County denies $10 million false-arrest claim

Marin Independent Journal Wednesday, May 19,1999

By Jane Futcher IJ Reporter

Marin County supervisors have rejected a claim by a former Mill Valley attorney accusing the county of falsely arresting and imprisoning him at a "Meet Your Judges" forum last October.

Kenneth J. Schmier of San Francisco files a $10 million claim against the county in April stating that he was deprived of his civil rights and "assaulted, battered, falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned and defamed" by employees acting for the county and state.

Schmier was referring to his forcible removal from the Marin Veterans Auditorium on Oct. 28 while he was asking the judges a question about California Court Rule 977, which allows appellate court judges to withhold publication of their opinions.

Schmier contends that not publishing appellate court decisions violates the Constitution and lets judges conduct the peopleís business in secret.

County Counsel Patrick Faulkner informed Schmier of the Board of Supervisorsí decision in a letter on May 5. Schmier said he hasnít decided whether he will follow up with a lawsuit.

Faulkner would not comment on the merits of Schmierís claim.

"I donít try the cases in the newspaper," Faulkner said. "If he wants to talk personally, Iím open to that."

Schmier said he will accept Faulknerís invitation to talk, in part because he would like the county to join him in suing the California Supreme Court.

"The ruled allowing secret opinions and protecting courts from having to face the rules they make should be revoked," Schmier said.

"I do not believe that if the public knew what was going on, they would in any way approve."