Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Court of Appeal Finds Attorney in Contempt for Insults
Imposes $1,000 Fine on Lawyer Who, in Seeking Rehearing, Faulted the Court’s ‘Fecal Stained Opinion,’ Accusing Justices of Senility and Corruption
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday found an attorney in contempt based on insults he hurled at the justices—termed by him the “Grandads of Anarchy”—in a petition for rehearing.
Div. Six, in an unpublished opinion by Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert, said it was imposing a $1,000 fine on Douglas J. Crawford and was reporting him to the State Bar for possible disciplinary action.
Crawford has already attracted the attention of the State Bar. On July 16 of last year, he was involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member, and his disbarment was recommended.
Among the charges against Crawford were that he threatened opposing counsel at a deposition with a pepper spray and stun gun and falsely represented in the proceedings, in which he was a self-represented plaintiff, that his deceased mother was still alive.
In yesterday’s opinion, Gilbert alluded to the pepper spray incident, noting that it, along with Crawford’s contemptuous remarks in papers he filed concerning the trial judge, resulted in terminating sanctions in Crawford’s action against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. The judgment of dismissal was affirmed in a published opinion, authored by Gilbert, filed Dec. 9, 2015, and modified Jan. 4 of this year.
That opinion relates that Crawford referred to Ventura Superior Court Judge Vincent James O’Neill as a former prosecutor who was “currently masquerading as a Superior Court Judge” who was “sick and demented” and was opposing counsel’s pet dog.
Gilbert said in that opinion:
“If ever a case required a terminating sanction, this is it. Crawford threatened to use pepper spray and a taser on opposing counsel and was openly contemptuous of the trial court. He made it impossible to continue with the litigation. Far from the trial court abusing its discretion, it would have been an abuse of discretion not to impose a terminating sanction.”
Petition for Rehearing
Gilbert recites in yesterday’s opinion that in seeking a rehearing, Crawford made such allegations as:
“The Grandads of Anarchy current bastard version of the actual facts fully demonstrate just how far they are up Chase’s bum and helps to explain the origin of their fecal stained opinion.”
The petition asserts that the justices misstated a fact, and comments:
“In any other situation, the Court factual inaccuracies would be laughable, but given their purposefully misstating of the facts and bastardizing California law, it is further evidence of their endless corruption, bias and senility.”
Crawford referred to Gilbert and his colleagues on Div. Six as “feeble-minded, nincompoops,” “corrupt, pathetic, low-life scum of human refuse,” and “three crusty, old corrupt codgers…whose only present benefit is a resounding argument for the institution of a mandatory retirement age for Justices of the Appellate Divisions.”
Alluding to Gilbert’s blog (http://gilbertsubmits.blogspot.com), Crawford remarked:
“Possibly, if GOA Gilbert and his senile brethren actually spent more time reading the briefs of the appealing parties and California precedent rather than [sic] opining on his egocentric blog of the inane, all or some of the aforementioned errors would not even happen?”
The petition contained several other insults.
Accusation of Bribe
Gilbert noted that “[i]n addition to these contemptuous remarks, the petition accuses this court of a crime: accepting a bribe.”
He pointed to such allegations as these:
“The errors contained within the Courts opinion are so obvious, vast and plentiful one has to laugh and wonder out loud just how much the Grandads of Anarchy were bribed by J.P. Morgan Chase to crap out the current abomination disguised fecal legal matter….
“….The only question left outstanding is ‘how much’, dear, old Grandads of Anarchy, did Chase pay you to write this fiction-based fecal opinion?”
The jurist wrote:
“This accusation made under penalty of perjury is false and subject to criminal prosecution. We express no opinion whether the appropriate prosecuting agency should take such action.”
Gilbert went on to say:
“Crawford’s answer to our order to show cause contains an apology. The apology is insufficient to purge Crawford of contempt: Crawford is an experienced attorney; the charges are false, lacking any support whatsoever; the tone of the petition for rehearing is spiteful and malicious; Crawford’s statements were not made in the heat of a courtroom battle, but were deliberately made in a petition for rehearing; and Crawford also impugned the integrity of the trial court in his motion to disqualify the trial judge.
“We also take into consideration his statement: ‘I am currently undergoing intensive treatment for various underlying issues that are clearly evident in the Petition for Rehearing and would like to continue that treatment unabated, which I submit to explain why I am not submitting my apologies to the Court personally.’
“Crawford argues that the contemptuous statements made in his petition for rehearing constitute a continuous course of conduct. He concludes that pursuant to Penal Code section 654, he can be punished for only one count of contempt. We need not decide the matter. Punishment for a single count of contempt will suffice.”
The case is In re Crawford, B270705.
Fourth District Opinion
Crawford initially filed his action against Chase in San Diego. The defendant sought a change of venue to Ventura, where Crawford’s mother—for whom he was acting as attorney-in-fact—resided.
Although his mother died on Nov. 1, 2011, automatically revoking his power of attorney, he continued to prosecute the action.
He revealed her death, in court, on Jan. 17, 2012. The court transferred the case to Ventura County and imposed sanctions against Crawford in the amount of $11,802.
In 2013, Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed trial court, and imposed additional sanctions in the amount of $14,500 “for filing a frivolous appeal and his ‘intentional misrepresentations to this reviewing court.’
Crawford ran two years ago for the San Diego Superior Court, unsuccessfully challenging incumbent Ronald Prager. During the campaign, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Crawford “once tried to get an African-American judge who was the former leader of the local chapter of the NAACP removed from his case because of what he termed ‘her permanent disability as a Negro racist.’ ”
He said in his disqualification motion, according to the newspaper:
“Judge Trapp’s racist bias and prejudice in favor of negroes and against whites would not be a problem ‘but for’ the fact that Plaintiff’s attorney Douglas J. Crawford (‘Crawford’) is lily white.”
Crawford declared he is “well known in the legal community” for his support of white supremacists.
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