Saturday, January 19, 2013

Judge Richard Cline leaves problems behind in San Diego probate court

Judge Richard G. Cline

See case documents HERE.

Jennifer Grant
January 19, 2013

In July 2011 a petition was filed to remove attorney Rusty Grant (no relation to Jennifer Grant) as trustee from the Schwichtenberg Family Revocable Trust. Reasons included expenditures against trust terms, incuding penalties for Rusty's failure to pay property taxes on time, failure to follow trust terms, illegitimate takeover of two subsections of the trust which had become irrevocable prior to the amendment which made Rusty trustee of the other subsection, and severe discrimination against the trustor's daughter Jennifer who had served as her mom's personal assistant and subsequently cared for her during her long battle with breast cancer.

Rusty Grant and Constance Larsen (Rusty’s own attorney, friend and officemate) had served as co-vice-presidents of the North County Bar with the current president back in 2006. Judge Cline made the majority of the decisions while the case was in Vista (when Vista court still had a probate division), including one in violation of federal and state constitutional law. Judge Cline had long standing bar ties with Richard MacGurn, the attorney of Jennifer's disgruntled brother.. Additionally, Rusty was a pro-tem judge in Vista.

In September 2012, with the closure of Vista's probate division, the case was moved to San Diego's Central division where it was inherited by Judge Jeffery Bostwick. Judge Bostwick is an ethical and professional judge. However, most likely due to the huge number of Vista cases dumped on him and the slow wheels of the justice system, he failed to grasp the urgency of the matter before him. He left Rusty Grant and Constance Larsen to continue their reign of fiduciary abuse, mispenditure of trust funds and violations of law unchecked, despite Jennifer filing a motion to suspend the trustee until the court could hear the case. Judge Bostwick denied the motion because it was “not urgent”.

How exactly, if Jennifer prevails, is all the misspent money supposed to get reimbursed?

In the meantime, there is no money available to pay the ongoing expenses of the trust property, so it will likely be lost if there is no intervention before the case can go to trial. Since Constance Larsen has illegally denied Jennifer the right to be in the property, it sits neglected and further deteriorating.

When Jennifer sought help from the California state fiduciary abuse organization, she was told that they could not touch attorneys though it sounded like Constance Larsen and Rusty Grant had committed crimes. Was there any other category of fiduciary out of their jurisdiction? The answer was “no”. So basically, they were saying if you are an attorney in California, you can break the law with no repercussions.

Both attorneys were also reported to the State Bar. How much their own North County Bar connections may have weighed in is unknown. However the complaint was closed. Jennifer received a letter which basically stated that, while her complaint might have merit, that the Bar could not get involved because there was a civil case in court.

The county DA was contacted but said a police report must first be filed. Since Constance Larsen forbids Jennifer to be in the property left her, there is a pending issue with the police as to who has jurisdiction to take the report.

In the latest incident, Constance Larsen tried to create a circumstance of double jeopardy by filing an accounting petition which contained issues already under contest in the case's other three petitions.

See pleading: Objections to Accounting Petition

Judge Cline allowed Rusty to conduct the forensic accounting ahead of trial on the contested petition where the question of who should conduct the accounting was at issue. Constance Larsen was blatantly trying to press her luck twice to get rid of the Remove Trustee petition and get fees for herself and further ones for Rusty.

This was an attempt to violate Jennifer's constitutional right to due process (US constitutional 14th amendment and California Constitution Section I Article I) as it had been in the circumstance with Cline.

Fortunately Judge Bostwick listened to Jennifer's due process argument on the Accounting Petiton and thwarted Larsen by consolidating it with the three other pending petitions putting it on the same civil justice snail track. However, if one takes a look at the objections he asked Jennifer to file, one can get a small taste of what is being allowed to continue by the State Bar as well as an overburdened, inefficient justice system here in San Diego. To top it off, as can be seen from Jennifer's objections, and looking at the exhibits, Constance Larsen and Rusty Grant have made false statements, committing perjury, when they signed their petitons. The question remains, are attorneys above the law? If not, then how can they be held accountable and by whom?

(Case # 37-2011-00150239-PR-TR-NC)


Sunrise Point Homeowner said...

Many of us here in what should be Jennifer's community are heartsick for her and disgusted at San Diego Superior Court.

Last Friday, Jennifer had a hearing in Probate court down at Central. Judge Jeffery Bostwick condoned the abuse she has gone through including Rusty Grant and Constance Larsen letting bugs invade her mother's home and possessions when he told Jennifer since trustee, Rusty Grant had already let the home become damaged over the course of the last two years, the latest failure, to provide pest control, was not urgent and she was wrong to have brought it before the court as such.

Fellow Sunrise Point resident, Mary Lynch shares a connecting wall with the unit left Jennifer. Judge Bostwick did not consider the fact bugs could also enter her unit through common pipes and vents, a dead smoke alarm (illegal in California)which also contributes to Mary's safety and Mary's loss of enjoyment of her yard due to the view of dead plants on their connecting patio not urgent either. What WOULD he consider urgent?

Rusty Grant and Constance Larsen have been both injurious to Jennifer and violated her mother's trust provisions since Jennifer's mother died and they took over the estate. However Judge Bostwick condones such abuse. Rather than hold them accountable, he is more concerned with their getting paid as he has ordered trial on a petition for their fees, ignoring Jennifer's petition to remove them.

We would like to know from Judge Bostwick when money became more important than people and the human right not to be personally injured. Rusty Grant should have been immediately fired. Constance Larsen should have been sanctioned and reported to the California State Bar. They should also have been held accountable for what they have done to Jennifer personally and her mother's home for almost three years now.

Judge Cline may have started the problem. Judge Bostwick seems to be taking it to a new level.

Anonymous said...

San Diego Superior Court presiding judge, the Hon. Robert Trentacosta needs to get a grip on this case and what is going on in his courtrooms. His reputation was supposedly built by his concern for and adherance to ethics. Where are they if they aren't being applied to those under his authority?

Maura Larkins said...

Superior Court judges are not under the "authority" of the presiding judge. Hon. Robert Trentacosta can not "apply" his own ethics to other judges. He can't order sitting judges to make specific decisions or to change decisions.

You need to go to the Court of Appeal to change a decision.

Also, you can ask the Commission on Judicial Performance to "apply ethics", since judges are under their authority.