Well over two months ago, on August 10, 2016, the California Legislature approved a first-ever audit of the California Commission on Judicial Performance (“CJP”), the state’s only judicial discipline agency. Our organization co-led that legislative campaign with Court Reform, LLC and a handful of others. The audit enjoyed widespread bipartisan support from the Legislature, court reform advocates, and yes, even California judges. The CJP announced that it welcomed the audit and was happy to present evidence that it was complying with its Constitutional mandate to protect the public.
On October 18, 2016, CA Family Law Attorney Barbara Kauffman sent a scathing letter to the CJP and the California Judicial Council, copied to Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, the FBI, and other law enforcement entities, explaining her concerns that a 3-year criminal statute of limitations may be about to expire regarding extreme court misconduct by Marin County Judge Beverly Wood and former Judicial Council Member/Court Executive Officer Kim Turner that Kauffman reported in a June 9, 2014 complaint made over 28 months ago to the CJP, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and the Judicial Council, Governor Brown, Attorney General Harris, and others.
Kauffman’s June 2014 complaint was repeatedly referred by all authorities to the Judicial Council and CJP for action, and then the Judicial Council itself referred the complaint to the CJP. The CJP has reportedly been “investigating” Kauffman’s complaint for over 28 months, and Kauffman has been providing the CJP and the Judicial Council with updates about ongoing misconduct of the (now multiple) Marin County judges and administrative officers allegedly involved, yet it appears that neither the Judicial Council nor the CJP has taken any remedial action regarding Kauffman’s detailed complaint yet. Kauffman’s June 2014 complaint and report regarding the lack of any remedial action was presented to members of an Assembly Budget Subcommittee in March 2016 as an example of why the CJP desperately needs an overhaul and audit. Subsequent complaints about Judge Beverly Wood have been submitted to the CJP over the past few years, and our organization has received copies of these complaints.
Meanwhile, the possibility that the criminal statute of limitations may be ticking on the June 9, 2014 complaint prompted Kauffman to write a followup letter regarding that complaint. Two days after Ms. Kauffman’s scathing 10/18/16 letter went out, pointing out potential conflicts of interest between the Judicial Council and the CJP and demanding immediate action by law enforcement entities against all those involved, the CJP filed a lawsuit against California State Auditor Elaine Howle attempting to limit the scope of the CJP audit.
Did Attorney Kauffman’s Scathing 10/18/16 Letter To CJP Trigger Lawsuit Just 2 Days Later? Take a look and you decide.
For more information on the original complaint against Judge Beverly Wood, go here.
Read this 2010 letter to see how the Judicial Branch has tried to thwart the State Auditor in the past. Some things never change.
Proposed Changes to Rules of Commission on Judicial Performance –
Submission by Court Reform LLC and Center for Judicial Excellence –September 30, 2016 – California Commission on Judicial Performance, Victoria B. Henley
If you filed a complaint with the CJP, please contact the state auditors office.
They have a voicemail where you can leave information for the CJP audit team, just call (916) 445-0255 and ask to be transferred over to the CJP audit team’s voicemail.
- October 25, 2016: San Diego Union Tribune, California judicial watchdog agency sues over state audit
- October 24, 2016: The Recorder, Judicial Discipline Commission Sues to Restrict State Audit
- September 16, 2016: Marin Independent Journal, Marin Voice: There are sound reasons for audit of judicial commission
- September 13, 2016: ProPublica, Call in Congress for Family Court Reform