San Diego Courts Cover Up Missing Forms and Psych EvalsWritten by: Chris Print This Article
Use of Our Content (Reposting and Quoting)
I’ve been getting feedback on my recent article Stephen Doyne and San Diego Family Law Courts Under Fire from quite a few people. I’ll be sharing some of these comments and stories with readers. While verifying the accuracy of all of these comments is probably impossible given the amount of lying in courts and confidentiality rules and judicial gag orders, they sound at least plausible. Some have included details that lend added credibility to the reports. Please keep the reports coming. You can email them to [email protected] or leave them as comments on any of my articles and note whether you’re OK publishing the comment as-is or would like it to be anonymously contributed to the ongoing coverage of corrupt family law courts.
Judge Lorna Alksne Orders Court Staff to Obtain Missing FL326/327 Forms
There have been many reports of missing or never filed FL326 and FL327 forms for psychological evaluations in San Diego County. It’s been common practice to ignore the requirements for these forms. Now it appears that the court staff may be attempting to remedy or cover up (the appropriate phrase depends upon your viewpoint) this missing information by going through files and asking the evaluators to send the forms for psychological evaluations that may have been filed months or even years previously.
While it would be good if the paperwork was in order, filing these forms after the completion of an evaluation seems to significantly compromise the purpose of the forms. They are supposed to be filed before the evaluation begins. Yet it has been common practice for them to be filed along with the evaluation or never.
By attempting to “fix” the missing paperwork in this way, Alksne and her judicial employees are creating a perception of a cover-up. That may not be their intention, but as the saying goes, perception is reality.
Lost Psychological Evaluation Reports
Alksne’s department F5 court clerk, Lilia Garibay-Sanchez, recently called a San Diego County section 730 psychological evaluator to get copies of the psychological evaluation report in a case that had been decided some time ago. While court employees were reviewing files due to the widespread complaints about the lack of state-required FL326 and FL327 forms in many cases, someone noticed this particular case file was missing the forms.
The former judge (reportedly Judge Patricia Garcia) had ordered that the evaluation reports not be released to either parent. Instead, they were to be held in the court file. The concern by the evaluator and court was that one of the parents in particular has a habit of misusing documents to attack the other party in unwarranted fashions.
When Garibay-Sanchez called to request the missing forms from the evaluator, she was told two signed copies had been sent to the court and the required forms had been signed and attached to the reports. Yet not only could she not find a copy of the forms, she couldn’t find the report in the file. Garibay-Sanchez indicated that she would have to check with Alksne to see if the judge would want copies of the report in the file, then called back a while later to ask for more copies of the report to be sent.
It is suspected that the unstable parent in the case may have viewed the file in the court records office and simply walked away with part of it, thus removing the evaluation report and obtaining a copy for herself. Security on court files is reportedly poor and theft and alteration of files occurs because of this, despite such actions being a felony.
Evaluation Reports Can Be Misused
As psychological evaluation reports tend to be critical of both parents and often embarrassing allegations and facts are discussed in them, these documents disappearing from court files and ending up who knows where is potentially a very damaging problem. Even if there is nothing really incriminating in the report, its uncontrolled release can mean trouble.
Child custody litigants have been known to abridge, alter, and fabricate documents to support their positions that they should get sole custody because the other parent is a horrible, dangerous, and abusive person. They can use documents such as the psychological evaluations as part of a character assassination effort against a target parent using misinformation which can be very authentic looking, enough that they can twist the perceptions of other people into attacking the target parent. While not all of the parents pulling such games have personality disorders, the article BPD Distortion Campaigns discusses many of means they use in such attacks.
Missing Reports Can Yield Bad Judicial Decisions
Furthermore, it is not unusual for child custody, child support, and other motions to be filed repeatedly for years after the psychological evaluation is done. If the parties are not allowed to have copies and the court’s copy is “lost” or stolen or destroyed, a parent who had been criticized heavily in the report might be able to gain an advantage from this.
Judges often have trouble remembering old cases and many of these cases are reassigned to new judges as the old ones get out of the dismal family law courts. The judge may not have any recollection of the case, so the lack of the report in the court file could become a critical problem.
While the problem could be fixed if the section 730 evaluator still has the records, the weeks it may take to obtain replacement copies could cause the courts to make worse decisions than they might otherwise make or to delay taking action that would be clearly appropriate were the report available. For example, it is not uncommon for ex-parte motions to be filed over abuse allegations asking for one parent’s custody to be revoked. If the report that says the accusing parent is not reliable and tends to fabricate stories and train the children to lie is missing from the file, the judge hearing the ex-parte motion may grant it even though doing so is inappropriate.
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