10 April 2013

Judge James Mize Replaces Jaime Roman as Supervising Family Law and Probate Judge After Just Seven Months - Infighting Blamed

Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Mize - Supreme Court of California Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Justice Goodwin Liu, Justice Marvin R. Baxter, Justice Ming W. Chin, Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, Justice Joyce L. Kennard, Justice Carol A. Corrigan, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar,  Justice Leondra Kruger  California Supreme Court- California Commission on Judicial Performance Director Victoria B. Henley Chief Council - CJP Chairperson Anthony P. Capozzi, Vice-Chairperson Justice Ignazio J. Ruvolo
Judge James Mize was named "Judge of the Year" in 2009 by the
Sacramento County Bar Association. 
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James M. Mize has been named as the Supervising Family Law, Probate and ADA Judge, effective April 8, 2013

The supervising judge position previously was held by troubled Judge Jaime R. Roman, who replaced Judge Matthew J. Gary just seven months ago.

Gary was involuntarily removed in September, 2012 under a cloud of controversy, and several months before the normal, calendar year rotation of the supervising judge position. 

Roman reportedly voluntarily resigned after Gary and his staff relentlessly harassed Roman by making repeated complaints about his performance to Sacramento County Superior Court Presiding Judge Laurie Earl, according to a courthouse employee whistleblower. 
"They complained about every little thing to the PJ downtown. [Roman] just got sick of it and stepped down," the source explained. "Judge Gary has the personality of a mean high school girl. He's very petty, thinks very highly of himself and is very self-righteous. When he got the boot as supervising judge he took it very personally," said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. 
Roman also came under intense public scrutiny beginning just two months after he assumed the supervising family court judge role when he issued what family court watchdogs called a "made-to-order" ruling for controversial judge pro tem family law attorney Charlotte Keeley.

Vexatious Litigant Order Issued Without Court Hearing


Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jamie R. Roman - California Commission on Judicial Performance Director Victoria B. Henley Chief Council - CJP Chairperson Anthony P. Capozzi, Vice-Chairperson Justice Ignazio J. Ruvolo 1st District Court of Appeal California - California 3rd District Court of Appeal – Sacramento Justice Vance W. Raye – Justice Jonathan K. Renner - Justice Coleman A. Blease – Justice Ronald B. Robie – Justice William J. Murray Jr. – Justice George W. Nicolson – Justice M. Kathleen Butz – Justice Elena J. Duarte – Justice Harry E. Hull Jr. – Justice Louis R. Mauro – Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch – Justice Jonathan K. Renner Third District Court of Appeal California - Hon. Jaime R. Roman Sacramento

The order for Keeley - which Roman inexplicably issued without the required, due process compliant court hearing mandated by law - declared family court party Andrew Karres a vexatious litigant and ordered him to pay $2,500 in attorney fee sanctions to Keeley, in addition to granting 13 other requests made by the temporary judge on behalf of her client Mel Rapton Honda heiress Katina Rapton

The unorthodox order is pending review by the Third District Court of Appeal, and also is being challenged in a federal lawsuit against Judicial Branch officials, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, alleging misuse of the vexatious litigant law by family court judges throughout the state.


"Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss"


Due to his close ties to the Sacramento County Bar Association - whose members voted Mize "Judge of the Year [pdf]" in 2009 - family court watchdogs are disappointed by the selection of Mize to helm the scandal-plagued family court bench. 

Court reform advocates contend that in partnership with family court judges and court administrators, the SCBA Family Law Section acts effectively as a shadow government controlling virtually all aspects of court operations for the financial gain of member attorneys, and to the detriment of the 70 percent of court users without counsel.

Watchdogs also point out that Judge Mize inexplicably testified as a character witness for controversial family court Judge Peter J. McBrien, when McBrien was facing removal from the bench by the Commission on Judicial Performance in 2009. At the time of his testimony - which the CJP cited as a mitigating factor when determining McBrien's punishment - Mize was the Presiding Judge of Sacramento County Superior Court. 



Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Mize - California 3rd District Court of Appeal – Sacramento Justice Vance W. Raye – Justice Jonathan K. Renner - Justice Coleman A. Blease – Justice Ronald B. Robie – Justice William J. Murray Jr. – Justice George W. Nicolson – Justice M. Kathleen Butz – Justice Elena J. Duarte – Justice Harry E. Hull Jr. – Justice Louis R. Mauro – Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch – Justice Jonathan K. Renner Third District Court of Appeal California - California Commission on Judicial Performance Director Victoria B. Henley Chief Council - CJP Chairperson Anthony P. Capozzi, Vice-Chairperson Justice Ignazio J. Ruvolo 1st District Court of Appeal California - Hon. James M. Mize Sacramento
Judge James Mize testified as a character witness for controversial Judge Peter McBrien. 

Mize's testimony on McBrien's behalf raised eyebrows and may itself have been a violation of Canon 3D(1) of the Code of Judicial Ethics. The Canon requires all judges to take corrective action when another judge has violated a provision of the Code. There is no known precedent defining "corrective action" as testifying on behalf of the offending judge. Click here to read the complete transcript of Judge Mize's testimony on behalf of McBrien, posted exclusively by Sacramento Family Court News.

And along with all other family court judges, Mize also has been embroiled in the ongoing conflict of interest disclosure scandal. Court reform advocates say they expect family court problems to remain whitewashed and unaddressed under the supervision of Judge Mize. "This is 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss,'" said watchdog Robert Saunders. "We won't be fooled again."


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