initiate appropriate corrective action when you are notified that another judge has violated any provision of the Code of Judicial Ethics. Your duty under this provision in not discretionary.
It is common knowledge among many court employees, attorneys, and even some public court users that Judge Matthew Gary is engaged in an improper personal relationship with his court clerk, Christina Arcuri.
As set forth in the 2014 Commission on Judicial Performance decision and order imposing discipline on Kern County Judge Cory Woodward, a consensual judge-clerk relationship violates several provisions of the Code of Judicial Ethics.
The Woodward case is in many respects identical to the situation with Judge Gary. Among other authority, the Woodward disciplinary decision cites the California Judicial Conduct Handbook, by Judge David Rothman.
"Judge Rothman states that 'it is fundamental that a judge not be placed in a supervisory role over someone with whom the judge has a close personal relationship,'" according to the Woodward decision. For your convenience, the Woodward CJP decision is attached. 
It is also common knowledge among coworkers that this improper relationship has been going on for at least four years, and caused or contributed to the judges' divorce in or about 2011-2012.
At least two presiding judges before you, Laurie Earl and Robert Hight, turned a blind eye to this matter, and it is time for this charade to end.
This is very serious matter implicating the integrity of the court. If you do not take corrective action, you will be in violation of canon 3D(1) and will be reported to the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and please advise as to what corrective action will be taken.

05 April 2016

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Misconduct Victims Attend, Testify at State Assembly Hearing on Commission on Judicial Performance Problems

In the video clip above, Commission on Judicial Performance whistleblower and court reform advocate Joe Sweeney testifies at a California Assembly Budget Committee hearing on March 28, 2016. The CJP is responsible for judge oversight and accountability in the state. 

Several days before the hearing, Sweeney's court modernization and reform organization, Court Reform LLC, released a 78-page report which raised questions about CJP judicial misconduct statistical data and how the agency spends taxpayer funds.

24 March 2016

Divorce Corp Documentary Team Releases Follow-Up Video on Child Support System

From Divorce Corp:
Divorce Corp Director, Joseph Sorge, interviews renowned economist and lead author of a breakthrough study on the costs of raising a child, Professor William Comanor. Watch this video to learn the shocking facts about how child support costs are currently calculated and why they need to be revised. Then share this interview with your state legislators to support child support reforms. Together we can end unnecessary fighting over one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce; child support.

10 March 2016

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Raises Awareness of Family Court Victim Childhood Trauma

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is part of a growing network of leaders working to increase awareness and understanding of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the need to develop effective innovative interventions. 

Alleged judge-attorney collusion and racketeering in Sacramento Superior Court spanning more than 20 years has traumatized hundreds of children, according to court reform advocates. The documentary film Divorce Corp designated the Sacramento County Family Court system as one of the most corrupt in the United States. 

06 March 2016

Judges Thadd Blizzard and Matthew Gary, and Attorneys Who Aided Criminal Child Abductions Remain Unaccountable

United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner Sacramento Federal Prosecutor - Vance W Raye, Cole Blease, Ronald B Robie, William J Murray, George Nicholson, M Kathleen Butz, Elena J Duarte, Harry E Hull, Louis Mauro, Andrea Lynn Hoch, 3rd District Court of Appeal, Sacramento, Sacramento County, Third District Court,  Judge Thadd Blizzard Sacramento County Judge Matthew Gary, Judge Kevin Culhane, Judge James Mize Sacramento Superior Court - Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert Prosecutor
A child abduction that deprives a parent of a right to custody or visitation is a crime in California.

Watchdogs Charge Preferential Treatment Provided To Judge Pro Tem Divorce Attorneys

After more than two years, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Thadd Blizzard and judge pro tem divorce lawyer Richard Sokol have yet to be held accountable for their role in an out-of-state, criminal child abduction by Sokol's client, April Berger. Read our 2014 investigative report, which includes a court reporter transcript memorializing the allegations. 

After more than five years, Judge Matthew Gary and divorce attorney Timothy Zeff have not been held accountable for their role in the out-of-state, criminal child abduction of Megan Ferris. Zeff is the partner of judge pro tem attorney Scott Buchanan. Read our two reports: 

Government whistleblowers allege that the judge-authorized criminal abductions are additional evidence of racketeering by a "cartel" of judges and local family law attorneys who also work as part-time judges in the same court. 

10 February 2016

CBS News 60 Minutes Hidden Camera Records Attorney Boasting Lawyers Immune from Criminal Prosecution

“They don’t send the lawyers to jail because we run the country. We’re members of a privileged class in this country. We make the laws and when we do so we make them in a way that is advantageous to the lawyers,” attorney Marc Koplik explains on hidden video in this 60 Minutes broadcast clip.
Sacramento Superior Court reform advocates allege that a group of local divorce lawyers who also work as part-time judges have made similar claims. Whistleblowers assert that many Sacramento County judges abdicate their responsibility to enforce attorney misconduct laws, and therefore share blame for the problem.    

28 December 2015

Attorney Ethics: Misleading Judge or Other Party Constitutes Act of Moral Turpitude

MORAL TURPITUDE WEEK: MISLEADING THE JUDGE OR OTHER PARTY An attorney who misleads the judge or the other party...
Posted by California Attorney Misconduct & Ethics on Friday, February 26, 2016