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“What’s Money got to do with it?” (Calif. legislators & Judges at play…)

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This was the original post, which got overly supplemented, shall I say, as I began to look into the corporate structures of a certain Family Justice Center, and found that it’s corporate status shows 0 income (or boards of directors) although it has one heck of a public profile.

And that the millions of $$ it got for funding (being very well-connected politically throughout) went instead to a previous nonprofit, Family VIolence Law Center, whose character, apparently, morphed to accommodate what types of activities the funding was (and was not) available for.  For example, probably not anything critiquing the family law system, given that its Executive Director Cheryl N. Allison, Esq., was a former (or still?) family law attorney.

While this had been meant to simply illustrate a different example (of croynism — what else?) — I realize the tendency to want to back up posts with current information generally just gives me another project to investigate.

This post should be paired with the previous one, and the common link (how I started looking into these matters) was just simply me following up on Kids’ Turn and finding out what an amazing collection of supporters and endorsers this one nonprofit has.   It’s a lesson in local government, too.

Well, perhaps there’s some good data in here also….  Happy Memorial Day Weekend.  Do you know where your kids are?

What’s Money Got to do with it?

It’s MOSTLY about Money, behind the curtains.


Today on the news, we read that no, the freeze public employee salaries over $150K bill  (unlike the Kids’ Turn, excuse me “parenting education program”) will not breeze through and get signed into law.  Funny, there was no real problem retroactively granting immunity for double-dipping judges payments, in SBX2-11, which addressed Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles.

Retroactive Immunity is Repugnant to basic principles of the rule of law. (this article cites strong rebuke from Robert Kennedy (yes, brother of JFK) to retroactive immunity violating anti-trust law, by a six-bank merger).

When a lot of money is involved, suddenly the legal system becomes quite, er, ‘flexible.”  The SBX2-11 dealt with California Judges who already received $178K salaries.  It dealt with the case Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles.

End of 2008

Here’s an article that came out the day after Christmas, 2008, explaining the situation briefly:

California Judges to Lose Perks; Some May Leave State

Fri, Dec 26, 2008

California Supreme Court

(that’s the California Supreme Court, above….)

The California Supreme Court has voted unanimously not to review Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, which means judges in the nation’s largest county may lose up to $50,000 a year in perks.

The decision lets stand a lower court ruling that could void Los Angeles County’s 20-year practice of supplementing judges’ $178,000 salaries and state-provided benefits with perks that amount to almost $50 grand a year.

The ruling by San Diego’s 4th District Court of Appeal held thatthe practice violated the state Constitution’s requirement that the Legislature “prescribe compensation for judges.” County-funded judicial perks occur in many of the state’s 58 counties, but LA’s appear to be the most lucrative.

Judicial advocates say the state already has trouble attracting judges to the bench, with salaries that often pale in comparison to those of major law firms.

The benefits package includes travel and professional development allowances that judges can take in cash, as well as additional contributions to retirement accounts.

Some California judges have threatened to leave the state if the perks are cut.

“You want my inestimable services?  Gimme back my perks!”

Maybe they’ll head off to New York now  (Dec. 2010)

Gov. Paterson Finally Signs the Bill that Will Raise NY Judges’ Benefits

2009

Here’s SBX 211 as chaptered in FEB 2009:

Senate Bill No. 11

CHAPTER 9

An act to add Sections 68220, 68221, and 68222 to the Government Code, relating to judges.

[Approved by Governor February 20, 2009. Filed with Secretary of State February 20, 2009.]

legislative counsel’s digest

SB 11, Steinberg. Judges: employment benefits.

The California Constitution requires the Legislature to prescribe compensation for judges of courts of record. Existing law authorizes a county to deem judges and court employees as county employees for purposes of providing employment benefitsThese provisions were held unconstitutional as an impermissible delegation of the obligation of the Legislature to prescribe the compensation of judges of courts of record.

(note:  no mention made of the obvious conflicts of interest when the county is a party to the case, as L.A. County tends to be) (Another  situation in which it seems a County is a clearly party to the case — Child Support cases.  Any parent here been to a child support hearing?  Was there the other parent and a 3rd party, representing the local county child support agency?  However, this bill doesn’t address conflict of interest as a reason the payments were unconstitutional….but “improper delegation” of a legislative obligation.)

This bill would provide that judges who received supplemental judicial benefits provided by a county or court, or both, as of July 1, 2008, shall continue to receive supplemental benefits from the county or court then paying the benefits on the same terms and conditions as were in effect on that date. . . . .

The bill would authorize a county to terminate its obligation to provide benefits upon providing 180 days’ [6 months..] written notice to the Administrative Director of the Courts and the impacted judges, but that termination would not be effective as to any judge during his or her current term while that judge continues to serve as a judge in that court or, at the election of the county, when that judge leaves office.

It was wrong — unconstitutional — but if a county [california has 58 counties] WANTS to stop engaging in this illegal behavior — they can’t correct the situation towards any judge while that judge is serving, including if the county calls him/her back (i.e., functioning from retirement, which judges often do) either.  So, basically, only after it becomes a truly moot point can the county act to stop this (conflict of interest) unconstitutional behavior towards its own judges.

The bill also would authorize the county to elect to provide benefits for all judges in that county.

The practice is unconstitutional and is making it virtually impossible to win a case against a county?  Too bad — we just legalized it!

The bill would require the Judicial Council to report to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Budget, and both the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary on or before December 31, 2009, analyzing the statewide benefits inconsistencies.

Great.  That’s really exciting, that the Judicial Council (which I’m sure knew about the situation anyhow) has to write some reports and doing a statewide analysis (more costs for taxpayers)

This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of the bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.

That’s a lot of words, so I will simply spell it out for us.  “Retroactive Immunity for Unconstitutional Behavior.”

Next item of business after granting retroactive immunity was “get rid of Fine” (before he does any more damage). ….

California state salary freeze bill hits dead end — again

Thumbnail image for 110413 Portantino.jpg

A bill that would freeze pay for the highest-paid state workers stalled today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, effectively killing it.

The 15-member committee held Assembly Bill 7, a measure that Assemblyman Anthony Portantino , D-La Cañada Flintridge, puts up every session. Holding his legislation in committee killed it, since today is the deadline for fiscal committees to send bills out for chamber floor votes.

The measure would have frozen pay increases until Jan. 1, 2014, for any state employees whose base pay is more than $150,000 a year. It would have applied to workers in the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government, appointees to state boards and commissions and employees of the California State University system. It wouldn’t apply to University of California employees, although it urges the system to play along.

CalPERS, CalSTRS and the UC system have objected, saying the freeze would hurt recruiting and retaining top-flight employees.

Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2011/05/california-state-worker-salary-freeze.html#ixzz1NfEby2sX

(see my notice bottom right on “Fair Use” as to copyrights, please.  This article is very relevant to my readers, some of who are having their wages garnished through custody actions, and are learning that very little accounting has been given for federal funds to state which are supposedly helping them with child support and custody actions…)

Retroactive Immunity for Unconstitutional Judicial Benefits that prejudice the court system — and jail for the whistleblower in that matter, although the whistle obviously was appropriate to blow in the situation.

No Freeze on exorbitant salaries for public employees already making $150K because we know that, obviously (see judges, legislators) that a high salary attracts the most qualified and best candidates for public positions.

Let’s back up in this Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles Case a little bit.

SBX 211 showed it was illegal, unconstitutional — but only because the state was supposed to handle the salaries not because, say, it created any conflict of interest.  Richard Fine gets tossed in jail and disbarred (not the typical “handslap” some judges get for misbehavior, or attorneys.  He’d seriously offended some sensibilities by taking on this case, and the child support stash scandal called “Silva v. Garcetti” (which — dropped off the map, or what?).

Now they are going to be the good guys again, summer 2009.  Source, “JDJOURNAL.com”

Los Angeles County Judges Take Voluntary Pay Cut

Tue, Aug 18, 2009

HomeJusticeMoney

Taking a cue from their brethren and sistren in Delaware, Los Angeles County judges have volunteered to give up one day’s pay per month, as other court employees deal with involuntary salary cuts.

The judges are each giving up around $688 each month, saving the County $3 million a year. Under the state constitution, judicial officers’ salaries cannot be reduced during their term.

All but seven of the court’s 430 judges are participating.

Written by Let's Get Honest

May 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm

7 Responses

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  1. This post is a placeholder, at least for me, to follow up on. See, if we don’t understand the Sturgeon v. Los Angeles and Silva v. Garcetti situations (and how our government — in CA — handled it) we are missing a major opportunity to clean up our government and free up — I hope — productive life time for your basic citizens.

    The country’s going down the tubes anyhow, and the US$ value is sinking. But I hope that readers may — when they get some understanding — find within themselves an alternate attitude to, say, groveling, being overly trusting (that public servants are properly doing THEIR business, seeing as you are likely doing yours….), or running around seeking help (which is like putting out a high-pitched whistle for vultures).

    Certain categories of professional people do business, ah, “differently.” We would have “Healthier Marriages” altogether if more of us understood the financial underpinnings of what are supposed to be separate government and nonprofit groups.

    There is no question (in my mind) by now that a LOT more money is circulating among public entities as un-accounted for cash simply because no one is putting the pressure on.

    The public can gain some skills (I have, though it took me years to get to the point of considering this basic citizenship and MOST important). We can demand an accounting of our own officials and agencies, we can do it with courtesy, legally — and we can teach our kids (if we have contact with them) that, whatever an official may say, who’s paying whom may say something entirely different. Both languages must be spoken.

    familycourtmatters

    May 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

  2. This link may belong on a different post, but in scrolling through California Bills (alpha by who proposed them) I found a corresponding one to revise the Donahue Higher Education Act (governing post-secondary institutions run by the state, in California) to make sure gender expression is included as part of Gender Identity on anti-discrimination policies, and that anti-bullying (around this) procedures and rules are in place.

    http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_620/20112012/
    It’s interesting that two arms can be “required” but the Regents (i.e., “rulers/kings”) of the University of California can only be “requested” to make certain adjustments.

    Here is part of it:
    “(1)Existing law, known as the Donahoe Higher Education Act, establishes the missions and functions of the 3 segments of public postsecondary education in the state, which are the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges. The provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act apply to the University of California only to the extent that the Regents of the University of California, by resolution, make them applicable.
    Existing provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act require the Regents of the University of California, the Trustees of the California State University, and the governing boards of community college districts to adopt or provide for the adoption of rules and regulations governing student behavior, known as rules of student conduct.
    This bill would require the Trustees of the California State University and the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, and would request the Regents of the University of California, to adopt policies on harassment, intimidation, and bullying to be included within the rules of student conduct governing their respective segments of public postsecondary education.

    (2)The Equity in Higher Education Act, which is a part of the Donahoe Higher Education Act, provides that it is the policy of the state to afford all persons, regardless of disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or other specified bases, equal rights and opportunities in the postsecondary institutions of the state. For these purposes, the act defines “gender” to include gender identity.
    This bill would revise the definition of gender to include “gender expression” and require each segment of public postsecondary education to develop and implement professional development and awareness training programs to, among other things, train faculty with respect to generating an inclusive curriculum, address harassment of individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity, train campus public safety officers about hate crimes and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and train financial aid advisers with respect to financial assistance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. The bill would request each of the segments to designate an employee at each of their respective campuses to address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faculty, staff, and students, and to share demographic information collected by the segments regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC).

    The bill would require the CPEC to conduct an assessment of the campuses of each of the segments of public postsecondary education to develop recommendations to improve the quality of life on those campuses for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faculty, staff, and students, and to publish a summary of those recommendations on its Internet Web site.

    The bill would require the CPEC to convene focus groups to address student needs and to develop a best practices list for improving quality of life for, and addressing the concerns of, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faculty, staff, and students. The bill would authorize the CPEC to provide training to administrators of each of the segments based on the best practices list.”

    CPEC. To control education is to control a populace. This is why the courts are another forum to continually “educate” parents, and of course it’s a great business to be in as a trainer, or as a “train the trainer” (appropriate for dogs, don’t you think?) option. Translation? Control.

    Meanwhile, Washington, and Faith-Based groups (among others) insist on training us — simultaneously — that the real cause of social problems is that too many children are not growing up with their (biological) fathers in their lives, which results in poverty, abuse, and all kinds of trouble later on. To solve this government was restructured so that EVERYONE gets the message that there is, indeed, a gender priority (to promote fatherhood endlessly and not be able to mention “motherhood” I’d say is a priority) and that fathers are worth more than mothers.

    Either way, the professional coaches & trainers are on the winning team. If they are funded by the public, so much the better until someone wises up and opts out of financially supporting this huge superstructure of indoctrinators.

    LetsGetHonest

    May 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

  3. Under the Fair Political Practices Act (FPPA) the purpose of the Form 700 is to ensure transparency in elections and alert the public to conflicts of interest. Here’s a preview of the show later on:

    “Elections § 14—Campaign Financing—Statements—Commingling Funds.—Campaign statements are mandated by the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Gov. Code, §§ 84200–84216.5) and require disclosure of detailed information about receipts and disbursements of money by a campaign committee. They are the primary means of providing transpar ency in connection with election finances; they directly implement one of the primary purposes of the act—to ensure that receipts and expendi- tures in election campaigns be fully and truthfully disclosed in order that the voters may be fully informed and improper practices may be inhibited (Gov. Code, § 81002, subd. (a)). ”

    More here:
    http://cjp.ca.gov/res/docs/s_c_cites/Hall_49_Cal.4th_CJP_Supp._146.pdf

    Here is what I have to say about the San Francisco Courts. Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein was handed a HOT MESS when McBride left [who was arrested on DV charges himself I believe for beating his wife.] For as much crap as the media gives Judge Feinstein, I give her credit for making the effort to clean up. She fired the commissioners, and that was the right thing to do because these are county officers presiding over county cases. And they were creating county programs in the court with the untraceable grants which cost the county a fortune because they thrive off conflict, then clog up dockets.

    If Judge Feinstein does not want you to have something, she does not have to because there are few consequences for someone whose mother ran SF and now sits on the Senate Judiciary and Administrative Committees. One of the main reasons the Superior Court had to CUT 200 employees, and now they have no money is that the court is forced to pay these County “fringe benefits” to the SF judges “if they elect to take them.” You either take illegal payments or you do not. $364″fringe benefits” biweekly x 20 family law judges is a lot of salaries. LOTS.

    {{LGH comments: Judges are paid ***from the state***; some get fringe benefits ***from the County.*** Then, go figure, if you have a case involving someone from the County. Note: ANY child support case — i.e. most family law cases — likely involves the county, as child support is, by federal Title IV law, administered by a STATEwide distribution unit, and LOCAL child support agencies, i.e., county-paid professionals. Go figure! Also see Richard Fine, the money trail, on this one!}}

    Unlike most courts, Judge Feinstein rose to the occassion and actually has started taking a stand on the issue. She fired the commissioners. I would love to see some of the old guard go too. What I can tell you is that Judge Patrick J. Mahoney and Judge Lillian K. Sing made out like bandits with their “salaries” from San Francisco County while the litigants before them missed out on things like…Properly processed paperwork.

    This year, Judge Mahoney [who presides over child support, Juvenile Court, and oh yes, KIDS’Turn] raked in almost $4,000 from his part time “salary” from the county. And did he claim this venture on his Form 700, you know, to let all the foster kids and parents paying child support know that he himself IS A PARTY TO THEIR CASE, so perhaps he should recuse himself? And in 2010 when Claire Barnes bragged in KidsTurn’s annual report that they were applying for Access and Visitation grants*** directly from Judge Mahoney’s Unified Family Court, should he have piped up about the conflict? Did his Kids’Turn venture go on the Form 700? NOPE.

    [**LGH comment. If people don’t know how systems work, it’s easy to just brag on whatever one is doing. Right Now KT SF is operating on a suspended corporate status, and KT San Diego on a delinquent charity status.]

    And then we have Judge Lillian K. Sing, a charitable soul working tirelessly…For the county. For an extra $10,500 per year above her salary, which apparently she needs more than all the workers now holding pink slips. Judge Sing and Clerk Theresa Manzon Santos work very hard on the Brotherhood Campaign over at the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center [who has not filed a tax return since 2008 according to the DOJ]:

    http://www.apiwellness.org/donors_ind_bro.html

    Oh Lilly, working tirelessly for Asian Healthcare and diversity causes on the Board of Directors over at the Richmond Area Multicultural Services [“RAMS”] on the Personnel and compensation committee. Who has a $7 million budget. With lots of discretionary funds. Should we trust that her compensation is $0?

    Did Judge Sing let anyone know she is working 4 jobs on her Form 700? Like the rest of us hard working Americans experiencing tough times and working 4 jobs just to scrape by, fatigue may have gotten the best of her and she FORGOT to fill that box in on the Form 700 that asked who her other employers are.

    Judge Sing sent in a Form 700 under oath, and the purpose of this form is so that when a litigant wants to know whether there is a conflict, all they have to do is request the form. So if the litigant has a child support case, they can rest assured that since they are legally entitled to have access to the form, that its’ contents are accurate.

    {{LGH: Again, if a litigant has a child support case, or if you have a COURT case, request the Form 700 on the involved judge}}

    If Judge Sing is LYING under oath and presiding over cases where she herself is a party, Judge Sing has deprived the litigant of the opportunity to decide whether they are comfortable having a party to the case decide the case. Because I can tell you that when you discover an illegal judgment from County Support Enforcement on your case, there is pretty much nothing you can do in that situation except pretend to be shocked when she shows no mercy for your child and rules in favor of the county. When you know for a fact that father is paying support, that Clerk Santos has kept the county on this case without telling you, and the county is garnishing it and holding it in trust pending the outcome of litigation, their are unnoticed liens on the books, you want to know that Judge Sing is as outraged as you are. That she is going to involve law enforcement and get to the bottom of it.

    {{re: holding it in trust pending the outcome of the litigation, earning interest on it: Suggest readers read through my post on the expansion of Title IV-D to cover ALL child support cases; it cites public law and details how it was done — states could comply in centralizing; or — if they wished — they could simply forfeit federal help for welfare. Guess which choice they took…}}

    {{As blogger, I get to see who is watching what on my post. I would like to note that I first? began reporting on Kids Turn San Diego donors and board members about 2/27/2011. I’d already been reporting on access/visitation funding long before that. If you look at the charitable registry (California) and click on the “Misc documents” and one other (towards the bottom), (I think this was actually for San Diego), a letter was sent on March 9, 2011 (pretty fast turnaround) saying: “you didn’t tell us the names and addresses of your donors” and another one saying, you didn’t submit $50 fee..” Also visible is that some years, RRFs were not filed, other years, no IRS is showing. I scarcely believe that there was a single year where less than $25K came in to the group.}}

    What you don’t expect Judge Sing to do is cover for bad people and throw children under the bus, then try and make it look like she was just not paying attention when she read the pleadings. But then again, with 4 jobs, perhaps she was not paying attention. So who signs her orders? Who writes them?

    You know what the best part is?

    In 2008, LA Judge Kelly MacEachern was tossed off the bench because she sent an email asking for reimbursement for a convention she did not attend:

    http://cjp.ca.gov/res/docs/s_c_cites/MacEachern_49_Cal.4th_CJP_Supp._289.pdf

    “The Notice charges Judge MacEachern in one count with making intention- ally false and misleading statements in an e-mail to the superior court travel coordinator in support of her reimbursement claim for hotel expenses associ- ated with her attendance at the Continuing Judicial Studies Program (CJSP) in San Diego the week of July 31, 2006. Judge MacEachern is charged with making the following false and misleading statements: (1) there was a “mix up” in her registration when she arrived at the conference; and (2) she “sat in” on two classes on days for which she sought hotel reimbursement. The Notice alleges there was not a mixup with her registration—when she arrived at registration, she knew she was only registered for one half-day class later in the week; and, she did not attend the two classes she claimed to have “sat in” on.”

    San Diego. Really? Perhaps she was attending one of these court grant writing seminars:
    http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/cjer/

    As a matter of fact, here’s one for Judge Mahoney called Grant Management I: Administering Grants Awarded To Your Court Or Agency

    http://www.certain.com/system/profile/web/index.cfm?PKwebID=0x272993abcd

    “This class is designed for any court or AOC employee who would like an understanding of how to manage awarded grants.

    There are no formal course prerequisites, however it is recommended that participants have either taken courses on Grant Seeking and Grant Writing, or have knowledge of these subjects.

    Grant seeking, grant application writing, and managing of awarded grants are three related yet distinct sets of skills. This course addresses the management of a grant award.

    Through lecture, panel presentations, group discussion, and problem-solving activities, class participants will:

    • Practice analyzing grant award offers and conditions for acceptance
    • Review how to negotiate, accept or decline a grant award offer
    • List key steps in implementing a grant-funded project
    • Discuss how to wrap up a grant-funded project”

    BOY, WOULDN”T WE CHILD SUPPORT SLAVES LOVE TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL AT THAT PARTY? Well you can’t. It’s top secret. You will just have to wait until someone GETS CAUGHT mismanaging it to figure out what went wrong. Unless you fit into one of the exceptions:

    “Attendance Policy
    Based on a variety of considerations, including maintaining an effective learning environment, participation in education programs is limited to individuals from the target audience for which the course was designed. For example, faculty who are not members of the target audience are not eligible to attend, observe, or participate in courses other than the one(s) they teach. Exceptions to this policy must be based on sound business reasons and be preapproved by the director of the AOC’s Education Division. The full statement of this policy and the process to obtain an exception can be found at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/cjer/attendance.”

    ANYWAYS, Apparently, attempting to skim a few measly bucks off the court, then withdrawing the false reimbursement request is A BIG NO NO. People lose their jobs for that, as Judge MacEachern found out:

    “Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Grounds—Willful Misconduct—Elements.—Willful misconduct is the most serious basis for censure or removal of a judge (Cal. Const., art. VI, §18, subd. (d)). Willful misconduct is (1) unjudicial conduct that is (2) committed in bad faith (3) by a judge acting in his or her judicial capacity. Failure to comply with the California Code of Judicial Ethics is generally considered to constitute unjudicial conduct. A judge acts in bad faith only by (1) performing a judicial act for a corrupt purpose (which is any purpose other than the faithful discharge of judicial duties), (2) performing a judicial act with knowledge that the act is beyond the judge’s lawful judicial power, or (3) performing a judicial act that exceeds the judge’s lawful power with a conscious disregard for the limits of the judge’s authority. Making false representations to the court in order to obtain money reflects a corrupt purpose.”

    NO REALLY, A-L-M-O-S-T stealing is really bad:

    “Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Grounds—Willful Misconduct—Attempt- ing to Obtain Money Through False Pretense.—A judge engaged in willful misconduct by sending an intentionally deceitful e-mail in an attempt to obtain court funds to which she was not entitled.

    Judges § 6—Discipline—Factors—Appreciation of Misconduct.— Contrition at the last opportunity has limited impact in comparison with well over a year of misrepresentations and excuses. Simply put, the judge’s purported acceptance of responsibility was too little too late.

    Judges § 6—Discipline—Factors—Likelihood of Future Miscon- duct.—A judge’s failure to appreciate or admit to the impropriety of his or her acts indicates a lack of capacity to reform.

    Judges § 6—Discipline—Factors—Prior Discipline.—The seriousness of the judge’s misconduct and subsequent lack of candor overshadow the judge’s lack of prior discipline.

    Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Factors—Impact on Judicial System.— Public faith in the integrity of the judicial system is seriously compro- mised by a judge who attempts to obtain money from the governmentthrough false pretense. Court staff must be able to rely on the truthful- ness of information provided by judicial officers. Judges uphold laws which require citizens to provide truthful information for purposes of obtaining funds from the government. A judge must follow and respect the same laws and standards that apply to the public.

    (15) Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Removal—Grounds—Dishonesty During Investigation.—A judge who lies under oath when his or her conduct is called into question does grave damage to public respect for the judiciary. Litigants and attorneys can have little confidence in that judge’s ability to determine the credibility of witnesses and seek the truth. Any discipline short of removal would not be adequate to fulfill the mandate to uphold public confidence in the integrity and propriety of the judiciary.
    [Cal. Forms of Pleading and Practice (2009) ch. 317, Judges, § 317.85.]”

    NO, that little show down did not end well for Judge MacEachern.

    BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A JUDGE VIOLATES THE FPPA? {{see top of this comment}}

    They get thrown off the bench. Or at least that is what happened to Judge Diana Hall from Santa Barbara:
    http://cjp.ca.gov/res/docs/s_c_cites/Hall_49_Cal.4th_CJP_Supp._146.pdf

    “The Commission on Judicial Performance ordered the judge removed from office. The commission found that the judge’s inappropriate political activity, signing four campaign disclosure statements under penalty of perjury listing herself as the source of a $20,000 contribution from her romantic partner knowing that information to be false, was prejudicial misconduct within the meaning of Cal. Const., art. VI, § 18, subd. (d), and violated Cal. Code Jud. Ethics, canons 1, 2A, and 5. A judge who engages in materially deceitful and lawless conduct that undermines the electoral process, and thereafter attempts to explain it away with specious arguments and misleading testimony, should not continue in judicial office. In addition, the judge committed prejudicial misconduct by driving under the influence of alcohol, for which she had two misdemeanor convictions, and she committed willful misconduct by improp- erly questioning a prosecutor concerning his reasons for exercising an unqualified right to disqualify her in a judicial proceeding. The judge also committed the misconduct underlying a prior private admonishment when she knew that the commission was investigating her in connection with the current charges, thus showing an inability to control her behavior and a likelihood of future misconduct. (Opinion by Marshall B. Grossman, Chairperson.)”

    Although there is no evidence or or reason to suggest that either Mahoney or Sing are under the influence, I find it very curious that court employees have said nothing about this:

    Elections § 14—Campaign Financing—Statements—Commingling Funds.—Campaign statements are mandated by the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Gov. Code, §§ 84200–84216.5) and require disclosure of detailed information about receipts and disbursements of money by a campaign committee. —>>>They are the primary means of providing transparency in connection with election finances; they directly implement one of the primary purposes of the act—>>>>>to ensure that receipts and expenditures in election campaigns be fully and truthfully disclosed in order that the voters may be fully informed and improper practices may be inhibited (Gov. Code, § 81002, subd. (a)).<<>> signing four declarations under penalty of perjury knowing they were false,<<– the judge violated five sections of the Political Reform Act and canon 5.

    (5) Judges § 6—Discipline—Grounds—Maintain High Standards— Promote Public Confidence.—The judge also violated Cal. Code Jud. Ethics, canon 1, by failing to maintain a high standard of conduct when <>> She also violated the provision of Cal. Code Jud. Ethics, canon 2A requiring judges to promote public confidence in the judiciary. The public can have no confidence in a judge, and hence a judiciary, that is required to know and respect the law but does neither.

    (6) Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Elections—Ignorance of Law.—Any can- didate for judicial office must know and strictly adhere to all applicable election laws; utmost integrity is required of every candidate for judicial office. A claim by a judicial candidate of ignorance of the law as a defense to a wide-ranging violation of the law aggravates the violation itself.

    (7) Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Grounds—Prejudicial Misconduct— Judical Capacity—Campaign Misconduct.—A judge is acting in a judicial capacity while performing one of the functions, whether adjudi- cative or administrative in nature, that are associated with the position of a judge or when the judge uses or attempts to use the authority of the judicial office for an improper purpose. ****The judge was not acting in a judicial capacity when she signed false campaign statements under penalty of perjury, as a candidate.**** The judge’s campaign violations constitute prejudicial misconduct.

    (8) Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Grounds—Prejudicial Misconduct—Bad Faith.—In the context of a judicial disciplinary matter, ^^^bad faith means a culpable mental state beyond mere negligence and consisting of either knowing or not caring that the conduct being undertaken is unjudicial and prejudicial to public esteem.^^^ In sum, to constitute prejudicial conduct, a judge’s actions must bring the judicial office into disrepute, that is, the conduct would appear to an objective observer to be prejudicial to public esteem for the judicial office. The judge’s campaign misconduct was unjudicial conduct committed in bad faith by a judge not then acting in a judicial capacity.”

    OK, SO REALLY? IS THIS STILL THE LAW?

    “(12) Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Grounds—Violation of Campaign Fi- nance Laws—Deceit—Removal from Office.—A judge who engages in materially deceitful and lawless conduct that undermines the electoral process, and thereafter attempts to explain it away with specious argu- ments and misleading testimony, should not continue in judicial office. Her misconduct is fundamentally at odds with the core qualities and role of a judge in our society.
    [Cal. Forms of Pleading and Practice (2009) ch. 317, Judges, § 317.86.]

    (13) Judges § 6.2—Discipline—Dishonesty.—Honesty is a minimum qualification for every judge. If the essential quality of veracity is lacking, other positive qualities of the person cannot redeem or compensate for the missing fundamental. The deception practiced by the judge during her reelection campaign, as well as her specious arguments before the special masters and the commission are equally antithetical to, and inherently incompatible with, her duties to uphold the law and the search for truth.”

    We will find out.Judge Feinstein was in charge of the CJP before she arrived at the SF Presiding Judge position. It appears that she is cleaning up. But can we get Mahoney out and get another judge in there who cares about children working in the family courts? Because Mahoney supervises the commissioners who are paid from the county and for decades has not disclosed.

    {{Form 700 disclosed}}

    It needs to stop. People want to know that when they bring their most intimate vulnerable family disputes before the court that they are talking to someone who is not getting paid to decide the case one way or another, and that they actually have time and want to read your case.

    These judges have multiple jobs and are spending far too much time doing everything but equitable settling cases. The courthouse workers who lost their jobs have nothing. How is that fair?

    Rebuild SFTC

    September 12, 2011 at 10:44 pm

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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