The inquest began with Judge Valeriano Saucedo taking the stand in his own defense. Initial questioning centered around his background, and emphasized his many friends, family and colleagues who obviously care for and respect the man. Interwoven with Saucedo’s career is a particular thread of affirmative action against “whites” which predominates much of his path to the bench. As a child of migrant farm laborers, he rose to his current office as a solon of the California judiciary, through a legal career heavily influenced by the Chicano Movement of the 1960’s. His socioeconomic and geopolitical migration from Texas to California, inspires a quote from the late Ceasar Chavez:
“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”
Indeed, as Valeriano himself testified, early in life he began basing his decisions on a racial disparity with Caucasians that deeply influenced his pursuit of judicial power.
“When I was a kid, I decided that because I’m Hispanic, I would never get ahead if I was only as good as the white kids around me.”
This outlook against “whites”, he claims, was the driving force that compeled him to become the mayor of the City of Lindsay in 1990’s, which he describes at that time as being “too white.” In fact, many of those who appeared to testify on his behalf were themselves from his many years with California Rural Legal Assistance, and his focus on assisting farm workers.
The focus of the his current inquest aside, Judge Saucedo has led a remarkable career.
Not surprisingly, the most probative insight into the scandal centered around the testimony of a few of his fellow court officers. Priscillar Tovar, Judge Saucedo’s former court clerk, gave a compelling recount of judicial favors that early on crossed the threshold between simple “mentoring” and gross fraternization. Against the bookend testimonies of the obviously reluctant Kim Werth and that of a frank Theresa Velasquez, the panel and public gained a dimensional view of what took place between Judge Saucedo and Mrs. Tovar. Poignantly, both parties concluded their individual testimonies by admitting remorseful ownership for letting the relationship between them get out of hand.
Toward the end of trial on April 10, Saucedo retook the stand, this time spending more time testifying of his remorse for not “going to HR sooner” and generally failing to keep his control over Tovar’s responsive greed in professional limits. Whether Judge Valeriano Saucedo is indeed remorseful of abusing his office as a California judge – or simply remorseful of getting caught, Examiner Harrigan’s last question to Saucedo on the stand focused on Saucedo’s other vow. “Are you remorseful you spent your wife’s community property on Mrs. Tovar?” The picture that eventually emerged was of a judge at once far too comfortable with abusing his judicial authority, and an all-too-human clerk who let Saucedo’s money and influence lure her closer.
Of particular note was the time frame of Saucedo and Tovar’s inappropriate relationship, from August to December of 2013. The momentum-without-brakes they created finally culminated in Saucedo’s threatened suicide on November 3rd, a scant thirteen days after he issued the allegedly frauded “seizure warrant” in the Bill Fabricius matter earlier reported in the Valley Voice.
Beyond the salacious aspect of their affair, a more troubling concern arising during trial was that Saucedo’s readiness to cover for Mrs. Tovar through falsification of court documents. In light of documents demonstrating he willfully falsified court records (a revelation overlooked by other coverage), the question now is, how many other records of the court were in fact falsified?
Where it was revealed that Judge Saucedo frauded overtime records, instructed others to lie, and was willing to intervene in other court cases on Tovar’s behalf, perhaps Mr. Fabricius’ claims of a falsified “seizure warrant” signed by Judge Saucedo are not so far afield.
While, by the end of trial, Judge Saucedo’s reputation as a caring and hard-working advocate for minorities was undeniable, the prosody of the inquest is best summed up by Tovar’s recount of something Judge Saucedo demonstrably sought to emphasize to her repeatedly. She testified that Judge Saucedo told her, “I am a very powerful man.” A statement homogenous to Saucedo’s own toward explaining why he pursued a career in law. “Lawyers can exercise a great deal of power.”
Under the circumstances, this writer is inclined to remind residents of Tulare County the people themselves are responsible for policing local government. To ignore this responsibility is to increase the likelihood that friends and family will continue to fall prey to “Ferguson-like” government officials whose morality succumbs to the erosive power of judicial office. As Lord Acton has famously said:
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”
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There is no excuse for Saucedo’s actions. Not only did his “stupid” conduct tarnish the fabrics of the Judicial System, but more so, it was a “kick in the butt” to all the Latinos that struggle for the chance to be treated equal in the profession. It was his responsiblity to have set a good example. Saucedo may want to ask himself, as to what the Honorable Ceasar Chavez would have thought of him. Although, it is unexcusable the women who were the so call “victims” need to share the disgrace. Maybe one of them should have pulled him aside and “checked” him on his conduct instead of accepting his unwelcome advances. If there is anything worse than a dirty lawyer (liar) it is a sleazy Judge.
I personnally would not bring any case before any Superior Court in California, the whole judicial system is corrupt and maybe one of ten judges actually follows the law or knows the law. I filed my case in the U. S. District Court Eastern District of California and in my case I accepted the notion that there is still hope for every American in seeking justice at the Federal level. The greater majority of Federal Judges are not corrupt and will not tolerate any form of misconduct or fraud (Please check the history of the Honorable Lawrence J. O’Neill). Before the filing of my case I seeked advise from eight lawyers, county, and states as far as New York. They all felt that I didn’t have a remedy to my action. How stupid could they have been?. On January 15, 2015 after firing a local attorney, for accepting a Settlement Agreement that I did not agree too, he attempted to intimate me into suggesting the Settlement had been reached and that the court had closed the case, I immediately filed a Motion to Dismiss Counsel and Proceed Pro Se Under a Common Law Venue and thus, on March 18, 2015,I settled my own case on my terms and conditions. The Attorney for the City of Porterville, tried to block every argument presented and failed. He filed a Motion to Dismiss and the Motion was “DENIED”. Initially, he was arguing the wrong Ordiance Code and had to correct his documents. In a private conversation that took place at Settlement Conference he didn’t even know that one of the Defendant in the case was (recently forced to retire for misconduct allegations) the Porterville Police Chief. I advised him that if a settlement was not reached that I was prepared to depose the Chief. Via the fired attorney he attempted to sneek a “Confidentialty Clause” thinking that I was stupid and that I was not going to review the conditions of the settlement. If any servant should violate your rights seek appropriate legal advise and sue them in Federal Court. The truth shall always prevail. Always remember that “a person representing himself has the best interest in his case in mind”. Don’t beleive any liar (excuse me, lawyer). Fraud has not statute of limitations.
In the above article the Motion to Dismiss was a Motion for Summary Judgement and the Motion was thus “DENIED” in Plaintiffs’ favor. I subsequently, misspelled the word “believe” in the conversation. (I apologize for my stupid mistake).
Mr. Duran, you may find this of interest.
I’m impressed with your pro se accomplishment before the California federal courts which, in my experience, are nearly as corrupt as the State court system we both agree is deeply corrupt.
There is some indication the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is increasingly cross with what California state and federal courts are doing.