Sacramento County Family Court clerks are unlawfully refusing to file appeals by unrepresented, financially disadvantaged family court litigants, according to a family court whistleblower. The policy constitutes an unlawful interference with court of appeal proceedings under California Rules of Court rule 8.23.
The rejection occurs when a pro per party attempts to file a notice of appeal for child custody, support and other immediately appealable orders more than 60-days after order after hearing paperwork is filed. By law, the time frame to take an appeal from the orders is 180-days.The longer time frame applies because in family court cases, the court clerkmust give the parties notice of entry of judgment using the Judicial Council FL-190 Notice of Entry of Judgment form.
As policy, Sacramento Family Court does not issue the FL-190 form for appealable orders from motion and OSC hearings. When the form is not issued, the appeal time frame is 180-days. When the form is issued, the appeal time frame is 60-days. In Sacramento Family Court, all appealable motion and OSC orders are appealable for 180-days, yet court clerks are illegally rejecting the appeals after 60-days.
To continue reading Part 3 of our series Color of Law, click Read more >> below.
As Sacramento Family Court News documented in parts one and two of our Color of Law series, court administrators – including Supervising Family Law Facilitator Lollie Roberts – have directed subordinate employees to ignore state law requiring the FL-190 Notice of Entry of Judgment form be filed and served for all appealable orders issued at motion and OSC hearings. Click here to read part one and here to read part two. The FL-190 form notifies the parties of appeal rights and contains an important clerk’s certificate of mailing which determines the time frame for an appeal, according to state law, including a 2007 California Supreme Court decision.
When the FL-190 form is correctly issued, the 60-day appeal time frame applies and begins to run when the clerk’s certificate of mailing is completed and the form is servedby the court on all parties. When the form is not issued, the appeal time frame is 180-days. Sacramento Family Court clerks both do not issue the FL-190 form, and still applythe shorter 60-day notice of appeal filing window using the filing date of order after hearing paperwork filed by attorneys.
Court records leaked by a whistleblower include a letter from a court clerk “unfiling” a valid notice of appeal. In the letter, under penalty of perjury the clerk misstates the law, and notifies the unrepresented party that the previously filed appeal has been “unfiled.” Attached to the letter is the litigants original filed notice of appeal with a red “X” scrawled over the original filing stamp, along with the notation “unfiled” and “SH,” the initials of the clerk. SFCN has verified the authenticity of the documents by inspecting the original court file. The documents leaked to SFCN are identical to those in the file.
To justify the 60-day time frame used to reject the appeal, the letter from the court clerk refers to “a Judgment (sic)…filed and signed on May 18, 2012,” and that the litigant was “noticed via mail with said judgment on May 25, 2012.” The original court file from the case shows that the May 18 “judgment” referred to by the clerk was not a judgment. The May 18 document is a “findings and order after hearing” filed by the opposing attorney.Click here to view the complete May 18 document. The May 25 notice referred to by the clerk is a proof of service filed by the opposing attorney for the findings and order after hearing document.
The clerks rejection of the appeal is based on applying a 60-day appeal window using the May 25 date, making July 25, 2012 the deadline for filing the notice of appeal. The notice of appeal was filed on August 8, 2012, beyond the incorrect date used by the clerk, but well within the 180-day lawful time frame. The 60-day time frame is only applicable when an FL-190 is filed and served by the court clerk. The court file does not contain an FL-190.
A findings and order after hearing filed and served by an opposing attorney is not a substitute for an FL-190, and does not result in a 60-day appeal time frame, according to state law and the family law references used by family court judges and attorneys, including California Practice Guide: Family Law, published by The Rutter Group. Click here to view the legal authority that applies to the connection between the FL-190 and the 180-day time frame.
And in Alan v. American Honda Motor Co., the state Supreme Court pointed out that the title of the FL-190 and the clerk’s certificate of mailing at the bottom of the form are specifically designed to eliminate disputes about the time frame for an appeal in family law cases. The alleged motive of the clerk’s letter is to deceive a self-represented litigant with limited knowledge of family law, according to the whistleblower.
“The letter from the clerk is designed to confuse the unrepresented party, and make them believe the appeal was untimely,” the whistleblower explained. “A typical pro per unfamiliar with the law would fall for this deception. But it is exactly that – a deception – and a deception that is demonstrably false, and illegal under [California Rules of Court] rule 8.23. It is an unlawful interference with court of appeal proceedings.”
In Part 4 of our report Color of Law: The Conspiracy to End Pro Per Appeals, a court clerk files for a judge pro tem attorney a faux notice of entry of judgment designed to unlawfully invoke a 60-day appeal time frame.
The Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento also confirms that any appealable order is considered a judgment, and therefore requires filing and service of the FL-190 form. Without the form, the 180-day appeal time frame applies. The information is provided in a Self-Help Manual [pdf] for self-represented litigants published by the appellate court. Page 10 of the Self-Help Manual includes:
“Note that the same rules about an appeal from a judgment apply to an appeal from an appealable order, as the rules of court dealing with appeals define ‘judgment’ as including an order that may be appealed. (CRC 8.10(4).)” Click here to view this excerpt from the Self-Help Manual.
- Click here to read all published articles in the Color of Law series.
- Sacramento Family Court News acknowledges the confidential source who provided us with the information and documentation for this article. We appreciate the tip. To send us your anonymous tip by email, use our Contact Page. All communications are protected by the reporter’s privilege and the California Shield Law. For further details about our confidentiality policy, see our About Page and our Terms & Conditions Page.Related posts:
- Click here for articles about family court employee misconduct.
- Click here for reporting on judicial misconduct.
- Click here for posts about the Family Law Facilitator.
- Click here for family court whistleblower articles.
- Click here for family court watchdog coverage.
For additional reporting on the people and issues in this post, click the corresponding labels below.
Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye & Oversight of California Courts
State officials and agencies responsible for oversight and accountability of California courts, Sacramento Family Law Court, administrators, judges and employees include:Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye Chief Justice – Elaine M. Howle State Auditor Bureau of State Audits – Victoria B. Henley Director Chief Counsel Commission on Judicial Performance – Steven Jahr Administrative Director of the Courts – Phillip J. Jelicich Principal Auditor Bureau of State Audits – Janice M. Brickley Legal Advisor to Commissioners Commission on Judicial Performance –Judicial Council and Court Leadership Services Division Jody Patel Chief of Staff – Doug D. Cordiner Chief Deputy State Auditor Bureau of State Audits – Bradford L. Battson Senior Attorney III Commission on Judicial Performance – Judicial and Court Operations Services Division Curtis L. Child Chief Operating Officer – Donna L. Neville Staff Counsel IV Bureau of State Audits – Sei Shimoguchi Senior Attorney III Commission on Judicial Performance – Tani Cantil-Sakauye Judicial Council of California – Judicial and Court Administrative Services Division Curt Soderlund Chief Administrative Officer –
The Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye is the leader of the state’s third branch of government, the Judicial Branch. Her responsibilities include serving as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, chair of the Judicial Council, and chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
Sacramento Family Court News Subjects and Topics
Sacramento Family Court News reports on former Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye – Judge Pro Tem, Temporary Judges, Office of Temporary Judge, Oath of Office of Temporary Judge, California Rules of Court, California Code of Judicial Ethics, County of Sacramento Superior Court, Sacramento Family Law Court, Family Court Sacramento, William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse, Judge Stephen W. White, Judge Steve White, Judge Matthew J. Gary, Hon. Matthew J. Gary, Judge Laurie M. Earl, Hon. Laurie M. Earl, Judge Peter J. McBrien, Hon. Peter J. McBrien, Judge Jaime R. Roman, Hon. Jaime R. Roman, Judge Sharon A. Lueras, Hon. Sharon A. Lueras, Judge Thadd A. Blizzard, Hon. Thadd A. Blizzard, Sacramento County Superior Court Supervising Family Law Facilitator, Sacramento County Superior Court Court Executive Officer Christina Volkers, Sacramento Family Court Director of Operations Julie Setzer, Sacramento Family Court Manager Colleen McDonagh, Sacramento Family Court Supervising Courtroom Clerk Denise Richards, County of Sacramento Superior Court, Attorney Steven R. Burlingham; Gary, Till & Burlingham, Attorney Camille H. Hemmer; Law Offices of Camille Hemmer, Attorney Jeffrey Posner; Woodruff, O’Hair, Posner & Salinger, Attorney Hal Bartholomew; Bartholomew & Wasznicky,Attorney Diane Wasznicky, Family law attorney Charolotte Keeley, Charlotte Leigh Keeley, Attorney Fredrick Cohen, Law Offices of Fredrick Cohen, Attorney Bunmi Awoniyi, Law Office of Bunmi Awoniyi, Attorney Richard Sokol, Law Offices of Richard Sokol, Attorney John O’Malley, Downey Brand, attorney Robert O’Hair, Robert James O’Hair, Attorney Joseph Winn, Law Offices of Winn & Winn, Family Law Paula Salinger, attorney Paula Dawn Salinger, Attorney Elaine Viola Van Beveren, Elaine Van Beveren, Attorney Mark Ambrose,Law Offices of Mark Ambrose, Attorney Nancy Perkovich, Perkovich Law Offices, Attorney Gary Michael Appelblatt, attorney D. Thomas Woodruff, Daniel Thomas Woodruff, family law attorney Russell Carlson, Russell William Carlson, Sacramento County Bar Association, Family Law Section, Family Law Executive Committee,
Sacramento Family Court News – Newsroom Law Library & Legal Resources
The news analysis and opinion content at Sacramento Family Court News is partly based on the legal references and treatises used by judges and attorneys. Click here for a description of our newsroom law library and the publications we use to research and report Sacramento Family Law Court issues. Most family law attorneys belong to the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section. The section is headed by the Family Law Executive Committee, also known by the acronym FLEC. The committee is composed of CHAIR RUSSELL CARLSON, VICE CHAIR ELAINE VAN BEVEREN, TREASURER FREDRICK COHEN, and SECRETARY PAULA SALINGER. Family court watchdogs charge that the committee acts as a shadow government controlling most operations, including dictating local court rules in Sacramento family law court.
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The Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section – Family Law Executive Committee – FLEC – Sacramento Family Law Court – Sacramento County Superior Court Court Executive Officer – Sacramento Bar Association – Sacramento Family Court Presiding Judge – child custody and visitation – divorce – spousal support – child support – alimony – family law attorneys – family law judges
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Sacramento Family Law Court, Family Court Sacramento and all California courts are subject to oversight by Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, the California State Auditor, the whistleblower act, also known as the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Bureau of State Audits, the Commission on Judicial Performance orCJP, and the Judicial Council under the leadership of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. The Judicial Council operates theJudicial Branch California Courts website. The motto of the California Judicial Branch website is “Committed to providing fair and equal justice for all Californians.” Assertions by family court watchdogs and whistleblowers to Sacramento Family Court News indicate that the motto may not apply in Sacramento Family Court.The Supreme Court of California is the ultimate authority on California law. Justices include Kathryn Werdegar, Joyce Kennard, Ming Chin, Carol Corrigan, Marvin Baxter, Goodwin Liu and Tani Sakauye.
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California Judicial Branch oversight and accountability is the responsibility of Commission on Judicial Performance Director Victoria B. Henley, California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle, Judicial Council Director Steven E. Jahr, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, State Bar of California Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim, 3rd District Court of Appeal Justice Vance Raye, and U.S. Attorneys Benjamin B. Wagner and Melinda L. Haag are responsible for the prosecution of federal crimes, including honest services fraud. The officers of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee are Elaine V. Van Beveren, Fredrick S. Cohen, Paula D. Salinger, and Gregory W. Dwyer.
Family Court & Judicial Branch Information, Resources and Links
- Family Court: Sacramento Superior Court – Family and Children
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- Family Relations Courthouse: Sacramento Superior Court – William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse
- Public Case Document Search – Sacramento Superior Court
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- Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye – About the Chief Justice
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- Joyce L. Kennard Supreme Court of California Justice
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- Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye – Chief in the News
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California Judicial Branch oversight and accountability is the responsibility of Commission on Judicial Performance Director Victoria B. Henley, California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle, Judicial Council Director Steven E. Jahr, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, State Bar of California Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim, 3rd District Court of Appeal Justice Vance Raye, and U.S. Attorneys Benjamin B. Wagner and Melinda L. Haag. The officers of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee are Elaine V. Van Beveren, Fredrick S. Cohen, Paula D. Salinger, and Gregory W. Dwyer.
Sacramento Family Law Court users and our readers search for subjects including the California Supreme Court and Justices Goodwin Liu, Marvin Baxter, Ming Chin, Kathryn Werdegar, Joyce Kennard, Carol Corrigan, and Tani Cantil-Sakauye, and ATTORNEY DIVORCE, family laws in California, legal separation, judges and other family court information. Sacramento Family Court Judges include Thadd A. Blizzard, Peter J. McBrien, Matthew J. Gary, Jaime R. Roman, and SHARON LUERAS, and the Hon. Steve White. The current SACRAMENTO FAMILY COURT SUPERVISING JUDGE is JAMES MIZE. Family Court Sacramento judges are required to comply with the CODE OF JUDICIAL ETHICS. The Sacramento County Superior Court Supervising Family Law Facilitator is attorney LOLLIE ROBERTS. You can find an attorney for divorce or attorneys for divorce online. DIVORCE COUNTY COURT is a popular search, and so is California legal separation. A lot of people want to know WHAT IS A LEGAL SEPARATION. Sacramento Family Court News reports on changes in California divorce law, also searched for using CA DIVORCE LAW, and Supreme Court of California. Judge Sharon Lueras has been implicated in contributing to the deaths of two children as a result of rulings she issued. In the baby Ryder Salmen case Judge Lueras was featured on Nancy Grace. Click here. Sacramento Family Law Court is a common search made by court users.
Most Sacramento Family Court attorneys are members of the Sacramento Bar Association, formally known as the Sacramento County Bar Association. The Sacramento Bar Association has a Family Law Section and a Family Law Executive Committee known by the acronym FLEC. The Sacramento County Family Law Section Executive Committee is composed ofCHAIR Russell Carlson, VICE CHAIR Elaine Van Beveren, TREASURER Fredrick Cohen, and SECRETARY Paula Salinger. The PAST CHAIR is Judith Winn. Each member of the Family Law Section Executive Committee also holds theOffice of Temporary Judge, also known as a Judge Pro Tem. The Bar Association Family Law Section publishes a monthly newsletter called The Family Law Counselor.The Family Law Counselor is available at the Bartholomew & Wasznicky website. Click here. UPDATE: In February, 2013 Bartholomew & Wasznicky terminated online public access to the Family Law Counselor newsletter, and scrubbed all Family Law Counselor newsletters from the firm website. CLICK HEREfor our report on the controversy. Other common search terms include HON. LAURIE M. EARL, state audits, judges, divorce attorneys, state auditor California, family law facilitators, spousal support, protest, county superior, self-represented, legal representation, in pro per, social injustice, judicial misconduct, pro se, social justice, Sacramento family law, judge, James Mize, civil disobedience, unrepresented, PRO PER PRO SE, family superior court, whistleblowing protection act, sacramento family court,Sacramento Superior Court family law facilitator, judges in California, judicial judges. Sacramento family law court is located at the William Ridgeway Courthouse.
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