Share this on:
 E-mail
103
VIEWS
0
COMMENTS
 
SHARES
About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view LegalNews's profile
    Posted July 26, 2014 by
    LegalNews
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Impact Your World

    More from LegalNews

    Sacramento Superior Court Judge Misconduct Results in Landmark "Civil Gideon" Appeal

     

    Sacramento - The shocking mistreatment of a 53-year-old, indigent, disabled single parent by a Sacramento, California family court judge has led to a landmark appeal to establish a constitutional right to an attorney in civil cases.

     

    In this video, Susan Ferris describes her nightmarish family court experience, and the trauma of being separated from her daughter because of an illegal court order issued by controversial Sacramento Superior Court Judge Matthew J. Gary.

     

    Taped between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2012, at the time of this interview, Ferris was struggling to represent herself in court because she couldn't afford to hire a lawyer. In court, she faced a veteran family law attorney, Tim Zeff, who represented her ex-husband, David Ferris.

     

    After Judge Matthew Gary issued an unlawful order effectively terminating her parental rights, Susan joined a group of family court reform advocates fighting systemic corruption and injustice in the Sacramento County Superior Court system.

     

    The facts of Susan's case were so shocking to the conscience that prominent San Francisco attorney James J. Brosnahan, of the international law firm Morrison and Foerster, agreed to represent her on appeal on a pro bono basis.

     

    "This is at the point where a lot of us think it's a disgrace," Brosnahan said in an interview with the Sacramento Bee. "You can't take someone's child and that person doesn't have an attorney when you do it...It's an outrage."

     

    In March, the Sacramento Bee published a front page story about the case and Brosnahan's ultimate objective to establish a constitutional right to an attorney in certain civil cases. The nationwide "Civil Gideon" movement seeks to give civil court litigants in cases involving basic human needs the same right to a lawyer that criminal defendants have.

     

    The constitutional right to an attorney in criminal cases was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 in Gideon v. Wainwright. The Ferris appeal has now been fully briefed by the attorneys, and is awaiting a date for oral argument in the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

     

    To view the Sacramento Bee article by investigative reporter Brad Branan, visit this URL: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/26/6268552/state-considers-providing-lawyers.html

     

    Sacramento Family Court News, an online, nonprofit journalism organization has complete coverage of the Susan Ferris case at this URL: http://sacramentocountyfamilycourtnews.blogspot.com/search/label/FERRIS%20CASE

     

    For articles documenting the systemic corruption in Sacramento County Superior Court, visit this URL: http://sacramentocountyfamilycourtnews.blogspot.com/search/label/COLOR%20OF%20LAW%20SERIES

     

    For articles detailing serial misconduct by Judge Matthew Gary visit this URL: http://sacramentocountyfamilycourtnews.blogspot.com/search/label/MATTHEW%20J.%20GARY

    What do you think of this story?

    Select one of the options below. Your feedback will help tell CNN producers what to do with this iReport. If you'd like, you can explain your choice in the comments below.
    Be and editor! Choose an option below:
      Awesome! Put this on TV! Almost! Needs work. This submission violates iReport's community guidelines.

    Comments

    Log in to comment

    iReport welcomes a lively discussion, so comments on iReports are not pre-screened before they post. See the iReport community guidelines for details about content that is not welcome on iReport.

    Add your Story Add your Story