Canada, Legal Ethics, Nude Dancing, Pictures, Pornography, Sex, Sex Scandals, Sexual Harassment

The Case Against Madam Justice Lori Douglas

Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas

The ethics investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council of Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge featured in nude photographs that her husband took and then posted to the internet, has ended for now. The hearing adjourned on Friday and will resume at some point in the fall.

The latest noteworthy development was testimony to the panel to the effect that the committee considering Lori Douglas for appointment to the bench already knew about the nude photos when it evaluated her judicial application. This supports Justice Douglas’s claim that she did not improperly conceal information when applying to be a judge. “There was knowledge of the photographs and we were to follow up,” testified Justice Martin Freedman, who chaired the committee that screened Douglas for the bench.

With the hearings in recess, now is a good time to pause and take stock of the charges against Justice Lori Douglas. What is the best case that can be made against her?

As I’ve mentioned before, personally I am a member of “Team Lori.” I do not believe that Justice Douglas should be stripped of her robes. It seems to me that she is a victim — of the idiocy of her husband, lawyer Jack King, who put the pictures on the web in the first place, and of the greed of Alex Chapman, a former client of Jack King, who tried to get money out of the couple in exchange for his silence (a deal he reneged on).

But we believe in presenting both sides of the story here at Above the Law. What is the case in favor of removing Justice Douglas from the bench? Let’s hear from her critics.

Georgialee Lang, a Vancouver lawyer and blogger, attacked Justice Douglas in the pages of the Toronto Star:

[I]magine appearing before a judge whose photos on the Internet, according to reports, depict her nude, with her legs wide open; performing fellatio on a man; urinating on her lawn; or tied up with a dog collar and a chain around her neck.

(Woof woof! If the grass is hers, she can water it as she pleases, right?)

Yes, that would be Winnipeg’s Justice Lori Douglas, and the scenes described are merely a few of the 150 poses captured by her lawyer husband, Jack King, and posted by him on the World Wide Web, for all to enjoy.

I’m not sure “enjoy” is the right word, but to each his own.

I have followed Douglas’ public excoriation from the outset and can’t imagine how she expects to carry on as a judge, and why she did not resign in 2010 with some of her dignity intact. I say she is not fit to occupy a judicial position because her shameful situation, whether she is to blame or not, flies in the face of the ethical principles set out by the Canadian Judicial Council, the august body that investigates complaints from the public regarding judges.

Yes, I reject Douglas’ claims she is a victim; she is not. She has the education and sophistication of a worldly woman who knew when she applied for a judicial position that she would be held to a higher standard of conduct than the pole dancers at Winnipeg’s popular Teaser’s Burlesque Cabaret.

Props to Georgialee Lang for a good one-liner. But does it hold up under scrutiny? It seems to me that “sophisticat[ed]” and “worldly” people are probably more likely than their unsophisticated brethren to have kinky sexual tastes. And I’m not sure what Justice Douglas’s preferred sexual positions have to do with her judicial position.

Judges. Have. Sex. We might not like to think about it, unless they are judicial hotties, but they do. The only difference is that, in Justice Douglas’s case, we happen to have proof of the fact. But her teenage son is proof of the fact too. I’m not sure what the problem is here (except for Justice Douglas’s poor son, who probably has to put up with endless MILF jokes from his friends).

The stronger argument may concern how Justice Douglas handled the photo scandal when applying for a judicial appointment. Lang argues:

[O]nce she became a public officer with the immense power and authority flowing from her judicial office, she ought to have realized that she was obliged to make nothing less than full, written disclosure, as required by the judicial application form she filled out.

The question she apparently answered “no” to was: “Is there anything in your past or present which could reflect negatively on yourself or the judiciary, and which should be disclosed?”

How is it possible that Douglas did not consider that the events involving the publication of pornographic photos of her and the related fallout involving her husband and Chapman would not reflect negatively on her or the judiciary as a whole?

With the benefit of hindsight, Justice Douglas should have included a mention of the naked pictures, followed by a reference to the settlement with Alex Chapman that required him to destroy the photos (which he did not). But, as noted above, Justice Douglas believed that the relevant authorities were already aware of the nude pics of her.

Georgialee Lang isn’t the only critic of Judge Lori Douglas. A disgruntled litigant wrote to us to complain about Justice Douglas. Here is our correspondent’s opinion (caveat: this disgruntled litigant obviously has a big ax to grind with Justice Douglas):

I have been following the Lori Douglas case, and I have been disgusted with the arguments made by her attorney in her defense. Douglas, and so many other judges in Manitoba, have engaged in witch hunts against mothers who have been survivors of domestic violence, and who have spoken up about the abuse of their children. Douglas’s lawyer argues that she should not be held accountable for her husband’s actions, but Douglas and every other judge in Queen’s Bench have engaged in “blaming the victim” when making family court decisions.

Douglas is asking to have a double standard, one set of rules for her, and another set for other women. She is offended because she’s being treated like the rest of us. It is infuriating to continue to try to put evidence before Queen’s Bench that a father has deceived the court to attack the mother of the children, including evidence that a QB judge falsified a portion of a written report then included it as “Background Facts” in the case, putting an indelible mark on the woman that is read by every judge thereafter.

The corruption in QB Manitoba is quite something. The defense of Lori Douglas is in no way a women’s issue, and no way an issue about her being a victim. She has sat in judgment of women in family court and now simply doesn’t want to face the same “witch hunt”. Counsel for the Judicial Council was quoted by CBC as saying the inquiry will be “scrupulously fair”. My question to the court then is “why do women like me not deserve a hearing that is ‘scrupulously fair’?”

In my case, the imbalance of income and resources led to the lies and deception in court, the impairment of the administration of justice, and the cover up of evidence. Ultimately, the judge’s decision, which included fabricated information, was determined to be a “finding of fact” that took away my right to appeal. There is no justice in Manitoba Courts, but somehow Lori Douglas wants to have a separate standard for her than what she and her colleagues dish out on a daily basis.

Too many corrupt QB judges in Manitoba to count. They do what they want and can never be held accountable for destroying women’s and children’s lives.

Maybe this is what L’Affaire Lori Douglas is really about. We want to believe that the men and women who sit in judgment of us are gods and goddesses, possessed of superhuman insight and wisdom. But, at the end of the day, they are just people — granted, really smart (and sometimes brilliant) people — in black robes.

In the end, judges are just like us. They put on their nipple clamps one breast at a time.

Lori Douglas is not a victim [Toronto Star]
Man. judge disclosed nude photos, inquiry hears [Canadian Press]
The Naked Judge: Lori Douglas Is Not A Victim [Lawdiva's Blog]

Earlier: Madam Justice Lori Douglas: Underneath Her Robe
What Was He Thinking? Justice Lori Douglas’s Husband Takes the Stand
Witness Claims Canadian Judge of Nude Photo Fame Touched His Muscles
Probe Into Madam Justice Lori Douglas Gets Underway
Madam Justice Lori Douglas Goes on the Offensive
So You Want To Be A Supreme Court Justice? Don’t Sniff Glue.

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