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SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA

IN AND FOR THE

---ooo---

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In re the Matter of:


APRIL BERGER,
Petitioner,

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COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO

vs
ROBERT SAUNDERS,
Respondent.
______

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CASE NO. 06FL04415


DEPARTMENT 121
{
1
,

BEFORE THE HONORABLE THOMAS M.


MAY 8,

CECIL,

2009

---ooo---

14
15

APPEARANCES
16
For the Petitioner:

18

LAW OFFICE OF RICHARD J. SOKOL

19

7801 Folsom Boulevard., #106


Sacramento, California 95826
BY:
Richard J. Sokol

20
21

For the Respondent:

22

ROBERT SAUNDERS,
In Propria

Persona

23
24

,:...). iw

::.,..;

REPORTER'S TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS

13

17

\:._
;'\ Lr
.< ::!J

---ooo---

JUDGE THEREOF.

T H E COURT :

MR .

S OKOL :

Okay .
I don ' t know i f t he C o u r t h a s r e a d

t h a t , t h e f i l i ng .

THE COURT :

MR .

THE COURT :

MR .

S OKOL :

S OKOL :

His f i l ing?
His f i l ing for
Have I r e a d h i s f i l i n g ?
H i s f i l in g f o r - - h i s f i l i n g f o r
his

the - - a s I s a i d i n my - - be f o r e I e ve n s t a r t e d t oda y ,

f i l i n g f o r t h a t cont i nued hea r i ng i s t o obj e c t t o t h e o rder

10

that h a s been ma de s eve r a l t ime s f o r p s ycho l o g i c a l

11

eva l ua t i on on t h e g rounds t h a t p s ych i a t r y i s a f raud .

12

THE COURT :

13

MR .

S OKOL :

I ' m s o r ry - I wou l d l i ke u s - - my c l i ent n o t t o

14

have t o g o t o a n o t h e r h e a r i n g .

15

be put s o t h a t h e doe s n ' t do a n o t h e r f i l i ng w i t hout

16

a g r e eme nt o f t he Cour t ,

17

Hono r .

18

THE COURT :

19

MR .

20

THE COURT :

S OKOL :

I a s k t h a t a c a s e mana gement

and i t ' s j u s t out o f cont r o l ,

Your

O k a y , t wo t h i n g s .
Yes .
Numb e r one , h i s

- I wa s t ry i n g t o

21

make a p o i n t ,

22

cont r a r y t o your c l i ent ' s i n t e re s t .

23

g o i n g t o ma ke i s i f h e had an a t t o r n e y who wa s a dvi s i ng h im

24

s t i l l , h e o r s h e wou l d undoub t e d l y be t e l l i n g M r .

25

that t h i s p a r t i cu l a r p a t h t h a t h e i s t a k i n g i s p roba b l y not

26

a p a t h t h a t i s de s t i n e d t o r e s u l t i n p o s i t i ve even t s

27

o c cu r r i ng w i t h r e g a rd t o p a rent i n g ,

28

cet e r a .

and my p o i nt r e a l l y i s n o t s ome t h i ng t h a t i s

My g r a t u i t ou s c omment .

The p o i n t t h a t I w a s

S a unde r s

t ime w i t h h i s k i d s ,

et

Numb e r two , h i s mot i on

SACRAMENTO O F F I C I AL COURT REPORT E R S

------

104

s o I c an ' t get r i d o f i t .

Numb e r

i s n ' t i n f r ont o f me ,

t h r e e , unde r t he Fami l y Code I cannot order c a s e mana gement

a g a i n s t t he p a rt i e s '

de s p i t e t h e cu l tu re o f S a c ramento County S up e r i o r Court and

fami l y l aw .

p r obab l y s h o u l d b e do i n g o n M a y 1 8 t h i s sugge s t i ng t o

whoeve r i s h e a r ing t h i s c a s e t h a t a f i nding b e made t h a t

Mr . S aunde r s i s a vexa t i o u s l i t i gant b e c a u s e t h a t i s t h e

p r op e r cour s e o f a c t i on ,

j o i n t w i sh e s ,

and t h a t i s t h e s t a t u t e ,

N umb e r what eve r I ' m on , t h r e e o r four , what you

i f t h e r e i s a c o u r s e o f a c t i on .
And a l l o f

10

But we cannot f o r c e c a s e mana g ement on p a rt i e s .

11

u s i n t h i s b u i l d i n g h op e f u l l y n ow unde r s t and t h a t t h a t i s

12

the l a w .

13

unde r s t and t h a t t ha t i s t h e w a y we a r e p r o c e e d i n g .

14

t h i ng t h a t I d i d be f o r e I l e ft i n De cemb e r w a s t a ke every

15

c a s e t h a t I have unde r c a s e management , undo t hem a l l ,

16

un l e s s t h e p e op l e had b o t h con s ent e d , and I t h i n k e v e r y

17

o t h e r j udge o n t h e bench h a s done t h e s ame t h i n g b e c a u s e we

18

don ' t h ave t he p owe r t o do t h i s un i l a t e ra l l y .

19

I am n o t - - I want t o ma ke i t c l e a r ,

20

t o your c l i en t ' s p o s i t i on b a s ed on what I ' ve h e a rd , but t h a t

21

i s a d i f f e r ent i s sue t h a n t h e i s s ue t h a t i s b e i n g t r i ed in

22

front o f me , and t h a t i s h e r -

23

t e s t i f y i n g t h a t i n June o f ' 0 6 ,

24

ago ,

25

r e s u l t e d in h e r evi c t i n g M r .

26

thi s t h r e e vo l ume s et .

27

c o r r e c t l y , never h a d t h e s e a l l eg a t i o n s s u r f a c e d ,

28

she s ought a DVRO ,

P a rdon me ,

i t ' s a lw a y s b e e n t h e l aw , but now

a lmo s t t h r e e y ea r s a g o ,

The l a s t

I ' m not un s ymp a t he t i c

I mean ,

s he i s b a s i c a l l y

ove r two and a h a l f y e a r s

t h i s event t r a n s p i r e d w h i c h
S a unde r s and s t a rt i ng t h rough

And up unt i l Octobe r , i f I r e c a l l

and o n l y when mino r s '

neve r had

coun s e l g e t s bumped

SACRAMENTO O F F I C I AL COURT REPORT E RS

------

105

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15 September 2013

SHORTCUTS TO POPULAR
SUBJECTS AND POSTS

Sworn Temporary Judge Divorce Attorneys Richard Sokol and Elaine Van
Beveren Engage in Historical Revisionism - Part 1

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(58)

Judge Pro Tem Divorce Lawyer Richard Sokol Caught


on Transcript Making Demonstrably False Claim
About Illegal Arrest of Indigent, Disabled Litigant

ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT

(31)

The Historical Revisionism of Sworn Temporary Judges Richard Sokol and Elaine Van Beveren - Part 1
A Special News and Analysis Series by Pelican Briefed

ARTS & CULTURE


(21)

JUDGE PRO TEM


(44)

MATTHEW J. GARY
(28)
FLEC
(26)

PETER J. McBRIEN
(20)
One form of historical revisionism is
the illigitmate distortion of the historical
record such that certain events appear
in a more or less favorable light,
according to Wikipedia. The distortion
of history to deny historical crimes is
sometimes called negationism.
Historical revisionism is often
associated with after-the-fact
justifications for, or denial of war
crimes, such as the Holocaust and the
Armenian Genocide. Some countries
have laws making it a crime to
disseminate revisionist material, such
as Holocaust denial propaganda.
Revisionist tactics include deception,
denial and trivialization.

A court reporter transcript obtained by Sacramento Family Court News shows that the same tactics have recently
been used in Sacramento Family Court by judge pro tem attorneys Richard Sokol and Elaine Van
Beveren.Van Beveren currently also is an officer of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law
Executive Committee. The transcript records Sokol and Van Beveren disseminating subtle and overt falsehoods,
deceptions, denials and trivializations about the unlawful 2009 assault and arrest of indigent, disabled litigant and
family court watchdogRobert Saunders,in the courtroom ofJudge Matthew Gary. Both Sokol and Van Beveren
were eyewitnesses to the incident. In April, 2012 SFCN published an in-depth, investigative report on the debacle
and subsequent events, including the vindication of Saunders by two outside, independent judges.Click here to
read our report.

To continue reading, click Read more >> below...

SCBA
(20)
CHILD CUSTODY
(19)
WATCHDOGS
(19)
CHARLOTTE KEELEY
(18)
EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT

(18)
PRO PERS
(18)
ROBERT SAUNDERS
(17)
DOCUMENTS
(16)
CJP
(15)
DIVORCE CORP
(13)
JAMES M. MIZE
(12)
COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)
SATIRE
(11)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST

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

The vindication, however, implicated both Van Beveren and Sokol for failing to report or otherwise take corrective
action for Gary's misconduct. As sworn temporary judges, the two attorneys are bound by Canon 3D(1) of the

NO CONTACT ORDERS
(10)

Code of Judicial Ethics - the ethical rules for judges -which requires them to "take or initiateappropriate
corrective action" when they know of misconduct by another judge. The rule is a critical, self-policing
component of the Code, intended to keep judge misconduct in check. Both Van Beveren and Sokol witnessed
Gary's misconduct, and both got away with doing nothing, a violation of Canon 3D(1). Now, four years later, recent
proceedings in the case suggest that the judge pro tem attorneys are attempting to cover up their own prior
misconduct and discredit the victim of Gary's actions by rewriting the history of the case. Their strategy involves
influencing the current judge assigned to the case through the use of false statements and omissions of material
facts about the original incident, and other unethical tactics. The case was, and continues to be a definitive
example of rampant family court corruption and the cronyism between private sector attorneys who also hold the
office of temporary judgeand are contracted to run the court's settlement conference program,and full-time
Sacramento County Superior Court judges, according to family court reform advocates.

SHARON A. LUERAS
(10)
WHISTLEBLOWERS
(10)
WOODRUFF O'HAIR
POSNER and SALINGER

(10)
CARLSSON CASE
(9)
RAPTON-KARRES
(9)
CHRISTINA VOLKERS
(8)
JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)
FERRIS CASE
(7)
JULIE SETZER
(7)
YOUTUBE
(7)
3rd DISTRICT COA
(6)
CHRISTINA ARCURI
(5)
CIVIL RIGHTS
(4)
CONTEMPT
(4)

Richard Sokol of the family law firm Sokol & Bristow LLP was recorded on transcript making a number of demonstrably false statements,
including this one, about the 2009 assault and arrest of Robert Saunders by Judge Matthew Gary and courtroom bailiff J. Strong. Judge
Thadd Blizzard has yet to report Sokol's misconductas required by Canon 3D(2) of the Code of Judicial Ethics.

FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR

(4)
LUAN CASE
(4)
THADD BLIZZARD
(4)
CANTIL-SAKAUYE
(3)
MIKE NEWDOW
(2)

In the first installment of this series, SCBA Family Law Section attorney and judge pro tem Richard Sokol is
caught on transcript making the demonstrably false claim that Gary didnt have [Saunders] arrested; he had
him taken from court. Sokols claim is contradicted by court records, including the arrest report of Garys
courtroom bailiff and Sacramento County Sheriffs Department Deputy J. Strong.
J. Strong #423 was ordered by Judge Matthew J. Garyto take Robert Saunders into custody
for contempt of court. Deputy Strong advised [Saunders] that he was under arrest, reads the
police report.
The court reporter transcript with Sokols falsehood, along with the report of Deputy Strong are posted below. Under
state attorney ethics law, including Business & Professions Code section 6106, Sokols affirmative
misrepresentation is an act of moral turpitude and constitutes a cause for disbarment or suspension from the
practice of law. Virtuallyany form of attorney dishonesty or deception, including a half-truth, or the omission of
material facts, is the equivalent of an outright lie, according to the State Bar. For other State Bar references
defining and prescribing the punishment for Sokol's misleading statement, visit the SFCN Attorney Misconduct
page. Click here. Sokol made several additional demonstrably false statements at the same court hearing. Click
here to view other articles in this series.

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J. Richard Sokol Moral Turpitude False Statement in Court - Sokol by Sacramento Family Court News

Above the Law

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SHOW ME MORE LIKE DIVORCE ATTORNEY J. RICHARD SOKOL MORAL
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Labels:
ANALYSIS,
ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT,
ELAINE VAN BEVEREN,
FLEC,
JUDGE PRO TEM,
MATTHEW J. GARY,
NEWS,

REVISIONISM SERIES,
RICHARD SOKOL,
ROBERT SAUNDERS,
SCBA,
THADD BLIZZARD

Location:
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Local & National Family CourtFamily Law Sites & Blogs (may
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California Protective
Parents Association
Shelby Livingston 5 months ago (edited) - Shared publicly
A determination of child support depends on a variety of factors including: the income of
each spouse and the amount of time the children spend with each parent. We always need
to work to ensure that we receive a fair and accurate result.
Adelman Legal Divorce Attorneys -http://adelmanlegal.com/family-law

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14 January 2014

SHORTCUTS TO POPULAR
SUBJECTS AND POSTS

Judge Thadd Blizzard Misconduct: Court Order Authorizes Unlawful Child


Abduction for Judge Pro Tem Attorney Richard Sokol

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(58)

Judge Thadd Blizzard Approves Illegal Out-of-State


Child Relocation for Temporary Judge Attorney
Richard Sokol - Opposing Attorney Stunned

ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT

(31)

Tuesday Document Dump

ARTS & CULTURE


(21)

A leaked court reporter transcript


obtained by Sacramento Family
Court News reveals that Judge
Thadd Blizzardlast November
retroactively endorsed an unlawful outof-state "move away" and child
abduction at the request of local judge
pro tem attorney Richard Sokol.The
unprecedented ruling went against
San Francisco attorney Archibald
Cunningham, who the transcript
reflects was dumbfounded by the
decision.

PETER J. McBRIEN
(20)

The bizarre chain-of-events began


after Cunningham's client, Robert
Saunders, filed paperwork seeking
child visitation under an existing
temporary custody order. After the
San Francisco attorney and social justice advocate Archibald Cunningham was
visitation paperwork was lodged,
shockedwhen Judge Thadd Blizzard authorized an illegal child abduction for
Sokol's client, April Berger,
Sacramento Superior Court judge pro tem attorney Richard Sokol.
abruptlymoved to Hawaii with the
parents' twin daughters without the permission of the court.

To continue reading, and to view the complete court reporter transcript, click Read more >> below...

Under state law, a parent may not take children and relocate out-of-state without court approval before the move,
especially under a temporary custody order. A parent seeking to relocate must by law first seek court approval
for the move, and "the noncustodial parent still has standing to oppose the relocation" in court, according to
California Practice Guide: Family Law, the gold standard family law legal reference used by judges and
attorneys. Without prior court approval, an out-of-state move away is considered criminal child abduction if it
maliciously "deprives a person of a right to visitation," according toPenal Code 278.5(a). The criminal statute
alsospecifies that the retroactive,after-the-fact orderissued by Blizzard for Sokol "does not constitute a
defense" to the crime.

JUDGE PRO TEM


(44)

MATTHEW J. GARY
(28)
FLEC
(26)

SCBA
(20)
CHILD CUSTODY
(19)
WATCHDOGS
(19)
CHARLOTTE KEELEY
(18)
EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT

(18)
PRO PERS
(18)
ROBERT SAUNDERS
(17)
DOCUMENTS
(16)
CJP
(15)
DIVORCE CORP
(13)
JAMES M. MIZE
(12)
COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)
SATIRE
(11)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST

(10)
JAIME R. ROMAN
(10)
LAURIE M. EARL
(10)
NO CONTACT ORDERS
(10)

SHARON A. LUERAS
(10)

Cunningham's reaction to the outcome was similar to that of Stephen R. Gianelli, another San Francisco attorney
who previously was "hometowned" in Sacramento Family Court. Hometowning refers to local judges
givingpreferential treatment to select, local attorneys.Click herefor Gianelli's account of his experience as an
"outsider" attorney. Hometowning is consideredunethical and is prohibited by the Code of Judicial Ethics,
according to retired judge David Rothman, author of the California Judicial Conduct Handbook. Sacramento
Family Court reform advocates have documented that judge pro tem attorneys often receive favorable treatment
when representing clients in court in exchange for operating the court's settlement conference program. Click here
for SFCN coverage of temporary judge controversies.

The transcript, case records, and a second transcript from a related, previous hearing also indicate that Blizzard
manipulated the proceedings through intentional misstatements and omissions of material fact in order to achieve
the outcome demanded by Sokol, conduct prohibited by the Code of Judicial Ethics. Family court watchdogs
assert that the collusion between full-time judges and judge pro tem attorneys deprives the public of the federally
protected right to honest government services, a racketeering crime under 18 USC 1346.

WHISTLEBLOWERS
(10)
WOODRUFF O'HAIR
POSNER and SALINGER

(10)
CARLSSON CASE
(9)
RAPTON-KARRES
(9)
CHRISTINA VOLKERS
(8)
JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)
FERRIS CASE
(7)

The Robert Saunders-April Berger case is one of fourSacramento County Family Court cases included in the
documentary film Divorce Corp, now playing in major U.S cities. The movie "exposes the corrupt and collusive
industry of family law in the United States," and portrays the Sacramento court system as the most corrupt in the
country. For our continuing coverage of the film, click here.

JULIE SETZER
(7)

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 the
document:

CHRISTINA ARCURI
(5)

YOUTUBE
(7)
3rd DISTRICT COA
(6)

CIVIL RIGHTS
(4)
CONTEMPT
(4)
FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR

(4)

LUAN CASE
(4)
THADD BLIZZARD
(4)

11-25-13SAUNDERS (2).txt

CANTIL-SAKAUYE
(3)
MIKE NEWDOW
(2)

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Labels:
ANALYSIS,
ARCHIBALD CUNNINGHAM,
ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT,
CRIMINAL CONDUCT,
ELAINE VAN BEVEREN,
JUDICIAL

Above the Law

MISCONDUCT,
NEWS EXCLUSIVE,
RICHARD SOKOL,
ROBERT SAUNDERS,
THADD BLIZZARD

Location:
Sacramento Superior Court 3341 Power Inn Road, Sacramento, CA 95826, USA William Ridgeway Family Relations
Courthouse

5 comments

LEGAL NEWS &


INFORMATION
California Lawyer Magazine

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DOCUMENT LIBRARY

SHORTCUTS TO POPULAR
SUBJECTS AND POSTS

JUDGE PRO TEM RACKETEERING

Sacramento Superior Court Temporary Judge


Program Controversy

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(67)
JUDGE PRO TEM
(50)
ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT

(35)

Judge Pro Tem Attorney "Cartel" Controls Court


Operations, Charge Whistleblowers

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

Sacramento Family Court News Exclusive Investigative Report


This investigative report is ongoing and was last updated in April, 2015.

CHILD CUSTODY
(22)
PETER J. McBRIEN
(22)

As many of the articles on our main page reflect,


Sacramento Family Law Court whistleblowers
and watchdogs contendthat a "cartel" of local
family lawattorneys receive kickbacks and other
forms ofpreferential treatment from family
courtjudges, administrators and
employeesbecause the lawyers are members
of the Sacramento County Bar Association
Family Law Section, hold the Office of
Temporary Judge,and run the family court
settlement conference program on behalf of
the court.

SCBA
(22)
ROBERT SAUNDERS
(21)
WATCHDOGS
(20)
EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT

(19)
CHARLOTTE KEELEY
(18)
CJP
(18)
PRO PERS
(18)

The kickbacks usually consist of "rubberstamped" court orders which are contrary to
established law, and cannot be attributed to the
exercise of judicial discretion.For a detailed
overview of the alleged collusion between judge
pro tem attorneys and family court employees
and judges, we recommend our specialColor of
Law series of investigative reports.

The Color of Law series reports catalog some of


the preferential treatment provided by family
court employees and judges to SCBA Family
Law Section judge pro tem lawyers. Click here
to view the Color of Law series. For a list of our
reports about family court temporary judges and
controversies, click here.

DOCUMENTS
(16)
DIVORCE CORP
(15)
JAMES M. MIZE
(15)
COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)

Sacramento Family Court reform advocates assert that collusion


between judges and local attorneysdeprives financially disadvantaged,
unrepresented pro per court users of their parental rights, community
assets, and due process and access to the court constitutional rights.

The current day Sacramento County Family Court system andattorney operated settlement conference program
was set up in 1991 by and for the lawyers of theSacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section,

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

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

according to the sworn testimony of controversial family court Judge Peter J. McBrien at his
2009Commission on Judicial Performance disciplinary proceedings. Click here to read Judge McBrien's
testimony.

In his own testimony during the same proceedings, local veteran family law attorney and judge pro tem Robert J.
O'Hair corroborated McBrien's testimony and attested to McBrien's character and value to Sacramento County
Bar Association Family Law Section members. Click here to view this excerpt of O'Hair's testimony. To view
O'Hair's complete testimony, click here.

Court watchdogs assert that the settlement conference kickback arrangement between the public court and private
sector attorneys constitutes a racketeering enterprise which deprives the public of the federally protected right
to honest government services.

Court reform and accountability advocates assert that the local family law bar- through the Family Law
ExecutiveCommitteeor FLEC - continues to control for the financial gain of members virtually all aspects of court
operations, and have catalogued documented examples of judge pro tem attorney preferential treatment and
bias against unrepresented litigants and"outsider" attorneys,including:
Divorce Corp, a documentary film that "exposes the corrupt and collusive industry of family law in
the United States" was released in major U.S. cities on January 10, 2014. After a nationwide search for
the most egregious examples of family court corruption, the movie's production team ultimately included
fourcases from Sacramento County in the film, more than any other jurisdiction.Judge pro tem
attorneys Charlotte Keeley, Richard Sokol, Elaine Van Beveren and Dianne Fetzer are each
accused of unethical conduct in the problem cases included in the movie. The infamous Carlsson case,
featuring judge pro tem attorney Charlotte Keeley and Judge Peter McBrien is the central case
profiled in the documentary, with Sacramento County portrayed as theGround Zeroof family court
corruption and collusion in the U.S. Click here for our complete coverage of Divorce Corp.
Judge Thadd Blizzard issued a rubber-stamped, kickback order in November, 2013 for judge pro tem
attorney Richard Sokol authorizing an illegal out-of-state move away and child abduction by Sokol's
client, April Berger. The opposing counsel is an "outsider" attorney from San Francisco who was
dumbfounded by the order. Click here for our exclusive report, which includes the complete court
reporter transcript from the hearing. Click here for our earlier report on the unethical practice of
"hometowning" and the prejudicial treatment of outsider attorneys.
Whistleblower leaked court records indicate that Sacramento Bar Association Family Law
Executive Committee officer and judge pro tem attorney Paula Salinger engaged in obstruction of
justice crimes against an indigent, unrepresented domestic violence victim. The victim was a witness in
a criminal contempt case against a Salinger client. The circumstances surrounding the obstruction of
justice incident also infer collusion between Salinger and controversial Judge Matthew J. Gary. For
our complete investigative report,click here.

(11)
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(10)
JAIME R. ROMAN
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(8)
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JULIE SETZER
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(6)
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CHRISTINA ARCURI
(5)
CONTEMPT
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(5)
FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR

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

WE SUPPORT

Two "standing orders" still in effect after being issued by Judge Roland Candee in 2006 override a
California Rule of Court prohibiting temporary judges from serving in family law cases where one party
is self-represented and the other party is represented by an attorney or is an attorney. The orders were
renewed by Presiding Judge Laurie M. Earl in February, 2013.Click here for details.

Electronic Frontier
Foundation

Sacramento Family Court judges ignore state conflict of interest laws requiring them to disclose to
opposing parties when a judge pro tem working as a private attorney represents a client in family
court. Click here for our exclusive investigative report. Click here for a list of other conflict of interest
posts.

Californians Aware

Family court policies and procedures, including local court rules, are dictated by the SCBA Family Law
Executive Committeefor the financial benefit of private sector attorneys, and often disadvantage the
70 percent of court users without lawyers, according to family court watchdogs and whistleblowers.
For example, in sworn testimony by Judge Peter McBrien before the Commission on Judicial
Performance,McBrien described seeking and obtaining permission from FLEC to change a local rule.
Click here and here.
In November, 2012 Sacramento Family Court Judge Jaime R. Romanissued a rubber-stamped,
kickback orderdeclaring a family court party a vexatious litigant and ordering him to pay $2,500 to
the opposing attorney, both without holding the court hearing required by law. The opposing attorney
who requested the orders is Judge Pro Tem Charlotte Keeley. The blatantly illegal orders resulted in
both an unnecessary state court appeal and federal litigation, wasting scarce judicial resources and
costing taxpayers significant sums.Click here for our exclusive coverage of the case.
Judge Matthew Gary used an unlawful fee waiver hearing to both obstruct an appeal of his own orders
and help a client of judgepro tem attorney Paula Salinger avoid paying spousal support. Click here for
our investigative report.
An unrepresented, disabled 52-year-old single mother was made homeless by an illegal child support
order issued by Judge Matthew Gary for SCBA Family Law Section attorney Tim Zeff, the partner of

First Amendment Coalition

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temporary judge Scott Buchanan. The rubber-stamped, kickback child supportorder, and other
proceedings in the case were so outrageous that the pro per is now represented on appeal by a team
of attorneys led by legendary trial attorney James Brosnahan of global law firm Morrison & Foerster.
For our exclusive, ongoing reports on the case, click here.
Judge pro tem attorneys Richard Sokol and Elaine Van Beverenhelped conceal judge misconduct
and failed to comply with Canon 3D(1) of the Code of Judicial Ethics when they were eyewitnesses to
an unlawful contempt of court and resisting arrest incident in Department 121. Both Sokol and Van
Beveren failed to report the misconduct of Judge Matthew Gary as required by state law.Van
Beveren isan officer of the SCBA Family Law Executive Committee.Click here for our exclusive
report...
...Four years later, Sokol and Van Beveren in open court disseminated demonstrably false and
misleading information about the unlawful contempt of court and resisting arrest incident. The
apparent objective of the judge pro tem attorneys was to discredit the victim of Gary's misconduct,
trivialize the incident, and cover up their own misconduct in failing to report the judge. For our follow-up
reports, click here. In 2014, a video of the illegal arrest and assault was leaked by a government
whistleblower. Click here for details.

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In 2008controversial family courtJudge Peter J. McBriendeprived a family court litigant of a fair trial
in a case where the winning party was represented by judge protemattorney Charlotte Keeley. In a
scathing, published opinion, the 3rd District Court of Appealreversed in full and ordered a new
trial. 6th District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing characterized McBrien's
conduct in thecase as a "judicial reign of terror."McBrien subsequently was disciplined by the
Commission on Judicial Performance for multiple acts of misconduct in 2009.Click here to read the
court of appeal decision. Click here to read the disciplinary decision issued by the CJP.
Judge pro tem attorneysCamille Hemmer,Robert O'Hair,Jerry GuthrieandRussell Carlsoneach
testified in support ofJudge Peter J. McBrienwhen thecontroversialjudge was facing removal from
the bench by theCommission on Judicial Performancein 2009.As a sworn temporary judges aware
of McBrien's misconduct, each wasrequired byCanon 3D(1)of theCode of Judicial Ethicsto take or
initiate appropriate corrective action to address McBrien's misconduct. Instead, each testified as a
character witnessin supportof the judge. In theCJP'sfinal disciplinary decision allowing McBrien to
remain on the bench, theCJPreferred specifically to the testimony as a mitigating factor that reduced
McBrien's punishment.Click here. Court records indicate thatJudge McBrienhas not disclosed the
potentialconflict of interestto opposing attorneys and litigants in subsequent appearances by the
attorneys in cases before the judge.Click hereforSFCNcoverage of conflict issues.
Judge pro temattorneysTerri Newman,CamilleHemmer,Diane WasznickyandDonna

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
Center for Judicial
Excellence
Courageous Kids Network
Divorce & Family Law News
Divorce Corp

Reedwereinvolved in a proposedscheme to rig a recall electionofcontroversialJudgePeter J.


McBrienin 2008. The plan involved helping McBrien defeat the recall by electing him "Judge of the
Year" before the November election.Click herefor theSacramento News and Reviewreport.
Judge pro tem attorney Robert J. O'Hair testified as a character witness for controversial Judge Peter
J. McBrien at the judge's second CJP disciplinary proceeding in 2009.Paula Salinger, an attorney
at O'Hair's firm,Woodruff, O'Hair Posner & Salingerwas later granted a waiver of the requirements to
become ajudge pro tem. A family court watchdog asserts the waiver was payback for O'Hair's
testimony for McBrien.Click hereto read our exclusive investigative report.

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Family Law Case Law from
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Family Law Courts.com
Family Law Updates at
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In cases where one party is unrepresented, family court clerks and judges permit judge pro tem
attorneys to file declarations which violate mandatory state court rule formatting requirements. The
declarations- on blank paper and without line numbers - make it impossible for the pro per to make
lawful written evidentiary objections to false and inadmissible evidence. Click here for our report
documenting multiple state court rule violations in a motion filed bySCBA Family Law Section officer
and temporary judgePaula Salinger. To view the pro per responsive declaration objecting to the illegal
filing click here, and click here for the pro per points & authorities.
Family court clerks and judges allow judge pro tem attorneys to file a fabricated "Notice of Entry of
Findings and Order After Hearing" in place of a mandatory Judicial Council Notice of Entry of
Judgment FL-190 form. The fake form omits critical appeal rights notifications and other information
included in the mandatory form. Click here for our exclusive report.
Sacramento Family Court temporaryjudgeandfamily law lawyerGary Appelblatt was charged with
13-criminal counts including sexual battery and penetration with a foreign object. The victims were
clients and potential clients of the attorney.The judge pro tem ultimately pleaded no contest to fourof
the original 13-counts, including sexual battery, and was sentenced to 18-months in prison. Court
administrators concealed from the public that Appelblatt held the Office of Temporary Judge.Click
hereto read our report.

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Weightier Matter

CONTRIBUTORS
Cathy Cohen
ST Thomas

Judge pro tem and SCBA Family Law Section attorneyScott Kendall was disbarred from the practice
of law on Nov. 24, 2011. Kendall was disbarred for acts of moral turpitude, advising a client to violate
the law, failing to perform legal services competently, and failing to keep clients informed, including not
telling a client about a wage garnishment order and then withdrawing from the same case without
notifying the client or obtaining court permission. Court administrators concealed from the public that
Kendall held the Office of Temporary Judge.Click here to view our report.

PR Brown
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FCAC News

Judge pro tem attorneys Nancy Perkovich and Jacqueline Estonin 2008 helped Donna Gary - the
wife of Judge Matthew J. Gary - promote and market ClientTickler, a client management software
program for attorneys. The judge reportedly has never disclosed the conflict of interest as required by
the Code of Judicial Ethics. Click here for our exclusive report on the controversy.
In February, 2013 the website of family law firm Bartholomew & Wasznicky cut off the public from the
only online access to The Family Law Counselor, a monthly newsletter published by the Sacramento
Bar Association Family Law Section. Lawyers at the firm include judge pro tem attorneys Hal
Bartholomew, Diane Wasznicky and Mary Molinaro. As SFCN has reported, articles in the
newsletter often reflect an unusual, collusive relationship between SCBA attorneys and court
administrators and judges.Click here for our report.
Family court reform advocates assert that judge pro tem attorneys obtain favorable court 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, reform advocates claim.

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Unfair competition and the collusion between judges and judge pro tem attorneys ultimately results in
unnecessary appeals burdening the appellate court system, and other, related litigation that wastes
public funds, exposes taxpayers to civil liability, and squanders scarce court resources.
Watchdogs point out that the court operates what amounts to a two-track system of justice. One for
judge pro tem attorneys and another for unrepresented, financially disadvantaged litigants and
"outsider attorneys." Two-track systems are prohibited by the Code of Judicial Ethics, according to
the Commission on Judicial Performance and the California Judicial Conduct Handbook, the gold
standard reference on judge misconduct.Click here for articles about the preferential treatment given
judge pro tem attorneys. Click here for examples of how pro pers are treated.
After representing a client in Sacramento Family Court, San Francisco attorney Stephen R. Gianelli
wrote "this is a 'juice court' in which outside counsel 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,
scathing account.
The Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section is led by an "Executive Committee"
("FLEC") of judge pro tem attorneys composed ofChair Russell Carlson, Vice Chair Elaine Van
Beveren, Treasurer Fredrick Cohen and Secretary Paula Salinger. Three of the four have been
involved in legal malpractice litigation, violations of the Code of Judicial Ethics, or as a defendant in
federal civil rights litigation. Click here to read SFCN profiles of the Executive Committee members.
Click here for otherarticles about FLEC.
Judge pro tem attorneys are by law required to take or initiate corrective action if they learn that
another judge has violated any provision of the Code of Judicial Ethics, or if a lawyer has violated any
provision of the California Rules of Professional Conduct. Family court watchdogs assert that
temporary judges regularly observe unethical and unlawful conduct by family court judges and attorneys
but have never taken or initiated appropriate corrective action, a violation of the judge pro tem oath of

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office. To view the applicable Code of Judicial Ethics Canons,Click here. For a Judicial Council
directive about the obligation to address judicial misconduct, a critical self-policing component of the
Code of Judicial Ethics, click here.

For information about the role of temporary judges in


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Using public records law, Sacramento Family Court


News obtained the list of private practice attorneys
who also act as judge pro tems in Sacramento Family
Law Court. Each lawyer on the list below is currently a
temporary judge, or was a temporary judge in 2009,
2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013.SFCN cross-checked each
name on the Sacramento Countyjudge pro tem list
withCalifornia State Bar Data. The first name in each
listing is the name that appears on the Sacramento
County judge pro tem list, the second name, the State
Bar Number (SBN), and business address are derived
from the officialState Bar data for each attorney. The
State Bar data was obtained using thesearch function
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A number of family court whistleblowers have leaked court


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For-profit, private sector


lawyers who also hold the
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Amara, Sandra Rose Amara, SBN 166933, Law Office of Sandra Amara,1 California

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Street,Auburn, CA95603.

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Ambrose, Mark Anthony Ambrose, SBN 141222, Law Offices of Mark A. Ambrose, 8801

Folsom Blvd. Ste. 170, Sacramento, CA 95826. Ambrose unethically advertises himself as a temporary judge.

Kathleen Amos, Kathleen Swalla Amos, SBN 112395, Attorney at Law & Mediator,206 5th
Street, Ste. 2B Galt, CA 95632.

Gary Appelblatt, Gary Michael Appelblatt, SBN 144158, 3610 American River Drive #112,
Sacramento, CA 95864. Appelblatt was disbarred by the State Bar on Sept. 24, 2010 afterbeing convicted of
sexual battery against clients. Click here for our exclusive report. Appelblatt is a graduate of McGeorge School of
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Bunmi Awoniyi, Olubunmi Olaide Awoniyi, SBN 154183, Law Office of Bunmi Awoniyi a
PC,1610 Executive Ct. Sacramento, CA 95864. Awoniyi unethically advertises herself as a temporary judge.
Awoniyi was appointed a Superior Court Judge in December 2012 and holds court in Department 120 of
Sacramento Family Court.

Alexandre C. Barbera, C. Alexandre Barbera, SBN 70071,915 Highland Point Drive, Ste. 250

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