Judge Sharon Lueras Protest by Family Court Reform Group Seeks to Raise Awareness of Systemic Problems
|Jessica Hernandez at the March 9 funeral of her son Matthew. In November, 2012 Sacramento Family Court Judge Sharon Lueras denied Jessica's request for custody of her two sons.|
UPDATE: A UC Davis graduate student has started a petition at Change.org to ask the California State Auditor and Commission on Judicial Performance to investigate Judge Sharon Lueras for misconduct in connection with the deaths of Ryder Salmen and Matthew Hernandez. To view the petition, click here.
A family court reform group will hold a demonstration on Thursday, March 14 outside the Sacramento County Main Jail at 651 I Street. The event is scheduled to coincide with a jailhouse court hearing for Phillip Hernandez, who is charged with the Feb. 26 murder of his 9-year-old son, Matthew. The Sacramento Family Court watchdog group asserts that oversight and accountability of judges and court employees is nonexistent and contributed to the death of Matthew Hernandez.
The group has documented that some judges misuse child custody and visitation orders as a way to punish a parent, and as a method of churning legal fees for favored attorneys and mediators, rationales which are prohibited by state law. With the help of courthouse whistleblowers, the watchdogs also have cataloged an assortment of institutionalized family court problems including judicial misconduct, undisclosed conflicts of interest, preferential treatment of attorneys who also serve as temporary judges, employee misconduct, and systemic mismanagement by Court Executive Officer Chris Volkers and family court Director of Operations Julie Setzer.
The court operates a two-track system of justice for the financial benefit of a cartel of Sacramento County Bar Association family law attorneys who represent the 30 percent of family court litigants who can afford an attorney, while the 70 percent of court users who are unrepresented are relegated to second-class status, according to the group. The demonstration will take place beginning at 8:00 a.m.