In a Motion I'm proud to have written for attorney Christopher Bayuk, we have successfully disqualified Orange County Family Law Judge Nathan Vu from the case of Christienne Black, whose brutal dissolution case against her ex husband / father of children has been pending since 2014.
Judge Vu was threatening to take Christie's children away and place them in foster care, simply because she was continuing to litigate unresolved issues. In the former United States, we had a guaranteed right to litigate, and a right to raise our children. It's there in what used to be known as the "Constitution" But I digress.
Here is Judge Vu, from the transcript:
THE COURT: So what has been occurring in the past will stop occurring. And, again, if you don't stop fighting [in court], then what I do is one of two things: If one parent is the one that won't stop fighting [in court], then the other parent gets the kids, no visitation. If you have no visitation, you have nothing to fight about.
Or option no. 2 is the kids are placed within the jurisdiction of child protective services. They find nice foster parents for the children. Foster parents who are carefully trained, placed under strict requirements and definitely do not fight with each other. [Foster care is] much better for the children [than having frequent and continuing contact with both parents], in my opinion. So those are the options. Those are the options.
I am not like other judges.
OK? That's terrifying. Supposedly you have a right to litigate your disputes, but Judge Vu is saying in open Court that if you keep litigating, he's going to order armed thugs to your house and take your children away.
Judge Vu responded to our Motion with his Verified Statement (a pack of lies) and a Memorandum (boilerplate bullshit). So, since I had taken the unusual approach as formatting this as a regular motion, I drafted a Reply brief, responding to the lies and bullshit boilerplate.
There are some (almost) funny parts of the briefs, if you read them. We accuse Vu of prejudging the case, and of course he denies it. But we explain by considering Judge Vu’s own spontaneous, unprovoked statements on the issue of pre-judging:
THE COURT: Alright. I don't want to prejudge it, and I want to savor the meal as it comes to me, so I didn't mean to--I didn't mean to prejudge anything.
Judge Vu now characterizes the above statements as having “explained that he was not prejudging.” With all due respect, Judge Vu most certainly did not deny prejudging, as he now asserts. Judge Vu says he didn’t “want to prejudge”, and he says he didn’t “mean to prejudge.”
OK? When somebody says they didn’t want to do something, and that they didn’t mean to do something, it strongly implies that they did, in fact, do that something, and they are merely suggesting it was unintentional.
Judge Vu even verbally stumbles, stating,
THE COURT: “I didn’t mean to—I didn’t mean to prejudge anything”.
This indicates that he was choosing his words carefully. Had Judge Vu meant to deny prejudging, or had he meant to explain that he was not prejudging, that’s what Judge Vu would have said. But in fact Judge Vu said that he didn’t want to and he didn’t mean to!
Evidently Judge Vu was feeling a strong desire to disclaim actual malice towards Mother, because otherwise he would have had no reason to even raise the issue of prejudging, unprovoked.
In a scathing 18-page Opinion and Order, Judge David Cowan disqualified Judge Vu, removing the judge because he twice threatened to take children and send them to foster care unless Mother stopped litigating the case. Judge Vu was not only disqualified, they transferred him out of Family Law altogether. Judge Cowan explains:
"Children are not dogwood trees, to be uprooted, replanted, then replanted again for expediency's sake." (Guardianship of Kassandra H. (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 1228, 1238.)
And notice that this Judge David Cowan is none other than the same Judge David Cowan who is infamous for screwing Bradford Lund, the Disney Heir, AND REFUSING TO RECUSE HIMSELF. Make what you will from Cowan actually doing the right thing for once. Perhaps it is his way of saying:
"See, I can remove a bad judge. You guys had me all wrong before!"
Given that this ruling indicates that Judge Vu acted in the absence of all jurisdiction, it appears that Judge Cowan is inviting a civil rights or tort action. Christie says she is considering her legal options.