PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Monterey, CA, United States, 2005/11/22 - Eugene Forte will make a request for a federal consent decree, asking the feds to take charge of the Monterey Superior Court, the Calif. Attorney General's Office, the Calif. Governor's Office, and the Commission on Judicial Performance..
The highly unusual and sudden stay of the Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Diana R. Hall disciplinary inquiry last week has led to another unusual, and historic legal request that will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 23 in the Monterey Superior Court at 8:30 a.m.
The case has an impact on all companies doing business in California.
Eugene E. Forte has announced plans to make a request for a federal consent decree. He will specifically request that the federal government take charge of the Monterey Superior Court, the California Attorney General's Office, the California Governor's Office, and the Commission on Judicial Performance.
The request stems from a convoluted chain of events that led to a sudden halt to the inquiry last week, apparently because of a declaration filed in a different case, but making reference to the Hall inquiry and the judges involved.
On Friday, Nov. 18 Calif. Attorney General Bill Lockyer, in an unprecedented move, halted the disciplinary proceedings against Hall, and is now moving to strike and seal the evidence that caused him to take such action.
The evidence that he wants to seal is a sworn declaration filed with the Monterey Superior Court on Wednesday, Nov. 16 in a different case against Monterey Superior Court Judge Robert O'Farrell.
The declaration that has caused such a panic states that Judge Michael Fields told a former court clerk, Crystal Powser, that he and the other Special Masters hearing the Hall case have already decided that Hall is guilty on all three charges, prior to the case being concluded.
If the sworn declaration is true, the three judges would be subject to disciplinary action themselves. The effort by Lockyer to strike and seal the declaration, along with the seriousness of the claims of the declaration, warrant the historic actions of Forte.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that Lockyer is defending O'Farrell in the case in which the declaration by Powser was made. That case alleges that O'Farrell conspired with Judge Michael Fields, one of the three judges involved in the Hall inquiry, to fix the assignment of cases and the outcome of hearings.
Forte has charged in Forte v. O'Farrell, M72599 (Monterey Super. Ct., filed 2004) that O'Farrell caused him emotional distress and abused his due-process rights. Forte claims O'Farrell violated his rights when the judge had deputies arrest him because Forte announced his intent to "paper" O'Farrell in another civil suit he had filed.
It is alleged that the judges fixed the assignment of judges in their own Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.6 disqualifications filed by litigants. When a party files the disqualification, that case is suppose to be given to another jurist to be assigned back out with no questions asked of the party filing it.
One of the charges against Hall is that she questioned the assistant district attorney about the C.C.P. 170.6 filed against her.
Copies of the declaration by Crystal Powser dated Nov. 16, 2005 issued in the case Forte v. O'Farrell are available on request for members of the media, pending possible action by Calif. Attorney General Bill Lockyer.