Thursday, February 07, 2013

Google censorship helped Michael Roddy conceal problems at the San Diego Superior Court

Michael Roddy--too much arbitrary power?

*UPDATE FEB. 8, 2013: So far, so good. The link for this post is still good this morning! Thank you, Google!

*UPDATE FEB. 7, 2013:

It's a sad comment on the courts when they must rely on censorship to conceal problems instead of addressing the issues. Michael Roddy or one of his friends has managed to get Google to break the links that showed up on Google results both the first and second time I published this story. This is my third attempt to get good links for this story on Google. The story discusses public documents prepared by the court. Why would Google want to hide public documents from readers?

It has become clear that Michael Roddy and his staff are protecting the guilty party in the courthouse who has interfered illegally on more than one occasion in Stutz v. Larkins , the case where Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz law firm is suing the author of this blog for defamation. Mr. Roddy's lack of response to the first incident (see below) apparently emboldened the person who is engineering these serious shenanigan at the court. Silence implies consent, as I'm sure Mr. Roddy knows. On January 30, 2013 I discovered a new problem: documents missing from the case file.

Note to Google: Don't be evil!

UPDATE JANUARY 3, 2013 re Michael Roddy says it is proper for clerks to fabricate false facts in order to default appeals.

Karen Dalton, in charge of public relations for the court, was able to get a response for me from Mr. Roddy. Here it is:

Dear Ms. Larkins,

The October 2012 inquiries cited in your blog were received and investigated by the court. After investigating the issues you raised, we concluded that no improper action has been taken by any court employees related to your case. The matter has been closed.

Mike Roddy
Executive Officer

(I guess this means business as usual will continue in the court.)

Maria Hayes is the Supervisor of the Superior Court Appeals Division. Kathy Williams is the Manager of that Department and several other departments. Stephen Cascioppo is the Assistant Executive Officer, Central Division. And of course, Michael Roddy is the Executive Officer. Michael Roddy has clearly approved the creation of a false document to get rid of Appeal regarding one of the decisions of Judge Judith Hayes and her research attorney, Monica Barry.


At a time of layoffs of clerks, why is the court forcing clerks to spend time creating false documents and then more time correcting the record?

Michael Roddy is silent regarding the bizarre and unsuccessful effort of the San Diego Superior Court Appeals Division to default my September 6, 2012 appeal regarding an injunction in the Stutz v. Larkins case.

The Court of Appeal has already ruled one of Judge Judith Hayes' injunctions unconstitutional in this same case. It would seem that Mr. Roddy wants to protect judges who ignore the law. He has not responded to either of the two letters below.

Notice the two signatures on the document at left. Someone has merely written "/s/" on each signature line! This suggests that the clerk didn't like having to sign this document, so she applied this imprecise symbol. Perhaps she feared she'd lose her job if she didn't put something on the signature line.

It appears that Superior Court Appeals division clerk ZZZ ordered her subordinate to dismiss my appeal, claiming that my Designation of Record was unacceptable because there were no hearings on three of the dates I had listed in my Designation of Record.

Even if the court had been correct regarding this issue, it is normal practice to allow the appellant a grace period to correct such mistakes.

In fact, the court was completely, absolutely, wrong.

Not only were there hearings on those dates, but the transcripts of those hearings had actually been received by the Superior Court Appeals division in 2010 for my earlier appeal about the other unconstitutional injunction in this same case. The court apparently invented this excuse in an effort to find any reason at all to justify defaulting my appeal.

What would be the motive? To make sure than Judge Judith Hayes didn't have another injunction overturned by the Court of Appeal in the Stutz v. Larkins case.

October 23, 2012

Michael Roddy, Executive Officer
Stephen Cascioppo, Assistant Executive Officer, Central Division
Third Floor
220 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Executives of San Diego Superior Court:

Following is not necessarily word-for-word accurate, but all the ideas expressed are accurate. Not every word spoken is recorded here, but this transcript contains about 80% of what was spoken. Some parts were repeated.

I spoke to deputy clerk XXX in the Appeals Section on October 22, 2012 about the fact that all three of the dates she used to justify Defaulting my Appeal were, in fact, dates on which hearings had occurred.

Ms. XXX went to her computer and checked all three dates, then came back to me and said, “There were no minute orders on those dates.”

“Were there hearings on those dates?” I asked.

Instead of answering this question, she repeated a couple more times that there were no minute orders on those dates.

“What if the judge took the matter under submission?” I asked. “There wouldn’t be any minute order, even though there had been a hearing.”

Ms. XXX told me that her computer does not show whether a hearing has occurred—unless there was a minute order!!!!

I showed Ms. XXX two Reporter’s Transcript cover sheets for my 2010 appeal in the same case. I had drawn circles around the three dates in question. Ms. XXX made copies of the two cover sheets, and said that this cleared up the problem.

I said, “No, it doesn’t. The fact that this happened is a problem. Someone told you to do this, didn’t they?”

She said that no one had told her to do it.

I said, “You’re going to take the fall for this?”

I said I didn’t believe she could have made three mistakes like this, and she didn’t have any motive to sabotage my appeal.

When she went to her desk, her supervisor ZZZ came up to her and told her she should leave. Then she said, “It’s your break. I’ll take care of it.”

Then they both came over to where I was sitting, and XXX explained the situation to ZZZ.

ZZZ said to XXX, “Did you look it up on the V3 system?”

XXX said she did.

I said, “So the name of the system you use is V3?

ZZZ waved her hand dismissively, ending the gesture with her palm stationary in front of my face, and said, “It’s nothing for you to worry about.”

I requested that she not stick her hand in my face and asked, “Do you not want me to have information about what system you use?”

ZZZ said she didn’t mind giving me the information, and said that V3 was the system used by the Court.

“Does it show when a hearing has occurred?” I asked.

“Yes,” ZZZ said.

“That’s interesting. XXX said that it didn’t,” I said.

ZZZ said, “No, it doesn’t show hearings. It shows the minute orders. The minute orders are printed on yellow paper and placed in the file.”

I said, “So there’s no record on your computer of hearings at which no minute order was issued?”

ZZZ said, “Well, yes, there’s a little one line notation showing that there was a hearing.” She held up her two index fingers, a short distance apart, to show how small the notation was, apparently to demonstrate how easily it could be overlooked. I said, “Someone must have told XXX to do this. Was it you?”

ZZZ said, “No.”

ZZZ turned to XXX and told her to leave.

XXX was obviously uncomfortable to be asked to leave. It was clearly not her normal break time. I happen to know that clerks sometimes take their breaks at their desks, so it was not necessary for XXX to leave even if it actually had been her break time. XXXX did not feel good to be told to leave; her facial expression and body movements revealed that she was unhappy and anxious. I interpreted the order to leave as ZZZ’s effort to prevent XXX from revealing that ZZZ had told her to create the Notice of Default. This was quite paranoid of ZZZ, since XXX was absolutely steadfast in sticking to the story that the Notice of Default was entirely her own idea.

I asked to speak to Ms. ZZZZ’s supervisor, but Ms. ZZZZ said the supervisor had her door closed and was in a meeting.

I gave ZZZ my 1-page letter with three attachments, addressed to Mr. Roddy, Mr. Cascioppo, and XXXX, and she stamped it received and stamped my copy. I went to Michael Roddy’s office, but it was closed for lunch. I went back and asked ZZZ to put another copy in Mr. Roddy’s mail box. I saw her put the letter in a mail box on the west wall.

It’s worse to force a young, vulnerable person to subvert justice than it is to simply subvert justice oneself. And whoever pressured ZZZ was worse than ZZZ. Sincerely,

Maura Larkins

October 21, 2012

Michael Roddy, Executive Officer
Stephen Cascioppo, Assistant Executive Officer, Central Division
XXXXXXXX, Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court, 3rd Floor, Room 3005
220 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101

Dear San Diego Superior Court:

Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court XXXXXX states in her October 18, 2012 Notice of Default (attached) that for the dates 4/25/08, 4/03/09 and 3/05/10 “there are no minutes/hearings for those dates according to our record.”

I can’t begin to imagine how Ms. XXX could come up with not one, but three separate mistakes of this type. Not only did hearings occur on all three of these dates, but court reporter Marvie Votaw delivered the transcripts of these three hearings to your Appeals Section in connection with my March 2010 appeal. I have attached Ms. Votaw’s cover pages showing that transcripts were prepared for these dates. Also, in September 2012 the court reporters had no trouble preparing estimates for the cost of preparing the current record because I obviously designated the record with adequate specificity.

It is bizarre that the Superior Court would interfere in this way with my appeals process. If the deputy clerk didn’t have enough time to check carefully, why would she go out of her way to prepare a Notice of Default? Left to her own devices, she would have left it alone rather than picking three dates and declaring that hearings didn’t happen on those days. More likely, someone else picked those three dates and told Ms. XXXX that no hearings occurred on those days.

I suspect that someone in San Diego Superior Court who wanted to get rid of my appeal asked XXXX to prepare this Notice of Default.

Please investigate this shocking subversion of the judicial process.

XXX had no motive to do this on her own initiative, but obviously there is at least one person in San Diego Superior Court who does have a motive. Judge Judith Hayes almost certainly wants to prevent another ruling by the Court of Appeal that finds one of her injunctions to be “exceedingly broad.” But Judge Hayes probably didn’t talk directly to Ms. XXXX. More likely it would have been xxxxxx or xxxxxx.


Maura Larkins

The clerk seemed quite happy to reverse the default she had been forced to prepare. She sent me the following:

Here's a recent court transcript revealing the judge's bizarre behavior in this case.

See all posts re Stutz v. Larkins.

Michael Roddy is employed directly by the California Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).

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