According to her resume, Janelle Burrill is many things: psychologist, attorney, social worker. To the Sacramento Superior Court, she’s both an approved family court mediator and a special master, a person appointed by the court to make sure judicial orders are followed. She’s also been active in Placer and El Dorado Counties, testifying in numerous cases. But to some critics of California’s family courts system, she’s something else: Exhibit A for what’s wrong with family courts in California.Her fraudulent claims remind me of David Tassoni, apprentice to Rhode Island Family Court's former Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah, Jr.
Burrill and Tassoni both enjoyed enormous power in secretive family courts though their credentials were not questioned while both actively promoted the discredited legal tactic of "parental alienation" (developed by psychiatrist Richard Gardner, who claimed a status he never held at Columbia University Medical School).
The article expresses surprise at the high prices charged by these court "specialists" citing huge retainers and fees of $200 an hour. That is the same amount charged six years ago by attorney Lise Iwon (now head of the Rhode Island Bar Association) when she worked as guardian ad litem to remove two sisters, 5 and 9 years old, from an excellent mother, using the same bogus argument of "parental alienation" that Burrill and Tassoni liked to use. When she convinced Judge John Mutter to take the girls into state custody, Iwon complained that their mother still owed her $5,000. Before long, Iwon's bill approached $50,000.
Iwon was close friends with Lise Gescheidt, who was criminal defense attorney for the two girls' father. Gescheidt (who now heads the RI Supreme Court's Ethics Advisory Panel) defended her friend Iwon and accused the girls' mother of introducing motions that "slander the professional reputation of a unbiased guardian ad litem who has consistently acted in the best interest of the children without meaningful compensation. . . .” (Italics added.)
These cases are all about money and power, not about determining the "whole truth and nothing but the truth" or the "best interests" of children.
The only family that is reliably served by Family Court are the "sisters and brothers" of the Rhode Island Bar and their former colleagues, now on the Bench, who protect and preserve the Family's interests.
The ease with which Lise Gescheidt and Lise Iwon influenced staff at the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) shows that the Executive Branch is also implicated in this ongoing scandal.
The third branch of government, Rhode Island's General Assembly did the right thing by mandating in 2010 that DCYF must finally get accredited by the internationally recognized Council on Accreditation.
Now we need the General Assembly to turn its attention to Family Court. The many legislators who are also members of the Bar should step back, recuse, and allow their colleagues to conduct an open audit of Family Court costs and services.
More about Lise Iwon's handling of this case is at http://littlehostages.blogspot.com
The Capitol Weekly article on Burrill appears at the link below (or click on the title above):