Girls Gone Wild boss gets 35 days' jail
Contempt of court ends in tears and chokey
The founder of titillating video operation Girls Gone Wild has been jailed for 35 days for contempt of court, AP reports.
Joe Francis, 34, was recently arrested on a contempt citation he earned "during negotiations in a civil lawsuit brought by seven women who were underage when they were filmed by his company on Panama City Beach during spring break in 2003".
Lawyers for the litigants reported that Francis "became enraged during the settlement talks, shouting obscenities at the lawyers and threatening to 'bury them'".
US District Judge Richard Smoak subsequently ordered Francis to settle the case or face jail. Negotiations apparently broke down earlier this month, and Smoak duly issued the contempt of court warrant. Francis refused to give himself up, calling Smoak "a judge gone wild".
Francis was then arrested and held without bail at Florida's Bay County Jail pending his final appearance before Judge Smoak yesterday. Francis reportedly cried throughout the hearing, bewailing: "I am sorry for my behavior. It was wrong. I had heard about appeals and things and I was confused. I am sorry, I really am."
Judge Smoak was having none of it, and told Francis' lawyer: "It seems like at every opportunity he made clear his intent to disobey this court. This final act of contempt was the last of many things in this case. Mr Francis' behaviour at the mediation was hostile, obscene, vulgar, and abusive. Every effort was made to avoid getting to this point."
Francis' woes don't end with his 35-day contempt sentence, AP notes. He's also "facing state charges for allegedly offering a jail guard $100 for a bottled water and having prescription sleeping pills in his Bay County Jail cell".
Francis was also indicted this month by a federal court in Reno, Nevada, "on charges that his companies claimed more than $20m in false business expenses".
In Los Angeles, meanwhile, he's "on probation on a federal criminal case in Los Angeles for violating federal laws designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors". ®
... and another related story
Those who rush to the defence of Joe Francis for whatever reason should first read Claire Hoffman's article in the Los Angeles Times, published just over a year ago, at http://www.latimes.com/features/magazine/west/la-tm-gonewild32aug06,0,2664370.story
Remove this judge
What does it take to get a judge removed from the bench? A judge has absolutely no right to force a plaintiff or defendant to settle. He's just a lazy sack of shit who doesn't want to do his job.
1. Did the girls see the cameras?
2. Were the girls aware that the cameras were operated by GGW?
3. Were the girls aware that the cameras were filming?
4. Were the girls aware that the film was going to be used for public consumption?
If the answer to each of those questions is "Yes", then there is absolutely no "exploitation".
And state charges for trying to get a bottle of water, and for having prescription sleeping pills? Sure, we give prisoners college educations, better libraries than our cities, job skills, etc., but god forbid we allow them to have bottled water and be able to sleep.
The next announcement...
To don my prognosticator's hat and coat for a moment, I'm confident that the next public pronouncement we'll hear about this chump is that he's got a raging substance abuse problem and it was just the drugs or alcohol talking. What with the erratic behaviour and the mounting pile of charges against him, it seems only inevitable that he'll claim that he's been whacked out on sleepers and whatnot.