Corruption in California’s Family Law Courts: California’s “Private Judge” Scheme and its Enablers

California law authorizes the use of a “privately compensated judge” in family law cases. Corrupt attorneys and judges alike conflate the title to fraudulently induce highly vulnerable family law clients into reassigning cases to so-called “private judges.” California’s families are mislead into believing their most sensitive financial, child custody, paternity, and domestic violence issues will be adjudicated privately, so long as they pay a premium to the judge. However, the proceedings are completely open to the public and on the public record. There’s no such thing as a “private judge.”

Proceedings before a “private judge” are open to the public and on the public record.

In truth and in fact, when a privately compensated judge is assigned to a family law case, he or she temporarily becomes an official superior court judge and is required to comply with all laws, including California Rules of Court, the California Constitution, the State Bar Rules, and the California Code of Judicial Ethics.

Privately compensated judges must provide full disclosure of their financial interests. Privately compensated judges oftentimes are mired with conflicts of interest that make it unlawful for them to adjudicate certain cases. Yet the privately compensated judges oftentimes intentionally withhold and conceal full disclosure of their interests.California’s superior courts oftentimes outright refuse to provide public access and records concerning the appointment of privately compensated judges. This fosters an environment of widespread judicial corruption in California’s family courts.