To the South Carolina Bar Association: The Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts (FCVFC) is filing complaints against two attorneys with the South Carolina Bar Association: Christopher Lizzi of the Lizzi Law Firm Lisa Walden of the Leviner Law Firm These two individuals are believed to have worked together in a malignant association, […]
Complaint against Judge Jack Landis Judge Jack Landis of South Carolina may be gone (via retirement), but he is not forgotten for multiple vile abuses of process, constitutional rights, and due process violations. These may in fact include child endangerment related to illegally transferring a minor across state lines, along with witness threats and intimidation […]
The post Gone But Not Forgotten: He Can Run But He Cannot Hide first appeared on Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts.
Essay by Barry Goldstein & Veronica York
The original sin family courts made in responding to domestic violence cases was turning to mental health professionals as if they were the experts. It is not that psychologists have nothing to contribute, but they do not have the specialized knowledge of domestic violence, child sexual abuse and other critical issues. The original mistake was based on the popular assumption at the time that DV was caused by mental illness or substance abuse. We now know the original assumptions were wrong, but courts continue to rely on these outdated practices.
In one case, Barry was asked at least 15 questions about the fact he doesn’t have a mental health degree. The academic work to obtain a mental health degree does not provide any knowledge about domestic violence or child abuse. Psychologists may try to use general psychological principles, but much about DV is counterintuitive.
The Saunders Study found court professionals need training in very specific subjects that include screening for DV, risk assessment, post-separation violence and the impact of DV on children. Most evaluators do not have this needed expertise. They often attempt to screen for DV with psychological tests that tell us nothing about DV. As a result, evaluators often use non-probative information to discredit true reports of abuse. We have never seen an evaluation that says the mother reports strangulation and if this is true there is an increased risk of lethality. Post-separation abuse analysis almost never mentions alleged abusers’ litigation and economic abuse as a continuation of domestic violence or the likelihood an abuser will assault future partners which means custody or unsupervised visitation will result in more exposure of children to domestic violence. Few evaluators are familiar with ACE or focus on the harm caused by fear and stress. This means evaluators are not using the specific knowledge Saunders says is needed to respond effectively to domestic violence. In other words, the courts are relying on professionals who routinely minimize and deny true reports of abuse. Many domestic violence cases do not include an evaluation, but the judges and other court professionals are influenced by the misinformation evaluators provided in other cases.
Few evaluators relied on by custody courts have the critical knowledge needed to recognize and respond effectively to possible domestic violence or child abuse cases. They are unfamiliar with critical scientific research like ACE (adverse childhood experiences), Saunders, Meier, Bala, gender bias or child murders in custody cases. The evaluators do not understand domestic violence dynamics or batterer narratives that help explain abuser motives. Evaluators and other court professionals are oblivious to the widespread failure of custody courts to protect children. All the mistakes caused by failing to use current scientific research minimize the harm from abuse and make it harder for courts to recognize true reports. The courts are influenced by the superior financial resources of abusers who usually control family finances, and the cottage industry of lawyers and evaluators that make large incomes by promoting practices that favor abusive fathers. The result is DV custody cases are severely tilted in favor of abusive fathers and towards risking children.
Court professionals are satisfied with the present practices, and defensive about the painful tragedies they cause. The Bartlow Study found judges and court administrators failed to create reforms in the face of preventable child murders. They thought these tragedies were exceptions. In the last 13 years, the Center for Judicial Excellence found over 800 tragic “exceptions.”
Domestic violence experts can recognize mistakes by evaluators in abuse cases. This is why Saunders found courts should be using a multi-disciplinary approach. Some judges cannot imagine how a DV expert can help a court recognize errors by evaluators regarding DV and child abuse. Saunders found DV advocates have more of the specific knowledge courts need about DV than judges, lawyers or evaluators. We quickly came up with a list of over 80 common mistakes about DV that evaluators routinely make because they don’t have the specialized DV knowledge needed. In this article, we are sharing 20 of these common mistakes. The full list of common evaluator DV errors will be available at www.Barrygoldstein.net.
Evaluator failed to make distinction between public and private behavior
Most abusers are able to control their behavior and do so in public. Attorneys for abusers often present evidence from friends, family, and colleagues about his good behavior and how he could not be an abuser. Evaluators often rely on this non-probative behavior, but mothers and children see a very different side of the abusive father in the privacy of their home.
Evaluator only considered physical abuse
The purpose of domestic violence is not to cause great pain but to coerce and control the victim. In DV custody cases there is often one or a few physical incidents and thousands of other DV tactics. The abuser does not need to keep assaulting her because once he does, she knows what he is capable of. The physical abuse can be “minor” as pushing or blocking a door and are combined with emotional, psychological and other tactics. The other types of abuse serve as a reminder of what can happen if she doesn’t obey. ACE tells us it is the fear and stress abusers cause, that does most of the harm to children. Evaluators often pay lip service to other types of abuse but mainly or exclusively focus on physical abuse. This is based on outdated beliefs from the 1970s. This mistake reduces the available evidence and minimizes the harm abusers cause.
Evaluator fails to understand most of the harm from DV is caused by fear and stress rather than immediate physical injuries
The ACE Research is exciting because it could be used to dramatically reduce a wide range of serious illnesses and social problems. This would greatly increase life expectancy and achievement. Prevention is the key to providing these benefits and improving children’s lives. Contested custody cases are often the last chance to save children from the consequences of exposure to ACEs. In most cases the courts are not even considering this opportunity.
Evaluator assumed unfounded child protective case meant the reports of abuse are false
Caseworkers often face heavy caseloads that lead to reports of abuse being unfounded for non-probative reasons. Examples include: child refused to speak to caseworker; not enough time to investigate; failure to take cases during litigation seriously; the child is living with the safe parent; caseworker manipulated or intimidated by abuser; reliance on the myth that mothers often make deliberate false reports; and the lack of expertise regarding DV and child sexual abuse. Unfounded cases often prove to be true reports much later. Evaluators save time and resources by treating unfounded cases as if they prove the reports were wrong. Unfortunately, these practices don’t save children.
Evaluator failed to consider ACE and Saunders
Perhaps the biggest reason custody courts are failing children in abuse cases is the failure to use scientific research like ACE and Saunders. They go to the essence of the well-being of children. ACE tells us the fear and stress abusers cause will shorten children’s lives and cause a lifetime of health problems. Saunders tells us courts are relying on the wrong experts for abuse cases and this results in courts frequently disbelieving true reports of abuse. There are judges and evaluators that use ACE and Saunders and this results in better decisions for children. Most courts however rely on outdated practices that do not include this research. This mistake is not neutral. It favors abusive fathers and risks children.
Evaluator blamed mother for father’s abuse
In a safe family, if a child came home complaining about something the father did, the mother would ask the father about it. If a father heard the child was complaining about sexual abuse, he would want an investigation to find out who did it or if there was a misunderstanding such as an unintentional boundary violation. When the father is an abuser, the mother is afraid to discuss the complaint with him and the father immediately claims alienation and tries to silence the child. In these and other situations, untrained evaluators blame the mother for not cooperating and communicating. If the evaluator is part of the cottage industry, she will be called an alienator. And in each instance, it is the fear caused by the father’s abuse that created the problem, but mothers are often blamed. This is an example of gender bias that most court professionals do not have the training or humility to recognize.
Evaluator failed to recognize shared parenting is inappropriate in cases involving possible DV or child abuse
Courts promote shared parenting because laws favor it, and co-parenting is viewed as the best way to promote settlements. Shared parenting was never meant for domestic violence cases. The unequal power in DV cases makes it dangerous. Good research like Saunders says shared parenting should never be used in DV cases. Abusers use decision-making to block anything the mother wants and particularly to prevent or undermine therapy where the child might reveal his abuse. Shared parenting in inappropriate cases is great for court professionals’ bank accounts because more services will be needed but works poorly for children. Even in the rare cases where abuse reports are false, the bad relationship makes co-parenting a mistake.
Evaluator focused on how to pressure victims to accommodate the abuser instead of how abuser can reduce fear and stress
Most contested custody is really DV cases involving the worst abusers. They believe she has no right to leave so are using custody to regain control. Accordingly, they will not agree to anything reasonable. Evaluators who fail to understand DV dynamics, pressure victims and children to accommodate the abuser as the best way to promote a settlement. ACE tells us that the fear and stress abusers cause will have lifelong negative effects on the children. Accordingly, best practices require pressuring abusers to reduce the fear and stress they are causing if they want a relationship. Evaluators unfamiliar with ACE don’t even know these best practices.
Evaluator used psychological tests to screen for DV
Psychological tests were developed for people who may need to be hospitalized. They tell us nothing about domestic violence. It was originally used when many believed the false assumption that DV was caused by mental illness or substance abuse. There can be valid uses of psychological tests in some cases, but when evaluators use them to screen for DV, it says more about the ignorance of the evaluator than the circumstances of the case.
Evaluator does not understand primary attachment so recommended a harmful outcome case
Harmful outcome cases give custody to the alleged abuser and limit a safe, protective mother who is the primary attachment figure to supervised or no visitation. The Saunders Study found harmful outcome cases are ALWAYS wrong and based on flawed practices. The reason they are always wrong is that denying children a normal relationship with their primary attachment figure, a harm that includes increased risk of depression, low self-esteem and suicide is greater than whatever benefit the court thought it was providing. The frequency of these always wrong cases, a decade after Saunders was published, exposes the failure of custody courts to adopt current scientific research.
Evaluator used non-probative factors to discredit reports of abuse
The Saunders Study says court professionals need to learn how to screen for DV. They need to know what information to look for but also how to avoid non-probative information. Common examples include: she returns to her abuser; she seeks a protective order but doesn’t follow up; she doesn’t have a police report or medical records. All of these are normal responses by women abused by their partners for safety and other good reasons. Another example is a professional observes the alleged abuser playing with the children and the kids show no fear. Unqualified professionals assume this means he cannot be abusive, but the children know he wouldn’t hurt them in the presence of witnesses, so it is safe to play with a father they still love. Inadequately trained professionals often use these non-probative issues to discredit true reports of abuse.
Evaluator assumes just because he hurts the mother doesn’t mean he will hurt the children
This one is scary. Evaluators, lawyers, and judges continue to say this out loud even after children have been murdered by abusive fathers because of this mistake. Fathers who abuse mothers are 40-60% more likely to also abuse the children. The worst abusers have learned the best way to hurt the mother is to hurt her children. Many evaluators never consider this.
Evaluator failed to make the health and safety of children the first priority
The health and safety of children was always the most important consideration for custody courts and the ACE Studies make this so much clearer. ACE did not make domestic violence and child abuse more harmful to children, but rather made us aware of the full harm caused by our long tolerance of behavior we now define as domestic violence and child abuse. The courts cannot allow defensiveness, inertia, ignorance of scientific research, “father’s rights,” or the incomes of court professionals to be placed above the well-being of precious children. Evaluators who fail to make children the first priority, other than with lip service, must be corrected.
Evaluator failed to understand that a father who causes PTSD to the mother or child is an unfit parent
PTSD cannot be caused from something benign. It requires the most traumatic event or a series of traumatic events such as occur with domestic violence. Abusers and too often court professionals minimize a father’s abuse to keep him in a child’s life. This is based on the belief that a child benefits from having both parents in their lives. This is usually true, but not when a parent is an abuser and certainly not if the parent was so abusive as to cause PTSD.
Evaluator failed to recognize behavior associated with higher risk of lethality
Saunders found court professionals need training in risk assessment. There are specific behaviors associated with higher risk of lethality. This would include strangulation; hitting a woman while pregnant; forced or pressured sex; hurting animals; violating court orders; threats of murder, kidnapping or suicide; violating court orders; access to guns; and the belief she has no right to leave. Cases involving these behaviors should be taken extremely seriously and evaluators have a duty to make judges aware of these risks.
Evaluator failed to consider the danger associated with offensive or threatening language based on research on batterer narratives
Most evaluators do not have the DV knowledge needed for DV cases and research about batterer narratives is therefore rarely considered. Most abusers would say it is wrong to assault a woman and then say EXCEPT. The major exceptions are she did something he defines as improper, or she is a (insert the slur). These offensive sexist terms tell women and should tell court professionals the mother is in danger. It also sends horrific messages to children. This information would help courts understand DV cases better, but not when this is never discussed.
Evaluator treats dismissal of child sexual abuse complaints as proof of coaching
The Bala Study reviewed child protective cases involving reports of child sexual abuse. This is the definitive study about false reports, and found mothers make deliberate false reports less than 2% of the time. Nevertheless, when fathers claim alienation, abuse reports are believed by the courts less than 2% of the time. The alleged abuser gains custody 85% of the time. The failure of our society and custody courts to protect children from sexual abuse is the next big scandal waiting to be exposed. When mothers raise concerns about child sexual abuse there are several possible explanations. The most likely is the report is true. Other common circumstances include: no abuse but the child was uncomfortable because of boundary violations; exposure to pornography or sexual behavior; the evidence is equivocal or a good faith but mistaken report. The least likely is coaching, but courts routinely only consider the report is true, which requires overwhelming evidence or they jump to coaching, based on assumptions rather than actual evidence. As a result, courts are often never told about sexual abuse, so that they have no chance to protect children.
Evaluator focused on unscientific alienation theories
Most custody cases, like any litigation are settled more or less amicably. The problem is the 3.8% of cases that require trial and often much more. Between 75-90% of these cases involve domestic violence, which is obscured by high conflict approaches. DV is about control, including financial control which means the alleged abusive father usually controls most of the family resources. Richard Gardner understood this when he concocted Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). He needed an approach that could be used to help abusive fathers take custody from mothers who are the primary attachment figures. PAS was not based on any research but only Gardner’s experience, beliefs, and biases. This included many public statements that sex between adults and children can be acceptable. This was the start of the cottage industry for lawyers and mental health professionals who made large incomes by using bogus practices that hurt children. The superior financial resources and manipulation skills helped promote PAS. When it developed a deserved bad reputation, the cottage industry published new articles based on the old lack of research and changed the name to alienation, parental alienation, gatekeeping or whatever was convenient. Twice PAS, was rejected by the American Psychiatric Association for inclusion in the DSM because there is still no research to support it. The DSM is the compendium of all valid mental health diagnoses, so it is unethical when cottage industry professionals tell courts the mothers or children suffer from alienation. Despite this repudiation by the leading professional organizations and the enormous harm to children, courts continue to listen to this biased and sexist theory. The recent Meier Study from the National Institute of Justice found alienation is used in a biased way so that only fathers benefit from a finding of alienation. In most cases alienating behavior by fathers against mothers is not even discussed. This means this sexist theory with no supporting research is implemented to deny mothers due process and equal protection. In most cases, the supposed alienation is assumed rather than proven with actual evidence. The use of alienation raises ethical issues because it often creates the appearance of corruption even if the judge acts in good faith. The extreme decisions and catastrophic harm unscientific alienation theories cause children makes it hard to believe corruption isn’t involved.
Evaluator failed to recommend play therapy in disputed child sexual abuse cases
Child sexual abuse is hard to prove for some good reasons. Young children often have difficulty speaking to people they don’t know. Caseworkers and evaluators often expect children to speak about the most embarrassing and painful episode in their lives without taking the time to develop a trusting relationship. This is one cause of false claims of coaching. Best practices for young children is play therapy. The child will reveal whatever they need to through their play and artwork. This takes coaching off the table because a parent can’t coach a young child how to draw a picture or play with Legos. This is particularly helpful as inept and unscrupulous people seek to discredit reports and retaliate by claiming coaching and alienation.
Evaluator focuses on approaches asking victims to just “get over it”
Just get over it is often used to pressure children to interact with abusive parents they fear. ACE tells us this is a harmful approach. Courts have the power to force children to spend time with an abusive parent but have no ability to remove the fear and stress the abuser causes. This means the fear and stress will be pushed deeper inside the child where it will inevitably come out later in much more harmful forms. Evaluators and judges need training to avoid these dangerous mistakes.
Evaluators have legitimate expertise in psychology and mental illness. If they make mistakes, there are professional standards and other professionals who can flag their errors. These are subjects the court hears often and can make judgments about.
The problem discussed in this article concerns issued related to domestic violence and child abuse. The present evaluation system was created at a time when no research was available, and the courts have failed to update practices even after multiple research studies proved many common assumptions are wrong. Today, there is rarely an expert available in a case to recognize and correct standard mistakes evaluators make regarding abuse issues. Even if a protective mother calls a DV expert, judges may not understand that experts in child sexual abuse or domestic violence have a better understanding of their specialized areas than mental health professionals.
We are discussing clear errors that court professionals feel comfortable stating openly, but novice DV advocates would recognize immediately. There can be no dispute that abusers usually act differently in public than in private, but courts routinely base decisions on non-probative public behavior. Saunders says court professionals need training in risk assessment. Law enforcement and DV advocates have been using this knowledge for decades, but custody courts still make decisions without risk assessment.
DV advocates have told us for many decades that physical abuse is not the worst part of domestic violence. No one listened because the advocates usually do not have advanced degrees, there was no scientific research to support their knowledge, they were viewed as biased because they are always against DV, and they are mostly women. The ACE Studies confirmed the advocates were absolutely right and still the courts routinely make the outdated mistakes of focusing mainly or completely on physical abuse.
The authors of this article are not qualified to analyze a psychological test or diagnose a parent. We do know and can share with the court that psychological tests were not created for the populations seen in family court and tell us nothing about domestic violence. We quickly found over 80 common mistakes evaluators make because they do not have the needed expertise in domestic violence and especially child sexual abuse.
This is why the Saunders Study recommends a multi-disciplinary approach to DV custody cases. Custody courts have no other way to obtain needed expertise about DV and child abuse than from specialized experts. Judges, lawyers, and psychologists usually want to get any training from other judges, lawyers and psychologists. Although Saunders found DV advocates have more of the specific DV knowledge courts need, court professionals often don’t want to listen to people they view as less knowledgeable.
Psychologists usually have far more formal education than experts in DV and child abuse. Nevertheless, more than four decades since DV became a public issue, evaluators continue to make blatant DV 101 mistakes and none of the other court professionals recognize and discredit these clear errors. Children pay an awful price for the insistence by court professionals on continuing to use the same outdated practices.
Contested custody cases are usually the last chance to save children from the life-altering harm caused by exposure to ACEs. ACEs, evaluators rarely even discuss in their reports.
Barry Goldstein is a domestic violence author, speaker, advocate and expert witness. He is the author of six books concerning domestic violence and child custody. Barry is the author of the Safe Child Act which is a comprehensive plan based on current scientific research that can fix the broken court system and make family courts safe for children.
Veronica York is a family court survivor and advocate to change the family court laws and works to educate court professionals on current scientific research such as the ACE and Saunders studies.
Dateline—Las Vegas, Nev., (Aug. 3, 2021): In Nevada, judicial candidates are required to file annual reports that list “who” gave money to the candidate and “how much” they gave; in addition, candidates must file annual expense reports, [see NRS 294A]. Failure to file annual reports results in fines of up to $100 per day, maxing out at $10,000 per violation.
In the summer of 2020, it was discovered that Clark County Family Court Judge, Vincent Ochoa, much maligned for his malevolence and incompetence, failed to file five (5) years’ worth of campaign finance reports—a clear violation of NRS 294A—which meant that Ochoa was facing fines of up to $50,000, [NRS 294A.420].
“If they’re lawless on the bench, then you can bet they’re also lawless off the bench,” says civil rights attorney, T. Matthew Phillips—the determined whistleblower who ratted out Ochoa to Nevada Secretary of State.
CODE of JUDICIAL CONDUCT
By failing to timely file contribution and expense reports, Ochoa violates NRS 294A – for which the Nevada Secretary of State fined Ochoa. But note, because he’s a judge – Ochoa also violates a parallel provision at Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon No. 4, which requires that judicial candidates “shall report contributions received and campaign expenses,” [see Rule 4.2(A)(5)].
Nevada Secretary of State fined Ochoa, which means he violated campaign laws, [NRS 294A], and this results in an automatic violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, [Rule 4.2(A) (5)]. And thus, Ochoa violated both NRS and the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Based on this rather obvious campaign reporting violation, Phillips now has an official complaint before the under-staffed Nevada Commission on Judicial Commission. But will the Commission actually do anything? How will the Commission process the “Phillips slam-dunk” complaint?
NEVADA COMMISSION on JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE
The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline has a horrible reputation for NOT protecting the citizens of Nevada. The Commission has a track record of acting ONLY on complaints from other judges.
Notably, Judge Linda Marie Bell used the Commission to lean on Judge Potter and have him ousted from the bench—for what appears to have been a personal squabble between Bell and Potter.
Linda Marie Bell is upset about ball-gag antics, while, in the real world, legions of frustrated parents, who haven’t seen their children in ages, are upset about sociopath judges who daily flout the Constitution and kidnap children like its lunchtime.
Many are critical of the Commission—for their failure to pursue lawless judges (like Ochoa) who actually harm the public. Many believe that the Commission should protect parents and children instead of protecting lawless judges.
COMPLAINT AGAINST OCHOA
- Matthew Phillips has a “slam-dunk” complaint against Ochoa. First, the Nevada Secretary of State fined Ochoa for failure to file campaign reports, which proves that Ochoa violated NRS 294A. Second, the violation of NRS 294A proves that Ochoa violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 4.2(A) (5). Bamm!
Ochoa clearly violated the Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 4.2(A) (5)—and its express requirement that judges must obey NRS 294A. No one can deny that Ochoa was fined—and no one can deny that Ochoa was fined because he violated NRS 294A. Under Nevada law, all violations of NRS 294A automatically result in violations of Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 4.2(A)(5)—but it begs the question—which fanciful excuse will the Commission concoct to rescue Ochoa?
The Commission’s favorite “go-to” excuse is that the complained-of judicial indiscretions, instead of being brought to the Commission’s attention, should instead be brought up on appeal. (They love this excuse!) But, the truth is, Ochoa’s indiscretions occurred off the bench, which means there’s nothing to appeal. But again, this begs the question—which whimsical excuse will the Commission fabricate to save Ochoa?
Phillips makes an iron-clad case against Ochoa for violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 4.2(A) (5). Yeah, sure, but will the corrupt and inept Judicial Commission actually do anything about it?
One thing’s for sure; Phillips’ meritorious complaint against Ochoa will surely plumb the depths of corruption and ineptitude at the Commission—which goes out of its way to protect lawless judges.
CRYSTAL BALL PREDICTION
We totally anticipate business as usual at the Commission. We wholly expect Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline will invent some phony-baloney reason to protect Ochoa. With 100% certainty, the Commission will reject Phillips’ complaint against Ochoa.
And when they do reject Phillips’ complaint, (which they will), Phillips vows to sue the Commission and attorney, Paul C. Dehlye in federal court. Why?—because Ochoa clearly violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. It’s not a close call. If the Commission fails to violate Ochoa, it can only be through willful failure to follow the law.
“We must defund the Commission,” stated Phillips, “because they’re useless.”
READ the COMPLAINT
Attached is a copy of the complaint Phillips filed with the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. Read the complaint against Ochoa. Download it here!file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Judicial-Commission-Complaint-Ochoa-Aug.-2-2021(1).pdf
VETERANS in POLITICS INT’L (“Where Change Happens!”)
On April 5, 2021, a federal lawsuit was filed by Ali Shahrokhi and T. Matthew Phillips against family court judge, Mathew Harter. [Shahrokhi, et.al. vs. Harter, 2:21-cv-00557-APG-BNW].
The lawsuit seeks a court order removing Harter from the bench—for violating Plaintiffs’ 14th Amendment right to expect a “fair judiciary.”
This federal lawsuit against Harter alleges that the 14th Amendment guarantees the people’s fundamental right to expect a “fair judiciary”—the cornerstone of democracy. However, where judges commit crimes—such as fraud and perjury—there can be no “fair judiciary.”
Harter must go!
The lawsuit alleges that Harter committed bankruptcy fraud, perjury, and concealment of assets; and, because of these crimes, Harter’s mere presence on the bench “offends traditional notions of a fair judiciary,” which violates Plaintiffs’ federally protected rights under the 14th Amendment.
HARTER GETS a FREE RIDE
In this federal lawsuit, the Nevada Attorney General represents Harter—for free. But Plaintiffs challenge this free legal representation!
Harter should have to pay for his own lawyers!
First of all, the Nevada Attorney General (A.G.) has already denied Veterans In Politics International’s complaint about an investigation against Harter, concerning the bankruptcy indiscretions, therefore, the A.G. is now conflicted-out.
The A.G. is in no position to represent Harter concerning allegations of Bankruptcy fraud because the representation creates blatant conflicts of interest.
The A.G. should NOT represent Harter and for two reasons—(a) Harter committed bankruptcy fraud and the people should not have to pay to defend his conduct, and (b) Harter is being sued for conduct “off the bench,” and because the operative acts occurred “off the bench,” Harter is not entitled to a state-paid attorney.
What does the law say?
Well, it says that Harter is entitled to a state-paid lawyer in lawsuits “based on any alleged act or omission relating to the person’s public duties or employment,” [NRS § 41.0339].
So, did Harter’s BK filing relate to Harter’s public duties or employment? No! Therefore, no free ride for Harter.
In addition, there must be a determination that the acts in question happened in “good faith,” [NRS § 41.0339]. But Harter cannot show good faith—because he committed “fraud” in the bankruptcy court!
MOTION to DISQUALIFY
Plaintiffs Shahrokhi and Phillips made a motion to disqualify Harter’s attorneys-of-record, i.e., Nevada Attorney General’s Office. This motion is now pending before a federal judge.
Plaintiffs argue that the A.G. must be disqualified because the acts that give rise to the lawsuit—Harter’s personal bankruptcy—did not arise within the scope of Harter’s employment as a judge. In addition, Harter’s personal bankruptcy (obviously) came in “bad faith,” [NRS § 41.0339.1(b)].
Remarkably, the A.G. argues that the state may represent Harter because his B.K. filing, “relates to [Harter’s] public duties or employment.” But this argument is absurd! The A.G. argues that bankruptcy is part of a judge’s official duties!
Judges have duties to file bankruptcies? (Who knew?) Perhaps the federal court will once-and-for-all resolve the thorny issue of whether filing bankruptcy is part of a judge’s official duties (or not).
BEST INTERESTS of THE STATE
The A.G. next argues that the state may represent state-court judges when representation is in the best interests of the state, [NRS 228.170(1)]. The A.G. told the court that the defense of Harter is in the best interests of the State of Nevada. But Plaintiffs wonder—how is defending Harter in the best interests of the state?
According to the A.G., “Nevada has an interest in protecting its judicial officers from being bankrupted by means of having to defend civil lawsuits brought by disgruntled former litigants.” Oh, how ironic!—The A.G. worries about Harter going bankrupt?! No worries. HARTER won’t again be eligible to pull another bankruptcy until 2024.
Does the A.G. ever worry about the countless families that Harter bankrupts?
Plaintiff, T. Matthew Phillips stated: “Harter’s BK was on his own personal time, therefore, attorney’s fees must be funded on his own personal dime. Get it?”
Plaintiff Ali Shahrokhi was direct: “It is a waste of public funds. He must pay for his own attorney. Does the state give Harter a free lawyer if Harter is in a car accident driving to the movies on Saturday night? Attorney General must be disqualified.”
However, the A.G. refuses to quit as Harter’s attorney! The state’s managing attorney is none other than Steve Shevorski who, much like Tom Petty, just “Won’t Back Down.” Shevorski insists there is no conflict of interest and that the B.K. filing was part of Harter’s public duties and therefore, Harter is entitled to a free, state-paid attorney.
Harter committed bankruptcy fraud—in plain view of the general public—and under the nose of a federal judge. Harter survived complaints to the U.S. Trustee’s Office, the Commission on Judicial Discipline, and the Nevada Attorney General. Recently Veterans In Politics International filed another complaint, this time with the Nevada Commission on Ethics, lets see if they joined the crowd to protect a judge that commits a criminal act.
Harter continues to sit on the bench in judgment of others.
As long as Harter remains on the bench, there can be no “fair judiciary” in Nevada. Stay tuned for the results of the motion to disqualify the A.G. as Harter’s attorney.
Please click on the video testimony before the Clark County Board of County Commissioners:
Mathew Harter Clark County District Court Judge Family Division is a Criminal on the Bench!
VETERANS IN POLITICS INT’L (“Where Change Happens!”)
Clark County Nevada
April 8, 2021
On April 5, 2021, a federal lawsuit was filed against family court judge, Mathew Harter. [Shahrokhi, et.al. vs. Harter, 2:21-cv-00557-APG-BNW]. The lawsuit seeks a court order removing Harter from the bench—for violating Plaintiffs’ 14th Amendment right to expect a “fair judiciary.”
The lawsuit contends that the 14th Amendment guarantees the people’s fundamental right to expect a “fair judiciary,” and, where judges commit crimes—such as fraud and perjury—there can be no “fair judiciary.”
The lawsuit alleges that Harter committed bankruptcy fraud, perjury, and concealment of assets; and, because of these crimes, Harter’s mere presence on the bench “offends traditional notions of a fair judiciary,” which violates Plaintiffs’ 14th Amendment rights.
According to Plaintiff, Ali Shahrokhi, “We have no hope in family court—especially when we see a family court judge get away with fraud and perjury—and still remain on the bench—to sit in judgment on others—operating a cash-for-kids operation. It is beyond disgusting how they think they can violate our constitutional rights under the color of law. I refuse to allow thieves to affect my son’s life.”
The lawsuit alleges that Harter’s mere presence on the bench is a “daily reminder of the pall of corruption that hangs over Clark County courts.” The lawsuit demands that “Harter must go.”
JUDICIAL COMMISSION DROPS the BALL
In fall 2020, Veteran In Politics, Int’l, (VIPI), filed a complaint with Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. However, on Jan. 19, 2021, the Commission denied the VIPI complaint—citing the statute of limitations.
But Commission attorney, Paul Dehley, misunderstands the statute of limitations. According to the lawsuit, the statute of limitations may have expired on Harter’s failure to “comply with the law,” [NCJC Rule 1.1], however, the statute of limitations never expires on Harter’s “appearance of impropriety,” [NCJC Rule 1.2].
Co-Plaintiff, T. Matthew Phillips, explains: “Yeah, Harter’s failure to comply with the law may now be a stale-dated ethical violation, however, the sun never sets on Harter’s appearance of impropriety.”
EFFORTS to REMOVE HARTER
Veterans in Politics, Int’l, for some time, has been trying to remove Harter from the bench. But it has proved a daunting task.
Unfortunately, “recall” is not an option because the Nevada Supreme Court—in the name of “job security”—declares that the People cannot recall judges.
Veterans in Politics, Int’l, recently lodged a complaint with Nevada Attorney General, Aaron Ford. But sadly, Aaron Ford refused to act making claims in a generic letter that was not part of the complaint.
The U.S. Trustee’s Office was made aware of Harter’s bankruptcy fraud; however, for reasons not entirely clear, the U.S. Trustee fails to act.
Despite multiple complaints to state and federal agencies, Harter still sits on the bench. But how can this be? Is Harter super well-connected? Or is Clark County corruption so pervasive that no gov’t official can legitimately point a finger at Harter?
On Dec. 21, 2015, Mathew Harter, (and his wife, Brandie P. Harter), filed for Ch. 7 bankruptcy in U.S. District Court, Las Vegas, [Public Case No. 15-17012-LEB].
According to the lawsuit—
- Harter submitted a fraudulent income statement to the bankruptcy court, falsely declaring an income of $-0-;
- Harter committed perjury in his income statement to the bankruptcy court, lying about his monthly income;
- Harter failed to disclose to the U.S. Trustee that he had come into possession of a single-family home worth over $300,000;
- Harter committed mortgage fraud on a V.A. home loan.
Harter committed bankruptcy fraud in “plain view” of the general public—and under the nose of a federal judge. One shudders to imagine the biting atrocities that take place in the private sphere of Harter’s tortured courtroom—where sealed family court cases lay beyond public scrutiny.
On a more somber note, should the reader pause to consider, where public officials are underwater in their personal finances, it makes them more susceptible to bribery.
VIPI member, Giano Amado recently disqualified Harter from his own family law case in the Nevada Supreme Court case# 81098-COA and 79122-COA NV. (“OO-rah!”) Determined to remove Harter from the bench, Amado and Veterans In Politics sponsored several billboards shedding light on Harter’s notorious bankruptcy fraud. These billboards caused a public outcry and made a tremendous impact on public opinion.
Phillips explained: “Harter’s continued presence on the bench is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of parents, a kick in the pants to truth, justice, and the American way.”
STATUTE of LIMITATIONS
The statute of limitations for bankruptcy fraud and perjury is five (5) years, [18 U.S.C. § 3282]. However, where debtors conceal assets, the 5-year limitations period begins to run on the date the court grants discharge, [18 U.S.C. § 3284]. In Harter’s bankruptcy, the discharge happened in Nov. 2016—which means the statute of limitations on “concealment of assets” will not expire until Nov. 2021—which means it’s not too late to indict Harter.
THE STAIN of JUDICIAL CORRUPTION
The lawsuit alleges that Harter “violates every moral precept of what it means to be a judge.”
Plaintiff Shahrokhi stated, “I came to America from Iran for constitutional freedoms, not a bottom-feeder judge to decide how I and my son live our lives. I don’t need a bankrupt, criminal to decide my son’s future. I am a fit parent and I decide what takes place in my son’s life.” Shahrokhi added, “That man does not deserve to be called “Your Honor.”
Steve Sanson President of Veterans In Politics International stated the following: “It’s a shame that our own state and local government cannot and will not protect the public from this type of behavior in our judiciary. Instead protects each other and screw the voters who put them in office.”
Other Related Articles:
Judge Committed Fraud on Bankruptcy Filings!
Criminal Judge-committed Fraud & Perjury, nobody bats an eye!
A CORRUPT JUDGE IS A GREAT VERMIN!!
VETERAN in POLITICS INTERNATIONAL – “Where Change Happens”
- Access to court hearings by phone, or Zoom
- How judges behaved in a case.
- Complaints filed to the Commission on Judicial Performance, State Bar or local presiding judge.
- Outrageous court orders.
- How the lawyers behaved.
- Court reporters.
- Any depositions held during the 20-21 pandemic.
- Court filings when clerk offices were closed.
- Experts who are paid to testify in court.
- Child Support
- Language Barriers
If you have recordings or videos of lawyers , judges , or court appointed experts in your case, please end them along with a brief description as to what the recording shows.
Tell us the county, and name the judges , lawyers and court appointed experts. Please limit other information , it will not be read. We will contact you if any of the above issues are addressed.
If you have recorded supervised visitation centers, or reunification camps and therapists, or of an attorney engaging in abusive conduct, please let us know.
Email: CalJohnQPublic @Gmail.com
Stump V. Sparkman, Should Judges Have Absolute Or Qualified Immunity?, Further Readings
A judge’s complete protection from personal liability for exercising judicial functions.
Judicial immunity protects judges from liability for monetary damages in civil court, for acts they perform pursuant to their judicial function. A judge generally has IMMUNITY from civil damages if he or she had jurisdiction over the subject matter in issue. This means that a judge has immunity for acts relating to cases before the court, but not for acts relating to cases beyond the court’s reach. For example, a criminal court judge would not have immunity if he or she tried to influence proceedings in a juvenile court.
Some states codify the judicial immunity doctrine in statutes. Most legislatures, including Congress, let court decisions govern the issue.
Judicial immunity is a common-law concept, derived from judicial decisions. It originated in the courts of medieval Europe to discourage persons from attacking a court decision by suing the judge. Losing parties were required instead to take their complaints to an appellate court. The idea of protecting judges from civil damages was derived from this basic tenet and served to solidify the independence of the judiciary. It became widely accepted in the English courts and in the courts of the United States.
Judicial immunity was first recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Randall v. Brigham, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 523, 19 L. Ed. 285 (1868). In Randall the Court held that an attorney who had been banned from the PRACTICE OF LAW by a judge could not sue the judge over the disbarment. In its opinion, the Court stated that a judge was not liable for judicial acts unless they were done “maliciously or corruptly.”
In Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335, 20 L. Ed. 646 (1871), the U.S. Supreme Court clarified judicial immunity. Joseph H. Bradley had brought suit seeking civil damages against George P. Fisher, a former justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. Bradley had been the attorney for John H. Suratt, who was tried in connection with the assassination of President ABRAHAM LINCOLN. In Suratt’s trial, after Fisher had called a recess, Bradley accosted Fisher “in a rude and insulting manner” and accused Fisher of making insulting comments from the bench. Suratt’s trial continued, and the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Immediately after discharging the jury, Fisher ordered from the bench that Bradley’s name be stricken from the rolls of attorneys authorized to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. Bradley sued Fisher for damages relating to lost work as a result of the order. At trial, Bradley attempted to introduce evidence in his favor, but Fisher’s attorney objected to each item, and the judge excluded each item. After three failed attempts to present evidence, the trial court directed the jury to deliver a verdict in favor of Fisher.
On appeal by Bradley, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision. Judges could be reached for their malicious acts, but only through IMPEACHMENT, or removal from office. Thus, the facts of the case were irrelevant. Even if Fisher had exceeded his jurisdiction in single-handedly banning Bradley from the court, Fisher was justified in his actions. According to the Court, “A judge who should pass over in silence an offence of such gravity would soon find himself a subject of pity rather than respect.”
Since Bradley, the U.S. Supreme Court has identified some exceptions to judicial immunity. Judges do not receive immunity for their administrative decisions, such as in hiring and firing court employees (Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 108 S. Ct. 538, 98 L. Ed. 2d 555 ).
Judges also are not immune from declaratory and injunctive relief. These forms of relief differ from monetary relief. Generally they require parties to do or refrain from doing a certain thing. If a judge loses a suit for DECLARATORY JUDGMENT or injunctive relief, he or she may not be forced to pay money damages, but may be forced to pay the court costs and attorneys’ fees of the winning party. For example, assume that a judge requires the posting of bail by persons charged in criminal court with offenses for which they cannot be jailed. If a person subjected to this unconstitutional practice files suit against the judge, the judge will not be given judicial immunity and, upon losing the case, will be forced to pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and court costs. (Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522, 104 S. Ct. 1970, 80 L. Ed. 2d 565 ).
The Court held in Pulliam that a judge could be forced to pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and court costs under the 1976 Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1988. Gladys Pulliam, a Virginia state court magistrate, had jailed two men for failure to post bail following their arrest for abusive language and public drunkenness. Under Virginia law, the defendants could not receive a jail sentence if convicted of these offenses. The plaintiffs sued under the federal CIVIL RIGHTS ACT 42 U.S.C.A. SECTION 1983 and obtained an INJUNCTION forbidding the judge to require bail for these offenses. The judge was also ordered to pay the defendants $8,000 as reimbursement for their attorneys’ fees.
Judges throughout the United States viewed the Pulliam decision as a serious assault on judicial immunity. The Conference of State Chief Justices, the JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES, the AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, and the American Judges Association lobbied Congress to amend the law and overturn Pulliam. Finally, in the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-317, 110 Stat. 3847), Congress inserted language that voided the decision. The amendment prohibits injunctive relief in a § 1983 action against a “judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity” unless “a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.” In addition, language was added to § 1988 that precludes the award of costs and attorney’s fees against judges acting in their official capacity.
Filing a civil complaint against a judge can be risky for attorneys because the doctrine of judicial immunity is well established. In Marley v. Wright, 137 F.R.D. 359 (W.D. Okla. 1991), attorney Frank E. Marley sued two Oklahoma state court judges, Thornton Wright, Jr., and David M. Harbour, their court reporter, and others. Marley alleged in his complaint that Wright and Harbour had violated his constitutional rights in connection with a custody case concerning Marley’s children. The court not only dismissed the case, but also ordered Marley to pay the attorney’s fees that Wright and Harbour had incurred in defending the suit. According to the court, Marley’s complaint “was not warranted by existing law,” and Marley had used the suit “not to define the outer boundaries of judicial immunity but to harass judges and judicial personnel who rendered a decision he did not like.”
Judicial Immunity – Is NOT Absolute!
By David C. Grossack, Constitutional Attorney
Common Law Copyright © 1994 All Rights Reserved
Also see article on How To Sue A Judge and always remember, case law is ALWAYS changing.
Here is a selection of case/reference citations regarding judicial immunity when personally suing a Judge for money damages, from the collection of former Phoenix, AZ Attorney Robert A. Hirschfeld, JD. (Warning: Look up and read the cited case for consistency with your situation, before citing it in your own brief.)
When a judge knows that he lacks jurisdiction, or acts in the face of clearly valid statutes expressly depriving him of jurisdiction, judicial immunity is lost. Rankin v. Howard, (1980) 633 F.2d 844, cert den. Zeller v. Rankin, 101 S.Ct. 2020, 451 U.S. 939, 68 L.Ed 2d 326.
In Rankin v. Howard, 633 F.2d 844 (1980) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an Arizona District Court dismissal based upon absolute judicial immunity, finding that both necessary immunity prongs were absent; later, in Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072 (1986), the Ninth Circuit, en banc , criticized the “judicial nature” analysis it had published in Rankin as unnecessarily restrictive. But Rankin’s ultimate result was not changed, because Judge Howard had been independently divested of absolute judicial immunity by his complete lack of jurisdiction.
Some Defendants urge that any act “of a judicial nature” entitles the Judge to absolute judicial immunity. But in a jurisdictional vacuum, (that is, absence of all jurisdiction) the second prong necessary to absolute judicial immunity is missing. Stump v. Sparkman, id., 435 U.S. 349.
“Where there is no jurisdiction, there can be no discretion, for discretion is incident to jurisdiction.” Piper v. Pearson, 2 Gray 120, cited in Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 20 L.Ed. 646 (1872)
A judge must be acting within his jurisdiction as to subject matter and person, to be entitled to immunity from civil action for his acts. Davis v. Burris, 51 Ariz. 220, 75 P.2d 689 (1938)
Generally, judges are immune from suit for judicial acts within or in excess of their jurisdiction even if those acts have been done maliciously or corruptly; the only exception being for acts done in the clear absence of all jurisdiction. Gregory v. Thompson, 500 F2d 59 (C.A. Ariz. 1974)
There is a general rule that a ministerial officer who acts wrongfully, although in good faith, is nevertheless liable in a civil action and cannot claim the immunity of the sovereign. Cooper v. O’Conner, 99 F.2d 133
When a judicial officer acts entirely without jurisdiction or without compliance with jurisdiction requisites he may be held civilly liable for abuse of process even though his act involved a decision made in good faith, that he had jurisdiction. State use of Little v. U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 217 Miss. 576, 64 So. 2d 697.
“… the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803).
“No judicial process, whatever form it may assume, can have any lawful authority outside of the limits of the jurisdiction of the court or judge by whom it is issued; and an attempt to enforce it betond these boundaries is nothing less than lawless violence.” Ableman v. Booth, 21 Howard 506 (1859).
“The courts are not bound by an officer’s interpretation of the law under which he presumes to act.” Hoffsomer v. Hayes, 92 Okla 32, 227 F 417.
> Journal: Cato Journal Vol 8, No. 1 – 1988
> Author : Bruce Benson
> Title : An Institutional Explanation for Corruption of Criminal Justice Officals
> Journal: Cato Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1987
> Author : Robert Craig Waters
> Title : Judicial Immunity versus Due Process: When Should a Judge Be Subject to Suit?
Justice Field in Bradley v. Fisher. (13 Wall) 353 (1871) stated: “…judges of courts of superior or general jurisdiction are not liable to civil actions for their judicial acts, even when such acts are in excess of their jurisdiction.”
“The doctrine of judicial immunity originated in early seventeenth-century England in the jurisprudence of Sir Edward Coke. In two decisions, Floyd & Barker and the Case of the Marshalsea, Lord Coke laid the foundation for the doctrine of judicial immunity.” Floyd & Barker, 77 Eng. Rep. 1305 (1607; The Case of the Marshalsea, 77 Eng. Rep. 1027 (1612) were both cases right out of the Star Chamber.
Coke’s reasoning for judicial immunity was presented in four public policy grounds:
1. Finality of judgment;
2. Maintenance of judicial independence;
3. Freedom from continual calumniations; and,
4. Respect and confidence in the judiciary.
The Marshalsea presents a case where Coke denied a judge immunity for presiding over a case in assumpsit. Assumpsit is a common-law action for recovery of damages for breach of contract. Coke then explained the operation of jurisdiction requirement for immunity:
. “[W]hen a Court has (a) jurisdiction of the cause, and proceeds iverso ordine or erroneously, there the party who sues, or the officer or minister of the Court who executes the precept or process of the Court, no action lies against them. But (b) when the Court has not jurisdiction of the cause, there the whole proceeding is [before a person who is not a judge], and actions will lie against them without any regard of the precept or process…”
Although narrowing the availability of judicial immunity, especially in courts of limited jurisdiction, Coke suggested that there was a presumption of jurisdiction and that the judge must have been aware that jurisdiction was lacking.
Thus, questions of personam, rem and res jurisdiction are always a proper issue before the court to obviate the defense that the court had no way to know they lacked jurisdiction.
“Stump v Sparkman Revisited” continues to show it was Chief Justice Kent (circa 1810) that was instrumental in establishing the “doctrine” of JI in America, in Yates v. Lansing, 5 Johns 282. Thereafter Justice incorporated the “doctrine” in two cases: Randall v. Brigham, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 523, and Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335 (1871). Both Yates and Randall dealt with officers of the court.
“The belief that Bradley narrowed the scope of the doctrine respresents a serious misunderstanding of the decision. First, Bradley provides no authority for the belief that a judge of general jurisdiction may be liable for acts taken in absence of subject matter jurisdiction. The distinction between excess of jurisdiction and absence of jurisdiction in the opinion is simply explanatory. Because a court of general jurisdiction has jurisdiction over all causes of action, a judge of such a court will always be immune for his judicial acts, even if he exceeds his authority. See Bradley, 80 U.S. at 351-52.”
CASE NOTE: “Federal tort law: judges cannot invoke judicial immunity for acts that violate litigants civil rights; Robert Craig Waters. Tort & Insurance Law Journal, Spr. 1986 21 n3, p509-516”
A Superior Court Judge is broadly vested with “general jurisdiction.” Evidently, this means that even if a case involving a particular attorney is not assigned to him, he may reach out into the hallway, having his deputy use “excessive force” to haul the attorney into the courtroom for chastisement or even incarceration. Mireles v. Waco, 112 S.Ct. 286 at 288 (1991). Arguably, anything goes, in a Superior Court Judge’s exercise of his “general jurisdiction”, with the judge enjoying “absolute judicial immunity” against tort consequences. Provide he is not divested of all jurisdiction.
A Judge is not immune for tortious acts committed in a purely Administrative, non-judicial capacity. Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. at 227-229, 108 S.Ct. at 544-545; Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 380, 98 S.Ct. at 1106. Mireles v. Waco, 112 S.Ct. 286 at 288 (1991).
Administrative-capacity torts by a judge do not involve the “performance of the function of resolving disputes between parties, or of authoritatively adjudicating private rights,” and therefore do not have the judicial immunity of judicial acts. See: Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 98 L.Ed.2d 555, 108 S.Ct. 538 (1988); Atkinson-Baker & Assoc. v. Kolts, 7 F.3d 1452 at 1454, (9th Cir. 1993). A Judge as a State Actor is not vested with the sovereign immunity granted to the State itself . See: Rolfe v. State of Arizona, 578 F.Supp. 987 (D.C. Ariz. 1983); Rutledge v. Arizona Bd. of Regents, 660 F.2d 1345, (9th Cir, 1981) cert. granted Kush v. Rutledge, 458 U.S. 1120, 102 S.Ct. 3508,73 L.Ed.2d 1382, affirmed 460 U.S. 719, 103 S.Ct. 1483, 75 L.Ed.2d. 413, appeal after remand 859 F.2d 732, Ziegler v. Kirschner, 781 P.2d 54, 162 Ariz. 77 (Ariz. App., 1989).
It is said that absolute judicial immunity is favored as public policy, so that judges may fearlessly, and safe from retribution, adjudicate matters before them. True. But equally important, is the public expectation that judicial authority will only be wielded by those lawfully vested with such authority.
The history of Arizona’s admission to the Union reveals at least one reason why historic public policy in Arizona would favor ARCP Rule 42(f)(1)’s complete and expeditious divestiture of jurisdiction, and its concurrent divestiture of absolute judicial immunity in the event a renegade judge persists in wielding the tools of his office after having been affirmatively stripped of them.
In 1912, the U.S. Congress refused to admit Arizona to the Union for the stated reason that Arizona’s proposed Constitution provided the public with a mechanism for removing sitting judges from office. Joint Res. No. 8, 8/21/11, 37 U.S. Stat. 39, cited in Vol. 1, Ariz. Rev. Stats., p.130. To facilitate admission to the Union, the judge-removal mechanism was excised from the State Constitution, allowing Arizona to become a State on 2/14/12. Soon afterward, on 11/5/12, Arizona voters restored the mechanism by amendment. Ariz. Constitution, Art. VIII “Removal from Office”, section 1; A.R.S. Vol. 1, p. 178. So strong was the citizens’ distrust of sitting State Court Judges in Arizona, that after Arizona copied the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, it added the present Rule 42(f)(1) to provide a mechanism for a litigant to permanently remove the assigned judge from the case.
The difference between selectively disabling a judge in various aspects of adjudication (such as during the appellate period) and the permanent extinguishment of his jurisdiction in a given case, has a logical relevance to a Judge’s expectation of enjoying absolute judicial immunity in that case.
In examining entitlement to immunity, the U.S. Supreme Court focused upon the nature of the act: is it an act ordinarily performed by a Judge? Unfortunately, judges sometimes exceed their jurisdiction in a particular case. But an act done in complete absence of all jurisdiction cannot be a judicial act. Piper v. Pearson, id., 2 Gray 120. It is no more than the act of a private citizen, pretending to have judicial power which does not exist at all. In such circumstances, to grant absolute judicial immunity is contrary.
How to Sue a Judge Without Using a Lawyer
By David C. Grossack, Constitutional Attorney
Common Law Copyright © 1994 All Rights Reserved
Has a judge violated your constitutional rights? Have you been discriminated against by being treated differently than other people in similar situations by reason of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference or political opinion? Have you lost certain rights without a meaningful hearing or even an opportunity to be heard?
Have you been deprived of any other constitutional protection? Have you been subject to Court action for the purpose of intimidating you from exercising an opinion, or practicing your faith? Don’t let them get away with it.
Although it is almost impossible to recover monetary damages from a judge (unless you can prove he or she acted ultra-vires beyond his or her legal jurisdiction) it is in fact possible to obtain relief in equity against a judge through civil rights actions. Equitable relief includes:
a. declaratory relief – (rulings by another judge in the form of opinions establishing the constitutionality or lack of constitutionality of another judges actions.)
b. injunctive relief – a command or order to do something or refrain from doing so.
As a general rule, however, judges cannot be held liable for money damages for acts done in the exercise of his judicial function, within the limits of his jurisdiction, no matter how erroneous, illegal or malicious his acts may be. (48A Corpus Juris Secundum §86) A minority of decisions have held that if an inferior judge acts maliciously or corruptly he may incur liability. Kalb v. Luce, 291 N.W. 841, 234, WISC 509.
Federal Civil Rights statutes, and possibly Bivens actions, appear to offer the best path for redressing constitutional grievances with state and federal judges, respectively, in Federal Court. As a practical matter, such cases will usually be brought by pro se litigants. Neither the politics nor economics of law practice permits lawyers to pursue such cases nor makes them affordable except to a small elite of citizens.
However, lawyers who do successfully sue state judges in federal court in Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 cases can recover attorney’s fees from judicial defendants provided they can show time sheets kept contemporaneously with their work.
The most important step you have to take in beginning your lawsuit is in writing the complaint that will be conforming to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (available in every Government Bookstore or from the Government Printing Office in Washington, DC.)
Properly drafted complaints need not be prepared by a lawyer. All that is required is a very fundamental understanding of a few basic constitutional principles and a typewriter and paper. Handwritten complaints can also be filed in court.
Each federal court publishes its own local rules which can impose some additional requirements, but essentially there are only a handful of things you need to know. 1. Each complaint has a caption reading “United States District Court, District of (name the jurisdiction e.g. Southern New York or Eastern California.) 2. Each complaint includes a caption indicating the name of the plaintiff, and the name of the defendant. The words “individually and in his official capacity” should appear after the name of the defendant judge. The words “Verified Complaint” should appear on the right side of the caption. Your caption should appear like this:
United States District Court
District of (State)
Civil Docket No. _______
vs. VERIFIED COMPLAINT
individually and in his/her official capacity as Justice of the Superior Court ) of [*****] County,
A couple of spaces below, you must begin to spell out your reasons for bringing your complaint to Court. Make an outline of your case. First, state your “Jurisdictional Basis” in Paragraph I. I usually write as follows:
I. Plaintiff claims federal jurisdiction pursuant to Article III § 2 which extends the jurisdiction to cases arising under the U.S. Constitution. Next you should write Paragraph II stating the precise Statutory Authority why you brought the case. If you are suing a state judge, you will state:
II. Plaintiff brings this suit pursuant to Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 for violations of certain protections guaranteed to him by the First, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments (select which apply) of the federal Constitution, by the defendant under color of law in his/her capacity as a judge in the Superior Court of (****) County.
If you are suing a federal judge, state:
“Plaintiff brings this action against (name), a federal judicial officer, pursuant to Title 28 U.S. Code § 1331, in claims arising from violations of federal constitutional rights guaranteed in the (fill in) amendments to the U.S. Constitution and redressable pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Narcotics Agents 403 U.S. 388 (1971).”
Be aware that the issue of whether federal judicial officers can in fact be sued under this authority is unresolved, but my opinion is that there is a strong implication in the affirmative based on the language in many cases.
Your complaint should then have a section entitled “Parties”. The next two paragraphs would read:
III. Plaintiff (Your name) is a natural person residing at (Your address), (County), (State).
IV. Defendant is a Judge presiding at (fill in.)
Following this you must now describe your claim in detail, giving legal and factual basis for your case. This portion of the case is entitled “Statement of Case”
What kind of factual pattern would give rise to a successful claim under the federal civil rights law? Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 reads as follows:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.
The burden of proof is upon the plaintiff to show that the defendant judge acted unconstitutionally or outside of his/her jurisdiction. If the judge engaged in an egregious discrimination against males in a divorce court, minorities in state criminal cases, members of an unpopular religious group in confrontation with government authorities and treated suspiciously in court or members of a “fringe” political group, these situations can give rise to a claim of denial of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
If a judge permits an ex parte attachment, i.e. seizure of real estate without giving you notice of a hearing in a state court proceeding, this is a deprivation of property without due process, violating the Fifth Amendment as well as the Fourteenth Amendment.
Ex parte restraining orders forcing men or women out of their homes based on abuse allegations in state courts are a primary and rampant example of violations of constitutional rights today, and certainly actionable in federal court.
The first ten amendments of the Bill of Rights are self explanatory. Violations of any of the rights described in these amendments give rise to causes of action, both against state judges under Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and arguably against federal judges in Bivens actions.
Pro se litigants should give a clear and concise description of what happened in chronological order, identifying the judge, the date, time, and place of his or her action, and specifying which acts violated which constitutional amendments.
The complaint finishes with a section entitled “Prayer for Relief.” In such a case you can ask for an injunction ordering another judge to so something, or to refrain from doing something. Successful use of these suits has been made to nullify attachments, end incarcerations, declare laws or court practices unconstitutional and scare the heck out of black robed tyrants with gavels. See Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522 (1983).
I often phrase my prayers for relief as follows:
Wherefore plaintiff prays this Court issue equitable relief as follows:
1. Issue injunctive relief commanding defendant to . . .
2. Issue declaratory relief as this Court deems appropriate just.
3. Issue other relief as this Court deems appropriate and just.
4. Award plaintiff his costs of litigation.
Your name printed
City, State, Zip Code
Statement of Verification
I have read the above complaint and it is correct to the best of my knowledge.
Complaints are filed in the Civil Clerk’s Office in the United States District Court for your district.
Federal rules now allow for service of process by certified mail. You will be required to serve the defendant judge and also your state attorney general if you are suing a state judge.
The pro se road will be easier if you study the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, obtain a Black’s Law Dictionary and familiarize yourself with legal research methods. You must also read the Local Rules of the Federal Court where you are suing, and learn Constitutional law fast.
Using a lawyer as a coach is helpful. Bear in mind that your lawsuit is disfavored because it is against a judge. Nevertheless, our system of “justice” is in such tough shape that suits against judges are a socio-political necessity.
Complaints should be photocopied, disseminated to the legislature, the media and political action groups.
Perhaps the cumulative impact of these suits will bring a healthy radical change for the American people.
The author is an attorney in private practice in Boston.
Post Office Box 90
Hull, Massachusetts 02045
Copyright ©1994 All Rights Reserved
NOTE: Please read article and cases related to Judicial Immunity before taking action.
Mitchell Papers and Protests Lead to Indictments
After accepting plea deals, the Henriquezs are rumored to be consulting with divorce attorneys at McManis Faulkner and Hoover Krepelka Law Firms. The cheating scandal is rumored to be a ” boom for Silicon Valley divorce lawyers”. Sources report Silicon Valley divorce attorneys have been overheard discussing new potential clients flooding into their offices and how these lawyers are planning on ratcheting up overbilling and deceptive business practices that will include: duping clients into private judging cases and kissing up to get court appointments as minor’s counsel and custody evaluators in divorce or custody cases.
REAL ESTATE SCAM EXPOSED: Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer Indicted Exposes DA Office and Supervisor Corruption
While seemingly unrelated, the indictment and disbarment of Contra Costa County DA Mark Peterson appears to have unraveled systemic corruption in California’s courts and politics that reveals systemic failures that have harmed families and two generations of children.
A former Contra Costa County Grand Jury involved in a CPS investigation, provided an off record account of how a grand jury investigation linked public corruption in Solano, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Orange County to lawyer- doctor and former Contra Costa Supervisor Jeff Smith, who is now the county executive in Santa Clara County:
May 2018- Grand Jurors were first alerted to problems when parents marched on the streets of the sleepy Bay Area bedroom community of Walnut Creek. No arrests were made , but over 500 parents picketed, marched and protested from a community park to the steps of a courthouse where they claimed corrupt CPS workers and three female judges were involved in trafficking children after their parents were forced through a corrupt court system. Judges at the focus of the march were Fannin, Hardie and Haight .
Summer 2018- Judge Bruce Mills, reportedly been on the take for bribes delivered in the form of real estate deals and cash kickbacks assured by nefarious slumlord John Evilsizor , resigned from the Contra Costa bench after the CJP closed in on Mills in a 5th investigation related to the improper jailing of Evilsizor’s former son- in-law in a custody case Mills presided over for several years.
This was also the time when parents returned to Contra Costa and marched on the streets of Martinez, through the downtown , civic center, the steps of the courthouse and where they pounded on the doors of the District Attorney’s Office, despite DA Mark Peterson having been indicted, disgraced and disbarred a year earlier.
September 2018- it was revealed that DA Mark Peterson had been working to catch and kill complaints about county assessor Gus Kramer, a corrupt politician who reportedly turned a blind eye when it came to real estate complaints arising from the county’s family court cases.
February 2019- Parents had garnered enough support to get the recall of Judges Hardie, Fannin and Haight on the local ballot, but an attack and complaint filed to the FPPC by a judge lobbyist derailed the plan. The lobbyist reportedly focused on the Contra Costa group because of the wide spread media attention the group got, and following the landslide vote in Santa Clara County, that had recalled Judge Persky on June 5, 2018, after a successful political campaign was led by Stanford professor Michele Dauber.
HOW THEY GET THE FAMILY HOME
Converting home equity into cash for attorney fees in divorce cases was something that had been mastered in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, but Contra Costa was late to the Silicon Valley home equity party, given its more remote location and longer commute to the Google, Facebook and other tech giant campuses.
As parents picketed and protested in Contra Costa, they fought judicially corrupt family courts in Solano County by launching a recall of Judge Carringer in 2017, which did not go to vote, and which was turned into an impeachment request to the State Assembly in April of 2018.
It was in Santa Clara County, where Jeff Smith hung his new employment shingle, that Stanford University Law Professor Michele Dauber launched a successful political campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky. It is said that from 2016- 2018 Dauber had the help and assistance of DA Jeff Rosen, DDA Terry Harman. Alah Kinerci, Cindy Hendrickson and Luis Ramos, but she also had the help of executives at Google, Facebook and Twitter based on connections her husband Ken Dauber had as a Google executive serving on as a Board Member on the Palo Alto School District. It is also believed that Dauber had assistance from the Supervisors, Cindy Chavez, Joe Smitian, Ken Yeager, Dave Cortese and Mike Wasserman, who allowed DA Rosen to let angry #metoo mobs drown out parents seeking to bring attention to the county’s unscrupulous judges including Judge Maureen Folan, Judge Vincent Chiarello, Judge James Towery, Judge Mary Ann Grilli, Judge Julie Emede, Judge Roberta Hyashi, Judge Beth McGowan, Judge McCracken, Judge Cynthia Lie, and Judge Stuart Scott.
By early 2017, court clerk David Yamasaki had moved from Santa Clara’s courts, to Orange County, where he was reportedly working to cover up construction fraud and family court fraud arising from the county’s private judging cases before retired Judge David Weinberg, Judge Moss, Judge Larsh and Judges employed through JAMS . No recalls had occurred in Orange County however former DA Tony Rackauckas was ousted by voters who put Todd Spitzer in the DA’s office as voters demanded Spitizer begin looking at the county’s family courts and real estate scandals rising from the family courts.
Grand Juror Leaks Investigation Techniques
” We interviewed the parents and protest organizers” , explained the former Contra Costa Grand Juror, ” That led us to issue the CPS report by the summer of 2019″
A copy of the report can be seen at this link.
“Simultaneously we looked at the county assessor where these corrupt real estate deals appeared to be being concealed and protected. We knew Gus Kramer had an alliance with the former DA Mark Peterson, and once Peterson was disbarred and indicted, Kramer had no more shield, so we nailed him.”
As to the systemic corruption, the former Grand Juror had this to say:
” Look we know it is bad, but we are not the worst. The worst corruption is coming from Santa Clara and Orange Counties. The State Bar, and all of the watchdogs charged with protecting the public are afraid to touch those counties, after all, they have planted Google. Facebook and Twitter investors, founders and shareholders in their courts, contracts and Supervisor’s pockets.
“It was an interview we did with a former hospital employee who was familiar with Jeff Smith that made us realize how dangerous Santa Clara County has become and we just couldn’t go there”.
Mitchell Papers: Real Estate Corruption Linked to Family Court Lawyers and Judges
Before ending the interview, the former Grand Juror noted they had reviewed what are being called the Mitchell Papers. The papers show cash payments made to cops, judges and lawyers like something out of a Chicago mobster movie. The local bar association appears to be the shell organization feeding the enterprise where billions, NOT millions, of dollars are being converted in family law cases to pay lawyers who are paying off judges, private judges and other lawyers by paying down home equity lines of credit on the homes, rental properties and vacation homes of those operating what is clearly a criminal enterprise.
For example, the county assessor in Santa Clara, Larry Stone, is known for his flagrant extra marital affairs, yet the grand jury, DA and Supervisors have left Larry Stone alone. Stone, who started out in small level government in Sunnyvale, became obsessed with power and connections to the Democratic party in the county. A party that essentially runs the state. Stone also continued to flaunt his extra martial relationships which have been actively concealed from his wife by Walter Hammon’s wife, Meri Maben, and newly elected Supervisor Susan Ellenberg.
Stone, who is nearly 80, had a home nearly paid off, but now carries a $600K loan. It is rumored that Jeff Smith’s right hand man, Steve Preminger, assures these loans are paid off with deferred payments when nobody is watching, and it is divorce attorney Walter Hammon who is brining in divorce clients high level Silicon Valley connections at YouTube, Paypal, Facebook, Google Twitter , Nvidia and even the Department of Justice that makes sure this enterprise remains in tact and meeting bribe and payment obligations.
Steve Preminger, Jeff Smith’s top aide, was recently reported as working with tech and social media executives to assure Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese could knock out his political opponents by shadow banning social media accounts and burying political adversaries or court reform candidates in search engines powered by Google.
In closing, the grand juror noted:
“All local governments have the potential to be corrupted. When the grand jury doesn’t look, the DA’s don’t indict and the Supervisors or city managers are complicit, the courts will be corrupted and people will rise up and march in the streets as they did in our sleepy little town of Walnut Creek. We tried to do something about it, I hope it wasn’t too little , or too late.”
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