Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Ohio's Significant Report

Between Ohio judges steering cases towards the favored few, Ohio's Divorce Court problems mirror California's.

Including, as noted in the report:

The high-court's performance review recommended more than 90 improvements and labeled 28 of them as "critical" enough to demand immediate action. Many of the concerns dealt with problems first disclosed in a series of stories published in The Plain Dealer.

In March, the newspaper reported that Domestic Relations Judge James Celebrezze steered hundreds of thousands of dollars of work to his longtime friend Mark Dottore, who charged $225 an hour to handle assets in divorce cases.

The newspaper also found that Celebrezze and his daughter, Leslie Ann, who replaced him on the bench after he retired in December 2008, used teams of special masters to mediate divorce cases rather than doing the work themselves.

Scanned from a handout January 29, 2008. Domestic Relations Judge Leslie Ann Celebrezze

In their 91-page report, Supreme Court investigators seized on the questionable practices.

When appointing receivers, their report noted, a judge must do so impartially and on the basis of merit, while avoiding favoritism and unnecessary appointments. The fees, they added, must be "reasonable, fair and affordable."

They went on to caution that, with few exceptions, a judge has no authority to appoint special masters to perform what essentially is the judge's job."

The difference between Ohio and California is the difference between night and day.

Where Ohio first admitted, then chooses to squarely face the problems judges cause, California judges from the top down, will not.

Although Chief Justice Ronald George "invited the public to apply" to the Elkins Task Force, tellingly, not a single member of the public was selected to serve.

The task force instead, is replete with some of the very people the public clearly does not accept as credible, including San Diego's member, Judge Lorna Alksne.

The Elkins Task Force which held promise, quickly deteriorated after those selected were first chosen, and second, began missing meetings.