.....What you send them? This letter to Judge Steven Price traces three cases in Washington County Circuit Court of the State of Oregon where the judge admitted on the record that he had not read the documents before him. Then that judge ruled anyway. How common is this? Answer -- Very common!
March 29, 2010
Judge Steven L. Price
Washington County Courthouse
146 NW 2nd Ave
Hillsboro, OR 97124
Re: A March 25th Visit to Your Court
Dear Judge Price:
Attorney Craig Russillo, from the Portland downtown firm of Schwabe, Williamson and Wyatt, and I visited your court last week. These visits were in accordance with March 17, 2010 notices issued by the Court which I received on March 24, 2010. (Exhibit 101) The only notices I received by then indicated that the hearing would only be on my Motion to Change Venue.
The purpose of this letter is to request that you reconsider your rulings that day for the reasons that follow.
First, you ruled in favor of Attorney Russillo on all matters he filed even though I had not received any of those documents until March 24, 2010 so, I had no opportunity to formally respond. You admitted on the record that you had not read any of these documents. Why do you rule on matters that you have not read?
Second, you followed neither the rule of law, Oregon’s Uniform Trial Court Rules nor Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure in your rulings.
Third, you demonstrated blatant bias against me which has also been demonstrated by your fellow Judges Michael McElligott and Judge Marco Hernandez. This is precisely the reason I filed for a Change of Venue to Clackamas County. Washington County has denied my clients and me due process like this for over ten years in multiple cases. I can document every one of them and discuss two of them below because they are relevant here.
Finally, you ruled without allowing me the statutory time to respond to the filings of Mr. Russillo. Fundamental principles of due process require that I be given notice and an opportunity to be heard. Notice and a statutory opportunity to file a written response necessarily precede the opportunity to be heard. You truncated both statutory requirements.
You will further note that the court notices on Mr. Russillo’s Motions were misdirected by your clerk’s office to a wrong address as documented in the Washington County Court’s envelope provided here. I did not receive court notice of Mr. Russillo’s Motions you heard on March 25, 2010 (and which you ruled on that day) --- until the following day, March 26, 2010. (Exhibit 103)
In short, I was denied the seven days allowed by UTCR 5.030(2) to Reply to the opposing party’s Response to my Motion to Change Venue. I was also denied the fourteen days allowed by UTCR 5.030(1) to respond to the opposing party’s Motion to Strike and Motion to Sever.
Moreover, Mr. Russillo is required by the UTCR 5.010(1) to confer on a Motion to Strike and he did not do that. That omission is compounded by his admitted failure to confer on the previous Remand motion in federal court. (Exhibit 102) Why is Mr. Russillo given a pass to not comply with the rules and why am I denied the due process protections of those same rules?
Washington County Judicial Corruption
1. Judge Michael McElligott: -- On an unrelated matter, I successfully reversed a judgment rendered by Judge McElligott in my client’s appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals a number of years ago. Judge McElligott has demonstrated a notable antagonism to me when I have been before him since that Court of Appeals ruling.
In 2001, during a road widening project, Washington County sued me in (Case No. C020359CV) to condemn part of my historic property in Aloha where I had my law office. This is the same property at issue here. (In a blatant conflict of interest, Schwabe’s office, where Mr. Russillo works, represented me in that condemnation proceeding involving the identical property.)
Washington County Courts have had a policy, (inconsistently applied), where a visiting judge is hired to handle litigation when a local lawyer is a party ( as is the case here). Accordingly, Senior Judge Harl Haas from Multnomah County was assigned to the condemnation case.
I requested oral argument in that condemnation case on a change of venue motion just as I have done here and for the same reasons. Even though the condemnation matter was assigned to Judge Harl Haas, Judge McElligott illegally decided that I WAS NOT entitled to a hearing. His actions were illegal for two reasons. First, the matter was assigned to Judge Haas, so Judge McElligott had no right to be involved in the case since the whole purpose of having an out-of-county judge handle such matters is to avoid prejudice to any of the parties. Second, WHAT Judge McElligott did was illegal. He denied me a right to be heard when I formally requested a right to be heard under the rules.
Enclosed is the document dated 3/27/02 where Judge McElligott wrote “Denied w/o hearing” followed by his signature. (Exhibit 104) As you know, in Oregon a party is entitled to a hearing and oral argument if requested by a moving party which I had done in that case. UTCR 5.050 (1)
I have no idea why the judges in Washington County are biased, but biased they are. I have no idea why Washington County judges have decided that they do not have to read matters pending before them before they rule, but rule without reading the pleadings they do, as you have done here. I have no idea why I am not entitled to a fair and unbiased judge to rule on cases where I am a party, but Washington County judges do just that as we have seen above and will see below.
2. Judge Marco Hernandez In Case No. C032263CV as trustee of an estate I filed an interpleader action to resolve multiple claims against the estate. On May 14, 2004 Judge McElligott called for a "status" hearing in this estate matter without providing anybody with notice of what was to be heard. Again, this is a blatant violation of fundamental due process and Oregon rules of procedure.
At this estate matter hearing, Judge McElligott made various substantive rulings without receiving any evidence nor did he take any testimony under oath from any witnesses. I am providing you with the first page of a transcript of that hearing where Judge McElligott lied. He stated “I think that matter (Case No. C032263CV --the interpleader action I had filed) has actually been dismissed.” (Exhibit 105)
That was a lie. I am sending a certified copy of Judge McElligott’s unilateral dismissal of the interpleader action dated 10/6/04 -- five months after Judge McElligott represented to the assemblage on May 14, 2004 that it had been dismissed. (Exhibit 106) So, he lied on the record.
The problem is that Judge McElligott did not tell anyone that he dismissed this case. The further problem is that it is clear law that a judge may not unilaterally dismiss a pending case. The irony is that this is the precise issue upon which I had reversed Judge McElligott’s judgment before. We know then that local judges are not guided by what the Oregon Court of Appeals decides is The Rule of Law. The final problem is that this case WAS NOT dismissed for lack of prosecution as Judge Hernandez later represented in a later letter opinion.
So, this is where Judge Marco Hernandez comes in. Following a subsequent hearing restricted to attorney fees on this estate matter, Judge Hernandez decided to make a sweeping ruling on multifarious matters not before him, violating yet another rule. You did the same thing last Thursday. You will note that in Judge Hernandez’ letter ruling of February 28, 2005 he states: “The interpleader action was dismissed for want of prosecution.” (Exhibit 107) That was a lie also. Thus, both judges have gotten away with a patent lie.
On March 11, 2005 I filed a meticulous response to Judge Hernandez ruling to bring to his attention, among other things, his error on the interpleader case. (Exhibit 108) Judge Hernandez did not respond. Facts are troublesome things. No one in Washington County Court leadership cares. No one at the Oregon Supreme Court cares. Like you, Judge Hernandez admitted he had not read the court file prior to the January 26, 2005 proceeding before him.
The precise issues of Judge McElligott and Judge Hernandez misconduct and my Bar status is now before the Oregon Supreme Court. Thus, judges from Washington County have been witnesses against me in Bar proceedings. That is one of the painful reasons for requiring a Change of Venue. (Exhibit 109)
Judge Price, as you know, judges have the power to make life and death decisions. I do not believe you can decide to follow the rules for one party and ignore the rules for the other party. I don’t believe you may make rulings when you have not read the pleadings upon which you are ruling. That is what you have erroneously done here. It follows a pattern that must be stopped in Washington County. Please take this opportunity to reconsider what you did on March 25, 2010. My rights, due process and The Rule of Law are at stake.
Very truly yours,