“Girls Gone Wild” Judge’s Questionable Ethics Overshadowed By Francis’s Jailhouse Antics

New charges continue to mount against Joe Francis, who has allegedly been caught with unapproved meds in his cell and is now charged with three related felonies – including bribery of a public official when he allegedly offered a guard $500 for a bottle of water.

Hopelessly lost in the pillorying of Francis is the really interesting questions: the legal propriety of U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak’s conduct in using the threat of civil and criminal contempt as leverage to force Francis to settle a civil case, whether Smoak displayed improper bias against Francis, and whether Francis’s brazen conduct at the settlement negotiation actually rises to the level of a “threat” trumping the presumption of confidentiality – as discussed previously in this blog, below.

If the 11th Circuit ever clears this up, I’ll try to give an update here.

‘Til then!