Judge Pro Tem Attorney Gary Appelblatt Convicted of Sexual Battery Against Clients
Sacramento Bee Whitewashes CoverageSacramento Family Court News Exclusive
|The criminal defense lawyer for Judge Pro Tem Gary |
Appelblatt argued that the alleged sexual battery by
his client was consensual.
The first sexual battery victim of Sacramento Family Court Temporary Judge Gary Appelblatt contacted the Sheriff's Department on Feb. 17, five years ago today.
The then-prominent Sacramento Bar Association Family Law Section attorney ultimately was charged with 13-criminal counts including sexual battery and penetration with a foreign object. The victims were Appelblatt's divorce clients and potential clients.
"[A]ppelblatt invited the clients into his American River Drive law office and drew the blinds. He shooed out any visitors and locked the door. Then, testimony showed, the 57-year-old divorce lawyer moved the women over for physical exams on what the judge described as the attorney's 'convenient couch.' Some had their tops removed, and he reached into the pants of some of the other women...[Deputy District Attorney Keith Hill] said the lawyer's perversions took advantage of weakened victims who sought his professional services at 'terrible emotional' times in their lives," Sacramento Bee reporter Andy Furillo wrote in 2008.
In 2008 and 2009 the Bee published four stories about the Appelblatt case - three with the byline of Furillo - a veteran reporter on the courthouse beat. None of the stories disclosed that Appelblatt held the Office of Temporary Judge.
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"Furillo has a history of avoiding or whitewashing coverage of corrupt judges, court officials and lawyers in exchange for insider access and courthouse story leads. He writes over 200 stories a year, and you can't do that kind of volume without an army of sources," said family court watchdog Ulf Carlsson.
"It's unethical but he gets away with it because his wife, Deb Anderluh, is one of his bosses at the Bee. Furillo was going to bury the Appelblatt story until the T.V. stations made it public and he had to write something, so he portrayed Appelblatt as just a rogue attorney, and covered up his status as a judge pro tem," Carlsson asserted. "Look at the [court whistleblower] Emily Gallup case. Furillo ignored the Gallup lawsuit - including the week-long trial and $313,000 verdict - which went on for more than a year in Sacramento County Superior Court. The government did not want that case in the news, and Furillo made sure it wasn't."
Furillo and the Bee also ignored the 2011 disbarment of family court temporary judge Scott Kendall. Kendall was disbarred for advising clients to break the law, acts of moral turpitude, incompetence, withdrawing from representation of a client without court permission, and failure to communicate with clients. Click here for our exclusive report on the Kendall case. The national family law website, familylawcourts.com also has called out the Bee and its reporters for protecting judges by refusing to identify them in its rare coverage of controversial cases. Click here and here.
Double-Discount Offered for ThreesomeFor one female client, the attorney and temporary judge allegedly offered a double-discount if the client arranged a threesome. "Appelblatt offered to reduce her bill by $5,000 if she would have sex with him. He said he'd drop the price even more if she would talk a girlfriend into joining them," the Bee reported in 2008.
|Andy Furillo, veteran court reporter for the Sacramento Bee, |
omitted from his coverage attorney Gary Appelblatt's status as a
The State Bar suspended Appelblatt from practicing law in an order dated Oct. 23, 2009. The judge pro tem attorney was sentenced to 18 months in prison by Judge Gary E. Ransom and immediately taken into custody on Nov. 3, 2009.
In May of the following year, the Bar recommended that Appelblatt be summarily disbarred. The lawyer was officially disbarred on Sept. 24, 2010. Although required to register as a sex offender, Appelblatt apparently has taken advantage of a legal loophole that lets some offenders apply to have their name excluded from the Megan's Law online database. Appelblatt's name does not appear in the database.
Nancy Appelblatt, a doctor and the attorney's wife, filed for divorce in the Summer of 2007, about six months before the Sheriff's Department began investigating the temporary judge, according to court records. To prosecute her divorce, Dr. Nancy Appelblatt retained judge pro tem attorney Nancy Perkovich.
In Oct. 2012 Sacramento Family Court News reported on temporary judge attorneys, including Perkovich, who were unlawfully using for promotional purposes their status as part-time, temporary judges.
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