Isn’t the courthouse the last place one would expect laws are broken?

Turns out, not so much.

The systemic bias towards women is often demonstrated by bailiffs.  How else to explain six deputies arresting an attorney for the State, for being too “loud.”

In November of 2014, Judge Melissa Blackburn addressed what other judges wold not.  The seemingly common practice of bailiffs allowing themselves to be used to intimidate others.  Specifically, Judge Blackburn addressed Judge Casey Moreland using bailiffs as his puppets.  While we applaud Judge Blackburn’s efforts to end what appears to be a time honored practice of Judge Moreland’s tactics of intimidation, (See Blackburn’s email) we likewise understand all bailiffs involved, owe a duty to the badge they wear to uphold the law, and stand up to a tyrant.  Otherwise, these bailiffs clearly are not the person for the job.

06-02-14:  Can Brevard deputies get any dumber than this?  Were they all picking their collective noses?  Yo dimwits:  The idea is safety.  S-A-F-E-T-Y.  

Does Breveard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey not understand the function of deputies in the courtroom?  Do deputies not think when a judge, in this case Judge John Murphy decided to exhibit the crazy side of his personality, that they didn’t have a job to do?  (Namely, protect,)  Is this what Florida taxpayers are stuck with?  Apparently so.

09-18-13:  What’s up with Minnesota? Why are Hastings deputy bailiffs acting as if they are Judge David L. Knutson‘s personal thugs?  Worse; do bailiffs not realize their job description for safety includes everyone at the courthouse? 

Do bailiffs not realize part of their job is to exercise independent judgment?  

If Judge Knutson is this much of a whack job, (and it would seem he is) doesn’t the public deserve at the very least:  Bailiffs with brains?  Read attorney Michelle L. MacDonald’s Affidavit (Page 6, Numbers Eight, nine…(oh heck, read the whole thing), here.  This is America?  Have there been other complaints filled against this judge?   We initially hoped Judge Knutson wasn’t the Standardfor what passes for justice in Minnesota, but turns out, he is. Yep, Judge David L Knutson is the standard for Minnesota, because he is a sitting board member of the (we are not making this up) Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards.  So the joke is on Lady Justice, and the people of Minnesota.  Finally,  where is Minnesota media?  Day camp? 

05-20-13:  Alabama deputies ignore sick woman, refuse to provide her medication and then clear the courtroom and watch her die on the courtroom floor.  

Should we title this,  “Clark County Courthouse Predator ignored by Judge Patricia  Doninger” (although the woman is on video pleading into a Microphone in front of Judge Doninger for four minutes straight in front of her daughter?)

While the video is chilling enough, that the matter somehow did not reach the Presiding Judge for months, although the mother was jailed, is even more troublesome.  Update: We’ve heard Doninger is the pet of another judge who wants cash from the legislature to run a “Safe House” for women.  (Traditional media seldom reports the lucrativeDV business)

or, that the solution lies in Technology in Family Court.  See videos on the Restraining Orders, which could be adapted for family court use.  After all, there’s nothing more predictive than GPS.

Sacramento Supervising Family Court judge Matt Gary lost his job in part, due to bailiffs acting as thugs, after Judge Gary ordered a pro-per arrested.

Which makes one wonder about bailiff education.

As in, where is it? 

Where was the bailiff when St. Louis Court Clerk Whitney Tyler was posing as a judge; and why did Presiding Judge Steven Ohmer opt to – do nothing?  To anyone.  Gotta wonder also, how is it NY Family Courts could remain closed in spite of public laws…without notice for almost 14 years.   (And what does that say about the so-called “watch dog press.”)

Bailiffs can effect positive changes only after understanding their job is to protect the safety of everyone, including litigants, appearing before an out-of-control judge.  Perhaps a Bailiff refresher course reminding bailiffs Constitutional rights apply to all is the answer as no bailiff should automatically affirmatively respond to enforce an illegal order. 

At times, only common sense and a bailiff’s cool head is the last Constitutional remedy available to the public.  

Clearly what’s needed is bailiffs upholding the laws rather than responding puppet-like, to illegal orders.  

Examples below.  But the bottom line is the job of the bailiff is to protect all.  Bailiffs who allow themselves to be used as judicial puppets should transfer to a division which doesn’t involve public safety.

Bailiffs:  Enforcing laws, or judicial puppets?

Court file photo:  “Taking files home for the weekend.”

Although removing files from the courthouse is a felony, assistant Presiding 
Judge James R. Wagoner posed for his picture while removing files from the courthouse in 2003.   The photo is also on the Court’s webpage..and is another reminder laws are not equally applied. 

(Also known as:  “What’s wrong with this picture?”)

Assistant Judge James Wagoner, who was privately reprimanded in 2009, still seems to feel a public place, isn’t.

Worse, bailiffs are not stepping up and protecting the public from Judge Wagoner’s abuse.

Good that one member of the public knows her rights.  Good that the CJP went public with Judge Wagoner’s abuse.  Good that media covered the case involving Penny Arnold taking photos with her cell phone in a public corridor.  Bad that Judge Wagoner ordered the deputy As detailed by the CJP Judge Wagoner improperly ordered the arrest of Penny Arnold after attorneys complained to an executive officer within the courts.  The below is from the Metropolitan News on the matter.

“Wagoner directed the bailiffs to arrest her for contempt. She was later transported to jail pursuant to a jail remand order issued by the judge and remained incarcerated for approximately three hours before she was able to post bail.

Wagoner also issued an order to show cause re contempt, stating that Arnold was cited for contempt for willfully disobeying a court order in contravention of Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 1209(a)(5).

He subsequently found her guilty of direct contempt of court and sentenced her to five days in jail, giving her credit for one day served and staying the other four days for one year on the condition that she “obey all laws and all lawful orders and directives of this court.”

The commission determined that Wagoner’s actions constituted abuse of his contempt power and violated Arnold’s due process rights. Since her alleged conduct “did not occur in the judge’s courtroom and did not involve a proceeding pending in his court, the judge was without jurisdiction over her and could not lawfully order her to attend a hearing in his courtroom,” the CJP said.

Additionally, the panel noted such “security issues are properly handled by sheriffs deputies,” and suggested that Wagoner’s intervention “gave the appearance of having assumed a law enforcement role contrary to canon 2A of the Code of Judicial Ethics.”

The commission said that is was not persuaded by Wagoner’s argument that the court’s statutory or inherent powers to preserve order could be used to order a citizen to attend a hearing concerning conduct occurring outside the courtroom and that had no connection to a pending proceeding, or that reports of disruptive conduct by Arnold on prior occasions gave the judge the authority to act as he did.

Wagoner further “failed to comply with the proper contempt procedures by remanding Ms. Arnold to jail without a hearing” and by “failing to issue an order that recited the evidentiary facts supporting the contempt finding.”

He also “wrongly adjudicated the matter as one of direct contempt and wrongly found Ms. Arnold guilty of that charge” since her conduct did not occur in the judge’s courtroom or chambers, and imposed conditions on Arnold’s contempt that were not authorized by law.

The commission concluded that Wagoner’s conduct “constituted, at a minimum, improper action,” which was “aggravated by the fact that he used the contempt power to incarcerate someone over whom he had no jurisdiction” and that he had received an advisory letter in 2009 for abusing his authority with regard to individuals who were not before him.”“Are you gonna electrocute me for talking?”

Since bailiffs are in court to protect, it’s up to bailiffs to decide how and which kind of level of control.  

So we have to wonder about any Bailiff thinks it was a good idea to obey a directive from Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani

the only judge in California to called out by Amnesty International for Torture,  to taser a Defendant Ronald Hawkins with 50,000 volts for eight seconds which caused us to scratch our heads. Hawkins had been accused by Judge Comparet-Cassani for of lying.  She’s been disciplined three times so far.  Hawkins accepted $275,000.00 from the good people of Los Angeles.

No word whether the bailiff received further “training.”

Judge using bailiffs to hunt down a Family Court Litigant outside the court room – to set them up for going to jail.

While annoyed at the time, a judge who lost their cool, might eventually thank  bailiffs who step in at the right time to save judges from later troubles.  Had the California bailiff acted appropriately in the case below, San Diego Superior Court Judge Lisa Shall

could have avoided a public smack-down by the California Commission on Judicial Performance.  

However, because the bailiff assigned to her court did not uphold the Constitution, the Commission on Judicial Performance reacted positively to a woman illegally jailed by Judge Schall.  The commission wrote: 

“In Ms. Slivka’s absence, without citing her for contempt or having her returned to the courtroom, Judge Guy-Schall found her in contempt and sentenced her to five days in jail.  The order issued by Judge Guy-Schall stated Ms. Slivka was in direct contempt and was to serve five actual days in jail.  With respect to the facts underlying the finding of contempt, the order stated, “full order and findings are set forth in the reporter’s transcript that is the order [sic] this date.”  Ms. Slivka was taken into custody outside the courtroom and remained in custody for five days. Judge Guy-Schall’s actions constituted the power of contempt.  By failing to return Ms. Slivka to court to inform her that she was in contempt, failing to give her a chance to respond to the contempt order, and finding her in contempt in her absence, Judge Guy-Schall failed to follow the required procedure for holding an individual in contempt.”

Since bailiffs are in court to protect, it’s up to them to decide how and which type of level of control.  So one has to wonder about any Bailiff who thinks it was a good idea to obey a directive from  the only judge in California to called out by Amnesty International for, tasering a Defendant  with 50,000 volts for eight seconds.  Hawkins had been accused by Judge Comparet-Cassani for of lying.  She’s been disciplined three times so far.  Hawkins accepted $275,000.00 from the good people of Los Angeles.  No word whether the bailiff received further “training.”  While annoyed at the time, a judge who lost their cool, might eventually thank a bailiff who step in at the right time to save a judge from later troubles.  Had the California bailiff acted appropriately in the case below, San Diego Superior Court Judge Lisa Shall wouldn’t have three dings by the CJP.
The judge in the Matter of Richard

“The trial court asked Richard if he had an attorney. Richard replied that he did not have an attorney. The trial court admonished Richard as follows: “You’re entitled to an attorney. And if you’re too poor to afford an attorney, I decide that you’re indigent and have one appointed to represent you.” The trial court stated that they were going to take a break and informed the parties that the motion for enforcement would be taken up before a motion for protective order that was also before the trial court. Without inquiring about Richard’s ability to employ counsel, the trial court instructed Richard to sit down and instructed the bailiff not to let Richard leave.After a brief recess, the movant testified that Richard had been ordered to pay $600 per month in child support and $300 per month on an arrearage judgment, but that Richard had not paid from July 1, 2010 through April 1, 2011. The trial court placed Richard under oath. Richard admitted that “I have fallen far behind on my child support payments[,] for the last year and a half or more I’ve been either unemployed or underemployed.” Richard stated that “It’s not an act of defiance. I’m not standing here trying to prove a point to anybody. I just simply can’t afford it. And then to be put further and further back with all these court proceedings. That’s why I’m here representing myself, Your Honor. I cannot simply afford even that.” (Emphasis added).”
Ultimately Richard was taken into custody into custody and jailed.

Bailiff education is needed.

Although litigant attacks at the court house have long been part of our history of going to court; from
Blanca Winans, to the famous California Supreme Court decision after Eileen Zelig called every bailiff she could think of for help in abject fear of her life, but was shot and killed in the hallway in front of her six year old daughter by her ex-husband anway, as her former husband, a doctor decided he no longer wanted to pay child support, California Chief Justice Ronald George threw out the suit filed against the Court, stating, “He could have shot here anywhere.”

Media has not focused attention on the public’s last Constitutional protection in civil court, involving illegal orders, or murder.

But it should go without saying that a woman allowed by the judge to leave court to smoke a cigarette should not be shot by Bailiff James Cioffi after not moving fast enough in her return.  Particularly if she’s trying to adjust her prosthetic leg.

Bailiff education is sorely needed.Content copyright 2019. Family Law Courts. All rights reserved.