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.
– Gregoire v. Biddle, 177 F.2d 579, 581 (2d Cir. 1949)
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.
– Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 429 (1976)
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?
“Were 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.
Seems like Family Court judges skipped a few days in law school.
“The Complaint ignores the Rules–Throw it out!”
“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
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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