Is there a trend for judges to retire instead of being held accountable for wrongdoings?

  • By CPPA Website
  • 09 Dec, 2017
The #MeToo movement moves from Hollywood to Washington D.C. to CA Court of Appeals.  6th District Court of Appeals Judge Conrad Rushing has retired at a time of alleged sexual harassment as shown in the Judicial Council of CA commissioned report by Sacramento law firm Ellis Buehler Makus.  The Commission on Judicial Performance started their own investigation according to The Mercury News article  and came to the same conclusion.  

This is not the first time we have seen a judge retire this year amid allegations.  Judge Garry T. Ichikawa retired from Solano County where he served 17 years on the bench, most recently in Family Court.  His retirement announced in October came after allegations of wrongdoings in custody cases, including placing children with an abusive parent.  Family court activists had served a notice of recall to Judge Ichikawa prior to his announcement.  Currently though the Superior Court of Solano lists Judge Ichikawa as a Supervising Family Law Judge.

Another judge who has been accused of placing a child with an abusive parent is Judge Vincent J. Chiarello.  Judge Chiarello was re-elected in 2012 (unopposed and therefore not on the ballet) with his term ending in 2019.  Judge Chiarello not only is the judge who replaced Judge Persky (Brock Turner's judge and currently under recall ) in criminal court, but served as the judge in the family matter for Mark Mesiti and Roberta Allen.  Judge Chiarello ordered Alycia Mesiti-Allen into the custody of her abusive father, Mesiti,  who within a years time, drugged, raped, murdered and buried his own daughter.  Mesiti claimed Alycia "ran away" in 2006 and it took three years before a re-investigation led to the discover of her body buried in the Mesiti's previous residence.  Currently Mesiti is requesting to withdraw his guilty plea of 47 counts including sexual assault and murder of his daughter.  His sentencing is set for January 18, 2018. Note, Chiarello was re-elected after Alycia's body was discovered and video of her sexual assault was found.

Judge Rushing has been involved in family court matters as well when he ruled on a matter which was brought up for appeal.  When a parent requested the family court look at a substantiated CPS report that included child sexual abuse, the lower court ruled the parent vexatious, thus enabling the court to refuse to hear the request.  As a pro per, the parent filed an appeal, but Judge Rushing refused to hear the case claiming an appeal for the vexatious ruling was not allowed for the parent was named vexatious. 

The silencing of abuse continues.  

While the Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) has been ordered to be audited in 2016 due to a concern of lack of discipling judges based on valid complaints, it has yet to begin.  The CJP has sued the CA State Auditor, claiming their records are confidential and the State Constitution prevents them from sharing these records with the auditor.  This lawsuit has delayed the audit for over a year; the judge's decision could come this month.  An appeal on this decision is expected even before the ruling is announced, thus it is unclear when the audit will actually occur.  Ironically both of these agencies are funded by the CA State Legislature.  Advocates for child safety in family courts pushed for this audit, including Center for Judicial Excellence and CPPA.  

The lack of transparency over all of these matters is concerning.  Family Court matters have been disclosed to the Judicial Council of California (JCC), yet complaints need to go the CPJ.   The majority of these complaints go unheard thus leaving many children in the care and custody of their abusers.  It is unclear why the JCC would request a report on a judge versus allowing the CJP to handle this matter as it appears to have done so for Judge Rushing.

Also concerning are retiring judges avoiding discipline from the CJP or a recall and receiving their retirement benefits regardless of their past actions which may have been grounds for dismissal.  As we see with Judge Ichikawa, continuing to practice, receiving retirement and payment for his role as a supervising judge may just be the strategy for judges with allegations who wish to continue practicing.  
By CPPA Website 16 Jan, 2018
Dillan Weileder was 10 years old when she first told about the sexual abuse she endured.  It took 10 months to conviction, something rarely seen in case where the rapist is a parent to the child; her case involved an "uncle" figure.  Dillan is speaking out about the abuse, sharing her story and being added to the more than 50 sexual abuse survivors photographed Mollie Walton Corbett's Outlier exhibit.  "I want to talk about what happened to me, so that if it happens to someone else they will know to tell their parents and the police," Dillan said. "I want to tell others, 'Don't be afraid. It's not your fault.'"

Read the f ull article here .
By CPPA Website 16 Jan, 2018
Victims today were able to share with the world what Larry Nassar did to them.  Abusers lie. They tell their victims nobody will believe them, and most of the time they are right.  Today the truth is known.

We have learned only 4 to 6% of allegations are false but more than 90% of allegations are dismissed. The legal process is allowing abuse to continue. It is time we protect children.

Abusers make their own lives what they are when they abuse others. If they were a victim of abuse, they know better as an adult not to harm anyone. While this victim is strong and CPPA is grateful for her strength and all who speak up about their abuse, we know Nassar destroyed his life all on his own and many others for the first child victim was not believed.

It is time to believe a child. It is time to end child abuse.

Watch the statements here via CNN .

By CPPA Website 08 Jan, 2018
The Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2018 was Hollywood's commitment to ensure the #MeToo movement progresses.  They came wearing black in solidarity for all abused victims in the workplace from Hollywood to migrant workers.  They wore the Time's Up pin to build up women and support them financially through the court system as they walk through their truth of being abused.  They brought activists as their guests to shine a light on all the work that is being done by non Hollywood people, and they spoke of the truth, the cause, gratitude for the press, restorative justice and the power of hope.

We will not stop at the workplace and school though. The home is the last place people want to look and the first place that needs to be safe. The movement is moving home!

Watch Oprah's speech here , then read it here .
Watch Laura Dern's full speech and a compilation of other speeches here .
Watch Francis McDormand's speech here .
Read and see the activists present at the Globes here .

#SafeHomeSafeChildSafeWorld #BelieveaChild #TimesUp #MeToo 
By CPPA Website 04 Jan, 2018
When a mother goes to the custody exchange location, she finds her ex-husband dead in the car with both her daughters murdered on New Year's Eve.  The West Sacramento Police said this was a murder-suicide by their father, Hamdy Rouin, 46.  The two daughters, Sara, 9, and Sophie, 12, were to be back with their mother, Amy Hunter, Sunday night, prior to the hearing in Yolo County for Rouin's violations of protective orders.  Regardless of the abuse reported by Hunter of Rouin, the father was given visits with their girls.  “We see perpetrators of domestic violence trying to continue to control the victim even after the divorce is final,” Beth Hassett of the WEAVE organization stated. “The ultimate move is to kill themselves or the children.”

Read the full S acramento Bee article here .
By CPPA Website 02 Jan, 2018
Time's Up is a new legal defense fund and effort to help women who have been sexually harassed in the workplace.  Started by top Hollywood women, this anti-harassment effort raises awareness and will help victims of abuse get the right help they need.  As with abuse in the home or anywhere, telling is a first step.  Reporting and having the support to prosecute is needed.  The time is up to end abuse in the workplace and in our homes.  

Read the full article here .
By CPPA Website 02 Jan, 2018
Sheryl Sandberg posted this new hashtag, #HopefulFor, in December.   Here is her Facebook post:
Starting today, we're asking people to share what they're hopeful for next year. I'm #HopefulFor  a world where we elevate all women's voices and help get more women – especially those from groups that have been traditionally marginalized – into positions of power. Our time is now.  At CPPA, we are #HopefulFor child safety at home and the ability to report abuse by a spouse and still retain custody to keep your child safe.
By CPPA Website 02 Jan, 2018
Wishing everyone peace, joy and children safe at home in 2018. 
Safe Home. Safe Child. Safe World.
By CPPA Website 20 Dec, 2017
Children are being placed in the hands of abusers.  Family court litigants who have made complaints of wrongdoings by judges found their legitimate complaints being dismissed.  This prompted the request for an audit in 2016, a procedure the Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) has never been subjected to in all of their 57 years.  The CA State Legislature approved the audit in August 2016 only to have the CJP sue the Auditor in October 2016 stating their records were confidential.  Now a judge has ruled that complaints against judges are not allowed to be audited. 

Will the CA State Auditor appeal this decision by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos?  Is it time to defund the CJP?  All with judicial complaints and rejection letters may send their complaints and the CJP reply directly to the CA Auditor.  Elaine Howle, CA State Auditor, 21 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814.

See The Recorder article here .  To be noted, it is unclear if judges did push for the audit as stated in this article.  Judges at the CA Legislature hearing asked for no audit to be ordered, claiming it was only disgruntled litigants making complaints against judges.
By CPPA Website 20 Dec, 2017
The Cardinal at the center of the Boston Clerical sexual abuse scandal has died.  Cardinal Law moved priests known to rape and molest children to other parishes instead of ensuring children were safe.  The Catholic Church has given the world an example of abusers continue to abuse.  Hoping someone will change does not work.  If you have yet to see the film "Spotlight," please watch it over this holiday season.  It takes a village to cover up sexual abuse and a village to prevent it.  All must work together to change the family court system that allows abusers to have full or partial custody of their victims. 

To understand this church crisis, see the Boston Globe articles here  and their coverage of Law's death from being an enabler to how Mitchell Garabedian sees this for the victims .
By CPPA Website 12 Dec, 2017
CA's Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is quoted as saying the resignation of 6th Court of Appeals Judge Conrad Rushing was a surprise to her.  Per the SF Chronicle online SFGATE article, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye confirmed the Judicial Council (JCC) had ordered the report against Judge Rushing after they had received complaints from the court which he served for 15 years.  The allegations will not be made public for the Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) had not taken action against him prior to Rushing resigning. 

It is still unclear why the JCC would order a report on Judge Rushing when it is the CJP's responsibility to investigate complaints. Per the law firm hired to write the report for the JCC, Ellis Buehler Makus , this is their mission: 

At Ellis Buehler Makus,  partner with employers and managers to navigate California’s complex employment law arena. Our mission is to help your organization reduce employment law risk — through legal and strategic advice, neutral investigations, and practical training — so that you can focus on achieving your business objectives.

See full article here .
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