I think these are scenarios we call all relate to. Note this is a watchdog website and not mega media
RACKETEERING-HONEST SERVICES FRAUD
Sacramento County Family Law Court Operates as RICO Racketeering Enterprise, Charge Whistleblowers
|Whistleblowers allege that the family law division of
Sacramento Superior Court operates as a racketeering
enterprise similar to the Kids for Cash scheme uncovered
in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
The family court division of Sacramento Superior Court is controlled and operated by an illegal parallel government structure made up of local divorce lawyers who also work as part-time judges, court employees and clerks, and full-time judges, according to whistleblower leaked documents and court watchdogs.
The shadow government is without the same transparency and accountabilityrequired of legitimate Judicial Branch agencies, and meets the legal definitionof 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 for violations of state judicial ethics laws.
Court watchdogs assert that many current and former Sacramento County judges have direct or indirect ties to the corruption, including James Mize, Matthew Gary, Jaime Roman, Thadd Blizzard, Vance Raye, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Thomas Cecil and Dave Sterling.
Some judges were active participants or effectively facilitated the racketeering as accessories, while others – including virtually every judge assigned to the family law division over the last 20 years – knew or should have known that systemic lawbreaking,institutionalized socioeconomic bias, and criminal activity were occurring, yet turned ablind eye and failed to report the misconduct to oversight authorities, whistleblowers charge.
Judge Peter McBrien quietly retired in 2014 and, due to his prior CJP misconduct convictions, is prohibited from continuing to work as a retired judge, according to formerCJP prosecutor and current Lake County Superior Court Judge Andrew Blum.
But, using a loophole in state law and his local court administration contacts, before he retired McBrien arranged to be immediately rehired as a court commissioner by personal friend and Sacramento Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Hight, according to a court employee whistleblower. Currently, McBrien remains on the bench in virtually the same role he maintained as a judge.
As detailed later in this report, the alleged corruption is so pervasive that the family law division of Sacramento Superior Court was featured in the 2014 documentary filmDivorce Corp. The movie documented family court corruption throughout the United States and designated Sacramento County as one of the most corrupt family courts in the nation.
Rubber-Stamped Court Orders
|The 2014 documentary film Divorce Corp designated Sacramento County as
one of the most corrupt divorce and family law courts in the United States.
Court whistleblowers assert that divorce lawyers in the organization receivepreferential treatment, “kickbacks,” and other forms of compensationfrom judges, court employees and clerksbecause they volunteer to work as part-time judges and run the family court settlement conference program on behalf of the court.
The kickbacks usually consist of “rubber-stamped” court ordersissued when the attorneys file motions while representing clients in court.
Court records show that the reciprocal quid pro quo agreement also includes the rubber-stamped denial, and even summary denial of motions filed by opposing parties, and especially unrepresented opposing parties who are indigent or disabled, or both.
The orders consistently are contrary to established law, and the rulings go far beyond the boundaries of, and cannot be attributed to the exercise of judicial discretion. The orders themselves often are deliberately structured without facts, law, or findings, effectively making any potential appeal futile under two legal principles called the “doctrine of implied findings,” and the “presumption of correctness.”
The orders clearly are illegal as a matter of law, according to court reform advocates, “outsider” attorneys, and the law practice reference publications used by judges and lawyers. SFCN has posted examples of the orders online at Scribd and other document publishing sites. Order links are provided throughout this report.
Shooting Fish in a Barrel
The Sacramento County Bar Association openly
acknowledges its unorthodox relationship with
the family law division of Sacramento Superior Court.
Statistical case sampling data compiled by Sacramento Family Court News reveals that, when compared to other counties, Sacramento County has a significantly higher proportion of family court divorce cases where only one side has an attorney, despite state lawsmandating a “level playing field” – meaning both sides have a lawyer – where the marital community income and assets make legal representation economically feasible.
An important component of the alleged racketeering scheme is keeping pro per parties disadvantaged by preventing them from obtaining counsel. Oral and written requests for attorney fee funds are one of the most often denied, or ignored, motions made by pro pers.
Whistleblowers emphasize that it is hard tooverstate the significance of this specific benefit provided under the reciprocal agreement between judges and judge pro tem attorneys. Divorce lawyers liken winning cases against pro per parties to shooting fish in a barrel. Both state and federal courts have long mocked and derided attorneys who represent themselves in court as having a “fool for a client,” especially in emotionally charged divorce cases.
Published decisional law makes clear that if lawyers – who have formal education and training in the law – are fools for attempting to represent themselves in court, indigent and disabled family court pro pers with no education or training in the law have virtually no chance of prevailing against an experienced family law attorney.
Yet this manifestly unfair power imbalance goes unacknowledged, and is in fact facilitatedby many Sacramento Family Court judges, according to whistleblower leaked court records and court reform advocates.
Racketeering Scheme Targets Divorce Cases Where Only One Side Has a Lawyer
Most of the demonstrablyunlawful orders are issued against indigent, or financially disadvantaged “pro per” parties without an attorney. Manypro per litigants – who make up over 70 percent of court users – also are disabled.
In most cases, pro pers – who have little or no knowledge of family law – are unaware that the orders issued against them are illegal. In addition, court clerks and employees are trained or encouraged to intentionally, and illegally mislead unrepresented parties about their appeal rights. Pro pers who do attempt to file an appeal are forced to navigate a gauntlet of unlawful obstructions erected by court employees and trial court judges, and most eventually give up.
Further handicapping pro pers, when representing clients in court judge pro tem lawyers are allowed to obstruct an opposing parties’ court access and ability to file documents through the court-sanctioned misuse of vexatious litigant law and Family Code case management law, according to whistleblowers and court records. The illegal litigation tactic effectively deprives pro per litigants of their constitutional right of access to the courts, a violation of federal law.
In exchange for acting as sworn temporary judges, operating the settlement program and reducing the caseload and workload of judges and court employees, the attorneys also receive preferential trial scheduling, an unlawful “emolument, gratuity or reward” prohibited by Penal Code § 94.
The ultimate consequences of the systemic divorce court corruption include one-sided divisions of community property, illegal child custody arrangements and the deprivation of parental rights, and unlawful child and spousal support terms.
Court reform advocates also assert that the racketeering enterprise enables rampant fee churning and unjust enrichment by judge pro tem divorce lawyers, results in pro perfinancial devastation, homelessness, and imprisonment, and has caused, or contributed toat least two child deaths.
Years of illegal, pay-to-play child custody orders have resulted in the formation of several Sacramento-based court reform and oversight organizations, including Fathers 4 Justice,California Protective Parents Association, and the Family Court Accountability Coalition. The same family court watchdog group phenomenon has not occurred in any other county in the state.
During three days of sworn testimony at his Commission on Judicial Performance misconduct prosecution, Judge Peter McBrien inadvertently revealed aspects of an alleged RICO racketeering enterprise operating in the Sacramento County family court system.
Reducing the Caseload and Workload of Judges and Court Staff in Exchange for Kickbacks
One objective of the allegedly illegal public-private partnership is to significantly reduce the caseload, and workload of full-time judges by having private sector lawyers – instead of judges or court staff – operate the settlement program, according to watchdogs.
At the settlement conferences, judge pro tem attorneys pressure divorcing couples to settle cases so they won’t use the trial court services, including law and motion hearings, ordinarily required to resolve a contested divorce.
In many cases, two lawyers – one acting as a temporary judge – with social and professional ties team up against an unrepresented pro per to compel one-sided settlement terms. Accounts of coercive and deceptive tactics are common.
In sworn testimony during his judicial misconduct prosecution by the Commission on Judicial Performance, Judge McBrien inadvertently revealed that an incredible 90 percent of cases assigned to his courtroom settled. “And so I, frankly, have a very light calendar on law and motion mornings,” the judge added.
Under the quid pro quo agreement, in exchange for reducing the workload of judges and court staff, as opportunities arise the temporary judge attorneys are provided reciprocalkickbacks, gratuities, or emoluments when representing clients in court. The issuance and receipt of the reciprocal benefits violates several state and federal criminal, and civil laws.
Reciprocal benefits include the issuance of demonstrably illegal court orders that have ignored, and even authorized criminal conduct by judge pro tem attorneys and their clients, including criminal child abduction.
In one case, a judge ordered the illegal arrest and assault of a disabled pro per to benefit the opposing, part-time judge attorney. A court employee whistleblower leaked acourtroom security video of the incident. The judge pro tem lawyer subsequently was caught on court reporter transcript defending the judge and lying about the arrest and assault, portraying the disabled victim as being at fault.
The consistent, statistically impossible in-court success rate of judge pro tem attorneys has provided them prominence, client referrals, wealth, and a substantial monopoly on the Sacramento County divorce and family law business. Whistleblowers point out that this benefit of the alleged criminal organization also implicates consumer protection andantitrust laws, including the California Unfair Business Practices Act.
Racketeering Scheme Immunizes Members from Government Oversight and Accountability
Case audits conducted by SFCN show that judge pro tem attorneys routinely violate state law, court rules, and attorney ethics rules, but are never reported to the State Bar, or assessed fines, penalties or “sanctions” by full-time judges as required by state law.
Pro pers who attempt to report judge pro tem attorney misconduct to the State Bar are told they need a court order from a judge before a disciplinary investigation against an opposing attorney can take place. There are no known instances where a judge issued such an order.
Court records leaked by whistleblowers also indicate that the under quid pro quo agreement, judges effectively shield attorneys from criminal investigation and prosecution for alleged crimes, including witness intimidation, child abduction, filing counterfeit documents, and violations of state and federal civil rights laws.
On the other hand, at the request of cartel attorneys, pro per litigants are routinely punished by judges with illegal fines, draconian financial sanctions, and other types of punishment to discourage them from returning to court, and to coerce them to accept settlement terms dictated by the opposing judge pro tem lawyers.
Attorneys provide judges reciprocal protection by not reporting the judicial misconduct,Code of Judicial Ethics violations, and criminal conduct committed by full-time judge cartel members. And the lawyers do more.
To help conceal and ensure the continuity of the enterprise, on the rare occasion when full-time judges do face investigation by the Commission on Judicial Performance, members of the cartel provide false, misleading, or otherwise gratuitous character witness testimony and other forms of support for the offending judge. The testimony and support is designed to, and does reduce or eliminate potential punishment by the CJP, ensuring judge members remain on the bench.
Racketeering Conduct of Court Clerks, Supervisors and the Family Law Facilitator
The racketeering activity includes startling coordination, kickbacks, and pattern and practice misconduct by court clerks, supervisors, and the Family Law Facilitator office. Court clerks routinely refuse to file legally sufficient paperwork for pro per parties, while at the same time filing legally insufficient, and even counterfeit paperwork – which they are required by law to reject for filing – for judge pro tem attorneys.
In some cases, judges and court clerks work in tandem toprevent pro per parties from filing documents at court hearings for the benefit of judge pro tems, deliberately creating an incomplete and inaccurate trial court record in the event the pro per files an appeal.
Court records show that clerks also deliberately withhold and delay the filing of time sensitive pro per documents until after filing deadlines have expired.
Family Law Facilitator staff provide pro per litigants with false information designed to conceal state law violations by court clerks and supervisors. Judges regularly provide attorneys with written legal advice and “bench tips.” When pro pers ask facilitator staff for similar information, they are told that facilitator employees are prohibited from giving legal advice.