Thursday, May 24, 2012

Judge Richard Cline opposes putting court documents online, then orders court records destroyed rather than turning them over to party

See all posts re Judge Richard Cline.

This is one of the documents that Judge Cline doesn't want online (see Courthouse News story below).

If I didn't know better, I'd say that Judge Cline is trying to conceal his own actions as a judge in San Diego North County Superior Court

A petitioner in the David L. Bedolla case received notice from the court that her case records would be destroyed if she didn't request that the probate department turn them over to her. She filed an ex parte request to pick up the documents.

On May 22, 2012 Judge Richard Cline refused to allow her to have the documents, ordering them to be destroyed instead.

Interestingly, Judge Cline has told Courthouse News (see next story) that he no longer uses the court's new IT system to post documents online. Why is Judge Cline so opposed to allowing the public, and even the parties in a case, to have access to case documents?

Perhaps he wants to conceal some of his own orders.

On May 24, 2012, in the case mentioned above, he supported the court clerk's violation of law when she refused to file documents. Judge Cline has made it clear that he wants to help Roland Achtel win his case.

The above events put the following story in perspective: it appears Judge Cline doesn't like the public--or in pro per parties--to have access to court records.

Trial Judges Fire Back After Justice's Email Defending $1.9 Billion IT System for Courts
Courthouse News (CN)
February 14, 2011

Trial judges around California are firing back after an appellate justice sent out an email saying trial court judges "uniformly and enthusiastically" support a controversial $1.9 billion IT system. The email was sent just before the release of a blistering state audit that suggested administrators had hid the true cost of the system and failed to make sure it was necessary before plunging ahead.

Mounting dissatisfaction with the massive IT project, where the current version is called CCMS V-3, prompted state administrators to form a set of "oversight" committees two weeks ago. In the first memo coming out of those committees, Justice Terence Bruiniers said, "The judges who actually use CCMS uniformly, and enthusiastically support CCMS."

That statement brought a rapid rebuttal from judges in San Diego, where the system has been put in place.

"I dispute the contention that CCMSV3 works," wrote San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard Cline in a response to Bruiniers.

Cline said in an interview that he no longer uses the system, but did use it during his ten-year tenure as a probate judge. "It takes many more steps to do the same job," Cline said, noting that one staff research attorney in probate had reported that it took 42 steps just to post her work online through the system...


Anonymous said...

The question here is what is Judge Richard G. Cline trying to hide?

Why is he oppose to "open government?"

Why would Cline deny that lady her own court records?

Why is Cline trying to destroy her court records?

Is anyone doing anything about this judge who is out of control?

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

At least Judge Cline must have read her case.

In Case #37-2011-00150239-PR-TR-NC he ruled on a motion which concerned subpeonas for a forensic accounting that was the main issue of one of three yet unheard constested petitions, thereby deciding the issue which denied petition respondent Jennifer Grant the right to be heard.

To make matters worse, the forensic accounting was over subtrust B and C issues. The two other petitions had as one of their main contentions who was legally trustee of those subtrusts. By allowing the acting trustee, Rusty Grant (no relation to Jennifer) to conduct the accounting, essentially confirmed Rusty as trustee, thereby also ruling on an essential issue in these petitions before they could be heard. Thus, Jennifer's rights regarding these petitions were once again denied her.

It should be noted that Rusty is an attorney while Jennifer, pro-per since January 6th, is not and that Rusty is also a pro tem judge (or at least appears advertised as such). A little favortism on Judge Cline's part here?

Furthermore, the trust document itself states "the successor trustee has no duty to audit the prior trustee" which this forensic accounting is doing. Thus Judge Cline permitted all the beneficiaries of the trust to incur the expense of the accounting instead of the heir, Jennifer's brother, Bradd, who is the only person on record as wanting it.

When Jennifer tried to protest one month later on May 18. 2012 at a Case Management Conference, she was verbally shut down as she had been at the motion hearing. Judge Cline said "maybe I (he) should read the case" but then proceeded with no plans to do so. Instead, he set the next court date for Sept so Rusty would have ample time to do the forensic accounting in response to Rusty's attorney, Constance Larsen, and Richard MacGurn's, who represents Bradd, request. Despite a trustee's mandated neutrality (Probate Code 16003), the two attorney's have acted in consort throughout the case,

If Judge Cline had read Jennifer's case management statement asking what he would do about the petitions now that he had unknowingly ruled on them, he might have seen there was a problem. However, he either didnt read it, just like the case, or chose to ignore it.

If one were to examine this case and looked at all the documents and exhibits, though some of the juicer ones were filed as "confidential", they would discover among them:
1) Rusty's e-mail stating" Can you believe this woman (Jennifer). I say let the beneficiaries duke it out in court. Of course I am sitting here with a glass of wine so my tolerance level is low" mistakenly sent to Jennifer after she had protested Rusty's attempt to violate a Probate Code statue in a so called settlement agreement designed to force her to give up the life estate left her by her mother.
2)Proof of three instances of Constance Larsen having told blatant lies in court documents,
3)Pictures of unkempt trust property and county accessor property tax records showing the taxes were paid with deliquency penalties while under the care of Rusty Grant.
4) Exhibits establishing a conflict of interest relationship that Rusty and Constance Larsen have with the realtor named in the trust to sell the life estate property (Bradd's request for a forensic accounting hopes to prove his mother misspent B and C assets thereby forcing the sale of the property so he can get a share earlier)
5) Proof both Rusty and Constance Larsen attempted to supress evidence exoneratimg Jennifer's mother, the very woman who honored her with the appointment of trustee of subtrust A.

Is this the kind of justice Judge Cline would want school kids observing in his courtroom?

Or will the documents in this case suddenly disapear or be destroyed also?

Anonymous said...


I know the case posted above. Here are more details:
Case #37-2011-00150239 current in Vista Court, in which Judge Cline made decisions that took away the rights of one of the beneficiaries, a current pro-per, Jennifer Grant, in favor of a trustee who's also a real estate attorney and alledged pro-tem judge, Rusty Grant (not related to Jennifer). When the whole case is seen in context, little doubt exists that Rusty is favorably biased toward one of the other heirs, Bradd Schwichtenberg, despite her mandate to act neutrally (Probate Code 16003).

Three petitions and a large volume of exhibits form the bulk of the case. The first petition was filed by Rusty on May 17, 201l and appears cleverly contrived to force a life estate residence left Jennifer into abatement. All petitions seem to revolve around beneficiary Bradd Schwichtenberg's stated goal of getting this residence sold ( Bradd's esponse to Rusty's Internal Affairs petition paragraph 4 page 4, Remove Trustee petition exhibit N).

The Remove Trustee Petition was filed by Jennifer who is seeking to remove Rusty from all three trusts though the reasons are different for A than for B and C,. However, exhibits 23-25, filed by Jennifer on April 16th, 2012 for an April 19th protective order motion hearing reveal a more personal motivation for getting the residence sold There is clearly a conflict of interest and likely violation of Business Professions Code 3-310 as Rusty Grant, her own attorney, Constance Larsen, and the realtor, who is designated to sell the residence, should Jennifer give it up, are long standing members and officers of a social organization in Escondido .

Jennifer filed two motions for the  April 19, 2012 motion hearing.  . In her 2nd Motion filed Feb. 2nd, accompanied by exhibits, Jennifer links the subpeonas to the third petition. Its main prayer is Bradd's request for a forensic accounting with the obvious goal of hoping to force the life estate into abatement should he prove successful since he is accusing his mother of misspending Trust B and C assets and wants A, containing the residence,, to repay them. Constance Larsen tries to claim in objections to motion that the purpose of the forensic accounting is to determine what is in the trust in order to distribute it. However, if one reads the three petitions and Jennifer's motion responses to Bradd and Constance, it is clear that all parties know what is currently in the trust and where. Rusty  had previously filed a response to Bradd's  petition, that she was willing to aid him in his objective, thereby further establishing her bias. Jennifer objected to both parties, alleging that Bradd's interpretation of the trust terms were incorrect and he was using a chart which was the wrong chart on which to base his accusations of misspending. She  offes refuting exhibits to support her positon,
. Since the need for the forensic accounting is alleged by Bradd, it should be his responsibility and Rusty should only be involved if his allegations prove correct. If Bradd's motion declaration is read carefully he states the subpeoned documents will be sent to him. However Bradd's attorney, Richard MacGurn, is taking advantage of the situation so all seven trust beneficiaries will have to share in the expense instead of just his client. Meanwhile, Judge Cline appears to have no qualms about burdening 5 beneficiaries, who aren't even involved in the litigation, as well as Jennifer, forcing them to spend their inheritance on what promises to be a costly enterprise given the number of institutions subpeoned.

Anonymous said...


Judge Cline's motion ruling calls Jennifer's contentions, outside the first Motion for a Protective Order, “irrelevant and unproven” though he fails to discuss any subsequent document or exhibit other than stating he read the Consent to Serve. Little wonder he considers it “irrelevant “as the title clearly defines it belongs with the Remove Trustee petition, not the motion.   Instead of giving Jennifer a chance to prove her “unproven” allegations during at time of  trial on the petitions, he grants Bradd the main prayer of his by ruling his requested forensic accounting go forward, depriving Jennifer of her right to have her objections to this petition heard at trial,

Ruling on one petition before trial at a motion hearing would seem unjust enough. However, in an examination of the other two petitions, it is found that both Rusty and Jennifer claim they are trustee of the B and C trusts despite Rusty only appearing on the scene six weeks prior to Jennifer and Bradd's mother's date of death in 2010.  B and C became irrevocable back in 1997 when her father died.. Since the forensic accounting is over issues related to whether the Jennifer and Bradd's mother  misspent B and C, who the legal trustee is bears great importance. If it were to be proved that Jennifer is trustee of B and C, and Rusty merely trustee of A, then accusations of misspending of B and C should be taken up with Jennifer, not Rusty. Therefore, Judge Cline's Protective Order motion ruling underhandedly declared Rusty Trustee of B and C, once again denying Jennifer her right to trial. Rusty is now also gifted with free rein to spend B and C money as well.

The court registry shows that Rusty has been quick to seize her victory as she is now using the title “successor trustee” when prior to the ruling she had merely been known as “petitioner”.

Jennifer apparently made one final attempt to get her petition rights back. In her Case Management Statement for the May 18th courtroom appearance, Jennifer points out to Judge Cline that he has just ruled on the petitions at a Protective Order motion hearing and asks what what he will do about this. The answer obviously is that he plans to do nothing to restore her rights as he subsequently signed the order and never addressed the issue. He also ignored her request for bifurcation on the petitions which would have seemed appropriate given the numerous code sections Jennifer alleges that Rusty has violated. In context of the whole case's documents and exhibits (or at least the descriptions of the confidential ones), Jennifer appears to be justified, They include exhibits of

an e-mail from Rusty stating “Can you believe this woman ( apparently Jennifer)? I say let the beneficiaries duke it out in court. Of course I am sitting here with my glass of wine, so maybe my tolerance level is low”  (Motion for a Protective Order Exhibit 17 and also Remove Trustee Petition Jennifer's Response to Objections Exhibit R ),

trust property damage (Remove Trustee Petition, Jennifers Response to Objections Exhibit S (2pgs),

Constance making claims Jennifer did not notify her of her alleged right to B and C trusteeship until after the Rusty's petition was filed in May 2011 though a countering exhibit shows Jennifer had e-mailed both of them with this fact back in April (Remove Trustee Petition Exhibits R and S),

Constance and Rusty trying to prevent Jennifer from obtaining statements which would help clear her mother of the misspending accusations (Motion for a Protective Order exhibits 6 and 7),

an image of the county tax accessor's website showing Rusty was negligent on paying property taxes on time (Remove Trustee Response  of Jennifer to Rusty's Objections Exhibit R )

and more!!!!!

Why is this not being stopped by someone?.

Anonymous said...

We attempted to contact Judge Cline through Facebook. We had learned he is a member of the Sunrise Vista branch of the Kiwanis Club. He does not have a Facebook account but the Kiwanis Club was very helpful and contacted him for us. He got back to us through them very quickly and was very courteous though we did not make any immediate headway since we were told to go through the court system.

Jennifer was a part of our community for many years. Most of us took for granted that she would stay in Mary's home after she passed as this was Mary's wish. saddened by what has happened.

Little is known about Rusty except that she has not adequately taken care of Mary's property, failing to respond to homeowner notifications and was at one point cited by the HOA. There was also an incident with the police who apparently were summoned on a day Jennifer's siblings were carrying belongings away from the home. Jennifer was not with them.

We are deeply saddened and disappointed by what has happened and hope Judge Cline will rethink his decisions so that Jennifer can return to our community.

Lake San Marcos

Anonymous said...

The Case #37-2011-00150239 that most of these commments are about is online. You can purchase the documents. It also says in the Registry that file was destroyed. If Judge Cline doesn't like the system then why is he putting the records on line?

It seems like a money making scam. You use to be able to walk into a courthouse and ask to look at the file for free.

So does his telling C.S. to "go through the court system". That means she will have to hire an attorney which will cost alot of money trying to help a community member and pay filing fees which will make the court money and pay his salary. If Cline didn't read the case itself, why should C.S. believe that he will read anything else filed?

If the third commentor is wrong and he did read the case why would he let this Rusty person continue as a trustee with all the exhibits showing her true colors? There is so much irrefutable evidence against her because it all was written by her, Constance, is in photos, or comes from reputable websites. Its just proof that justice belongs to who you know.

These two cases show that if you are a pro-per you can count on not getting justice.

One last thing, in the exhibit where Rusty has been drinking, did anyone notice that she says she hates pro-pers?

Anonymous said...

I just did a Google search on Bradd Schwictenberg. He is a Division Chief of the Army Corp of Engineers in Washington DC. I wonder how much of the fact he is a top level government employee fits in the picture and exacrly how?

Nancy L.

Anonymous said...

This case seems all about power and praying on those who are least likely to be able to defend themselves. In his petition, Brad is also trying to take the caregiver's money away by making her out to be nothing to the mother but a short term employee. Jennifer's response is that she knew the family for a number of years and was friends with the mother.

I am really surprised at Richard MacGurn. He has a good reputation and did charitable work with the Boys and Girls Club nearby. Yet he turns around and advocates for his client taking a caregiver's gift away using some legal technicality. Money and power must talk louder than charity and humanism.

Rusty Grant is an eviction attorney. She doesn't pay property taxes until after Constance Larsen files her petition in May 2011. (Property taxes are due in April and the exhibit shows her paying them in June) and doesn't keep up the property. To me that says she was trying to get Jennifer in trouble with the city and the HOA. It wouldn't surprise me if her negligence was calculated and purposeful.

Anonymous said...

Source: North County Bar Association

Judge Cline is a past president. He still serves as a guest speaker. Richard MacGurn is a silver member and serves as a probate mediator through the Bar's probate mediation program.

Draw your own conclusions.

S. Parker

Anonymous said...

Power, Politics and GREED!
No matter how it turns out, who do you think walks away with the money?
Its not Probate, its Prorape.

Anonymous said...

God works in mysterious ways, I would say from these two cases that the upcoming closure of Vista Probate Court is a blessing, Hopefully it will not be too late for those in the cases mentioned here.
Sandra Wise

Anonymous said...

I provided a link to this post when I sent my comment to the Superior Court. The Vista probate court is indeed troubled as noted by one of the respondents to Lola Sherman's article in the North County Times on its upcoming closure. Good luck to these litigants/ May it go better for them in Central.

As for the North County Bar, as Jennifer noted in her comment to it's president in the Times' Forum, looks like your house does indeed need cleaning.

Anonymous said...

Some years back current North County Bar president, Bill Kamenjaren served as co-vice president with both Constance Larsen and Rusty Grant. Many N.C. Times articles attest to this relationship.

Ties DO count more than ethics when it comes to the North County Bar.

Public be warned

Anonymous said...

File a complaint against Rusty Grant with a state fiduciary organization. File a complaint against Constance Larsen with the state bar.

Eric Szvoboda said...

Cline is an interesting figure. I wonder what is going on more behind the scenes....

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Grant is not an attorney. She chose to file her own petitions, etc. Although she may have had valid points, she obviously failed to prove them. Her arguments are long, rambling and unprofessional, filled with vicious personal attacks. Judges do not have time to read hundreds of pages of documents for each case they hear. They rely on a prepared summery of each case provided to them prior to each hearing. Therefore, the judge made his rulings based on the facts he received. This is customary and fair. Perhaps Jennifer Grant should work on her communication style. The judge simply ruled on properly filed and properly evidenced facts set before the court. What I have read here about this case tells Jennifer Grant's side of the story. Perhaps there is more to it than her version of events. Just saying... Why is it that everyone who disagrees with Jennifer Grant is depicted as incompetent?

Anonymous said...

If anyone does a case search they will see that only one of the petitions has gone to trial. Jennifer Grant prevailed and Rusty Grant's petition for first account was denied. Therefore the previous poster must be incorrect that Jennifer failed to prove her points. Perhaps the change of venue made the difference.

Anonymous said...

Huh? The "long and rambling" documents are by an attorney that Jennifer apparently had for awhile or used to write the documents, not Jennifer. Read them. Hers aren't as professional, but they aren't the "long and rambling" ones. It sounds like the "attacks" are most likely warranted.

The last poster is right. Only one petition went to trial. It was by Rusty and got denied.

Anonymous said...

I believe the poster (2 posts prior) refers to rulings made under Judge Cline NOT current nor post-
Judge Cline judges. Therefore, the poster implies, had Jennifer sought the help of an attorney, perhaps she'd have had a better outcome sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

This is not a Hollywood movie. Normal people don't have power over the courts, my dear. What a silly notion.

Anonymous said...

Dear August 6th poster, have you nothing better to do than mind other people's business? Do you really know and understand all the details of this case? Of course not. Don't bring shame to yourself by passing judgement on other folks affairs nor folks you don't even know.

Anonymous said...

The North County FBI has been taking reports about how the probate court, private fiduciaries and their attorneys have been acting in collusion to milk the money from estates. The beneficiaries never even see what inheritance they were suppose to receive. If enough persons who have been affected follow through and make a report, the federal prosecutor may bring RICO charges against them. If this has happened to you, call 760-929-0811or 858-320-1800. These are the phone numbers for the FBI. Tell them you would like to make a report regarding RICO violations by the Probate court and/or private fiduciaries and their attorneys.

ets clean up one more area of San Diego corruption!

Anonymous said...

Hope is on the horizon?

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Grant sued Constance larsen, Rusty Grant, Robin Cahill and Stella Shvil in
civil court (case # 2016-00036031). If you read the complaint, you have to wonder how such corruption can exist and neither the bar or the court do anything about it. Of course, they seem to be corrupt too.