(CNT) – Laws and procedures are difficult, the common person would lose their minds trying to remember all the basic court procedures and the countless laws that exist on a state and federal basis. Our Court system is very much in its youth, and with only a handful of cases completed our state made precedent list is rather small.
Precedent as we will refer to it, is a decision made by a court, that once the decision is made, establishes the ruling for that court on similar cases containing the same facts and issues with the previous case. This is called Stare Decisis, which means “to stand by things decided.” It is these decisions that create what we know as “case law”.
For example, the law that enables a police officer to pat you down for weapons is not written like legislation is, it is “written” by the Supreme Court decision of Terry v. Ohio. Which ruled that a police officer has the right to search you for a weapon for their own safety. This is the decision that gives police officers the right to frisk you for weapons. It was Terry v. Ohio that formed the precedent for Pennsylvania v. Mimms years later. Which established the case law that allows a police officer to order you out of a vehicle to perform a “Terry Stop”, or check for weapons as outlined in Terry v. Ohio. Prior to 1970, there was no law that enabled a police officer to order you out of a vehicle. So the importance of precedent, and case law cannot be undersold. It is one of the founding pillars of the American Judicial System.
Here we are going to analyze our court system, and more specifically the case of ‘Garry Shoeman v. Serena Mikaelson, Elizabeth Williams, LSPD’ which was dismissed on Christmas Eve 2021. We’ve come to call this, “Shoeman v. Everyone” in the office.
The case involves an incident where a lawyer was held in contempt and initially, the story was clear cut, but as the drama unfolded, the story became shrouded in mystery and then was followed by a quiet resignation of the highest judge in the state.
This civil case brought on by Garry Shoeman stems from an incident that occurred on the 19th of December at the court case, ‘Michaela Harris v San Andreas Park Rangers.’
In court, Lawyer Garry Shoeman was handed a Contempt of Court charge by Circuit Court Judge Xavier Castillo, according to court records: “Judge Castillo handed to Mr Shoeman the contempt charge due to the disrespect Mr Shoeman had shown to the court.”
And according to a statement provided by Elizabeth Williams;
After the court case, Mr. Shoeman was escorted out of the courthouse and subsequently charged with Harassment by Officer Mikaelson of the Los Santos Police Department and a court docket was started. Everything about this court case was seemingly normal until a decision, coming from the DOJ to drop all charges and for the court to dismiss the case. The docket states:
With this request, the case was dismissed with prejudice by the prosecution. We asked the Department of Justice’s First chair on this case, Cassandra Cohen, who the complaining witness was. She confirmed that it was Chief Justice Elizabeth Williams
To break down the timeline a little:
- The DOJ records state that Elizabeth Williams initiated the conversation with the defendant, who had been speaking in private with the presiding judge.
- Justice Williams then informs Mr. Shoeman that his disbarment was in her hands, and that she would not hear any of his complaints.
- When Mr. Shoeman asked to speak with the Chief Justice about this, she replied that he would simply have to send her an email despite standing in front of him.
- Justice Williams then proceeded to follow Mr. Shoeman has he was being escorted out of the courthouse and continued the conversation/confrontation while antagonizing Mr. Shoeman.
- Justice Williams then “asked [Sr. Dep. Jacob House] to push a Harassment charge”, per the original criminal complaint.
- The final part of this initial saga comes in the form of a temporary restraining order which was granted by Judge Dolores MacGowan, even after the criminal charges were dropped by the Department of Justice.
So the, then-sitting Chief Justice, the same one who told our faces she sealed a (later found illegal) warrant, citing fear of backlash against the judge who signed it, but then the Judge turned out to be her?
Yeah she decided that she was able to force police officers to press charges that are not constituted by Mr. Shoeman’s actions while escalating and creating the situation by insisting on flexing her position. So much so that it ended up finally falling to the Prosecutors to not charge Mr. Shoeman with a crime that he didn’t commit. None of the other agencies involved decided to stop Justice Williams from her malicious prosecution, other than the Prosecutors that would have had to actually do it, and credit where it is due, they did so elegantly and in doing so upheld their integrity.
Because as it turns out, it is not a crime to be called a slew of things that make you feel bad. Regardless of your position, Mr. Shoeman’s words were well covered by the First Amendment as well any in place Time, Place, & Manner restrictions. Being a judge does not make anyone who disrespects you a criminal. Being a judge does not mean everyone has to speak to you as though court is in session. Seeing as he was disbarred at that point, he couldn’t be re-disbarred. Outside of the court, you can be spoken too however a person wants, and it does not make them a criminal. It’s very simple. You run the court, it is your house. But outside of your house, it doesn’t mean much.
Just because the Chief Justice is able to disbar someone, does not mean she has the right to coerce with her position, a law enforcement officer to press charges that are neither appropriate, or justified by Mr. Shoeman’s actions. The most a judge can charge an individual with as an enforcement action is in fact, Contempt of Court. However a judge does not have the powers to add charges to someone beyond that. As per her own statement as filed:
If the Chief Justice cannot understand and apply the legal basic fact that regardless of how she feels about a situation, her feelings do not dictate the facts of the event. Per the report Det. Stryker filed, “At this stage Chief Justice Williams advised he be charged with harassment.” and Sr. Dep. Jacob House’s, “He then was placed in cuffs by myself, and the Chief Justice asked to push a Harassment charge.” Something she cannot legally do in the first place. On top of the fact there is no probable cause for a harassment charge other than Ms. Williams feelings on the matter. This constitutes the tort of Malicious Prosecution.
Back to the Civil Lawsuit
Lawyers representing Garry Shoeman filed a $800,000 lawsuit against arresting officer Mikaelson, Justice Elizabeth Williams and the Los Santos Police Department on three grounds: defamation, malicious prosecution and loss of current and future income. Ms. Williams stated she was going to represent herself and immediately called out the lawsuit as ‘frivolous’ and reminded the court that “Lawyers and attorneys shall always maintain due respect towards the Court.”
The discussion was cut short by Judge Charlotte Avery who made a ruling to dismiss the case before any additional evidence could be submitted. This ruling dismissed the case which was raised on 3 grounds on one ground, while completely failing to address the malicious prosecution portion of the case. Her ruling contained the following:
Small problem with your ruling Justice Avery, there is legal precedent for Defamation of Character. Case [2021-CV-028] Casandra Cohen v. Kash Keller is the defining case for defamation in this state. While the prosecution failed to show that defamation occurred in that instance, it did set the standard of proof for defamation cases as the following;
- A false statement purporting to be fact;
- Publication or communication of that statement to a third person;
- Fault amounting to at least negligence;
- Damages, or some harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.
So we have a problem right? By the definiton Justice Avery established independent of the precedent, Mr. Shoeman was not a victim of “Defamation of Character.” However the precedent clearly shows that Mr. Shoeman is a victim of the previous definition of Defamation of Character. The Court decided on a definition of defamation of character, which established a legal precedent for what defamation was, and ignored it when it served them best. Let’s just examine the final line of the ruling in the Civil Case:
Well your honor, this is exactly why we have precedent. I want to point out that this filing was in no standing legal terms, malicious, or “An act done maliciously is one that is wrongful and performed willfully or intentionally, and without legal justification.” Mr. Shoeman’s case was legally based in the tort of Malicious Prosecution. But was interpreted as though Mr. Shoeman’s tort was baseless by Justice Avery. This is the very reason we have Precedent, from a case in the Floridian Supreme Court:
So, the Justice Avery made a ruling on a civil case involving the Chief Justice, that ignored the Court’s own precedent. The judge completely fails to allow Mr. Shoeman to present evidence of defendants civil tort of Malicious Prosecution, a completely legal reason to sue, and then dismisses it without reviewing additional evidence of the tort. Then calling his completely legitimate lawsuit malicious, when it is in fact his right to sue for these damages.
Before I go on any further, let me just point out this little gem.
This is factually the most incorrect statement on here. A bad faith arrest is not the same thing as malicious prosecution, and is a completely different thing. Mr. Shoeman was not arrested in bad faith, he was arrested in turn for Contempt of Court, that is a legitimate arrest. Mr. Shoeman did not commit the act of Harassment, which is what he was later criminally charged with. These are separate instances, with separate standards, and it is baffling to me that the Justices do not know this is the case. Mr. Shoeman’s experiences, very much literally meet the definition of Malicious Prosecution.
To win a suit for malicious prosecution, the plaintiff must prove four elements:
(1) that the original case was terminated in favor of the plaintiff,
(2) that the defendant played an active role in the original case,
(3) that the defendant did not have probable cause or reasonable grounds to support the original case, and
(4) that the defendant initiated or continued the initial case with an improper purpose.
And you are telling me I am supposed to believe this is a legitimate ruling? Justice Avery was appointed by Chief Justice Williams.
We have asked the Chief Justice for both comments on the resignation and the lawsuit. She has declined to comment on the lawsuit. We also asked Judge Charlotte Avery for comment on the defamation precedent issue and the case itself, however she has denied commenting on the matter.
We spoke with Lawyer Donald O’Hagen who is representing Garry Shoeman on this issue, he said:
“We 100% intend to appeal this one. She only dismissed it on one grounds. I don’t know if you noticed the lawsuit actually was for three different things. It was for defamation. It was also for malicious prosecution, which she never even brought up. […] The other thing that we plan to appeal for is about Charlotte Avery, who came to my attention; was appointed by Elizabeth Williams, which is a direct conflict of interest.”
Let's Just Pretend...
Okay, lets just pretend then. That the Judiciary was aware of the Common Law Tort known as “Malicious Prosecution”. Let’s pretend that the Judiciary was aware of, and tracked their own case law creating decisions in a meaningful way. Let’s pretend that the Judges on the Judiciary are not biased towards their boss, or their own position. And of course, let’s pretend that Justice Avery actually saw new evidence rather than literally use one source, the very one used to defame Mr. Shoeman, as the only version of events.
So if we pretended all of that stuff happens, what we would see is an interesting, and exciting trial play out in the courts. As Mr. Shoeman, legally chases down people who very literally illegally charged him with a crime he did not commit. Mr. Shoeman’s case is not a matter of if he was maliciously prosecuted, but by how much and who is primarily responsible. What we should see is that Justice Avery, is reprimanded for failing to perform their duties as a Judge and follow through without bias. What we should see, is a judiciary that stops putting wet spots on their knees to appease the police and their own position. What we should see are Justices that actually care to research their own case law before making a ruling out of court that will, now hopefully define their career.
What we should see, is people being able to present the evidence of wrong doing against anyone, including a sitting Justice, and have it heard with the same legal balance and opportunity as anyone else. But clearly, that ain’t happening.
So now what?
So Ms. Williams, as you exit the judiciary today, as you tender your resignation for reasons we’ll never see. Thank you for removing yourself before the people found a way. I would like to calmly, kindly remind every single remaining justice in the Judiciary. We are watching. Your behavior is not exempt from criticism. If you’d like to follow Ms. Williams, continue your warpath of judicial abuse of the very laws you are supposed to be supporting. We will happily continue to call you out.
To the incoming Chief Justice, Mr. MacLamar, I do not envy you. But I hope you understand the full gravity of what I am suggesting your Judiciary is capable of. Because the criminal wrongdoing of the Judiciary and its Justices against Mr. Shoeman is not the beginning, or the end of this problem. It will be you who decides how to rebalance the system your predecessor exposed as broken, and build a culture within the Judiciary that is worthy of praise. A culture that radiates the same energy and professionalism outward to the other agencies that lean upon the judiciary.
Well, hop to it.