Type of Report: Francis Shivers – Case Review & Court Attendance
SYNOPSIS On 3/27 - 3/28/13 I was contacted by Mr. Harry Crouch, National Coalition for Men and Mr. Paul Elam, A Voice for Men, two national organizations, and asked if I could review some information on a criminal case involving Mr. Francis Shivers, involving a violation of a restraining order and to attend a court hearing at the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday 3/29/13.
The case of Mr. Shivers involves his arrest for a violating a restraining order that was obtained by his ex-wife, Ms. Pauley Perrette. Ms. Perrette is an actress on a weekly television program, “NCIS” and is considered by some, a high profile celebrity. The court hearing was a bail revocation hearing as it was alleged that Mr. Shivers violated a condition of his conviction. The alleged incident involves Mr. Shiver’s communication through electronic media, and his news media interviews.
While conducting routine Internet researches, I discovered that there were a lengthy list of news articles and blog posts concerning Mr. Shivers and Ms. Perrette, during a very contentious divorce case that has been finalized for a number of years, yet there appears to be an ongoing debacle, with Ms. Perrette seeking out a number of restraining orders against her ex-husband and other persons.
Although the various news articles offered a variety of different opinions with a large number of individuals providing commentary, there appears to be one a prominent issue. The information suggests that Ms. Perrette has utilized the restraining order process in excess, to the point of abuse, and committing multiple acts of perjury in the process of obtaining these orders which have primarily been directed at her ex-husband, Mr. Shivers.
The purpose of my attendance at Mr. Shiver’s bail revocation hearing was to view the proceedings and provide an unbiased and objective report.
INVESTIGATION On Friday, March 29, 2013 at 8:30 am I arrived at the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court, 11701 South LaCienega Blvd.Los Angeles, CA 90045, Department 146, Judge Kathryn Solarzano. I observed Mr. Shivers in the hallway and introduced myself, but did not speak to him about any details about the case. Mr. Shivers had a very non-threatening, and very concerned appearance. Soon after the courtroom was opened we entered. It appeared that Mr. Shivers was in the accompaniment of his wife, Mayra Dias Gomes another unidentified female and his attorney, Mr. Anthony Brooklier. There was also an unidentified female Deputy District Attorney, with a possible last name of “Gertz” as well as three female adults and one older male adult dressed in a suit who I believe were connected Ms. Perrette, and sitting on the opposite end of the courtroom from the others. On 2-3 occasions, the DDA spoke with these individuals about this case, although I was not able to discern the exact nature of the conversation. There was also a court reporter, a clerk, and a bailiff. I took up a seat away from all of the individuals, and had no contact with anyone with the exception of one. During a break midway through the 45 minute proceeding and during a time when the judge had gone to her office, I was approached by the bailiff who asked if I was with any of the individuals, and attempted to probe my purpose for being in the courtroom. Although he was courteous, I vaguely mentioned I was there only as an independent writer. There was no additional contact from the bailiff. The proceedings began with Judge Solarzano commenting on the extensive amount of articles and blog items specifically making mention of lengthy articles from the website, “A Voice for Men” but did not make any mention of any particular author. There was brief discussion between the attorneys and the judge regarding a Declaration supposedly written by Ms. Perrette, in which the DDA claimed that Ms. Perrette’s signature, near a red arrow was forged. Not being present for some of the prior court proceedings, I was not able to determine which document they were referring too and, and the matter was not given much importance or time. The attorneys and the judge discussed a document they referred to as a screen play called “Star Crazy.” This conversation was also brief with Mr. Brooklier arguing that this document has been mentioned and available on the Internet for a number of years. Once again, this did not appear to be a major issue. After a number of exchanges between the lawyers and the judge, the primary issue seems to be with a recent Facebook post that Mr. Shivers posted on March 24th. I did not have a copy of this Facebook post, but the DDA mentioned some inflammatory language on this post. Comments such as “my stalker ex-wife,” “if you see my stalker,” and “my false accuser.” The argument and point offered by the DDA to which the judge agreed was that it was their opinion that the reason for the bail revocation hearing was due to the Facebook posts by Mr. Shivers calling this language inflammatory and language that could incite 3rd parties into some act, possibly a threatening or violent act being committed against Ms. Perrette. Although Judge Solarzano did not point to any one organization, she directed a comment to Mr. Shivers indicating that there are a lot of crazies out there who read this stuff and may decide on their own to act. Mr. Brooklier then called to the witness stand, Mr. Shiver’s wife, Mayra Gomes. She testified under oath that it was she who actually made the recent Facebook post by accident. She claims that she had a number of windows open on her computer, communicating with different individuals when she accidentally posted those comments to her husband’s Facebook account. She testified that she tried to remove the comment and was unable to, then posted some type of apology comment about twenty minutes later. That was the bulk of her testimony and she left the stand a few minutes later. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Shiver’s bail was revoked on two charges; one probation violation and one violation of a restraining order, and he was remanded into custody. A few minutes later some of the courtroom attendees left the court. I found myself in the elevator with Mr. Brooklier, however it appeared that he did not wish to speak with me, and I am unaware if Mr. Shivers had an opportunity to advise his attorney of my presence. I had no other contact with any other individual and left the courthouse. Mr. Shiver’s sentencing is scheduled for April 24, 2013 in the same court.
CONCLUSIONS / RECOMMENDATIONS / OPINIONS This case definitely has some unusual twists and poses many questions which I will attempt to offer an opinion based on my experience and knowledge of the abuse of the restraining order process in California courts.
It appears that Mr. Shivers arrest, in this case stems from his violating a temporary restraining order obtained by his ex-wife, Pauley Perrette prior to a hearing to make the order permanent. In order to clarify the process in the State of California; when a petition for a restraining order is presented before a judge, it can be done “ex-parte” meaning that the Respondent need not be present.
If the judge signs that order, it becomes a temporary order for a period of usually three weeks until a later scheduled hearing to determine whether or not the order will be in place for a specific period of time, usually a period of five years. At the time of the hearing, the Respondent will have an opportunity to present some sort of defense.
My experience, knowledge, and history of the restraining order process in California is that Respondents, usually male Respondents are given very little time to present any type of defense, especially in marital cases, and that the orders are made permanent in virtually all cases. There may be an isolated case where this does not happen, but it is extremely rare.
The incident stems from a visit to a restaurant by Mr. Shivers and his wife, and according to Shivers, he was not aware that his ex-wife was present at this restaurant along with her new boyfriend. When Shivers and his wife entered the restaurant, he noticed his ex-wife’s boyfriend, and immediately turned around and left the restaurant. At some point, Ms. Perrette’s new boyfriend approached Mr. Shivers who then turned on his cell phone video camera, in what appears to be a defensive act on his part.
There was no altercation, Mr. Shivers and his wife left, and he was arrested later that evening. To Mr. Shiver’s detriment, he apparently used the social media tool Twitter to announce that he and his wife were going to this particular restaurant before arriving. For active Twitter users, this fact was most likely known to Ms. Perrette.
What prompted the arrest of Mr. Shivers is highly unusual, as it is something that I never witnessed in my career. Since I do not have access to the actual temporary restraining order, I can only speculate based on the published news items, and research.
Apparently, Ms. Perrette had a number of conditions included in her petition for the temporary restraining order. Where it is not unusual for certain conditions to be put into the body of a restraining order petition; this particular condition is unusual. The condition that was violated by Mr. Shivers which caused his arrest, was not any contact with his ex-wife, but due to the fact that he used his cell phone video camera to record his ex-wife’s boyfriend approach him in an angered manner.
This condition was that Mr. Shivers was not to employ any type of recording device anywhere near his ex-wife, thus using his cell phone camera was the violation that resulted in his arrest. I am going on the belief based on the limited information that I have that Mr. Shivers had been served with a copy of this temporary restraining order prior to this incident.
This poses a couple of questions in that on one hand it is highly unusual as a condition placed in a temporary restraining order to prohibit a Respondent from employing a recording device in the vicinity of the Petitioner of a temporary restraining order.
On the other hand, given the fact that the Petitioner in this case, Ms. Perrette is a high profile and highly recognizable television celebrity, and with a history of so called “paparazzi” problems in the greater Los Angeles area, it is conceivable that a high profile media personality would ask or be offered this condition.
Mr. Shiver’s own personal downfall has been his inability to refrain from speaking about his ex-wife via various social media outlets, which the judge had mentioned that associates of Ms. Perrette’s are monitoring Mr. Shiver’s social media comments at all times.
What is unusual is that this case appears to a classic example of overkill, an arrest and conviction for violating a condition of a temporary restraining order for employing a cell phone video camera. It is not as if it is an actual case of a threat or of actual violence. What complicates the matter is Mr. Shiver’s negative commentary about his ex-wife on social media, including when he had been advised previously by a judge to refrain from such conduct.
Although I had no part or input on the criminal case and the fact that Mr. Shivers has already been convicted, I believe that there should have been some issues raised in the criminal trial, and if they were, I am not aware of them.
An interesting question would have been if Ms. Perrette was asked while she was on the witness stand and while under oath if she had monitored her ex-husband’s Twitter post on the evening of this incident which led to his arrest to see if she would have answered truthfully. Secondly, a forensic specialist should have been consulted to determine if a traceable and recoverable electronic record could be made available that could establish whether or not Ms. Perrette did in fact receive her ex-husband’s Twitter post about going to the restaurant.
Having that information ahead of time or at least committing Ms. Perrette to a statement under oath regarding whether or not she captured that message would have been helpful. In these types of high conflict cases with high conflict people, they usually make mistakes at some point and contradict themselves at some later time.
My opinion based on my knowledge, training and experience, leads me to believe that Ms. Perrette has become exceptionally skilled in the art of obtaining restraining orders, and is knowledgeable in the minutia of various conditions. One condition, her request to prohibit her ex-husband from using any type of recording device anywhere near her, would reveal that her concern is to prevent at all costs, the discovery of any potential misdeed on her part. It is also common with individuals with certain personality disorders to go to great extremes and at all costs, to keep others from the discovery of their unethical or illegal acts.
It is also my opinion, that Ms. Perrette has abused and manipulated the restraining order process not only in this case but others which there is a documented history of public record court cases. It also appears that Ms. Perrette has taken advantage of her celebrity status, which may also be facilitated by law enforcement, prosecutors, and the court, and receiving preferential treatment.
In three decades of law enforcement experience, I have never heard of a case of a restraining order violation resulting in an arrest and conviction based on such an innocuous condition, absent any threat or act of violence. With the time burdens on the courts and the high crime rates in the Los Angeles area, it does seem quite petty for the court to go to this extreme to incarcerate a small meek man who poses no threat other than his own stupidity, and his inability to keep his mouth shut. The star struck Los Angeles judicial system seems to have fallen into the same pit as the paparazzi.
These events were documented immediately following this inquiry. TIME/EXPENSES USED Time Used: 8 Hours