Judge Doyle: I have Scientologists in the family, but I can be impartial in forced-abortion case - 2016-05-17
A surprising new document showed up in the court file of Laura DeCrescenzo's forced-abortion lawsuit in Los Angeles. Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle has submitted a detailed disclosure about his ties to family members who are Scientologists. They are his cousins, and in the six-page document Doyle details his interaction with them, which has been sparse. But those interactions do include a visit to East Grinstead, England, where Doyle says he had a tour and lunch at Saint Hill Manor, Scientology's UK headquarters and the former home of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The disclosure comes just weeks after Doyle had denied the Church of Scientology's most recent attempt to get DeCrescenzo's seven-year lawsuit thrown out with a motion for summary judgment. Laura survived a previous motion for summary judgment in 2013, and this time Scientology had asked Doyle to kill the lawsuit as a violation of its religious rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. But Doyle sided with DeCrescenzo, saying that the church's motion had been a longshot to begin with. (We were present, reporting live from the courtroom that day.)
That decision paved the way for an actual trial, and Judge Doyle indicated that he might set a date for one about a year from now. In the meantime, Scientology's attorneys indicated that they would be seeking a writ of mandamus with an appeals court to try and have Doyle's decision overturned. DeCrescenzo's attorney, John Blumberg, told us after the hearing that he expected Scientology to petition all the way to US Supreme Court on the summary judgment decision, which could push things back further.