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Sacramento Family Court News
Investigative Reporting, News, Analysis, Opinion & Satire
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JUDGE PRO TEM RACKETEERING

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JUDGE PRO TEM RACKETEERING

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JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

(69)
JUDGE PRO TEM
(50)
ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT

(35)

Judge Pro Tem Attorney "Cartel" Controls Court
Operations, Charge Whistleblowers

MATTHEW J. GARY
(33)
FLEC
(28)
PETER J. McBRIEN
(24)

Sacramento Family Court News Exclusive Investigative Report
This investigative report is ongoing and was last updated in July, 2015.

ARTS & CULTURE
(23)
CHILD CUSTODY
(22)

As many of the articles on our main page reflect,
Sacramento Superior Court whistleblowers and
watchdogs contend that a "cartel" of local family
law attorneys receive kickbacks and other forms
of preferential treatment from family
court judges, administrators and employees. 

The lawyers receive an assortment of illegal
kickbacks because they are members of the
Sacramento County Bar Association Family
Law Section, work as part-time judges, and
run the family court settlement conference
program on behalf of the court. 

The kickbacks usually consist of "rubberstamped" court orders which are contrary to
established law, and cannot be attributed to the
exercise of judicial discretion. Most of the
illegal orders are issued against indigent, or
financially disadvantaged "pro per" parties
without an attorney. Many of the pro pers also
are disabled. 

The ultimate consequences of the systemic
Sacramento Family Court reform advocates assert that collusion
divorce court corruption include lopsided
between judges and local attorneys deprives financially disadvantaged,
divisions of community property, illegal child
unrepresented pro per court users of their parental rights, community
assets, and due process and access to the court constitutional rights.
custody arrangements and the deprivation of
parental rights, and unlawful child and spousal
support terms. Court reform advocates assert the racketeering enterprise also has resulted in pro
per homelessness, and caused, or contributed to at least two child deaths. 

The alleged criminal conduct also deprives victims of their state and federal constitutional rights, including due

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

(19)
CHARLOTTE KEELEY
(18)
PRO PERS
(18)
DOCUMENTS
(17)
JAMES M. MIZE
(17)
DIVORCE CORP
(15)
CARLSSON CASE
(11)
COLOR OF LAW SERIES

(11)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST

(11)
RAPTON-KARRES
(11)
SATIRE
(11)
WHISTLEBLOWERS
(11)

process, equal protection of law, access to the courts, and the fundamental liberty interest in the care,
management and companionship of their own children. 

Court watchdogs charge that the settlement conference kickback arrangement between the public court and private
sector attorneys constitutes a racketeering enterprise which also deprives the public of the federally
protected right to honest government services. The alleged federal crimes also include the theft, misuse, or
conversion of federal funds received by the court, predicate acts of mail or wire fraud, and predicate state law
crimes, including obstruction of justice and child abduction. 

WOODRUFF O'HAIR
POSNER and SALINGER

(11)
JAIME R. ROMAN
(10)
LAURIE M. EARL
(10)
NO CONTACT ORDERS
(10)

With the help of court employee whistleblowers, Sacramento Family Court News has partially reconstructed the
framework of the alleged criminal enterprise that, in size and scope, rivals the Kids for Cash court scandal in
Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and the Orange County Superior Court case-fixing corruption scheme recently
exposed by the FBI. 

SHARON A. LUERAS
(10)

JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)

Settlement Conference Program Quid Pro Quo Arrangement 
The current day Sacramento County Family Court system and attorney operated settlement conference program
was set up in 1991 by and for the lawyers of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section,
according to the sworn testimony of controversial family court Judge Peter J. McBrien at his
2009 Commission on Judicial Performance disciplinary proceedings. Click here to read Judge McBrien's
testimony. 

CHRISTINA VOLKERS
(8)
FERRIS CASE
(8)

JULIE SETZER
(7)
YOUTUBE
(7)
3rd DISTRICT COA
(6)
CIVIL RIGHTS
(6)

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. 

CANTIL-SAKAUYE
(5)

In 2012, troubled Judge James Mize further privatized family court services and expanded the ability of ostensibly
"volunteer" temporary judge lawyers to earn kickbacks and other preferential treatment with his so-called "One Day
Divorce Program." 

THADD BLIZZARD
(5)

Reducing the Caseload and Workload of Judges and Court Staff in Exchange for
Kickbacks

One objective of the illegal public-private partnership is to significantly reduce the caseload, and workload of fulltime judges by having private sector lawyers - instead of judges or court staff - operate the settlement program,
according to watchdogs. 

At the settlement conferences, judge pro tem attorneys pressure divorcing couples to settle cases so they won't
use the trial court services, including law and motion hearings, ordinarily required to resolve a contested divorce. In
many cases, two lawyers - one acting as a temporary judge - with social and professional ties team up against an
unrepresented pro per to compel one-sided settlement terms. Accounts of coercive and deceptive tactics are
common. 

Under the quid pro quo agreement, in exchange for reducing the workload of judges and court staff, as
opportunities arise the temporary judge attorneys are provided reciprocal kickbacks, gratuities, or emoluments
when representing clients in court. The issuance and receipt of the reciprocal benefits violates several state and
federal criminal, and civil, laws.

Reciprocal benefits include the issuance of demonstrably illegal court orders that have ignored, and even
authorized criminal conduct by judge pro tem attorneys and their clients, including criminal child abduction. 

In one case, a judge ordered the illegal arrest and assault of a disabled pro per to benefit the opposing, part-time
judge attorney. A court employee whistleblower leaked a courtroom security video of the incident. The judge pro
tem lawyer subsequently was caught on court reporter transcript defending the judge and lying about the arrest
and assault, portraying the disabled victim as being at fault.

The consistent, statistically impossible in-court success rate of judge pro tem attorneys has provided
them prominence, client referrals, wealth, and a substantial monopoly on the Sacramento County divorce and
family law business. Whistleblowers point out that this benefit of the alleged criminal organization also implicates
consumer protection and antitrust laws, including the California Unfair Business Practices Act. 

CHRISTINA ARCURI
(5)
CONTEMPT
(5)

FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR

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

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The quid pro quo arrangement also involves what whistleblowers assert is a reciprocal protection racket that
conceals the organization from discovery by law enforcement agencies and state oversight authorities, including
the Commission on Judicial Performance, responsible for judge misconduct, and the State Bar Association,
responsible for attorney accountability and discipline. 

Case audits conducted by SFCN show that judge pro tem attorneys routinely violate state law, court rules, and
attorney ethics rules, but are never reported to the State Bar, or assessed fines, penalties or "sanctions" by fulltime judges as required by state law. 

Pro pers who attempt to report judge pro tem attorney misconduct to the State Bar are told they need a court
order from a judge before a disciplinary investigation against an opposing attorney can take place. There are no
known instances where a judge issued such an order. 

On the other hand, at the request of cartel attorneys, pro per litigants are routinely punished by judges with illegal
fines, draconian financial sanctions, and other types of punishment to discourage them from returning to
court, and to coerce them to accept settlement terms dictated by the opposing judge pro tem lawyers. 

Attorneys provide judges reciprocal protection by not reporting the judicial misconduct, Code of Judicial Ethics
violations, and criminal conduct committed by full-time judge cartel members. And the lawyers do more. 

To help conceal and ensure the continuity of the enterprise, on the rare occasion when full-time judges do face
investigation by the Commission on Judicial Performance, members of the cartel provide false, misleading, or
otherwise gratuitous character witness testimony and other forms of support for the offending judge. The
testimony and support is designed to, and does reduce or eliminate potential punishment by the CJP, ensuring
judge members remain on the bench. 

Racketeering Conduct of Court Clerks, Supervisors and the Family Law Facilitator

The racketeering activity includes startling coordination, kickbacks, and pattern and practice misconduct by court
clerks, supervisors, and the Family Law Facilitator office. Court clerks routinely refuse to file legally sufficient
paperwork for pro per parties, while at the same time filing legally insufficient, and even counterfeit paperwork which they are required by law to reject for filing - for judge pro tem attorneys.

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In some cases, judges and court clerks work in tandem to prevent pro per parties from filing documents at court
hearings for the benefit of judge pro tems, ensuring an incomplete and inaccurate trial court record in the event of
appellate court review. Court records show that clerks also deliberately withhold and delay the filing of time
sensitive pro per documents until after filing deadlines have expired.

Sacramento County Bar
Association

Family Law Facilitator staff provide pro per litigants with false information designed to conceal state law
violations by court clerks and supervisors. Judges regularly provide attorneys with legal advice and "bench
tips." When pro pers ask facilitator staff for similar information, they are told that facilitator employees are
prohibited from giving legal advice. 
      

Local & National Family CourtFamily Law Sites & Blogs (may
be gender-specific)

Alleged RICO Racketeering Enterprise Evidence 

Court reform and accountability advocates assert that the local family law bar - through the Family Law
Executive Committee or 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
four cases 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

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County portrayed as the Ground Zero of 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-ofstate move away and child abduction by Sokol's client,
April Berger. The opposing counsel is an "outsider"
The 2014 documentary film Divorce Corp exposed court
corruption throughout the United States and designated
attorney from San Francisco who was dumbfounded
Sacramento County as the worst-of-the-worst.
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.     
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. 
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. 
Family court policies and procedures, including local court rules, are dictated by the SCBA Family Law
Executive Committee for 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.
Roman issued a rubber-stamped,
kickback order declaring 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

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2011 SACRAMENTO/MARIN

AUDITS
(2)
3rd DISTRICT

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 judge pro tem
attorney Paula Salinger avoid
paying spousal support. Click here
for our investigative report.

COA
(6)
AB

(1)

ABA

1102
(1)
AB 590
JOURNAL

(1)

ADMINISTRATORS

(4)

AGGREGATED NEWS
(14)

AL SALMEN
(1)
AMERICAN BAR
Divorce attorney Charlotte Keeley (R) and her client Katina Rapton of
Mel Rapton Honda leave a court hearing. Keeley reportedly has billed
Rapton more than $1 million in connection with a child custody dispute.

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
temporary judge Scott Buchanan. The rubber-stamped, kickback child support order, 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 Beveren helped 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 is an 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. Watch the exclusive Sacramento Family Court News video
below:

ASSOCIATION
(1)
ANALYSIS

(36)

ANDY FURILLO
(2)

AOC
(1)
APPEALS
(10)

ARCHIBALD CUNNINGHAM
(1)

ARTHUR G. SCOTLAND
(5)

ARTS & CULTURE

(23)

ATTORNEY

(4)

ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE
(4)

ATTORNEY ETHICS
(2)
ATTORNEY

MISCONDUCT
(35)

ATTORNEYS
(11)
BAR
ASSOCIATION
(11)
BARACK
OBAMA
(1)
BARTHOLOMEW
and WASZNICKY
(3)
BUNMI
AWONIYI

(1)

CALIFORNIA

JUDICIAL CONDUCT HANDBOOK

(1)
CALIFORNIA

LAWYER
(1)

CALIFORNIANS AWARE
(2)

CAMILLE HEMMER
(3)

CANTIL-SAKAUYE
(5)

CARLSSON CASE
(11)

CECIL and CIANCI
(2)
CEO

(4)

CHARLOTTE
KEELEY
(18)
CHILD
CUSTODY
(22)
CHILD

SUPPORT
(4)
CHRISTINA

ARCURI
(5)
CHRISTINA
VOLKERS
(8)
CIVICS
(1)

CIVIL LIABILITY
(1)
CIVIL
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(6)
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(3)
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(20)
ClientTickler
(2)
CNN
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(1)

SILENCE
(2)
COLLEEN
MCDONAGH
(3)
COLOR OF

LAW
SERIES

(11)

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

(11)
CONSTITUTIONAL
RIGHTS
(3)
CONTEMPT
(5)

COURT CONDITIONS
(2)

COURT EMPLOYEE
(1)
COURT

EMPLOYEE CODE OF ETHICS
(1)
COURT POLICIES
(1)
COURT
RULES
(4)
COURTS
(1)
CPG
FAMILY LAW
(1)

CRIMINAL
CONDUCT
(12)
CRIMINAL

  
In 2008 controversial family court Judge Peter J. McBrien deprived a family court litigant of a fair trial
in a case where the winning party was represented by judge pro tem attorney Charlotte Keeley. In a
scathing, published opinion, the 3rd District Court of Appeal reversed in full and ordered a new
trial. 6th District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing characterized McBrien's
conduct in the case 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 attorneys Camille Hemmer, Robert O'Hair, Jerry Guthrie and Russell Carlson each
testified in support of Judge Peter J. McBrien when the controversial judge was facing removal from
the bench by the Commission on Judicial Performance in 2009. As a sworn temporary judges aware
of McBrien's misconduct, each was required by Canon 3D(1) of the Code of Judicial Ethics to take or
initiate appropriate corrective action to address McBrien's misconduct. Instead, each testified as a
character witness in support of the judge. In the CJP's final disciplinary decision allowing McBrien to
remain on the bench, the CJP referred specifically to the testimony as a mitigating factor that reduced
McBrien's punishment. Click here. Court records indicate that Judge McBrien has not disclosed the
potential conflict of interest to opposing attorneys and litigants in subsequent appearances by the
attorneys in cases before the judge. Click here for SFCN coverage of conflict issues.
Judge pro tem attorneys Terri Newman, Camille Hemmer, Diane Wasznicky and Donna
Reed were involved in a proposed scheme to rig a recall election of controversial Judge Peter J.
McBrien in 2008. The plan involved helping McBrien defeat the recall by electing him "Judge of the
Year" before the November election. Click here for the Sacramento News and Review report. 
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 &
Salinger was later granted
a waiver of the
requirements to become
a judge pro tem. A family
court watchdog asserts
the waiver was payback for
O'Hair's testimony for
McBrien. Click here to
read our exclusive
investigative report.

LAW
(3)
CRONYISM
(2)

DAVID KAZZIE
(4)
DEMOTION

(1)
DENISE

GARY
(2)
DSM-301.7
(1)
EDITORIAL
(1)
EDWARD
FREIDBERG
(2)
EFF
(2)

RICHARDS
(1)

DIANE WASZNICKY
(2)

DISQUALIFICATION
(2)

DIVORCE
(7)
DIVORCE
ATTORNEY
(5)
DIVORCE
CORP
(15)
DIVORCE
LAWYER

(5)

DOCUMENTS
(17)

DONALD TENN
(3)
DONNA

EFFICIENCY

IN

GOVERNMENT

ELAINE VAN
BEVEREN
(13)
ELECTIONS
(1)
AWARD
(1)

EMILY

GALLUP

(3)

EMPLOYEE CODE OF ETHICS

(4)

EMPLOYEE
MISCONDUCT
(19)

EQUAL PROTECTION
(2)

EUGENE L. BALONON
(1)

EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

(2)
EX PARTE
(1)
F4J
(4)

FAMILY COURT
(9)
FAMILY
COURT

COURT

AUDITS
(1)
FAMILY

CONDITIONS
(2)

FAMILY COURT

MEDIA COVERAGE

(1)
FAMILY COURT PROCEDURE
(1)

FAMILY
COURT
SACRAMENTO
(2)
FAMILY

COURTHOUSE
(1)
FAMILY

LAW

(9)

FAMILY
LAW
COUNSELOR
(4)
FAMILY
LAW
FACILITATOR
(4)

FATHERS FOR JUSTICE
(1)

FEDERAL LAW
(2)
FEDERAL

LAWSUITS
(2)
FEE WAIVERS

(2)
FERRIS CASE
(8)
FIRST
AMENDMENT
(2)
FIRST
AMENDMENT COALITION
(2)

Court records show that Judge Jaime Roman (L) and Judge Matthew Gary
routinely issued demonstrably illegal court orders for the benefit of local
attorneys who also work as part-time judges in family court. Both judges
have been reassigned out of the family courthouse.

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
by SCBA Family Law Section officer and temporary judge Paula Salinger. To view the pro per
responsive declaration objecting to the illegal filing click here, and click here for the pro per points &
authorities.  

FLEC
(28)
FOIA
(2)
FOX

(1)
FREDRICK COHEN
(4)

Judge pro tem and SCBA Family Law Section attorney Scott Kendall was disbarred from the practice

RANSOM
(1)
GARY
M.
APPELBLATT
(2)
GEORGE

NICHOLSON
(1)
GERALD UELMEN

(1)
GINGER

GREGORY

SYLVESTER
(1)

DWYER
(1)

HAL

BARTHOLOMEW
(1)
HATCHET
DEATH
(1)
HAZART SANKER

(2)
HONEST SERVICES
(4)

INDIGENT
(1)
INFIGHTING
(1)
J.
STRONG
(2)
JACQUELINE
ESTON
(2)
JAIME R.

ROMAN

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 temporary judge and family law lawyer Gary 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 four of
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
here to read our report.

GANGNAM STYLE
(1)
GARY E.

(10)

JAMES

BROSNAHAN
(1)
JAMES

M.
MIZE
(17)
JEFFREY

POSNER
(6)

(1)

JERRY

JERRY BROWN
GUTHRIE

(1)

JESSICA HERNANDEZ
(8)

JODY PATEL
(1)
JOHN E.B. MYERS

(1)
JOSEPH SORGE
(1)
JOYCE
KENNARD
(1)
JOYCE TERHAAR
(1)

JUDGE
PRO TEM
(50)

JRC
(1)
JUDGE
(1)

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.
Judge pro tem attorneys Nancy Perkovich and Jacqueline Eston in 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.

JUDGE SALARIES
(1)
JUDGES

(10)
JUDICIAL CONDUCT
HANDBOOK
(1)
JUDICIAL
COUNCIL

(5)

JUDICIAL
MISCONDUCT

(69)
JUDY HOLZER

HERSHER
(1)
JULIE SETZER

(7)
KIDS FOR CASH
(2)

LAURIE M. EARL
(10)
LAW
LIBRARY
(1)
LAW SCHOOL

(5)
LAWYER
(1)
LAWYERS

(7)
LEGAL AID ASSOCIATION of
CALIFORNIA
(1)
LEGISLATURE
(1)

LOLLIE
LINCOLN

(1)

ROBERTS
(5)
LOUIS MAURO

(1)

LUAN

CASE

(4)

MALPRACTICE
(4)
MARY
MOLINARO
(1)
MATTHEW
HERNANDEZ

(7)

MATTHEW J. GARY

(33)
MCGEORGE

MEDIA
(1)
MICHAEL

SOL
(2)
T. GARCIA

(1)
MIKE NEWDOW
(4)
NANCY

GRACE
(1)
NANCY PERKOVICH

(4)
NEW YORK TIMES
(2)

NEWS
(24)
NEWS
EXCLUSIVE
(26)
NEWS

YOU CAN USE
(3)
News10
(1)

NO CONTACT ORDERS

(10)
OPEN GOVERNMENT

(2)
OPINION
(12)
PARENT
Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Mize testified as a character witness in
support of controversial Judge Peter McBrien when McBrien was facing removal
from the bench by the state Commission on Judicial Performance.

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 of Chair 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 other articles 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
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. 

RIGHTS

(1)

PARENTAL

PAULA
SALINGER

(15)

PETER J. McBRIEN

(24)
PHILLIP HERNANDEZ
ALIENATION

(1)

(3)
PRESIDING JUDGE
(2)

PRO
PERS
(18)

PROTEST
(9)
PSY
(1)
PUBLIC
RECORDS

(1)

THORBOURNE
(1)

RAOUL

M.

RAPTON(11)

KARRES

RECOGNITION/AWARDS
(3)

REVISIONISM SERIES
(2)

RICHARD SOKOL
(12)

ROBERT HIGHT
(11)

ROBERT
O'HAIR
(8)

ROBERT SAUNDERS

(21)
ROLAND

L. CANDEE
(1)

RON BURGUNDY
(1)
RONALD

ROBIE
(1)
RUSSELL CARLSON

(4)
RUSSELL L. HOM
(1)
RYDER
SALMEN
(2)
S. HINMAN
(3)

SACRAMENTO BEE
(4)

SACRAMENTO
COUNTY
SUPERIOR
COURT
(2)

SACRAMENTO
FAMILY
COURT
(13)
SACRAMENTO
SUPERIOR COURT
(12)

SANCTIONS
(2)
SANTA

CLARA

LAW SCHOOL
(1)
SARAH ANN

STEPHENS
(1)
SATIRE
(11)
SCBA

(22)

SCHWARZENEGGER
(1)
SCOTT
BUCHANAN
(5)
SCOTT
KENDALL
(1)
SCSD
(1)
SEATON

For information about the role of temporary judges in

CASE

(1)

SELF-HELP

(1)

family court, click here. For official Sacramento County
Superior Court information about the Temporary Judge
Program click here.  

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 County judge pro tem list
with California 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 official State Bar data for each attorney. The
State Bar data was obtained using the search function
at the State Bar website. 

SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE

(2)
SFCN READERSHIP DATA

(4)
SHARON A. LUERAS

(10)
SHARON HUDDLE
(6)

SO YOU WANT TO GO TO
LAW

SCHOOL

(4)

SOCIOECONOMIC BIAS

(5)
STATE AUDITOR
(6)

STATE BAR
(5)
STEPHEN
WAGNER

(2)

LEAVENWORTH

WHITE

STEUART

STEVE

(1)

(2)

BURLINGHAM

GEVERCER

STEVEN

(1)

STEVEN

(1)

STEVEN

SUNDAY
FUNNIES

(15)

SPIELBERG
(1)

SUNSHINE
WEEK
(2)

SUPERIOR COURT
(2)

SUPREME COURT
(3)
TAMI

BOGERT
(1)
TAXPAYERS
(1)
TERRY FRANCKE
(1)

BLIZZARD
(5)

THADD

THADDEUS

STEVENS
(1)
THE RUTTER GROUP

(1)
THOMAS M. CECIL
(4)

For-profit, private sector
lawyers who also hold the
Office of Temporary Judge:

THOMAS WOODRUFF
(5)

TIMOTHY ZEFF
(5)
TOMMY
ULF
LEE
JONES

(1)

CARLSSON
(6)
UNITED

Amara, Sandra Rose Amara, SBN 166933, Law Office of Sandra Amara,1 California

VANCE W. RAYE
(3)

VEXATIOUS LITIGANT
(2)

VICTORY OUTREACH CHURCH
(1)

A number of family court whistleblowers have leaked court
records indicating that judge pro tem attorneys receive from
judges kickbacks and other preferential treatment in exchange
for operating the family court settlement conference program.

Sandy

Street, Auburn, CA 95603.

NATIONS
(1)
UPDATE
(2)

VL-CLASS-ACTION

(1)
WALL

STREET JOURNAL
(1)
WASTE
(1)

Mark

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 after being convicted of
sexual battery against clients. Click here for our exclusive report. Appelblatt is a graduate of McGeorge School of
Law. 

Beth

Appelsmith, Beth Marie Appelsmith, SBN 124135, 1430 Alhambra Blvd. Sacramento CA

95816.

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
Roseville, CA 95678. 

WATCHDOGS
(20)

WHISTLEBLOWER
PROTECTION
ACT
(2)

WHISTLEBLOWERS
(11)

WHITE HOUSE
(1)
WOODRUFF
O'HAIR POSNER and
SALINGER
(11)
XAPURI B.
VILLAPUDUA

(4)

YOLO

COUNTY
(1)
YOUTUBE
(7)