Porn Judge UPDATE: Lori Douglas scandal shows how easy it is to become a judge

Mallick: Lori Douglas scandal shows how easy it is to become a judge

Published on Friday July 27, 2012

Supplied Photo If we can improve the way in which judges are appointed, the whole sordid crusty tale of Lori Douglas — innocent victim of a vicious husband, a disgrace to the bench or something in between — will have been worth enduring, writes Star columnist Heather Mallick.
Heather Mallick

By Heather Mallick Star Columnist

WINNIPEG—The checkup into the background of Canadian senior judges before they’re appointed is as light as a feather duster, it emerged at the Lori Douglas inquiry Friday.

And with that revelation alone, the Canadian Judicial Council committee looking into how Douglas was appointed in 2005 — despite the existence of online nude photos and the alleged sexual harassment of her lawyer-husband’s client — has justified its existence.

Douglas’s applications to become a judge had previously been blocked by Manitoba Appeal Court Justice Marc Monnin, who feared that the photos her husband Jack King had posted of her online would lead to embarrassment or blackmail. Eventually he became convinced that they were permanently deleted and the matter was settled.

Of course, he was wrong.

This is a case study that the administrators of Canadian law will read with care.

If we can improve the way in which judges are appointed, the whole sordid crusty tale of Douglas — innocent victim of a vicious husband, a disgrace to the bench or something in between — will have been worth enduring.

For applicants appear to undergo significantly less scrutiny than you and I would expect when applying for a job. If we say we can speak French, for instance, we might expect to be asked to chat in that language.

But it’s different for a judge. It’s genteel. It’s shallow and polite. If an applicant says he’s a ballerina, he might have to have a senior judge say the applicant can indeed stand beautifully on one leg.

But you and I would have to hop around in the interview. Judges don’t, and that’s where the sifting process failed in Douglas’s case. Nobody followed up on the details. They didn’t have to.

Appeal Court Judge Martin Freedman, head of the Manitoba Judicial Advisory Committee (JAC) that recommended Douglas’s third application in 2005, forthrightly told the inquiry how it was done.

Judges gather primary references from senior judges and lawyers, and secondary references from, oh, a pile of respected people. They send their forms to the provincial JAC.

The JAC, built of seven people from the judiciary, the Law Society and the general public, “verifies” the references. This is very different from “investigate,” a point the inquiry was careful to make.

Freedman had heard rumours about the Douglas-King scandal in 2005, when Douglas’s application arrived among 13 for a Family Court judgeship.

“I found out about it at the coffee table in the lounge with the other judges in the courthouse,” Freedman said. “Judges are former lawyers and they talk about things.”

All he knew, he told the inquiry, was that there were nude photos he had not seen, they had been “permanently removed” from the Internet and that her husband had tried to lure a client into sex with her.

He did not know that the pictures were graphic, including handcuffs, a difficult issue for judges who order people into handcuffs as part of their job. He didn’t know that the Dark Cavern website was interracial, which is complicated for judges who must be above racial judgments.

And he didn’t understand the nature of the Internet. King had earlier testified that he wrote to the Dark Cavern website and asked them to take down his ads featuring photos of his manacled wife.

One can imagine the correspondence. “Dear Mr. Dark Cavern. My interaction with your publication has gone wobbly. Do assist.”

The Internet doesn’t work that way, but kindly judges Monnin and Freedman were not to know that. Neither was the nice Margaret Rose Jamieson, the official who attended JAC meetings across the country and organized applications and the final reports that conclude, “Yes, you’ll be a great judge,” “Yes, you’re a judge” or “Forget it.”

Everyone on the JAC was told Douglas’s pasteurized version of the scandal. But Freedman, still uneasy, asked Jamieson to call Douglas and verify the paragraph in her application that said the scandal was old news. He wanted to flag the “very unusual situation” for the federal minister who gives the final OK.

“We didn’t want him to be blindsided,” Freedman said.

The problem is that almost no one else on the committee remembers this 2005 discussion at all. After a judge is appointed, all records are destroyed, for reasons that are unclear.

Jamieson remembered years later that she had in fact called Douglas, who allegedly said some very questionable things.

She said King had given the photos to a “friend,” which is the last thing King client Alex Chapman was. She didn’t say anything about luring, or bondage, and said the whole thing had been resolved through a “signed confidential settlement” with the Law Society. In fact, the society had only started asking questions.

Who knows what Douglas’s response will be to Jamieson’s story? It will be “she said/she said,” and more is expected of a judge than that.

The whole inquiry nearly derailed on Thursday after Douglas’s lawyer and an independent counsel complained that a cross-examination of the devious King by the council’s expert lawyer, George Macintosh, was rude and awful, revealing the inquiry’s bias against Douglas.

The inquiry, headed by Alberta Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, smacked down the complaint entirely, praising Macintosh’s “crisp, organized and fluid style” and reasserting its defence of the public interest.

The hearing will reconvene, perhaps in December, to finally hear from the case study herself, Associate Chief Justice Douglas. We wait agog.

hmallick@thestar.ca

 

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COMMENT/s :

QUOTE :

Douglas’s applications to become a judge had previously been blocked by Manitoba Appeal Court Justice Marc Monnin, who feared that the photos her husband Jack King had posted of her online would lead to embarrassment or blackmail. Eventually he became convinced that they were permanently deleted and the matter was settled.

So…early warning bells. However, poor “judgement” by the “Judge” . Once something is put on the internet, assume it can never be 100% retrieved .  How can these judges claim ignorance about this and the numerous negative possibilities ? Even a pre-school child knows this.

QUOTE:

Appeal Court Judge Martin Freedman, head of the Manitoba Judicial Advisory Committee (JAC) that recommended Douglas’s third application in 2005, forthrightly told the inquiry how it was done

The JAC, built of seven people from the judiciary, the Law Society and the general public, “verifies” the references. This is very different from “investigate,” a point the inquiry was careful to make.

Freedman had heard rumours about the Douglas-King scandal in 2005, when Douglas’s application arrived among 13 for a Family Court judgeship.

“I found out about it at the coffee table in the lounge with the other judges in the courthouse,” Freedman said. “Judges are former lawyers and they talk about things.”

All he knew, he told the inquiry, was that there were nude photos he had not seen, they had been “permanently removed” from the Internet and that her husband had tried to lure a client into sex with her.

Can you say Old Boys Club. Its kinda funny when  lawyers and judges have the tables turned and are now on the witness stand. Must be in need of plenty of diapers . This now casts questions on their ability to be Judges.

When they picked Judge Douglas…they obviously felt she was “better ” than other applicants. Wonder how those other applicants who were turned -down feel now ? 

 

My own opinion , and especially as various sex scandals continue to make headlines, is that this is only scratching the surface. Too many people in positions of power have skeletons in the closet….it is, unfortunately , a prerequisite. No one is totally clean, but I am increasingly convinced  the decent and honourable people want no part of this game, fear being ambushed…or some silly minor misadventure in the past would come back to haunt them.

Look at scumbag Ex – President Bill Clinton…unbelievable…yet he still walks around with that “good old choir boy ”  innocent smirk.

This case is simply an ” OOPS..this was never meant to get out”...(though one never knows for sure what really goes on behind the scenes)…but the fact she has not resigned and her own peers are backpeddling indicates volumes.  Yes, we must be fair, but then again , this is a Judge who should be held to a higher standard than those she judges.

The Judges  “judging”  who should be a Judge should have simply politely ignored Douglas application, the downside exceeded the upside.

Can’t wait to hear the Porn Judges testimony…or is she allowed to refrain  ? Could be some very VERY potent info revealed.

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