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May 19, 2014—San Diego, CA—California Coalition For Families and Children, PBC announces filing of motions and oppositions in its Racketeering and Civil Rights lawsuit against Family Courts and the Divorce Industry. The latest round of filings explains to the United States District Court the foundation for the lawsuit and request that the Court permit the case to move into discovery.
“Defendants filed an avalanche of almost two hundred pages of attacks on the First Amended Complaint on virtually every legal ground that could be imagined” says Colbern Stuart, President of California Coalition. “They threw the book at us, and we responded in kind.”
California Coalition’s opposition brief totaled 186 pages of analysis explaining the legal foundations of the Action. The motions were filed as part of an “Omnibus” round of briefing ordered by presiding District Court Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo. In the filing, defendants joined forces and also filed separate “joinder” briefs on issues unique to each defendant. “They pretty much ganged up on us in this round—we’re facing an army of lawyers representing lawyers–divorce law firms, forensic psychologists, family law judges, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Commission on Judicial Performance, even Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye” says Stuart.
The “Omnibus” filing challenged the legal foundation for California Coalition’s First Amended Complaint. At this round of the litigation, no party can present evidence, but the District Court Judge examines the Plaintiff’s legal theories to determine if they state a cause of action recognizable under law. If the Complaint states “cognizable claims”, the case goes forward. Defendants can also assert technical defenses, such as expiration of statutes of limitation, or jurisdictional issues. Such defenses don’t adjudicate the merits of the claim—but only whether the complaint meets a checklist of technicalities. It’s common for such motions to be raised at the outset of the litigation. For many issues, the complaint can be “fixed” by simply amending to satisfy the technicalities. In other cases, such as statute of limitations or jurisdiction bars, judicial or other immunities, and certain other “all-or-nothing” defenses, a court isn’t required to grant the plaintiff permission to amend if it’s apparent that even an amended complaint couldn’t go forward. The Omnibus brief filed by all defendants raised many of these “all or nothing” defenses.
[More at WeigtierMatter.com]
California Coalition Files Motion to Enjoin All California Domestic Violence Restraining Orders as First Amendment Violation and Tool of Racketeering
February 26, 2014—San Diego, CA—California Coalition for Families and Children today files a Motion for Preliminary Injunction in its ongoing civil rights and racketeering case against the Domestic Dispute Industry. In their Motion, the Coalition argues that the standard for invoking a domestic violence restraining order under the California Family Code—“abuse” –is an overbroad and vague content-based restriction on free speech, and therefore illegal. From the Motion:
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
Domestic violence is a serious national concern. United States Department of Justice statistics indicate that despite a decrease in frequency of intimate partner violence over the last twenty years, incident rates for nonfatal domestic violence remain at two tenths of one per cent of the population. Voluminous research, writing, and debate regarding the causes, nature, and appropriate means of eradicating this social malady have not resolved the controversy among researchers about how to eradicate the offensive persistence of domestic strife.
The solution legislated by the state of California and enabled by Defendant JUDICIAL COUNCIL is a courageous initiative consisting of a body of laws, regulations, policies, formwork, and practice standards guiding the behavior of social workers, criminal prosecutors, public and private civil attorneys, judges, court staff, administrators, and law enforcement animating unique oversight and restrictions on those most likely to be involved in domestic violence crimes: Families. Thousands of studies commissioned by state and federal governments have shown in abundance that families are statistically more likely to commit crimes of domestic violence. One attorney for the United States Department of Justice recently explained that every domestic relationship is a potential “powder keg” warranting special government attention. Even more studies proving this clear point are ongoing, yet the final solution to how undesirable family discord will be fully exterminated remains illusive. Stuart Decl. ¶¶ 34-34.
In pursuit of this end, state and local entities in California devote special attention to families in order to deter behavior which may lead to injury. This Motion asserts that one embodiment of California’s scheme to eradicate domestic violence—preventive restraining orders—fails to properly observe constitutional boundaries. Specifically, to what extent may police powers be deployed onto families to accomplish desirable goals of domestic violence deterrence without overstepping constitutional restrictions on the use of state-sponsored tools of coercion?
This Motion offers that California’s present scheme to eradicate domestic strife penalizes behavior that (1) is expressly protected by clearly-established fundamental state and federal constitutional rights, (2) violates no law, (3) causes no compensable injury, and (3) may not found any action in equity outside of the jurisdiction of domestic relations courts. Among the wide array of appropriate tools available to the state of California in responding to undesirable behavior, California’s coercive intervention scheme has overstepped clear constitutional boundaries, is of unproven efficacy, is widely abused as a tool for fraud and extortion, and demeans the integrity and effectiveness of our civil and criminal justice institutions. Based upon these deleterious consequences and the strong likelihood of prevailing on questions of law, Plaintiffs seek an order enjoining substantial ongoing illegal interference with the protected liberty interests of citizens of the United States and the State of California.
The complete story, pleadings, and analysis from Weightier Matter.
Assistant City Attorney Emily Garson’s Assault on Parents Seeking Family Court Reform Detailed by California Coalition
California Coalition’s recently-filed Amended Complaint in its Racketeering lawsuit details the collaboration between the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and the San Diego Divorce Industry to silence parents affecting reform. The Complaint details collaboration between the City Attorney, Jan Goldsmith who is a former family court judge, his wife, Christine Goldsmith, sitting family court jduge, Michael Groch, sitting family court judge, and Assistant City Attorney Emily Garson, the “point woman” prosecutor manufacturing evidence and comitting perjury to prosecute CCFC President Colbern Stuart.
From the Complaint:
Prosecutorial Misconduct of Assistant City Attorney Emily GARSON
1. On about March 24, 2010, on information and belief, San Diego Assistant City Attorney Ms. Emily Garson (GARSON), made out a perjurous complaining witness declaration based on falsified or altered evidence, causing STUART to be charged with several misdemeanor violations of Cal. Pen.C. § 653m(a) (harassing by electronic communication) and (b) (repeated harassing by electronic communication), and one alleged misdemeanor violation of Cal.Pen.C. § 646.9(a) (stalking). The case GARSON initiated is identified as People of the State of California v. Colbern Stuart, San Diego Superior Court Case No. M104094DV (“People v. Stuart”).
2. The evidence of STUART’S crime has been kindly provided to this Court by counsel for Ms. Stuart at Doc. No. 48-14. The emails therein are impolite, rude, and indeed contain vulgarities. Yet unlike the sworn declaration that utilized those emails to initiate a retaliatory criminal prosecution and solicit a sentence of four years, the emails are not, and cannot be, crimes. See, U.S. v. Alvarez, 567 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 2537 (2012).
3. GARSON lacked probable cause to initiate the People v. Stuart matter. Her sworn declarations as a complaining witness in doing so are crimes—felonies under federal law—several and severe. STUART has endured years in persecution as a result of such outrageous behavior. He re-appears today to redress those acts for himself and, he prays, thousands of others who have suffered similar and even more outrageous insults, violations, deprivations, and injuries under the indecency of those who today occupy offices of honor, yet who regularly debase those offices while driven by motives no one, perhaps not even they themselves, could honor.
4. Such behavior was intended to retaliate, obstruct, and deprive STUART of rights, privileges and immunities under state and federal Constitutions, constituting numerous misdemeanors under federal law. STUART’S subsequent arrests, imprisonment, injury, and severe mental distress constitute numerous serious felonies under state and federal law, as detailed fully below.
5. GARSON’S acts in investigating, manipulating evidence, witnesses, and the San Diego Superior Court, and initiating the prosecution of the People v. Stuart matter constitute CULPABLE and UNREASONABLE breach of one or more PROFESSIONAL DUTIES, and have foreseeably resulted in deprivations of STUART’S clearly-established rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Such acts are not immune from criminal accountability, and those on which the Claims of this Count are based, are not immune from civil.
6. These acts of GARSON will be referred to as GARSON PERJURY ONE.
7. On about April 6, 2010, GARSON caused to be filed a second perjurous Declaration In Support of Arrest Warrant relating to People v. Stuart containing similar false statements and misrepresentations based upon the same purported evidence. This documents is filed, though not authenticated, in this matter at Dkt#16-1, Ex. “A.”
8. The acts of GARSON in relation to the Declaration in Support of Arrest Warrant shall be referred to as GARSON PERJURY TWO.
9. On information and belief, GARSON collaborated, agreed, affiliated, and conspired with her boss, San Diego City Attorney and former San Diego Superior Court Family Division judge Jan Goldsmith, and her boss’s wife, sitting Family Division judge, and instant Defendant Christine Goldsmith, in such activities. On information and belief, C. Goldsmith and J. Goldsmith supervised, directed, encouraged, facilitated, and tolerated GARSON PERJURY ONE and TWO to interfere with and retaliate for Plaintiffs’ PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES and the DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
10. On information and belief, GARSON, J. GOLDSMITH, and C. GOLDSMITH did so with the knowledge and support of SCHALL and WOHLFEIL, all of whom acted with the specific intent to retaliate against STUART for the DDIJO COMPLAINTS I and II against them.
11. Defendants C. GOLDSMITH, J. GOLDSMITH, GARSON, SCHALL, and WOHLFEIL will hereafter be referred to as “CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS.”
12. Based upon GARSON PERJURY ONE and TWO, CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS caused STUART to be imprisoned without probable cause causing a false imprisonment for approximately 10 hours by agents of GORE. At the time STUART was imprisoned by GORE, GORE knew or should have known of the perjurous and retaliatory nature of the CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS’ acts (FALSE IMPRISONMENT 1).
13. STUART became aware of the charges in the People v. Stuart matter in late April,
14. STUART became intimidated, frightened, and oppressed as a result of CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS’ illegal activities, and refrained from pursuing the CLAIM AND DEMAND, DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITES, and this Action.2010. STUART perceived the charges to be illegal actions to retaliate for, deter, and oppress Plaintiffs from pursuing PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES, the CLAIM AND DEMAND, and the DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
Prosecutorial Misconduct in People v. Stuart
15. In about June or July, 2010, STUART appeared for arraignment on the above-referenced misdemeanor charges relating to People v. Stuart.
16. STUART requested his attorney to discuss the case with the prosecutor representing the CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS to determine the basis for the charges. STUART’S attorney approached the Assistant City Attorney prosecuting the matter, on information and belief Ms. GARSON, to initiate discussions.
17. After a few minutes of discussion, STUART’S attorney returned and explained to STUART to the effect that GARSON was “really pissed off on this one.” He stated that GARSON was angry for “something you did at a bar association meeting.” STUART recognized this as the STUART ASSAULT and the same “criminal trespass” charge that SDCBA’S insurance carrier had made. STUART explained the circumstances of the STUART ASSAULT to his attorney, who was unable to draw any conclusions.
18. STUART’S attorney advised that the GARSON stated she was intending to add more charges. Based on his conversation with GARSON, he surmised and advised STUART that GARSON was intending to “bump it up to a felony.” STUART’S attorney advised STUART to the effect of “they’re going to throw everything they can at you on this one.” STUART understood the “everything” to mean charging STUART for a felony relating to ENGAGEMENT based on the same charge that CHUBB had made as “criminal trespass.” A further status conference was scheduled to permit GARSON to amend the criminal complaint with more charges.
19. Sensing that the CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS were using the threat of a felony or “criminal trespass” charge as an intimidation tactic retaliate against STUART for his CLAIM AND DEMAND, the DDIJO COMPLAINTS, DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, and PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES, on two occasions between about May 1, 2010 and February, 2011, STUART contacted GARSON by telephone, requesting that GARSON drop all charges in exchange for STUART’S backing off of the DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, the CLAIM AND DEMAND, and PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES. GARSON refused to return STUART’S telephone overtures. On information and belief, GARSON’s notes or other documents related to the People v. Stuart matter will reflect these communications.
20. At a subsequent status conference STUART was arrested immediately upon appearing in court illegally and without probable cause as a foreseeable consequence of the GARSON PERJURY ONE and TWO, causing a false imprisonment for approximately 12 hours in the custody of GORE, who knew or should have known of the malicious and retaliatory nature of the prosecution and arrest (FALSE IMPRISONMENT 2).
21. After he was illegally imprisoned, STUART’S attorney conferred with GARSON about the case and charges. He advised STUART, who was in custody, to the effect of “They’re adding more charges for stalking and harassment” and that the charges related to “something about the bar association.” He had few details but asked STUART to explain his understanding of the email exchanges and bar association events.
22. STUART summarized the events of the “annoying email” exchanges between him and his ex-wife, and the SDCBA ENGAGEMENT and SEMINAR, including the CLAIM AND DEMAND and the CHUBB “criminal trespass” threat. The attorney indicated to the effect that “653m is unconstitutional” but that prosecutors “still charge it to get you to agree to a protective order.” He advised that “they never seek jail time on these.”
23. After further conversations with GARSON, the attorney returned to advise STUART that the City Attorney’s Office was taking an unusually hard line on the case. He advised GARSON would be seeking to add new stalking charges as a felony.
24. STUART understood the “new charges” to relate to the threat of a “criminal trespass” and/or “felony stalking” “CounterClaim” originally made by CHUBB. Because he was under ongoing prosecution for an illegal charge against protected speech, and threatened with additional illegal charges STUART was intimidated and frightened to take any action to assert the CLAIM AND DEMAND, DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, or further PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITY.
25. On information and belief, while STUART was in custody GARSON requested and received leave to add several additional misdemeanor charges, but no felony stalking charge.
26. In or about December, 2010-January, 2011, Stuart attended a pre-trial conference in the People v. Stuart matter. He was once again arrested immediately upon appearing. The arrest was without probable cause and a foreseeable consequence of the GARSON PERJURY ONE and TWO, causing a false imprisonment for approximately 10 hours in the custody of GORE, who knew or should have known of the malicious and retaliatory nature of the prosecution and arrest (FALSE IMPRISONMENT 3).
27. STUART’S attorney, Mr. Solomon Chang, advised consistent with prior attorneys that the City Attorney’s Office and GARSON were taking an unusually hard line in the case, and still seeking to add additional charges. Mr. Chang indicated the additional charges would include what he described as “felony stalking” charges. STUART understood these charges to relate to the bar association false “criminal trespass” theory.
28. STUART’S attorney inquired if GARSON would be willing to negotiate to dismiss the charges in exchange for backing off the CLAIM AND DEMAND, DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, and PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES. Mr. Chang advised he would speak with GARSON. He did so, and returned, advising “no way” and to the effect “they want you to serve time on this one” and “you really made them angry.” He asked for more details about the ENGAGEMENT, and STUART ASSAULT. STUART shared the details, and Mr. Chang advised caution—to “wait and see” whether the City Attorney would be adding felony charges, or leaving the charge as several misdemeanors.
29. STUART was released from imprisonment the following day. He thereafter remained in fear that the CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS would add manufactured charges based upon the “criminal trespass” and “bump it up” to a charge for “felony stalking.”
30. On the first day of the People v. Stuart trial in late February, 2010, before jury selection the assigned trial judge Michael GROCH placed STUART under “house arrest” illegally and without probable cause as a foreseeable consequence of the GARSON PERJURY ONE and TWO, causing a false imprisonment of approximately one week (FALSE IMPRISONMENT 4). STUART was not charged, arraigned, or prosecuted for any crime.
31. GROCH ordered that STUART could avoid being jailed through trial only if he rented a hotel room in downtown San Diego and did not travel beyond the hotel and the downtown County courthouse. GROCH denied STUART’S request to return to his home in Los Angeles during the week-long trial to gather clothing and toiletries. GROCH did not advise STUART of any charges or violation of law. Such acts, though possibly immune from civil suit, constitute “monstrous” felony criminal violations of STUART’S rights relating to SEARCH AND SEIZURE, PROCEDURAL and SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS, and CRUEL AND/OR UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT.
32. Mr. Chang failed to object or seek hearing on the illegal arrest, explanation of charge, or other remedy for STUART’S arrest and “house arrest” sentence, advising only to the effect “I told you, they’re pissed.” STUART immediately purchased a hotel room for the entire week, and was forced to purchase several suits, shirts, ties, undergarments and toiletries to last through the week-long trial.
33. On information and belief, the People v. Stuart matter was GROCH’S first trial since being appointed from the District Attorney’s Office four months earlier, and also on information and belief his last. GROCH was transferred to the Superior Court’s Family Law Division shortly after the People v. Stuart criminal matter, where he remains.
34. On the first day of trial, before jury selection, Mr. Chang again advised to the effect that Assistant City Attorney GARSON was “holding” additional charges for felony stalking relating to the “bar association.”
35. STUART advised Chang that he could testify as to the bar association events to prove they were not “stalking” but free speech activity. Chang told STUART “you can’t testify in this case,” explaining that they City Attorney would be able to elicit testimony relating to the ENGAGEMENT and bring more serious charges accusing such acts as a pattern of “felony stalking” in addition to whatever charges the City Attorney was then “holding.”
36. STUART protested that such charges would be unfounded. Chang politely agreed, but advised “they might still bring the stalking charges as a felony” and that STUART would “have to take your chances with a jury and on appeal” and “you’re looking at a lot more time for a felony.” As a result of the fear of being charged with “felony stalking”, STUART did not testify at trial on his own behalf.
37. Each charge for “annoying or threatening electronic communications” under Cal. Pen.C. § 653m(a) and (b) carries a maximum sentence of six months in County jail. The statute prohibits “electronic communications” that use “obscene language or address to the other person any threat to inflict injury to the person or property of the person.” Cal. Pen.C. § 653m(a).
38. GARSON apparently charged each email sent by STUART in the exchange between STUART and his ex-wife from September, 2009 and February, 2010 as a separate misdemeanor offense. According to GARSON’s closing argument at trial, if STUART used a “curse word” in his email, GARSON charged the email as an “obscene language” under the statute. STUART used several “curse words” which were clearly insults, though clearly not threatening or “obscenity” under controlling United States Supreme Court and Supreme Court of the State of California precedent. GARSON also charged the entire group of emails as a single misdemeanor “stalking” charge under Cal. Pen.C. § 646.9 (stalking). Doc. No. 48-14.
39. STUART requested that Chang move to dismiss the criminal complaint on grounds that the statute it is brought under imposes unconstitutionally overbroad and vague restrictions on free speech, as “annoying” communications may not be criminalized. STUART also requested that Mr. Chang move to dismiss the case on the grounds that the email conversations were protected speech as they were neither threatening nor obscene under clearly established U.S. Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals precedent, and that a motion seeking judgment as a matter of law on the uncontested evidence would be appropriate. See, U.S. v. Alvarez, 567 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 2537 (2012).
40. Mr. Chang agreed, and advised STUART he would make such a motion. Yet thereafter Mr. Chang failed to do so, instead raising the arguments—arguments on a question of law—in closing argument to the jury. GARSON successfully objected to the tactic. Mr. Chang failed to make a further motion to the Court, and the constitutional issues were not adjudicated.
41. Mr. Chang’s failure to properly assert the constitutional defense is inexplicable behavior for faithful, competent counsel. On information and belief, GARSON unduly influenced Mr. Chang, then a junior attorney on information and belief in his first trial, to forbear on asserting the constitutional defenses in order to impose duress, intimidation, and fear to impede and delay STUART’S CLAIM AND DEMAND and DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, and this Action.
42. On information and belief, GARSON collaborated, agreed, affiliated, and conspired with her boss, City Attorney and former family division judge Jan Goldsmith, other STUART ASSAULT COORDINATORS, and other ENTERPRISE PERSONS, including Mr. Goldsmith’s wife, sitting Family Division judge, and instant Defendant Christine Goldsmith, in such activity.
1. Shortly after his release from illegal imprisonment in May, 2011, STUART was contacted by the State Bar of California regarding an action that had been initiated relating to his law license. STUART contacted the State Bar and spoke with a State Bar investigator assigned to the case, Case No. 10-C-03559, one Mr. Radigan. Mr. Radigan advised STUART that GARSON had contacted the State Bar to report STUART for misconduct.
2. The State Bar investigator shared details of his conversations with GARSON, advising STUART to the effect that “you’ve really stirred up some anger down there” and that GARSON demonstrated unusual animus toward STUART. He advised that GARSON had claimed that STUART was “harassing judges” referring specifically to the SDCBA ENGAGEMENT and the DDIJO COMPLAINT I regarding SCHALL. Mr. Radigan repeated Ms. GARSON’S use of a number of extremely derogatory insults, epithets, and vile language inappropriate for repetition here. He was oddly delighted with Ms. GARSON’S vitriol and rather perversely intrigued at what had enlivened her so.
3. Mr. Radigan stated that GARSON had pressed him aggressively to invoke disciplinary proceedings, but that she was the only complaining witness. He stated that Ms. Stuart was not a complainant and would not be a witness. He stated to the effect that because of GARSON’S involvement in the criminal prosecution and lack of any attorney-client relationship injury, GARSON was “not the best witness,” but that she was nevertheless insisting that the State Bar pursue discipline.
4. STUART explained the details of the SDCBA ENGAGEMENT, STUART ASSAULT, PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES, and the email exchanges with his ex-wife to Mr. Radigan. Mr. Radigan indicated he had read certain relevant emails and read or heard details about the STUART ASSAULT, ENGAGEMENT, and PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES. He indicated that he personally didn’t believe any of the activities warranted discipline, but that GARSON’s aggressive pursuit of the matter compelled him to continue the matter. He advised STUART, “put something on file and this should go away.” On information and belief, Mr. Radigan’s notes, from which he read to STUART during their telephone conversation, will reflect these conversations, including Ms. GARSON’S defamatory, perjurous, and insulting statements.
5. STUART on about October, 2011, delivered a written response to the State Bar
explaining his political activity, the STUART ASSAULT, the email exchanges, giving his defense, and requesting dismissal of all charges. STUART did not receive a further response from the State Bar.
6. On information and belief, GARSON alone initiated the State Bar proceeding and illegally induced Mr. Radigan and possibly other State Bar employees to pursue a groundless investigation and prosecution of STUART within the State Bar to retaliate, intimidate, harass, and oppress him relating to the CLAIM AND DEMAND, DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, and PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITY. On information and belief, GARSON collaborated, agreed, affiliated, and conspired with each CITY ATTORNEY Defendant in such activity.
7. Because of the pending charges from the State Bar being aggressively pursued by MS. GARSON, the looming four year “suspended sentence”, the vague DVILS ORDERS, GARSON’s connection to them and demonstrated willingness to commit felony crimes to persecute STUART, after his first conversation with Mr. Radigan STUART was further intimidated and fearful of reprisal from CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS. He refrained from pursuing the CLAIM AND DEMAND, DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, and PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITES under the additional fear of jeopardizing his law license.
Family Court Racketeering Suit Expands to Name San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith for Use of City Prosecutors to Protect Local Divorce Industry Abuse
January 9, 2014—San Diego, CA—Today California Coalition for Families and Children expands their Racketeering lawsuit in federal court to detail San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s use of City Attorney’s Office’s resources to prosecute critics of the divorce industry. The federal complaint details Goldsmith’s and Assistant City Attorney Emily Garson’s misconduct in criminal proceedings against the Coalition and it’s President, Colbern Stuart, jailing him on false charges.
Assistant City Attorney Garson’s behavior is simply criminal-far beyond what prosecutors are permitted. The City’s own documents show she manufactured evidence and testimony.” Says Coalition President Colbern Stuart. Stuart was arrested while protesting with other parent members of the Coalition at an April, 2010 family law seminar hosted by the San Diego County Bar Association.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is a former Family Court judge, and his wife, Christine Goldsmith, is a sitting judge and Defendant in the Coalition lawsuit. “Goldsmith’s prosecution of the case reeks of conflict of interest. He staffed the case with a young prosecutor who apparently didn’t understand the depth of the illegal conduct she was being asked to perform. Obstruction of justice by a prosecutor is a serious felony—a clear and egregious violation of law and ethics rules.” says Stuart. “There’s no excuse for such behavior. She’s breaking the law to protect ravenous divorce lawyers. It’s simply disgraceful.”
“At the very least, it shows extremely poor judgment, but more accurately widespread disregard for the law among those sworn to up hold the law in the City Attorney’s Office. God save us when this egregious misconduct becomes tolerable behavior.” says Stuart.
From the Amended Complaint:
GROCH’S Order and GARSON’S numerous acts of punishment and prosecution of protected speech commentary against the City Attorney, and GARSON’S perjury and subornation of perjury constitute deprivations of STUART’S rights secured under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and related provisions of the Constitution of the State of California. Whether shielded from civil accountability or otherwise, the felonies represent a deplorable pattern of contempt of law. They are also RICO predicate crimes under 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1)(A) and (B), as detailed below.
GARSON lacked probable cause to initiate the People v. Stuart matter. Her sworn declarations as a complaining witness in doing so are crimes—felonies under federal law—several and severe. STUART has endured years in persecution as a result of such outrageous behavior. He re-appears today to redress those acts for himself and, he prays, thousands of others who have suffered similar and even more outrageous insults, violations, deprivations, and injuries under the indecency of those who today occupy offices of honor, yet who regularly debase those offices while driven by motives no one, perhaps not even they themselves, could honor.
That failure, combined with [The Commission on Judicial Performance’s] impotence to swiftly punish the same in deterrence, makes the act of entrusting a complaint to BATTSON and SIMI at outrageous risk of constitutional injury by county judicial officers behaving as a steerage-fare gallery of feckless petit-tyran, perversely immunized under the honor of patriots to indulge frolic, whimsy, and caprice. What shame a profession of reason today endures.
Under BATTSON and SIMI’S habituated tolerance for judicial misconduct, disregard of ethical canons and constitutional restrictions on abuse of authority, the mere act of identifying a litigant in an investigation subjects her to jeopardy by officer complained of or the officer’s colleagues acting in lockstep sympathy.
More at WeightierMatter.com
Courtesey of Weightier Matter:
December 5, 2013–SAN DIEGO– Today San Diego families respond to Family Court judges and Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta seeking $10,000 in sanctions from San Diego families for attempting to alert the court to fraud.
San Diego Family Court judges are asking a federal district court to force parents to pay over $10,000 to the court’s attorneys as punishment for filing a lawsuit in federal court.
Today CCFC filed its Opposition to the Judges motion, requesting that the Court deny the Judges’ motion and award sanctions against Judges Robert Trentacosta, Lorna Alksne, Lisa Schall, Joel Wohlfeil, and others, for playing “hard ball” with parents and children victims of Family Court. “When we sued them, we expected them to file the ordinary–‘we didn’t do it’ response, but a demand that families pay $10,000 fine? That’s a slap in the face.” Says California Coalition for Families and Children President, Cole Stuart. “These guys are over the top.” Says Stuart. From the Opposition:
Seeking Rule 11 sanctions concurrent with a motion in order to “leverage” the motion is prohibited—indeed itself sanctionable—litigation conduct. Gaiardo v. Ethyl Corp., 835 F2d 479 (3rd Cir. 1987). Sanctions are inappropriate where there exists legitimate controversy. Committee Notes on Amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 146 FRD 401, 590 (1993). Simply “adding” a request for sanctions without addressing the Rule 11 certification issues is itself sanctionable conduct: “The use of Rule 11 … has become part of the so-called ‘hardball’ litigation techniques espoused by some firms and their clients. Those practitioners are cautioned that they invite retribution from courts which are far from enchanted with such abusive conduct.” Gaiardo, supra at 485.
“We weren’t thrilled about bringing a lawsuit. Many parents who had been active members of the group have gone into hiding out of fear for reprisal. They still have cases before the Court, and will or years to come. They’ve told us ‘good luck, we’re with you, but my kids are too important to risk.’ It’s a problem for reform–everyone knows its a disaster, but no one’s able to do anything about it because the judges have so much power and discretion. They want parents to believe that complaining is a death sentence.” Says Stuart. Stuart was jailed last year for protesting Family Court judges at a San Diego County Bar Association meeting, precipitating this lawsuit.
San Diego Family Court judges asked the Court to award sanctions, claiming that the parents’ claims were “frivolous.” “Frivolous means ‘it’s a piece of garbage’–no merit whatsoever. In fifteen years practicing law I’ve seen only one court grant such a motion. It’s heavy artillery for only the worst cases of litigation abuse–or when you really want to put the screws to someone who’s weaker than you. Most lawyers won’t do it out of respect for their opponents. I guess that sends us a message. Clearly these judges are upset.” Says Stuart. The judges “double down” with two motions–both seeking serious sanctions. From the Opposition:
Because The Superior Court has brought its Rule 11 attack on the very same grounds on which it brings the MTD, it effectively “doubles down” on the Motion to Dismiss. In this case, Plaintiff has opposed the MTD with a Motion to Strike (Dkt#19) and Opposition (Dkt#21) asserting the MTD is meritless and attempting improper procedure. Where a moving party brings a Rule 11 motion on the same grounds as an affirmative motion, yet fails on the underlying affirmative motion, it cannot be heard to claim that its Rule 11 Motion was filed in good faith—losing the underlying motion is at least prima facia evidence that a concurrently-filed Rule 11 Motion on the same grounds is impermissible “hard ball” attempt to leverage a “debatable” (or in this case meritless) motion. Gaiardo, supra. Thus, should the Court deny the MTD, counter-sanctions to the Rule 11 Motion for impermissibly bringing the Rule 11 on “debatable” (indeed meritless) grounds are warranted. By aggressively posing a quick-trigger Rule 11 Motion on top of a meritless Motion to Dismiss, Defendants have stacked their chips quite high.
The judges’ motion claims that they do not collaborate with other entities such as the San Diego Family Justice Center, or the court-appointed psychologists that CCFC also sued. The judges claim the filing of the motion was “harassment.”
“Yes, we’re claiming that they committed crimes in bilking parents out of their children’s college savings. Yes, that’s serious. But we have proof that they work closely with the unethical divorce lawyers to orchestrate fraud, and we have a right to present that case to a jury. And not only do they now want to pass the buck, they want to shoot the messenger with a $10,000 fine.”
Some highlights from CCFC’s Motion:
Claims Are Presented to Remedy Injury and Effect Reform–Not to Harass, Delay, Increase Costs, or Other Improper Purpose (Fed.R.C.P. 11(b)(1))
The claims of the Complaint are presented not to “harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation” —but to remedy independent injury caused during the course of Plaintiff’s reform efforts, and to cure the systemic affliction which Defendants have proven incapable or unwilling to cure for themselves. CCFC and the parent community it supports have undertaken extensive efforts prefacing the filing of this lawsuit to effect reform by other means—but such efforts have been unsuccessful, and at times met with violent resistance by present Defendants and their cohorts. See, Compl. ¶¶124-136; August 20, 2013 Press Release, Stuart Decl. Ex. “A”. The injury precipitating the STUART ASSAULT and this lawsuit was orchestrated by Defendants precisely to frustrate Plaintiffs’ efforts while engaged in such reform. Litigation is not a preferred choice, but as with many civil rights struggles in our nation’s history—federal courts are a uniquely appropriate and often the last recourse to defending the interests of an afflicted minority. Given Defendants’ tactics of abusing color of law police power to silence Plaintiffs’ efforts, remedy for injuries thereby caused are appropriate and uniquely available in this forum.
The Superior Court claims that the inclusion of home addresses of certain Defendants in the Complaint had “no ostensible purpose other than harassment.” Rule 11 Motion 7:12-14. This is a misstatement of fact and law. Averment of where an individual defendant “resides” or “may be found” is an entirely ordinary and required means to establish jurisdiction and venue within a federal district. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). In compliance with this requirement, the Complaint avers the residence address of Defendants Schall, Trentacosta, and Wohlfeil as they were readily available from phone books, online records, online skip-trace searches, or other public resources. No private records were disclosed. The practice of averring residence or location of individual defendants to establish jurisdiction and venue is not prohibited by any rule, order, or law—it is required by such. Plaintiff’s compliance with law and unremarkable practice in doing so in this action is permissible, entirely ordinary, and has obvious appropriate “purpose other than harassment.”
The Superior Court also incorrectly alleges that Plaintiffs “refused to take any steps to correct their violation.” This assertion is a stunning and demonstrable falsehood. The Court’s files reflect that as a courtesy to defendant’s bellicose demands that Plaintiff “remove all addresses from the Internet and Court files”, Plaintiffs promptly undertook steps to redact home addresses from the Complaint, removed the unredacted Complaint from it’s publicly-accessible web servers, coordinated the removal of the same from third party servers, and re-filed a redacted version of the Complaint with this Court. Redacted Complaint, Dkt#8; Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Motion for Temporary Harassment Restraining Order, Dkt#4.
The remaining allegations of “harassment” motive in the Rule 11 Motion (Rule 11 at 7:17-8:10) do not support The Superior Court’s claim that the Complaint was filed to harass. The number of times the Complaint had been viewed on the Internet, that the Complaint also included home addresses of other Defendants which have not objected and are not represented by The Superior Court or its counsel, and this Court’s courteous, yet not required, sealing of the original and redacted Complaints—to which no plaintiff objects—are not consistent with an intent to harass—they are the ordinary and expected behavior of civil rights plaintiffs publicizing their efforts to a nationwide community of similarly-situated domestic dispute industry professionals and victim-litigants closely watching this case as an augur of the future of reform. Further, Plaintiff maintains that Defendant’s post-filing “take-down” demands—coerced by threats of San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Detectives acting without warrant or probable cause—to remove the Complaint from public locations are legally indefensible, and themselves constitute further illegal deprivation of Plaintiff’s rights of free speech and access to courts which will be redressed in due course. Notwithstanding Plaintiff’s claim that such “take down” activity was illegal and indeed reprehensible state censorship, Plaintiff undertook substantial efforts to accommodate Defendants’ less-than-courteous demands. See Ex Parte Motion for Emergency Harassment Restraining Order, Dkt#4.
Defendant has not shown a motive of intent to harass sufficient to establish a violation of certification under Fed.R.C.P. 11(b)(1), and as such its Motion may be Denied.
The judges accuse CCFC of seeking a change in the law, CCFC responded “We only want you to enforce the law as its written–not as you think it should be.”
The Complaint Seeks No Change, but Enforcement of Law (Fed.R.C.P. 11(b)(2))
The Complaint certainly asserts that a change in family law as practiced is in immediate order—but only to conform that practice with existing and longstanding principles of state and federal laws—commercial, health and welfare, and constitutional standards which are flagrantly disregarded by institutionalized Domestic Dispute Industry public and private interests. To the extent that State laws and practice are inconsistent with federal law, the Complaint properly and in good faith prays for declaratory and prospective relief to conform or invalidate those inconsistent laws and practices. Should Plaintiffs’ seeking enforcement of the fundamental liberties of some of our most vulnerable citizens be viewed as “harassment” or “bad faith” by present defendants, the proper judgment day for that proposition may and should await the presence of a trier of fact rather than be quelled by improper use of Rule 11 hardball. See, e.g., Plaintiff, and millions of parents and children nationwide, eagerly await that day.
The judges claim that CCFC–dozens of parents, children, professionals, and people who have been around family courts for years-have “no adequate basis in fact” for making the claims of the lawsuit. CCFC responds:
Evidentiary Foundation of Plaintiff’s Claims (Fed.R.C.P. 11(b)(3)
[CCFC] has conducted extensive investigation and research into each of the factual and legal allegations of the Complaint over a period of many years. The allegations of the Complaint are not created by a lawyer interpreting a client’s experience—therefore giving rise to the typical Rule 11 “duty to investigate” factual foundations of the client’s claims. Here, the pro se Plaintiff is the client and witness. Almost all of the facts in the Complaint are given on personal and professional knowledge and experience. This experience includes seventeen years practicing law in the States of California, Nevada, and Arizona since 1995, 96, and 97, respectively, and federal districts therein. Plaintiff’s experience includes litigation, trial, mediation, and arbitration of dozens of matters for a variety of clients, including federal civil rights, commercial fraud, legal malpractice, and similar state-court matters. Though Plaintiff is not a divorce lawyer, he is familiar with California state practice and procedure generally applicable in all California Superior Courts through seventeen years of litigation experience.
Through his personal experience with his own dissolution litigation and in assisting dozens of similarly-situated parents enduring modern family court malfeasance, fraud, and abuse, he has become an informed observer of family court practices at several levels. He founded Plaintiff California Coalition for Families and Children to address those common concerns and provide a vehicle for domestic dispute industry reform, education, and engagement toward those ends. Stuart Decl. This experience, activism, scholarship, research, and personal observation is described at ¶¶ 71-75, 77-99, 100-101, 110, 113-123.
This case is unusual in that few facts in this case will be in legitimate dispute—Plaintiff accuses widely-known, and increasingly widely despised, practices of public institutions and private industry cohorts. Except perhaps for an answer to the question “why has such illegal conduct been tolerated for so long?” few legitimate factual issues will arise.
The Family Court judges also attacked CCFC’s claim based on a “conspiracy”–CCFC responded simply “”It seems like they’re expecting that we have to prove a ‘grassy knoll’ CIA compact with the Devil theory. That’s simply not necessary. A conspiracy is simply an agreement to do an act that constitutes a crime. In the case of Family Court–much of the entire operation is a crime, so proving agreement will be as easy as asking to see their pay stubs.” Say Stuart. “If you work there-you’re raping families and children. That’s a crime. End of story.”
A conspiracy is an agreement to commit a crime. Mendocino Envtl. Ctr. v. Mendocino Cnty., 192 F.3d 1283, 1301-02 (9th Cir. 1999). The conspiracy allegations of the Complaint need no creative mind to understand. A simple walk through defendants own downstairs administrative operations—the Family Law Facilitator Offices (DDI-IACE) which counsels and facilitates illegal DVILS ORDERS, paperwork, and enforcement (Compl. Ex. 1 and Exs. A, B thereto); an illegal psychology enterprise (DDI-FICE) populated by fraudulent “forensic psychologists”; to the legal communities which they participate in—the San Diego County Bar Association and it’s “Family Law Subsection” (Compl. ¶¶4, 275, Ex. 2) and the “Family Law Community” it serves (Compl. ¶¶71-73, 275-280, 320); to the federally-funded quasi-public “technical support” and leadership corporations it collaborates with on family law policy and operations levels—the San Diego Family Justice Center and National Family Justice Center Alliance (Compl. ¶¶262, 318, RICO Enterprises 2, 3, 4; Compl. Ex. 1); and to its leadership operations of Co-Defendants Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts (Compl. ¶¶10, 13-16; Quest for Justice, infra.). An insightful public account of the history, evolution, and independent control and operation of these entities is recently available from former California Supreme Court Chief Justice and Chairperson of Defendants AOC and Judicial Counsel Ronald M. George, entitled Chief: The Quest for Justice in California (2013). Chief Justice George explicitly details how these defendants have established themselves to be free from the “micromanagement” of legislators, who “don’t understand” how to administer justice. Id. at 453-454. For theater fans, A feature-length documentary entitled “DivorceCorp” (www.divorcecorp.com) to be released nationwide on January 10, 2014 graphically describes the Domestic Dispute Industry Criminal Enterprise detailed in the Complaint. The Divorce Industry, it seems, is enjoying a new day in the sun.
Defendants no doubt will assert that the accused operations, though highly coordinated, are not illegal. Plaintiff will be prepared to present that case to a trier of fact at the appropriate time. For purposes of the Complaint, however, the above allegations of coordinated action to accomplish an allegedly illegal purpose satisfy any relevant pleading standard for pleading “conspiracy.”
 Supportive details describing the operation of these entities in collaboration with their enterprise co-defendants is located at pp. 303-318, 380-81, Chapter 14, pp. 448-459, 622-624, 660-665, 752-785.
 “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 67, (1976); L. Tarango Trucking v. Cnty. of Contra Costa, 202 F.R.D. 614, 620 (N.D. Cal. 2001); Fair Political Practices Com. v. Suitt, 90 Cal. App. 3d 125, 132, 153 Cal. Rptr. 311, 316 (Cal. Ct. App. 1979); Original publication: L. Brandeis, Other People’s Money at 62 (National Home Library Foundation ed. 1933)
CCFC explained to the District Court that they were a parents’ organization run by volunteers and donations–and that the judges’ requesting a sanction of $10,000 would demolish their organization. “Not only do they want us to go away, they want to teach us a lesson for bringing up the point at all. These are judges–bullying parents and kids who’ve been beaten already been beaten up by Family Court. And they say ‘Didn’t like that? Perfect, here’s some more trouble and humiliation.”
Any award of sanctions must evaluate a sanctioned party’s ability to pay. Christian v. Mattel, Inc. (9th Cir. 2002) 286 F3d 1118, 1125, fn. 4. Rule 11 sanctions should not be used to chill creative advocacy, or legitimate causes asserted in good faith. See, e.g., Chase v. Auerbach, 1994 WL 590588, *2 (E.D.Pa. Oct. 26, 1994) (rejecting the imposition of Rule 11 sanctions on a litigant for advancing a novel legal theory in attempting to move an action to federal court to consolidate case with another pending case); Committee Notes on Amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 146 FRD 401, 587 (1993) (explaining that replacing the 1983 version of the rule’s standard of “good faith” with the 1993 term “nonfrivilous” was not intended to raise the bar on “creative advocacy” brought in good faith which might be “chilled” by a higher standard).
Though Plaintiffs vigorously deny that sanctions against Plaintiff are appropriate and assert precisely the opposite request for relief, any sanction award against plaintiffs in this case would be unjust. Plaintiffs are a public benefit corporation and their members and advocates which, in the course of attempts to facilitate the reform of voracious criminal enterprises, have fallen victims to the illegal tactics of those very enterprises. Stuart Decl. ¶¶. It would be difficult to exaggerate the devastating impact of Defendants’ illegal activities on the resources available to Plaintiffs to continue their reform efforts, including this litigation. CCFC is not a commercial operation—it has no revenue other than donations and the generous goodwill of many dedicated volunteers. It is a community of victims of these very defendants’ heinous acts of fraud and abuse, who have formed to recover their losses, but more importantly to prevent that same harm from befalling others unaware of the maze of horrors that awaits them once they step behind Defendants’ doors. Stuart Decl. ¶¶X.
The Complaint details Plaintiffs’ efforts in seeking attention and assistance to remedy and reform an industry few deny to be a notorious dystopia, yet almost none have the knowledge, concern, or courage required to attend. Government agencies, politicians, and the commercial and pro bono legal community have universally respond “yes, it’s a mess, but we don’t know how to fix it.” Present Defendants have responded with offers to absorb even more resources in wastefully returning to the lawless maze of family court, or more often responded not at all. Stuart Decl.
As the intended benefactors of that dystopia—parents and children—who’ve instead of benefiting from that system have fallen victim to it, we have valuable input of what is wrong and how to fix it. Yet Plaintiffs’ wealth of experience, knowledge, and suggestions is not equaled by a wealth of material resources to implement them. Like most family court litigants, CCFC members left family courts with little more than harrowing nightmares and a very bitter taste in their mouths which, though highly motivating, are accompanied by a debilitating fear of further legal reprisal or financial victimization by the very defendants present here. By anticompetitive means—including the violent means deployed against Plaintiffs detailed in the Complaint—Defendants have effectively monopolized or blockaded all venues for effecting reform through state-level machinery—courts, judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, and psychologists collaborate to police a poisonous toll-based maze they themselves built which outrageously extracts wealth from unsuspecting families by artifice, trick, and deceit. Stuart Decl.
That wealth and power, initially earned by the honest hands and brows of parents working to provide for their children, has by trick and device been converted into the hands of some of San Diego’s strongest law firms, hired to defend the schemes that pay their bills—and today returns to a new scene to use impermissible “hardball” Rule 11 litigation tactics pick those pockets yet again, by means of new rules in a new courthouse. Plaintiff prays for a new awakening to a new, healthier day for plaintiffs and defendants alike. “If we desire respect for the law, then we must first make the law respectable.” L. Brandeis, Other People’s Money (National Home Library Foundation ed. 1933).
Any award of sanctions against Plaintiffs in this case would only further the perpetration of what will be proven to be a shameful and fraudulent abuse of knowledge of public processes and institutions, public police power, and tainted wealth by those operating under a public license, oath, and duty to protect those in their care. Sanctions would be an affront not only to a meager pocketbook, but to the courage, dignity, and public spirit of parents and children nationwide, who having no recourse to defenders such as those they face, have barely the means to defend themselves. A sanction against these Plaintiffs in this action would be a sanction against equal justice itself.
The Superior Court’s Rule 11 Motion is almost entirely unwarranted by existing law, structurally incomprehensible, and wildly off-target. It impermissibly seeks relief for Co-Defendants not present in the Motion, argues their case but not its own, pleads to the wrong legal standards and only summarily acknowledges the correct ones, and is infected with the same meritless arguments of the MTD and inadmissible, impertinent, and scandalous evidence that work is based upon. The Rule 11 Motion is itself an inappropriate litigation “hard ball” double down tactic by those intimately familiar with such schemes and tools of prevailing in high-stakes litigation games, making sanctions against The Superior Court for its unfaithful litigation conduct in the present Motion appropriate. The Superior Court has chosen the stakes of the table it sits at. It should not be permitted to walk away from the accounting.
The hearing on the judges’ Motion for Sanctions is scheduled for December 19, 2013, in United States District Court for the Southern District of California.
CCFC Announces Latest Round of Salvos in DDICE RICO Litigation: CCFC Files Motion for Sanctions Against Judges
November 30, 2013, San Diego, CA–Today CCFC filed
a motion for sanctions against the San Diego County Superior Court, Judge Robert J. Trentacosta, Mr. Michael M. Roddy, Judge Lisa Schall, Judge Lorna A. Alksne, Judge Christine K. Goldsmith, Commissioner Jeannie Lowe, Judge William H. McAdam, Jr., Commissioner Edlene C. McKenzie, and Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil.
Weightier Matter, our news and litigant resource, carries the motion, pleading file, research, analysis, and more. Join us there!
Judges Seek Dismissal of Racketeering Lawsuit–CCFC Responds to Judges’ Motion: “A clearer case of bad faith litigation conduct would be difficult to make.”
Judge Michael Groch and Family Justice Center Alliance members deny collaboration.
“It was recognized that certain members of the judiciary were instruments of oppression and were partially responsible for the wrongs to be remedied. The parade of cases coming to this Court shows that a similar condition now obtains in some of the States. Some state courts have been instruments of suppression of civil rights. The methods may have changed; the means may have become more subtle; but the wrong to be remedied still exists.”
– Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967)
Maybe some things really never change.
It’s a good thing one of them is truth. And we’ve been up to no good lately pointing that out to, well, judges who can’t seem to fish it out of a “bucket of mud.”
We’re here to help. In their recently filed motion to dismiss CCFC’s federal racketeering lawsuit, judges Robert Trentacosta, Lisa Schall, Lorna Alksne, Christine Goldsmith, Jeannie Lowe, William McAdam, Edlene McKenzie, and Joel Wohlfeil disclaim any association, affiliation, or support with the San Diego Family Law Community–including the County Bar, the Family Law Subsection, the City of San Diego’s in-house domestic dispute advocacy program-the San Diego Family Justice Center, the Family Law Facilitator’s Offices, or the court’s own in-house trained, supervised, and appointed psychological evaluator enterprise, including Stephen Doyne, Lori Love, and Robert Simon. “No affiliation whatsoever” the judges’ lawyers Mattew Green and James Gilpin of Best, Best & Krieger claim.
Some highlights below.
The Superior Court’s “move along nothing here to see” command came in the form of a motion to dismiss CCFC’s federal lawsuit alleging Racketeering and civil rights crimes against hundreds of thousands of county residents.
Great minds at work here–perhaps our county’s most proclaimed jurists. What legal rationale did they use to ask the District Court to throw the lawsuit out?
“It’s a bucket of mud”
“Defendants, with some prolixity, assail the Complaint as “incomprehensible rambling” (MTD 1, 10:2), “of the magnitude of War and Peace” (MTD 2), “bucket of mud,” “sprawling,” “incomprehensible,” “confusing, distracting, ambiguous, and unintelligible” (MTD 9), “confusing and conclusory” (MTD 10), and that a reader must “try to fish a gold coin from a bucket of mud[,]”. Yet the Complaint’s length and complexity cannot be accused as a defect of pleading; the statutes it is brought under are notoriously complex and perhaps confusing even to the accomplished jurists present in this litigation. ”
“One civil rights conspiracy statute asserted, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(1), (2), and (3) is drafted as a single sentence of 590 words in six paragraphs. It has been generously assailed by Justice John Paul Stevens as “somewhat difficult to parse.” Kush v. Rutledge, 460 U.S. 719, 724, 103 S. Ct. 1483, 1486, 75 L. Ed. 2d 413 (1983). RICO too has been bewailed as “arcane,” “tormented,” “complicated,” “agonizingly difficult” and “fraught with arcane mysteries.” Bryant v. Yellow Freight Sys., 989 F. Supp. 966, 968 (N.D. Ill. 1997); Macy’s E., Inc. v. Emergency Envtl. Servs., Inc., 925 F. Supp. 191, 193 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (“arcane eccentricities of RICO jurisprudence”); Combs v. Bakker, 886 F.2d 673, 677 (4th Cir. 1989) (a “tormented statute”); Sadighi v. Daghighfekr, 36 F. Supp. 2d 267 (D.S.C. 1999) (noting statute’s “torment”); Tafflin v. Levitt, 493 U.S. 455, 465 (1990); Cent. Distribs. of Beer [,] Inc. v. Conn., 5 F.3d 181, 184 (6th Cir. 1993) (“one of the most complex statutes ever enacted by Congress”); Jennings v. Emry, 910 F.2d 1434, 1435 (7th Cir. 1990) (“a complex statute”); Murray v. Midwest Real Estate Inv. Co., No. 98C1569, 1998 WL 919694, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 30, 1998) (“exceedingly complicated”).
Without doubt, the asserted statutes are complex—honed power tools to enable citizens to combat collusion by public and private officers wielding the devastating potential of state police power and private wealth to leverage racketeering and civil rights crimes.”
If that doesn’t work, they have a fall-back:
“We’re judges–we’re immune from these charges!”
Well, since they think that’s the case, it certainly explains a lot, but sorry to say the United States Congress and United States Supreme Court disagree:
“Like the complex criminal enterprises RICO and the civil rights statutes are intended to extinguish, the Complaint is by design complex. The “heavy artillery of federal law” RICO mechanisms are targeted to combat only complex organizations. United States v. Frega, 179 F.3d 793, 800 (9th Cir. 1999)). The statement of findings that prefaces the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 reveals that Congress enacted RICO to redress “a highly sophisticated, diversified, and widespread activity that annually drains billions of dollars from America’s economy by unlawful conduct and the illegal use of force, fraud, and corruption” using “social exploitation” deriving “money and power . . . increasingly used to infiltrate and corrupt legitimate business . . . and to subvert and corrupt our democratic processes.” The breadth of the “organized crime activities in the United States weaken the stability of the Nation’s economic system, harm innocent investors and competing organizations, interfere with free competition, seriously burden interstate and foreign commerce, threaten the domestic security, and undermine the general welfare of the Nation and its citizens.” Congress intended RICO to supplement state laws under which “organized crime continues to grow because of defects in the evidence-gathering process of the law inhibiting the development of the legally admissible evidence necessary to bring criminal and other sanctions or remedies to bear on the unlawful activities of those engaged in organized crime and because the sanctions and remedies available to the Government are unnecessarily limited in scope and impact. 84 Stat. 922–923.” U.S. v. Turkette, 452 U.S. 576, 588-89 (1981). ”
“Four decades of caselaw have confirmed Congress’ intent that RICO is not targeted toward mom-n-pop backroom scams, but to inoculate erstwhile legitimate enterprises, including unions, public corporations, mass market retailers, and public institutions such as law enforcement, political office, and the courts—including one case identifying Defendant San Diego Superior Court itself. See, e.g., H.J. Inc. v. Nw. Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 243, 109 S. Ct. 2893, 2903, 106 L. Ed. 2d 195 (1989) (telecommunications corporations); Nat’l Org. for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 260, 114 S. Ct. 798, 805, 127 L. Ed. 2d 99 (1994) (civil rights organizations); Odom v. Microsoft Corp., 486 F.3d 541, 546 (9th Cir. 2007) (Microsoft Corporation and Best Buy software retailing operations); Vierria v. California Highway Patrol, 644 F. Supp. 2d 1219, 1240 (E.D. Cal. 2009); Dow Chem. Co. v. Exxon Corp., 30 F. Supp. 2d 673, 694 (D. Del. 1998); U.S. v. Angelilli, 660 F.2d 23 (2d Cir. 1981) (civil courts); United States v. Frega, 179 F.3d 793 (1999) (the “San Diego Superior Court”).”
Other judges agree:
“It does indeed go without saying that an official, who is in fact guilty of using his powers to vent his spleen upon others, or for any other personal motive not connected with the public good, should not escape liability for the injuries he may so cause; and, if it were possible in practice to confine such complaints to the guilty, it would be monstrous to deny recovery.”
“This Court has never suggested that the policy considerations which compel civil immunity for certain governmental officials also place them beyond the reach of the criminal law. Even judges, cloaked with absolute civil immunity for centuries, could be punished criminally for willful deprivations of constitutional rights on the strength of 18 U.S.C. § 242, the criminal analog of § 1983.”
And it’s not just judges that want to be excused from criminal behavior, they say also their staff.
“Our Court Executive Officer, Michael Roddy, is just like a judge, so he doesn’t have to follow the law either.”
“Defendant RODDY claims quasi-judicial immunity (MTD IV.E), yet such a defense is clearly unavailable. RODDY is an administrator, not a judicial official, and the allegations of the Complaint do not allege any acts by RODDY requiring judicial discretion, application of facts to law, or acts intimately involved with the judicial process. Whatever Mr. Roddy’s general responsibilities as an administrator of the Superior Court operations may be, the Complaint alleges his responsibility for a private commercial forensic psychology enterprise and the family law facilitator, domestic violence clinics and paperwork, and related court operations. Compl. ¶¶ 11, 12, 23, 94, 96, 140, 275, 281, 318, Count 5, ENTERPRISES 1-4. These are not “tasks [which] are an essential part of the operation of the courts and the judicial process.” (MTD 12:9). See, Forrester, Antoine, Zolin, supra; Pomerantz v. County of Los Angeles, 674 F.2d 1288, 1291 (9th Cir.1982). To the extent that RODDY’S “precise acts” accused in the Complaint are within RODDY’S job description, they are administrative functions, possibly authorized, and therefore possibly eligible for a qualified immunity not relevant at this stage. ”
The Complaint also names the Family Justice Center, The County of San Diego, the Family Law Facilitator’s Offices, and the Administrative Office of the Courts, for collaborating with the judges themselves in illegal activity. The judge’s response?
“We’re not related” “Completely independent”
We found otherwise:
“To plead to these statutes, the Complaint must detail the complex and diverse duties, acts, and enterprises harming plaintiffs and impacting a wide class of U.S. citizens numbering in the millions. The Complaint asserts 32 distinct civil causes of action and 32 related indictable federal felonies, 27 categories of “predicate crimes” and 13 RICO Claims for Relief, based on seven “Schemes and Artifices to Defraud” under nine federal mail, wire, bank, and honest services fraud criminal statutes, including related obstruction of justice, and witness tampering and retaliation. It asserts two counts for prospective relief including a Motion for a Harassment Restraining Order and requests to enjoin enforcement of an entire body of unconstitutional family and criminal law. The Complaint names 49 distinct public and private entities comprising a nationwide Domestic Dispute Industry Criminal Enterprise (“DDICE”). Even counsel experienced in this rapidly-evolving body of federal civil and criminal law would be understandably paused to comprehend the Complaint’s necessary depth and complexity.”
“It is no fault of Defendants that, despite their relative acumen in the law, they did not immediately grasp the gravity of the statutes posed against them. Their refusal to pause to comprehend that message before insulting its messenger is far less innocent.”
“But WE didn’t DO anything! Blame someone else!”
Judges consistently deny any responsibility for the treachery of divorce lawyers, psychologists, and others, claiming they “see nothing!” Is that an excuse? According to one of our nation’s most respected legal minds–clearly “no.” Judge Richard Posner from the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has explained that when a government actor places a citizen in harms way such as, for example, ordering them to purchase the services of a fraudulent psychologist, or requiring them to hire unethical lawyers to access courts, they are just as liable as a tortfeasor who caused the harm. Judge Posner writes:
“We do not want to pretend that the line between action and inaction, between inflicting and failing to prevent the infliction of harm, is clearer than it is. If the state puts a man in a position of danger from private persons and then fails to protect him, it will not be heard to say that its role was merely passive; it is as much an active tortfeasor as if it had thrown him into a snake pit.”
“The Complaint ignores the Rules–Throw it out!”
“[Family Court] Defendants have attempted to introduce immaterial, impertinent, controversial, scandalous, and inadmissible evidence in support of a motion that cannot weigh evidence. They have submitted a perjurous declaration and foundationless, incomplete, and potentially fraudulent documents—via a request for judicial notice. They have misunderstood and misrepresented “capacity” and “standing” under both state and federal law. The have requested the wrong relief under the wrong authority. They have refused Plaintiff’s efforts toward informal resolution by withdrawal of the errant pleadings and exhibits, and refused stipulations to resolve pleading matters which are properly and regularly resolved by leave to amend, forcing unnecessary pleading in opposition.”
“Given the lack of merit to the MTD, Plaintiff submits that the MTD was filed to continue the pattern of HARRASSMENT and ABUSE, to cause unnecessary delay, and needlessly increase the litigation costs to Plaintiffs—a pattern identified in the Complaint as HARRASSMENT and ABUSE and demonstrated to be ongoing in the Ex Parte Application for Leave to File a Motion for Harassment Restraining Order (Dkt#4). Plaintiffs are a parents and children rights and support organization and their advocates who have fallen victim to defendants—an insubordinated Domestic Dispute Industry preying on parents and children through abuse of public resources by private criminal enterprises detailed in the Complaint. The MTD is but the latest in what will be proven to be a grotesque and shameful abuse of state law police power and color of law authority.”
“A clearer case for failure to reasonably investigate claims and avoidance of bad faith litigation conduct, harassment, delay, and unreasonable inquiry sanctions would be difficult to make.”
“Honor and shame from no condition rise.
Act well your part: there all the honor lies.”
– Alexander Pope
The Family Court judges’ legacy lies before them. Will it be shame through defeat, shame through victory, or honor through obedience to the trust that binds us all?
Our November 22 hearing has been continued to December 19, 2013. We’ll keep you posted.
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Family Court–Where Ignorance of the Law Is an Excuse? CCFC Responds to San Diego Family Court’s Lawyers Matthew L. Green and James B. Gilpin of Best, Best & Krieger
CCFC Responds to Family Court Judges Who Proclaim Ignorance of the Law. Maybe that explains a lot…
Family Court—Where Ignorance of the Law is an Excuse?
Our experience with Family Court judges has been universally bizarre—irrational rulings, ignoring evidence, tolerating perjury, and a chaotic standard of practice by divorce lawyers known to be unethical. It’s led many of us to believe Family Court judges are crooked, swayed by bribery, favoritism, or simple malice.
But in CCFC’s RICO lawsuit, we’ve encountered a new phenomenon that’s surprising given that the the people we’re suing are judges:
Ignorance of the law.
That’s right—Family Court Judges, ignorant of the laws that apply to them and their colleagues.
Surprised? Maybe not, but we were, especially given that we’ve sued eleven of them. You’d think they could together figure out even a complex civil rights/RICO lawsuit given that they deal with constitutional rights on a daily basis, and each of them come from criminal backgrounds where complicated criminal conspiracies are ordinary. But in our recent lawsuit the judges have together filed a motion to dismiss, claiming CCFC’s Complaint is “unintelligible” and “exhausting.” They’ve gone so far as to describe our Complaint as a “bucket of mud.” Not only are they confused, they’re angry!
They’re so angry they’re also requesting sanctions, asserting that the Complaint was filed in bad faith, without any basis in fact or law.
We were puzzled. Our Complaint is certainly complex—it sets out 34 Counts of criminal and civil allegations against eleven judges, family court evaluators, divorce attorneys, the San Diego County Bar Association, and the National Family Justice Center Alliance among others. But as we looked closer, we discovered the problem—the judges simply don’t understand the law. They’ve asked for the District Court to dismiss the action using the wrong rule of civil procedure. They claim the Complaint doesn’t plead affirmative defenses—defenses that they, as defendants, must plead and prove. They’ve claimed that the complaint doesn’t explain how their racketeering operation works, when their own books, articles, and even a former lawsuit against them explains their operations in (what must be for them) agonizing detail.
It took us time to grasp this fact, but it’s now quite clear:
The judges simply don’t understand that what they’re doing is illegal.
Our October 28, 2013 letter sets for the explanation in terms that are simple enough for even–well–Family Court judges to understand. Two days later Family Court judges immediately declined our offer to resolve the matter informally–clearly without taking even a moment to digest our lengthy disclosure in the letter. CCFC has been forced to file an emergency motion and exhibits to request that the Court permit expanded briefing on this critical issue.
CCFC’s letter sets out arguments that judicial immunity doesn’t apply in this case to the illegal acts of judges and the court in its interaction with family court forensic psychologists. There is no immunity to criminal charges–even for judges. You may be surprised if you’ve thought, or were told, that judges are always immune, or that regular civil procedure “doesn’t apply” in family court. We show why that’s wrong.
Stay tuned–we’re headed for a showdown at hearing in U.S. District Court in San Diego on November 22, 2013. Both Family Court Judges and CCFC are requesting to throw out the other’s pleadings, and sanctions for the efforts. It’s high stakes for parents, children, and Family Court judges. We’ll soon learn more about whether judges truly are as ignorant as they claim–and act–as our lawsuit moves forward.
Family Court Judges—Ignorant of the Law. Is it an excuse for them?
**UPDATE: NOVEMBER 22, 2013 HEARING HAS BEEN CONTINUED BY THE COURT TO DECEMBER 19, 2013. SEE OUR EVENT CALENDAR FOR DETAILS. YOU’RE WELCOME AND ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND!
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CCFC v. SDCBA LAWSUIT PLEADINGS: California Coalition for Families and Children v. San Diego County Bar Association, United States District Court, Southern District California, Case No. 13cv1944-CAB-BLM
MASTER EXHIBITS IN PARTS (1-23, 10 MB EACH)
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