Illumination News Staff Report
California State Bar Wants to Hear
from Family Court Victims
Seeks Testimony on Allegations of Professional Misconduct by Attorneys Appointed to Represent Minor Children
Representative of the California State Bar indicated that anyone who feels that the court appointed attorneys for their minor children are not representing the best interests of those children should immediately file disciplinary complaints against them.
Since the release of the Karen Winner Report in February of 2000: “Findings on Judge Michael Dufficy, Commissioner Sylvia Shapiro Pritchard & Court Appointees in Marin County’s Superior Court in California," the issue of family court corruption has now been taken up by the California Chapter of the National Organization for Women. NOW recently released a 135 page report that detailed the lack of ethics and proper courtroom codes in the family law system. According to a CA NOW spokeswoman, Marin County is one of their focal points.
The National Center for State Courts whose Operational Review of Marin County Family Court was issued in February of 2002, also cited the need for further investigations of allegations of bias and inappropriate behavior by judicial officers.
The State Bar, in response to these reports and two recent filings against Marin County lawyers (Sandra M. Acevedo and Marshall W. Krause), indicated that they need to hear from all victims of alleged professional misconduct on the part of family court appointed attorneys for minor children.
It was specifically suggested that anyone and everyone with professional misconduct complaints against Marshall Krause or Sandra Acevedo, who is often appointed to represent minor children in Marin County Family Law cases, should file immediately. Despite allegations of misconduct, Acevedo still serves as the chair of the Marin County Bar Association's Family Law Committee.
To file a complaint or get information about the State Bar's Rules of Professional Conduct and Professional Ethics go the California State Bar's website: http://www.calbar.ca.gov
Click on "Public Services" on the left column and then scroll down to "Lawyer Discipline and Complaints" or call them at (415) 538-2000.
Families having filed complaints with the State Bar have noted that the Bar is slow to act, if, in fact, it acts at all. Bar spokespersons noted that they can only act if they have specific charges and a provable case and that the more complaints they get, the more seriously they take the situation.
For more information on Family Court Reform see these links:
THE MARIN COUNTY COURT CORRUPTION DATA FILES
CALIFORNIA NOW FAMILY COURT REPORT 2002
CA State Bar Probes Attorney Misconduct Against Marin's Marshall Krause & Sandra Acevedo
Marin Teen Files with State Bar Against Court Appointed Lawyer
Daily Journal Op Ed: Kids Speak Out Against Abuses of Family Court
The NCSC Report on Marin Courts is on the web (National Center for State Courts)
Marin Family Court:
Investigative Writer, Karen Winner, "The Winner Report"