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animal rights | police / legal

The Best Judge UCLA Money Can Buy Conflict of Interest Hovers Over Judge Terry Friedman

UCLA's unconstitutional attempt at silencing above ground legal activists was facilitated in court yesterday by Judge Terry Friedman; Friedman, in Department J at the Santa Monica civil courthouse, did not voluntarily disclose at two separate hearings his close affiliation with UCLA as well as his financial relationship with the law firm representing UCLA, Irell and Manella LLP, of Newport Beach.
Judge Friedman is a UCLA graduate and alumni and this in itself should have been reason enough to recuse himself from hearing the restraining order (TRO) action brought against five picketers and three organizations who have protested animal abuse on campus and in the neighborhoods of UCLA faculty. Judge Friedman was also the Executive Director of the Bet Tzedeck Legal Services and remains involved financially with the Jewish charity, having to admit in open court he still attends Bet Tzedeck fund raisers. The defendants' attorney found out minutes before the second hearing that Irell and Manella LLP not only provide financial backing to Bet Tzedek but several partners in the firm have for many years held and currently hold board member positions at Bet Tzedek!

When defense attorney Christine Garcia put these two issues on the record in court Wednesday (Friedman did not disclose any of this information voluntarily) a noticeable discomfort in Friedman's body language was witnessed by observers in the courtroom. He then chuckled and belittled these affiliations, quickly moving on with the proceedings without rescusing himself nor allowing the defense to bring a motion for his dismissal. He denied virtually all defense motions while granting those for his benefactors, the plaintiffs.

Friedman ruled to not only keep the existing ex parte restraining order granted previously by the presiding Judge Rosenberg, but he added to and expanded the restraining order by replacing a specific paragraph that Judge Rosenberg had Irell and Manella LLP remove from the TRO. He refused to admit virtually every defense declaration into evidence while admitting all those for the plaintiffs.

Jerry W. Vlasak, MD, a press officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, stated after he heard about the rulings, "How stupid can this Terry Friedman be? Not only does he flaunt his obvious financial biases for the plaintiffs, but fails to realize that removing legal and constitutional avenues of redress, as history proves out, will only promote illegal actions on behalf of the non-human animals being gratuitously tortured to death in places like UCLA laboratories. Its an affront to justice that this judge is literally in the pockets of Irell and Manella and an alumni of the very University who is suing these defendants. It should surprise no one when underground activists once again act against the animal abusers being protected by such a biased judge and court."

Two of the organizations named in the restraining order granted Wednesday are clandestine groups that utilize economic sabotage, animal liberations and other tactics to highlight and stop animal abuses such as those occurring in UCLA laboratories. Since their members remain underground and unknown, and since they have already demonstrated a willingness to disregard the laws that protect and facilitate animal abusers, its is unlikely they would pay any heed to the restraining order, even if they knew it existed.