Eileen Lasher of the California Coalition for Families and Children was interviewed twice in 2011 by Walter Davis on his show Progress in San Diego . Dr. Emad Tadros, an outspoken critic of the San Diego family courts, joined them in the first interview. The second interview was shown in two segments.
In the interview segment below, Lasher discussed her experiences with the misconduct of minor’s counsel attorneys and how taxpayers and parents are paying for what is in her view an organized criminal enterprise. She says children and parents are being abused by the courts and points out the taxpayers and the abused parents are paying the financial costs for this misconduct.
San Diego Family Courts: Organized Crime Ring Targeting Middle and Upper Classes
Lasher contends the San Diego family law courts are operated as a criminal business that siphons the wealth from families and places it in the hands of the attorneys and experts such as custody evaluators. She views judges who appoint custody evaluators and minor’s counsel attorneys and many of those attorneys as particularly culpable. A minor’s counsel attorney is to participate in a custody case by representing the children. However, such attorneys often have conflicts of interest. They also typically run their own family law attorney business and are also in some cases are attorneys who are involved in probate cases and serve as “pro tem” judges in family law court.
Discussion focused on how low income families seldom have minor’s counsel attorneys and psychological evaluators ordered by the courts. These families have little money, so it is not lucrative to put them through the family court extortion process reserved for people who have some money. Middle income or higher income families often suffer from these expensive costs because they have significant assets and income that can be exploited by the divorce industry.
You have a house, so the attorneys and court want your house to be forced into sale so they can keep the proceeds and ensure their own wealth and job security at the expense of you and your children. You have retirement savings, the attorneys want those, too. There are college savings for the kids? Those can be raided, too.
How better to extort all or nearly all of a family’s wealth than to threaten their children? The attorneys and judges know how lucrative this extortion is and are eager to bring it into play when they see income and assets that can be pillaged.
If the parents don’t have substantial assets, the grandparents might. The court and its allies know that threatening their grandchildren is often an equally effective means to “financially gang rape” the family.
Generally speaking, San Diego family law courts operate by finanically raping the parents and deep-sixing their children’s futures. While there are probably some judges in the system who do not approve of the corruption and criminal conduct of other judges, it is evident that many do. It is in the judge’s own self-serving interests to increase the amount of litigation in the system. Busy inefficient courts mean more judges are “needed.” It is also in their interests to line the pockets of their attorney and custody evaluator friends, many of whom contribute to judicial re-election campaign funds or who may support them in future runs for political offices. And if they decide not to run for re-election, having funneled millions into the hands of their friends makes it easier for them to secure other employment in the same corrupt divorce industry.
Middle Class Families Devastated by San Diego Family Law Courts
It is often the middle income families that are harmed the most severely. They cannot afford to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys and court-appointed “experts”. They lose their homes, retirement savings, and college savings for the children.
In a previous interview segment (video embedded below) with both Lasher and Dr. Emad Tadros, also of the California Coalition for Families and Children, alarming patterns of financial exploitation were mentioned. Dr. Tadros pointed out how the wealthier center to north coastal region of San Diego County is very lucrative for the divorce industry. Cases in this region are much more likely to involve expensive services such as custody evaluations ordered by the courts. Cases in the less lucrative courts in El Cajon and Chula Vista are less likely to involve expensive minor’s counsel attorneys, custody evaluators, and family court battles that drag on for a decade or longer.
Lasher says her divorce in the San Diego courts has been running since 1995. Her ex-husband’s attorney, David Schulman, has been involved since 1996. She indicates that typically the court continues the case without reaching decisions and does this six months at a time. Seventeen years later, it is still not resolved. Cases that are churned like this for a decade or more are highly lucrative and can transfer hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to the lawyers involved.
Lasher indicated that last time she was in court, Commissioner Edlene McKenzie looked at the case file and wondered how this could happen, commented she has no idea what is happening in the case, and noted there has never been a case management conference. CMCs (case management conferences) are intended to be used in high-conflict or long running cases to understand how to run the case efficiently. From what Lasher says, the court has had no interest in running her divorce case efficiently as there is more money to be made by inefficiency.
Supervising Judge Lorna Alksne Acts With Bias
Lasher pointed out that she has written to the former family law Supervising Judge Lorna Alksne. Alksne rejected her letter, saying it was “in the wrong format.” Litigants who have requested Alksne recuse from cases due to obvious bias have also experienced this reaction. She rejects the requests, again citing format or legal technicalities. It appears that Alksne’s attitude is that she can disregard her duty to do her job and follow the law because when parties or their attorneys submit letters or filings that she doesn’t like, she can ignore them outright or do so by complaining about legal quibbles. It is as if the fire department refused to come put out a fire and let your house burn down because in your distress you shouted over the phone to the emergency dispatcher.
San Diego Bar Association Involvement
The San Diego family law courts run by Judge Lorna Alksne were publicly ostracized in 2009 and 2010 for widely violating the rules regarding state mandated disclosure forms involving custody and psychological evaluations. Lasher and others put pressure on Alksne and court CEO Michael Roddy to start following the court rules on the custody evaluation disclosure forms. She reports that after this, the San Diego County Bar Association advised member attorneys to file backdated family law forms (which is viewed as filing fraudulent documentation in court) to cover their failures to follow court rules.
We previously reported that Alksne herself had her clerk call custody evaluators to request they file missing forms  in what looks like an effort to cover for her failure to enforce the court rules months or years later.
International Baby Selling Ring Used San Diego Courts
According to Lasher, Judge Lorna Alksne also oversaw the probate courts and the problems in that system are horrific, too. There was an unusual spike in probate cases in the county involving adoptions. Alksne apparently was asleep at the wheel — or worse. Parties outside of San Diego are the ones who detected the reason for the spike in probate cases was an international baby selling ring operating in San Diego County.
The international baby selling ring was operated by San Diego probate attorney Theresa Erickson and others. When prosecuted by the US government, Erickson plea-bargained to one count of criminal conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her role in a scheme in which surrogate mothers were transported to Ukraine where they were impregnated. Each was paid around $38,000 to $45,000 to carry the baby. Then the baby-selling ring shopped for parents to whom the babies could be sold at a marked up price around $100,000.
Quote from Convicted Surrogacy Attorney: I’m Tip of Iceberg 
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy released this statement regarding Erickson’s sentencing:
“The surrogacy laws were enacted to protect both unborn babies and parents seeking children. Erickson abused her position as a trusted legal advisor and officer of the court by circumventing the law and undermining the rights of children and intended parents. Out of sheer greed Erickson preyed upon people’s most basic need: to raise a child. We cannot and will not allow individuals like Erickson to profit by taking advantage of vulnerable people who have a sincere desire to lawfully adopt and parent children.”
It is remarkable that Duffy’s statement also applies to the operations of the San Diego family law courts. They exploit the “people’s most basic need: to raise a child” in order to financially pillage families and operate a lucrative industry that does not serve the public good or follow the law.
DA Fails to Prosecute Corrupt and Abusive Lawyers and Government Officials
These crimes against California adoption and surrogacy laws continued for years as the San Diego DA Dumanis and the San Diego courts looked the other way. Because of the severe corruption throughout government and courts in the San Diego region, it took US federal government intervention to put a stop to this baby selling ring.
Lasher criticizes District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis for failing to protect the community from lawyers committing crimes. A frequent criticism from those familiar with Dumanis’ tenure as DA is that the DA does little or nothing to prosecute people engaging in criminal conduct who are aligned with her such as law enforcement officers, government officials, and her political allies.
Tainted Credentials of Custody Evaluators
In the interview, Dr. David Green and Dr. Stephen Doyne were accused of misleading the public using questionable credentials coming from a diploma mill operation. For more information about this “credentialing con”, see our Stephen Doyne case files  and the website The Public Court .
Corrupt Conflict of Interest
Lasher also cited San Diego attorney David Schulman’s mixed roles in court as a typical example of conflict of interest which enables corrupt exploitation of families by the courts. Schulman is a family law attorney and a probate attorney who also is a court-appointed minor’s counsel attorney. He has also been a temporary child support judge for the San Diego courts. She says this kind of mixing of roles results in the court system being run for the benefits of the attorneys. They get rich while parents lose their homes, savings, and income and their children are robbed of resources needed to survive and have successful futures.
What To Do If You Are Being Abused by San Diego Family Law Courts
If you are being affected by the abusive San Diego family law courts, you may want to meet with other parents who are being similarly abused. Walter Davis offered contact information for the San Diego County Community Coalition group with which he is affiliated. Their MeetUp site  offers more details, or you may contact them via telephone at 760-917-1251.