“TERMINATION” ORDER, NOT PART OF OFFICIAL RECORD, IS RELIED UPON BY LAW ENFORCEMENT
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 6, 2018) — On February 26, The Post & Email expounded on a situation involving a Los Angeles mother granted a restraining order in December 2015 against her youngest child’s father which she believed was violated on at least two occasions but received no attention or adjudication.
The mother, “Michelle Robinson,” reported both incidents to the Hawthorne Police Department (HPD) shortly after they occurred in the precinct, the first on October 8, 2017 and the second on February 9, 2018.
In October, Robinson and Eric Crutchfield were involved in a vehicular accident while turning onto South Crenshaw Boulevard, after which Crutchfield left the scene.
Robinson wanted Crutchfield prosecuted for what she perceived to be an “assault,” and he also reportedly asked that she be prosecuted, but the city attorney declined to pursue either claim.
Along with her 2015 restraining order against Crutchfield, Robinson had been granted full physical and legal custody of their daughter by Commissioner Glenda Veasey at Torrance Superior Court. However, a child-dependency case opened in March 2016 which ended on April 25, 2017 awarded Crutchfield full physical and legal custody of their toddler daughter.
At that time, Crutchfield also secured a permanent restraining order against Robinson.
As The Post & Email has reported, an altercation which took place between Robinson and Crutchfield on their daughter’s first birthday on December 20, 2015 was reported by Robinson to the LAPD after she sought medical treatment for a bite on her upper arm. Their daughter was unharmed, having been secured in her car seat during the incident.
Robinson asked that Crutchfield be prosecuted, but Crutchfield did not file a complaint against Robinson.
After Robinson filed her report, the LAPD contacted the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), interpreting Robinson to have violated the restraining order. A DCFS social worker briefly investigated and found no danger to Robinson’s daughter remaining in her care, thereby closing the case.
Subsequently, Robinson’s criminal complaint was assigned to Detective Sean Horton, who reported Robinson to DCFS for his suspicion that she was the “aggressor” in the incident and should therefore be denied custody of her young child. Acting solely on Horton’s word that a video of the incident existed, DCFS removed the child from Robinson’s home and placed her with her father.
Until last month, Robinson had no documentation showing that her restraining order protecting her from Crutchfield was in question.
On February 9, Robinson spotted Crutchfield at the train station where she boards and disembarks from the commuter train each day to and from her place of employment. She was convinced that Crutchfield was not there to purchase a commuter ticket. Frightened, she called a friend as she hurriedly exited the station to reach her parked vehicle, then proceeded to the Hawthorne Police Department to file a report of a restraining order violation.
After submitting her report to an HPD officer, Robinson was told by his supervisor, Capt. Catano, that the five-year restraining order issued by the Torrance Superior Court was no longer in effect. Catano said that he had checked the “CLETS” system in which court orders, including restraining orders, are electronically filed, and could find no active restraining order naming Robinson as the protected party and Crutchfield as the restrained person.
Catano provided by email to Robinson a document dated October 14, 2016 which appeared to have canceled the Torrance restraining order backdated to six months before, April 16, 2016, by means of a handwritten note. Catano said he was given the document by his “court liaison officer.”
On several occasions, Robinson has examined the entire child-custody file provided to her by the Edelman Children’s Court but found no indication that the Torrance restraining order was ever canceled. She also said she had never before seen the document Catano provided to her.
Fearing for her physical safety after the HPD declined to act last month, on February 14 she made a trip to Torrance Superior Court to request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to replace the 2015 order. While there, she requested the entire case file, photographed every page therein and found no cancellation order.
She then requested and received a certified copy of the December 10, 2015 restraining order to present to the Hawthorne Police Department.
On February 25, The Post & Email published an interview with Robinson in which she surmised that a hearing held on October 14, 2016 with Commissioner Steff Padilla presiding resulted, without her knowledge, in the “scribbled” document appearing to revoke her restraining order. However, there is no record of Padilla having entered her decision, announced from the bench that day, into the official court record by means of an endorsement.
Further, Robinson reported that the attorney who represented her in the dependency case, L. Katherine Anderson, never provided a “Points and Authorities” document to her or, apparently, to Padilla, to argue in favor of retaining the 2015 restraining order. Robinson said that she therefore suspects that Padilla issued to Crutchfield an “off-the-record” order canceling it and that Crutchfield considers it legitimate.
On February 19, Robinson sent the following email to Anderson and others at Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, Inc. (LADL). (Editor’s Note: The Post & Email has redacted the full case numbers to protect the child’s identity.)
Re: Missing Document (DV-400) Termination of Order allegedly signed 10/16/2016 by Commissioner Steff Padilla
Can LADL, Inc. please confirm or deny the existence of this document and/or knowledge or production of a court file copy for my records?
Dear LADL, Inc., Kenneth Krekorian, and L. Katherine Anderson:
I was represented (if one could truly call it that) by LADL, Inc. via the Law Office of Katherine Anderson by Lydia Katherine Anderson and Justin Yu (now employed by the Office of County Counsel) during dependency matter DKXXXXX in Edelman Children’s Court from approximately March 15, 2016 through about May of 2017.
It has only recently come to my attention on or about 2/13/2018 that document DV-400 Findings and Order to Terminate Restraining Order After Hearing has surfaced, alleging to have terminated a valid restraining order issued by Torrance Superior Court in Case No. TFXXXXXX. I have never heard of the existence of this document before 2/13/2018. My attorney L. Katherine Anderson never informed me about the existence of this alleged document nor provided me with any copy of this document alleged to be issued as a result of a hearing that cannot be confirmed. Can LADL, Inc. please confirm or deny the existence of this document and/or knowledge or production of a court file copy for my records? I have NEVER seen this during the restricted times I have been permitted to view what I had believed was my entire file.
“This was malicious, and imagine how many other cases should be reviewed as a result of what she did,” Robinson told The Post & Email on February 25. “Let’s start looking at other people who have made similar claims against Padilla and haven’t been listened to.”
The document Catano provided to Robinson is titled “Termination of Order” and is dated October 14, 2016. On February 22, Catano told Robinson that the document was uploaded to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department website, apparently suggesting that its validity is not in question.
In response, Robinson wrote to Catano:
It stands to reason that you may have relied on this information as it has been uploaded to the LASD website by a clerk as directed by corrupt Commissioner Steff Padilla, however, much like a phony check tendered to a bank, it is not tied to actual collateral.
As a reasonable person, I understand the parameters in which you are expected to navigate. However, the document is inauthentic as it is not supported by any court hearing or other independent method of verification. That the document is uploaded to the LASD website only compromised the integrity of that portal.
As a matter of fact, I have previously communicated to you, this document is not contained in an court file in any Los Angeles Superior Court. You told me that you obtained the document from an unidentified “court liaison.” Did your “court liaison” rely solely on the fraudulent document uploaded to the LASD website? Or did this “court liaison” actually have communication with the court as the title “court liaison” would suggest?
The document was illegally and fraudulently produced by Commissioner Steff Padilla. This information has been memorialized in several emails to the Hawthorne Police Department. Continued reliance on an unverified document is dangerous and unprofessional.
The court order was never terminated and is and has always been valid. Captain Catano, everything you find on the Internet is not true. LASD assumed that Edelman Court Clerks would behave with integrity. The individual who may have caused that document to be uploaded did not. It does not invalidate my legal and legitimate restraining order or right to be protected from being stalked and terrorized.
Hawthorne has expended much effort in not protecting me. Imagine the release from liability you could enjoy if you actually referred this matter to the FBI so that their jurisdiction would properly investigate and convict the individuals involved.
Robinson ultimately believes that Crutchfield supplied the Termination of Order to the HPD following the vehicular incident last fall.
On February 14, Torrance denied Robinson’s request for a TRO, claiming that the issues she presented in her request had already been adjudicated. However, a hearing date of March 2 was set.
On March 3, Robinson informed The Post & Email that Crutchfield was present at the hearing but requested more time to prepare his arguments, which resulted in a continuance. Robinson’s email summarizing the hearing reads:
The court room clerk offered Crutchfield and extension, though I am unclear why. He had checked in before me. She asked if I was ready proceed and I said yes. She eventually called me up to her desk and said Eric only received notice of the hearing “today.” I told her that he was properly served 5 days in advance and that the person who served him was present in court (which I believe Crutchfield didn’t expect). After providing the proof of service document she says well it’s exactly 5 days and either side has the option of an extension. I protested that I was ready to proceed and had brought my witnesses. It just didn’t make sense. The bailiff even suggested to her that it is not generally allowed. She is new to Veasey ‘s court and stated that it is permitted in the court she came from.
I am resentful that the clerk would offer him an extension. I do not believe he had asked for one or would have assumed it was an option. When Veasey went on record she stated that as the Petitioner* is eligible for one extension.
I was able, however, able to play my daughter’s 911 call that you previously published with an article as well as submitted the article as proof of a pattern of behavior and habitual acts. It was played in open court before Veasey came out because all evidence has to be shared with the other side before the hearing. So Crutchfield had to listen to it and got to read over your article.
I believe the introduction to the 911 call may have been why she offered him an extension. Though I don’t believe that was her place as he was timely served.
The article containing the recording of the referenced 911 call is here.