A very good example here of just what judges can do to sabotage the disfavored litigant.
Sheriff’s deputy James Mee arrested Mel Gibson a few years back for driving while intoxicated. He claims that in the time since, he has been passed over for promotions and suffered career damage in retaliation, in a lawsuit that is going to a trial by jury in a couple of weeks.
Why would the Sheriff’s department punish one of its own deputies for making an arrest that was obviously warranted and resulted in a conviction? Gibson, it seems, in addition to being just generally rich and powerful, had earlier done a commercial for the Sheriff’s department. Mee’s lawyers want to show the commercial to the jury.
Nope, says the judge. “Irrelevant”. And Mel won’t have to testify either, because that’s irrelevant, too. Ditto for the Sheriff.
These are all class based rulings and flagrantly one-sided: driven by the fact, which every trial lawyer knows, that the proffered evidence would very likely result in Mee winning the case and perhaps even a large verdict.
The judge is siding with the powerful – Gibson and the Sheriff and their institutional backers – and against the relatively powerless deputy. It’s in her interest to do so. And there’s no other reason.
The evidence and witnesses Mee’s attorneys want to present are at least as relevant to his claim as all the stuff about Casey Anthony’s partying in the days after her daughter died was to Florida’s case against her. If this were a government prosecution instead of a lawsuit by a “disgruntled employee” (one of the favorite, one-sided judicial issue-framing phrases in cases like these) the evidence would surely be admitted.
I’m far from a Mel Gibson hater, but this stinks. Badly. Maybe he should do something about it if he’s as penitent as he claims to be.