16 July 2015

Whistleblowers Blame Systemic Statewide Court Corruption on Judicial Council Chair Tani Cantil-Sakauye

Supreme Court Chief Justice Implicated in California Court Corruption Epidemic

Judge James Mize, Judge Robert Hight, Sacramento County, Supreme Court of California, Justice Leondra R Kruger, Justice Mariano Florentino Cuellar, Justice Goodwin H Liu, Justice Carol A Corrigan, Justice Ming W Chin, Justice Kathryn M Werdegar, Justice Tani G Cantil Sakauye, Supreme Court of California, Judicial Council of California, Commission on Judicial Performance, California Supreme Court, Victoria Henley CJP, Janice M Brickley - 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
California Judicial Branch watchdogs allege that Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is responsible for a court corruption epidemic sweeping the state. 

Case Fixing Scandal, Racketeering Scheme, Whistleblower Retaliation Attributed to Leadership of Judicial Council Chair Tani Cantil-Sakauye 


Sacramento Family Court News has published an exhaustive, investigative report alleging that a criminal organization involving judges and local attorneys operates within the Sacramento County family law court system. The report is the latest allegation that corruption has reached epidemic levels in California courts.

Court whistleblowers and watchdogs charge that California Judicial Council Chair Tani Cantil-Sakauye has used her position to quash investigations into the alleged criminal conduct of her former coworkers in Sacramento Superior Court, and the adjacent, and troubled 3rd District Court of Appeal.

To continue reading, click Read more >> below: 


Judge James Mize, Judge Robert Hight, Sacramento County, Supreme Court of California, Justice Leondra R Kruger, Justice Mariano Florentino Cuellar, Justice Goodwin H Liu, Justice Carol A Corrigan, Justice Ming W Chin, Justice Kathryn M Werdegar, Justice Tani G Cantil Sakauye, Supreme Court of California, Judicial Council of California, Commission on Judicial Performance, California Supreme Court, Victoria Henley CJP, Janice M Brickley
California court whistleblowers assert that federal law enforcement
is the only remaining oversight authority available to clean up
corruption in the state's court system.
Under the leadership of Cantil-Sakauye, the Judicial Council has been besieged by controversy, including a scathing state audit showing financial and operational mismanagement, and allegations by the Center forJudicial Excellence that the agency ignores criminal conduct by court clerks and judges throughout the state. 

Mismanagement of the agency by Cantil-Sakauye - a former Sacramento County criminal prosecutor with no formal education in public policy and administration - is so consistently inept that a dedicated website, Judicial Council Watcher, tracks and reports the seemingly endless stream of problems and scandals.  

Last year, Cantil-Sakauye was caught on camera by ABC News10 in Sacramento and San Diego using the California Highway Patrol as a personal limo and security service at taxpayer expense.

And a recent statewide traffic court scandal confirmed the charge by whistleblowers that only negative media attention seems to compel Cantil-Sakauye to initiate action to correct otherwise under-the-radar Judicial Branch problems. 

A year after the San Francisco-based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights first raised the alarm that traffic courts throughout the state were using exorbitant fines, penalties and driver license suspensions to raise money - trapping the poor into long cycles of poverty - the chief justice finally gave the issue her undivided attention.   

But not until after the Judicial Branch was thoroughly embarrassed by national, state and local media reports from the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesKQED News, NPRCBS MoneyWatch, KGO-TVthe California Report, Sacramento BeeKCBS Radio, San Francisco Chronicle, KCRWModesto Bee, SF Examiner, East Bay Express, ThinkProgress, KQED Forum, KGO Radio, LA Weekly, The Christian Science Monitor, and other news outlets
3rd District Court of Appeal – Sacramento –Vance Raye - Cole Blease – Ronald Robie – William  Murray Jr. – George Nicolson – Kathleen Butz – Elena Duarte – Harry Hull – Louis Mauro – Andrea Hoch – Third District Court of Appeal California - Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Ming Chin, Carol Corrigan, Leondra Kruger, Goodwin Liu,  Kathryn Werdegar, State Bar, Chief Trial Counsel, Jayne Kim, California, Commission on Judicial Performance, Victoria Henley, Judicial Council, Attorney General, Kamala Harris, Judicial Branch,
California court watchdogs assert that only negative media coverage compels Judicial Council Chair Tani Cantil-Sakauye to take action to mitigate - instead of cover up - serious problems in the state court system.

Over a year after the problems first came to light, but within weeks after the nationwide media coverage began, the Judicial Council issued a press release announcing "emergency action." 
"Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye today announced that she is asking the Judicial Council to take emergency action to adopt a rule of court to facilitate access to justice for court users challenging traffic fines," the release began.
In addition to this immediate action by the council, the Commission on the Future of California's Court System, appointed by the Chief Justice, is taking a broader look at effective public access to California's courts, including traffic proceedings and the impact of mandatory and discretionary fines, fees, and penalties on court users."   
The 12-month chronology - from inaction, to emergency action one year later - reaffirms that egregious court corruption in California is ignored, if not concealed by the Judicial Council unless and until the pressure of mainstream media reports force the agency to act.    

The chief justice also has been linked to the failed Federalist Society campaign to invalidate the Affordable Health Care Act in the recently decided U.S. Supreme Court case King v. Burwell.

In the latest scandal, the Judicial Council is accused of inaction and failing to investigate an alleged racketeering enterprise in Sacramento County. “Once again, the Judicial Council is turning a blind eye to documented corruption taking place in the state superior courts,” said Judicial Branch watchdog Ulf Carlsson.
“The recent, massive case-fixing scandal discovered by the FBI in Orange County Superior Court shows, again, that the Judicial Branch is incapable of policing itself,” Carlsson said. “Federal law enforcement is the only effective enforcement mechanism available to end this statewide corruption epidemic.”

Documentary Film Reveals Judicial Council Oversight of State Trial Courts Nonexistent

In the 2014 documentary film Divorce Corp, former Nevada County Superior Court employee and whistleblower Emily Gallup described her nightmarish experience when she attempted to report to the Judicial Council systemic problems at the court, including serial violations of state law by court employees.

Sacramento Federal Court Eastern District of California – United States Courts, US District Court Sacramento, Judge William B. Shubb, Judge Edmund F. Brennan, Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr, Judge Carolyn K. Delaney, Judge Morrison C. England Jr, Judge Gregory G. Hollows, Judge John A. Mendez, Judge Kendall J. Newman, Judge Troy L. Nunley, Judge Allison Claire, Judge Dale A. Drozd, Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner, Judge Robert Hight
The documentary film Divorce Corp designated Sacramento
County as the most corrupt court in the United States.
To view a clip from Divorce Corp featuring the Gallup interview, click here. After she was fired for whistleblowing, Gallup subsequently brought a successful wrongful termination lawsuit against the court, which included a jury award for $313,206.

The documentary, which cataloged court corruption throughout the United States, designated the Sacramento County family court system as the most corrupt in the country.

“The Orange County case is the proverbial tip of the iceberg,“ Carlsson added. ”The corruption in Sacramento County is exponentially worse.”

At least two child deaths have been linked to the Sacramento problems, according to news reports. In 2009, court employee turned whistleblower James Locke revealed, and attempted to correct systemic problems at the court. He received the same response as Gallup: court supervisors orchestrated Locke’s termination.

In the process of trying to draw attention to the serial lawbreaking by court employees, Locke brought the issues to the state legislature, testifying before a judicial panel. Shortly thereafter, outraged Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jerilyn Borack told Locke “You’re dead,“ according to a report by the Sacramento Bee.

Like Gallup, Locke successfully sued the court and won an undisclosed settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Taxpayers footed the substantial bills for both the Gallup and Locke settlements, including litigation costs.

Cantil-Sakauye Charged with Cronyism - Protecting Former Coworkers in Sacramento

Judicial Council Chair and Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye previously was a judge in Sacramento County, and an Associate Justice at the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. The Third District also has severe corruption problems, according to an investigative news report.

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 -attorney Charlotte L. Keeley - family law - divorce - 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
Court watchdogs allege that former 3rd District Court of
Appeal Justice Arthur G. Scotland played a key role in
concealing a racketeering enterprise in Sacramento
Superior Court.
 
Shortly after she was promoted from the 3rd District to the Supreme Court, Cantil-Sakauye personally blocked a Supreme Court petition for review that challenged as unconstitutional several irregular appeal policies unique to the 3rd District. 

Despite a conflict of interest that, by law, required her to disqualify herself from the case, Cantil-Sakauye summarily dismissed the petition, preventing the rest of the court from considering the claims.    

“Cantil-Sakauye is using her position of authority to cover up the long-running misconduct of her former colleagues in both courts,” Carlsson charged.

Excerpts of the Sacramento Superior Court investigative report, published by the California Judicial Branch News Network, are reprinted below:  
"The family court division of Sacramento Superior Court is controlled and operated by an illegal parallel government structure made up of judges, court employees, and local divorce attorneys who also work as temporary judges, according to allegations and document leaks by court employee whistleblowers and watchdog groups.
The shadow government is without the same transparency and accountability required of legitimate Judicial Branch agencies, and meets the legal definition of a criminal racketeering enterprise, whistleblowers charge.
The alleged criminal organization reportedly has operated for more than 20 years under the direction of long-controversial Judge Peter McBrien, who has a prior Sacramento County criminal conviction and two misconduct convictions by the state Commission on Judicial Performance...
...The alleged criminal conduct also deprives victims of their state and federal constitutional rights, including due process, equal protection of law, access to the courts, and the fundamental liberty interest in the care, management and companionship of their own children, according to several "outsider" attorneys.  

Court watchdogs charge that the settlement conference kickback arrangement between the public court and private sector attorneys constitutes a racketeering enterprise which also deprives the public of the federally protected right to honest government services

The alleged federal crimes also include the theft, misuse, or conversion of federal funds received by the court, predicate acts of mail or wire fraudand predicate state law crimes, including obstruction of justice, child abductionand receipt of an illegal emolument, gratuity, or reward  by a judicial officer (Penal Code § 94). 

With the help of court employee whistleblowers, Sacramento Family Court News has partially reconstructed the framework of the alleged criminal enterprise that, in scale and scope, rivals the Kids for Cash court scandal in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and the Orange County Superior Court case-fixing corruption scheme recently exposed by the FBI."
To continue reading the rest of the investigative report, visit the Judge Pro Tem Racketeering page at Sacramento Family Court News.

For additional reporting on Judicial Council of California controversy, visit Judicial Council Watcher.

For additional reporting on court corruption in California, visit the Center for Judicial Excellence.