How To Bribe A Judge by Janet Phelan


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        I fear we are living in lawless times, distinguished only by the fact that so many Americans have not yet realized this. As painful as it may be to realize that the promise of freedom, of equal protection under the law, is a farce and an illusion, it is imperative we wake up before we lose everything. My mother, who had a PhD and worked decades as a City Health Department supervisor, lost her life because of the illegal actions of an absolute stranger who had total power to hurt her. I have left the country of my birth to avoid a similar attack. If we have no protection from the justice system, then who do we turn to?

        How to Bribe a Judge

        Assistance With Debt Repayment is Sure to Gain His Favor

        Taking out large sums of money in the form of property loans and later paying them back is one method that a judge might employ to conceal the fact that he or she is being enriched from an outside source. When a judge’s income is inadequate to serve as the source of loan repayments, it is likely that the funds are coming from somewhere else.

        Judges Involved in Multiple Property Reconveyances
        JANET PHELAN, September 11, 2009

        SAN BERNARDINO, CA — Several years ago, all of the county’s probate and conservatorship cases were moved to the Redlands Courthouse, and most of these cases were subsequently heard by Judge James M. Welch.

        Recent documents obtained by the Sentinel point to suspicious financial activity by Welch, who at one point in time was the presiding judge of San Bernardino County. Welch was featured in an article in the Sentinel on June 12th of this year in a lengthy exposé regarding questionable business practices by Melodie Z. Scott, a professional fiduciary and conservator for the elderly. Scott is President of C.A.R.E., Inc., located at 25 E. State Street in Redlands, right around the corner from the courthouse.

        The activities by Scott cited by the Sentinel as questionable involved giving conservatee property to her own family members, overcharges on her clients’ accounts, missing monies from clients’ accounts, selling conservatee property at bargain basement rates only to have the property jump in value and resold the next year, withholding medical care from conservatees resulting in death, and allegations of possible undue influence on judges.

        The documents uncovered relating to Judge Welch reveal that he has mortgaged his primary residence, located in the 300 block of La Colina in Redlands several times in recent years, encumbering it with loans which could not possibly be paid back on a judge’s salary in the brief turn-around time indicated by the reconveyances (repayment of loans). The document numbers and the size of the loans follow:

        In 1998, Welch and his wife, Ginny, took out a loan for $217,200 on their La Colina residence, which was fully paid back in March of 2003. The reconveyance document number attached to this transaction is 2003-0173087.

        In February of 2003, James and Ginny Welch took out another loan on their residence, this time for $234,000. This was fully paid back by June 10, 2004, as listed in document number 2004-0410928.

        Another loan was taken out by the Welches on May 17, 2004, as listed in document number 2004-0353533. This loan was for $358,965.71.

        Messages were left with Welch’s secretary, inquiring as to where the money was going and how he was paying these loans back. The possibility that Welch was taking out loans and investing the money, then paying back the loans with the proceeds was considered and discarded. For the last seven years, Welch has reported to the Fair Political Practices Commission on his form 700 financial disclosure statements that he has no investments.

        A query was also left with Judge Welch’s secretary as to three property transactions recorded in neighboring Riverside County, attributed to a James Michael Welch, Trustee.

        Judge Welch has declined to comment. Presiding judge Jim McGuire issued a terse letter on August 12th, 2009, in response to an inquiry from the Sentinel about the Welch loans and Riverside County transactions. McGuire stated:

        Please be advised that I have received and reviewed your letter of August 11, 2009. Please be further advised that I am an administrative presiding judge and, therefore, my review jurisdiction is limited. Nothing contained in your letter is of a nature over which I would have review jurisdiction. Any request for review or investigation by me is, therefore, denied.

        There has been no confirmation or denial from the court as to whether Welch’s exodus from his probate assignment in Redlands had any bearing on the recent media scrutiny given his actions as a judge or his apparent bias towards cases involving Melodie Scott, who recently launched a legal protest concerning the denial of her fiduciary license by the California Professional Fiduciary Bureau.

        This practice of judges taking out large loans appears to be widespread and crosses county boundaries. Information gathered on Commissioner John McCoy and Judge Sharon Waters (both of Riverside County) has recently been turned over to a Riverside County district attorney investigator, Jeff Chebahtah. While Chebahtah has acknowledged receipt of the information on the Waters and McCoy loans, he has at press time refused to assign a complaint/case file number. The practice of accepting evidence and refusing to assign a tracking number has been previously explored by this reporter in an article entitled: “How the California Justice System covers up crimes against the elderly: A method to the madness” and appears to be deployed when either the matter is too trivial for the district attorney to take seriously or when there is a political agenda to keep the report out of the system and thus not to investigate at all.

        Parenthetically, both McCoy and Waters were recently and consecutively removed from an active case in Riverside Superior Court, following a protest lodged that the loans smacked of pay-offs or bribes.

        In San Bernardino County, Judge Steven Mapes ascended to the bench in 2007 and currently sits on Barstow court, following his tenure as an deputy district attorney in San Bernardino. Mapes has also been involved in the loan program, apparently going back to 1998, when he took out a loan on his home on Patricia Drive for over $155,000. He subsequently took out further loans on his property, including loans for $100,000 in 2001 and 2002, another loan for $307,500, also in 2001, one for $88,500 in 2002 and a loan in 2004 which was in excess of the value of the house, recorded at the tax assessor’s office as $427,528. This loan was taken out for a resounding $493,000.

        More recently, in 2006, he again borrowed money against his property. Since 2001, Judge Steven Mapes has received seven different reconveyances on his loans.

        Judge Mapes did not return calls from the Sentinel inquiring as to who was paying back these loans.

        From: Janet Phelan, “Judges Involved in Multiple Property Reconveyances,” The San Bernardino County Sentinel, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, September 11, 2009. Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist. She can be contacted at Reprinted in accordance with the “fair use” provision of Title 17 U.S.C. § 107 for a non-profit educational purpose.

        Part One–The War on the Vulnerable through our Courts
        Part Two–Melodie Z. Scott and the State of California: In the Business of Death?
        Part Three–The War on the Disabled
        Anatomy of a Dog and Pony Show
        Who Bought the Free Press?

        Archive for Taking Down the Whistleblowers

        The Halls of Justice are Crumbling; Civil Rights are now discretionary
        Janet Phelan
        The Halls of Justice Are Crumbling

        Alleged Co-Conspirator Presides Over Case
        by Janet C. Phelan ( janetcphelan [at] )
        Sunday Jun 6th, 2010 12:18 PM

        Privilege now trumps any semblance of law.

        As a reporter, I am reluctant to report on issues where I am an affected party. The idea of the “objective” reporter, which we learn as a mantra in Journalism School, largely dissuades us from reporting on events which impact us directly. However, as I watch the mainstream press twist facts and spin stories in order to protect and please those in power, I have come to see objectivity as a false flag under which mainstream media does repeated damage to the truth.

        The story below certainly does involve me. The facts cited are sustained not only by my personal testimony, but are buttressed by court records and other external documentation. Given the seriousness of what is reported herein, given the potential for a similar deprivation of rights to all who set foot inside Riverside Superior Courthouse, I find it necessary to write this, my story.

        On May 5, 2010, Judge Stephen Cunnison emerged from retirement to preside over several hearings concerning a case enumerated as RIP 080974, the Conservatorship of Amalie Phelan. Amalie, who is now deceased, was my mother. The case had been transferred from Judge Gary Tranbarger to Cunnison on April 26, 2010. Tranbarger is the third judge to be suddenly pulled off this case following my research on property loans taken out by judges, first reported in the San Bernardino County Sentinel on September 11, 2009.

        On calendar was a lawsuit against former Conservator/Trustee Melodie Scott. The lawsuit named Judge Stephen Cunnison as acting in a capacity which could be considered as “co-conspirator” with Melodie Scott. And on May 5th, Stephen Cunnison threw out the lawsuit which named him a compromised judge.

        Count VI, entitled “Fraud Upon the Court and Undue Influence,” alleged that Melodie Scott had exercised “undue influence” over several judges through the course of RIP 080974 and specifically named actions by Stephen Cunnison as profoundly illegal. I maintain that these actions by Stephen Cunnison resulted in Amalie Phelan’s death.

        My mother first visited Attorney J. David Horspool in the fall of 2001. My sister, Judith Phelan, had been residing with my widowed mother, and following the death of our father in 1997, had been stealing from the family estate, at one time valued at approximately $1 million dollars. In an effort to curtail the hemorrhaging of the estate by my sister and reluctant to initiate criminal proceedings against her, my mother and I approached J. David Horspool, seeking a bookkeeper to handle the funds of my mother, who was in her eighties.

        In December of 2001 my mother and I met with Melodie Scott and Horspool. Scott expressed consternation at my sister’s behavior, and stated she would “cut Judith off.” Not wishing to leave her elder daughter destitute (Judith, though well-educated, is psychiatrically and physically disabled and does not work), my mother expressed her wish that Judith not be “cut off” but be granted adequate funds for her needs.

        On December 2, 2001, my mother signed a document nominating Melodie Scott as conservator of her person and estate. In the Living Will set up by my parents in 1997 by Attorney Mark Anderson of Escondido, a conservator was named in advance should this prove necessary. An old family friend, James Henderson of Riverside, had been designated as “stand-by” should conservatorship prove necessary. He was also named successor trustee. In the meetings with Scott and Horspool we were at no time given input as to the difference between a “conservator” and a fiduciary or even a bookkeeper.

        In light of the actions embarked on by Horspool and Scott against the best interests of Amalie and me, her signing the conservatorship nomination proved disastrous.

        Almost immediately, Scott started funneling thousands of dollars a month to Judith. In a moment of rare and uncharacteristic honesty, Judith referred to these payments as “hush money.” Scott placed aides in my mother’s home, ostensibly to care for Amalie, although none were needed before. On several occasions she threatened to call the police on me when I came to visit Amalie. Very shortly, Amalie requested I find her an attorney to consult on this matter, as she was distressed by Scott’s behavior.

        And then Amalie went down. Alarmed at how she sounded during a routine phone call in mid-June of 2002, I rushed to Temecula to find her too ill to even walk unassisted, and nearly delirious. I trundled her into my car and took her to the Emergency Room at Rancho Springs Hospital where she was evaluated and admitted. Shortly thereafter, she was taken into surgery and a pacemaker was inserted. Two days later, I was served with a Temporary Restraining Order. Melodie Scott had gone to court and said that I had “harmed” my mother by “unnecessarily” transporting her to the hospital.

        On August 1, 2002, Stephen Cunnison was set to preside over two hearings. One was a hearing on the permanent conservatorship of Amalie Phelan, as the conservatorship moved from temporary to permanent. This was set for 8:30 a.m. On the docket following this hearing was a hearing on the above cited Restraining Order.

        As far as I could see it, this Restraining Order hearing was going to be a slam-dunk. I would tell the judge the truth—my mother was close to death and received life-saving cardiac surgery as a result of the hospitalization. But Stephen Cunnison never called the Restraining Order to hearing. He left the courtroom following the hearing on the permanent conservatorship and the courtroom was then closed. I, along with a party who accompanied me to court that day, was told to leave the courtroom. Stephen Cunnison violated the Constitutional Right to Due Process and signed my Restraining Order into permanence without ever allowing me to face my accusers. The Minute Order for the hearing, signed by Stephen Cunnison on August 1, is archived here ( along with other relevant documents pertaining to this case. Aptly, the minute order reveals no one as listed as being in court, revealing Cunnison did not call this to hearing. The subsequent document was produced by my witness to that morning’s events.

        But Scofflaw Cunnison didn’t stop there. He was to preside over a second Restraining Order hearing against me in October of 2002 and signed an order barring me from contacting the police, the FBI, The Ombudsman for Nursing Care and nearly anyone else who could have assisted Amalie Phelan, as I could no longer protect her, being “legally” restrained from my own mother. In that second hearing I asked Cunnison to recuse himself. He refused to do so.

        Amalie soon died under suspicious circumstances. I was not informed of her death until weeks after she was buried. Possibly this was what Judith had referred to as the impetus for the “hush money.”

        I filed suit against Melodie Scott, alleging multiple serious crimes. Upon discovering that Cunnison was again assigned to my case in May of 2010, I filed for his recusal. These papers were entered into the court file on May 5. The Challenge for Cause cites his heinous and illegal actions back in 2002.

        In his denial of this request to have him recused, Cunnison determined that I should have moved to have him kicked off the case back in 2002. Which I had done. Other judges took over the case from 2003 on and I had no reason to suspect that he would emerge to further assault the law and my rights.

        But he did.

        Incidentally, the California Code of Civil Procedure 1013 (a) mandates ten extra days for notice to parties residing outside of the State of California and twenty extra days for those residing outside of the U.S. I have repeatedly noticed the court that I am residing in Toronto and that my mail is bundled from Ashland, Oregon and Fedexed to me in Toronto. Even if the court only ignored the fact that I now reside in Canada and chose to attend to my Oregon address, the ten extra days for service were not satisfied by re-scheduling from April 26th to May 5th.

        The station at the court responsible for checking these details is the Probate Examiner, Elizabeth Miller. I spoke with Miller recently and told her that the court was ignoring the extended time for service, mandated by CCP 1013 (a) and ignoring my repeated filings to this effect. “Just keep telling the court,” she exhorted.

        If the Riverside Superior Court can’t do any better than appoint a “Red Queen Judge” to destroy my family, destroy my ability to protect my mother from an obvious liar and plunderer and destroy my God-given rights to appeal to law enforcement to protect a vulnerable elderly person, I have only one question left:

        What should I tell the court? What possible words are there to convey the damage done by this Constitution-denying scofflaw who has now quashed my lawsuit against the woman who, in concert with him, destroyed my family?

        I fear we are living in lawless times, distinguished only by the fact that so many Americans have not yet realized this. As painful as it may be to realize that the promise of freedom, of equal protection under the law, is a farce and an illusion, it is imperative we wake up before we lose everything. My mother, who had a PhD and worked decades as a City Health Department supervisor, lost her life because of the illegal actions of an absolute stranger who had total power to hurt her. I have left the country of my birth to avoid a similar attack. If we have no protection from the justice system, then who do we turn to?

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