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Letter to Judge David Klim

(back to support)

14 June 2000

Judge Klim:

I am presently schedule to appear on June 28th for the start of a trial. I have had significant problems with Mr. Bartholomae, who you assigned as counsel, and ask the Court to please assign another attorney and delay the start of the Trial. Please understand how deeply I regret having to make this request. It was my desire to get this matter addressed quickly, but the responsibility rests with Mr. Bartholomae and his conduct.

I also regret having to go into detail regarding his conduct. If I had retained him privately I would have just said goodbye and sought other Counsel; however, I do not have that option here. I'm sure he is a good man and a capable attorney - but for some reason he has been unable to provide me with competent representation.

My initial appearance on the violation was on March 29th. When I appeared in Court I also had a petition pending for support modification (which had an appearance date of May 4th). You assigned Mr. Bartholomae as Counsel for the violation. The next appearance date was set for April 20th. I asked you about the modification and you told me to ask Mr. Bartholomae, that he would know what to do.

I called his office the next day and left a message for him, and about 1-2 messages a week after that. I also wrote him a letter to make sure he had all the materials and to outline how we might proceed. That I had a conflict with the May 4th date because of a trip to Colorado to see my son. I never got a reply. On April 20th I went to Court and he appeared late. We only talked briefly in the hall. He was busy and distracted and trying to familiarize himself with what was happening. I told him I would be out of town on May 4th and could he cover. He told me he would take care of it. He also told me he had been very busy and to call the office the next week to make an appointment for a visit.

I called his office a couple of times and left messages. The secretaries told my he was still very busy with trials. The next week was that of the appearance. I called the office again and left a message reminding him of the appearance on Thursday, May 4th. When I returned from Colorado I called his office and left a message. I never got a reply.

On May 15th I received an Order of Dismissal from Examiner Davies, it noted that no one had appeared in Court! I was very concerned about the future status of my Driver's License (which had only recently been restored). I called his office and also sent a FAX with a copy of the order. I never got a reply.

On May 19th I wrote Examiner Davies a letter (and sent Mr. Bartholomae a copy). I kept trying to call, the secretaries kept telling me he was pretty busy. There were no replies. I simply did not know how to proceed. I called Examiner Davies office, and finally at the end of May got a letter stating I could file an Objection to the order.

Finally, in the very last week of May he called me. He told me that he had been busy and could not return the calls. There was no apology. He also told me he had clearly said during our brief meeting on April 20th that he could not represent me on the modification. I was very surprised to hear that. We schedule a meeting for June 12th, two days ago. I really had doubts about what he had said and began to question his veracity and whether I could trust him. I decided to wait till we could finally meet in person and see what else he might have to say.

We met on June 12th for about 40 minutes. I don't know why, but his conduct was inexcusable:

  • I told him it might require some legal research to look for new case law in the area of imputed income. His response was (on two different occasions), "how much are you paying me for all this," referring to my assigned status. I told him I didn't think that was supposed to make any difference. He did not respond.
  • He told me my efforts were foolish to protest by not paying child support. He simply did not have a working knowledge of the material I had sent him and instead of asking questions to learn more, went on insisting his uninformed position, even after I had told him clearly that I never withheld support as part of some protest effort.
  • He told me a trip to Italy I took last year with Domenic and my Mother was indefensible, after all, he and his children had never been able to make a trip there and he was working full time. It was a very poor comparison. Perhaps if Mr. Bartholomae's mother was 83, and wanted to see her sister's in Italy one more time, and only had one child, and one grandchild she wanted to show to the rest of the family - he too might have been able to sacrifice and make the effort for her. He never bothered to ask for those details.
  • I told him I was concerned about not getting phone calls returned for over a month, no reply to my letters or FAX. He told me he had been very busy with a trial. I asked him again about the mix-up with the Court appearance. He told me the same story again. I told him I thought he was lying and explained what I thought really happened. He then told me I could be right. I asked him if we would please write a letter to Examiner Davies to help explain. He said he would.
  • I told him I was concerned about his conduct. He told me, "what are you going to do? File a grievance?" I told him I was, that I also didn't know how I could have any confidence in his future abilities or have any basis of trust between us as attorney and client. We agreed that because of these concerns I would write to you as soon as possible asking for new Counsel.

Judge Klim, there is so much at steak here. I am not asking for "Perry Mason", but I want an attorney I can trust, who will communicate with me, has the time to do the job, and will try to the best of his efforts to plea my cause.

As much as anyone, I want these issues of Child Support and Imputed Income to be resolved. My financial state is a disaster. It benefits no one. I am a moral person and I feel that my actions have been justified and that I have done all that I can to support my son. I came from a poor family, we didn't have a bathtub till I was about 5, no phone till I was about 10, no car until I learned to drive - but my parents loved me and were always there for me. I graduated with honors from the Air Force Academy, became a pilot, involved in the community. Would I have traded any amount of money for not seeing my parents, no. I owe that same commitment to Domenic. I have spent thousands on him in the last year, but it doesn't appear to count?

There has been a simple rule since he has been in Colorado, if I don't see him face-to-face, there is no contact between us. The problems have become so bad that I recently filed a Violation Petition for a change in Custody.

  • Orders and promises regarding conduct have not been followed.
  • I have never spoken to him on the phone, always an answering machine.
  • I have only received one letter from him in a year.
  • He cherishes our personal contact.

With the proper Counsel there is a chance for justice to be done. Right now I have already purchased plane tickets for Domenic's summer vacation with me (about $800.00). He is looking forward to it and so am I, the dates are from July 13th - August 24th . I plea with you for the chance to just spend some quiet time together, for Domenic, my mother, and I. Mr. Bartholomae also told me I could probably end up in Jail for 6 months, "…I had made my bed, and now had to lie in it," as he put it. Please let it be after this vacation.

I have listed the other pending actions on the cover of this letter. In the interest of Justice, is there any way the same Judge can handle these matters? They are all so interrelated?

Sincerely yours,

John Murtari 315-635-1968,x-211