Pardon Joe Sweeney: He Shouldn't Be Jailed for Getting An Audit of CJP
This petition had 550 supporters
Joe Sweeney is the founder of Court Reform LLC, which produced a report that catalyzed the first audit of California’s judicial oversight agency, CJP, the Commission on Judicial Performance, in state history.
Joe testified before the California Assembly on March 28 and worked in conjunction thereafter with the Center for Judicial Excellence and others to get the audit passed by unanimous vote of the Assembly on August 10.
Joe's work serves to benefit all Californians as he pressed on to make the impossible happen and he pushed even harder for the audit following the Stanford rape case, which shook the public's trust in the courts.
In that case, Brock Turner was given only a six month sentence by Santa Clara County Judge Persky. Brock Turner served just three months of that sentence , despite a felony rape conviction. Outrage followed Persky's sentencing of Turner and over 1,200,000 signed a petition on Change.org; calling out Judge Persky for seemingly dismissing the impact of the crime on the victim after her heartfelt statement was read.
On August 12, two days after the audit passed, and as the Persky issue exploded the judicial world, Contra Costa County Judge Mills sentenced Joe to 25 days in jail and imposed $25,000 in fees and sanctions, for Joe's posting on a family law blog. Witnesses and court watchers called Judge Mills' ruling pure judicial retaliation and claimed Mills was embroiled in Joe's case due to his own discipline actions, where CJP clearly let Judge Mills off the hook on five occasions.
The judge who sentenced Joe, Bruce C. Mills, has been disciplined by the CJP five times (2 public, 3 private), more than any other judge in California.
Given that the only two judge members of the the CJP are directly tied to Contra Costa County - one is currently a judge there, and another a former judge - and the unprecedented harsh sentence and refusal to allow Joe to challenge the ruling on appeal before being jailed, strongly suggest the jail sentence was retaliation for Joe's court and CJP reform advocacy.
Joe stood up for all 40 million Californians knowing what he risked - which now includes custody of his 3-year old daughter when he returns to family court. Joe has been jailed for speech and his court reform work. The least we can all do is sign a petition to stand up for him.
Joe's incarceration has caused financial hardship to his family and a GoFundMe-YouCaring page has been set up for contributions, which will go to his mother.
Details of Joe's case can be found in court documents posted on CourtReformLLC.com His work regarding the CJP audit can be read about in the San Francisco Chronicle, Daily Journal, Center for Investigative Reporting, Recorder, Sacramento News and Review and other publications.
Joe Sweeney should be recognized as a hero for exposing the dysfunction oozing from California's Commission on Judicial Performance, not jailed by the bad judges he has exposed.
Joe Sweeney needs our help.
Joe needs protection from the judicial retaliation he is facing as a result of his efforts to speak up for Californians trapped in a dysfunctional family court system.
Please sign our petition and join us in speaking up for Joe.
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