California's Family Courts Need Mainstream Media
Media coverage is essential in all aspects of America's democracy. It is transparency and the possibility of transparency that keeps a democracy intact. In California Sunshine Laws assure that state agencies and non-profits operate in a manner that is always subject to public view, but California's courts are different.
Every year hundreds of desperate residents reach out to reporters for help. Parents and Grandparents desperately seek coverage of what is going on in California's family courts. Sadly, few reporters call back and most editors and publishers deny assignments and coverage for issues related to family court.
A recent media survey found that the majority of reporters and freelance journalists had encountered publishers and editors who repeatedly deny requests to cover issues involving the state's family courts, despite the fact that 50% of married California's will be forced to deal with those courts in their lifetime.
Unless you are the DV victim of OJ Simpson, or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie , dealing with custody, support, property and domestic violence in the state's family courts, where there are no cameras, no reporters and no media requests, you will likely be at the mercy of a very problematic judge, who is unconcerned that the media will ever see final rulings.
In California's Family Courts The Media is Never Welcome
Private research indicates that family court judges receive fewer media requests than their criminal and civil colleagues. In most cases, local and "beat" reporters have no interest in diving into the "he said - she said" debate that plagues family court cases. Readers of newspapers will not spring the $1.50 to read about what many consider "private matters" and tv stations are not about to dedicate camera time to family court drama when there are whales to save, Trump protests to cover and dirty politicians to "out". As a result, family court judges sit safely away from the media spotlight, and voter scrutiny.
Trouble is , where media is missing, problems flourish like toxic mold.
A recent Sacramento News and Report Story revealed how many people in Sacramento County had been harmed by just a few ethically challenged judges. Investigative reporters have known for years these troubles exist and judges paid no mind to what was said online. Judge Gary even failed to be deterred by CJP investigations and online blogs as he has continued a sexual affair with his court clerk, which has never been investigated by the CJP.
When Investigative Reporters arrived on the Santa Clara Family Court scene in 2016, they found family court problems were so severe that the issues eclipsed what had been seen Sacramento.
Pressure from online media began to cause the Santa Clara judiciary to deny media requests, delay or ignore public records request and begin a concerted effort to blacklist and blackout certain reporters and publishers who the courts knew to be working on exposing court corruption in Silicon Valley.
Since 2009 Santa Clara County family courts were known to be killing children. Judicial bias, misconduct and incompetence that led to rulings by judges like Vincent Chiarello in the custody case of Alycia Mestiti Allen, where a young 14 year old girl died, were dismissed and the County formally said " they missed the signs".
Judge Chiarello was never disciplined after he failed to assure a mother legal parity and gave custody to a father with a known criminal background. This conduct continues to persist on the Santa Clara County bench as judges like James Towery and Julie Emede give custody and unsupervised visitation to alleged rapists and woman beaters, like former 49er Ray McDonald, while they award fees to an " in crowd of lawyers in what is clearly a PAY- TO- PLAY justice system in Santa Clara's Family Courts. The County's supervising judges, including Erica Yew, who sits on the Commission of Judicial Performance, seems uninterested in serving the community , or assuring public trust in the Silicon Valley judiciary, as complaints against judges are routinely ignored and dismissed without actual investigations.
The problem in family courts has become so dire, and such a threat to the safety and security of journalists, that some publishers are recommending live body cam feed to show how the Santa Clara County judges, court staff and bailiffs are threatening and deterring reporters seeking to cover family court cases and judges.
Members of the media have also reached out to Anonymous for help to find information courts refuse to provide. Members of Anonymous have directed reporters to private email accounts of judges, and have hacked into email accounts of the most corrupt Silicon Valley family law firms, pointing mainstream media in the direction of the worse corruption; where Judges like Mary Ann Grilli, James Towery, Julie Emede, Stuart Scott , Drew Takaichi, Aaron Persky and Vincent Chairello appear to have circled the wagons alongside a core group of corrupt lawyers and experts that provide a barrier of protection from the media scrutiny that has intensified in recent months.
California's State Legislature has found the CJP is ineffective in managing and disciplining the state's judges. People who bother complaining get nothing back but a form letter and the worse judges will receive is a " black mark " that doesn't effect their pay or retirement in anyway.
While a state audit of CJP was demanded by the entire legislative branch back in 2016, the CJP has used its legal might to smother the audit, and any lawsuit that comes their way, with the help of the California Attorney General.
California's Judicial Council, the financial end of California's Family Court Corruption, has been found to be hiring law firms to defend corrupt judges and appointing judges to discipline hearings where those judges to assure a "rigged " , or " fixed " outcome.
These outcomes also point to the role local DA offices and California's Attorney General play in the judicial corruption game , where it appears elected officials are working to protect a corrupt judiciary over the state's residents.
In Humboldt County, Judge Dale Reinholtsen and Christopher Wilson got a little payola when the California's Attorney General decided to not prosecute them for perjury after it was found they were falsifying their payroll affidavits. So while California employees and child support obligators can be thrown in jail for missing visitation or support payments, California judges appear to be not only afforded immunity for unlawful rulings, they appear to get off Scott Free for misusing public funds as well.
MANY ARE QUESTIONING EQUAL PROTECTION ISSUES IN JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE
As judges at one end of the state get a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE PASS, and Santa Clara County Judges continue to openly operate their corrupt family courts and violate law, the Commission on Judicial Performance is cracking down on San Diego Judge Gary Kreep, in what many believe to be a Kangaroo Court setting that is intended to satisfy critics who say the CJP has not been strong on judicial discipline for nearly five decades.
Mainstream media may feel satisfied that it is covering San Diego discipline hearings of a sitting San Diego judge, but reporters who are overburdened with daily deadlines and shoestring budges will miss the significance of the Judge Kreep hearings, and why the media and public have been so welcome by the CJP and courts to cover this hearing.
The CJP has taken tremendous pressure from the state legislature for keeping judge discipline confidential. Only 1 in about 1200 complaints are investigated. For the first time Kreep's hearing will be open to the public, and is expected to take two weeks, many are asking why this one and why so public now? Most know it is a sham as Kreep will be thrown under the bus to protect a much more significant problem.
Whistleblowers and CJP insiders have reported that Kreep is not the worst of the worst. In fact, Kreep is reported to be an "outsider" who never was corrupted by the system. Insiders know Kreep is a sacrificial lamb who is being forced to defend what may be trumped up charges , where he likely faces a certain outcome that will likely see him leave the bench. It is the information that is found in the aftermath of these hearings that will tell the real story. Insiders report that if Kreep's lawyer does his job, he will have an opportunity to show just how California has failed to provide fair judges in every county of the state. Then it will be up to the media to report that story. If Kreep's lawyer doesn't do his job, his alliance with a corrupt judiciary will become more clear.
As the Kreep sham hearings are set to begin February 6, 2017, whistleblowers report CJP insiders and cronies are working overtime to tighten up the legal threats to the judiciary as well. California's Attorney General appears to be defending the CJP in a lawsuit that claims the CJP failed to protect the public from bad judges, and the California Supreme Court appears to be going through legal maneuvers to rid case law of the recent case, Hayward v. Superior Court, that attacked judicial misconduct head on. There is now a motion to depublish that case, that is proving very embarrassing for California's judiciary.
BOTTOM LINE: California tax payers are footing the bill for the state's judiciary to use and abuse the media, the courts and the legislature, all designed to cover up what is really going on in family courts all over the state.