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Judge in Laura DeCrescenzo’s case retires, Scientology objects to his replacement

Laura_DeCrescenzoLast month, Los Angeles Supreme Court Judge Ronald Sohigian announced that he’d be retiring in April.

That’s directly affecting Laura DeCrescenzo, who went through so much last year to get her forced-abortion lawsuit against the Church of Scientology through several appeals and then a big summary judgment hearing before Sohigian in October.

Those of you who were with us as we reported that hearing live from Sohigian’s courtroom know that the judge stunned us with his detailed support for the facts in DeCrescenzo’s testimony. He then set a date early in 2015 for trial. And now, he’s walking away, and a new judge will have to learn the case from scratch.

We couldn’t help thinking that would put a heavy burden on DeCrescenzo, but so far, it’s Scientology that’s objecting to the new judge who has been assigned the suit.

Last week, Scientology filed its objection, saying that it believed Judge Rafael Ongkeko would be prejudicial to Scientology. A legal expert tells us that in Los Angeles Superior Court, a party can make a peremptory challenge after a judge’s assignment, and that it may be rather pro forma here. But we’re not sure why Scientology objects to Ongkeko in particular.

The only previous case we could find of Ongkeko being removed from a case was a rather famous one: Actor Mel Gibson objected to his 2009 divorce being assigned to Ongkeko, and filed a similar peremptory challenge, and successfully removed the Filipino-American jurist from the case.

Why Scientology attorney Bert Deixler believes that Judge Ongkeko is “prejudicial” to the church is not explained in the brief document. But here it is…

 

Laura DeCrescenzo v Scientology: Scientology Objects to new judge

 
Whether this will have long-term effects on DeCrescenzo’s case or move her trial date back, we don’t know yet. We’re still waiting for Laura to file responses to numerous motions filed by Scientology in the wake of its summary judgment loss. We’ll stay on top of it.

For an overview of the allegations in the case and what was found in documents that Laura spent so much effort prying from the church, see our featured story on the sidebar.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 11, 2014 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer

 

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