Catherine Stoner link to Domestic Violence and Private Judging Cases Center of Public Corruption in Monterey County Superior Court Investigation.
Family courthouses shuttered by COVID-19 has resulted in frustrated clients firing divorce lawyers and resolving their cases the good old fashioned way: without lawyers. Financial and emotional pressure related to the global pandemic has seen lawyers reaching for weed, alcohol and prescription drugs to self- medicate. The state bar has known of these issues for decades, and has done little to protect the public from lawyers openly engaging in criminal activity.
Ironically, a Monterey County Sheriff Deputy has reported Dr. Annis, the husband of Monterey divorce attorney Debra Crawford, has been accepting cash payments in exchange for writing prescriptions for local cops, court reporters, judges as well as the elite clientele of Monterey's most connected attorneys.
Dr. Annis, who once took a plea in a felony criminal case related to overprescribing pain medications, is reportedly building an online medical business involved in the the writing of prescriptions, The business is reportedly generating cash payments that are being converted to his wife and hidden in attorney trust accounts, off shore banks , and secret locations in in a manner that conceals income from the IRS and the courts. This allows Dr. Annis to secret income from his first wife in order to avoid support payments following a long term marriage. The practice of hiding money in a divorce case is not foreign in Monterey, or any other county, as sociopathic former spouses seek to avoid supporting a former spouse, preferring to pay money to their divorce lawyers instead.
Katherine Dorset, Annis' current attorney, is no stranger to secreting money or criminal activity in a divorce. Five years ago Dorset's own divorce from Jacqueline Lynch was fraught with an appearance of fraud. According to a former staffer of the law offices of John P. Hannon, familiar with Dorset's divorce, claims this ethically challenged lesbian lawyer has enjoyed inciting conflict for her own personal gain, Dorset has also had a hand in the county adoptions and CPS cases, where it is reported that Dorest has been using Dr. Annis to ensure children are drugged into submission if their parents find their way into family court or a CPS matter.
Connections between divorce lawyers, CPS and local police are more nefarious than one might imagine. A police officer employed with the Monterey Sheriff Department described how they allow Dr. Annis to speed through Carmel Valley and turn the other way on DUIs or calls for service where Annis is known to be violent and erratic. Lawyers and Judges with money to burn use unscrupulous doctors as experts in court, or to assure a steady flow of drug prescriptions to their buddies and to children in the county's foster care programs.
One former member of the grand jury noted that the public perceives the courts and the police as functioning according to the law. However she was aware after hiring Debra Crawford with a $7000 retainer, that the lawyers simply take your money and put you in a system that acts as a machine only benefiting those working in it.
" They make up lies, then they act those lies out in court, or in legal pleadings" , she described. " One day you have a house, a kid, and a life, and the next day people with titles, government jobs and bar cards take it all from you and you pay them to do it. No matter how much you pay, the machine is already working and knows the desired outcome is to keep you in the system frantically paying it all your money, until there is none left, then it just spits you out. Even the grand jury knows this, and yet you will never find it in a report, a lawsuit or a newspaper. That is how it works."
She went on to note secret proceedings such as juvenile court, and private judging cases through giant criminal enterprises operating as legitimate businesses are the most dangerous. Add in that now courts are shuttered and only phone lines provide access to court watchers. In private judging cases under the jurisdiction of JAMS, Zoom calls secret the proceedings even more, as often no record is made, or the court reporter making the record can edit out comments that reveal the lawyer's and private judge's criminal conduct, She advises, if a lawyer wants to put your case into private judging, don't do it. If a former spouse is really willing to settle and end the family court nightmare, mediation will work fine, and that means leaving the divorce lawyers out.
BEWARE OF LOCAL BAR ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY REFERALS
Divorcing couples often think a referral to a lawyer from a local bar association is a good idea. It is not. These non-profit entities are formed by lawyers and retired judges for the benefit of making the most money possible for the local legal community. They host parties and events designed to corrupt the local legal system, for their own personal profits. Little regulation falls on these lawyers who write the rules, get the court orders and secret financial crimes in their trust accounts. Wise clients will NEVER agree to put any funds in the black hole otherwise known as attorney trust accounts.
Mid size firms such as Fenton Keller out of the Salinas Monterey Area, also connect local lawyers through the bar associations to other county lawyers, and even the state's chief justice, Drinking, partying and sex favors abound in these associations and marriage is weaponized to conceal criminal activity through litigation and spousal privilege. COVID-19 has disrupted the usual channels of corrupt business dealings, and as a result, local lawyers are hitting the bottle, choking on weed and rushing to get illegal prescription drugs by billing clients for unnecessary fees to get their fix. If a former spouse hires an attorney closely connected to the local bar, odds are the divorce will drag out 5-10 years and cost 100 times what it would have cost to do a reasonable settlement as seen when couples take control of their lawyers.
Local bar associations typically offer referral services and fee arbitration proceedings, These associations are run by the lawyers who are connected to local judges, As a kickback of sorts, these relationships result in lucrative court appointments designed to sell the family home and drain the retirement accounts of clients to make more money for the lawyers. Once home equity and cash are deposited to attorney trust accounts, clients will rarely get it back.
Those close to Katherine Dorset report she has used pro tem judge appointments to convert client funds to private judging, often for JAMS or lawyers including Mike McClure, a " case managers" , billing hundreds of thousands of dollars to drag cases out for years. Names may be different, but in every county this happens every day. Clients are told a " pro tem " judge will help settle their issues. Actually the pro tem judge knows all the lawyers and they are simply evaluating community estates to see how much of it they would be able to get through custody appointments, or lawyers paid as private judges.
COVID- 19 might have a bright spot as clients are reportedly getting fed up with corrupt divorce lawyers and dirty judges acting as honorable members of the community. Since early March clients have reportedly been firing attorneys perceived as price gouging during a global pandemic. Rory Coetzee was recently fired by a client after after Coetzee had dragged a divorce case out for 7 years, gotten Mike McClure appointed as a "case manger" and then tried to get his client to agree to bring in Irwin Joseph as a private judge.
Irwin Joseph , a former commissioner in Santa Clara County, has operated much like Monterey County commissioner Catherine Stoner. Fingers in all the pies and the most corrupt cases are connected to these faux lawyers playing appointed commissioner or private judge, They rarely follow the law, get little done in a divorce case, but act in everyway possible to assure a steady stream of income to the lawyers who bring them cases. . These patterns are seen in every county where divorcing couples have home equity or businesses that can generate cash for lawyers, court appointed experts and private judges.
Couples are getting creative during COVID-19 and many are talking and finally realizing they should be controlling how the divorce case runs, not the lawyers. . In Santa Clara County a Gilroy couple is settling up their case to get rid of Elise Mitchell, a court appointed attorney billing thousands to represent the children. These parents have realized they can control the case, not turn their lives over to unscrupulous lawyers who give judges power to not follow the law. .
Attorney Annie Fortino, who works both Monterey County and Santa Clara County divorce cases, got so confident in her relationships with the police and county DAs that her clients formed secret groups and worked with her staff to begin exposing what she was doing in the divorce cases she was involved in that also had connections to the local DA offices related to domestic violence.
After watching Ms. Fortino's reckless disregard to protect clients and staff during the county's lock down orders related to COVID-19 , clients and staff began working together out of concern over the mental health problems Ms. Fortino and her fellow lawyers were inflicting on the community at large. Mostly the staff and clients felt Ms. Fortiono and others in the family court could be inciting violence and harm in the community as had been seen at last year's Garlic Festival Shooting, where the shooter's grandparents had been involved in a divorce case with connections to the local criminal courts.
In Monterey County, Dorset and Crawford are reportedly abusing court appointments in probate and family law cases where several reports indicate these two divorce lawyers are protected by cronyism rather than the Rule of Law. Gross mismanagement of these cases has put that community and its children at risk as well. A staffer of Ms. Crawford's noted that Ms. Crawford and Ms. Dorset have become so obsessed with social media during the pandemic that they search LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, TikTok and Twitter to see if photos or comments might expose their criminal misdealings.
Bottom line from insiders on how to survive a divorce during COVID-19, fire your divorce lawyer, and work out a settlement with your former spouse and get out of family court.
Note: Q will post samples of settlements and emails firing lawyers shortly. To send copies of your best examples email us : CalJohnQPublic@Gmail.com