Bill Hetherman, a former SGV Tribune court reporter, stumbled across a civil case involving actress Sharon Stone. There was just one problem, court records make it appear as if the case doesn’t exist.
Clearly this is anothe rexample of how celebrity in Los Angeles trumps the rights of the public and legal protocol. Alan Parachini, the court spokesman, and former ACLU flack, doesn’t outright defend the secrecy, but he refused to say if other such cases were buried in court files somewhere.
Here’s the story from this morning’s Los Angeles Times.
And a snippet:
The case probably would have gone unnoticed into the archives had a reporter for City News Service not had a slow February day in the civil court. Bill Hetherman said that because his schedule was free, he decided to attend a relatively small-potatoes hearing — the matter of attorneys’ fees in a sex discrimination case against Costco — in Duffy-Lewis’ court. While he was waiting, the judge called another case.
“All of a sudden I heard the name Sharon Stone and paid closer attention,” he said.
Hetherman said that after a whispered conversation with Jacobson’s attorney at the bench, the judge set a date a month later for the hearing.
Hetherman said he tried to find information about the case in the court database and later from the attorneys and court officials, but repeatedly was told it was sealed. The reporter said the next hearing included a hushed discussion between the judge and a lawyer for the actress and then a statement on the record that suggested the case was over.