In 2004 the FBI celebrated a landmark investigation : Operation Greylord, which in 1984 addressed the criminal conduct that plagued the city of Chicago and involved court corruption.
Ironically, at that same time family court corruption in Santa Clara Family Courts began to take root and for the next 30 years created a wake of devastation on innocent citizens engaged in divorce and probate matters.
For the last two years a team of investigative reporters, litigants and lawyers have put Santa Clara County Family Courts under the microscope, something the FBI should have done. The corruption and injustice that has been revealed shows hundreds of lawyers, judges, court experts , CPAs and other fiduciaries have acted under the color of law to steal property, children and income from California citizens during divorce, custody and probate cases.
The story of Santa Clara corruption begins in about 1984 as well, with Judge Stewart presiding over family court matters. Judge Stewart had been warned by California's Commission on Judicial Performance to disclose his close relationship with lawyer Bradford Baugh. The relationship clearly made the Commission uncomfortable, which we recently learned is hard to do.- See Report issues by Court Reform, LLC.
By 1991 the Commission on Judicial Performance sent an investigator to address misconduct of judges in San Diego, and in Santa Clara the same conduct was visible to the public as it involved the family law bench.
In Santa Clara's family courts Judge Stewart never disclosed his relationship with Brad Baugh as CJP had required , and the team of Stewart and Baugh went to work churning fees for Judge Stewart's political campaigns and for Brad Baugh to advance himself as Silicon Valley's top grossing family law attorney.
At this same time in Santa Clara, public outrage over custody experts, including Terry Johnson and Valerie Houghton began to roar, and the judges began to " circle the wagons" and retaliate against any litigant or lawyer who dare spoke up.
It would not be until 2016, and on a totally different matter, that Santa Clara County's district attorney would press charges against a family lawyer, Valerie Houghton, and then only for fraud and theft unrelated to her family law and child custody practice. Are we really expected to believe that Ms. Houghton was only a crook in part of her life? . ( See her indictment )
As San Diego was put under the Commission on Judicial Performance's microscope, courts in Santa Clara County became a joke as it tolerated judges who allowed lawyers to bring ridiculous family law litigation where family lawyers began to incur outrageous fees that drove the costs of middle class divorces to the unconscionable.
Silicon Valley began to make a mockery of the American legal system, where average citizens were trapped to deal with divorce, custody and probate cases.
Steve Wozniak , co-founder of Apple Inc, offered an example of what was yet to come in Silicon Valley as the Wozniaks paid their family lawyers millions to argue over who would open the family Christmas cards each year. Judges tolerated this misuse of family courts as they began to allow litigants to use court fees and time for the ridiculous, and where they became intoxicated with the " new" money Silicon Valley divorces had to offer.
Lawyers like Brad Baugh remained a staple in family court and after Stewart's retirement, Judge Mary Ann Grilli quickly became the judge in the epicenter of corruption, cloaked in immunity and sanctioned by her peers as one of Santa Clara County's superstar family law judges, just as crooked judges had protected their own in San Diego.
For over 30 years the conduct known to exist in San Diego has thrived in Santa Clara Family courts, where citizens have lost property, income and children, based on flagrant corruption of a few lawyers and judges gatekeeping they system to benefit a select few.
In 2012, Grilli used her political weight to as a contributor to the state's Bench Guide on custody and support issues facing family law judges in the State of California. At the same time Grilli was jailing mothers for custody violations, and imputing mother's on Medicare to pay support for children she stripped them of, and as she let fathers off the hook for failing to pay legally required child support. Grilli’s mathematical incompetence precludes her from being able to read a tax return, or look at income fathers make which , In Re Marriage of Cheriton reminds us of daily in family courts across the state.
Department of Child Support Services in Santa Clara has reported that Grilli so often fails to make proper support orders in cases involving her " favorite " lawyers, that if imposes huge burdens on the county and state, as well as self-represented litigants who try to collect legally assured child support.
A careful review of Santa Clara Family Court files show that Mary Ann Grilli and the same old crew of cronies picked up where Judge Stewart left off, and 20 years after Stewart was shipped off into retirement , there is more than an appearance that Judge Grilli consistently misuses her authority and power to impose: