Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More problems in San Diego Superior Court: records missing from files in active case

The clerks at the San Diego Superior Court have apparently been trained to deny that court personnel ever sabotage the course of justice. Michael Roddy clearly supports these denials, as can be seen in the email that he finally coughed up after a bizarre falsification of a document by a court clerk. The email is at the bottom of this page.

UPDATE MAY 17, 2013: My exhibits are finally replaced.

UPDATE FEB. 1, 2013 regarding story below about documents missing from the Stutz v. Larkins case file:

Court supervisor Denise Jones called me today and confirmed that documents were, indeed, missing from the case file, as I had told her two days ago.

The next thing she said was, "We have no proof that the exhibits were ever filed."

Never filed?

I asked, "Do you mean they might never have been placed in the file by the court, or are you suggesting that the submitted pleadings never had exhibits attached?"

"We have no proof that the exhibits were ever submitted."

I said, "It taxes the imagination to come up with a scenario where both Plaintiff and Defendant failed to notice that their pleadings were missing attached exhibits that were a couple of inches thick."

"There's nothing we can do. We don't have the files."

"Actually, you do have proof that the court had the exhibits. It's in the court reporter's transcript for July 27, 2012. Judge Hayes talked about the first exhibit on my list of exhibits that's in the court file."

"There's nothing we can do."...

Why is she so sure that the documents won't show up? She never mentioned any efforts to find the documents, such as going over to Department 68 and asking the staff to search for them.

I am beginning to suspect that she knows that the exhibits were destroyed. I'm sure that destruction of documents at the court is a much more formal process than it is at a place like Enron. There would be a record made when the exhibits were destroyed. So why was Ms. Jones so defensive about the missing exhibits? If they were destroyed, why claim that the exhibits might never have been submitted?

Secrecy is the enemy of justice.

The court administration is beginning to remind me of another institution that I read about in the LA Times today. That other institution "fought all the way to the state Supreme Court to keep many of the records secret" and "abandoned a plan make the documents public with the names of the [most powerful individuals] blacked out only after media organizations, including The Times, sued in court. The judge sided with the media..."

I suspect that some powerful individual at the court filled out a form to get the Stutz v. Larkins exhibits destroyed, and falsely stated on the form that 60 days had passed since the case was finished. (In fact, no judgment has been entered in the case.) Wouldn't that form be a public record? Perhaps I should request it.


Today I went to Central Records to get a document for my appeal regarding an injunction in a very active case, the Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz defamation lawsuit regarding this blog.

I was amazed to find that all 18 of my exhibits were missing for my special 8-page brief to defend myself against Stutz law firm's Motion to Strike my Answer, which was granted by Judge Judith Hayes.

The missing documents are extremely important since they concern the striking of an answer after five years during which I was denied a jury trial for damages. It's not an insignificant action when a court strikes an Answer AFTER SUMMARY ADJUDICATION has occurred. It is, in fact, shocking. Perhaps the judge is angry that the Court of Appeal threw out her injunction that banned me from mentioning the name of Stutz law firm. I suspect that someone in Department 68 is concealing the exhibits supporting this crucial decision that will definitely be appealed if there is ever a final judgment in this case. I can't appeal the decision to Strike Answer until a final judgment is entered.

See all posts regarding Stutz v. Larkins defamation case.

See pleadings and depositions in the case.

Just a week ago a woman in a probate case told me she was worried that documents might go missing from her case file. I told her that I had never had that experience. She was relieved and happy. I guess I should tell her that I can no longer vouch for the integrity of San Diego Superior Court files.

The clerks were not at all interested in the fact that exhibits were missing. They told me that exhibits are always thrown out 60 days after the end of the case. I said the case is still active. Then they said the exhibits might be in the Exhibit Room.

The clerk named Laura was particularly uninterested in the missing documents. She came up with excuse after excuse for the exhibits not being in the file. The only thing that concerned her was that I not use my cell phone. It's good to know what the priorities are for court personnel. Perhaps she didn't like me telling someone outside the courthouse what was going on.

Laura's supervisor Yolanda Casey was very professional. She collected information, checked in the exhibit room, and when she did not find the missing exhibits. she went to talk to a Manager, Denise Jones.

Apparently, if you ask enough questions about who the supervisors are, they take you seriously.

I waited a long time while Ms. Casey went to talk to her supervisor. I spent the time looking through the case file.

I next found that all 11 exhibits attached to my Request for Judicial Notice regarding the Motion to Strike Answer were missing.

Then I discovered that the Plaintiff's exhibits for its special 8-page pleading were missing, too!

I believe my exhibits were removed because they so effectively prove that the judge's decision was a shocking abuse of discretion, and Plaintiff's exhibits were removed because they did not adequately support the judge's decision.

Interestingly, after a total of SEVEN pleadings regarding one motion, the judge COULD NOT FIND A SINGLE SPECIFIC STATEMENT on my blogs that justified her decision to throw out my Answer and grant a default to Plaintiff. Judge Hayes simply claimed that violations of the injunction existed, and therefore she was striking my Answer. She erased all her "findings" from her 4-page tentative ruling. Her "findings" consisted of:

1) statements that had long ago been erased, but Judge Hayes stated that they were "currently" on my site;
2) third-party comments that had been erased;
3) public records in the case.

Clearly, the judge does not want the public to have access to the records in this case.

I went up to Ms. Jones' office. Ms. Jones made a list of the missing documents, and said she would get back to me. I suspect the documents are in a drawer in the office of the Department 68 research attorney, Monica Barry, who seems to drink coffee when she's reading the case file.

I have seen very little evidence that the judge reads the pleadings. A few months ago she said she couldn't tell if the statement "Daniel Shinoff trains school attorneys" was a violation of her injunction because she needed to consider the "context". The context in which this statement occurs has been part of the case file for almost four years. I trust the exhibits will reappear very soon so that the public and investigators from the Commission on Judicial Competence will be able to see them.

Sadly, the Central Records office has changed for the worse since the woman who used to be in charge retired not long ago. The atmosphere in the Central Office used to be remarkably positive, even though it's a basement office that doesn't seem to have been refurbished since it was built when I was about twelve years old, in 1962.

Denise Jones' director is Terry Brewton. Brewton's supervisor is Steve Cascioppo, who reports to Michael Roddy.

Michael Roddy is actually employed by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the support staff of the Judicial Council. The State Court System is governed by a 27-member Judicial Council led by the State's Supreme Court Chief Justice. The Judicial Council is the policy-making body of the California Courts and is responsible for ensuring the consistent, independent, impartial and accessible administration of justice.

Michael Roddy is currently on the faculty of Judicial Administration at Sacramento State College of Continuing Education.

Who is harmed when certain judges wrap the chief executive of the court around their little fingers when they want to undermine one litigant in favor of another? For one thing, it encourages judges who are so motivated to make improper decisions, because they have so much help in getting away with bad behavior. Who is harmed, besides the targeted litigant? The taxpayers have to pay for the Court of Appeal to examine cases that could easily have been properly decided. The Court of Appeal should be used for difficult decisions in cases where the law is unclear.


Case # 37-2011-00150239-PR-TR-CTR said...

I have also worrried that exhibits are missing from my case and documents have been possibly altered

Most recently, Constance Larsen and Rusty Grant committed perjury when they signed declarations in a petition under oath. I filed objections and pointed out the perjurious instances. I was told by someone familiar with the court that I ran a huge risk as, being attorneys, they could simply go into the drawers and remove and replace the documents which were the subjects of my allegations. I found out that someone can remove and substitute documents in the imaging system. When I expressed dismay at this, I was told "well, they aren't SUPPOSE to do that and if anyone reports them it is a felony. However the attitude appears to be "hear no evil, see no evil". After all, what clerk wants to come up against an attorney or higher up on the ladder when their job might be at stake?

I do know someone whose documents disappeared in North County.

I had my motion to suspend the trustee denied as "not urgent". I have a very fair and competent judge, Judge Bostwick. To this day I do not understand his decision because if he looked at the exhibits, he would have seen evidence of conflict of interest, trust misappropriations, abuse to my person, etc. I had almost 50 pages of exhibits. I suspect he was not given all or many of them.

The Registry of Actions seems the only court record difficult, but not impossible to alter.

I have a probate examiner who I have to contact everytime they are done because something is left out that is important such as dates I'm unavailable. Yesterday she went into great lenght what the prayers were in the oppositions supplment to their petition and noted an affirmative response had been filed while completely failing to note my opposition documents. When contacted, she simply stated that mine was a compicated case and that I shouldnt expect all documents to get put in the notes. However, a reader could only surmise there was no opposition, especially when the petition was described in such detail and the affirmative response was added.

The supervisors at the court are always "unavialable". "in meetings" and dont' return phone calls.

Michael Roddy has no interest what goes on in the court. He was contacted by numerous people over my case during the time he was soliciting comments about Vista Probate. A prudent commissioner would have looked into my case and done something about the attorney/trustee and judicial abuse. The judge issue was taken care of when my case transferred downtown with the other ones from Probate when the Vista Probate division closed. However, Constance Larsen and Rusty Grant continue their reign of fiduciary abuse unchecked.

But then again, maybe Mr Roddy doesn't deserve my denunciation. Perhaps he tried to look into it but couldnt find the exhibits that would have shown him what people were telling him about>

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Case # 37-2011---150239-PR-TR-CTL said...

California Government code section 6200 makes it a felony crime for any officer of the court to destroy or alter documents. The punishment for this includes a prison sentence. Therefore we have people in the courts committing felony crimes as case files are suppose to be preserved for 10 years. Maura's circumstances are a perfect example of why--they may be needed for an appeal. If a case is not yet decided a judge or jury may want to look back at them for context even if they were for an already decided part of the case. Something may arise constituting "common plan, scheme or design" which the exhibits and prior case history will prove. etc.

When I filed a motion to suspend trustee Rusty Grant (who has committed civil and penal crimes against the trust along with Constance Larsen), I submitted over 50 pages of exhibits of mispenditures against trust terms, taking of fees after documents were filed that no trustee or attorney fees should be taken without court order, abuse of my person, evidence of a coflict of interest relationship, refusal to let me have my personal or inherited property though my siblings had been given or sent most of theirs and more.

When exhibits are submitted, a litigant has the choice of having the exhibits returned or destroyed. Before I learned better, I thought the exhibits were also imaged along with the rest of the case, so, instead of having documents I already had copies of returned, I asked they be destroyed AFTER they were imaged. Now I know they are never imaged. And I received a note from the clerk's office that my exhibits were destroyed at my request. I do not know if Judge Bostwick ever got to see them. It may explain why he denied my motion because it was "not urgent". However, my exhibits should have never been destroyed before 10 years are up if there is no other court record in some form for the permanent file. What if they were needed for appeal? How can I now show Judge Bostwick, if given the opportunity, that he overlooked some very important issues I was trying to advise the court of almost 1/2 year ago?

I do have proof I submitted exhibits through my notice of lodgement. Or has that been altered in the imaged file? Unless I wish to pay the court money to look, I have no way of knowing.

Rene van dockum said...

I have two files missing in El Cajon, one family court file and one civil. also a court document was altered, the date filed was changed by pen, to give opposing counsel his order filed.

what does one do in these cases? My attorney is moving to another job and I am after years of stress unemployed. my opposing party, my ex and her husband have always said her attorney works for free, she knows the judge and a dda. now we have a new judge.

It's Happened to Me Too said...

Those of us who have been used by the San Diego Superior Court need to ban together and get the media to step in. There are hundreds of incidents like this going on. You are not alone.

We need national media attention. I have written Frontline and 60 minutes. Those of you who read this should contact them also. If they get enough complaints, maybe they will do a story. Any other suggetions of news shows to write that cover public corruption?

If you do write, don't go on and on about your own case. Tell them the system is corrupt and name some general things such as disappearing or altered documents, etc. Say that many people want to come forward.

Organicmom said...

Please contact me at I have already created a nonprofit to help those like you. I have had my own experiences in everything that others are saying here and have videotaped and written evidence of judges, and attorneys outright lying. The solution is to band together, and take our actual proof to the FBI since this is public corruption. I have already met with them and all they need is proof from more persons. In addition, our nonprofit will help you with your case for free. We work through our nonprofit and ask only for donations if you win your case and we were helpful. See for some of the cases, it is only 2% complete, it takes time. But we want to band together and change the corrupt system as only an estimated 2% of litigants actually follow through and get their cases heard to the end, the rest give up because they are so abused by the illegal system of not following their own court rules. That 98% are struggling and poor, or even in jail. We can change the system. I have courtwatchers t shirts and free help for those willing to help others by sitting in the courtroom during their cases wearing the courtwatchers t shirt to let them know that this kind of judicial corruption will not be tolerated. Please email me at if you need help or wish to get involved. The minorities, the moms, and the nonwage earning parents need you to step up and be heard.

Organicmom said...

Me too, great idea. I have contacted the media and channel 10 was very interested. Perhaps if all of us just go there with our stories and little proof.

Anonymous said...

Cases in re Jessica Seymour have been getting tampered with by the court house for years now. The abuse of Ms. Seymour's pleadings instigated a Commission on Judicial Performance investigation on Judge Yuri Hoffman which he resigned from his post as to avoid the CJP's investigation finding how the Judges are involved in the documents that go missing from court house files in relation to persons that the San Diego County and City are violating. The San Diego Superior Court is not ethical and is clearly engaging in some sort of money laundering scam through contract deals and through private criminals who seek to have a Victim abused in Court through abuse of court processes.... San Diego Superior Court is for sale to the highest bidder.

Bob Smith said...

^^^^^This above statement is Jessica Seymour ^^^^^^^
She thinks everyone is out to get her and is mentally not right. Shares a scam artist