Bad drug addict drug users and judges on top of it all .The appearance there will be some appeals coming down the pipe line as well as totable action of state actors….
April 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
Notice to Psychological Evaluator or therapist: Kerry Smith aka Cottage industry of Illinois Appearance State actors of the W&D firm.
March 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
Notice to Psychological Evaluator or therapist: Kerry Smith
From: Jxxxxxx Gxxxxx
P.O. Box xxxx
Xxxxxxxx, IL 600xx
Date: November 25, 2012
I, Jxxxxxx Gxxxxx, have been ordered to submit again to a psychological evaluation with you. The last time I met with you, you wrote a report that did not accurately reflect what I said, you said, and/or the facts in this case. Since I have not chosen you to provide this evaluation or therapy and in fact I challenged your reappointment to this case, I consider this evaluation and/or therapy to be with a service provider who I do not trust.
Since the entire outcome of my life and the very existence of my family may rest heavily on the outcome of this evaluation, in order to clarify relevant issues to this evaluation, I request you to respond to the following questions, acknowledge my reasonable requirements and sign this form for my records. If you wish to have a copy of this form, I have no objection to that.
I am requesting of you immediately, a copy of all records and notes you made in our previous sessions including all my previous contact and interviews with you regarding this matter including ALL TEST RESULTS within the next 48 hours. I am also requesting the identical information for my son Jxxxxxx Gxxxxx as well. I will forward you a signed authorization and request letter from him.
I state for the record that any further meetings will be recorded and a witness will be present for each and every one.
I state for the record that I am employing legal and administrative remedies to address violations of law against me in this case to date. I am protected from retaliation by federal law for employing these remedies. Retaliation includes any negative report referring to the methods I have employed to protect my rights and the rights of my children which would have an effect on any court decisions.
Therefore, any reference to ‘paranoia’ or any other negative psychological diagnosis, observation, etc. that is attributable to the methods I employ in my efforts to document violations against me and my children and/or any other false statements made by the reporter will make the reporter liable for civil and criminal remedies. I state for the record that this case has been and is being examined by a panel of experts who have come to the conclusion that the state may have no intention of returning my children to me, and that this evaluation is part of the state’s efforts to satisfy legal appearances without fulfilling the substance of the legal requirements pertaining to child protection.
I want you to understand that I desire nothing more than an accurate and fair evaluation which is appropriate to my situation based on accurate history which has been obtained only from sources who have first-hand knowledge, which does not include any Child Representative, CPS or HHS or court information that you may have received.
I state for the record my sincere intent to cooperate with this evaluation, but not at the expense of my rights. I state for the record that I view this evaluation as a means to subvert my FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS against self incrimination and violate my HIPAA rights and to obtain questionable evidence which will be used to deprive me of the care, custody, and control of my children.
I state for the record that I am being ordered by the court to sign releases of information against my will.
Therefore, I require you to limit any information that you disclose to Cook County, the children’s representative, or the court to the following brief statements:
- Whether or not I can provide a safe and appropriate home to my children now or sometime in the future. _______initial
- Your recommendations for further treatment which will assist me in providing a safe and appropriate home to my children. ______initial
You are expressly forbidden to reveal any more extensive information than that.
I will hold you accountable for the release of any unauthorized information.
CONDITIONS AND CLARIFICATION:
1. What percentage of your income do you receive from CPS or court referrals? ____________initial
2. What is the annual amount of the above referral income? _________initial
3. Will my lack of trust in you as an impartial evaluator therapist in any way affect the outcome or the accuracy of this evaluation and or therapy?
4. Is it ethical for you to conduct this evaluation and or therapy without first having the trust of the client(me?). ________initial
5. I understand you have received family history information from the child’s rep, Mary Doheny, others including TVG Gxxxxx. In your previous report, you reported highly inaccurate information attributed to TVG, my children and I, that I was only made aware of in your final report, but was not given the opportunity to offer proper rebuttal prior to your final report being issued. You gave TVG the opportunity to deny my statements but never afforded me the same opportunity. You also neglected to report crucial information detrimental to the minor children such as TVG’s dating and ongoing affair with the married used car salesman who sold her a car, TVG’s plans to leave on a Mexican vacation with the married man as soon as your final and inaccurate report came out, our oldest son, Jxxx’s allegations of verbal, mental and emotional abuse as well as drug and alcohol use by his mother, TVG, our daughter, Xxxxxxx’s troubles with TVG Parental Alienation Tactics against me, as well as my allegations of TVG’s excessive drug and alcohol abuse and emotional abusiveness directed at myself and our children. I state for the record that the information provided by Doheny, TVG and possibly others that I am not aware of is highly inaccurate and misleading. Will your reliance on an inaccurate and misleading history and hearsay evidence taint the outcome or the accuracy of the evaluation and or therapy? ________initial
6. I will provide you with my family history and collaterals you may speak to and expect you to give it the appropriate weight in your evaluation. __________initial
7. I will be audio recording this evaluation for my own protection. This recording is done on the advice of my family advocate and is not negotiable. I understand the confidentiality laws and I am fully within my rights to maintain an accurate record of this evaluation. If you do not feel you can conduct the evaluation under this condition, you are required to notify me of the reason for your objection at this time and provide me with a letter stating that you will not conduct the evaluation. ______initial
8. For the record – in the past ________months I have had _____________ psychological evaluations and I have taken the MMPI ________times. It is my understanding that at this point, any further psychological evaluations may be tainted by the excessive number of previous evaluations. Your desire to proceed with this evaluation will indicate that you do not feel the prior evaluations will have any impact on this evaluation. _________initial
9. I require you to provide me with a copy of all raw data within 48 hours. If you refuse to provide me with this as I request, please provide me with a written reason why you will not provide this information. Under Illinois laws and federal statutes, as the patient, I am the owner of these records and you are merely the custodian. It is under this provision that I demand a complete copy of all completed tests, notes, images or anything else used by you during the process of this evaluation within 48 hours. If you refuse to provide me with this information and continue to administer the tests, I will file a grievance with the appropriate oversight board. _______initial
10. I require you to provide me with a copy of your final and or/ periodic report(s). Again, under the law, I own the records, including any report you file. If you provide a copy to DHS, the Child’s rep, the court, or HHS and fail to provide me with a copy as I require, I will file a grievance. Whoever pays for the testing is irrelevant; I am the patient, they are my records, not anyone else’s ________initial
11. For the record, I want you to have these facts:
a. TVG left the children in the middle of the night to go to Mexico with her married boyfriend, Mike Santi(@December 1, 2009). The children had no idea she was dating prior to her leaving. She had told them she wasn’t planning to date until they were in college. She told them she was going to Mexico with “a friend.” Then she allowed Santi to sleep in the same home as the minor children within 2 weeks of meeting him(December 9, 2009) and within 6 weeks of your previous reports release(October 14, 2009) including Christmas eve, Xxxxxxx’s birthday and then New Years eve 2009 and carried on as a married couple, matching rings. Within a couple months of meeting the children, she was telling the children she was engaged while both were still married to others and would be until September of 2011;
b. TVG allowed Xxxxxxx, the 7 year old, to be taken from his home late on a Saturday (10:30pm) in April, 2010 and forced to sleep in the same bed in the basement bedroom of a non-occupied house with her boyfriend, Santi;
c. TVG threw her body several times into Jxxx’s bedroom door and broke down the door so Santi could physically attack and verbally threaten Jxxxxxx in front of all the minor children causing such fear in the minor children and forcing them to call 911 on TVG and her boyfriend.(May 17, 2010);
d. Santi was subjected to a NO STALKING, NO CONTACT Order for threatening and harassing myself, Xxxxxxx, and Jxxx. TVG’s boyfriend, Santi was not allowed within 500 feet of the marital residence whenever Xxxxxxx came to pick up or drop off the minor children as per his visitation times and the children or within 500 feet of Xxxxxxx, his residence or place of employment.(July 12, 2011)
e. TVG had left Xxxxxxx a voice message telling Xxxxxxx to pick up the children at the marital home Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. Then as Xxxxxxx and Jxxxxxx waited for the children, Santi came out of the home and attacked them as they sat in their car. Santi was arrested for disorderly conduct and taken to jail.
f. At Santi’s disorderly conduct trial, TVG answered the attorney’s questions in “a manner one would expect from a litigant trying to put her best foot forward” and to keep Santi out of jail: “she lied on the stand.” Notable and particularly relevant, TVG was not present at the residence that evening prior to Santi being arrested. As TVG screamed to the police officer that Jxxxxxx was lying to which the officer replied, “how would you know you were not here?”(February 2012)
g. There are at least a half a dozen police reports for verbal, physical and repeated threats, vandalism, and harassment filed by Jxxxxxx and Xxxxxxx against Santi on record in Buffalo Grove and Wheeling and now Lake County.
h. There have been 2 bogus police reports filed against Xxxxxxx by Santi for things such as trespassing as he came to pick up the children for his visitation(June 8, 2011) and custody dispute(August 28, 2012). As the judge stated in response to the first report, Santi has no grounds to make either of those claims against Xxxxxxx; Santi was the one guilty of harassment.
- TVG called the police and had them confront Jxxxxxx after he unplugged the garage door opener to prevent her from dropping it on his head. Her call was retaliation for “calling 911 on my boyfriend last night.”
j. TVG defended Santi and his actions in both criminal court and divorce court against Jxxxxxx and Xxxxxxx despite it being to the detriment of all their children’s best interests and emotional health.
k. There are court reports and police reports to back up Xxxxxxx’s and Jxxx’s claims and allegations.
l. There is testimony and affidavits to back up Xxxxxxx’s and Jxxx’s claims.
m. There are text messages and other evidence to back up Xxxxxxx’s and Jxxx’s claims.
n. On July 12, 2011, Judge Etchingham ordered Santi to stay away from Xxxxxxx and Jxxx. The Judge specifically told Santi if he came across Jxxxxxx on the street, Santi was to “run” in the other direction.
o. TVG told the court on several dates in March, April, June, August, December of 2010 and in 2011,including testimony under oath, and in her responses “under oath” to Xxxxxxx’s allegations that her boyfriend, Santi, had not moved into the marital residence with the minor children prior to at least December 2011. During her testimony at trial in August of 2012 TVG admitted to the Court and under oath contrary to her previous statements and testimony that Santi had moved in with her and the minor children on or about July 2010.
p. TVG refuses to allow our son, Jxxx, to see his own brother and sisters unless he comes to see them at Santi’s house and/or with Santi present, who has repeatedly physically and verbally attacked,threatened and harassed Jxxxxxx over the past 3 years and was the subject of a NO STALKING, NO CONTACT Order.
q. Of significant concern, TVG has violated almost every provision of the Agreed Parenting Agreement dated May 17, 2010 and to date refuses to comply with most Orders of the Court. She speaks ill of their father, their brother, and their father’s family to the minor children.
r. TVG has engaged in a regular regimen of Parental Alienation as well as the repeated attempts to alienate the minor children from their older brother, Jxxx. Emails and affidavits are attached and provided in these 2 emails.
s. TVG sent Xxxxxxx hundreds of harassing and racially derogatory texts regarding Xxxxxxx and his black friends. TVG also made derogatory comments about Xxxxxxx’s black friends to the minor children over the children’s objections.
t. TVG allowed her boyfriend, Santi, to harass Xxxxxxx and the children with her cell phone and the phone in the marital home.
u. TVG’s boyfriend, Santi, was allowed by TVG to tell Xxxxxxx, Jxxxxxx and the other children that he enjoyed sleeping with Xxxxxxx, the youngest, in the same bed and he plans to do it as often as he can and that Xxxxxxx and Jxxxxxx can’t stop it.
v. Santi has sent Xxxxxxx numerous harassing texts, sexually inappropriate and racially offensive texts
w. TVG has left hundreds of texts as well as voice mail messages for Xxxxxxx meant to harass and/or be inappropriate. She has told Xxxxxxx and the minor children he has no balls, he has a pussy, that she has the balls, and etc.
x. Notable, Parental Alienation (by mother TVG)as noted by the Illinois House of Representatives in House Resolution No. 724 on March 9, 2012 is a form of child abuse. TVG has not let the minor children visit in any capacity with Xxxxxxx or his family on any of her designated time even if she is alone on vacation with her boyfriend, Santi(approximately over 120 days during her designated time). TVG has not allowed the minor children to visit with their brother at college for any college activities that may fall on her designated time.
y. TVG has not let the children walk to school, visit or spend time with their cousins down the street in the past almost 6 years in any capacity for even 5 or 10 minutes at a lacrosse practice or game severely intimidating the children who can only confide it to others when they feel safe. On information and belief, the minor children have told counselors how they are afraid to tell their mother for fear she will get severely angry with them and despite having told Smith of their plight in her initial evaluation in the summer of 2009.
z. TVG without notice to the children, Xxxxxxx or even the court moved the children out of the marital home and into her boyfriend, Santi’s home in the Lake Zurich/Barrington area miles away from their friends and family.
aa. The children are often left home alone whether in their previous residence or Santi’s home. Contrary to TVG’s claims in Smith’s initial report that TV’s promote laziness and her insistence that a tv in Jxxx’s room was an instance of how Xxxxxxx undermined “her parenting”, on information and belief, Xxxxxxx has been told that each child now has been provided an individual tv and cable access in their respective bedrooms to watch tv in isolation. Jxxxxxx was 16 years old and it was a big issue, Xxxxxxx is 9, Xxxxxxx is 13 and Xxxxxxx is 16 and apparently it is no longer an issue with TVG’s parenting agenda. TVG also provided Xxxxxxx with TV access on her cell phone starting when she was 14.
bb. On information and belief, Xxxxxxx is often left unsupervised or alone with Xxxxxxx when she was as young as 10-11 years old. Xxxxxxx is forced to go to bars with Santi when he was as young as 7 years old to keep the older man company while he drank and smoked cigars.
cc. TVG regularly allows Santi to drink excessively and smoke cigars in the minor children’s presence and/or especially in their own home.
dd. TVG regularly allowed Santi to threaten and be abusive towards her oldest son often in the presence of the minor children.
ee. TVG allowed Santi to make sexually inappropriate comments to Jxxx, Xxxxxxx often in the presence of the minor children.
ff. TVG has become mentally and physically incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs in the presence of the minor children
gg. The minor children have witnessed numerous verbally/physically abusive encounters directed at their older brother, Jxxx, by TVG and Santi.
hh. TVG has steadfastly refused to attend Jxxx’s graduation from high school, Internship programs, eagle court of honor, college orientation, move in, Parent’s weekend, sibling weekend, etc despite invitations to do so.
ii. TVG refuses to make any attempts to contact or try to repair her broken relationship with Jxxxxxx over the past 2.5+ years.
jj. TVG has contacted Jxxxxxx to tell him she is cancelling his health insurance.
kk. TVG has never apologized to Jxxxxxx for anything she has said or done to him or allowed to be done to him including Santi’s actions at her behest.
ll. TVG and/or Santi have repeatedly given Xxxxxxx the finger often in the presence of the minor children most often in front of Xxxxxxx as he drove past them.
mm. In the presence of the minor children, TVG has been vulgar, verbally abusive, derogatory, racially inflammatory, racially abusive towards Xxxxxxx and many times Jxxx.
nn. In July, 2010, while staying in a hotel with the minor children, TVG allowed Santi to put his bare lips on the minor children, Xxxxxxx and Xxxxxxx’s exposed upper legs as they laid in bed trying to go to sleep. Mary Doheny objected to the characterization of this behavior as inappropriate offering to the court, without evidence or testimony to support her contention, that they may have been playing a game or something.
oo. On March 25 and April 12, 2011 at hearings addressing the matter of TVG’s new boyfriend, Santi, sleeping in the same bed as Xxxxxxx and alone with Xxxxxxx in the basement bedroom of an unoccupied house of a friend of Santi’s, Mary Doheny told the court well the child sleeps with the father as well so lets say no child can sleep with an adult instead of addressing the seriousness and the implications of the allegations.
I have read and initialed each line item of this notification.
I understand and am willing to comply with these requirements.
I further reiterate that I will not disclose information to the court, the children’s representative, HHS, or DHS without prior written authorization of the patient and will limit my disclosure to the two brief, relevant items listed above. I further acknowledge that this notification is also confidential and its existence is not to be disclosed to DHS, HHS, Child’s representative, the court or any other service provider without the express written permission of the client.
Signed ________ _________________________________ ____________________
Kerry Smith Date
March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Nebraska high court again rules father’s consent necessary for adoption
For a second time, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a father who was intentionally misled about the birth of his child can stop the baby’s adoption.
In a ruling Friday, the state’s high court said the consent of the father, listed in court documents as Jeremiah J., is required by state law for the child to be put up for adoption. Further, the high court said the child’s mother, identified as Dakota D., failed to prove Jeremiah met any of the exceptions for consent because she did not show he had abandoned her or the child or that he would be an unfit parent.
Jeremiah learned in June 2011 that Dakota, his ex-girlfriend, was pregnant. Five months later, he was contacted by an adoption agency caseworker who told him he had been identified as the baby’s father and that Dakota planned to put the baby, due Feb. 18, 2012, up for adoption, according to court documents. Jeremiah told the caseworker he did not want that, then tried many times to reach Dakota, but she did not return his calls, records say.
The child was born Feb. 9, but Jeremiah was not told of the birth. He contacted Dakota on Feb. 13, but she did not tell him the baby had been born. Jeremiah also repeatedly called the hospital and caseworker to try to learn of the birth, but they refused to tell him, citing privacy policies. The adoption was put on hold after Jeremiah filed his appeal.
Dakota later testified in court that she did not tell Jeremiah of the child’s birth because she did not want him to know about it during the five days he had to object to the adoption.
A Hall County court ruled in the mother’s favor, saying Jeremiah could have hired an attorney sooner, but the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed that ruling last year, noting the mother’s deception. The lower court then ruled in Jeremiah’s favor, and Dakota appealed, arguing he is not a fit parent because he has an unstable work history, has used drugs and has a criminal record, among other things.
She also argued that Jeremiah neglected the child after she was born, and did not provide financial support for her or the child.
But the state’s high court rejected those arguments Friday, saying Jeremiah’s criminal record consisted of misdemeanor convictions as a teen. The court also noted that Jeremiah has denied any drug use, and that he has a stable job paying more than $12 an hour.
“And in any event, low income or an unstable job history does not alone establish parental unfitness,” Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Michael McCormack wrote for the court.
The high court also rejected arguments that Jeremiah did not provide financial support.
“Dakota clearly does not want to have Jeremiah in the life of the child, and she chose to not provide Jeremiah with a fair opportunity to offer financial support,” McCormack wrote.
Jeremiah’s attorney, Mark Porto of Grand Island, said the next step will be to file a paternity action in an effort to establish custody and visitation issues.
“He’s thrilled that he’ll be able to be a part of his daughter’s life,” Porto said.
An attorney for Dakota did not immediately return a message left Friday.
March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
Sacramento Family Court Judge Hon. Sharon A. Lueras Blamed in Hatchet Death of 9-Year-Old Matthew Hernandez
Judge Sharon Lueras Held Responsible By Mom In Hatchet Death of Child by Phillip Hernandez
UPDATE: A UC Davis graduate student has started a petition at Change.org to ask the California State Auditor and Commission on Judicial Performance to investigate Judge Sharon Lueras for misconduct in connection with the deaths of Ryder Salmen and Matthew Hernandez. To view the petition, click here.
Jessica Rose Hernandez contends that Sacramento Family Court Judge Sharon A. Lueras is responsible for the Feb. 26 hatchet death of her 9-year-old son Matthew by ex-husband Phillip Hernandez, according to media accounts. Jessica went to court last November to request custody of her two children. At a court hearing before Judge Lueras, the mother of two attempted to introduce evidence, including text messages, to support her assertion that her ex-husband was back on drugs, acting irrationally, and posed a threat to their children. Judge Lueras refused to consider the evidence, and denied the custody change request, according to news reports. “I blame her for Matthew’s death,” Jessica told News10. Jessica did not have an attorney and represented herself in court. Sacramento Family Court watchdogs have long asserted that the court operates a two-track system of justice where members of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section and their clients receivepreferential treatment from judges, court employees and at court hearings, while indigent, unrepresented litigants are treated assecond–class citizens and often prohibited from exercising basic rights, such as introducing or objecting to evidence. Roughly70 percent of family court users do not have a lawyer, according to state statistics.
Click here to continue reading…
“I Had Never Practiced Family Law”
|Judge Sharon A. Lueras refused to consider evidence and denied a custody change request made by Jessica Hernandez, according to a News10 report. Ex-husband Phillip Hernandez (L) later used a hatchet to kill 9-year-old Matthew Hernandez. Source: News10.|
At the time of the Hernandez court hearing in November, Judge Lueras was nearing the end of a two-year assignment to family court. It is common knowledge that most judges do not want to be in family court and “grudgingly plod through their family law assignments, paying their dues and biding their time until they can preside over cleaner, less volatile cases,” according to a Daily Journal Sacramento Family Court judge profile. Click here. In 2009, Sacramento County Superior Court Presiding Judge James Mize testified that “[i]t’s difficult to get [judges] to go into family law. It’s difficult to get judges to go there, so that there’s a tradition in a lot of counties to have the newest judge, who is excited about just being a judge period, and you send them to family law because they are willing to do anything.” Click here to read Mize’s testimony. A month after the Hernandez hearing, in a farewell letter to attorneys from the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section, Lueras confessed that when she was assigned to the Family Relations Courthouse, she had no knowledge of family law.
“[I] am sure it is no secret that I did not volunteer for my family law assignment,” the judge wrote in the Family Law Counselor, a newsletter written by and for the Family Law Bar. “In fact, when I was first told that my new assignment would be family law, I was a bit stunned. I had never practiced family law, knew nothing about the subject matter, other than the fact that I have been divorced myself – I had never stepped into the family law courthouse…Coming from a primarily criminal law background, I was accustomed to the black letter law where judges are given some discretion. However, I have never seen the broad discretion that is afforded family law judges. To me this was a monumental responsibility. I did not know if I would be up for the task of always making the right decision and doing the right thing.”
Lueras closed the letter by thanking the lawyers for putting up with her. “Finally, I want to thank all of the individuals I have met in the past two years. You have put up with a new family law judge and presented her with the most challenging issues she has ever faced and because of this have hopefully made her a better judge,” she said. Click here to view the letter.
The California Rules of Court include Standards for Judicial Administration which govern courts throughout the state. Recognizing the importance of having experienced family court judges, Standard 5.30, subdivision (a), captioned Judicial Assignments to Family Court, directs that
“In a court with a separate family court, the presiding judge of the superior court should assign judges to the family court to serve for a minimum of three years. In selecting judges for family court assignments, the presiding judge should consider, in addition to rule 10.603(c)(1)(A) of the California Rules of Court, the judges prior experience in family law litigation and mediation, as well as whether the judge prefers to serve in a family law department.”
Standard 10.12, Judicial Education for Judicial Officers in Particular Judicial Assignments, emphasizes the importance of both basic and continuing education for judges assigned to hear family law matters. Subdivision (c) of Standard 5.30, Family Court Matters, provides
“The supervising judge of family court, in consultation with the presiding judge of the superior court should motivate and educate other judges regarding the significance of family court and work to ensure that sufficient judicial officers, court staff, family law facilitators, child custody mediators and evaluators, interpreters, financial resources, and adequate facilities are assigned to the family law court to allow adequate time to hear and decide the matters before it.”
The Judicial Council Advisory Committee Comment to Subdivision (c) of Standard 5.30 reads:
“The family court is an integral part of the justice system. Decisions made by family law judges can have significant and lasting impacts on the lives of the parties and their children. The work of the family court has a significant impact on the health of families and ultimately on the strength of the community. The parties deserve to have adequate time to present their cases, and the judges should have the resources they need to enable them to make informed decisions. It is only through the constant exertion of pressure to maintain resources and the continuous education of court-related personnel and administrators that the historic trend to give less priority and provide fewer resources to the family court can be changed.”
|Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger|
Judge Sharon A. Lueras was appointed to the bench by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. Schwarzenegger was named in the 2010 Worst Governors Report by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Among other charges, Schwarzenegger was faulted for providing “state jobs to friends with dubious qualifications.” Click here. Before her elevation to the bench, Lueras was lead corporations counsel for the California Department of Corporations (2005-07); deputy district attorney for Yolo County (2001-02); deputy district attorney for Sacramento County (1992-2001), a sole practitioner in Sacramento (1991-92); and an associate at Wilcoxen, Callahan, Montgomery & Harbison in Sacramento (1989-91). Judge Lueras graduated from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1988, and as a judge is paid $169,289 per year.
Click here for additional coverage of Judge Sharon Lueras.
Click here for our full coverage of the Jessica Hernandez case.
Click here for expanded coverage of the Matthew Hernandez memorial at Google+.
If you found this article useful or informative, and can appreciate the work that went into it, please share it on Facebook, Twitter or recommend it on Google+. We’re on Facebook and Google+ as Sacramento Family Court News and Twitter as @SacFamCourtNews. If you have additional information about this subject, or any news tip about Sacramento Family Court send us an email or use our Contact Page.
For additional reporting on the people and issues in this post, click on the corresponding labels below.
March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
Saturday, November 23, 2013
I post this because I need to help. My kids need help. I am writing this as an affidavit of sorts.
In 2005 I left my abuser- I left in the middle of the night after he attempted to force himself on me- beat me- choke me- My infant son- age one- began to cry. My ex jumped up and grabbed the baby by the arms- throwing him around- I jumped up- and tried to protect him- I was able to free the baby. The ex then just left the house. Within minutes I had myself and 3 kids (ages 1,3, and 5) out the door. No shoes- no coats- in pajamas- we ran. Within an hour my ex had his crooked and bough police station at my mother’s home to take me into custody. He claimed I assaulted him. The local police refused to look at my injuries. They refused to enter a TRO until Monday (This occurred on Sat night).
I hired some great lawyers- spent my money and my family’s money. Every lawyer sold me out. Every lawyer wanted to endure their own paychecks- and could care less. My kids began to report abuse. The lawyers told me I had to keep sending them. DYFS came into the case a couple times- and all times the sitting Judges told them to take a powder- “this is a custody issue”. My kids were told to shut up- they were told to stop reporting abuse or they would go to foster care.
Hired guns were brought in from across the country to use the junk science PAS (parental alienation syndrome). They all claimed that the abuse was not “that bad”- The expert even wrote in his report- “the father forces affection on the kids when they are not in the mood”- He went on to write – “The paternal grandfather smacked the 6 year old across the face because he deserved it”- “The father sneaks into the daughter’s room at night to paint her toes because he loves her”- All the while the kids begged someone to protect them. They were ordered into more and more overnights with the father as punishment for reporting.
In 2011 I went to the FBI with a CD I had found where my ex makes a cash payment during a custody hearing I was told not to attend. The FBI opened the investigation and to my knowledge- those investigations are still ongoing. As a result- the Judge at that point was removed after his family was interviewed by the federal agency. The case was then transferred. The Court that got the case was already in bed with the father (the county had been paying him cash for snow removal for years- oh and this family was already indicted on bribery in 1997)
The new Judge was tainted because of the FBI case- and I no longer had a lawyer. I was run penniless. The Court held all kinds of ex parte conversations with the multiple lawyers of the father. At the same time- my daughter wrote a letter to our first judge who now retired. She also confronted her father about the abuse in detail. At that point- the court had no choice but to call CPS. The CPS people sent us to a regional trauma center- where the two girls gave statements- psych exams- physical exams- and the abuse was absolutely founded. (Despite the court’s claim it is not). The center promised the kids they would no longer be subjected to unsupervised visits with the father. That same center wrote a report- which I am not permitted to see. After speaking to the agency this week- it is clear that someone is lying. It is either the folks at Wynona’s House- the folks at CPS- or the court. My bet is on the Court- but no agency has formally stepped up to help us. Lots of empty promises- lots of approvals for federal grants to the Wynona’s house to help our family.
In court this week- I got a temporary stay of a restraining order- but after the sitting court spoke to the appellate court- it was thrown out. I was then confronted last night again by North Caldwell police- to “turn my kids over”- The one night between the stay and when he got the kids back- he was abusive again to the kids. I am afraid to give him the kids because he has often told me he would kill them before I would every get them. He has told the kids if they testify against him- he will kill them.
I HAVE NO LAWYER! IF ANYONE CAN CONTACT THE AMERICAN MOTHERS POLITICAL PARTY- THEY CAN PUT YOU IN TOUCH WITH ME IF YOU CAN HELP ME- I HAVE ASKED MY GOOD FRIEND LULA TO PUBLISH THIS FOR ME- I AM AFRAID FOR OUR LIVES- PLEASE HELP US GET A LAWYER- AND PLEASE HELP ME PROTECT MY KIDS-
ANONYMOUS NJ MOM
The appearance that his tears didn’t go for all the money driven kids,Fake tears–for his OWN kids & grandkids
February 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
DISCUSS: 33 9 !
For years, Ciavarella, a former Luzerne County Court judge, had defiantly fought charges that he took kickbacks to sentence thousands of young offenders to private juvenile detention centers.
During a moment of reflection while awaiting sentencing for corruption in 2011, Ciavarella broke down, imagining how his own grandchildren would perceive him.
“I would hope that they understand that their grandfather screwed up big-time,” he said, tears welling in his eyes. “And couldn’t be in their life because of it. Kind of tough, if what they get to know is that their grandfather was a scumbucket.”
The conviction of Ciavarella and his fellow Judge Michael T. Conahan ended an infamous chapter in Pennsylvania judicial history, one that led to a wave of changes in the juvenile justice system.
His emotional moment – a rarity for a man proud of his hardened persona – is an equally unrivaled moment, captured in Kids for Cash, a documentary on the scandal directed by Robert May, which will premiere Wednesday at the Kimmel Center. [Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia]
Ciavarella’s remarks come from one of more than a dozen original interviews in the film, offering a nuanced and detailed portrait of those caught up in the scandal that unraveled in 2008.
The film includes interviews with juvenile defendants and their parents; the cofounders of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, which worked on behalf of many defendants; Luzerne County’s chief public defender; a reporter from the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader; and the superintendent of the Wilkes-Barre School District.
But the biggest coup, May concedes, was persuading Ciavarella and Conahan to appear on camera.
Both spoke without telling their lawyers, May said – even as Ciavarella was mounting a defense in federal court, and as Conahan was working on a plea deal that ended with his being sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Ciavarella was eventually found guilty of racketeering as well and sentenced to 28 years in prison. He is serving his sentence in Illinois; Conahan is at a Florida prison.
At the time May approached them, around 2009, Ciavarella and Conahan had not been convicted, but they were publicly disgraced – accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars each from the developer of two private juvenile facilities, then concealing the payments in elaborate money-laundering schemes.
Ciavarella, who oversaw Luzerne County’s juvenile court, sent thousands of children to those facilities during his time on the bench, at a rate higher than any other juvenile court judge in the state.
Thus, the scandal became known as “Kids for Cash,” and public outrage swirled nationwide.
May’s approach to the judges was that the media coverage had been “one-sided,” he said in an interview. He told Ciavarella and Conahan that he wanted to hear their side of the story as well.
The result is a 102-minute film that crisscrosses between juveniles and judges – or, as May puts it, “victims and villains.”
Though many families express resentment about the way they were treated by Ciavarella, the former judge is generally unapologetic – accepting fault for concealing payments from the developer, but saying they had no impact on his sentencing decisions.
Conahan, too, says the only issue in his situation was accepting compensation as a judge.
But there are emotional moments for both in the film – Ciavarella while considering what his grandchildren will think, Conahan while discussing why he agreed to his plea deal.
May hopes that footage adds nuance to the overall story and provides audiences with a fuller perspective of all the characters involved.
Marsha Levick, cofounder of the Juvenile Law Center, who fought on behalf of defendants from Ciavarella’s courtroom, was uninspired by the former judges’ words.
She said the film simply demonstrated the continued need to pay great attention to juvenile justice.
“This is a system,” she said, “that can potentially affect all of our children.”
[from The Philadelphia Inquirer May 27, 2010:] http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20100527__Kids_for_cash__tapes_made_public.html?c=r
….a contractor who built the two juvenile detention centers – PA Child Care in Luzerne, and Western PA Child Care in Butler County – funneled more than $2.9 million to the judges between 2003 and 2006. ////
Prosecutors say Mericle paid $997,600 to Ciavarella in 2003 as a finder’s fee for getting him the contract to build the Luzerne detention center. They say Ciavarella told him to give the money to Powell, who in turn wired it in two chunks to the judges.
Thanks to the judges, prosecutors say, the detention centers got a steady flow of business – so Powell and his partner, Zappala, decided to build a second center in Western Pennsylvania. When Mericle won the contract for that facility, prosecutors say, he gave the judges an additional $1 million. The money was wired to a business the judges controlled, Pinnacle Group of Jupiter, Fla., in 2005.
In 2006, Mericle won a third contract, to put an expansion on the original juvenile jail – and the judges got an additional $150,000, prosecutors say.
Sandy Fonzo of Wilkes-Barre screams at former Judge Mark Ciavarella saying that he was responsible for her son’s suicide on the steps of the federal courthouse
February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
By Larry Getlen
February 23, 2014 | 1:41am
Hillary Transue, 14, created a fake, humorous Myspace page about her school’s vice principal.
Justin Bodnar, 12, cursed at another student’s mother.
Ed Kenzakoski, 17, did nothing at all.
It didn’t matter.
As we see in the documentary “Kids for Cash,” which opens Friday, all three Luzerne County, Pa. teens met the same fate for their minor infractions.
They were hauled into court with their parents, sometimes after being persuaded — coerced, according to at least one parent — by police to waive their right to legal counsel.
They were brought before Judge Mark A. Ciavarella and, without warning or the chance to offer a defense, found themselves pronounced guilty, shackled and sentenced to months of detention in a cockroach-infested jail.
They were trapped in the juvenile justice system for years, robbing most of them of their entire high-school experience.
Hillary Transue was sent to juvenile detention for making a fake Myspace page for her teacher.Photo: AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Judge Ciavarella, who sentenced around 3,000 children in a similar manner, was later sentenced himself to 28 years in prison for financial crimes related to his acceptance of $2.2 million as a finder’s fee for the construction of a for-profit facility in which to house these so-called delinquents.
The scandal was called “Kids for Cash,” and it rocked the state in 2009 — for the accusation that Ciavarella was happy to tear families apart in exchange for the payoff.
Kenzakoski was diagnosed with ADD before he was 10 and drinking by 14, and his parents were so worried about him that his father developed a plan to scare him straight.
Along with two police officer buddies, Kenzakoski’s father planted a marijuana pipe in the boy’s truck, hoping he would be arrested and turned around after a confrontation with the authorities.
But the second part of that plan went awry, and Ciavarella sent the boy away.
In the film, Bodnar recalls how, shackled and torn from his home for saying a dirty word, he approached the facility on a convict bus and saw the 20-foot razor wire.
“I’m now one of those people you see in the movies,” thought the 12-year-old, who would smoke pot for the first time three months later, influenced by “living around criminals” in a facility intended to make him a better person.
After her release from incarceration, Transue returned to school with a stigma, viewed as a criminal by her teachers and under watch from her probation officer, who kept an office in the school.
Mark Ciavarella was elected to a 10-year-term as Luzerne County judge in 1995, on a platform of getting tough on teen crime. Much admired for his stance, he was a frequent speaker at schools and was re-elected in 2005.
Knowing he was sending children to a run-down detention facility, Ciavarella decided a new one was needed and approached power broker Judge Michael Conahan, who assembled an investor group to build a private, for-profit detention facility named PA Child Care.
Ciavarella was paid a finder’s fee of 10 percent of construction costs, or $2.2 million, by its builder.
Undone by a tip from a reputed underworld friend of Conahan’s, among other information, Ciavarella had 2,480 of his convictions reversed and expunged.
A scene from “Kids for Cash.”
After his initial release, Bodnar, now 24, was shipped off to a military academy. He now works as a cook. Transue, 22, eventually graduated from college.
A fender-bender landed Kenzakoski back in court when he was 19. Ciavarella again sentenced him to a juvenile facility. When he got out, said his mother, his demeanor was all pent-up anger, and a fight landed him in state prison.
He was released in January 2010. That Memorial Day, after a day of drinking and arguing with his father, Ed Kenzakoski placed a gun against his heart, and pulled the trigger. Had he lived, he would now be 27 years old.
The most harrowing moment in the film occurs during Ciavarella’s trial. As his lawyer holds a press conference outside the courthouse, Kenzakoski’s mother, Sandy Fonzo, who had been standing to the side, unleashed years of pain and anguish on the man she held responsible.
“My kid’s not here anymore! He’s dead! Because of him!” she screamed, pointing at Ciavarella as news cameras rolled. “He ruined my f—ing life!!! Go to hell, and rot there forever! You know what he told everybody in court — [the kids] need to be held accountable for their actions! You need to be!”
At the end of “Kids for Cash,” directed by Robert May, information flashes across the screen saying: “Two million children are arrested every year in the US, 95% for non-violent crimes”; that “66% of children who have been incarcerated never return to school”; and that “the US incarcerates nearly 5 times more children than any other nation in the world.”