On Wed, 1 Sep 1999 14:00:27 -0400, "William Piltdown" <[email protected]> wrote:
>GEORGES SANTIATA G-E-O-R-G-E-S SAID, THOSE WHO DO NOT LEE FROM
>HISTORY ARE CONDEMNED TO RELIVE IT. THEREFORE, IT IS WITH GREAT
>REGRET THAT I FIND MYSELF JUDICIALLY OBLIGED TO GRANT THE
As for "not learning from history" evidently Judge Williams didn't learn from his own history very much either:
[From a post by Mike O'Connor]
Association of Trial Lawyers of America
See the Web page:
Calling a Los Angeles judge's verbally abusive conduct toward a plaintiff "despicable and inexcusable," a trial court nevertheless ruled the judge is protected by the doctrine of judicial immunity and therefore cannot be sued.
In dismissing the complaint against Superior Court Judge Alexander Williams III, Orange County Superior Court Judge James Jackman found that although Williams's actions "undoubtedly push[ed] the envelope of judicial immunity," they did not cross the line into "physically assaultive conduct," which would not have been protected behavior under the doctrine. Because the Los Angeles bench recused itself, the case was moved to Orange County. (Soliz v. Williams, No. BC 166 394 (Cal., Orange County Super. Ct. Aug. 21, 1997).)
The complaint alleges that on November 17, 1995, Williams was conducting a settlement conference in which the plaintiff, Robert Soliz, was a party. During the lunch recess, the defendants in the case remained in the courtroom while Soliz sat in the hallway outside. His attorney, Rees Lloyd, who practices in Banning, California, was out of earshot when Williams-who was not wearing his judicial robes-confronted Soliz and another plaintiff. Williams yelled that the plaintiffs' settlement demand was "bulls---," and if the plaintiffs thought there was money in the case, they had "s--- for brains."
According to the lawsuit, the judge-who was holding a rolled-up magazine in his hand-"lifted up his leg like a dog urinating, and motioned as if he was shoving the tube of papers up his rectum."
The complaint says that Soliz did not respond to the judge's outburst in any way because he feared retaliation.
As Williams began to enter the courtroom, Lloyd returned. The judge then turned toward Lloyd, "thumped his chest repeatedly," and proclaimed that "now plaintiffs had to deal with him," and that he was their "enemy."
Three days later, Lloyd filed a motion to disqualify Williams. Williams refused to grant the motion, but after Lloyd refused to withdraw it, Williams recused himself.
On or about that same day, Williams spoke to a reporter from the Los Angeles Daily Journal, a legal newspaper. Williams admitted he had engaged in inappropriate acts but denied he had acted as Soliz alleged in the motion for disqualification.
Earlier this year, the California Commission on Judicial Performance made public its findings after investigating the incident. It admonished the judge, finding that the acts Soliz alleged were true.
In his five-page opinion dismissing the lawsuit, Jackman put Soliz's causes of action into three groups: negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil rights violations, and defamation.
In each cause of action, Jackman found that Williams was protected by judicial immunity because his actions were judicial in nature and occurred in his jurisdiction. Jackman wrote, "[A] judicial act does not become less so by virtue of being done with malice or corrupt motives. If the action is a judicial function and with jurisdiction, the lawsuit cannot go forward."
Jackman also rejected Soliz's claim that because Williams falsely denied the misconduct to the Journal reporter, he had effectively called Soliz a liar in print. Jackson found that Williams's comments to the reporter were "regarding a matter before him and involved the lawsuit and litigants," not "just any person off the street."
Jackman noted that while there "is no excuse for the conduct of Judge Williams as alleged . . . he is subject to other potent controls at the Commission and at the ballot box."
Soliz's attorney, Lloyd, said he will appeal. "Assault is assault-whether it's verbal or physical-and neither should fall under the cloak of judicial immunity," Lloyd said. "Yet many lawyers have told me they would not challenge a judge in this way. But if we don't question unacceptable behavior, where will it all end?"