Anyone that has kept up with the saga of vexatious litigant Shane Gates and his crusade against the St Tammany Parish legal system to avoid standing trial for his DWI arrest understand the multitude of lawsuits Gates has filed against the Judges in St Tammany Parish as well as the Sheriff, DA and State Attorney General represent abuses of process that will end badly for both the boy and his Daddy/Lawyer Daniel “Danny” Abel. The latest twist occurred last August when Gates and Abel sued St Tammany Parish Judge Richard Swartz to conflict him out of the Gates criminal case and derail the scheduled prosecution. With every judge in the 22nd JDC conflicted out due to civil lawsuits filed by Gates against them, Ad Hoc Judge Walter Rothschild was brought in to hear the case. The Advocate covered the series of hearings held last November and in a story published on November 16, 2013 well conveyed the jackassery:
Three times this week defense attorney Danny Abel tried to get St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed recused from cases Abel is defending, and three times Ad Hoc Judge Walter Rothschild denied the motions.
Abel – who has filed a long and eye-popping list of legal claims alleging shenanigans in the St. Tammany justice system – was in court for hearings on two misdemeanor cases and one felony trial he is defending. In each case, Abel has alleged that Reed’s office is pursuing the prosecution either out of racism or despite conflicts of interest.
Rothschild wasn’t buying any of Abel’s claims, however, repeatedly telling the pugnacious lawyer that nothing he presented backed up his claims. At one point, Rothschild admonished Abel for repeatedly accusing the District Attorney’s Office of fraud, saying that making the allegation in the absence of any evidence was irresponsible.
Rothschild – who was hearing the various matters because all of the judges in the 22nd Judicial District have recused themselves – also refused to compel Reed to testify in response to subpoenas issued by Abel. He told Abel that he couldn’t subpoena Reed until he had given Reed a hearing to fight the subpoena’s issuance.
“You can’t put the cart before the horse.” the increasingly exasperated Rothschild said. He also denied a motion to change the venue of one of the misdemeanor trials, which will be tried without a jury. “I am trying this case; it doesn’t matter where I am trying it. Your client will get a fair trial,” Rothschild said.
In August, a federal judge ordered Abel to pay the legal expenses for St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain, whom Abel had sued on behalf of a woman who claimed the Sheriff’s Office had kept religious items it seized from her home in a 2008 raid. The suit was very similar to a second one, and U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance ruled that the woman’s lawyers “unreasonably and vexatiously multiplied the proceedings.”
My review of the docket in Gates last suit filed against St Tammany Parish Judge Richard Swartz revealed that Team Gates belatedly began serving process in the suit, filed in the Middle District of Louisiana, in late November just days before the 120 deadline for serving process expired and that a return was never filed for Judge Swartz, who had previously moved to dismiss the case due to a failure of Abel to serve process and/or to have it consolidated with the lawsuits filed by Gates in the Louisiana Eastern District against Sheriff Strain and St Tammany Parish officialdom. Continue reading “Slabbed updates Louisiana v Gates as the day of reckoning draws near”