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Sacramento Family Court News


Investigative Reporting, News, Analysis, Opinion & Satire
HOME

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15 November 2012

SHORTCUTS TO POPULAR
SUBJECTS AND POSTS

Hon. Jaime R. Roman Misconduct: Divorce Attorney Charlotte Keeley


Obtains Unprecedented Court Order - Roman Rewrites Family Code &
Court Rules - Decrees Hearings Obsolete

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(67)

Judge Jaime Roman Designates Party Vexatious


Litigant, Sanctions $2,500 and Makes 13 Other
Rulings - Without Court Hearing Required by Law
Sacramento Family Court News Exclusive

JUDGE PRO TEM


(50)
ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT

(35)
MATTHEW J. GARY
(33)
FLEC
(28)
ARTS & CULTURE
(23)
CHILD CUSTODY
(22)
PETER J. McBRIEN
(22)
SCBA
(22)
ROBERT SAUNDERS
(21)
WATCHDOGS
(20)
EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT

(19)
CHARLOTTE KEELEY
(18)
CJP
(18)
PRO PERS
(18)
DOCUMENTS
(16)
DIVORCE CORP
(15)
JAMES M. MIZE
(15)

Sacramento Family Court Judge Jaime Roman (L) with Judge Matthew Gary. The two judges are known for issuing a disproportionate
number of favorable child custody orders for Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section lawyers, according to family court
watchdogs. Photo:Sacramento Lawyer.

In a rambling, unorthodox 20-page statement of decision peppered with 73 footnotes, Sacramento Family Court
Judge Jaime Roman designated family courtparty Andrew Karres a vexatious litigant, ordered Karres to pay
$2,500 in attorney fee sanctions, and issued 13 additional orders at a brief court proceeding yesterday.

All the disputed issues inexplicably weredecided without oral argument and without the court hearing mandated by
both the vexatious litigant and sanctions statutes.Virtually all rulings were against Karres and in favor of Karres'
ex-wife, Mel Rapton Honda heiressKatina Rapton. Rapton is represented by veteran Sacramento County Bar
Association Family Law Section attorneyand family courtjudge pro tem Charlotte Keeley.

COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST

(11)
RAPTON-KARRES
(11)
SATIRE
(11)
WHISTLEBLOWERS
(11)
WOODRUFF O'HAIR
POSNER and SALINGER


(11)

To continue reading, click Read more >> below:

CARLSSON CASE
(10)

Judge Roman drafted the lengthy statement of decision in


advance of a court hearing calendared for November 14,
at which the disputed issues were scheduled to be argued
and submitted. But at the start of the proceeding, the
judge announced that he was cancelling the hearing
because he had already ruled on all matters.

Roman explained to the parties and attorneys that the day


before he had mailed them his statement of decision
resolving all issues. At the hearing, the judge issued a
minute order which read only "VACATED: COURT
STATEMENT OF DECISION." Click here to view the
minute order.

In addition to depriving Karres of his basic due process


right to be heard on the sanction and vexatious litigant
issues, the vacated hearing also denied the losing litigant
his Family Code 217 and state court rule 5.119right to
present"live, competent and admissible
testimony."Family court reform advocates assert that the
Sacramento County Bar Association Family LawSection
attorney and family court temporary judgeCharlotte Keeley.
unlawful, summarily decided proceeding is yet another
example of the overt preferential treatment provided by
full-time, family court judges to members of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section who
also serve as temporary judges in the same court.

"Surreal and Unprecedented"


"It was both surreal and unprecedented," said veteran court watcher Robert Saunders. "I've been attending family
court hearings for over five years and have never seen anything like it." Saunders said that in addition to the
obvious constitutional-level due process of law breach, Roman's order was a flagrant violation of Family Code
sec. 217 and California Rule of Court 5.119. The statute, which became law on January 1, 2011, and the court
rule, which took effect on July 1, 2011, guarantee all family court litigants the right to present live testimony at
motion and order to show cause hearings.

JAIME R. ROMAN
(10)
LAURIE M. EARL
(10)
NO CONTACT ORDERS
(10)
SHARON A. LUERAS
(10)
CHRISTINA VOLKERS
(8)
FERRIS CASE
(8)
JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)
JULIE SETZER
(7)
YOUTUBE
(7)
3rd DISTRICT COA
(6)
CIVIL RIGHTS
(6)
CANTIL-SAKAUYE
(5)
CHRISTINA ARCURI
(5)
CONTEMPT
(5)
THADD BLIZZARD
(5)
FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR

(4)
LUAN CASE
(4)
MIKE NEWDOW
(4)

WE SUPPORT
"It appears that Judge Roman used reverse engineering to do
an end run around the new law," Saunders added. "In other
words, he knew how he wanted to rule and from there worked
backwards to try and justify an unjustifiable ruling.
Unfortunately, the new law and court rule presented an
obstacle to the judge. From whole cloth he created a sham
legal rationale he claims justifies ignoring the requirements of
section 217 and rule 5.119. This is yet another example of
how brazenly many family court judges will prejudge a case,
ignore the law, and manufacture a ruling to fit a predetermined
outcome," Saunders charged.

Electronic Frontier
Foundation

"With this 20-page order, the other issue that exposes


Roman's prejudgment is the vexatious litigant order. With its
potential for serious, Constitutional-level collateral
consequences, a vexatious litigant proceeding always
requires notice and a hearing with oral testimony."

Law Librarian Blog

Failure to Train, Supervise and Discipline


Saunders said court administrators share the blame for Roman's conduct. "This ruling again exposes a complete
failure by court administrators to properly train, supervise and discipline family court judges," he said. In his own
family court case in 2010, Saunders successfully obtained an order from a neutral, third-party judge formally
disqualifying family court Judge Matthew Gary. The outside judge - from San Joaquin County Superior Court ordered Gary removed for misconduct, including failing to follow proper contempt of court procedures after having
Saunders arrested and forcibly removed from his courtroom by multiple bailiffs. "Court administrators did
nothing, even after an independent, outside judge made it clear Gary was a rogue judge with anger-management

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issues," Saunders said.


"Judge Roman's order is a similar situation, with the added inference that a full-time judge is doing a favor for a
part-time judge, Charlotte Keeley," Saunders continued. "I don't know what else would explain such a brazen
disregard of established law. The order is unlawful, void on its face, and inevitably will create more, but completely
unnecessary litigation in this case in both the trial and appellate courts. Most Family Court judges are either
rookies breaking in, or screw-ups spending time in purgatory," Saunders explained.

"They're inherently thin-skinned and rarely admit to mistakes. The odds are slim that Judge Roman will admit to
the errors in this 20-page debacle. This proceeding was, and will continue to be a complete waste of taxpayer
funds at a time when the courts claim to be starved for funding. And, by the way, we pay Judge Ramon $170,000
per year for work like this."
To justify issuing the order without a
hearing, at page six of the ruling
Roman invoked a local court rule,
Code of Civil Procedure section
2009, and Family Code section 210.
On page 19, Roman also cited
California Rules of Court rule
3.1306(a) "in conjunction with rule
5.21" as his legal rationale for denying
Cal. Rule of Court rule 5.119requires judges to permit live testimony.
the parties their day in court.
"Nice try," Saunders scoffed. "Roman is using antiquated law and a local court rule that all are clearly superseded
by [Family Code] Section 217 and Rule 5.119. Both laws give family court litigants the right to present live
testimony at a court hearing unless the judge - at the hearing - denies the request based on a finding of good
cause. It is self-evident that the right can't be invoked if the judge vacates the hearing and mails out an order filed
the day before the hearing."

Ruling May Constitute Improper Governmental


Activities and Trigger State Auditor Scrutiny
The violation of Family Code section 217, state court Rule 5.119, andboth the statutory anddecisional law
governing vexatious litigant determinations potentially exposes Judge Roman to an improper governmental
activities investigation by the California State Auditor. Sacramento Family Court has been in hot water with the
state auditor before. A 2011 audit disclosed problems with training and supervision of family court mediators,
custody evaluators and minors counsel.

As SFCN reportedlast year, violation of a state statute or state court rule is, by law, an improper governmental
activity in the same category of offenses as corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of government property,
fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious prosecution, misuse of government property and willful
omission to perform duty, according to the California Whistleblower Protection Act.
However, Saunders pointed out that the chances
of Roman being held accountable for the
violations are slim-to-none.

Metropolitan News
Enterprise
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BRANCH
California Courts
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Page
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Local & National Family CourtFamily Law Sites & Blogs (may
be gender-specific)
ABA Family Law Blawg
Directory
California Coalition for
Families and Children
California Protective
Parents Association

"Judges in California are untouchable. Like


Roman did in this case, judges can simply flip-thebird at the law. It is not hyperbole to say they are
literally above-the-law. The State Auditor,
Commission on Judicial Performance, Judicial
Council and local court administrators will all turn
a blind eye," Saunders predicted. "The reason we
have an overabundance of incompetent judges is
because meaningful oversight of judge
misconduct is non-existent in California."
Promising later posts analyzing the 20-page
statement of decision, Sacramento County
Family Court News in-house legal analyst
PelicanBriefed declined to opine on the
decision.

Courthouse News Service

Center for Judicial


Excellence
Courageous Kids Network
Divorce & Family Law News
Divorce Corp
Divorced Girl Smiling
Family Law Case Law from
FindLaw
Court Employees Are Now Protected by theWhistleblower Protection Act

"There is so much wrong with this ruling that it will take me several posts to unravel and do justice. I will say that it
appears Judge Roman assumed that if he put a lot of footnotes into the ruling, no one would notice his erroneous

Family Law Courts.com


Family Law Updates at
JDSupra Law News

rationale for not holding a hearing, nor his blatant disregard of the legislative intent behind Family Code section
217 and Rule 5.119. And not allowing a hearing before declaring a party a vexatious litigant is unheard of. For
now, let's just say that this ruling may be an example of why Judge Roman was passed over for elevation to the
Court of Appeal."

Fathers 4 Justice
HuffPost Divorce
Leon Koziol.Com

For additional reporting on the people and issues in this post, click the corresponding labels below:

Posted by
PR Brown
at
10:45 PM

+10 Recommend this on Google

Labels:
ANALYSIS,
ATTORNEY,
CHARLOTTE KEELEY,
CHILD CUSTODY,
COURT RULES,
JAIME R. ROMAN,
JUDGE PRO TEM,

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT,
NEWS EXCLUSIVE,
RAPTON-KARRES,
ROBERT SAUNDERS,
SCBA,
SHARON HUDDLE,
VEXATIOUS
LITIGANT

Moving Past Divorce


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Weightier Matter

Location:
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CONTRIBUTORS

5 comments

Cathy Cohen
ST Thomas

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RoadDog

PR Brown via Google+ 1 year ago - Shared publicly


Where the Andrew Karres federal class action claim started:
In a rambling, 20-page statement of decision peppered with 73 footnotes, Sacramento
Family Court Judge Jaime Roman designated family court party Andrew Karres a vexatious
litigant, ordered Karres to pay $2,500 in attorney fee sanctions, and issued 13 additional

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http://sacramentocountyfamilycourtnews.blogspot.com/2012/11/family-court-sacramentosuperior-court-family-law-children-family-relations-courthouse-judge-jaime-roman-familycode-court-rules-attorney-charlotte-keeley-judge-pro-tem-attorney-sharon-huddle-barassociation-state-auditors-judicial-council.html
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Sacramento Family Court News via Google+ 1 year ago (edited) - Shared publicly

Labels

SACRAMENTO FAMILY COURT JUDGE REWRITES FAMILY CODE AND COURT RULES
- DECREES HEARINGS OBSOLETE

2011 SACRAMENTO/MARIN
AUDITS
(2)
3rd DISTRICT

Sacramento Family Court Supervising Family Law/Probate/ADA Judge Jaime R. Roman


issues 15 rulings on on day, in one case, including a $2,500 sanction order and an order

COA
(6)
AB

+2

1 Reply

(1)

In a rambling, 20-page statement of decision peppered with 73 footnotes,


Sacramento Family Court Judge Jaime Roman designated family court party

(1)

(4)

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION


(1)

ANALYSIS
(36)

FURILLO

PR Brown originally shared this


Where the Andrew Karres federal class action claim started:

JOURNAL

ADMINISTRATORS

AGGREGATED NEWS

(14)
AL SALMEN
(1)

sparkle Jones via Google+ 1 year ago - Shared publicly

1102
(1)
AB 590

ABA

(2)

ANDY

AOC

(1)

APPEALS
(10)
ARCHIBALD
CUNNINGHAM
(1)
ARTHUR G.
SCOTLAND
(5)
ARTS &

CULTURE

(23)

ATTORNEY
(4)
ATTORNEY
DISCIPLINE
(4)
ATTORNEY
ETHICS
(2)

ATTORNEY

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Sacramento Family Court News


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23 March 2013

SHORTCUTS TO POPULAR
SUBJECTS AND POSTS

Tani Cantil-Sakauye Defendant & Jaime R. Roman Implicated in Federal


Class Action Lawsuit for Misuse of Vexatious Litigant Law

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(67)

Controversial Order for Judge Pro Tem Attorney


Charlotte Keeley by Judge Jaime Roman Challenged
in Federal Class Action Lawsuit

ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT

(35)

Taxpayers Face Financial Liability

JUDGE PRO TEM


(50)

MATTHEW J. GARY
(33)
FLEC
(28)
ARTS & CULTURE
(23)
CHILD CUSTODY
(22)
PETER J. McBRIEN
(22)
SCBA
(22)
ROBERT SAUNDERS
(21)
WATCHDOGS
(20)
EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT

(19)
CHARLOTTE KEELEY
(18)
CJP
(18)

Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is named as a defendant in this federal court litigation stemming from a vexatious
litigant court order issued by Sacramento Family Court Judge Jaime Roman for Judge Pro Tem Charlotte Keeley.

PRO PERS
(18)
DOCUMENTS
(16)

SACRAMENTO FAMILY COURT NEWS EXCLUSIVE


A November, 2012court order designating a Sacramento Family Courtparty as a vexatious litigant is being
challenged in a landmark federal class action lawsuit filed yesterday in United States District Court in San
Francisco. The controversial order was issued by family court Judge Jaime Roman at the request of temporary
judge and veteran family law attorneyCharlotte Keeley in a case with a long-running child custody dispute
between Andrew Karres andMel Rapton Honda heiress Katina Rapton. The order blacklisted [pdf] Karres as
a vexatious litigant [pdf] and raised eyebrows in the legal community because Roman issued the ruling without
providing Karres the court hearing required under state law and the due process provisions of the state and
federal Constitutions.

DIVORCE CORP
(15)

The vexatious litigant designation severely restricts a litigants access to the courts by requiring them to get preapproval from a presiding judge before they are permitted to file pleadings in any court in the state.Sacramento
Family Court News in Nov. 2012 reported exclusively on Judge Roman's unorthodox order, which also is
pending review by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. Taxpayers likely will now get two substantial
bills in connection with the Keeley-Roman ruling.

SATIRE
(11)

JAMES M. MIZE
(15)
COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST

(11)
RAPTON-KARRES
(11)

WHISTLEBLOWERS
(11)
WOODRUFF O'HAIR
POSNER and SALINGER


The state court appeal will cost the public between $8,500 and $25,500, according to recent appellate court
decisions. The public cost of defending the federal case could be significantly higher. For several years, court
watchdogs and whistleblowers have asserted that full-time judges give preferential treatment to judge pro tem
attorneys. They charge that the Rapton-Karres case is one of several cases emblematic of judge-attorney
cronyism and its effects, including the unnecessary use of scarce court resources and the financial burden on
taxpayers.

(11)

To continue reading, click Read more >>below:

NO CONTACT ORDERS
(10)

CARLSSON CASE
(10)
JAIME R. ROMAN
(10)
LAURIE M. EARL
(10)

SHARON A. LUERAS
(10)

Named as defendants in the federal class action lawsuit are


California Supreme Court Chief Justice and Judicial
Council Chair Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye and Steven Jahr,
the Administrative Director of the Administrative Office of
the Courts.

CHRISTINA VOLKERS
(8)
FERRIS CASE
(8)
JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)

In addition to Karres, the plaintiffs include eight other family


court parties from throughout the state. All have been
blacklisted as vexatious litigants in their respective courts.
"Plaintiffs, who are parents in on-going custody disputes,
bring this class action against Chief Justice CantilSakauye and the Judicial Council in the hope of
overturning California's Vexatious Litigant Statute
(VLS) as it applies to family law litigants, particularly
parents caught in protracted custody battles. The
Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of the VLS as it
is applied in the context of family law custody
proceedings. The Plaintiffs assert that the VLS on its
face and as applied infringes on their fundamental
custody rights," reads the introduction section of the
complaint.

JULIE SETZER
(7)
YOUTUBE
(7)
3rd DISTRICT COA
(6)
CIVIL RIGHTS
(6)
CANTIL-SAKAUYE
(5)
CHRISTINA ARCURI
(5)
CONTEMPT
(5)
Justice Cantil-Sakauye is a former Sacramento
County Superior Court Judge.

Click here to read the complete lawsuit filed March 22. Sacramento Family Court News will provide continuing
coverage of the case.

THADD BLIZZARD
(5)
FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR

(4)
LUAN CASE
(4)
MIKE NEWDOW
(4)

Related articles and posts:


Click herefor our complete coverage
of the Rapton-Karres case.
Click herefor our reporting on Judge
Jaime R. Roman.

WE SUPPORT
Click herefor coverage of judicial
misconduct.

Electronic Frontier
Foundation

Click herefor our special Judge Pro


Tem Page.

Posted by
PR Brown
at
8:19 PM

First Amendment Coalition


+4 Recommend this on Google

Labels:
CHARLOTTE KEELEY,
CHILD CUSTODY,
CHILD SUPPORT,
FEDERAL LAWSUITS,
JAIME R. ROMAN,
JUDGE PRO TEM,

Californians Aware

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT,
NEWS EXCLUSIVE,
RAPTON-KARRES,
VL-CLASS-ACTION

Location:
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PR Brown via Google+ 1 year ago - Shared publicly


A November, 2012 court order designating a Sacramento Family Court party as a vexatious

The Divorce Artist

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INFORMATION

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HOME

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17 April 2013

SHORTCUTS TO POPULAR
SUBJECTS AND POSTS

Hon. Jaime R. Roman Misconduct: Rewrites California Vexatious Litigant


Law for Judge Pro Tem Divorce Lawyer Charlotte Keeley

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(67)

Judge Jaime Roman Misstates Law, Uses Overruled


Case to Justify Vexatious Litigant and Other Orders
Without Court Hearing

ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT

(35)

News Analysis & Opinion by PelicanBriefed

MATTHEW J. GARY
(33)
FLEC
(28)
ARTS & CULTURE
(23)

The Sacramento Family Court Newsanalysis


teamhas been working overtime scrutinizingand
trying to make sense of a controversial20-page
statement of decision issued on Nov. 14 of last year
by Supervising Family Court Judge Jaime R.
Roman. Click here for our initial report from 2012.

CHILD CUSTODY
(22)
PETER J. McBRIEN
(22)
SCBA
(22)
ROBERT SAUNDERS
(21)

Roman's decision is now being challenged in both the


Third District Court of Appeal, and in a federal
class action lawsuit filed March 22 in U.S. District
Court in San Francisco. It is certain that taxpayers
will get a substantial bill for each case. Court
watchdogs contend Roman's order exemplifies the
overt lawlessness that occurs weekly in family court,
and the preferential treatment that full-time judges
provide for-profit attorneys who also serve as
temporary judges.

The unprecedented ruling - which was made-to-order


for Judge Pro Tem attorney Charlotte Keeley rewrites California vexatious litigant law and
procedure. Watchdogs hold Judge Roman
responsible for putting taxpayers on the financial hook
for the costs of yet another unnecessary appeal from
family court, and the federal litigation.

JUDGE PRO TEM


(50)

WATCHDOGS
(20)
EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT

(19)
CHARLOTTE KEELEY
(18)
CJP
(18)
PRO PERS
(18)
DOCUMENTS
(16)
DIVORCE CORP
(15)
Judge Jaime R. Roman denied a family courtlitigant the right
to a court hearing and oraltestimony - fundamental components
of the right to dueprocess of law.

JAMES M. MIZE
(15)
COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)

In another pointless appeal caused by judicial misconduct,Judge Matthew J. Gary unsuccessfully attempted a
similar rewrite of putative spouse law and in 2011 was reversed in full by the Third District Court of Appeal. Our
analysis indicates that Judge Roman's order likely is headed for the same fate.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

(11)

To continue reading, click Read more >> below:

SATIRE
(11)

Off-the-Rails at Conjunction Junction

RAPTON-KARRES
(11)

WHISTLEBLOWERS
(11)
WOODRUFF O'HAIR
POSNER and SALINGER


(11)
CARLSSON CASE
(10)
JAIME R. ROMAN
(10)
LAURIE M. EARL
(10)
NO CONTACT ORDERS
(10)
SHARON A. LUERAS
(10)
CHRISTINA VOLKERS
(8)
FERRIS CASE
(8)
JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)
JULIE SETZER
(7)
YOUTUBE
(7)
3rd DISTRICT COA
(6)
CIVIL RIGHTS
(6)
CANTIL-SAKAUYE
(5)
CHRISTINA ARCURI
(5)
The confusing legal rationale of Judge Roman's 20-page decision is constructed from a series of allegedly
consistent conjunctions conjoining components of the Family Code, Code of Civil Procedure, and court rules.
For example, Roman writes at page six:
"Sacramento Superior Court Rule 14.02(C), consistent with Code of Civil Procedure
section 2009, in conjunction with Family Code section 210.." and
"Code of Civil Procedure section 1008(a), inconjunctionwith Family Code section 210..."
at page eight, and
"California Code of Civil Procedure section 2009 in conjunction with Family Code section
210...California Rules of Court rule 3.1306(a), in conjunction with California Rules of
Court, rule 5.21...See Family Code section 217(c); California Rules of Court, rule
3.1306(b), in conjunction with rule 5.21 and rule 5.119," at page 19.
Judge Roman's statute and court rule references, and calculated omission of contrary authority suggest an intent to
cherry-pick law - including law not applicable to a vexatious litigant proceeding - to reach a predetermined result for
the benefit of Judge Pro Tem attorney Charlotte Keeley. In our first report on the decision, veteran court
watchdog Robert Saundersastutely observed that the judge used reverse engineering. "In other words, he
knew how he wanted to rule and from there worked backwards to try and justify an unjustifiable ruling," Saunders
said in 2012.

Saunders' analysis appears to be substantially accurate, according to the family and civil law reference books
used by judges, attorneys and Sacramento Family Court News. The logically inferred intent of Roman's risible,
convoluted conjunctions is to enable himself to designate a family court party a vexatious litigantandissue a
$2,500 sanctions assessment and 13 additional orders against the same party - all without a court hearing and oral
argument. ButJudge Roman is off-the-rails at conjunction junction.
California Practice Guide:Civil Procedure Before Trial, the gold standard civil law reference work used by
judges and attorneys, indicates that Judge Roman attempted to create the illusion that his order was grounded
inlegitimatelaw by misstating and misapplying Code of Civil Procedure 2009,Family Code 210, and217,
andCalifornia Rules of Court rules 3.1306 and 5.21.The perplexing rationale Roman cobbled together from
parts of each is preempted and effectivelynullified by the vexatious litigant statute and decisional law,
according to the Guide.

Court watchdogs and whistleblowerscharge that Judge Roman's prejudgment, unlawfully vacated hearing and
erroneous statement of decision are more examples of Chris Volkers, Julie Setzer and other
courtadministratorsfailing to adequatelytrain, supervise, and discipline family court judges. They point out that
Judge Roman, the supervising family law, probate and ADA judge has limited family court experience, and often
confuses civil law with family law. At the end of her own two-year stint in family court, Judge Sharon Lueras
confessed to the family law bar that, at the beginning of her family court assignment, she knew nothing about
family law. The consequences of inadequate training andsupervisioncan be tragic. Unrepresented litigant

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LEGAL NEWS &


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Jessica Hernandez blames Lueras for the death of her son at the hands of her ex-husband. Click here for our
coverage of the Hernandez case.

The Disappearing Hearing


As we reported in our original
coverage, Judge Roman unilaterally
cancelled a family court hearing
calendared for Nov. 14, 2012. The
hearing was scheduled for the purpose
of arguing and resolving 15 disputed
issues in the case Katina Rapton vs
Andrew Karres.

Courthouse News Service


Metropolitan News
Enterprise
California Official Case Law
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Unpublished Case Law
California Statutes

On the day of the hearing, the parties


and attorneys arrived at the courtroom
and were told by the judge that the
hearing was vacated and would not
take place. A dumbfounded Sharon
Huddle, the attorney for Karres, had
the judge repeat the statement a
second time while being recorded by a
court reporter.Click here to read the
court reporter's transcript, obtained
exclusively by Sacramento Family
Court News.

At the end of the non-hearing, Judge


Roman scrawled out a minute order
that read only "VACATED: COURT
STATEMENT OF DECISION." The day
before the hearing, Roman wrote,
signed, filed, and mailed to the
attorneys a 20-page statement of
decision resolving all issues.

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Family law attorney and Judge Pro Tem Charlotte L. Keeleydemanded and got
from Judge Jaime R. Roman a court order designating Andrew Karres a
vexatious litigant.

Virtually all of the rulings were in favor of Rapton and against Karres. Rapton, the Mel Rapton Honda heiress is
represented by veteran family law attorney and temporary judge Charlotte Keeley. The orders requested by
Keeley and granted by Roman included designating Karres a vexatious litigant, and ordering the financially
disadvantaged litigant to pay Keeley $2,500 in sanctions. The vexatious litigant designation severely restricts
Karres' access to every court in California by requiring him to get pre-approval from a presiding judge before he
can file anything, anywhere in the state.

Conjunction Malfunction
The relationship between family law, civil law and the court rules applicable to each can be confusing. But the family
law procedure manual used by judges and attorneys, California Practice Guide: Family Law neatly sorts it all
out in just two pages, which,apparently, is news to Judge Roman who clumsily cut, conjoined, and pasted
conflicting laws and rules to justify his vexatious litigant order.

An assessment of the legality of Roman's order blacklisting Andrew Karres as a vexatious litigantbegins with the
law itself.California's vexatious litigant law is codified at Code of Civil Procedure391-391.8. Wikipedia
explains how the law works at this link. The law was intended to limit frivolous litigation by unrepresented, pro per
parties in civil courts. When a judge issues an order designating a self-represented litigant as a vexatious litigant,
the Constitutional rights of access to the courts, due process of law, equal protection of law and the right to
petition the government for redress are severely restricted. Due to the harsh consequences of the vexatious
litigant label, California law requires full due process before the order can be issued, including notice and a court
hearing where written or oral evidence is presented. The notice and hearing requirements of the vexatious litigant
statute are difficult to misconstrue:
"At the hearing upon the motion the court shall consider any evidence, written or oral, by
witnesses or affidavit, as may be material to the ground of the motion," reads the law at section
391.2.
At 391.3, the vexatious litigant law specifies, twice, that a decision is made "after hearing the evidence on the
motion." The California Practice Guide for civil law recites the procedure for a vexatious litigant determination,
including the required court hearing. Based on the 2002 appellate court caseBravo v. Ismaj,"[a] party may not be
declared to be a 'vexatious litigant' without a noticed motion and hearing which includes the right to oral argument

State Bar Court


Sacramento County Bar
Association

Local & National Family CourtFamily Law Sites & Blogs (may
be gender-specific)
ABA Family Law Blawg
Directory
California Coalition for
Families and Children
California Protective
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Center for Judicial
Excellence
Courageous Kids Network
Divorce & Family Law News
Divorce Corp
Divorced Girl Smiling
Family Law Case Law from
FindLaw
Family Law Courts.com
Family Law Updates at
JDSupra Law News

and the presentation of evidence," according to the Guide.

Since the 2002 Bravo case, at least 20


other published and unpublished
appellate court decisions have relied on
and mirrored the controlling holding in
Bravo, including these two cases from
2009 and 2012.

Fathers 4 Justice
HuffPost Divorce
Leon Koziol.Com
Moving Past Divorce
News and Views Riverside
Superior Court

In a single paragraph and four footnotes


at page 19 of his 20-page statement of
decision, Judge Roman provides his
rationale for issuing the vexatious litigant
order without a hearing. The judge
recites sections of the Code of Civil
Procedure, Family Code, and court
rules that he claims, when conjoined,
authorize him to "vacate the hearing in
this matter..."

Weightier Matter

CONTRIBUTORS
Cathy Cohen
ST Thomas

Notably absent from the justification is


any reference to the Bravo line of cases,
Judge Jaime R. Roman conjoined statutory law, court rulesand overruled
the notice and hearing requirements of
decisionallawtorewrite vexatious litigantprocedurein California.
the vexatious litigant statute, and the
instruction of the California Practice Guides, all of which contradictRoman's justification for denying Karres a
hearing with oral argument and the presentation of evidence. Roman does cite to a single case law reference,
Reifler v. Superior Court, a 1974 case which was effectively overruled by the Legislature as of January 1,
2011, and which in any event has no legitimate connection to the procedure for declaring a litigant vexatious.

Judge Roman gives his reasons for blacklisting Karres statewide as a vexatious litigant at pages 15-18 of his 20page statement of decision. Absent from the ruling is the boilerplate recital that "The Court has considered the
moving and responding papers, the evidence and argument presented at the hearing, and the files herein,"
which appears on page one of this vexatious litigant order from a family court case in Santa Clara County.

Judge Roman's unlawful order declaring Karres a vexatious litigant is now the subject of both a costly appeal and
federal civil rights litigation against Judicial Branch officials. The appeal and federal case will cost the parties
and taxpayers significant sums. The current cost to taxpayers for a single appeal is between $8,500 and $25,000,
according to recent appellate court decisions. Ironically, vexatious litigants are routinely accused of, and punished
for wasting scarce appellate court resources with frivolous litigation.
"Other appellate parties, many of whom wait years for a resolution of bona fide disputes, are
prejudiced by the useless diversion of this court's attention. [Citation.] In the same vein, the appellate
system and the taxpayers are damaged by what amounts to a waste of this court's time and
resources," reads a line of cases from 1988 to 2012, beginning with Finnie v. Town of Tiburon.

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The same should be said about the unnecessary appeal and federal litigation against the government compelled by
Judge Roman's order.

Related articles:

Labels
Click here for our complete coverage of the Rapton-Karres case.
Click here for our reporting on Judge Jaime R. Roman.

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Sacramento Divorce Attorney Charlotte Keeley, Judges Peter J. McBrien


and Jaime R. Roman et al., vs. Sharon Huddle

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(67)

Judge Jaime R. Roman Vexatious Litigant Order for


Attorney Charlotte Keeley Shows Judge Pro Tem
Monopoly - Unfair Competition at Work

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(15)

Roseville-based family law attorney Sharon Huddle continues to be subjected to retaliation by Sacramento County Family Court judges, apparently
for her assertive client advocacy in the notorious Carlsson case and the related Commission on Judicial Performance disciplinary proceedings
against troubled Sacramento Superior Court Judge Peter McBrien.
News Analysis & Opinion by PelicanBriefed

For Roseville family law attorney Sharon Huddle, the Sacramento Family Court proceedings surrounding
issuance of a controversial orderdesignatingher client Andrew Karresa vexatious litigant may be dj vu all
over again. Throughout the 20-page order, written by Judge Jaime R. Roman, Huddle and her client are
demeaned, disparaged and ridiculed. The opposing attorney - Judge Pro Tem Charlotte Keeley - and her client,
Mel Rapton HondaheiressKatina Rapton, are portrayed by Roman in thepatently unlawfulorder as victims.
For our complete coverage of the vexatious litigant order and the Rapton-Karres case, click here.

COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST

(11)
RAPTON-KARRES
(11)
SATIRE
(11)
WHISTLEBLOWERS
(11)
WOODRUFF O'HAIR
POSNER and SALINGER


Huddle was subjected to similar treatment by Judge Peter J. McBrien during a family court trial in March, 2006.
McBrien's treatment of Huddle was later recounted by eyewitness and court reporter Robbi Joy insworn
testimonybefore the Commission on Judicial Performance, where the rogue judgereceived his second round
of discipline by the CJP.The transcript of Joy's testimony - obtained exclusively and published for the first time by
Sacramento Family Court News - provides still more explicit evidence of the preferential treatment and kickbacks
given by judges to the cartel of local family law attorneys who also serve as temporary judges.

The transcript and other records from the McBrien CJP proceedingsalso provide a troublingpoint of
referenceindicating that the unlawful,interdependentrelationship between full-time judges andjudge pro
temattorneys dates back at least seven years and is nowall butinstitutionalized.

To read the sworn testimony ofRobbi Joyand an incriminatingadmission bySanta Barbara County Superior
Court Judge Denise deBellefeuille, clickRead more >>below.

(11)
CARLSSON CASE
(10)
JAIME R. ROMAN
(10)
LAURIE M. EARL
(10)
NO CONTACT ORDERS
(10)
SHARON A. LUERAS
(10)
CHRISTINA VOLKERS
(8)
FERRIS CASE
(8)
JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)

California Unfair Competition Law


Court watchdogs and whistleblowers have cataloged an array of other examples of judge pro tem favoritism,
including undisclosed conflicts of interest andcounterfeit court filingsthat impede the appeal rights of
unrepresented litigants. They assert that financially disadvantaged, self-represented family court litigants with little
or no knowledge of family law and court procedure are treated even harsher than outside-the-cartel lawyers like
Huddle. Watchdogs point to informal audits of several family court cases and anecdotal evidence indicating that
cartel attorneys obtain favorable rulings on disputed issues at a statistically improbable rate.

The collusion between full-time judges and judge pro tem attorneys constitutes unfair, fraudulent, and unlawful
business practices, all of which are prohibited under California unfair competition laws, including Business and
Professions Code 17200, according to court reform advocates.Whether a party is self-represented or
represented by an "outsider" attorney, a judge pro tem attorney on the opposing side is the common denominator
in lopsided, unfair and unlawful court rulings. They contend that taxpayers inevitably will be held liable for class
actionorinstitutional reform litigation [pdf], or government enforcement under B&P Code 17200on behalf
of outside attorneysand pro per litigants against the court and theSacramento County Bar Association Family
Law Section.

"She Wasn't An Insider. She Wasn't a Pro Tem."

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Judge Denise deBellefeuille made this unsettling observation in her assessment of the evidence presented at the Commission on Judicial
Performance disciplinary proceedings against Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Peter J. McBrien.

Law Professor Blogs


Thurman Arnold Family
Law Blog

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Denise deBellefeuille was one of three judges assigned to hear
and decide the fate of Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Peter J. McBrien in his 2009 disciplinary
proceedings before the Commission on Judicial Performance. [Click here to read the court of appeal decision
that sent McBrien to the CJP woodshed a second time]. In her assessment of the testimony and evidence
considered by the 3-judge panel, she candidly acknowledged that McBrien's favorable treatment of judge pro tem
attorney Charlotte Keeley and harsh treatment of attorney Sharon Huddle was partly attributable to the fact that
Huddle "wasn't an insider. She wasn't a pro tem."

Kafkaesq

When San Francisco attorney Stephen R. Gianelliread an article in the ABA Journal on the court of appeal
decision in the Carlsson case, he wrote about his own nightmarish experience as an outsider attorney in

LEGAL NEWS &


INFORMATION

Above the Law


The Divorce Artist

Sacramento Family Court. Like Huddle, Gianelli also faced off against judge pro temCharlotte Keeley:
"[I] was attacked personally in court filing after court filing. I was required to drive from San
Francisco to Sacramento (a three hour round trip drive) over six times on 24 hours notice, in
my opinion to harass me and make me quit," the attorney said. "[T]his is a 'juice court' in
which counsel outside Sacramento have little chance of prevailing...[the] court has now
abandoned even a pretense of being fair to outside counsel."
Click here to read Gianelli's complete statement. In future posts, SFCN will have more, never before published
information on the McBrien CJP proceedings, including transcripts of sworn statements by character witnesses
who testified on McBrien's behalf, including full-time and temporary Sacramento County Superior Court judges.
Judge pro tem lawyers who testified for McBrien include Camille Hemmer, Jerry Guthrie, Robert O'Hair, and
current chair of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section Russell Carlson.

The relevance of court reporter Robbi Joy's testimony about the contrast between how Judge McBrien treated
outsider attorneySharon Huddle and temporary judge attorneyCharlotte Keeley during the Carlsson trial was
described by CJP attorney Andrew Blum.
"Robbi Joy is a neutral third party. She's not friends with any of these people. She's been a
court reporter for a long time, and she has seen a lot of what takes place in courtrooms. She
testified that the judge was demeaning to Ms. Huddle, treated her with disdain and displayed
irritation towards her throughout the trial, and she never saw Ms. Huddle do anything to
justify that conduct. Even Judge McBrien admitted that some of his comments could make it
appear that he was badgering Ms. Huddle in an inappropriate manner. Now, in addition to
what these actual observers said, the record shows that he repeatedly threatened a mistrial
from early on in the trial, curtailed her presentation of evidence, threatened her with
contempt, and he would barely let her take breaks to go to the bathroom." To view Blum's
statement, click here.
Robbi Joy's testimony included the following exchange:
Q. During the Carlsson trial, how would you describe Judge
McBrien's behavior towards Attorney
Huddle?
A [Robbi Joy]. Demeaning. This is hard. He is a judge. I have no ill
will toward him. But it was
remarkable to me that he seemed to have an amicable
relationship with Ms. Keeley, but he seemed
so irritated with Ms. Huddle. In
fact, I asked the deputy MR. MURPHY: Objection

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Association

SPECIAL MASTER CORNELL: Sustained.


MR. MURPHY: hearsay.
BY MR. BLUM:
Q. What did the judge do that makes you say that he was
demeaning towards Ms. Huddle?
A. A couple of times she asked for just a brief break. She
finally said, frankly, "I want to use the
restroom, and you've given me a
couple of tasks, phone calls to make," and he said, "one
minute."
And he repeatedly threatened a mistrial. I've seen this happen.
If you say it's to wrap up Friday and
it's already Friday and it seems to be
going on and on, that the judge may say, "We're headed for a

mistrial" or "none of us want a mistrial. " But he, I would say,


at least five times said, "Do you want a
mistrial? Just, let's have a
mistrial, " which is something, of course, that nobody wants to have to go

through.

Local & National Family CourtFamily Law Sites & Blogs (may
be gender-specific)
ABA Family Law Blawg
Directory
California Coalition for
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California Protective
Parents Association

Q. Did the judge's poor demeanor towards Ms. Huddle begin on


the first day of trial?

Center for Judicial


Excellence

A. Yes.

Courageous Kids Network

Q. Did it continue throughout the trial?

Divorce & Family Law News

A. Yes.

Divorce Corp

Q. Did you observe Ms. Huddle do anything that


would justify
Judge McBrien's attitude towards her?

Divorced Girl Smiling

A. No. I felt that she and Ms. Keeley


comportedthemselves as professionals.
Q. Would you say that Ms. Huddle was ever rude or

disrespectful to the judge?

Family Law Case Law from


FindLaw
Family Law Courts.com
Family Law Updates at
JDSupra Law News

A. No.

Fathers 4 Justice

Q. I think you touched on this, but how did Judge


McBrien
treat Ms. Keeley?

HuffPost Divorce

A. In a much more respectful manner.

Leon Koziol.Com

Q. Did Judge McBrien treat you poorly?

Moving Past Divorce

A. No.

News and Views Riverside


Superior Court

Q. Were the attorneys rude to each other?


A. No.
Q. In your years as a court reporter, have you ever seen a
judge behave this way, the way Judge
McBrien behaved towards Ms. Huddle?
A. Not to be glib, but not even on television.
Q. So that's a no?
A. That's a no. I certainly have seen judges lose their
temper, if they're consuming time or if it's just -for a reason. But I have
not seen a judge, without some prior history of dealing with this attorney or
-or for some other reason, just seeming to have disdain for them.
To read Robbi Joy's complete testimony, click here.
In 2008, the 3rd District Court of Appeal described how Huddle's client, Ulf Carlsson, was ultimately treated at
the conclusion of the 2006 trial. The description bears similarities to the recent treatment of Huddle client Andrew
Karres by Judge Jaime R. Roman.
"Judge McBrien issued a written decision, ruling against Ulf on almost every issue. He rejected Ulf's
contention that Mona was underemployed,ruled ruled that Ulf and Mona were sole owners of the
rental property; ordered both the family residence and the rental property sold; failed to segregate
Ulf's retirement account for purposes of awarding Mona her community share; and ordered Ulf to pay
Mona $35,000 in attorney and expert witness fees.Despite the court's prior handwritten order that
child support would not be determined until custody was resolved, the judgment ordered Ulf to pay
$736 per month in child support." Click here.

Weightier Matter

CONTRIBUTORS
Cathy Cohen
ST Thomas
PR Brown
PelicanBriefed
FCAC News
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NEXT: The Huddle-Keeley-McBrien backstory, continued: The revealing ex parte communication between
Judge Peter J. McBrien and Judge Pro Tem Charlotte Keeley, and McBrien's secret transcript request.
Related articles:
Sacramento Family Court News has continuing coverage of issues involving judge pro tem attorneys and
financially disadvantaged, unrepresented litigants. For a list of all posts about temporary judges,click here. Our
special, independent Judge Pro Tems Page isat this link. Specific issues with direct links include:

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A variety of illegal tactics used by court employees, judges, the Family Law Facilitator Office and judge
pro tem attorneys to obstruct family court appeals by unrepresented, financially disadvantaged
litigants.Click here.
Full-time family court judges failure to disclose judge pro tem conflicts of interest to opposing parties and
attorneys.Click here.

Labels

Judge pro tem attorneys promoted a software program sold by the wife of a family court judge.Click
here.

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COA
(6)
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1102
(1)
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Court administrators concealing from the public judge pro tem attorney misconduct, including sexual
battery against clients.Click here.
Illegal use of California vexatious litigant law by family court judges.Click here.

(1)

ABA

JOURNAL

ADMINISTRATORS

(1)

(4)

AGGREGATED NEWS

(14)
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(1)

Waiver of judge pro tem qualification standards.Click here.

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION


(1)

Failure to adequately train family court judges.Click here.

Allowing courtroom clerks to issue incomplete, useless fee waiver orders which prevent indigent and
financially disadvantaged litigants from serving and filing documents.Click here.
Preferential treatment provided to judge pro tem attorneys by family court judges, administrators, and
employees.Click here.
Unfair competition and monopolistic practices by family court judges and attorneys who also hold
theOffice of Temporary Judgewhich may violate state unfair competition laws.Click here.
Judges cherry-pick state law and court rules to rewrite established law to reach a predetermined result to
benefit judge pro tem attorneys.Click here.
The waste of scarce court resources and taxpayer funds caused by unnecessary appeals and other
court proceedings.Click hereandhere.
Allowing judges with a documented history of misconduct and mistreatment of unrepresented litigants to
remain in family court.Click here.
Concealing from the public but disclosing to the family law bar the demotion of problem judges.Click
here.
Failing to enforce theCode of Judicial Ethicsprovisions applicable to temporary judges.Click here.
Allowing court clerks to commit perjury without apparent consequences.Click here.
PermittingFamily Law Facilitator Officestaff to dispense false information to unrepresented, financially
disadvantaged litigants.Click here.
Click to visit Sacramento Family Court News on: Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Scribd, Vimeo, and Twitter.
For additional reporting on the people and issues in this post, click the corresponding labels below:

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EMPLOYEE CODE OF ETHICS


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Labels:
ANALYSIS,
CHARLOTTE KEELEY,
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JAIME R. ROMAN,
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JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT,

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SHARON HUDDLE

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