Welcome to JCW’s whistleblower advice page. We desire you to read this entire page to get an understanding of what you face if you go the official route with your complaint. We’re suggesting that you utilize the unofficial route so you don’t end up getting fired.
Understand that this is not for everyone. Becoming a whistleblower puts you on one of america’s lonliest roads. Some whistleblowers succeed and other whistleblowers pay a steep price for their disclosures. Unfortunately no california judicial branch whistleblower complaint has succeeded to date and all have paid a steep price.
Please understand that this is not legal advice, this is advice from other judicial branch whistleblowers and as such is no substitution to the advice of a good lawyer that knows the system.
We advise you to get an attorney before you do blow the whistle utilizing ANY judicial branch policy and procedure and make a thorough understanding of the processes before you do so.
Regrettably, when you go look for a law firm and they find out that you work for the courts or the AOC, they will want nothing to do with your case unless you are footing the bill, regardless of its merits.
The reason for this is that most attorneys and law firms around this state want to get paid. While contingency matters are commonplace in other workplace cases, the AOC represents the the trial courts in whistleblower litigation against a trial court. (we will cite the example of former Contra Costa County Jon Wintermeyer here who is engaged with AOC attorneys over Court Executive Officer Kiri Torre firing him for blowing the whistle on team jacobs)
Since the AOC holds the purse strings over all other trial courts, attorneys feel that finding an impartial court is not possible.
Even though this state passed whistleblower protection for judicial branch employees, fired judicial branch whistleblowers must go get an administrative advisory ruling from the State Personnel Board regarding their wrongful termination.
The issues there are 1) The state personnel board denies it has any authority to even hear a judicial branch case (reference Michael Paul vs. the AOC) and 2) State Personnel Board Administrative Law Judges don’t issue advisory opinions (reference Michael Paul vs. the AOC)
If you manage to get an advisory opinion, you take that opinion back to your employer, who will likely ignore it as it is advisory and compels nothing.
The next step for your complaint is litigation in the cozy court system where you don’t have a chance in hell at succeeding due to the systematic conflict of interests. The best one can hope for is a small out of court settlement with a non-disclosure agreement. If you refuse these non-disclosure overtures, your case is likely to be thrown out of court and you will end up paying attorneys fees (Reference: Paula Negley vs. AOC)
If possible, document and journal everything you can regarding your allegation continuously. Your word against theirs is insufficient. Blind carbon copy email to an outside account that you do not access via your work computer. Big brother operates effortlessly on government issued computers and there is nothing you can do that can’t be recorded or monitored on a judicial branch computer. It is important that to the greatest degree that you can muster, you leave no trace of your activities. The use of your own private equipment in this endeavor becomes essential.
Assume nothing. What our judicial branch whistleblowers tell us is that the judicial branch has very effective “cleaners” that will make any trace of evidence wherever it exists completely disappear or difficult to get to. Litigants against the judicial branch routinely cite that the judicial branch themselves will not produce evidence in discovery. It is therefore essential to not only make a record of everything, but where it existed, a hard copy of the record, the date it existed there and if a computer record, the complete path to the record complete with the file name. Again, assume nothing. When your complaint is filed, most of this stuff will start to vanish into thin air. The two most prominent judicial branch whistleblowers on construction costs maintained meticulous records in this manner and watched most of it disappear after their complaints were filed. In another unrelated case, an AOC employee claims to have had their house robbed of valuables….. and all their evidence. No other important papers were taken. The advice here is to make multiple hard and electronic copies, evidence packages if you will that are geographically disbursed with those you trust or other secure locations and periodically update these packages. Make more than one backup copy. Use online back-up or USB drives to make electronic copies. Trust us on this otherwise the evidence you produce might disappear.
Using any judicial branch whistleblower process is not at all recommended at this time. First, try to make an assessment of what laws you believe are being broken and if there is an associated value, attempt to make a determination as to what that value is. The goal here is really to try to determine what federal laws are being broken before state laws. The state is currently crippled, unable to investigate the judicial branch. Given the judicial branch employs cleaners as opposed to investigators, there is no intention whatsoever to give your complaint any merit at any time. If you go this route, the judicial branch will start documenting you for termination.
If you can make an effective determination that federal laws are being broken in addition to state laws, take your complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, better known as the FBI. Understand that anything you give them will be like a black hole. Information goes in and nothing comes out. They will not update you on any status. You will not know anything about your complaint.
Regardless of state or federal laws being broken, take your complaint to the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review with as much detail as possible. We suggest that you contact email@example.com who used to be an investigative reporter for the Chronicle’s Sacramento bureau who now does his magical footwork for the committee. Mr. Martin is authorized by legislative charter to keep your complaint anonymous. In fact, he doesn’t even need to know who you are if you can tell him where to find something he might be looking for.
Currently, these two sources of filing a complaint are the only ones that will not track back to you and result in your termination.
Optional: File an anonymous complaint with the person of authority, preferably via private courier. Ensure that nothing can be traced back to you. This is a little tidbit from a real intel gal. Don’t send the computer printed copy of the complaint. Rather, take the computer printed copy down to a copy shop and send the copy shop copy in as your anonymous complaint copied only in black and white.
The media can be your friend but only media that has been critical in the recent past with the judicial branch. Note that some major media sources won’t cover the judicial branch at all in any negative light. To assist you in knowing who won’t publish, we’ll submit the names of Times Newspaper Group and Hearst Newspaper Group as but a few examples of who hasn’t done any recently critical news stories of the judicial branch. Without being able to substantiate or confirm your claims through an independent source, they will be hard pressed to make any story out of your claims. Think about this carefully before going to the media. One current AOC whistleblower owns a media group and interfaces with other media organizations in ongoing business relationships. This has caused great media scrutiny that might otherwise be absent. The rest of us aren’t so fortunate so think carefully about the media. There is a good chance that your attorney won’t want you to have anything to do with the media as it might compromise a legal case and media coverage with your name attached isn’t the best of career moves.
This site contains a few documents and will contain quite a few more of documentation that the judicial branch disavows any knowledge of from other already fired whistleblowers.
One of our reasons for existence is to be a confidential media outlet to put the spotlight specifically on the judicial branch – at least, for as long as we choose to exist. Records given to us and their sources are not disclosed and are protected by us from source disclosure, unless of course you want the source attributed to you and you so state. We will do everything we can to preserve your anonymity.
This link takes you to a private, confidential message window to contact us and blow the whistle. If you need to send file attachments, please contact us prior to sending them. If you wish to converse with us, please get a hushmail email account as we only use secure, encrypted communications. If you wish to protect your own identity and blow the whistle we would also suggest getting a hushmail account and send out only passphrase encrypted messages.