By Michael G. Stogner
Recordings of Court Proceedings should be allowed to assure the public of a Fair Playing Field and accurate reporting of the spoken words (Transcripts) is critical to the entire Judicial System. We want to trust the system, the Judges, the Clerks, the Court Reporters. Currently that is what the public is being told to do, Trust the System, but don’t RECORD, Why?
November 22, 2021 San Mateo County Superior Court Executive Officer Neal Taniguchi cancelled the Public Access Telephone Lines to all San Mateo County Courtrooms. No explanation was given, no advance warning to the public that this was going to take place. This is a Public Health Issue, and I know of No other County in California who has cancelled the Public Access Telephone Lines during this Pandemic.
What would have caused this change? I have an idea, On July 27, 2021 People vs. Juan Pablo Lopez case NF433910A. All of the San Mateo County Newspapers know by now that Hon. Judge Joseph Scott has refused to recuse himself from this case and that he has hired a law firm to represent him.
A reasonable person would think,That is Newsworthy.
Judge Scott’s Court Clerk Katrina Bihl filed a declaration through Judge Scott’s Attorney under the Penalty of Perjury that is False. The reason I can say that is, I was on that Public Access Telephone Line which was Not Muted as she declared under oath. The District Attorney’s Office has the phone records which verify my phone number and the two times I accessed the line. I have never been interviewed by the District Attorney’s Office, and to my knowledge the San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy that was in the Courtroom having a conversation with Katrina Bihl has not given a statement or been interviewed either.
My question for Neal Taniguchi is, has Court Clerk Katrina Bihl been placed on Administrative Leave? If not Why Not?
Until the Public can be assured that San Mateo County Courts are Fair and Honest, I say Close them.
Cutting off the Public Access to listen to the court hearings during a Pandemic is pretty Desperate.