The joke goes:
Q: How do you know when a lawyer is lying?
A: His lips are moving.
And based on our observations of California Family Courts, another version comes to mind:
Q: How do you know a Family Court judge is a criminal?
A: He’s wearing a robe.
But it’s no joke for families caught in the crisis of a domestic dispute who are seeking honest services from Family Courts and divorce lawyers, psychologists, guardians, and other professionals. This private divorce industry has captured the family law legal system, converted its functions to serve the industry’s financial goals, and mounted aggressive enforcement and policing against families seeking to reform its function and recover from past losses. Families are regularly defrauded, extorted, and abused at the hands of those they should be able to trust—judges, behavioral health professionals, and even their own lawyers–and thwarted in their efforts to obtain relief.
The 2014 Divorce Corp Family Law Reform Conference gathered the burgeoning community of legal and mental health professionals, parents, policymakers, and others who are fed up with Family Court’s disastrous dysfunction. California Coalition was honored to receive an invitation to present an explanation of how family courts are violating federal racketeering laws. The presentation delivered Sunday, November
16, 2014 to about 800 attendees was well-received except for one major complaint—there was simply not enough time to fully explore the enormously complex subject of family courts, racketeering, and civil legal remedies.
At the request of the conference attendees, California Coalition has therefore converted the PowerPoint into a simple video which you can play below.
California Coalition is hopeful that litigants and professionals can use these materials to get a foothold understanding of the complex body of law to enable analysis of potential claims in individual cases. Our RICO Research Library collects dozens of RICO-relevant materials including law review articles, practice manuals, briefs, cases and more.
Federal racketeering laws are complex, but enormously flexible, and can be adapted to almost any situation in which a Family Court professional is depriving families of rights of association, speech, and equal protection. The video contains explanations of concepts such as “schemes and artifices to defraud,” “enterprise” and “predicate crimes” which are central to a racketeering claim, and provides examples of how family court professionals regularly deploy these criminal tactics on their own clients and fiduciaries. The presentation identifies samples of racketeering predicate crimes such as extortion and fraud both from real life such as the Ciavarella, Kids for Cash” “Honest Services Fraud” scheme depriving juveniles of a fair trial and Hollywood portrayals of the mafia, and shows how those concepts apply equally in family court. The presentation contains numerous tables and graphs applying the concepts to specific family court behaviors and entities, and breaks down potential causes of action that most family court litigants can likely assert.
“Our goal was to de-mystify RICO by providing concrete examples that everyone is familiar with. Ideally, litigants will recognize these examples in their own cases, and be better able to translate their experiences into “lawyer-
friendly” terminology” says Colbern Stuart, President of California Coalition, who delivered the presentation live at the Family Law Reform Conference.
Very few lawyers are familiar with RICO. This means litigant and lawyer alike face a steep learning curve when considering bringing a RICO suit. This curve creates an artificial barrier to accessing RICO’s enormously powerful remedies” says Stuart. “But RICO isn’t incomprehensible–it just takes some study. We take the approach of breaking the law down into its several component parts to facilitate comprehension. The video can help lawyers and laymen alike quickly climb that learning curve, identify actionable claims, and streamline case analysis and preparation, hopefully resulting in more claims, recoveries for parents and children, and leverage toward necessary reform.”
“The New Mafia: A Family Court Crime Family” PowerPoint Video, Describing Family Court Predicate Crimes of Mail Fraud and Extortion, Loss Causation, Enterprise, Civil Rights and Immunity
California Coalition’s YouTube Channel hosts these and many other videos useful to litigants involved in a family court proceeding, including exclusive explanatory details about custody evalaluator schemes to defraud and extort parents.
Many of the issues raised by litigants at the Family Law Reform Conference are complex. In addition to the Racketeering 101 series, California Coalition has created about a dozen additional videos to explain background and details which directly address those questions, and could greatly advance litigants’ understanding about what is really going on behind the scenes. We encourage every litigant and attorney considering an engagement to carefully study these materials as they provide incontrovertable evidence of the fraud and extortion schemes that may be a centerpiece of a racketeering complaint” says Stuart.
California Coalition is also continuing to advance its own racketeering claims in its appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California Coalition for Families and Children v. San Diego County Bar Association, Case No. 14-56140. Briefing in that case is ongoing in through the winter of 2014-2015, with hearing expected in early 2015. “As we make progress in our litigation, others can follow the precedents we establish to bring suits in other jurisdictions. We’re hoping to pave the way for a wave of similar lawsuits by parents nationwide” says Stuart.
The PPT graphics and charts are also available for download from California Coalition’s File Cabinet to permit litigants and their attorneys to analyze and build a racketeering case. Litigants may find California Coalition’s Civil Rights and Racketeering Claim Charts and pleading sample worksheet helpful to understanding how the law breaks down, and what to tell their attorneys about their cases.
For more information, please feel free to contact California Coalition
California Coalition’s RICO Research Library
contains dozens of relevant law review
articles, practice manuals, cases, memos,