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By Hon. Beverly M. Collins (Ret.)

As most of you know, I spent almost 19 years on the bench of the Cobb State Court. Recently I was thinking about cases that were on my trial calendar that I wish had gone to mediation.

One of those involved a couple who were in the midst of a very contentious divorce. They owned a lot of property, including a vacation home in Mexico. Their divorce case was pending in Cobb Superior Court but a personal injury case was filed in State Court by the husband who was seeking damages from the wife.

My first thought was to transfer the case to the judge in Superior Court who was handling the divorce case, but she wouldn’t take it! I then set the case on one of my motions calendars and I learned that the husband was suing the wife claiming that she hired a Mexican gang (he called them “banditos”) to kidnap and kill him. He asserted that he was kidnapped and assaulted, but that he escaped before the “banditos” could kill him.

The wife, of course, denied all of it. In an effort to “prove” that she did hire this gang to kidnap and kill him, the Plaintiff husband produced a warrant issued by a Mexican sheriff that authorized her arrest for these crimes. The attorney representing the Defendant wife, jumped to his feet shouting that the warrant “proved” nothing and that the husband had bribed a Mexican official to fabricate the warrant. He also said that he believed that there was a bogus warrant for his own arrest and he pointed at me and said “ and one for you too, Judge.”

I laughed, but he cautioned me that he was “dead serious.” He said that I should stay out of Mexico because chances were good that I would be arrested if I ventured across the border.

I’m not sure if there is a warrant for my arrest still floating around somewhere in Mexico, but I keep thinking that if the case had gone to mediation that Joe Murphey would be the one afraid to disembark when the cruise ships stop in Cozumel.

p.s. I dismissed the case because I believed it was against public policy as it pitted one spouse against the other and was filed to influence the outcome of the divorce.

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