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Scientology gets judge disqualified in forced-abortion lawsuit and wants recent order voided

JohnDoyle

[Judge John P. Doyle]

On Tuesday, we told you that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle had submitted a surprising disclosure in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. Judge Doyle revealed that he had a first cousin, Greg Smith, who was a Scientologist. In fact, Doyle’s cousins are a longtime, hard core Scientology family, including Sea Org officials at Int Base in California and Saint Hill Manor in England, two of the most important Scientology compounds on the planet.

Judge Doyle described his interactions with the Smith family as minimal, but he acknowledged that if Scientology called any of his relatives as witnesses, his position as judge on the case would be “untenable.”

Now we have a copy of Scientology’s response, which reveals that the church does, indeed, plan to call one of the Smith family to testify in the lawsuit, and is therefore asking that Judge Doyle be disqualified from handling the lawsuit any further. And more importantly, Scientology is asking that Judge Doyle’s only action on the seven-year lawsuit, his April 27 denial of a Scientology motion for summary judgment, be voided so the motion can be heard again by a new judge.

Although Scientology filed its response only this week, the superior court has already indicated that Doyle is now off the case and the lawsuit will be reassigned. But will Scientology convince the new judge to void Judge Doyle’s ruling, which was a crucial step that had cleared the way for an actual trial? Scientology argues that the law is on its side…

Based on [the Church of Scientology’s] review of the governing law, it appears that if Judge Doyle is disqualified, the April 27, 2016 order is void. This is because the facts underlying the disqualification existed before April 27, 2016, and the degree of relationship between Judge Doyle and members of the Sea Organization was known to Judge Doyle prior to the date of that order.

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Attorney Scott Pilutik, who has been watching this case since it was filed, says he’s not sure that Scientology will prevail on that argument. “There’s zero reason to think that Judge Doyle’s then-hypothetical conflict could have possibly factored in to the April 27 decision, especially as it went against the bias of his conflict,” Pilutik says.

In other words, Scientology may have to make the argument that having cousins in the Sea Org is something that would cause someone to have a bias against Scientology — and that’s something we’d really enjoy watching, we have to admit.

We put in a message to DeCrescenzo’s attorney, John Blumberg, asking what he thought about Scientology trying to get the motion for summary judgment denial voided, but we didn’t hear back from him.

Scientology says that in a trial it would call Andrea Smith to testify; Andrea is married to Greg Smith’s son Hans. Our sources tell us Andrea was a Sea Org member herself and may have audited DeCrescenzo, so there’s not much reason to doubt Scientology when it says it was going to call her as a witness. The church says it will have Andrea testify that DeCrescenzo expressed satisfaction with her job. That would certainly disqualify Doyle, so it’s not surprising that the superior court would agree so quickly to reassign the lawsuit.

But will Judge Doyle’s April 27 decision to deny Scientology’s motion, which cleared the way for Laura to get a trial, be now nullified? We’ll try to get that for you as soon as we can.

DeCrescenzo first filed her lawsuit in April 2009 and it was handled until early 2014 by Judge Ronald Sohigian, who then retired. The case has been passed around to several judges since then, and had only landed in Judge Doyle’s lap earlier this year. Scientology says it was unaware, until Doyle’s disclosure last week, that the judge had family ties to the Sea Organization, or it would have raised an objection before the April 27 hearing on the church’s motion for summary judgment.

Here’s the document…

 

DeCrescenzo v. Scientology: Response to Judge's Disclosure

 
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HowdyCon update: We need you to respond

Yesterday, we had some great Bunker readers leap into the fray when we indicated that we’d lost the organizer of our upcoming meetup in Cleveland, HowdyCon, which takes place June 17-19.

With help from our new volunteers, we secured a great venue for our Saturday night event, which we’re going to make sure will be the centerpiece of the weekend. But now, we need to know who’s coming so we can figure out how to feed you all.

If you’re going to HowdyCon and you plan on joining us Saturday night for our main event, please drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com. Please let us know how many will be in your party. We need that information to cater the affair.

Thank you.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 20, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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