FORTE: CRYSTAL POWSER
DECLARATION SHOWS PATTERN OF CORRUPTION
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
MONTEREY, Calif. -- A dramatic declaration filed in Gene Forte vs. Judge Robert O'Farrell resulted in an historic halt to an unrelated Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) hearing of Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Diana R. Hall.
Forte alleges corruption within the Monterey County Superior Court, and the sworn declaration by Crystal Powser was submitted in his case as supporting evidence.
The CJP stopped the Hall inquiry after learning of the alleged comments by Monterey County Superior Court Judges Michael S. Fields about Judge Russell Scott and Judge Robert O'Farrell contained in the Powser declaration. Fields is one of three judges, known as "special masters," investigating the conduct of Hall. The other two are San Mateo Superior Court Judge Mark Forcum and Santa Clara Superior Court Judge George Abdallah.
Powser claims she was invited by Fields to the Pierpoint Inn in Ventura, where he and the other special masters were meeting.
"Judge Fields said that they already decided she (Judge Hall) was guilty of all three allegations," said Powser in her declaration. She also described sexual advances she claims Fields made, which she spurned.
Fields, Scott and O'Farrell have declined comment on the allegations, according to media reports.
The declaration caused a legal reaction that sent a tsunami through the entire California legal system, not because of the sexual allegations as described in media reports, but because of the description of court case fixing, according to Forte. The reaction was to bring a judicial hearing to a halt, dismiss the special masters, and the declaration was stricken from the record and sealed.
The judicial commission chairman, Santa Monica attorney Marshall B. Grossman, wrote in his order that the allegations "suggest at least the appearance of impropriety." He said it was necessary to appoint new masters so that the case may "proceed free of questions concerning their fundamental fairness to all concerned."
"The declaration by Crystal Powser was so damaging to the ‘good old boy network' that they had to eliminate it from the record, yet at the same time they dismissed all the special masters. Fear and intimidation are the tools used by the judicial system to maintain their positions of control and power. They are learning those tactics do not work with me," commented Forte.
"The reaction of California Attorney General Bill Lockyer was not to conduct an investigation into the allegations in my case and in the Powser declaration, but instead he took immediate action to cover up that evidence and prevent it from becoming public knowledge," said Forte.
Lockyer successfully filed on behalf of Judge O'Farrell, defendant in Forte vs. O'Farrell, an ex parte application to strike the declaration as "irrelevant and scandalous." Forte says, "It was a sham ruling that now has implicated Judge Golden in the cabal. Any legal scholar looking at it wouldn't agree with the ruling"
This is not the first time Powser has provided evidence of wrong-doing by court officials.
In an unrelated complaint by Powser, former Monterey Superior Court Commissioner Richard Rutledge resigned when Powser claimed Rutledge was involved in fixing traffic tickets for friends. No charges were ever filed against Rutledge, but the investigating committee had announced there was sufficient cause to refer the case to the CJP.
Powser worked as a clerk in the Monterey County Courts for 16 years and received meritorious commendations for her excellent service.
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The judicial commission chairman, Santa Monica attorney Marshall B. Grossman, wrote in his order that the allegations "suggest at least the appearance of impropriety."