Thursday, December 17, 2015

Montgomery Sentinel: Judge kicks Sentinel reporter out of hearing

Judge was formerly a partner in MCPS's outside law firm

Written by  Danica Roem
Judge Marina Sabett
ROCKVILLE – Administrative law judge Marina Sabett barred a reporter from The Montgomery County Sentinel from a hearing involving a special-needs child Wednesday morning, despite the child's parents’ inviting the reporter to attend the hearing at the Carver Educational Services Center.

“The family invited you into the hearing and the government wanted to conduct the hearing in secret. It doesn’t get any worse than that,” said Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association attorney Chuck Tobin. “This is the exact opposite of transparency in government.
Read the entire story at:

Judge Sabett's Linked-In profile says that she was previously a partner at Venable, LLC, a law firm that bills thousands of dollars of legal fees to MCPS each year.


  1. Why is this person the judge for a special education matter anyway?

    1. Is it the 'Mental Hygiene' case experience?

  2. “The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced.”
    ― Frank Zappa

  3. We didn’t think about bringing the press into our due process hearing with Jeff Krew (same room at the Carver building). We did, however, bring our Washington Post reporter to a “final disposition” IEP annual review meeting. The MCPS lawyer at that meeting protested vigorously and said that if we attempted to bring in the press, they (MCPS) would “take the meeting down the hall without us (parents, our attorney, etc.) and make a determination about coding and placement by themselves.” Since they had already conducted a disastrous meeting without us, we took them at their word. HOWEVER, we had been recording all meetings early on, aboveboard and with the knowledge of MCPS (we set up our tape recorder, they set up theirs). We recorded the “final” meeting, where the reporter had been kicked out. Since we refused to accept any money or special services from MCPS, we were free to share all with our Washington Post reporter.

  4. Since my family has experienced the same, I would first like to say thanks for publicly exposing the lack of transparency! Another "glitch" occurred with us when the MCPS staff witnesses were allowed to sit in and hear prior testimony and then were questioned on the earlier testimony. The rules for handling witnesses apparently doesn't apply in an appeal hearing.


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