|Sacramento Family Court News is a nonprofit journalism organization publishing original, independent news, aggregated news, news analysis, opinion, satire, and parody.|
To ensure continued access to Judicial Branch employee sources, many reporters at mainstream news outlets will avoid coverage of controversial issues. Rolling Stone investigative reporter Matt Taibbi has pointed out that political journalism "has been reduced to an access-trading game, where reporters are rewarded for favorable coverage of those in the know with more time and availability."
For example, as we exclusively reported, the Sacramento Bee in multiple stories in 2008-2009 covered up the temporary judge status of a family law attorney charged with 13-criminal counts, including sexual battery and penetration with a foreign object against clients and potential clients. Click here to read our report.
The lawyer was a sworn temporary judge in Sacramento County Superior Court and as judge pro tem presided over settlement conferences at the family relations courthouse, yet by the Bee was misleadingly portrayed as a rogue, outlier divorce attorney with no connection to family court operations.
The national family law website, familylawcourts.com also has called out the Bee and its reporters for protecting judges by refusing to identify them by name in its rare coverage of family court controversies. Click here and here. Our independence from outside influence allows SFCN to investigate and publish the stories that the self-censoring Judicial Branch legal community and mainstream media often are reluctant to report.
Family court watchdogs assert that Furillo has for years ignored important newsworthy
We report on virtually all Sacramento Family Law Court issues including divorce, child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, attorney fees and sanctions, court procedure and policy, and appeals from family court.
We cover the financial and socioeconomic power imbalances often prevalent in family court cases. Oligarchical factions exert significant influence over many government institutions in California, and Sacramento Family Court is no exception. Socioeconomically disadvantaged court users often are treated as second-class citizens by the court, which operates a two-track system of justice providing preferential treatment to litigants who can afford representation by members of the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section, according to evidence compiled by family court watchdogs and whistleblowers.
"As a litigator who practiced for more than a decade in federal and state courts across the country, I've long been aware of the inequities that pervade the American justice system. The rich enjoy superior legal representation and therefore much better prospects for success in court than the poor. The powerful are treated with more deference by judges than the powerless. The same cultural, socioeconomic, and demographic biases that plague society generally also infect the legal process. Few people who have had any interaction with the justice system would dispute this." With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, by Glenn Greenwald.If you are new to the Sacramento Family Court News site, we recommend reading our special Color of Law series of investigative reports documenting systemic family court problems, most involving cases where indigent, unrepresented litigants face-off against experienced divorce lawyers. Click here to view the Color of Law series.
Our contributors include reporter P.R. Brown, news analysis and opinion writer PelicanBriefed, and our resident satire and parody humorist, RoadDog, who we unchain on Sundays to take the edge off our more serious Monday-Friday content. Due to our ties to the family law legal community and the nature of our work - which is considered by some in the community as a breach of the code of silence - SFCN contributors use pseudonyms.
Family court is unique. According to the Judicial Council of California, about 75 percent of all family court litigants statewide do not have a lawyer, most because they can't afford representation. Unrepresented, pro per litigants make up 70 percent of Sacramento Family Law Court users, according to the Sacramento County Family Law Facilitator.
In family court, the parties are often embroiled, and the atmosphere emotionally charged. The lawyers and judges can become as irrational as the clients. Most judges don't want to be in family court and are there breaking in as a new judge or paying penance for past sins. Most are counting the days of fixed term family court assignments until they are reassigned downtown to hear civil or criminal cases.
In Sacramento County, the current family court structure dates back to 1991 when controversial Judge Peter McBrien and attorneys from the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section revamped family court operations. Court reform advocates assert that since that time, the public court effectively has been run by and for the private-sector financial interests of SCBA Family Law Section member attorneys.
This eclectic mix of controversy, emotions, egos, disinterest and dysfunction provides a consistent stream of newsworthy events often overlooked, or deliberately ignored by traditional print and broadcast media.
We Want to Know What You Know About Family Court
We are very interested in hearing from court users, court clerks, bailiffs, court reporters, court administrators, judges and attorneys. Confidential communications are protected by the reporters’ privilege and the California Shield Law. See Cal. Const. article I section 2(b) and Cal. Evidence Code section 1070 [pdf]. Much of our original news content comes from confidential government and private sector sources. Please see our Contact page for additional information regarding our source protection policy.
How To Distinguish News, Analysis, Opinion and Satire ContentLike a traditional print newspaper, the content we publish is segregated as news, analysis, opinion, or satire. Analogous to the sections of a newspaper, at the end of each blog post are one or more labels designating the type of content in the post. A post containing news and analysis content might have labels like this:
|Sacramento Family Court News uses labels to identify news, analysis, opinion and satire content.|
Our Professional Standards & Anonymous SourcesWe observe the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and the Ethics in Journalism Policy of the New York Times. While we prefer to credit our news content sources, we observe the New York Times Confidential News Sources Policy when we use information provided by confidential or anonymous news sources. Due to a strong probability of retaliation, most of our sources request and are provided anonymity.
|Sacramento Family Court News uses the same |
family law references as judges and attorneys.
In Sacramento County, employee whistleblower James Locke's career was destroyed and his termination orchestrated by court administrators, including controversial Family Law and Probate Director Julie Setzer and judges, including Jerilyn Borack, according to court records and media accounts.
Nevada County Family Court whistleblower Emily Gallup suffered a similar fate when she attempted to report serial lawbreaking by coworkers. Family court litigants and attorneys who attempt to speak out about corruption also face retaliation in the form of illegal, adverse court rulings, court imposed financial hardship and homelessness, loss of contact with their own children, and even incarceration.
For these reasons, we protect the identities of credible, reliable confidential sources.
Our news analysis and opinion content is largely based on the family and civil law references used by judges and attorneys, including the California Practice Guide series published by The Rutter Group. Click here for a detailed description of the Sacramento Family Court News reporting references and newsroom law library.
Corrections & How To Contact Sacramento Family Court News:Our goal is accuracy in all news content. If brought to our attention, all material factual inaccuracies in our news content will be corrected. Please see our Terms and Conditions page for further information. Send corrections, tips, comments, and concerns to:
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|Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, is a former Sacramento County Superior Court judge. Goodwin Liu, Kathryn Werdegar, Joyce Kennard, Carol Corrigan, Marvin Baxter and Ming Chin are associate justices on the Supreme Court of California.|