01 January 2014

Sacramento Superior Court Corruption: 2014 the Year of the Disgruntled Litigant - Holiday Edition RoadDog Satire

In this YouTube video from the Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, Judge Mark Ciavarella is confronted by Sandy Fonzo during his federal criminal prosecution for racketeering, deprivation of the right to honest services, and other charges. Fonzo attributes the suicide of her teenage son to Ciavarella's criminal conduct in the Luzerne County Pa., Kids for Cash scandal

Sacramento Family Court reform advocates assert that similar charges against judges, employees and the judge pro tem attorney "cartel" are warranted. The deaths of 9-year-old Matthew Hernandez and 8-month-old Ryder Salmen have been blamed on Judge Sharon Lueras. Other cases with high conflict child custody disputes, including parents Andrew Karres, Susan Ferris, and Robert Saunders involve extreme economic disparities between the parties. 

In all three, the wealthy parent has paid significant sums to effectively terminate the parental rights of the economically weaker parent. In all three, the wealthy parent is represented by a judge pro tem attorney or firm. Court watchdogs assert that these, and similar cases show the court operates its own version of the Pennsylvania Kids for Cash system, and deprives the public of the federally protected right to honest government services.   

New Legislation Needed in 2014 to Curtail the Incidence of Disgruntled Litigants

Special Holiday Satire by RoadDog

The screeching harpy in the video above is Sandy Fonzo. Do. Not. Read. This. until you watch the video. Sandy Fonzo is a disgruntled litigant. Fonzo is disgruntled because her teenage son took his own life after being traumatized in a privately run juvenile detention facility in Luzerne County Pennsylvania. 

An all-star wrestler, her son was sentenced to the facility by Judge Mark Ciavarella, who, it turned out, received $997,600 from the developer who built the private juvenile detention facility. Sandy Fonzo and other disgruntled litigants joined forces and tricked the federal government into investigating Judge Ciavarella, his buddy Judge Michael Conahan, and their cohorts in government and the private sector. 

A May, 2013 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania summarized the scope and outcome of the investigation, prompted by disgruntled litigants:

To continue reading, click Read more >> below...

"Ciavarella and his co-defendant, Michael Conahan, who also served as Presiding Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, were initially charged in January 2009. The charges were the result of a federal investigation of alleged corruption in the Luzerne County court system.
The inquiry began in 2007 and expanded to include county government offices, state legislators, school districts and contractors in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Conahan pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in April 2010 and is serving a 17 year sentence.
...Overall, 30 local or state government officials and contractors were convicted.
...The judicial scandal, described as the worst in Pennsylvania's history, and the federal prosecutions have had major consequences: Ciavarella and Conahan resigned from the bench in 2009. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania vacated thousands of juvenile convictions in Luzerne County as a result of Ciavarella's conduct as a Juvenile Court Judge.
A State Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice recommended changes aimed at safeguarding the constitutional rights of juveniles and improving the oversight and disciplinary process for judges in Pennsylvania. In June 2011, a committee of the American Bar Association reviewed and made recommendations to improve procedures in the state's Judicial Conduct Board. A procedure was established in Luzerne County for compensation of victims of the activities of Ciavarella and Conahan...
After an 11 day trial in Scranton in February 2011, a jury found Ciavarella guilty on 12 of 39 counts: racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, four counts of honest services mail fraud and four counts of filing false income tax returns." To view the complete press release, click here.
A Sacramento County-based group of disgruntled litigants claim a similar federal criminal case involving family court judges, court employees and administrators, and a "cartel" of private sector attorneys contracted to run the court's settlement conference program is ripe for federal prosecution. 

They allege to now have documentation showing that the judge pro tem attorneys enlisted to run the settlement conference program - ostensibly as "volunteers" - are, in fact, compensated for their services.

They claim that under federal law the arrangement with the cartel constitutes racketeering and other state and federal crimes, and that they now have the proof needed to initiate an investigation by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice

This nefarious disgruntled litigants plot must be thwarted at all costs before it tarnishes the reputations of the devoted public servants and private sector judge pro tem lawyers who own and operate Sacramento Family Court. For. Profit.

Disgruntled Accusations

Special Agent in Charge Monica Miller Sacramento Field Office FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation Monica M. Miller Special Agent in Charge Sacramento Division FBI
Inaction by Eastern District of California US Attorney Benjamin Wagner and FBI Sacramento Division
Special Agent in Charge Monica Miller show the disgruntled litigant groups claims are meritless.

Court records compiled by the group show that temporary judges receive a statistically impossible number of rubber-stamped, favorable court rulings when acting as for-profit attorneys in private practice, especially in child custody disputes. Indigent, unrepresented litigants and their children are traumatized by illegal "no contact" child custody orders issued by judges for judge pro tem attorneys.

Government whistleblower leaked court records also reveal a consistent pattern where full-time judges unlawfully deny statutorily mandated attorney fee and temporary support requests made by financially disadvantaged parties in cases where the opposing party is represented by a judge pro tem lawyer. 

Orders denying the requests reflect a complete disregard of the applicable law, and are absent the findings required by statute. In one case, a judge even used a fee waiver hearing to preemptively help a cartel attorney client avoid paying spousal support.

In several cases, the legally baseless denials of lawful attorney fee or support requests resulted in indigent litigants being forced to go on public assistance, an unlawful use of the state and federal funds designated for public assistance, triggering additional state and federal criminal liability against judges and cartel attorneys. 

Money for spousal support that by law should be paid by an opposing party is instead effectively embezzled, or converted from state and federal funds designated for legitimate public assistance. 

The US Department of Justice is responsible
for the enforcement of federal law. 
A constructive conspiracy to defraud the United States and the de facto theft of funds from programs receiving federal money, prohibited by federal criminal statutes including 18 USC §§ 371, 641 and 666. RoadDog sez: This is some seriously disgruntled shit. 

Other court orders indicate family court judges collude with Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section judge pro tem attorneys in using other economic coercion tactics, including rubber-stamped illegal sanction awards, against indigent or financially weaker opposing parties

By law, the use of financial coercion is considered constructive fraud. Judges routinely convey bias based on the socioeconomic status of a party despite several judicial ethics rules explicitly prohibiting socioeconomic bias.

And there are documented examples of judges and SCBA cartel attorneys unlawfully using vexatious litigant and case management laws to prevent opposing parties from asserting their rights in court, and to obstruct the constitutional right of access to the courts. 

There also are documented cases of judges illegally arresting and jailing indigent, disabled litigants for contempt in cases where the opposing party is represented by a judge pro tem. Full-time judges also fail to make the conflict of interest disclosure to opposing parties required by law when a judge pro tem attorney appears in court.

Court administrators have implemented illegal policies and procedures that benefit cartel attorneys - who they meet with monthly to modify court policies and local court rules - and obstruct the court access and due process rights of unrepresented court users. State laws mandating the use of Notice of Entry of Judgment forms after court hearings resolving child custody, support and other appealable issues - which notify pro pers about appeal rights - are ignored.

The Family Law Facilitator dispenses false information to unwitting pro pers. Court clerks issue defective, useless fee waiver orders to the indigent. Appeals unit clerks "unfile" valid appeal notices filed by pro pers, while filing clerks let judge pro tem cartel attorneys file documents that violate state law, and that by law should be rejected for filing. Employee discipline polices go unenforced, and Court Executive Officer Chris Volkers stonewalls inquiries about the problems.

Natural & Probable Consequences: Dead Children

United States District Court Eastern District of California – Sacramento Federal Court – United States Courts - Judge William Shubb - Judge Edmund Brennan - Judge Garland Burrell Jr - Judge Carolyn Delaney - Judge Morrison England Jr - Judge Gregory Hollows - Judge John Mendez - Judge Kendall Newman - Judge Troy Nunley - Judge Allison Claire - Judge Dale Drozd - Judge Lawrence Karlton - Judge Kimberly Mueller – Office of the United States Attorneys Benjamin B. Wagner Eastern District of California, Victoria Henley Commission on Judicial Performance - Elaine M. Howle State Auditor - Hon. Robert C. Hight – Hon. Bunmi O. Awoniyi – Hon. Steven M. Gevercer – Hon. Tami R. Bogert – Hon. James M. Mize – Vance Raye - CJP Victoria B. Henley – Hon. Thadd A. Blizzard -California Supreme Court - kathryn werdegar – goodwin liu – marvin baxter – ming chin – joyce kennard – carol corrigan – tani cantil-sakauye – supreme court ca - Judge Sharon Lueras Sacramento County Superior Court - Jessica Hernandez - Hon. Sharon A. Lueras - Matthew HernandezJudge Kevin R. Culhane – Hon. Kevin R Culhane – Judge Kevin Culhane -
Unrepresented family court user Jessica Hernandez blames Judge 
Sharon Lueras for the death of her 9-year-old son Matthew.
Taking into account all of the above, the disgruntled litigant group also asserts that 9-year-old Matthew Hernandez is dead because his mother, Jessica Hernandez, was self-represented when she appeared before Judge Sharon Lueras in Sacramento Family Court. 

Lueras summarily denied Jessica's request for a change of custody to protect her son, who subsequently was murdered by his father. Had Jessica been represented by a cartel attorney, her request would have been rubber-stamped, the group charges.

In a similar incident, Al Salmen, the grandfather of 8-month-old Ryder Salmen, on national television told reporter Nancy Grace that his families request for a change of custody to protect Ryder also was summarily denied by Judge Lueras. Ryder later died from the ingestion of drug-laced breast milk. 

Al Salmen made the mistake of hiring a non-cartel, "outsider" attorney, according to the disgruntled litigant group. They claim to have statistical proof that non-cartel attorneys are routinely "hometowned" by Sacramento Family Court judges. Hometowning is where local, cartel attorneys who run the settlement conference program for the court receive preferential treatment from hometown judges.

The judge pro tem attorney-judge collusion is considered an anticompetitive, unlawful business practice which results in unfair competition in violation of state law, including the Unfair Business Practices Act, claim disgruntled litigants. The Act also protects the public from fraud, deceit, and unlawful conduct. For examples of "outsider" attorneys, including Stephen Gianelli of San Francisco, who were subjected to the hometown treatment in Sacramento Family Court, click here.

In an exclusive RoadDog interview, a genuine disgruntled litigant connected-the-dots:
"This corrupt system was set up by corrupt Judge Peter McBrien and has been going on for over 20 years, and the rest of the evidence is all there in court files, just like it was in Pennsylvania," a member of the disgruntled litigant's group explained.
"There is no place to run and no place to hide. To destroy the evidence, they would literally have to burn the courthouse to the ground. Once the feds start pulling the court files of cartel attorneys, tabulating favorable court orders and comparing them with other cases, the only question is who will be the first to cut a deal, like Judge Conahan in Pennsylvania did, and throw the rest of them under the bus," the group member added.
"They're running an emolument system; the pro tem attorneys hold judicial office, and as opportunities arise receive assorted emoluments - usually rubber-stamped court orders for clients - in exchange for doing the settlement program. Among other laws, that violates Penal Code §94, a state crime that also triggers federal jurisdiction over several federal crimes."
Judge Robert Hight – Judge Bunmi Awoniyi – Judge Steven Gevercer – Judge Tami Bogert – Judge James Mize – Vance Raye - Victoria Henley CJP - Judge Thadd Blizzard -The Honorable Joyce L. Kennard - The Honorable Marvin R. Baxter - The Honorable Kathryn M. Werdegar – Supreme Court of California - Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye -The Honorable Ming W. Chin The Honorable Carol A. Corrigan - The Honorable Goodwin Liu – The Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye -Current California Supreme Court Justices – Justice Cantil-Sakauye – California Supreme Court If true, the judge pro tem arrangement would constitute racketeering and conspiracy to deprive the public of the right to honest government services, among other crimes. Even peripheral players not involved but aware of the activity could go down for aiding and abetting, accessory after the fact, or misprision of felony.

RoadDog is sounding the alarm: The disgruntled litigants must be stopped before the shame of Pennsylvania is, like a communicable disease, transmitted to California. In early 2014, The Dog will propose an innovative legislative solution to cockblock the scurrilous objectives of the disgruntled litigant conspiracy. 

Two word hint: Retroactive Immunity. This conspiracy bent on besmirching the unimpeachable reputations of Sacramento Family Court judges, employees, administrators, and the selfless, devoted sworn temporary judges of the court must, and will be stopped.

For additional SFCN coverage of the people and issues in this post, click the corresponding labels below: