California's Supreme Court is concerned when prosecutors lie in criminal cases, but not when that lying takes place in Family Courts where over 400,000 new Californians each year are forced to fight for their children, property and most fundamental rights.
California’s Public Trust Committee is investigating a flood of complaints related to the misconduct of family court judges and lawyers that have been ignored by the State Bar, Commission on Judicial Performance, Grand Juries and District Attorney Offices for decades.
It took public outrage in Michigan for that state to deal with Judge Lisa. O. Gorcyca, who presided over a custody case where she sent three children to jail for refusing to see their abusive father. The scathing report to Michigan's judicial oversight body leads one to wonder how many children and families were harmed in the 48, 000 cases the judge boosts of overseeing.
In 2010 the California Law Review Circuit reported that 200,000 petitions for divorce are filed in California each year, 75 % of which involve at least one self- represented party. It is widely accepted that citizens involved in divorce or probate matters without lawyers, do not engage in such voluntarily, but are typically forced to represent themselves due to their financial circumstances and court's failures to level the legal playing field, as the state legislature ahs repeatedly tried to address.
In late 2015, a team of investigative reporters began reviewing divorce matters filed in Santa Clara County. The team has been exhaustively reviewing court records, observing family court proceedings and interviewing litigants and family lawyers. By focusing on one judge and a number of corrupt attorneys and divorce "experts", the team has been able to tell the how and why behind the statistics on the complaints the Commission on Judicial Performance never bothered to address.
Uncovering nefarious lawyers and judges, and systemic abuses of civil rights in Santa Clara Family Courts has led to a statewide public effort to create a Vexatious Judge and Lawyer List , bringing public attention to the widespread family court corruption that has plagued Californians for decades.
Topping the Vexatious Judge list is Judge Mary Ann Grilli. a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge who has warmed the family law bench for nearly three decades and where three decades of her reign of terror reveals over 100 complaints to Santa Clara County, Commission on Judicial Performance and the District Attorney, that were simply ignored.
The investigation reveals court orders signed by Judge Grilli demonstrate her willingness to flagrantly violate state and federal law, disregard due process and create a false record in dissolution cases by ignoring material facts that favor self- represented litigants, when the other side is afforded legal representation.
Transcripts related to lodged complaints show that Judge Grilli consistently allows attorney misconduct to flourish in her court, to the determinant of a self- represented party and where a core group of lawyers, CPAs and custody experts frequently appear as “ experts” in Grilli's court where they are awarded outlandish fee awards and appointments; a modern day kickback- bribing scheme that has been ongoing in Santa Clara Family Courts for decades.
One such expert in the favor of Judge Grilli is Valerie Houghton, a family lawyer and custody "expert" who was recently indicted by Santa Clara County’s District Attorney. Ms. Houghton was not indicted based on the numerous family law complaints levied against her, she was indicted after a wealthy land owner claimed Ms. Houghton and her husband ripped him off .
The DA seemed unconcerned if Ms. Houghton had ripped off Santa Clara County residents in their divorce cases. Only a rich landowner in Gilroy seemed to get Mr. Rosen's attention, Santa Clara County's District Attorney.
In setting child support Judge Grilli has a long standing history of financial incompetence and failure to properly address the needs Santa Clara County's children, according to the law. Judge Grilli ignores tax returns of crooked parents and material facts she is require to consider, and instead eagerly accepts the testimony of a paid experts, produced by a wealthy represented party, even when the material facts point to that expert being wrong.
Judge Grilli weaves misrepresentation of facts into her statements of decision, drafting small orders over a long period of time, making it impossible for a self-represented party to appeal and never acting in the best interest of children. Grilli's incompetence also places unnecessary burdens on the state's Department of Child Support Services.
The most egregious violation of pubic trust occurred in a case before Judge Grilli where an unemployed immigrant mother was pitted against a wealthy represented father. In that case, a June 2015 order shows Judge Grilli demonstrated her lack of knowledge of the law and willingness to overreach her jurisdiction when she granted an order to declare the mother vexatious without making the necessary legal findings, and where Grilli appears to have failed to enforce an automatic stay, which was required by law under CCP Section 391.6. This single order shows Grilli’s willingness to overreach her jurisdiction and use the bench to retaliate , imposing bias on lawyers and litigants she simply does not like. For months leading up to this order Judge Grilli was observed to be rude and impatient with the self- represented immigrant mother, as the woman tried in vain to fight to restore her 50-50 custody that Judge Grilli had stripped away during a 10 year divorce matter.
Is the public expected to believe it is reasonable, or just , that this mother pay her former husband , Oliver Garbe, step son of Sean Connery, child support after Mr. Garbe misused the legal system to alienate his children from the mother, bought a $2,000,000 fraud fought home, and traveled the world and while sending the children he stole to one of Silicon Valley's most elite private schools , all while escaping even the most basic discovery information , as the mother was interrogated by Judge Grilli for every dime she ever spent and ordered to pay this support as she was unemployed and on Medicare.
Is Judge Grilli using the bench and her authority to manufacture poverty in Silicon Valley?
Could Judge Grilli’s misconduct have a far reaching impact on all family cases in Santa Clara County? Is Judge Grilli a liability for Santa Clara County that warrants further investigation by the US Attorney General?
If corruption exposed during California's traffic court scandal warranted extreme state intervention where thousands of citizens had traffic convictions overturned, and if one corrupt judge in Michigan had over 4000 custody orders voided due to her misconduct , it is not hard to imagine the impact on Santa Clara County if an investigation reveals Judge Grilli’s misconduct and bias toward our poorest citizens has merit.