Many years ago I was involved in a project called Divorce Corp, it was a project that spoke for itself. That being the billion dollar industry called DIVORCE, and within this industry are smaller “businesses,” if you will. Lawyers, Private Investigators, Therapists, Monitors, Psychiatrists, Forensic Accountants and PRIVATE JUDGES! Unlike the documentary Divorce Corp, I do not believe the entire industry is corrupt. However, when you see what is spent on all of this you have to wonder “How is this possible.” Ever heard the expression “For the love of money is the root of all evil. Timothy 6:10, direct from the good book. And all of those mentioned love those dam “Benjamins.”
I want to be sure that everyone reading this understands something, and it is clear, these are my opinions only, based on 24 plus years of dealing with DIVORCE and all that is connected. Hiring a private judge is often “sold” as being fast and expedient to get “you” through “the” process known as DIVORCE, more efficiently. There is no such thing as “efficiency” when doing a DIVORCE; it is not in the best interest of the people getting paid by the hour. Why would you or anyone want to use the courts, you ask? You pay taxes, you pay penalties, and you pay filing fees, and only God knows what else, to support these very same courts and the bench officers who sit in judgment of you and your case. So why would you not want to stay in your local Superior Court (in California, other states have other levels of courts)? The “sale” of the private judge by your attorney is an interesting problem, if you will, aproblem that is hiding in the shadow of the process.
Note: Remember what I have always clearly stated. “This is a business.” With that in your mind, keep in mind some in the “business” will be fair and not take advantage! There are others who will work you like a $5.00 hooker!
Many judges, when they decide to retire from the court, get associated organizations that contract them out for civil proceedings and often in Southern California DIVORCE proceedings. Or, they may just “go private” and begin raking in hourly fees they never ever thought possible. Judges, when you consider their work and the responsibility associated with that, get paid pretty poorly. So after a career of “public service,” then it is an opportunity to ice the cake if you will.
Note: Some judges become judges for the career and to have a public service background. Some judges become judges as a “cherry” on a top of a career in lawyering. To make it a little clearer, many of those who seek the “cherry” became very wealthy in their law careers. And thus the cherry topping a great career and now it is time for a little prestige.
Conflict of Interest is an important phrase. The “conflict” comes into play when you have a huge law firm who hires particular judges all the time. A real financial relationship begins. Just like when a judge is chosen in the initial process of litigation, a lawyer on either side can reject that judge. Why? Perhaps your lawyer, or lawyers, have not had good results in that court, and with that judge, you get to choose another. You get this opportunity in the very beginning of the proceedings when you buy your ticket for the DIVORCE ride.
Now enter the potential for one side to get screwed over and not realize it. Getting hammered can be very subtle or a kick in the head. After all, a judge is impartial, right? Keep in mind, some “rent-a-judges” you will see being used often with certain law firms. Why? Those lawyers at that firm get great results from utilizing a particular judge, simple! Very simple, right? Wrong! And here is the problem, this “rent-a-judge” is getting paid, let’s say, $500.00 to $1,100.00 an hour. One firm used this judge 10-20 times a year or more. Your lawyer, not a big player, has, let’s say, NEVER used this “rent-a-judge,” and likely never willso am I clearing the clouds a little here? It goes to knowing who is going to butter your bread. The “rent a judges” relationship could be hundreds of thousands of dollars to this judge’s financial future.
We also see private judges in matters concerning your local celebrity so that their privacy is kept in check. Most of those DIVORCE cases a handicapped, far-sighted orangutan could handle. The parties know exactly what they want already and just need someone to officiate. Their business managers have already paved the road for a smooth drive with very few bumps. Again, just my opinion. Real DIVORCE battles most often take place in the courtroom, the real courtroom.
So if you have the money to hire a private judge just remember, as in the real world it is often all about the “Benjamins.” Now, I am not saying this is a total and complete conspiracy; it is not. However, IF you make $200,000.00 from one firm and you make nothing from the lawyers on the opposing side, do you really think this is not floating around in the head of the “rent-a-judge” sitting and making the decisions for you the litigant? And do you really think making a decision against that law firm or lawyer who kicks thousands of dollars of work your way? “What to do, What to do,” trying to split the baby down the middle is not easy and tossing the kid out the door with the bath water is not going to be easy.
Recently I had a very good friend of mine tell me of his 8-year long attempt to get DIVORCED. It is a story I have never quite heard of before and really thought his DIVORCE would be over! His lawyer, not a player, more or less it has been shared that, well he is not a player nor in the “mix.” At one point emails are given to my friend’s lawyer of a clear and very present attempt to lie and cheat by his X wife. Lie by getting forensic accountants to dummy up a witness statement, and the X telling her lawyers and accountants “Do Not” give correct information to my buddies attorney or the rent-a-judge in hopes of settling, X (she) still wants revenge.
Well, the “Rent-a-Judge,” who is to “judge,” looks at all of this and continue to rule against my buddy!!!! (He, the judge, totally ignored all of it) Note: I know for a fact that my buddy never once told anything but the truth, could be a first in a DIVORCE case. He is just not the kind of guy who is a liar. As rare as it may seem, there are guys who don’t like to lie and do try and do the “right thing.”
However, the X and Co. did nothing but lie and frankly commit perjury after act of perjury. It was a blatant lie fest, Ray Charles could have seen it clearly. It came to my attention that the Xs lawyer had a very nice relationship with the “Rent-a-Judge.” I also heard that the “rent-a-judge” was likely not too fond of the other lawyer, my buddies lawyer. Now I have to say, I am not impressed with my buddies lawyer either, to have sat there and just, sat there! He should have been jumping up and down banging on the table to be sure this was all on the record.
It also appears as long as my buddy pays for all of this, the entertainment is not going to stop. To continue to pay and to continue to get screwed, you the client should speak up! And ask, “What the f*#k is going on?”
I am also going to go further out on the limb here. I believe with all my heart, that all I have stated is true. Remember, I do my research. The other moving pieces of this story, or should I say not moving, is a set of circumstances no one could have ever seen coming. When my buddy was telling me this was happening, I was very surprised as I knew this judge. I also knew that this judge could be “quirky,” a characteristic that I loved about this “rent-a-judge.” And again, I have seen the facts, and this really did happen..my initial reaction was that a new captain of this ship is needed, and now. Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, there is a fresh breeze blowing, and I am hoping my buddy replaces the “sail.”
Note: This case is going to be continuing most likely into next year. For the record, I too have made a damn good living for over 24 years. Many of these lawyers have allowed me access to assist them as directed in the course of finding the truth. My affection and admiration for most bench officers is something my sons and I take seriously. My thoughts on “rent-a-judge” is just that, my thoughts. The reason for the above story is to make one think and stay focused on the task, a task that for many will end in the wonderful old song, released in 1972 and was a huge hit for Elvis Presley, The Impossible Dream.”
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By John Nazarian
Straight Talk with John J. Nazarian, Private Investigator
June 2, 2017
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