Judge Pro Tem Divorce Lawyer Caught in Cover Up of Judge Matthew Gary Misconduct
The Historical Revisionism of Sworn Temporary Judges Richard Sokol and Elaine Van Beveren - Part 1
A Special News and Analysis Series by Pelican Briefed
One form of historical revisionism is the “illigitmate distortion of the historical record such that certain events appear in a more or less favorable light,” according to Wikipedia. The distortion of history to deny historical crimes is sometimes called negationism.
Historical revisionism is often associated with after-the-fact justifications for, or denial of war crimes, such as the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.
Some countries have laws making it a crime to disseminate revisionist material, such as Holocaust denial propaganda. Revisionist tactics include deception, denial and trivialization.
A court reporter transcript obtained by Sacramento Family Court News shows that the same tactics have recently been used in Sacramento Family Court by judge pro tem attorneys Richard Sokol and Elaine Van Beveren. Van Beveren currently also is an officer of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee.
The transcript records Sokol and Van Beveren disseminating subtle and overt falsehoods, deceptions, denials and trivializations about the unlawful 2009 assault and arrest of indigent, disabled litigant and family court watchdog Robert Saunders, in the courtroom of Judge Matthew Gary. Both Sokol and Van Beveren were eyewitnesses to the incident.
In April, 2012 SFCN published an in-depth, investigative report on the debacle and subsequent events, including the vindication of Saunders by two outside, independent judges. Click here to read our report.
To continue reading, click Read more >> below...
The vindication, however, implicated both Van Beveren and Sokol for failing to report or otherwise take corrective action for Gary's misconduct. As sworn temporary judges, the two attorneys are bound by Canon 3D(1) of the Code of Judicial Ethics - the ethical rules for judges - which requires them to "take or initiate appropriate corrective action" when they know of misconduct by another judge.
The rule is a critical, self-policing component of the Code, intended to keep judge misconduct in check. Both Van Beveren and Sokol witnessed Gary's misconduct, and both got away with doing nothing, a violation of Canon 3D(1).
Now, four years later, recent proceedings in the case suggest that the judge pro tem attorneys are attempting to cover up their own prior misconduct and discredit the victim of Gary's actions by rewriting the history of the case. Their strategy involves influencing the current judge assigned to the case through the use of false statements and omissions of material facts about the original incident, and other unethical tactics.
The case was, and continues to be a definitive example of rampant family court corruption and the cronyism between private sector attorneys who also hold the office of temporary judge and are contracted to run the court's settlement conference program, and full-time Sacramento County Superior Court judges, according to family court reform advocates.
|Richard Sokol of the family law firm Sokol & Bristow LLP was recorded on transcript making a number of demonstrably false statements, including this one, about the 2009 assault and arrest of Robert Saunders by Judge Matthew Gary and courtroom bailiff J. Strong. Judge Thadd Blizzard has yet to report Sokol's misconduct as required by Canon 3D(2) of the Code of Judicial Ethics.|
In the first installment of this series, SCBA Family Law Section attorney and judge pro tem Richard Sokol is caught on transcript making the demonstrably false claim that Gary “didn’t have [Saunders] arrested; he had him taken from court.” Sokol’s claim is contradicted by court records, including the arrest report of Gary’s courtroom bailiff and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Deputy J. Strong.
“J. Strong #423 was ordered by Judge Matthew J. Gary…to take Robert Saunders into custody for contempt of court. Deputy Strong advised [Saunders] that he was under arrest,” reads the police report.The court reporter transcript with Sokol’s falsehood, along with the report of Deputy Strong are posted below. Under state attorney ethics law, including Business & Professions Code section 6106, Sokol’s affirmative misrepresentation is an act of moral turpitude and “constitutes a cause for disbarment or suspension” from the practice of law.
Virtually any form of attorney dishonesty or deception, including a half-truth, or the omission of material facts, is the equivalent of an outright lie, according to the State Bar. In addition, an attorney who intentionally deceives a court or any party is subject to misdemeanor criminal prosecution under Business and Professions Code § 6128.
|California state law designates deceit by an attorney intended to deceive a court as a misdemeanor crime. Court watchdogs assert that the law goes unenforced in family court proceedings.|
For additional reporting about the people and issues in this post, click the corresponding labels below the document.