January 30, 2020: Judge Richard “Dick” Burdge Jr. enters Department 37 of the Los Angeles Superior Court. At 70 years of age, he is old, slow, and hulking. Due to his weight and age, he takes the bench with some difficulty. A latecomer to the bench, Burdge was 64 years old when he was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2014 by former California Governor Jerry Brown.
We are here to watch a key proceeding in the case of former Sea Org member Valerie Haney in her lawsuit against Scientology leader David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology. Haney personally worked for David Miscavige and his long-disappeared wife Shelly Miscavige. The Scientology leader does not want Valerie Haney testifying in a public court given what she knows. David Miscavige wants to compel Valerie Haney into a sham Scientology kangaroo court known as an arbitration.
The Church of Scientology’s usual pack of lawyers are present and ready to go. Prominent among them is Monique Yingling of the Washington DC firm KMA Zuckert. Yingling has represented Scientology since the 1980’s and was one of the chief architects of its infamous 1993 IRS tax exemption. We have long said that Yingling is a barometer of David Miscavige’s psyche. Whenever Yingling appears on the scene you can be certain that Scientology leader Miscavige is worried. Miscavige is indeed extremely worried about Valerie Haney and what she could say in open court. Just as he has silenced his wife Shelly, David Miscavige now wants to silence Valerie.
L. Ron Hubbard did the same sort of thing when he refused to allow his wife Mary Sue Hubbard to fight her case in criminal court in Operation Snow White. As Hubbard told then Scientology Executive Director Bill Franks, there would be no trial. Hubbard cut the funding for Mary Sue’s legal defense. She was left with no choice but to plea bargain with her co-defendants and go to prison. This was a “Scientology internal arbitration” as conducted by L. Ron Hubbard. Mary Sue Hubbard’s prison sentence was a fait accompli.
David Miscavige also has a score to settle with Valerie Haney because she appeared on Leah Remini’s Emmy-winning show Scientology and the Aftermath. Miscavige is on a rampage against Leah Remini and everyone who appeared on her show or worked for the show. The Scientology smear campaigns and hate websites against Aftermath participants are online because David Miscavige can’t take the heat and is frothing-at-the-mouth furious at having been exposed by Aftermath. Readers can google “Valerie Haney” today and see all of the paid Scientology ads attacking Valerie. These ads were ordered by Miscavige and paid for with Scientology’s tax-free dollars. Tom Cruise and John Travolta and all other Scientologists are complicit in this hateful Scientology sleaze because their donations pay for it.
Because David Miscavige does not appear on camera or do interviews, Monique Yingling has appeared in his place. Yingling once told Anderson Cooper in a televised CNN interview that the Church of Scientology chose to internally handle the beatings that occurred at Int Base. Cooper was astonished that felony assaults were handled internally and that the victims had no recourse to the civil and criminal justice. Yingling was nonplussed by Cooper’s outrage. She knows this is Scientology’s way: Keep all of the beatings, sexual molestations, rapes, and financial depredations in-house. As a matter of policy, Founder L. Ron Hubbard made it a high crime for Scientologists to go to the police or sue other Scientologists or the Church in the public courts.
Today is not going to be any different. The Church of Scientology does not want former Sea Org member Valerie Haney to have a fair trial in a public court of law. This is why Scientology makes all of its members sign an extensive series of contracts at each step of their journey into and out of this so-called Church. The Scientology experience begins with each member signing the four basic contracts. As we have covered, these four contracts strip members of their legal and civil rights at the outset and shift the power balance to the Church of Scientology.
On February 18, 1966 L. Ron Hubbard issued a policy letter entitled “ATTACKS ON SCIENTOLOGY (Continued)” Section three of this policy letter enumerates what Hubbard saw as successful actions in stopping attacks on Scientology organizations. These actions included requiring all Scientologists to sign waivers and thereby abandon their legal rights. Hubbard’s Fair Game policy was also to be used against Scientologists who left and spoke out.
Since she left Scientology and spoke out, Valerie Haney has been harassed, stalked, and the Church of Scientology has published numerous hate websites on her. Monique Yingling and Scientology’s other lawyers know this. However, they don’t care. What they’re being paid for today is to assert the contracts Valerie signed under duress and force her into Scientology arbitration.
Judge Burdge’s Clerk hands out the tentative ruling to the parties. Burdge has tentatively granted Scientology’s motion to compel arbitration. The parties briefly argue before Burdge, but he quickly shuts it all down and tells the parties to go to arbitration and report back in a year. Burdge’s demeanor is that of arrogance. Burdge went so far as to reason that Haney failed to explain how a man with a gun who was present when Valerie Haney was made to sign legal papers engaged in coercion or duress. Burdge wrote:
“While Plaintiff does specifically attest that a ‘man with a gun’ observed her sign the Departure Agreement, which, if true, may be circumstantial evidence that the Departure Agreement was entered into due to duress or coercion, but she does not explain what this man did to coerce her to sign. Also, it does nothing to show that the earlier agreements were entered into due to duress or coercion.”
This is the “WTF?” moment when we realized Judge Burdge is both incompetent and incognizant. A man with a gun hovering around a woman being made to sign legal papers is inherently coercive. In our view, Judge Burdge is incapable, malicious in his own way, and doesn’t belong on the bench.
Burdge the Incognizant has ruled. He has no idea and this is a desultory matter for him. As a Independent Calendar (IC) Judge at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Burdge is assigned 35-45 new cases each month. Like the other 41 IC judges at Mosk, Burdge is expected to clear about the same number of cases monthly. Instead of understanding what is at stake in the Haney case, Burdge was just moving paperwork off his desk in what we consider a poorly written ruling.
Given his caseload, Judge Burdge — as do other judges — depend upon the LA County Superior Court’s research lawyers doing a great deal of work for him in researching and writing rulings. Judge Burdge made a comment about his research lawyer at the Haney hearing. This caused us to wonder if a research attorney made the actual decision in Valerie Haney’s case and Burdge rubber-stamped it. The LA Superior Court’s mysterious research attorneys are shielded, unknown, unaccountable, and are secreted away. One of Burdge’s rulings of note was a 2016 decision in which he denied actor Brad Pitt’s request to seal records regarding child custody in his divorce from Angelina Jolie. Why Burdge refused to err on the side of caution in protecting legal details related to minors speaks to his character.
Monique Yingling and company quickly exited the courtroom after Burdge finalized his ruling. In the entourage was Warren McShane, the President of Scientology’s Religious Technology Center (RTC). McShane is there because Miscavige has ordered him to accompany Yingling and Scientology’s other attorneys. Like Judge Burdge, McShane is old and tired and has seen better days. Both of these malign and miserable old incompetents should be put out to pasture.
Below: Judge Burdge’s tentative ruling became the final ruling. Note: Please hover your cursor over the bottom of the page frame to invoke the page up/page down controls:
Categories: The Scientology Money Project