Falling from High Places-Janet Phelan

 Author: Janet Phelan

Falling from High Places

New Eastern Outlook 01.02.2016

Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of a tell-all book EXILE, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

What you have to understand, John, is that sometimes there are forces and events too big, too powerful, with so much at stake for other people or institutions, that you cannot do anything about them, no matter how evil or wrong they are and no matter how dedicated or sincere you are or how much evidence you have. This is simply one of the hard facts of life you have to face.” - Former CIA director  William Colby giving advice to his friend senator John DeCamp, urging to quit his investigations into the Franklin child abuse affair and to write a book about his experiences (The Franklin Coverup, 2nd edition, foreword). 

When Fox news producer Martin Burns inexplicably fell off a cliff in August of 2013, the shock waves through the legal reform community were palpable. Burns had been deeply involved in the production of a Fox 11 (Los Angeles) news series, Lost in the System,  exposing corruption in Los Angeles Family Court proceedings.

According to court watcher Malinda Sherwyn, who had been working closely with Burns on the research end of the series, “We were working on evidence concerning kids who had been molested and raped. We were sending to Burns court records, medical records concerning kids who had been attacked in their homes, and what Department of Child and Family Services and the courts then did with this evidence.”

Malinda Sherwyn does not believe that Martin Burns had a simple accident. According to Sherwyn, Fox dropped the series in panic and some of the evidence she was sending Burns never aired. However, multiple episodes did make it onto the news program prior to Burns’ death.

“I contacted Gina Silva (reporter on the Lost in the System series) and asked her if she were scared,” recalls Sherwyn. “Gina said yes, she was. I asked her if she thought that Martin fell off the cliff and she said, I just can’t believe it.”

Gina Silva did not respond to calls from this reporter.

According to the legend of Icarus, who constructed wings to flee airborne from Crete, his father Daedalus warned him of hubris—extreme pride and self-confidence—and warned him not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus ignored his father’s advice and plunged into the ocean. The Icarus legend is seen to have metaphorical implications for those who may get too close to sources of power.


janet phelan, child and family services, adult protective services, child protective services, corruption, probate court, conservatorship, guardianship,