Murder Case Exposes Lack of Care for Abused Kids - Defense Seeks To Remove Judge From Case of Boy Who Killed Dad

clock August 13, 2013 13:51 by author Eric

Article by Gloria Romero previously published in the Orange County Register on August 13, 2013

The iconic American symbol of justice is that of a robed woman, blindfolded, holding high a scale on which justice is measured.  The image portrays the fundamental belief that justice is blind to bias.

But in a rarely used judicial rebuke, presiding Judge Jean Leonard was just served papers by attorneys representing Joseph Hall -- the child who, at age 10, killed his father - seeking her removal from the case due to allegations of bias.

While the motion is a critical development in the Hall sentencing case itself, it resurrects significant issues as to how children with special education and meantl health needs - like Joseph - fare in California's juvenile justice system.  Indeed, the challenge has the potential to shed sunshine on questionable court proceedings too frequently used on "throwaway kids" locked up without much public scrutiny, disturbingly reminiscent of a long-gone Charles Dickens era.

Undoubtedly, Joseph's case garnered national attention largely because of the victim's underlying politics: his father was the Neo-Nazi leader for the Western United States.  But resolution of Joseph's case may become the spark that is needed to to mobilize and unite special education and mental health adavocacy groups, alongside juvenile justice advocates, in ensuring that California and federal laws be truly understood and respected in children's court proceedings.

Joseph's culpability turns on issues pertaining to his mental state at the time, and whether the child - who had a history of having been abused for years, - had the capacity to understand his actions.  After a whirlwind ten day non-jury trial, Judge Leonard convicted Joseph of an "intentional" act and second degree murder. The conviction unleased critical questioning, given Joseph's age and previous determination to fall under the federal Individuals with Disability in Education Act.

Two years have elpased since his conviction which will, certainly, be appealed and most likely overturned for documented violations of process and rights.  But no appeal can commence until Joseph is "sentenced" - either to our state juvenile prison system, or in a county or private secured treatment facility.

What's particularly disturbing in the court proceedings, and leading to the bias charges in part, are the efforts to negate any responsibility of the local County Office of Education of any obligation to provide for the child's needs.  Indeed, records show that recommendations for expedited placement in the state juvenile system from both the prosecution and probation teams have been devoid of any reputable evidence from federally recognized mental health and special education specialists.  Mandated diagnostics or assessments as required under the federal law have yet to be made.

After languishing for almost two years without appropriate treatment, events began to change when the Marc Grossman law firm and lead attorney Punam Grewal - herself the mother of a special needs child - and special education activist Steve Figueroa joined Joseph's public defender, Matt Hardy, in the effective representation of the young boy.  Armed with a strong command and  understanding of the decades-old federal law championed by then President John F. Kennedy, Joseph's advocates realize they are simultaneously blazing a new trail in the legal system to force California courts to address and determine children's general, mental and special education  needs when conducting any guilt, sentencing, and placement hearing.  Despite the law, this shamefully has been ignored.

Rather than accept being shut down during hearings by the presiding judge, Joseph's team audaciously filed the bias motion.  By doing so, a public discussion of the neglectful treatment of California's most vulnerable children who wind up in the juvenile justice system becomes inevitable.  Indeed, it is our blindfolds  - not those of Lady Justice - which need to be shorn once and for all.



Adults, System Failed Boy Who Killed Dad - by Gloria Romero

clock July 12, 2013 02:48 by author punam@wefight4you.com

Juvenile Prison Wrong Place For Abused Youth, Now 12

Article by Senator Romero previously published in the Orange County Register on July 9, 2013

Californians were riveted by the story of Joseph Hall, the 10 - year- old boy who shot his father to death in May 2011. The shooting followed a meeting of neo-Nazis in the family home and the father's threat to burn the house down while the family slept. When the police arrived, Joseph said he was tired of his Dad hitting his stepemother and him, and he could now get a new dad. Not truly understanding his actions, Joseph asked officers whether his father would be coming back to life.

Joseph's story made national news. We learned that Joseph had suffered harm as a fetus, that he and his twin brother had been exposed to methamphetamine, heroin and domestic violence before birth. His twin did not survive. Joseph was born prematurely, suffering from breathing and sleep impairments.

At 3, Joseph was removed from his moter's care because of neglect and drugs. His parents each alleged physical and sexual abuse of Joseph. The court awarded custody to the father. At 5, Joseph was diagnosed with congitive and developmental disorders, emotional disturbance, speech and language disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactiivty Disorder. His disabilities were seen even in preschool.

At home, Joseph was repeatedly beaten and verbally abused. His stepmother also mistreated him, tying his hands and feet, causing him to trip down the stairs. Child Protective Services investigated Joseph's home more than 20 times. Yet, Joseph was never removed, and he remained with his father. Over the years, Joseph was taught to use guns, supposedly to "kill illegal Mexians." He was indoctrinated in his father's white supremacist lifestyle, including attending neo-Nazi rallies.

By age 10, when he pulled the trigger, he had been exposed to things no child should have ever had to endure.

A Riverside County Judge in January convicted Joseph of murder, and he was - finally - removed from his home, becoming one of Cailfornia's youngest violent offenders. Then the news stories stopped.

Joseph's new attorneys go back to court this week to argue where Joseph, now 12, should serve his sentence, most likely until he turns 23. The prosecutor and probation department argue he should go to California's notorious Division of Juvenile Justice. DJJ has been identified as the most violnet youth facility in the nation, plagued with gangs, suicide and significant untreated mental health issues. With an 80 percent recidivisim rate, DJJ is a failed rehabilitation model. Eight of the 11 DJJ facilities have been closed. Gov. Jerry Brown has called for closing all by 2015.

Yet, DJJ is where authorities wnat to place Joseph.

Joseph's advocates seek appropriate placement for Joseph in a locked and secure residential treatment facility that meets pubilc safety concerns and can treat Joseph's complex mental health and educational needs. If assigned to DJJ, he would become their youngest ward, highly vulnerable as the child of a white supremacist in a system that also houses black and Latino gangs.

For more than two years, Joseph has lived in Juvenile Hall, attending school. In a shameful behind-the-scenes fight over who will foot the bill to treat Joseph's special and mental health needs, both the Riverside County Department of Education and Rierside Unified School District urge Joseph's transfer to DJJ, washing their hands of their duties to Joseph under state and federal laws.

Joseph - a battered, abused child - has fallen through every crack possible in California's system of social and educational agencies. He has been denied the protections and due process routinely provided to battered spouses. His education and mental hatlh needs have been ignored. Surrendering him now to a dysfunctional youth prison will only ensure a fast track to an adult prison.

Jopseph needs help, not warehousing. Failed by most adults in his young life, California needs to finally do the right thing.

(Orange County Register columnist Gloria Romero is an education reformer and former Democratic State Senator from Los Angeles. Twitter @DFER_CA)

 

 

 



Incompetent and Unethical Attorneys Abound

clock May 9, 2013 16:21 by author marc@wefight4you.com

Getting a license to practice law in California is unfortunately far too easily accomplished and consumers are all too frequently victimized by incompetent and unethical attorneys.  In a profession not known to begin with for it's ethics, the downturn in the industry has sadly even dropped the bar lower for many attorneys.   Many attorneys, in order to deal with their own economic hardships, expand their practices into areas that they are not qualified in.  Many attorneys, in order to deal with their own economic hardships, compromise the representation of their clients in ways that cause the clients to incur fees for no reasons.  Atytorneys with unsophisticated clients may victimize their clients for many years and may in fact never be exposed for the harm they cause to their clients and even those unfortunate enough to be on the opposite side of a case with an incompetent attorney.  I have witnessed countless times consumers go to an attorney for protection of a certain type, pay the attorney for services, and be worse off than had they not sought the help of an attorney at all.  I see this in family law wherein there is massive incompetency in the field and I also see this in real estate where many attorneys rely on their client's naivety to run up bills that in many cases leave their clients in a worse position than had the services not been provided.  There is no decision to be made more carefully in a legal matter than the choice of counsel. If a client has doubts about their attorneys' competency, they should take these doubts seriously and investigate them with other counsel.  Sadly, even when an attorney is confronted with mistakes they have made which have harmed their client or others, it is highly unusual for them to ackowledge their error and fix it.  

At the Law Offices of Marc Grossman, I am protecting the reputation handed down to me of four generations of Grossmans in the Inland Empire and know that there is nothing more important that I will leave for my children.  The core of who we are is "Smart" and "Honest" lawyers which seems to be a rare commomdity now days.    

 

Post Script - August 21, 2013 -  There was a particular attorney who inspired the above article.  It turns out we have a mutual friend/client who came to me looking for advice about whether or not he had a lawsuit and whether or not he could file a Lis Pendens.  As soon as I heard the facts, I was able to tell him without hesitation and unequivocally that he did not have a solid claim and that he had absolutely no right to file a Lis Pendens.  I've now found out that my friend ended up hiring this attorney who inspired this article and they did file a lawsuit and a Lis Pendens.  The Lis Pendens was summarily ordered to be removed when challenged as it only could have been filed by someone who utterly failed to understand what a Lis Pendens is in the first place.  I've also learned that this attorney now brands himself on his letterhead as being a "Real Estate" lawyer - this is just sick.  As a result of the incompetence of this attorney who now holds himself out as a real estate expert, a questionable lawsuit was filed, a property was tied up, tens of thousands of dollars were WASTED on attorney fees fighting over a Lis Pendens that only existed as a result of the attorney's utter ignorance of the law and all stemming from some client's poor choice of counsel.  At the end of the day, everyone involved will lose except for the attorney who has created income for himself through incompetence.  Sadly, attorneys like this will continue to ilk out small four figure sums from unsuspecting clients and sometimes more, causing collateral damage in similar sums to others who get saddled with the unnecessary fees and burdens that accompany his incompetence.  In all likelihood, the sums he causes others to lose through his incompetence or lack of ethics will never be recoverable and he will not be held accountable until he does something which causes massive damage to someone which seems all but a certain eventuality.  This is a small town folks - ask around, check references, and remember anyone can call themselves anything they want to whether or not they can walk the walk.



The Importance of Parental Participation in the IEP Process

clock May 3, 2013 20:09 by author punam@wefight4you.com
An IEP is designed to meet your chld’s unique needs. But in order to do that, the most important thing is for a parent to participate. Without the parent’s participation, the child’s needs will not be understood as well. Only the parent has a special expertise as to their own child’s needs, interests, strengths and weaknesses. The entire IEP team will benefit by bringing this experience to the table. Also, knowledge about these particularities is not something that is generally able to be documented in school records which may be passed from teacher to teacher or school to school.

The United States Congress found it so important for a parent to participate in this process that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) gurantees parents equal participation in their child’s IEP. Your right to shape and foster your child’s continued growth through the IEP process is protected by law and can be one of the most important aspects of your child’s education.

By participating in your child’s IEP, you greatly increase the probability that his particular needs will be met. As a n equal participant, you are able to best identify and address those needs for the betterment of the whole IEP team. Without your involvement, will the IEP team be able to meet your child’s needs or identify mistakes being made? Your involvement is critical to the success of the IEP and will help you build relationships with other team members.

Your participation in your child’s IEP may start at any time and should be a positive experience helping your child grow to his full potential. By participating in the establishment of goals, programs and services for your chld, you maximize their chances at success.

This article is written by Special Education Attorney Punam Patel Grewal. If you would like further information for help with your child’s IEP, pleace contact Ms. Grewal for a free consultation.


Get a Fresh Start with our Fontana Divorce Attorneys

clock May 3, 2011 17:22 by author Eric Krause

The definition of a Divorce is really a court ordered dissolution of any marriage between a husband and wife. After the divorce has been finalized, both parties are free to go their separate ways, including the right to re-marry. If your marriage is over and you are ready for a divorce in California, you need a qualified Fontana Divorce Lawyer to prepare all the necessary documents and walk you through the steps.

We know things are tough. A divorce is never easy, and things can get confusing where your legal rights are involved. At the Law Offices of Marc Grossman, we have a number of experienced Fontana Divorce Lawyers on staff to help you clear up the confusion and get you on your way to a new life and fresh start. We’ve been through this before. We know what happens down the road, and how important it is to make everything crystal clear in legal terms. For your future - and your children’s future.

FREE Initial Fontana Divorce Consultation

Yes - that’s right. We offer you a FREE Initial Consultation! You probably have many questions, and sorting through books or websites regarding the latest California laws can be a nightmare. Call the Law Offices of Marc Grossman and schedule your appointment today. You will meet with one of our Fontana Divorce attorneys, and have a relaxing and informative discussion about your particular situation. You will be glad you did - and since it is FREE, you have nothing to lose!

Having trouble dividing up your assets with your spouse? Splitting up the things that the two of you acquired together while married is one of the biggest sticking point in any divorce. Our Fontana Divorce attorney knows your rights, and will help you receive your fair share when your marriage dissolves. These type of issues can be discussed during your FREE Initial Consultation - so don’t hesitate. Call right now!



Finding the right Divorce Lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga

clock April 29, 2011 17:42 by author Eric Krause

Yes, there are lots of good divorce lawyers in Rancho Cucamonga, but which one would be the best one for you? Can you tell the difference between a good one, and the right Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer for you and your situation? And believe it or not, there are actually a number of clients who switch their lawyers after the case has started because their working relationship is less than ideal. In other words, the lawyer is not looking at the case from the client’s perspective. Lawyers and clients need to agree on everything, because divorce is a very personal and practical issue. Many times, a lawyer may not see the whole picture - and what is good enough for the lawyer may not be good enough for the client.

To find the best Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer, there are a number of factors you should take into consideration. First, of course is to consider the lawyer’s qualifications. Is he local to the Rancho Cucamonga area, and familiar with the laws and lifestyles there? Does he possess the right amount of experience with divorce cases? And of those, how many has he won? You want to hire a real divorce specialist - and your Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer should have the facts to back up their claims with. Your best strategy is to hire a Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer from a large firm, with a team of attorneys to support him, each with special skills and experienec to cover all the aspects of your particular case - especially if your divorce case seems complicated or involves numerous properties.

In addition, the best Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer has the background and capability to understand your familie’s needs in the larger picture - and what is truly best for everyone in the long run. In situations involving corporate law and finance, your Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer should also have expertise involving the settling ownership of companies and investments. Your lawyer, and his team, will have a big impact on how the case is resolved.

Finally, your Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer needs to understand your sentiment. Sharing this objective will set the tone for how well or well not you work together. Compatibility and rapport needs to be established at the onset, to build a better and stronger relationship. Your Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer is a representative of you and your wishes - in both legal matters and personal principles.



A Victorville Jury, yesterday, awarded $241,000 damages for a First Grader

clock April 20, 2011 04:28 by author Eric

 

Victorville, CA. -

A Victorville Jury, yesterday, awarded $241,000 damages for a First Grader who was molested by other children in the Victor Valley School District at Del Rey Elementary School in 2005. The Plaintiff alleged that the school district failed to protect him and was negligent in responding to the escalating pattern of bullying he had been subjected to. Attorneys for the victim questioned whether the District spent more upon its defense for over five years, than it will ultimately pay in damages. “How can they do that?” asked attorney Marc Grossman, “when they’re laying off teachers and complaining about limited budgets” He proceeded “it seems like they wasted hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars accusing the victim instead of simply taking accountability for their actions. Trial attorney for the plaintiff, Brian Hannemann noted that “the school district actually asked the jury to find the 6 year old victim negligent for entering the older children’s restroom.”

Calling further into question the school district’s decision to spend so many years and so much money denying accountability is that Del Rey Elementary School teacher Rogelio Cardenas plead no contest in 2007 to the continuous sexual abuse of a child. This prompted 45 different complaints from Del Rey parents about the safety problems with Del Rey Elementary school. The school district has recently settled a string of lawsuits brought by some of the victims of Cardenas in connection with lawsuits alleging neglect by the Del Rey principal and administration. Grossman, who also represented several of those victims, noted that in those matters as well, the district spent excessive amounts of money denying any responsibility before finally making an offer to settle with the molestation victims right before trial.

For questions contact attorney Marc Grossman.

Law Office of Marc E Grossman

818 N Mountain Ave #111 Upland, CA 91786

Trial attorney for the Victim was Brian Hanneman,

Law Offices of Brian G. Hannemann

1943 N Campus Ave Ste B-333 Upland, CA 91784

The press is requested to protect the child’s identity, though it is public record. Respectively,



Rancho Cucamonga Divorce - Starting Over

clock April 19, 2011 18:11 by author Bryan Siegel

As everyone knows, there are dishonest people in every profession - and Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyers are usually at the top of any one’s list. They have developed a bad rap over the years for being sneaky and under handed. However, the simple fact of the matter is that in these times of protecting your investments, we really need lawyers more than ever. Lawyers are there, not to fight us, but to assist us to get through some of life’s most difficult times. Whether it is for simple legal advice, understanding complex problems, or just to get the proper paperwork - a good lawyer can make the situation a real positive one. In some instances, there are so many options and/or considerations, that the pressures can be overwhelming. A trained legal professional is invaluable - especially during messy divorces. That is the time to call the Offices of Marc Grossman.

Hiring a top Rancho Cucamonga Divorce lawyer

Things tend to get a bit crazy during a divorce, and a good Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Lawyer will help you put the chaos into order. No matter how you feel about lawyers, a trained Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Lawyer may your best friend when the going gets tough. Starting over with your life can be stressful as it is - especially when money and property is involved, and a good Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Lawyer will help you get all that you are entitled to. Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Lawyers may charge a modest fee for their services, and that can only help put your mind at ease. Divorce may be a sad moment in your life, but it doesn’t mean the end of the world. Contact Marc Grossman right away - your first consultation is FREE! Take your first bold step towards a fresh new beginning!



Justice for Del Rey Elementary School Students.

clock March 24, 2011 17:36 by author Bryan Siegel

The whole district is rotten to the core. The Del Rey Principal was more interested in selling her Mary Kay cosmetics to the employees at the school rather than looking out for the kids. That principal has been implicated in another lawsuit, where a first grader was abused by other students, even after the parents complained and nothing was done to protect the boy. Thank goodness that Marc Grossman stands up for the victims of this abuse and is willing to go after the real source of the problems. Shame on the district for ignoring the kids, then hen caught, blaming the boy and his parents. The whole corrupt bunch needs to be fired.



Chino Hills High School teacher faces criminal charges

clock November 15, 2010 20:54 by author Bryan Siegel

Former Chino Hills High School teacher Justin Wallin is facing criminal charges for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

Justin Wallin who was arrested in July of 2010 is free on a $100,000 bail. His next court date is scheduled for January 7th 2011 to face criminal charges.

FREE Initial Consultation for Chino Hills residents

If you are facing criminal charges and wish to speak with a Chino Hills criminal defense attorney contact the Law Offices of Marc Grossman for a FREE intial consultation.