Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chief Justice Charged with Ignoring, Concealing Systemic Corruption in California Courts

California 3rd District Court of Appeal Judge Vance Raye - Judge George Nicholson Third District Appeallate Court Sacramento Judge Cole Blease, Judge Ronald Robie, California Supreme Court Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Leondra Kruger, Mariano Cuellar, Ming Chin, Goodwin Liu, Carol Corrigan, Kathryn Werdegar, Supreme Court of California - Judicial Council of California - California Commission on Judicial Performance Victoria B. Henley Director CJP Chief Counsel
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.

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. 

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.

The beginning of the Sacramento Superior Court investigative report, published by the California Judicial Branch News Network, is reprinted below:   
"As many of the articles on our main page reflect, Sacramento Superior Court whistleblowers and watchdogs contend that a "cartel" of local family law attorneys receive kickbacks and other forms of preferential treatment from family court judgesadministrators and employees. 
The lawyers receive an assortment of illegal kickbacks because they are members of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Sectionwork as part-time judgesand run the family court settlement conference program on behalf of the court. 
The kickbacks usually consist of "rubber-stamped" court orders which are contrary to established law, and cannot be attributed to the exercise of judicial discretion. Most of the illegal orders are issued against indigent, or financially disadvantaged "pro per" parties without an attorney. Many of the pro pers also are disabled
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 assert the racketeering enterprise also has resulted in pro per homelessness, and caused, or contributed to at least two child deaths
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. 
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 and child abduction. 
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.

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