Joe Francis wants judge who jailed him to be impeached, wants money back

Joe Francis has recorded a YouTube video discussing his wrongful imprisonment and calling his persecution a silencing of free speech. The Girls Gone Wild founder starts the video with the text “this can happen to you,” even though there are very few of us making titty videos with drunken girls on Spring Break. He’s calling for the impeachment of the judge who sent him to jail without bail on contempt of court charges for a civil case, and urges people to e-mail the chairman of the House Judicial Committee to ask for Judge Smoak’s impeachment.

Francis was in jail way too long for contempt of court, and he has a point that he was wrongfully prosecuted by a judge with ties to the lawyer in the civil case. I read through the legal responses on his website and in my opinion he’s correct that he shouldn’t have stayed in jail as long as he did. The guy is definitely scummy and there are allegations that he raped an 18 year-old girl, but he was in jail for nearly a year on charges that did not warrant such a long sentence with no chance of bail.

Here’s why Francis shouldn’t have been in jail for so long:

It just so happens that Judge Smoak is the ex-law partner of Ross McCloy, one of the lawyers seeking millions of dollars from Francis for the women in the case. They were both partners in a law firm called Harrison, Sale, Smoak and McCloy. Interestingly, Judge Smoak’s other law partner was Franklin Harrison, who was the attorney that represented the sheriff’s department when Francis successfully sued the sheriff’s department and won his jet back.


In his new video, above, Francis tells the camera with wild intense eyes that he’s disputing the “multi-million dollar ransom” he was forced to pay in order to get out of jail. He settled that civil case for which he was indefinitely imprisoned for an undisclosed sum, and he’s now filing suit to get that money back, saying that he did it because he had no other way to get out of jail.

He agreed to settle the civil case after U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak jailed him in 2007 for contempt of court.

In Francis’ suit, he accuses Smoak of siding with former law partners to jail Francis and force him to settle on terms favorable to the girls. An attorney from a law firm where Smoak was once a partner represented the girls and their parents.

Smoak declined to comment on Francis’ allegations.

The judge ordered Francis jailed in 2007 after finding him in contempt of court. Attorneys for the girls said Francis yelled obscenities at them during a mediation meeting and refused to settle the case.

Francis now claims he was bulldozed into signing the settlement -by being jailed – and that it should be revoked.

The 35-year-old multimillionaire’s lawsuit states he understood that he “had no choice but to enter into the settlement in order to avoid further incarceration.”

Francis declined to say how much he paid, but described it as “a fortune.” He had previously told The Associated Press that the girls were asking for $70 million.

Robert Barnes, one of Francis’ lawyers, said the lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles because that’s where Francis and his company, Mantra Films Inc., are based.

Francis said his actions are intended to protect average citizens.

“This fight is way bigger than me,” Francis said in an interview after a press conference announcing the lawsuit. “If this stands, this single-handedly undermines the entire civil judicial process in this country.”

[From Popeater]

Francis concluded that “When a person is jailed without bail for 11 months in a civil lawsuit, it violates the US Constitution and our basic freedoms and liberties.” He never mentioned in his video that the judge used to be the partner of one of the lawyers representing the parents in that civil suit he was forced to settle, and that was a major oversight. People don’t know that detail and it adds a lot of credence to his claims.

People don’t really care that Francis was in jail for so long because he’s not a stand up guy by any means. He still faces Federal charges on tax evasion, and he was able to serve out his Florida sentence in a relatively cushy Nevada jail with Internet access and unlimited phone time because of the tax evasion charges. He’s also being sued by a Vegas casino for $2 million unpaid debts.

Francis shouldn’t have been in jail for nearly a year on contempt of court charges and it was pretty much extortion by that Florida judge, but if he was an average guy not profiting off drunken girls, or maybe if he just paid his taxes and debts – his case would seem more credible.

I love how Francis uses an American flag as his backdrop. He should have used the same tactic as the President and Presidential candidates and put well designed phrases in the shot like “Protection from unfair prosecution,” and “Freedom of speech for all.”

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28 Responses to “Joe Francis wants judge who jailed him to be impeached, wants money back”

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  1. daisy424 says:

    Sorry, but I think he is pathetic. No sympathy from me. Making your fortune off of drunk college girls? Just screams ‘real man’ to me. ๐Ÿ™„

    Too bad Sheriff Joe Arpaio can’t get a hold of this smarmy prick. Then he would know what ‘real’ jail time is like. Bend over Joe, it’s shower time.

  2. tp Vero says:

    Thanks for taking the time to give us the full story on this. Nice intelligent reporting. Some of your fellow bloggers on other blogs are too short on details expecting us all to know every morsel of news concerning the denizens of pop culture. They are probably not over being childishly immature and spoiled.

    So it is hard to feel sorry for this guy concerning the nature of his business, but it would not take long before a really innocent person to get railroaded by the courts and this is what we should all be up in arms about. Due to the fears real and manufactured by a paranoid and ineffectual administration our rights are being silently disposed of. This is not America and this is not American. Above worrying about who is schtooping who, we should pay attention to what is going on when our basic rights are under fire, because freedom of speech is what all these blogs are about!

  3. Blind Aviator says:

    Welcome to Amerika Kommissar. If you would care to read the Penal Code and / or Code of Criminal Procedure for ANY state (including Federal) you will see that ANY judge can find a person in Contempt of court for any reason and hold them in jail indefinitely and without bond. If found in contempt you have: no bond, no trial, no appeals, no attorney and no way to get out until the judge says so (better known as legal extortion.)

    Sorry to say this Joe but this has been happening to the sheeple in Amerika for MANY years you have just been lucky enough to have finally discovered it.

    No matter how much money you have you will NEVER get that judge impeached (if they impeached him then that would be admitting that jailing someone without a trial or bond was illegal.)

  4. All Adither says:

    My God he has a big head. Literally, not figuratively.

  5. Kaiser says:

    Meh. Perhaps Francis has a legal leg to stand on. But he’s still one of the most disgusting douchebags ever, and any reason anyone can find to throw him in jail, just NAIL HIS ASS.

  6. Nikki says:

    Yea, it’s really odd that Francis didn’t include the judgeโ€™s relationship with the attorneys in his youtube. The judge should have recused himself from the case; it’s is the strongest infraction Francis has against him.

    I don’t like this guy by any means – if you have doubt, read that story by a female reporter who was on the road covering his business – he basically tried to rape her as well. He may be an ass and his tax evasion charges scream greedy-ass, but he’s not stupid and does have a sense of humor (based on some of his jail-time writings). HOWEVER, I have to lay some of the blame at the feet of the stupid, drunken girls who allow themselves to get into all sorts of messes and then cry “foul” when they’ve sobered up. My favorite parody is the Family Guy “Girls with Low Self-Esteem” videos. It about sums them up. Should our judiciary system allow these kinds of cases to take up the court’s time; and for such large sums of money??

    Alcohol + stupid, topless girls + perv with video camera + worldwide distribution – hangover, reality setting in and realization that Dad and friends will probably see drunk, naked self in fake lesbianic trysts x overzealous, greedy lawyers / overtaxed court system = $70 million dollars (over Pi)

  7. Mairead says:

    Don’t you just want to slap his abnormally wide, jowly jaw?

    I normally try not to pick on a physical attribute – but I’ve no sympathy for this scumbag

  8. tv9time says:

    Is this an attempt of Joe to make himself out to be like Larry Flint? I think not……He got what he deserved….Larry Flint on the other hand was not a pedofile, and child pornographer…..He can’t equate what he’s gone through as the same thing…Larry had a legitimate claim…..Joe Francis does not….If he had done his homework instead of getting drunk with those minors, he wouldn’t be in the position he is in now….I have no problem with what Joe does, infact he has a site called “guys gone wild” also, but he did nothing to actually verify those girls ages, he was looking out for himself….This is why he has all the problems that he has…..He could have not gone to Florida in the first place…..He was warned about his past conduct….. With all the money he has, he should have hired someone to research the people he signed up…..Just like ALL nude models that are in the porn and nude modeling industry…..Joe thought he was above the law, and thought with all his money, he could get away with what he wants…..I hope he loses his case, and is forced to pay for the courts time, along with all the other expenses involved with this frivilous case…..Joe, you are nothing but a child pornographer and got caught at it, and you couldn’t hide behind all your attorneys and money……..

  9. spoonman says:

    Hey america is where you come up with an idea and make millions. So what does it matter that Joe Francis makes money off of drunk woman who BTW sign releases to be in his Girls Gone Wild series. And if someone is dumb enough to pull out their breast in public-well that is their fault in allowing their exploitation by a film maker.

    Girls Gone Wild is a great way to exploit dumb behavior for a buck. Should we really care when daddy gets involved because his little princess who he thinks has never had sex-gets sloshed and bares it all for the public to see??? Common, get serious.

    He has a point in saying his constitutional rights were violated in getting jailed. And good luck to him in his Catch 22 attempt to get a judge barred for wrong doing-Sorry Joe it will never happen. This judge was trying to make a name for himself and should be punished-but this is america, and judges very rarely ever get a slap on the wrist.

    Civil court is a joke in America-look what OJ has done in paying off the Goldmans-He has paid them nothing.

    However, will we ever know if he raped and destroyed this girl life like what was alleged??? This Judge has made it impossible for us to ever know the truth, and for that alone he should be disbarred…

  10. Snowblood says:

    @ Blind Aviator – “[If you] read the Penal Code and / or Code of Criminal Procedure for ANY state (including Federal) you will see that ANY judge can find a person in Contempt of court for any reason and hold them in jail indefinitely and without bond.

    If found in contempt you have: no bond, no trial, no appeals, no attorney and no way to get out until the judge says so (better known as legal extortion.)”

    If this is true, the law needs to be changed. This is outrageous.

  11. Scott F. says:

    Yeah, the guy is a real douche – but he did get railroaded. The judge had an obvious conflict of interest, and if this country actually made judges accountable, he would rightly get in trouble.

    I do have to disagree with a few points people have made here though. Primarily, that this guy is somehow exploiting these girls en mass. Now, maybe it’s because I’m younger than some on here, but have you all actually been to a spring break in the last decade or so? It’s not like you’d have to twist these girls’ arms to get them to take their clothes off – more than half the time I’d wager they just tape a party and get releases afterwards to use the tape.

    That’s what made this guy such a brilliant entrepreneur. Most of this stuff was happening already, for free – he just pointed a camera at it. Believe me, my spring breaks were a few years before Girls Gone Wild, and it was still a virtually identical experience. Apparently getting drunk out of your mind and dancing half naked on a bar is some sort of right of passage for American girls.

    His only real mistake was filming in the US instead of going to party towns in Mexico where he could just pay off the Federalies. I mean, the cops here are for sale too, but they’re more up front about it in Mexico.

    The only thing this guy should be punished for is ruining late night TV by running his ads 40 times a night on every freaking channel.

  12. Bodhi says:

    Apparently getting drunk out of your mind and dancing half naked on a bar is some sort of right of passage for American girls.

    Not to pick at nits, but how ’bout some girls? I’m sure you weren’t accusing all of us as being brazen hussies ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I totally agree with everything else, though. I’d wager that 99% of the girls on those tapes think that they are the bees knees for beeing drunk sluts.

  13. piedlourde says:

    Hey, Joe! Familiar with the term “backfiring”?

  14. Fabiola says:

    Oh, please. Just send him to Guantanamo and throw away the key.

  15. daisy424 says:

    Fabiola, Love the post. 8)

    Cankles? Holy shit, I haven’t heard that in ages…yeah, I know what you

  16. Fabiola says:

    Aw thanks daisy424. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    This freak seriously swells my cankles, ya know what I mean?

  17. blanche says:

    daisy…I am “old skool.”
    hey, you wanna be friends?

  18. blanche says:

    oop sorry!
    Blanche=Fabiola. I used to post here as Fabiola a long time ago. I’ve come back as Blanche but I wanted to say hi to my old cyber buddy Bodhi who knew me as Fabiola and then I got confused…
    I am Blanche. The name suits me better.
    I think I am going to enjoy reading your posts.
    That is all.

  19. daisy424 says:

    Welcome back baby ๐Ÿ˜›

  20. Blanche says:

    Be patient with me girls! I’ve been commenting on dlisted for a long time so I may have formed some bad bad habits!!! ๐Ÿ˜†

  21. Nan says:

    Blanche, welcome. Why Blanche? As in Deveraux, I hope. As long as you didn’t pick up the habit of picking on other posters from over there, you’ll be okay. This site is all about making friends & making each other laugh.

  22. Snowblood says:

    Hi, Blanche, welcome back! I read DListed religiously, too, but I’ve never commented there, nor read the comment-posts. Michael K is endlessly funny & entertaining, and I love all those neat little story-lettes he throws in here and there, the strange things people do, the 4-eared cats and spaghetti eating cats and fat cats and two-faced kittens – wait. Come to think of it, he’s really into cats, isn’t he?? ๐Ÿ˜† I just realised how many of his oddity stories are pussy-related!

    I’m one of the newer chicks around here; I’ve been reading the site for ages but only just started commenting over the last month or so. Now I’m hopelessly addicted, and especially since there’s a great number of cool women (and even a few guys!) who chill here regularly.

    Oh, and you’ve got “bad bad habits,” too? We’re gonna get along like sisters from another mister, then, I can already tell! ๐Ÿ˜†

  23. hello says:

    @ snowblood

    The reason that that is part of the federal penal code is because even though the US is a nation, each state has its own laws and does not have to listen to the demands of the courts of another state. This goes into extradition, and it can get very ugly sometimes. Basically, the idea is that people who are residents of state A can’t just go to state B, kill/rape/murder/steal/give testimony/etc. and get away with it because they can’t be served with their charges because they never went back to state B. It’s basic civil procedure, and the Supreme Court spends a lot of time dealing with it. It gets messy.

    He does have a point that it was unfair to keep him in jail for that long, but the relationship of the judge to the lawyers isn’t anything to make a big deal about. The legal community is VERY small. Everyone has worked with or went to school with someone, and if they are successful and have similar goals, that community is even smaller. HOWEVER, he was being a jerk. He had been advised to not go to FL because he would be arrested. He thought he was rich enough to skirt the law. Judges REALLY don’t like people who do that. They will yell at attorneys who are rude to their clerk. Nevermind what they think about people who blatantly have no regard for the law and its process. I’d have done the same thing.

    How is this related to freedom of speech by the way? He makes drunk girl tapes. Okay. People may not like it, but it’s not illegal, and no one ever said it was. It’s the use of underage girls! And if he really did care about what the law prescribes and didn’t think he was above it, he’d put more effort into making sure the girls were 18. Easy solution.

  24. Snowblood says:

    Thanks for that post, Hello, I appreciate your explanation of extradition. I still don’t understand, though, how one judge can exersize absolute power over an individual’s right to due process of law just by holding them in contempt of court – to quote Blind Aviator again “ANY judge can find a person in Contempt of court for any reason and hold them in jail indefinitely and without bond. […] no bond, no trial, no appeals, no attorney and no way to get out until the judge says so.”

    I can’t understand how one judge gets to wield THAT much power over a detainee, or defendant. I’d never heard of Contempt of Court being such an extreme thing, I thought it was just, like, you know – don’t piss off the judge, or he’ll make you pay his court a big fat fine and suspend you from being able to say anything anymore for the remainder of that particular day. Not hold them in jail indefinitely and without bond, appeals, attorneys or anything.

    That’s- what about Habeus Corpus, could someone in Francis’ position have had the option to file a Writ of Habeus Corpus if a judge was holding him indefinitely and suspending all his rights to a speedy trial and a lawyer and everything?

  25. hello says:


    It’s because they are willfully making it so that the justice system cannot perform its duty. The reason one judge has this power is because its a) civil suit (no juries) and b) people have to have some “fear” of the law for it to work. Knowing this law you’re not going to blow off a court appearance, are you? No. The law did its job. Justice runs its course. The End.

    He has no Habeus Corpus claim because he was in jail for contempt. No trials for contempt. You’re bad. Go to jail now, do not pass go, do not collect $200. He DID break the law and in that law it states that the penalty for contempt is as the judge sees fit. 18 months (or the time it took to either settle or have the trial go through) seemed fit to her. She was smart enough to know he’d run off again, like he did after he was served with the original complaint in FL.

    The reason he was imprisioned was because he is so arrogant. He left once because he has no respect for the law. Why would he suddenly choose to obey? He thinks his money makes him above that law. They were trying to teach him (and Paris, and LL, and you and me) a lesson. You and I got it. He didn’t.

  26. Scott F. says:

    Gotta agree with Hello, at least on the reason WHY the law exists.

    People gripe about it when it happens to them, but it exists for a very good reason. How many people have managed to run out on serious charges because they were able to make bail?

    Roman Polanski much? That child molester is still living openly in France, out of the reach of justice because he’s rich and from Hollywood, and thus above the law. It’s stuff like that which was the impetus behind such liberal contempt laws. Especially in civil cases, where they’re even more likely to take their money and try to run.

  27. Trashaddict says:

    Tiny violin playing for Joe. I think my heart just shed a teeny tiny drop of blood.

  28. Jeanne Clark says:

    Aw…Look at the celebrity pedophile posing in front of the flag. Maybe he could get Woody Allen, and Roman Polanski to join his cause. And don’t forget Jerry Lee Lewis!