Federal judge to Scientology: I'm taking over the arbitration, and it's jail if you interfere - 2017-04-11
Two years after he ordered Luis and Rocio Garcia to submit to the Church of Scientology's internal arbitration scheme, Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore has finally heard enough bickering by both sides and is taking matters into his own hands.
In an order he released yesterday after a status hearing on Friday, Judge Whittemore has given the Church of Scientology just two weeks to turn over to him the names and contact information for 500 Scientologists in good standing in the Los Angeles area. The judge will then personally choose three people from that list and secure their cooperation to act as arbitrators. And he warned that if he catches either side contacting or responding to the three people he selects, he will hand out sanctions — which could include jail time.
Can you imagine, a federal judge calling up a Los Angeles Scientologist and asking them to sit on an arbitrating panel, and telling them not to contact the church about it?
Good luck on that one, judge.