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Pants Update: Whither Judge Pearson?

With the verdict in the $54 million pants suit expected later this week, the calls are growing for the District government to explain why Roy Pearson is worthy of holding a position as administrative law judge.

Judge Pearson's judicial temperment is the issue that the Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges must consider. Pearson's initial two-year term as a judge expired on April 30. But the commission considering whether to reappoint him to a full, 10-year term has punted on making that decision, so Pearson continued to draw his $100,512 salary while supposedly acting as an "attorney-advisor" to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Now it turns out that the commission's delay in deciding Pearson's fate comes not as a result of fear that Pearson will sue them if they fail to renew his tenure, but rather as a result of a letter from Mayor Adrian Fenty requesting a delay:

One of the commission's three members, Henry Lavine, left the panel after his term expired at the end of April, and Fenty has not yet nominated someone to replace him. That leaves the commission with but two members--not exactly the kind of situation you want when you're taking on a controversial issue such as the reappointment of Pearson. So the mayor last month wrote to the commission, saying that "In the circumstances, I would very much appreciate that the Commission defer action on any significant matters until I have had a chance to consider and make an appropriate appointment to the Commission."

I asked the mayor's spokesman, Mafara Hobson, when that might happen and she replied, "According to our general counsel, we are wrapping up the interview process. He didn't provide a date, but says that the mayor will make an appointment very soon."

The new member and the two sitting members of the panel, D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Rigsby and Peter Willner of the Council on Court Excellence, will have to weigh Pearson's performance on the bench against his behavior in the pants case. They will have to decide whether it's even proper to consider how Pearson pressed the pants suit, given some belief in D.C. legal circles that Pearson's decision to exercise his constitutional right to sue is none of the commission's business. On the other hand, the rules governing administrative law judges clearly say that they shall "possess judicial temperament, expertise, experience, and analytical and other skills necessary and desirable for an Administrative Law Judge," and that they must "engage in no conduct inconsistent with the duties, responsibilities, and ethical obligations of an Administrative Law Judge," and that they must "conform to all legally applicable standards of conduct."

The commission will consider what are now apparently conflicting recommendations from the Chief Administrative Law Judge, Tyrone Butler, who, according to sources in the D.C. government, first said that Pearson should be reappointed and now says otherwise.

What to do about Pearson is such a tricky question that it is apparently occupying the time and energy of much of the city's top rank of officials--the mayor's correspondence on the matter went out not only to the commission's members, but to Butler, general counsel Peter Nickles, and D.C. attorney general Linda Singer.

Meanwhile, the cartoonist Mike Peters has a nice take on the Pearson case.

By Marc Fisher |  June 19, 2007; 7:35 AM ET
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Comments

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First

Posted by: LouisTheRogue | June 19, 2007 8:30 AM

Hmmm, what a conundrum. Does the city keep this nutjob on the payroll at $100k and look foolish for ten years as every decision he makes gets disputed, or give him the heave-ho and assign a team of lawyers to spend that same decade in court with him trying to define "conduct inconsistent with the duties, responsibilities, and ethical obligations of an Administrative Law Judge," and "legally applicable standards of conduct." Either way it's a total waste of tax dollars.

Posted by: crc | June 19, 2007 9:03 AM

$100,500 and he can't buy a car or a pair of &)#&$%ing replacement pants?!?!?
Get him off the bench: Now!

Posted by: Judge Crater | June 19, 2007 9:51 AM

Actually, I have run out of things to say that adequately relay my contempt for him. Especially with the "User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site." clause that is in effect. It would make no sense to post something that would be removed.

I did want to thank Marc for the "consider how Pearson pressed the pants suit" line though. Clever.

Posted by: SoMD | June 19, 2007 9:55 AM

Thank God there's a Marc Fisher out there!

Posted by: barbara hodges | June 19, 2007 10:14 AM

Thank God there's a Marc Fisher out there!

Posted by: barbara hodges | June 19, 2007 10:14 AM

While I can sympathize with the "not wanting to fire him for exercising his constitutional rights" - he's an attorney, and as we've seen down in Durham, NC, attorneys are (or at least should be) held to a higher standard. Especially judges have ethical obligations above and beyond normal citizens' constitutional rights.

So that's a "NO" vote from me for reappointing Pearson.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:20 AM

I would hate to think that DC might prefer to keep the guy on the payroll just to keep him from filing a wrongful termination suit. Maybe that kind of "hush money" is OK for private individuals, but it's a totally improper use of our tax dollars. I'd rather stand on principle, and I'm hoping that Fenty's decision to delay the process is just his effort to get the ducks in line for Pearson's ouster.

Just goes to show that they should have vetted the guy more carefully from the get-go. When I took the bar, I had to undergo a character interview and provide detailed information regarding my credit history and any legal issues from traffic violations on up. If someone had done this with Pearson when he was up for the ALJ position, I'd think his character would have come to light (what I read from his divorce proceedings was very troubling -- yes, it was a divorce, and divorces are ugly, but we are entitled to expect better-than-average behavior from our judges).

Posted by: Me | June 19, 2007 10:33 AM

Would anyone in his right mind want Nut Pearson to preside over his case? How can he or anyone without credibility ever function properly as an ALJ? How much crap we have to tolerate from this clown before we say enough is enough and get rid of his vindictive ass.

Posted by: disgusted | June 19, 2007 10:53 AM

Send Pearson over to PG County. He would fit right in.

Posted by: FredCo | June 19, 2007 11:36 AM

Perhaps I missed this on an earlier blog session, but can someone please help me understand how this case ever came to trial in the first place? On the surface, at least, this appears to be a poster child for frivolous lawsuits and I can't for the life of me understand how $54 million can be considered a reasonable compensatory demand for a misplaced pair of trousers, principle or not.

Posted by: jrm | June 19, 2007 11:48 AM

I should hope the dry cleaner's attorney will file an ethics charge with the bar against this joker for wasting their and the court's time on this assinine lawsuit. There's no way he should be allowed to continue as a judge.

Posted by: Moose | June 19, 2007 12:02 PM

Maybe his 200+ frivolous quistions filed in his divorce case can show why he shouldn't be appointed to 10 year term, if they technically can't look at the pants suit. OR, the fact that he collected DC unemployment even though he QUIT his job. I thought you couldn't get benefits if you voluntarily leave. Is that fraud??

Even without the current issue, it seems there is enough to keep him off the bench.

Posted by: nb | June 19, 2007 12:12 PM

Please reappoint Pearson. He seems like our kind of guy. Help a brother out. He seemed like a sissy though, when he cried in court.

Posted by: DC Thugs and Criminals | June 19, 2007 12:56 PM

Please reappoint Pearson. He seems like our kind of guy. Help a brother out. He seemed like a sissy though, when he cried in court over some pants.

Posted by: DC Thugs and Criminals | June 19, 2007 12:56 PM

"They will have to decide whether it's even proper to consider how Pearson pressed the pants suit,"

pressed the pants suit! Pun intended I'm sure Marc...

Posted by: df | June 19, 2007 1:27 PM

It seemed to me that when Custom Cleaners offered Pearson $12,000 for a new suit they went above and beyond. Wasn't Pearson supposed to mitigate damages by accepting reasonable offers? $12,000 is way beyond reasonable for a suit. He could have gotten AT LEAST 12 new suits for that money.

Posted by: lrp | June 19, 2007 1:37 PM

jrm, if you're interested in the case, at least read the WaPo coverage of it. It's been mentioned before that since his claim did POSSIBLY constitute the violation of an actual law, the judge had to hear it to 1) review the testimony in order to decide if the law was actually violated, and 2) if she found for the nutjob, er, plaintiff, THEN decide what damages, if any, he deserves. The ridiculous claim amount has absolutely no bearing on whether it should be heard.

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | June 19, 2007 1:56 PM

It seems to me that if The DC government did no renew Pearson's appointment because a more qualified candidate had appeared that Pearson would have little, is any, standing to sue. He wouldn't be fired. His periodic appointment would simply not have been renewed. Pearson would sue, but most, if not all of his claims would be thrown out of court, leaving him with few, if any grounds for the suit.

I was trying to think of a good pants pun, but couldn't. Sorry, folks.

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 19, 2007 2:03 PM

A politician who filed a lawsuit like this would be laughed out of office. Judges, like other public servants, should be held to a standard of conduct at least high enough that their own public decisions do not become suspect.

Judge Pearson may be an excellent torts attorney; the republic may be better served by allowing his legal skills to be applied in the private sector. Maybe we can't or shouldn't hold lawyers accountable for demanding extreme judgements in court, but we should certainly hold the judges accountable for allowing nonsensical interpretations of law to hapen.

Posted by: lart from above | June 19, 2007 2:19 PM

If he was not reappointed, he would try to sue. And again act as his own attorney. Where is court tv? Why are they not filming this loser.

Posted by: DC Citizen | June 19, 2007 2:30 PM

what's not been investigated is how this certifiable nutcase got appointed as an administrative judge in the first place. whom did he know on the inside who would arrange this plum appointment for him after two years of unemployment? the rest of us should be so lucky.

Posted by: eo mcmars | June 19, 2007 2:31 PM

Mark,

For the love of God, stop with the truly horrendous puns. "....pressed the pants suit...."

Truly terrible, but thanks for keeping us laughing.

Posted by: Jeff | June 19, 2007 2:36 PM

This isn't a "tricky situation" at all, there is no "nuance" that must be considered -- anyone who thinks this guy belongs on the bench has lost touch with reality. Unfortunately, all too often the people making these decisions are out of touch with reality. Do not offer this guy another appointment -- you demean the bar, the bench, and the entire legal process by letting this idiot be part of it. Stand up and do you duty and refuse to knuckle under to those who think this j*ck*ss should be a judge.

Posted by: colorado kool aid | June 19, 2007 2:55 PM

I'm sure this buttwipe thought he would pocket a nice chunk of change from this suit, but instead I expect the judge to give him a good belt in her decision. She's definitely going to cuff him around.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 19, 2007 3:21 PM

Still haven't seen a statement issued by the good Rev. Sharpton.....

Posted by: Amen | June 19, 2007 3:51 PM

South,

I agree with you. And one thing I am sure of is that all these details will be ironed out soon.

Posted by: Jeff | June 19, 2007 4:21 PM

Why would Sharpton release a statement regarding this case? Has he ever commented on a court case of this manner? Has a person's civil rights been crushed? Was there some sort of racial or gender based insult in this situation? Amen, the Imus situation is over. Move on with your life. Sharpton was one of many voices that called for Imus' ouster. I don't understand why Sharpton could or should get involved in this pants suit. It's enough of a circus as it is.

Posted by: Omar | June 19, 2007 4:57 PM

Hmmm, where to start with Omar......

Posted by: Laughing | June 19, 2007 5:49 PM

Omar,

Why should Sharpton get involved?

Well, as the self-claimed, fearless crusader against all social injustices, as the one who is not afraid to stand up on behalf of the wrongfully persecuted little guys, my man Al will come through as long as there are black votes to be won... Well, on second thought, maybe there is no good reason Sharpton should get involved.

Posted by: Sharpton My Hero | June 19, 2007 5:53 PM

Pearson may lose his job. Sharpton must be there to defend him. A black man has to struggle through life as it is. Mr. Pearson is just trying to defend this situation at hand and maintain his good, professional reputation. Mr. Pearson has lost his pants and must be given restitution.

Posted by: Can I Get an Amen | June 19, 2007 7:03 PM

I think it would be fitting if Pearson was compensated for the value of his trousers and lost his job. That would send a useful message about litigiousness.

Posted by: TDS | June 19, 2007 9:11 PM

Amen to Sharpton-My-Hero. You hit the nail right on the head.

Posted by: Linda P | June 19, 2007 9:47 PM

On the job he stays.
To remove him could backfire.
"No Discharge in Pants."

Posted by: Pants Haiku | June 19, 2007 10:26 PM

Afraid of new weight
I shrank from reality
And soiled my suit

Posted by: another pants haiku | June 19, 2007 11:40 PM

How is this pants suit a social injustice?

Posted by: Omar | June 20, 2007 9:10 AM

Roy Pearson is a whacko, no one can doubt that - well maybe his mom (mom's tend to be in denial forever when siblings go bad) but that's about it.
No way in hell should this guy ever work in any kind of public system. Granted they will have to dismiss him correctly but it can be done.

DC politics are already a mockery around the country and this case and Marion Barry still getting paid with public funds is further eveidence of that. Another tidbit I found about Roy recently regarding accusations of corruption:

In 2004 Mr. Pearson was accused of corruption for giving his son's girlfriend a city job - after which it was revealed Mr. Pearson was actually sleeping with his son's girlfriend on regular occasion. During his tenure as an administrative judge for Washington DC he was accused of smoking crack cocaine in the courthouse washroom, an accusation supported by camera video that later went "missing" from the evidence room Mr. Pearson had access to himself.

I'm sure there's more that they are aware of regarding this puke that's not been made public that would easily justify canning his as%. Why didn't they do it in 2004 when he above accusation came up????

Because local DC government and lawmakers are made up somewhat of crack smoking, convicted felons which protect themselves no matter what. This and other unethical and unlawful activity is engrained and accepted into the DC political culture somehow. Judge Pearson is just another knucklehead in the mix.

The DC voting public seem to love this type of leadership even though DC is a rathole, continues to have increasing crime and the highest unsolved murder rate in the nation.

We only know of the public problematic stuff surrounding guys like Barry, Pearson and other lowlife, unethical and immoral local leaders. I guarantee that other than making appearances and posturing, the tax payers get very little for what these guys get done every week. You can imagine the things that have never been made public regarding lawsuits, settlements, blackmail, ect... given the history over the last 20 years of this type of leadership. Unfortunately, they continue to have a track record of protecting idiots like Barry and Pearson.

CLEAN UP THE LEADERSHIP WITH REAL LEADERS WHO ARE SINCERELY COMMITTED TO MAKE DC A BETTER PLACE!
IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP VOTERS OF DC!

Posted by: John K. | June 21, 2007 2:17 PM

Poor, poor Roy - his home address and phone number is posted all over the internet and people are marching, picketing and having BBQ's around his place. He must be going nuts with all this well deserved activity that he brought onto himself.

Karma has a way of catching up with bad people and likely this is only the beginning for Mr. Pearson. Hopefully, the Chungs get resitution and a positive outcome from all this. Have they dismissed him from his job yet?

Posted by: Fredrick | June 21, 2007 3:01 PM

I just hope that he is being more reasonable in his rulings and not judging by the seat of his pants.

Posted by: Eric | June 22, 2007 2:22 PM

This is the very definition of a frivolous lawsuit. He shouldn't be reappointed. He should lose the case, pay the nice dry cleaner's legal bills and then lose his license to practice law. The irony is the dry cleaners would have given him $12,000 and his pants, which they found, if he'd just settled with them.

Posted by: Steve | June 24, 2007 8:08 PM

Docket entry on Pearson Case dated 6/25/07:

Order Finding of Facts and Conclusion of Law Entered on Docket-The Court's analysis of the plaintiff's CPPA claims applies as well to his claims of common law fraud in Count Two of the Amended Complaint. The plaintiff acknowledges that he is required to prove those claims by clear, convincing and unequivocal evidence. He has not proven those claims by a preponderance of the evidence, let alone by that higher standard. Judgment therefore will be awarded to the defendants, as well as their costs. A separate judgment is being entered, together with these findings. The issue of the defendants' claim for attorney's fees against the plaintiff will be addressed after the defendant's motions for sanctions and for attorney's fees have been filed and briefed by the parties. Order signed, docketed and efiled June 25, 2007.

Taken from https://www.dccourts.gov/pa/CRTVNameSearch.html

Enter Pearson Last Name
Enter Roy First Name

You will see a list consisting of two cases involving Pearson. Choose case #2005 CA 004302 B

Posted by: Darren | June 25, 2007 11:21 AM

I have a solution: capital punishment!!

Posted by: Barry | June 25, 2007 8:47 PM

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