- Posted August 2, 2012 by
Shasta County, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Judge Lance Ito on Western World's Largest Judiciary - Part Two
Update 8/ 3/12
Alan Ernesto Phillips
With the clattering claims of secret 'Voter Suppression' tactics dominating the political news, the following bylined report really - and quite briefly - sums up what most Californians, and media, are too numb and/or too busy to realize: That significant judicial branch (and AOC) machinations are going on in yet another alleged "secrecy machine."
Without regard to the California Chief Justice's (Tani Cantil-Sakauye) own Strategic Evaluation Committee's (SEC) yearlong investigation and recommendations by her approved judges, things seem to have been purposefully stalled by the Chief.
The SEC's esteemed vote was quite profound - more like a rebellion - and many fear, suppressed. Other than indicated in the SEC report, accountability to citizens and tax-payers does not appear to be on anyone's radar at present. This all seems really quite serious and very "in house" as complex turns of events and the Northstate connections unfold behind the scenes.
CA Judges Revolt:
As firmly shown in Ken Broder’s piece above, the SEC was supported by a vast majority of public and illustrious commenters:
Even Judge Lance Ito (of OJ Simpson trial fame), and the state's largest ethnic/judicial representation support the immediate adoption of the SEC recommendations… and additionally expressed a sense of scathing outrage that seems to chime a death knell-like ring.
Judge Lance Ito weighs in...
Latino Judges Association once again politely urges DIVERSITY in the branch...
Courthouse News weighs in too:
IS the largest judiciary in the Western World failing its citizenry (tax payers)... or just quietly and impenetrably self-protecting itself from what "RICO" was all about? Many high-ranking professionals are asking that very question.
And now with Shasta County's Steven Jahr, groomed to steer the AOC in October, many esteemed jurists and stressed workers are crying foul amid claims of Mr. Jahr being under-qualified for the position, and for being used as a pawn by the AOC and the Chief Justice herself as a tactic to further delay the reform effort already funded, wrapped-up and recommended for implementation, "without delay." The work of the AOC is monumentally difficult enough even when it is properly managed.
Mr. Jahr boasts to his professional resume that he received the "Jack Halpin Award" among his achievements. That "award" has many northstaters scratching their heads in disbelief and outright embarrassment. One Redding resident sarcastically stated, "What?! That's like having a judge Eaton Award! What an embarrassment!" He was referring to the infamous late Judge Richard Eaton. Though never "caught" - Mr. Eaton presided over the Juvenile cases in Shasta County... he was routinely accused of practicing pedophilia with incarcerated juveniles.
While the mainstream media appears mute on the protracted and complex issues, the esteemed frequenters of the watchdog blog, Judicial Council Watcher, have stated clear aversion to having ever been motivated to produce the blog in the first place. They have demonstrated a strong sense and passion for a return to a greater constitutionally focused and transparent judiciary. However, the mountainous citizen complaints, employee claims, the evidence and support from most of the judges and cross-system professionals in California, it seems ominous - and most seem to agree:
There is a very BIG, underreported problem that erodes public confidence in the courts that is getting worse not better - a serious set of problems that are getting bigger not smaller:
In isolated Shasta County for example, many citizens from the California Protective Parents Association expressed their loud, 15-year concern that 85-year-old Jack Halpin, a retired judge who has been temporarily assigned to the Shasta Court since 1994 (for what was by design to be a 30 to 60 day assignment) was continually allowed to judge over the ongoing objections of the general public.
Many serious, substanciated complaints of misconduct by local judges, mediators, therapists, clerks, GALs and local FL lawyers exist under the vacuum of "judicial immunity." One Shasta/Tehama County lawyer, was recently "caught" and faced disbarrment under one, 14-count indictment of misconduct. (It's unclear when that removal will take place as she is still working in Halpin's courts.)
The “Assigned Judges Program” operated by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), is still allowing Halpin to handle family law cases. Presiding Judge Molly Bigelow has all along written to reassure complaining Shasta County Family Law litigants that Judge Halpin, “is no longer sitting on assignment for this court.” However, that proves "less than forthcoming."
No other judge in the nation has the distinction of collecting 90% pay on TOP of a full judge's retirement for nearly two decades as an "assigned judge."
Is it true that CA assigned judges are the only assigned judges to get their retirement salaries, PLUS 90% of a regular judge's salary on the backs of tax-payers? No one has yet answered my question to that issue.
On May 3, 2012 Jack Halpin himself announced to the press that he did not believe he would be returning to sit on assignment. The Redding Record Searchlight article celebrating Halpin's retirement seems to have unexpectedly rallied a rebellion of negative concerns and comments from a majority of its readership.
The AOC, the Presiding Judges, the Judicial Council and the Chief Justice herself... keep redirecting distressed local litigants to a purgatory of red tape and a limbo of no return while rubber-stamping this aged, fumbling 19-year veteran "assigned judge." Meanwhile many children and protective families remain quietly removed from redress and remedy.
The questions mount, the noise and clattering crescendos… yet, the silence from media, the "un-caught" Judicial Council, the AOC and Chief Justice Sakauye, is deafening.
The secrecy and suppression drips thickly. It is especially suffocating to those genuine professionals, children and citizens whom suffer in silence under apparent predation, and judicial neglect... they are waiting and hoping for a heroic acceptance of the SEC recommendations forthwith.