24 April 2012

Hon. Matthew J. Gary Abuse of Authority: Code of Judicial Ethics and State Law Violations - Ordered Removed From Family Court Case by Fellow Judge for Misconduct, Bias & Abuse of Unrepresented Litigant

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Kevin Culhane - Judge James Mize Sacramento County Judge Robert Hight - Commission on Judicial Performance Victoria B Henley California CJP Chief Counsel Victoria Henley - Third District Court of Appeal Sacramento Justice Cole Blease, Justice Ronald B. Robie, Justice William J. Murray, Jr., Justice George Nicholson, Justice M. Kathleen Butz, Justice Elena J. Duarte, Justice Harry E. Hull, Jr, Justice Louis Mauro, Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch Justice Jonathan K. Renner, Justice Vance Raye
Judge Matthew J. Gary
Sacramento Family Court News Exclusive:

[Updated below]

Internal court records obtained by Sacramento Family Court news reveal that a San Joaquin County judge in 2010 issued a court order removing Judge Matthew Gary from a Sacramento Family Court case for misconduct and bias against a disabled, unrepresented litigant.

Although Gary contested the removal action and denied the bias and misconduct charges, after reviewing the evidence San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Xapuri B. Villapudua rejected Gary's version of events and ordered the controversial judge disqualified from any further proceedings in the case.

Third District Court of Appeal Sacramento Justice Cole Blease, Justice Ronald B. Robie, Justice William J. Murray, Jr., Justice George Nicholson, Justice M. Kathleen Butz, Justice Elena J. Duarte, Justice Harry E. Hull, Jr, Justice Louis Mauro, Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch Justice Jonathan K. Renner, Justice Vance Raye - Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Kevin Culhane - Judge James Mize Sacramento County Judge Robert Hight - Commission on Judicial Performance Victoria B Henley California CJP Chief Counsel Victoria Henley

The motion to recuse, or remove, Gary from the case was filed by pro per Robert Saunders. In accordance with state law, the motion was heard and decided by a neutral, outside-the-county judge. At the time the motion was filed, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George assigned Villapudua to decide the case. 

In her ruling rejecting Gary's denial and removing the judge from the case, Villapudua weighed which of the conflicting stories was believable.
"Based on the evidence submitted the court does find that a reasonable person might entertain a doubt that Judge Matthew J. Gary would be able to be impartial. Three separate witnesses stated Judge Gary was impatient and rude to [Saunders]. Three separate witnesses declared the judge appeared biased during the hearing, making snide or rude comments to [Saunders]," Villapudua explained. 
"From the sworn declarations submitted it appears Judge Gary became embroiled during the hearing on March 9, 2009. Judge Gary appeared to lose his patience with [Saunders]. He did not adhere to the proper procedure for contempt and had [Saunders] arrested and forcibly removed from his courtroom by multiple bailiffs," Villapudua wrote in the court order ending Gary's jurisdiction over the case.
Villapudua's assessment of Gary's credibility and the unlawful arrest and incarceration of Saunders for contempt of court was reaffirmed by a second judge who, at a subsequent court hearing in Sacramento County Superior Court, dismissed a resisting arrest charge against Saunders from the same incident. Evidence in the criminal case included a video recording of the debacle, according to the arrest report of a courtroom bailiff.

In addition, the unlawful contempt of court and resisting arrest incident was witnessed by judge pro tem attorneys Richard Sokol and Elaine Van Beveren, both of whom failed to intervene as required by the Code of Judicial Ethics. Gary currently is the Supervising Family Law, Probate and ADA Judge.


"Gary Became Embroiled...Did Not Adhere To Proper Procedure For Contempt"


 Commission on Judicial Performance Victoria B Henley California CJP Chief Counsel Victoria Henley - Third District Court of Appeal Sacramento Justice Cole Blease, Justice Ronald B. Robie, Justice William J. Murray, Jr., Justice George Nicholson, Justice M. Kathleen Butz, Justice Elena J. Duarte, Justice Harry E. Hull, Jr, Justice Louis Mauro, Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch Justice Jonathan K. Renner, Justice Vance Raye - Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Kevin Culhane - Judge James Mize Sacramento County Judge Robert Hight -

In his motion to disqualify Gary from the case, Saunders asserted that the judge was rude, impatient, and abused his authority by having him arrested and dragged from the courtroom. As Villapudua's order reflects, Saunders' claims were supported by the sworn testimony of three separate eyewitnesses who confirmed Saunders' account of the incident. The witnesses also testified that Gary made snide or rude comments directed at Saunders, and appeared biased during the hearing. 

In his defense, Gary submitted to the San Joaquin County judge a one-sentence answer denying the charges made by Saunders. "I deny the allegations stated in Respondent's Challenge," Gary stated under penalty of perjury. Click here to view Gary's denial. To view the minute order issued by Gary after the hearing in which he charged Saunders with contempt of court, click here.

Second Independent Judge Confirms Gary Misconduct


Judge Villapudua issued her order banning Gary from the Saunders case on January 7, 2010. Five months later, a second judge with no connection to family court dismissed the resisting arrest charge filed against Saunders by Gary's courtroom bailiff and Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Deputy J. Strong

The dismissal of the criminal case by former prosecutor and veteran Sacramento County criminal court Judge Richard Gilmour infers that the video recording of the incident also supported Saunders' contention that both the contempt and resisting arrest charges were baseless and motivated by Gary's temper, embroilment and abuse of authority. 

UPDATE: A government whistleblower has leaked the courtroom security video of the illegal arrest and assault of Robert Saunders. Click here.
 

Judge Pro Tem Eyewitnesses Fail To Intervene


The criminal charges against Robert Saunders were dismissed by
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Richard Gilmour. 
The unlawful contempt of court and resisting arrest incident was witnessed by attorneys Richard Sokol and Elaine Van Beveren

Both attorneys are Sacramento County Superior Court sworn temporary judges. Judge pro tem attorneys are by law required to take or initiate corrective action if they witness another judge violate the law or any provision of the Code of Judicial Ethics. 

Canon 3D(1), an important self-policing component of the Code, mandates the intervention to maintain public confidence in the courts and ensure that judge misconduct is kept in check.

As confirmed by two independent judges, Gary's actions were obvious violations of several sections of the ethics code, but court records and other eyewitness accounts indicate that neither Sokol, nor Van Beveren complied with the misconduct reporting requirement. Click here to view an internal Judicial Council of California memo about the legal duty. 

In addition, courtroom clerk Christina Arcuri had a legal and ethical duty to report the misconduct by the judge, but took no action.

Court of Appeal Reversals for Legal Errors


In a different case last year Judge Matthew Gary suffered a full reversal by the Third District Court of Appeal. As in the Saunders case, in Seaton v. Seaton Gary also did not follow established law. After conducting his own investigation and forensic analysis on a 20-year-old marriage certificate signature, Gary concluded that the signature was not made by an extremely intoxicated person, as Patricia Seaton had claimed.

The judge then nullified a 17-year marriage so that Patricia would be deprived of all property, support and other rights associated with a lawful marriage. The appellate court reversed Gary's decision, noting that the issues Gary had with Patricia's credibility were irrelevant to determining whether the marriage was valid. 

Gary also received a black eye from the court appeal during a short stint as a criminal court judge. An embarrassing, elementary legal error by the judge in a 2007 trial compelled the 3rd District to reverse the criminal conviction of Daniel Ray Maier in People v. Maier

Both Gary and Villapudua were appointed to the bench in June, 2007 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Judge Gary is paid $169,289 per year.

Gary Receives "Poster Child of the Month" Award from Family Court Reform Group


Third District Court of Appeal Sacramento Justice Cole Blease, Justice Ronald B. Robie, Justice William J. Murray, Jr., Justice George Nicholson, Justice M. Kathleen Butz, Justice Elena J. Duarte, Justice Harry E. Hull, Jr, Justice Louis Mauro, Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch Justice Jonathan K. Renner, Justice Vance Raye - Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Kevin Culhane - Judge James Mize Sacramento County Judge Robert Hight - Commission on Judicial Performance Victoria B Henley California CJP Chief Counsel Victoria Henley
Judge Xapuri Villapudua.
For his deference to attorneys, and mismanagement of Sacramento County Family Court, Gary received a "Poster Child of the Month Award" from the Family Court Accountability Coalition, a statewide family court watchdog group. 

Gary received the honor for "serial due process, equal protection and access to the courts violations," according to the FCAC Blog.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that the current presiding judge, Matthew J. Gary is a right-wing, anti-government ideologue who believes government is dysfunctional and is determined to prove it...while collecting a $170,000 annual salary from the state."
FCAC also cited a 2007, Sacramento Lawyer magazine interview with Gary:
"Gary characterizes his legal philosophy as favoring judicial restraint. Among the U.S. Supreme Court justices who he admires are Antonin Scalia..."
UPDATE: Family Law Courts.com asks whether Family Court bailiffs are enforcing the law or acting as judicial puppets.

Related Content:

* Controversial Judge Matthew Gary Removed from Supervisory Position

* Matt Gary Disqualification Records & Update

* Supervising Judge Matt Gary Warns Family Court Problems Will Get Worse

* Judge Matthew Gary Reversed by 3rd District Court of Appeal for Improper Investigation, Forensic Analysis

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