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'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.

Child Support System Eliminates Due Process: “No Judicial Signature Required” court orders, Built-in Conflicts of Interest, etc.

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Excerpt from a savvy mother’s letter to a Congressman requesting cuts to OCSE funding:

Support Congressman _____’s proposed deep cuts to the $4 billion of untraceable funding in the HHS TANF budget used to keep these pork barrell programs going unchecked. OCSE is encouraging support enforcement agencies to illegally usurp judicial authority on cases like mine to improperly capitalize on grant money. The federal HHS Office of Child Support Enforcement funding guidelines provide that the more families fight, the more federal money DCSS and the Court will receive. The Court is in charge of awarding these federal funds to the nonprofits, but also orders litigants to retain their services. Court and child support programs are required to collaborate with fathers rights nonprofits which service the courts, which gives these nonprofits a vested interest in the outcome of the cases. This incentivizes extortion, corruption, and fraud.

Anonymous (to you…) recent letter.  The reasons we should stop funding this — it’s untraceable, it funds litigation that destroys families and it literally does incentivize extortion, corruption and fraud.   I’ll quote more at the end of the post.

Today’s 5th most popular post, just now, was my “Let’s Eliminate the OCSE“, which begins:

No, that’s not a joke.  I’m serious.

Or, we could just continue to watch this institution gradually eliminate the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution, in fact the entire concept of individual rights whatsoever, in favor of social(ism) science run amok.

This post also ran amok (as you can see) but the links are valuable.

The OCSE has to go.  It’s out of control, and is hurting men, women, and children — generation after generation– while loudly proclaiming it is, instead, helping society, families and kids.

WHAT DO YOU WANT — A SOCIAL SCIENCE SOCIETY, OR LIBERTY?

Obviously, it’s either/or, not Compromise/And.  Even the experts know this

Good choice in posts…  This system fuels the courts, and is controlled financially by the HHS/OCSE (Federal Gov’t) which takes no real responsibility for what happens to the $4 billion or so (per year) enforcement expenditures after it hits the states, except as pertains to getting its investments back.  It also takes very little responsibility (if any) for actually getting “Undistributed/able Collected” child support to the children.  Moreover, in California, late 1990s, when an individual attorney tax advocate (employed by Los Angeles) DID take responsibility, filing a class action lawsuit to say (to the District Attorney)– start distributing those $14 million!  California apparently managed to somehow eventually dismiss the case, jail and disbar the 69 year old attorney (for a year and a half, solitary confinement).

As part of the last decade to 15 years of this single attorney’s work (Obviously not alone, but the cases he was on), it came out that the counties were paying the judges in the form of benefits (not only health insurance) — resulting in the Los Angeles judges among the highest in the nation, while some California counties paid their judges zero benefits.  These payments were in violation of the California Constitution as judges are to be paid by states, not counties.  They are state employees:  “no problem.”  A law granting retroactive immunity and (essentially) reversing the impact of the case won stating, counties are NOT to be

So, here are litigants, and almost every single parent in a custody “dispute” (battle) is going to have a child support order, if not issues with arrearages — and these are set at the County, not state, level.  At the county level also are diversionary and social experimentation programs (assigned by whoever oversees these matters, which would be a county employee) which can bring funds into the county and benefits to those running the programs (also often county employees) and here comes a man and a woman (generally speaking) with children; and unlikely that either one knows that these programs represent income to the people they are standing in front of (up to and possibly including the judge).  A court-appointed, county-paid mediator (or evaluator) is a county employee.  One who does regular business as an independent contractor with the court has a vested interest in decision-making that doesn’t undermine this person (or organization’s) own income.  Court transcriptionists are often county employee, and a transcript serves as a witness in a proceeding; it provides a record that can be read into following proceedings.

When the District Attorney’s office pursued child support on the basis that child support was an order, not an administrative glitch, there was more distance.  Unfortunately, at least in Los Angeles, that factor was abused.

Moreover, if the man (not the woman) is the noncustodial parent, there are wheelings and dealings surrounded the fatherhood grants which can affect how much child support reaches the other household. . . and I’ve already proved, neither HHS and a lot of states, knows the difference between what Dad paid and what Mom got, as filtered through the county.

Moreover, if the man is eligible for compromise of arrearages — which apparently there is a form to solicit — he can get it without a court order or a judge’s signature, because the form is an administrative form, not the result of a hearing.  (I’ve seen the form and will try & upload one; this also happened in my case, while children were in my household.  I was not informed, and when I tried to get full information, it was verbal and not written.  Had this been an actual hearing there would have to have been minutes and a record).   The employees deciding this are county employees — whether attorney, or child support official, or whomever.

There are multiple issues in the highly-charged matter of child support which are NOT conducive to due process on either side — obligor or obligee.  However, it’s clear that the federal influence is strong, and the federal influence at this point is highly “fatherhood” (fatherhood programs, that is), oriented.  And without due process, an essence of the U.S. justice system, not to mention the Bill of Rights to our Constitution, is gone.   What are we fighting for on foreign soils when we’ve lost it on our own?

MULTITUDE OF NEW OFFICES, JUDGES DEPENDENT ON HIS WILL, FUNDAMENTALLY ALTERING FORMS OF GOVERNMENT, MOCK TRIALS FOR MURDER.

Here’s a snippet of our snipped up, shredded, and basically shelved-by-technology “Declaration of Independence.”  This Declaration is UNIQUE to the U.S.A. and part of its heritage, even as organizations actually running and running around the courts continue to boast about how international they are, sharing practices with countries that are either socialist, or monarchies, which I find a little disturbing (I’m referring to the AFCC, Kids’ Turn, etc. and “affiliates”):

from The Declaration of Independence

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

Think about the importance of an impartial judiciary.  Because in this post we are going to talk about how California judges were funded, and what happened one person, in particular, who challenged the built-in conflict of interest, and how the California legislature responded to that challenge:  State vs. County control.  Or both.   And how this affects people whose issue — such as child support — is ruled upon at the County level.   We don’t have a ruling King (I think), or a ruling religion (I think) or a Pope. This country exists because those methods of government were rejected; the writers of this Declaration rejected rulership by religion, by tyrant or even benevolent monarchy; they’d seen enough.  They noticed who was paying the judges!

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

I think most Americans would now agree with this, excepting only who the “He” might be in this century.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

and, . . . for example:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

..the following comment doesn’t apply specifically to this statement in the Declaration.  However, it is a comparison to the compromise against punishment for crimes inherent in the family law venue.

…  {{It wasn’t a murder because they were related; it was a family dispute.  The courts drove him to it.  He was beside himself for loss of his wife and children; financial distress drove him to it.

Mourad Samaan {A recent California custody battle-murder-suicide} disgraced his family’s name by failing to stick around and take responsibility (go to prison, face the death penalty perhaps) for murdering his innocent two-year old daughter,  what kind of cowardice is that, to kill a toddler?  What kind of man would do that?  On the other hand, he was not the only factor that enabled this.  He had almost fifty years of life; she not even three.  It also wasn’t a real abduction, just a parental one, which means the FBI (acc. to its rules) waited before sending out the alert, by which time it was already too late.}}

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

This has been intentional when it comes to family law, and the pace of alternation has been picking up speed; multiplying with the help of the internet and through various associations, mostly subdivisions of themselves based around the next business plan concocted during their conferences and/or trainings, which are then also sold on the internet or at conferences.  Part of the business plan includes selling product through the courts to start with.      My post today will discuss this.

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

A word about “suspending Legislatures”

While our Legislatures have not been suspended, the process by which laws passed by them get circumvented has just about virtually suspended the entire judicial system — in certain categories of law.  I can’t speak to all categories, I am speaking FAMILY law.  The laws are (deceptively, to the naive) actually still on the books.  The “thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness” type laws.     So are the rules to protect and restrict abuse of judicial power and conflicts of interest  (to my understanding).  But they are not respected, often not known –rights we don’t know we have are unlikely to get respected just by existing, on paper (and electronically), SOMEwhere — and when they are known, what’s not known enough is how many forces are against their just and impartial enforcement in any given case.

AFCC takes credit for changing Divorce Process

Here’s an AFCC recruitment flyer.  It boasts 50 years of innovations in the court, “generating major reforms in separation and divorce.”

For almost 50 years, AFCC and its members have served as a catalyst for generating major reforms in separation and divorce. Dispute resolution processes such as child custody mediation, parenting coordination and divorce education are just a few of the innovative ideas developed by AFCC members.

Developed by AFCC members, but paid for by the public who did not vote on them, and was not included in the discussion of these ideas.  Possibly because the parents also most involved in the courts cannot afford the airfare and hotel accommodations (which, if they could, would not be tax deductible under “continuing education” as they are for court-professionals) if they even are alerted to who AFCC is and what they do to start with.  Paid for by the public includes through the IRS, and through Child Support system.  Mediation, Parenting Coordination and (mandated) Divorce Education – – alter the form of government.

The flyer is too modest.  Family law appears to have been conceived (pun intended) somewhere between (childless) Roger Alton Pfaff, a judge, and Meyer Elkin, a psychologist, somewhere shortly after women got the vote.   See “Shady Shaky Foundations” page, to the right.  In 1941, Pfaff was a California Assemblyperson.  By 1951 he was a Los Angeles area traffic judge.  (humorous article on the Judge getting stung by a traffic violation himself, 1959 from 2009 viewpoint).   (more of his speeches as L.A. Sup. Ct. Judge)  He was born 1907 in Iowa, unmarried, Republican, California legislator 1940-1942, and had visited every continent but South Africa (South Africa is a continent?) per “One Voter Project: One Voter | ElectionVolunteer | JoinCalifornia
Copyright © 2005-2011 Alex Vassar & Shane Meyers”

He was a legislator, then a judge.   AFCC “about us/history” page begins with a quote from Pfaff:

A Legacy of Innovation and Collaboration

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) took root in California in the spring of 1963 with the creation of the California Conciliation Courts Quarterly, the first publication to promote the interchange of ideas between California’s conciliation courts. Judge Roger Alton Pfaff, presiding judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, wrote:

California has become a model for conciliation services as a part of the judicial function for other states to emulate and each year we find jurisdictions creating such services

I do believe I finally looked up their various incorporations (after the IRS and FTB started taking interest) and assure us that it wasn’t in 1963 this group at least incorporated, and began to actually pay taxes…  A 1994 Obit of Meyer Elkin credits him with founding the L.A. County “Conciliation Court”, and describes it, and his life:

Meyer Elkin; Founder of L.A. County Conciliation Court

April 15, 1994  (latimes)

Meyer Elkin, 78, founder of the Los Angeles County Conciliation Court. The unusual mediation unit, which he set up in 1955 as a part of Los Angeles County Superior Court, handles divorce and custody disputes and provides court-ordered counseling for the families involved. Elkin also founded and edited the professional journal Conciliation Courts Review and helped to found the Assn. of Family Conciliation Courts. After growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., he began his career as a parole officer in Tuscon. A social worker deeply involved in community social problems, Elkin worked throughout his life to aid families and young people. After his retirement in 1977, he devoted his attention to what is now El Nido Family Centers in Los Angeles. He served on the board, as president and as an adviser to the nonprofit family counseling agency. Elkin earned the Koshland Award, California’s top accolade for achievement in social work, and the Leadership Award of the American Assn. of Marriage and Family Counselors. On March 17 in Beverly Hills of emphysema

OTHER CONCERNS ABOUT ALTERED GOVERNMENTAL FORMS & INFLUENCES:

Add to this there have been serious concerns raised by a Los Angeles-area man about the dual system of docketing; in other words, good luck trying to even read your own court order and get the original one.  Or, your own docket activity — register of actions in a particular case.  This man’s name is Joseph Zernik, and that’s not today’s topic.  But it is in the background.  This article mentions both the docketing and

  • The recent revelation in the San Bernardino County Sentinel that many California judges are receiving large and unexplained property “loans” which are possibly redolent of bribes and payoffs

(reminder:  Probate and family court are closely related).  Also, the inability to inspect one’s own record is outrageous!

Beginning in 2002, Zernik began to scrutinize government and corporate data base systems, first in schools and later in banks and in courts. In 2007, he began researching how court computer systems, such as “Sustain,” installed at the Los Angeles Superior Court and PACER/CM/ECF, installed at the federal courts, have circumvented some of the basic and fundamental processes which we have previously taken as sacrosanct.

Around 1985, the Los Angeles Superior court installed “Sustain” as its first civil case management system, to replace the previous paper-based operations. The federal courts began computerizing their systems around the early nineties, according to a spokesperson for PACER, which is the Public Access system of the federal courts, developed under the guidance of the Administrative Office of the US Courts. Actually, the federal court installed TWO systems. One, called PACER, was for general public access. The other system, CM/ECF, is accessible only for the court itself and for court authorized attorneys. However, even on such attorneys restrictions of access were placed and authorization was granted only to view certain records.

In other words, alleges Zernik, there are now two separate systems in place –one for the public and one for the elite tier of lawyers and officers of the court. The courts therefore created two docketing systems, separate and unequal, and asserted the right to segregate persons into one system or the other. As a result, the public right to inspect public documents was severely mitigated. The spokesperson for PACER stated that there were indeed two systems in place, one for public access and one for filing.

Moreover, here (scroll down some) is an account of what happened to Zernik after this was publicized —

On January 31, 2010, this reporter (link above; Janet Phelan), having toiled over pages
>         of Zernik’s evidence, agreed to write an article summarizing
>         his findings. Within a week, Joseph Zernik was arrested and
>         jailed at Twin Towers in Los Angeles. Joseph Zernik had never
>         been jailed before.

Note:  at this time, Richard Fine was still in solitary coercive confinement, of indefinite duration Los Angeles….

>         Zernik reports being pulled over on February 6, 2010 by the
>         LaVerne police. Zernik relates that the police did not inform 
>         him he had broken a traffic law nor did they write him a 
>         ticket. Instead, he states that he was asked if he were indeed
>         Joseph Zernik. When he replied affirmatively, he was told that
>         there were two outstanding bench warrants for his arrest and
>         that he was being taken into custody. The warrants, as it
>         turned out, were for minor vehicle related infractions that
>         were about two years old and which Zernik believed had been
>         resolved. Zernik, who drives an unusual and easily
>         distinguishable make and model of car, thinks he may have been
>         under surveillance.

>         What happened then and in a subsequent arrest on February 19th
>         is tantamount to a Disneyland “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” littered
>         with court documents issued from non-existent courts, finessed 
>         records and computer irregularities of the type which Zernik
>         had previously pigeonholed as fraudulent in other cases.

The signs are everywhere that the legal/enforcement system has gone amok, and done around the simple topic of money.

Conflicts of interest:

It’s understood by the fact that judges actually must file a “disclosure” statement that “conflict of interest” compromises the judicial pro  cess.  NO PROBLEM!   Whether or not those on file are completely accurate, so much of the decision-making is outsourced anyhow, removing that stipulation, and setting up a labyrinthe of conflicts of interests players in the courts.

While these are many, they are most overtly funded by the huge, Title-IV (Welfare) Entitlement-Involved, and Federally Centralized (starting in the 1990s, the centralization escalated) Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), a Program Office of the gigantic “Health and Human Services” (HHS) Branch of the Executive Branch of the US Government.

OCSE is parallel to the IRS in that it has the legal right to garnish your wages, tax intercepts, and jail you if you don’t pay up.  It also has the discretion to not enforce – at all — and compromise arrears without bothering to notify the parent whose household the children are in.  Courts then have the discretion to also bargain-down the amount owed (which accumulates at 10% per year, payments applied to interest only, at least in California) if the (father) participates in a wonderful federally-supported program of some sort — ALMOST any sort (parenting education, fatherhood, abstinence education, marriage promotion,).

The other programs supported by “Access Visitation” in particular are funding the industries and market niches I’ve been reporting on — parenting education, parent coordination, supervised visitation, mediation, counseling, and in general social science experimentation on captive audiences.  They are captive through extortion — either threat of financial destruction (to Noncustodial OR custodial parent, or both), and to the custodial parent, threat of financial destruction AND/or loss of children (or both).   Alternately, there is the option for REALLY bad parents (if one isn’t producing income to the counties from the federal programs) of sticking the child(ren) in someone else’s home, and attempt to get both parents to pay the state for this abuse.

The collected monies from child support system are NOT tracked properly and as I’ve shown, some states maintain an approximate balance (among the VERY few states, and VERy few counties within the states that, as far as I can see in GAO or HHS/OIG/OAS reports) of maybe $2 million at any time, but the same reports declare openly, they JUST DO NOT KNOW how much money is there.

UNMONITORED, OVERSEEN (sort of), UNDISTRIBUTED, UNKNOWN QUANTITIES of MISSING MONIES:

Among the multitude of nonprofits that are formed to catch this deluge of manna from (federal) heaven on a daily basis, we have been seeing how they are so excited about the opportunity that many of them “forget” to incorporate (and stay incorporated), register as nonprofits (which is the law in every state, as far as I know), they forget to file tax returns (federal) that the public can look at when income exceeds $100K and sometimes $1M per year.  The nonprofit use of “membership” corporations whose sole purpose is to start a new profession for their members — which will then take business from distressed families in a custody action — is increasing.  Attorneys, Mediators, sometimes judges, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and people with previous, overt, connections to either the COURTS or the COUNTIES — form these organizations, which (again) are not properly monitored and do not obviously give a complete accounting of their monies to even the counties distributing the funds. Money transfers from hand to hand in unknown quantities to enable the specific oppression of individuals who otherwise, would be about their lives without feeling driven to stalk, harass, and/or kill each other, sometimes with a stranger (or police officer) or so in the process.  which in this environment, they now do.

TO REVIEW:  1990s-2011, Marv Byer, Richard Fine, Sturgeon v. L.A.. Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court funding, SBX2 11 (retroactive immunity quickly voted for unconstitutional behavior by Counties towards Judges) and

Who’s Paying For These Courthouse Buildings?

When Marv Byer (seems like aeons ago) had some checks subpoenaed, checks were found written out to one organization, but cashed by another.  This would not have been discovered without seeing (subpoenaing) the front and back of the checks.  

Here’s the article.  It’s been posted before, it’s not new, but my point is — it took an accountant stuck in the courts to finally “check the checks.”

 “Is Justice for Sale in L.A.“?

by Kelly Patricia O’Meara, “insight on the news,” May 3, 1999:

Private bank accounts that benefit judges are at the heart of this brewing scandal — one that state and local agencies resolutely have failed to investigate, adding further suspicion. Bank accounts funded in part by fees from local lawyers and others involved in the family-court system are troubling litigants. Many feel it is impossible to know whether they’re facing a judge who has benefited financially from an attorney appearing before the court.

By the end of this post, it will be further clarified:

Former presiding judge Robert Parkin tells Insight that an account critics dub a slush fund is nothing more than “coffee-and-flowers” cash for the Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association, or LASCJA. But documents obtained by Insight show the bank account served a great many purposes and that the judges’ association, a private organization, did not pay taxes on funds run through the account for the benefit of its members — who also would be subject to taxes.

“Documents obtained . . . show that the bank account …..”  They would not have known this without obtaining the documents.  How many of similar nonprofits, or judges’ associations (etc.), of this nature, are still around, and no one has even thought to obtain the documents, or done so?

Please review the next few paragraphs, which are varying accounts of what the “LASCJA” fund was for, and where it got its money from.  The first two speakers (Parkin and Maillano) were Presiding Judges (former, and then-current):

Judges often participated on their own time in writing articles for various bar groups and assisted in lawyer-orientation programs, seminars and the like with various bar associations. Often when judges declined payment for these services, the bar associations made donations to the judges’ association,” Mallano said. Former presiding judge Parkin confirms Mallano’s explanation of the LASCJA account to Insight, adding, “I think one judge edited a book or something and contributed the $20,000 he made into the account.” According to Parkin, taxes never were paid on any of the funds going into the account.

Parkin and Mallano’s description ignores a great deal of money moved to the LASCJA accounts — from direct payments by attorneys and other court personnel for minimum continuing legal education, or MCLE, classes to assorted “seminars” conducted by Superior Court judges — according to copies of banking records obtained by Insight.

The process by which the checks were being collected and deposited into the judges’ account raises still more questions about the LASCJA and highlights the perceived conflict that arises from the judges’ financial relationship to other child-custody professionals who work for the court.

Dozens of checks, obtained by Insight, deposited in the LASCJA account were made out to several other institutions, including the Judges Miscellaneous Expense Fund, the Judges Trust Fund, the Family Court Services Special Fund and the Family Court Services. These organizations are not registered with the IRS or the California State Franchise Tax Board, and if the Bank of America has accounts for any of them, the checks were not deposited in those accounts.

(Guess who gave me the original idea to actually check whether corporations doing business and collecting fees, exist?)

Not only were attorneys who argue cases before the family court making payments to the judges’ fund, but so were the court monitors — appointed by the judges and paid a professional fee of as much as $240 a day as observers during child visitations. These monitors qualify for their jobs by paying to take a training and certification course from the judges, with the check going to the fund, whereupon they are placed on the exclusive list the judges use when assigning monitors.

The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s contributions to the fund were payments to the judges run through a joint partnership with the court on MCLE classes. They split the proceeds from legal and professional seminars.

So, in addition to the ethical issues involved in how the bank account has been maintained, its funding also raises numerous legal issues, according to attorney Richard I. Fine, a taxpayers’ advocate. “If a private group [the LASCJA] is using a public building and everything associated with that private group is being paid for with taxpayers’ dollars, then it is clearly fraudulent,” Fine contends.

That’s the Richard Fine that got de-“Esq.’d” and thrown into solitary confinement for 18 months, after reporting this (and the $14 million of collected but not distributed child support that the local District Attorney’s Office was sitting on….Silva v. Garcetti . . .  for which the California Legislature then passed a law specifically to grant retroactive immunity (SBX 211) let the entire California Judicial System have to be shut down for taking bribes from the county in cases involving the county, sitting under judges which were paid, in part, by the counties.

Jan. 3, 2011, a “Lawrence John II” Riverside (CA) “Civil Rights examiner” (on-line reporter) writes of this SBX2 11:

In the recent Human Rights report presented by the United Nations in the year 2010, historically documented the hypocrisy of the United States of America.

It mentioned in its documentation, the Human Rights Complaint that I wrote on behalf of Dr. Richard Fine, documenting the torturous treatment of an American Citizen; Dr. Richard Fine at the hands of the California Judicial System and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. 

And further, it documented that the California Judicial System is “out of control.”  The citizenry of California just kept their eyes closed when it’s Governor and Attorney General (now Governor) signed off on SBX-211.  If the ideological statement attributed to the legal mindset of the Judicial Branch of this Nation rings true…. “As does California, so does the Nation…”  Then California’s SBX-211 should be remembered as by its true name: Charon.  “Charon”, from Greek mythology is the Ferryman bringing the dead across the river Stix to hades.  For California’s SBX-211 was the deathblow to the once Honorable Judicial Branch of the United State Government.

That being the case, will the distant possibly of a “ninth civil rights act”, reaffirm what the United States Government can and cannot do?  Thus rendering the US Constitution as nothing more then an old, ink stained paper full of lofty ideals and impossible vision?  And if that comes to pass….  So does the Bill of Rights, for one cannot survive in its idealism and vision without the other.
Continue reading on Examiner.com The funny thing about Civil Rights… – Riverside Civil Rights | 

:

Letter from California Judges Association Opposes Elimination of Extra Judicial Benefits

Written by David GreenwaldWednesday, 21 July 2010 05:30

(in which they argue for extension of actually stopping these payments because it’s “arduous” to transition from county to state government.

Catch some of the comments; I posted 3 here:

“Alphonso” 7/21/2010:

Judicial salaries have been equalized throughout California and, at the direction of the legislature, the Branch has been working diligently to resolve the inconsistencies in judicial benefits,” he continued.”

I want him to explain why 17 years is not enough time. All of the County paid for benefits should be eliminated – that might improve the focus on completing the “Study”. This is nothing short of delay tactics so they can continue collecting money they are not entitled to and it is easy to consider that a form of stealing.

“Neutral”

The termination shall 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.

So how – *exactly* – will the decision affect any sitting judge? (Hint: it won’t.)

“courtwatch” 8/01/10: (almost entire comment):

The base salary of California judges already makes them the highest paid judges in the nation. Number One. Numero Uno. Here is the official National Judicial Compensation Survey performed by the National Center for State Courts:

http://contentdm.ncsconline.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/judicial&CISOPTR=288

Of the $30,388,289 million total in extra benefits paid by counties to their judges, $23,482,932 is paid to Los Angeles judges. Many counties pay no extra benefits to their judges. This is in a December 15, 2009 Judicial Council report which was required by SBX 211. The summary of benefits paid, by county, can be found in Appendix D to the report, most specifically pages D-10 to D-14. See:

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jc/documents/reports/121509item12.pdf

SBX 211 is highly controversial, as it legalized payments made by counties to judges which were formerly deemed illegal, and granted retroactive immunity to those who had paid and received the benefits. Perhaps most controversial is the fact that Los Angeles attorney Richard Fine — the most determined and vocal critic of the hefty LA county benefits, has been disbarred and jailed since March of 2009, without formal charges, without a trial, without an end to his incarceration in sight. 

Sept. 18, 2010 (about two months after this article, and perhaps symbolically, on Yom Kippur), Richard Fine was released by Judge Yaffe:

Fine, the 70-year old lawyer and self-styled taxpayer advocate sent to jail ‘indefinitely’ by a ticked-off Superior Court judge (was) released abruptly last night.”  (see link for more discussion, including Fine’s speculations on why Yaffe let him go).  A YEAR AND A HALF for a 70 year old attorney that was in his work, saving the taxpayers millions of $$.

The Fine case is a growing public relations nightmare that is not going away–and the story has been featured on CNN.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/05/24/jailed.lawyer.richard.fine/index.html

The public outrage about the county benefits, and about Fine’s incarceration (whatever they accuse him of, give him a trial for heaven’s sake!), is growing:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6DuQgQokLM 

SB 11 as chaptered February 2009.  Note, Fine was jailed on March 4, 2009, right from the courthouse in handcuffs, as described here (the “freerichardfine” petition site has incredible detail on the various cases, and a timeline)

    Since the late 1980s, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, acting on behalf of Los Angeles County, has illegally paid huge (over 25%) bonuses to Los Angeles County Superior Court judges (now  totaling about $57,000 per year each, on top of their already overly-generous State compensation) “to attract and retain quality judges to serve in [Los Angeles] county,” giving each judge a gross salary of more than a quarter of a million dollars ($260,000+) each year, in flagrant violation of California’s Constitution, which defines such judges as elected employees to be compensated only by the State.  (By comparison, the highest ranking judge in all America, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, makes only $218,000 yearly, and Federal District Judges receive only $157.000.)

The Supervisor’s stated justifications for awarding the bonuses, “to attract and retain quality judges” is nonsensical.  There is no need to “attract” judges; thousands of attorneys would eagerly take any judicial opening, gladly accepting far less as a salary just because they would be honored to hold the position and serve the County’s citizens.  “Retaining” judges is an even worse argument; judges are elected, the only way to use money to “retain” them would be to contribute to their re-election campaigns, an illegal use of taxpayers’ funds.

As of 2009, Los Angeles County taxpayers have lost over $300 million dollars in being made to foot the costs of these judges’ bonuses.

What were the Supervisor’s true motives?  Did the judges do anything improper for the County in exchange?

. . .

Has the world gone mad?  Is it, or is it not, improper for a judge to accept a large sum of money from a litigant who is before him in numerous cases,  And if you found that the judge consistently ruled in favor of that party?  Richard Fine took the obvious position that “yes,” it’s most certainly improper … and so his troubles began.

Mr. Fine, an almost 70-year-old attorney with a long and very distinguished career as the one-time head of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s anti-trust unit and counsel for plaintiffs in a number of highly publicized class actions and taxpayer suits, a man who has saved California taxpayers almost $1 billion dollars so far, found himself jailed on trumped-up contempt charges on March 4, 2009, at the end of a running clash with certain judges since 1999 who refuse to concede the impropriety of their  appearance of bias when deciding cases concerning the County at the same time they were receiving hefty payments from the County (who isn’t their employer).

Read the Drama & Chronology (from the freerichardfine site):

This time line here (in form of a spreadsheet, with years being Column 1) may help “turn the lights on” to the various judges’ behaviors after having their failure to disclose conflicts of interest (as required by law) and ruling on cases involving Los Angeles County — and involving fine.  There is retaliatory action building (including refusal to pay claims on cases won, or attorneys’ fees where he was the lead plaintiff’s counsel in a winning case, etc.).   In this timeframe, CHILD SUPPORT CASE (Silva v. Garcetti) is also involved. Trial court funding act, ca. 1997; by 2005 the Silva v Garcetti is being dismissed, (suit was for illegally withholding $14 million of child and spousal support payments)….  The judge dismissing the case had received county payments…  the judge; this went to the California Supreme Court.  Afterwards, it was found that an appellate judge (Todd) had recently been a superior court judge, and received county payments….(and failed to disclose).

etc.  It’s the extent of the “etc.’s” that makes one wonder why those ruling on the law do not seem to believe they, too, should be subject to it.

Among the details (in this chronology linked above, and I note the spreadsheet also contains reference links), somewhere inbetween having shot down Silva v. Garcetti (around 2005) on child support, and Sturgeon v. Los Angeles County going through, an attempt actually started by a commissioner (not a judge) to get Richard Fine disbarred (and bankrupt him — kind of like what happens in a family law case), there is some fast action beween the California Judges Association (which is a nonprofit we support with taxes at the county level, if I’m not mistaken) lobbyist, and the State legislature Senate President pro tem, Darrell Steinberg, & the California Judicial Council, a plan to pass this SBX2 11 was hatched and carried out.  In a VERY few short months (end of 2008, beginning of 2009).  It was handled apparently in a “sneaker” session,

As introduced on 2/11/2009, no mention of judges’ pay was in the bill.  Legislative digest reads, in sparse terms:

SB 11, as introduced, Ducheny. Budget Act of 2008. This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact statutory

changes relating to the Budget Act of 2008.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

1 SECTION 1. It is the intent of the Legislature to enact statutory 2 changes relating to the Budget Act of 2008.

Does that mention anything about judges?

"SBx2-11 was amended in the Senate on 2/14/09 and purportedly introduced by President Steinberg as: 
 ""An act to add Sections 68220, 68221, and 68222 to the Government Code, relating to judges."" 
 In the amended version, all references to the original intent of SB 11 were stricken."

History of the bill, in part, available at
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sbx2_11_bill_20090220_history.html  It appears that there were also some oddities in the bill; for example, an amendment (3 days later) appears to have stricken the original purpose of the bill and replaced it with another, i.e., the intent of it was concealed from the public, who would’ve had to be VERY alert to catch this.  A “Rule 29” was suspended.    This rule pertains to not sneaking in amendments to a:

“bill, constitutional amendment, concurrent resolution, joint resolution, or Senate resolution”

after the last day they are allowed to for the year.  Rules 29.3, .4 & .5 protect from a midnight-hour ramrodding legislation through, or from changing proposed (categories above) without having at least a copy of the changes on the legislator’s desk!  In other words, they know what they’re voting on.  This bill was a “Senate Rule 29.3(b) suspended.  NOTE — though in the US, not a state senate, the “Access Visitation” wording in welfare code was (I heard) a similar deal — beyond midnight hour, and Ron Haskins, in particular did this.  The Access Visitation wording occurs in Title IV and gives the HHS Secretary extraordinary powers to affect the use of (as I’m recalling it) child support enforcement funding — that $4billion we keep talking about here….

29.3. (a) The consideration of a bill, constitutional amendment, concurrent resolution, joint resolution, or Senate resolution that has been amended by amendments offered from the floor, except committee amendments reported with measures or amendments offered with a motion to amend and rerefer to committee, is not in order until the amended measure has been in print for not less than one legislative day. Any measure so amended shall be placed on the second reading file.

(b) A bill, constitutional amendment, concurrent resolution, joint resolution, or Senate resolution shall not be recommended for amendment by any committee after the last day specified in the Joint Rules for the 2011–12 Regular Session to amend bills on the floor, as specified in paragraph (13) of subdivision (a) of Joint Rule 61 for odd-numbered years, and in paragraph (16) of subdivision (b) of Joint Rule 61 for even-numbered years.

Bills Approving Memoranda of Understanding

29.4. The Senate may not pass a bill that approves a memorandum of understanding, for purposes of Section 3517.5 and following of the Government Code, until the final version of the subject memorandum of understanding is received by the Secretary of the Senate and made available for review for seven legislative days and its availability for review noted in the Senate Daily Journal for that period.

Amended Forms of Measures

29.5. No bill, constitutional amendment, concurrent resolution, joint resolution, or Senate resolution may be considered for passage unless and until a copy of the measure as last amended is on the desk of each Member in printed or electronic form.

In looking for this rule, I found the “Senate rule 29.3(b) suspended motions included a lot from Human Services and Education Financing.

SO, the legislature passed the retroactive immunizing bill at the 9th hour (beyond it), deceptively deleting the original text and within 3 days amending it to serve a different purpose than as introduced.  AS I understand it from this (brief!) reading….

So it was first, “cya” (cover your behinds) and then, get the whistleblower:

Here’s the text, first the Legislative Digest, then the Bill, which names names that provoked it:

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 benefits. These provisions were held unconstitutional as an impermissible delegation of the obligation of the Legislature to prescribe the compensation of judges of courts of record.

Why I’m belaboring this point:  If Judges are County Employees and Child Support Attorneys & agency employees obviously are, then in ANY child support case, practically, there is a built-in conflict of interest.  Now continue reading and notice how this was de-fanging the situation, letting sitting judges receiving benefits continue doing so, including after retirement, and so forth, and further delaying STOPPING the illegal payments til a further study could be done.  (how highly paid are judges?  Remember the Wall Street 24/7 — along with psychologists with advanced degrees, it showed up as one of the top 9 highest-paid for least-hours of work professions around, unlike (for example), medical doctors.  The judges could’ve afforded to moderate their lifestyles, I’m sure.  Moreover, this didn’t even address the moonlighting and other businesses they were still able to partake in, plus stocks, real estate investments, and functioning as landlords, or on boards of directors of nonprofits…   Was there really any excuse not to simply stop the illegal payments?

This bill would provide that judges who received (unconstitutional) 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’ 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. The bill also would authorize the county to elect to provide benefits for all judges in that county. 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.

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.

This bill would provide that nothing in its provisions shall require the Judicial Council to increase funding to a court for the purpose of paying judicial benefits or obligate the state or the Judicial Council to pay for benefits previously provided by the county, city and county, or the court

AND….

Ch. 9 2

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to address the decision of the Court of Appeal in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630, regarding county-provided benefits for judges.

(b) These county-provided benefits were considered by the Legislature in enacting the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act of 1997, in which counties could receive a reduction in the county’s maintenance of effort obligations if counties elected to provide benefits pursuant to paragraph (l) of subdivision (c) of Section 77201 of the Government Code for trial court judges of that county.

(c) Numerous counties and courts established local or court supplemental benefits to retain qualified applicants for judicial office, and trial court judges relied upon** the existence of these longstanding supplemental benefits provided by the counties or the court.

SEC. 2. Section 68220 is added to the Government Code, to read:

(see site, similar to digest, above):

SEC. 7. The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

**judges relied on their benefits?   what a shame.  Some of our children also relied on child support orders, including child support orders directing a parent to provide medical coverage (“benefits”), not having been alerted to the “compromise of arrears” and similar programs with an incentive to  NOT disburse them, and to extort the fathers into participation in federally-supported programs which support benefitted the states and counties financially, while we were sitting at time sin front of state-paid judges and county-paid CS agencies

Here’s JUST a little more publicity on how Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles did not survive appeal, and comments on this bill.  You don’t live in California, though?  Trust me — what we do here,  IS affecting your state’s courts and practices outside the courts!  Birds of a feather fly together.

Metropolitan News-EnterpriseThursday, March 17, 2011  Page 1

S.C. Won’t Hear Challenge to Ruling on Judicial Benefits

 By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer

The California Supreme Court yesterday declined to review a Fourth District Court of Appeal ruling upholding the right of counties to pay benefits to local trial judges.

The high court, at its weekly conference in San Francisco, voted 6-0 to deny review in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, 191 Cal.App.4th 344. The court has one vacancy due to the recent retirement of Justice Carlos Moreno.

The court’s order leaves intact a measure enacted at a special session of the Legislature to continue county payments of benefits to local trial judges, over and their state salaries.

Why should they hear it, when SBX2 11 (sorry I keep getting the labeling of this wrong, but it’s posted above)? ??   Pass the buck to the legislature.

The Fourth District’s Div. One, in an opinion by Justice Patricia Benke, said SBX2 11 adequately addressed the deficiencies which caused the court to declare the benefits unconstitutional in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630.

Harold P. Sturgeon, whose taxpayer suit resulted in the 2008 ruling, sued again after lawmakers enacted SBX2 11 at a special session called to, among other things, “consider and act upon legislation to address the economy, including but not limited to efforts to stimulate California’s economy, create and retain jobs, and streamline the operations of state and local governments.”

The bill also immunized all public entities and officers against any liability resulting from past payment of local judicial benefits. Judges in other counties have long complained that their benefits are far less generous than those paid by Los Angeles County, which include participation in the county’s “MegaFlex” cafeteria benefits program—which allows a beneficiary to receive additional taxable income equal to 19 percent of salary, or benefits costing the county an equal amount—along with a “professional development allowance” and a 401(k) match of up to four percent of the judge’s salary.

Professional development allowance.  Yes, the City & County of SF, for example, is going to pay child support nonprofit association membership, and expenses to attend training at the child support conference.  Similarly, at least some judges are paid to attend training at their judicial conferences run by the nonprofit association.

More from Metropolitan New on this topic (June 24, 2011).  Now the

Metropolitan News-EnterpriseFriday, June 24, 2011 Page 1

A.G. Seeks Input on Questions Regarding Judicial Benefits

 By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris is soliciting judicial organizations and others to weigh in on the question of whether judges may be disciplined for authorizing supplemental compensation to be paid to themselves from public funds, it was learned yesterday.

The Commission on Judicial Performance submitted two questions to Harris in late May, inquiring whether lawmakers would have the authority to pass a measure which “purports to preclude the [CJP] from disciplining California superior court judges for authorizing supplemental compensation to be paid to themselves from public funds, and/or receiving that supplemental compensation, on the ground that such benefits were or are not authorized by law.”

Sounds like they are fishing for an excuse, or more immunity.

Harris was also asked to address the scope of SBX2 11, special legislation passed in 2009 which the Fourth District last year said adequately addressed the deficiencies which had led it to declare the supplemental benefits unconstitutional in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630.

Oh yes notice — SBX2 11 was not the topic the special legislative session was called for, it says:

The CJP spokesperson declined give a specific reason for why the group had posed the questions to Harris, except to say “we wanted to know what she thought.”

Sturgeon and Judicial Watch had also unsuccessfully challenged the passage of SBX2 11, contending the Legislature had lacked authority to enact the measure because it addressed a subject—judicial compensation—that was not among the specified subjects for which the governor called the Legislature into session. That case was Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, 191 Cal.App.4th 344.

Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company

He adds that “unless the public entity has passed an ordinance specifically allowing the private group to exist and specifically stating that the public will bear the costs — separate phones, leasing office space, furniture, computers, etc. — then it should be paid for by the private organization.”

LOCKYER-ISENBERG TRIAL COURT FUNDING ACT, SUMMARIZED as $5 Billion Construction Boom for California

(supported by Court fines and fees  . . . . . . )  Authority, and eventually facilities, are transferred from the counties (which can’t afford to rennovate) to the State.  Notice that around this same time (1997) the child support also was transitioning from local to State Control when it comes to disbursement, and intravenously hooked up to the welfare system (Title IV-D), which as of 1996 reforms, included more provisions for alternate uses of both TANF and OCSE’s federal funds:

I’m putting many of the paragraphs out to give the overview. Published in a business magazine, apparently around April 2011:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FEATURE: APRIL 2011


Halls of Justice

Crumbling courthouses create construction opportunities

Story by Bill Romanelli | Photo by Anne Chadwick Williams

Roughly 70 percent of California’s 530 trial court facilities were built before 1980. Few counties have had the resources to keep the buildings updated or well maintained, and the result is that many of them simply don’t serve the public or the court well. According to a report by the Task Force on Court Facilities, 90 percent of the state’s trial courts need significant renovations, 90 percent were built before 1988 seismic codes took effect and 25 percent lack space to assemble jurors. More disturbing, the task force published its report in 2001; the situation has only gotten worse in the ensuing decade.

“We have these Perry Mason visions of wood-paneled rooms where justice is being administered, but it’s not like that at all,” says S. Ernest Swickard, assistant director of design and construction services for the state Office of Court Construction and Management. “In reality, we’ve got some cases being tried in portable buildings or trailers in dirt parking lots.”

Recognizing the need, state legislators began a systematic process as far back as 1997 to create a process and funding mechanism for uniform courthouse standards. It took almost a decade, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for California’s battered construction industry.

The process all began with the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act of 1997. That legislation represented a change in government operations as it shifted the responsibility for funding trial court operations from the counties to the state. It also created the Task Force on Court Facilities to identify facility needs and likely funding mechanisms. As part of its 2001 report, the task force went a step further and recommended that both the funding and operation of the facilities be shifted from the counties to the state.

In 2002, the Trial Court Facilities Act was the legislative vehicle for shifting trial court facilities — operations, maintenance and modifications — from county to state governance under the direction of the Judicial Council.

Minor detail.  This one:

In 2003, the Administrative Office of the Courts, essentially the staff agency to the council, created the OCCM to conduct the laborious process of transferring the facilities from all 58 counties to the state. That process was finally completed in December 2009. While that was in process, Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2008 signed Don Perata’s Senate Bill 1407, which provided $5 billion in revenue bonds to build and renovate California courthouses.

None of the bill’s $5 billion comes from general fund revenues; the funds are provided entirely by court fees and fines. But these billions aren’t entirely for construction costs. Land acquisition, operations, maintenance and other costs are included, but there’s no doubt it’s helping the state’s construction industry.

Between June 2006 and June 2010, the state’s construction industry lost 405,000 jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Bearing in mind that California is lagging behind the rest of the nation, the national unemployment rate of 22 percent in the construction industry is disturbing at best.

“I’d say this is very welcome work for the design community and the construction industry,” says Chuck Cunningham, president of Cunningham Engineering Corp. “It’s one of the few areas where there’s both a clear need and dedicated source of funding.”

… most of the building is centered around the state capitol, Sacramento:

The OCCM says it’s currently managing 52 capital projects valued at more than $6 billion, with an estimated direct and indirect job generation of 134,000 (not all in construction, however). There are also more than 4,700 modification/renovation projects completed or under way at an estimated value of $107 million. These range from construction of new, 70-courtroom buildings to minor renovations of one- to two-courtroom facilities. 

The Capital Region is among the chief beneficiaries of this aggressive program. Of the 52 high-priority projects currently in progress, eight are within the six-county area, representing a combined budget of more than $1.1 billion. Three of those, including a planned $500 million Sacramento County criminal courthouse, a new $165 million courthouse in Woodland and a new $270 million courthouse in San Joaquin County are among the more notable. 

… with the input of judges on the construction process

Not to be overlooked, of course, is the role the judges themselves can, should and often insist on playing. They know how their courtrooms need to work, so the smart builders have learned to collaborate with them.

“It’s not just that judges have a lot of say, they have the last say,” says Stephen Allen, president of SW Allen Construction Inc. “The AOC has even gone as far as warning us if we get into an argument with the court, we’ve already lost; they’re not going to back us up. There’s nothing more important than keeping the court happy.”

Courts: The Judicial Branch of California

Summarized

Questions and Answers Concerning Implementation of AB 233 (December 1997, PDF, 103 KB)
Answers to significant questions raised by counties and courts about implementation of AB 233, the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act of 1997 (Stats. 1997, ch. 850),.

Special Report on Trial Court Funding (September 1997, PDF, 168 KB)
General-audience newsletter about the trial court funding restructuring, including a summary of the bill, reactions to the legislation, an outline of key implementation issues, and a court funding timeline.

Trial Court Funding Resource Manual: “Ensuring Equal Access to Justice” (1998 edition, PDF, 582 KB)
Detailed information about AB233, the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act, which provided for state funding of the California trial courts; also includes information about 1998 trial court funding legislation.

(FYI)…..  Major deal intersecting with the SBX2 11 and the issue of County v state funding.  Across the country, despite the recession, there are courthouse construction projects (and corporations) going up, often in the family law arena.

WELL we are in a budget crisis, and this text here is from one person’s letter to a Senator asking him to do something about it.  I thought it was an concise summary of the DCSS (Dept. of Child Support Services) being an administrative agency and some of the troubles with this.  I have permission to quote without identifying who.  the letter gave identifying information about a case, but also showed me the various forms that enable this administrative agency, DCSS, to literally function as judge, clerk, witness, litigant — you name it.  Child Support would’ve perhaps been better off under District Attorney’s offices, with insistence that they act strictly as enforcement and get the cash to the kids, not sell kids essentially for cash, through litigation.  The further we get from administering justice in places and under offices that have legislation limiting their rights, the better those rights are going to be.

As you are aware, DCSS is an administrative agency overseen by congress, and so if they are in the courtroom on any case, it is as attorneys representing the county’s interests. As is the case with any party to litigation, the County attorneys (eg. DCSS) cannot hold secret ex parte meetings with judges, act as court clerks, or issue judicial decisions as has become customary in the family courts.

   

The bigger problem here is that the judges are in fact county employees, DCSS is paid by the county, the transcriptionist is paid by the county, and they are all applying for funding together[from the county, state, and feds] for collaborative programs. As you can see from the blank DCSS arrears abatement form, no judicial approval is required to set aside, modify, or enforce these rogue court orders—which do not even get registered with the court, and the parties do not get notice either. There is no oversight because they are all in business together, and running up a huge tab at that.
These child support “incentive” programs (fatherhood, Access and Visitation) are illegal because ARRA funds cannot be used on programs which fund litigation and promote discrimination. Using child support services as the recruiting arm to extort fathers, these tax dollars are used to illegally fuel the nonprofits serving the family court “high conflict” litigation industry. Fathers pay support, but the kids don’t get it. If HHS can’t justify the money they already got last year, you should not vote in favor of doubling the budget for them this year. TANF is for NEEDY families, but these funds are not needs based and available all men regardless of income.
In a time when families are starving, unemployed, and losing homes, this money serves no legitimate purpose. We want courts and child support agencies deciding cases based on laws and facts. Poor people want things like jobs, education, childcare and housing. They do not want federally funded family court litigation and counseling from the court’s inbred nonprofit therapy industry. I can provide you with millions of dollars in reciepts demonstratrating abuse of ACF funding from families in [state] and around the country who have also been bankrupted and destroyed by these programs.

 

When people are incarcerating whistleblowers, we know that they know what’s happening is wrong & illegal.  

    Although “Family Justice Center” was not the topic, the same person (re: another nonprofit staffed almost entirely by public employees, including at least one judge) mentions she doesn’t understand:

why judges would recharacterize their court rooms as nonprofit organizations, then petition for $4mm in federal funding as board members, to pay them to decide cases as public servants which we already compensate them for.

 That’s seriously disturbing trend, but an old one, since Meyer Elkin (eventually of “AFCC”) set up a mediation unit in Los Angeles County Courthouse (see description above).      

There are all kinds of adjustments and tweaks.  Here’s one on the California State Site:

 

The Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 – Implementation of the $25 Annual Service Fee

In the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Public Law 109-171, all states were instructed to impose a $25 Annual Service Fee to non-welfare families (never-assisted cases) who are disbursed $500 or more during the federal fiscal year. The mandate went into effect January 1, 2008.  As of October 1, 2010, the State will no longer pay the fee on behalf of families.

Beginning October 1, 2011, and every October 1 thereafter, DCSS will assess the $25 Annual Service Fee to all never-assisted cases that meet the criteria for assessment. The service fee will be withheld from the never-assisted custodial party’s next child support payment(s) until the $25 is fully recovered. Although the first disbursement(s) paid to the custodial party on or after October 1 will be reduced by $25, the NCP will get full credit for the amount of the collection received.

(For services received the custodial parent’s household loses a little $25 once a year, but it’s credited to the NCP’s account anyhow.  However for every new non-welfare case treated as a welfare case the state and fed share a $2 to $1 bonus anyhow).  Child Support Services is expansionist in nature.)

this also is in the news page of the California Statewide Site:

California Department of Child Support Services

Father’s Day 2011 – the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative

The mission of the California Department of Child Support Services is to make sure that children have the financial support they need to grow, learn and succeed. But other types of support are just as important. Our children’s lives are also shaped by the involvement of their parents.

Despite the “our” language, there’s a vast gap between the typical noncustodial parent with a child support order, and the children of legislators, judges, and county attorneys, not to mention President Obama and First Lady Michelle’s daughters.  Our childrena re not theirs, and their children are not mine.  I’m sure they’d be offended if I characterized their children as “ours” conversationally.  Why should I (we) not be equally disturbed when official government publications call our (real, biological) children, in conversation with someone whose wages are being garnished, perhaps, “our children” ??  Get real! !!!

To promote responsible fatherhood, President Obama has launched the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. The initiative is a national call to action to address fatherlessness in America. DCSS encourages fathers to sign the pledge and receive articles, tips and resources on responsible fatherhood.

DCSS encourages fathers to sign the pledge and continue to justify the siphoning off of their kids’ futures (and their own income) into the more competent (??) fatherhood managers.  The more participation, the more grants and contracts can be “justified.”  For all this talk of “family” it seems pretty clear that the real “family” being encouraged is Papa Obama (substitute name of current US President; this began far back, with Clinton, continued with Bush, expanded with Obama, trillion$$ debt notwithstanding).

For more information on the President’s initiative and to sign the pledge, go to www.fatherhood.gov.

CHILD SUPPORT FORMS & LITERATURE EXPLICATING ONE TYPE OF COMPROMISE (of arrearages!) from another!

Final Statement of Reasons — “Update of Initial Statement of Reasons.

Among the “stakeholders” listed are several categories required to be consulted by DCSS.  The first one listed (and they’re not alphabetical) was “counties” which is the most important — because this is a moneymaker for the counties, evidently.    NOT ON THE LIST:  Custodial or noncustodial parents.  Only their “advocates” (??).

Here (for example) is a “Compromise of Arrears” application package from CA (current I believe APril, 2011).  It has all the forms.  There is no mention of making any notice to the custodial party, or any court hearing to be held in the matter.  The closest it comes to mentioning the custodial parent (who is obviously going to be affected!) is in fine print under a privacy notice, on about the next to last page:

The information in your case may be discussed with, or given to the State or other public agencies that can legally receive such information, and to the other parent or his/her attorney to the extent required by law.

The agency official responsible for maintenance of the form is your local child support agency. Legal references authorizing solicitation and maintenance of this personal information include Family Code Section 17440(c) and 17212. Copies of this form are maintained in confidential files of the Department of Child Support Services or local child support agencies for 4 years and 4 months after the closure of your child support case. You have the right of access to this form upon request by calling the local child support agency handling your case.

I was never informed that there’d been a Compromise of Arrears until after a custody-switch.  I had been repeatedly in the office seeking information on the case before and after that time.  I had put hours of call, help-seeking, and office time into this agency’s office to get them to fulfil their obligation to collect support when it was being systematically withheld to control my (then custodial parent) household, for example, if I made an independent, legal action of almost any sort on behalf of our children, or confronted the father on violating visitation orders.  I sought others to get the public agency to do its job in this case.  To my understanding, a seek-work order was never even issued!  It does appear, in retrospect, that the case was flagged from the start for potential fatherhood programs because it originally (briefly!) involved public assistance shortly after filing to escape the abuse, which had involved injury and death threats at the time.

The child support is now a moot point, and my children as well as hundreds and likely thousands of others – in our state — are experiencing the same mis-use of funds to collect child support to start and propagate diversionary activities which theoretically help child support, but in fact, support the likes of people who started Kids Turn and engaged in a lending (lien) situation with the San Francisco Trial Courts.

I did not pursue too far this post, but the proliferation of organizations (real and fake/”front” groups) makes it harder and harder to track them and easier and easier for checks both written out from AND deposited to certain of these groups’ bank accounts to simply be cashed by someone else.  There have been instances of a check written out to one group stamped (back of check) and endorsed by another which shouldn’t have a relationship with it.

The way to put a leash on the OCSE is not through begging them (and certainly not threatening), it’s through intelligent expose to one’s local legislator.  Before doing that, go to “National Fatherhood Initiative” and your local state and find out whether yours is already on a legislative task force (many are).  Even fathers should be doing this — because they need more liberty and freedom to pursue jobs, and less parenting education, reunification and access visitation social science demonstration project which their lives fund.

The other reaons OCSE needs an overhaul (or replacement, or having its function switched to a different US department) other than that they’ve been consistently abusing the privileges and have a clear gender preference in their program material (although more and more mothers are becoming noncustodial THROUGH these programs, to the detriment of the next generation) . . . . is that it’s claiming to be the solution to the welfare roles, while privately trying to increase them by making regular cases noncustodial.  Moreover, their fatherhood programs (and marriage promotion) are not limited to low-income personnel.  The system was, in fact, designed NOT by low-income fathers (or mothers) seeking help — but from the TOP (HHS appointees, White House Appointees) down with a princely attitude that they were better qualified to run society through strategic re-engineering of the household unit, aka family.

Behind them are corporate and private family foundations (wealth) who also would be more interested in ultra-competition for jobs in their factories (etc.), driving down wages . . . rather than lifting their subject material (families with child support orders or having been driven to welfare) up to their own understanding of how to become wealthy — which includes how to minimize (or dodge) paying taxes and hide — sometimes launder — money.  The poor suckers who have a job — but not job security — in a context where employers have to report all “New Hires” whether or not one of them is a noncustodial parent — sets a class distinction and inability to do the same thing that helped make others wealthy to start with.

In America, somehow that seems just wrong.  While I’ve been seriously de-mythologized (long ago) about justice in our country (being female and a mother after violence in the home and single because of that), I’m not ready to throw the whole “unalienable rights” concept out!

Written by Let's Get Honest

September 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

2 Responses

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  1. 12/11/2011: Warning from LGH — Hyperlink to “not certified” address:

    The phrase above, re: “50 years of innovations in the Courts” above (AFCC reference) leads to a link that now warns me the site is not to be trusted. I looked up the phrase I quoted, and found it several places, including here:

    http://www.afccnet.org/pdfs/AFCC%20Five-Year%20Report%20Web.pdf

    This 5-years report (2002-2007) shows AFCC plans, growth and connections.

    familycourtmatters

    December 11, 2011 at 10:38 am

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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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