Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

 

Page 3

 

Ninth Circuit Revives Action Against Judge Otis Wright

Attorney Accuses Jurist of Civil Rights Violations

 

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday reinstated a civil rights action against District Court Judge Otis Wright II of the Central District of California, and others, in connection with an alleged incident in his courtroom, as well as ensuing events. The plaintiff is attorney Caree Harper, who had represented a homeless woman, Marlene Pinnock, in an action based on a beating of her by a California Highway Patrol officer. Telling her side of the story, Harper recounts in her complaint what occurred at a status conference before Wright on March 2, 2015, after a settlement had been reached in Pinnock’s case and, according to Harper, the case had been closed. District Court Judge Gary Klausner on June 20, 2017 dismissed Harper’s action, without leave to amend, based on untimeliness of the service of process; the Ninth Circuit, in a memorandum opinion yesterday reversed Klausner, saying that “applicable factors weigh against dismissal.” Below are Harper’s allegations, with paragraph numbering omitted.

 

CAREE HARPER

Attorney

OTIS WRIGHT II

District Court Judge

 

Plaintiff…was unexpectedly berated and repeatedly asked questions that triggered attorney/client privilege objections. Plaintiff requested counsel and requested that she be allowed to leave. Both requests were denied. Plaintiff alerted the court that she was having chest pains, and his response was to make hand gestures and that triggered multiple US Marshals and blue jackets to forcefully and physically seized Plaintiff. Plaintiff screamed in pain as the group of 6-8 officers violently wrenched her arms behind her back. At this point the Defendant Judge stood from the bench, pointed, clapped and laughed at the Plaintiff. Plaintiff yelled out about the use of force being administered as one short smirking White male deputy pointed a Taser in the Plaintiffs face. Plaintiff had previously cleared security and at no time did she present a physical threat to anyone. Plaintiff was denied immediate medical care even after advising the sadistic judge and aggressive deputies of her medical conditions and chest pains.

The Plaintiff asked the Defendant Judge if he was authorizing the force being used on her and he again gestured with his hands. Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant Judge engages in sexual relations with court reporter(s) and through that intimate contact has developed signals about going on and off the record without parties knowing. This allegation was part of the Judicial Misconduct Complaint the Plaintiff filed against the Defendant Judge in 2015. When confronted with this allegation as part of Ninth Circuit’s investigation the Defendant Judge stated that he “learned that it was error to go off the record without consent of all counsel and he stopped that practice....”

The [U.S. Marshals Service] denied Plaintiff of medical care for several hours and was threatening when she inquired as to when she would be treated. The Plaintiff was eventually admitted to a local hospital several hours later where she was continuously handcuffed to a gurney and subjected to several frightening tests. One of which simulated a panic attack with the use of intravenous drugs.

On March 3, 2015, Defendants denied the Plaintiff of her Constitutional right to vote when they wrongfully arrested, seized and imprisoned Plaintiff. Once the Defendant Judge learned that Plaintiff had not spent the first night in the federal jail, he refused to allow her to be released, and instead maliciously ordered her booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center the second night.

On March 18, 2015, the Defendant Judge later explained to an open courtroom that he intended to make “an example” out of the plaintiff. The Defendant Judge bragged about his treatment of the Plaintiff and about how nothing could be done to him because he has a lifetime appointment on the bench. Defendant stated that Plaintiff “exploited” her client because of the unconfirmed fee he believes Plaintiff charged. These types of remarks are similar to accusing a priest of fondling children; or accusing a reporter of plagiarism; or accusing a judge of bribery—that is unless the judge has just filed bankruptcy while sitting on the bench. These malicious and slanderous comments were made in open court in front of numerous media outlets, and they were intended to and did, in fact, harm Plaintiffs reputation in the community. The Defendant Judge intended these salacious comments to end the career of the Plaintiff.

 

Wright and his wife filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 26, 2011, stating their assets to be $833,000 and their liabilities to be $895,000. Harper remarked in her complaint:

 

At the time of the settlement Ms. Pinnock had never had a conservator and had never filed bankruptcy, unlike Defendant Judge Otis Wright who finalized a personal bankruptcy the year before and became the only sitting Judge on the federal bench to do so. Having charged off a $12,000.00 shopping spree at Nordstroms as part of his bankruptcy the Defendant Judge was furious to find that plaintiffs counsel, a female, made a considerable amount of money in what he characterized as a relatively short period of time.

 

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