Robin Fisher said she was perplexed about why nothing in her 2008 divorce seemed to go her way. Fisher claimed the judge didn't allow evidence that would have hurt her husband, didn't require her husband pay the jury award and punished her for speaking about her divorce two years after it ended.
"I couldn't get justice," said Fisher, who said the judge later sealed the order prohibiting her from talking about her punishment and certain aspects of her divorce.
"She took away my First Amendment right. My freedom of speech," said Fisher.
Convinced she was getting railroaded, Fisher gave up fighting in court until she saw a CBS Atlanta investigation into allegations of bias by the same judge who presided over her divorce - Fulton County Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane.
"It was a light bulb went off," said Fisher who learned for the first time in that report that her ex-husband's attorney, John Mayoue, helped Lane get elected. Mayoue's firm in 2008 donated to Lane's election effort and held Lane's only fundraiser that year, raking in 83 percent of the funds in the judge's campaign coffers.
"It didn't have anything to do with her hating my attorney. It had nothing to do with her hating me. It had to do with her connection to John Mayoue," said Fisher.
CBS Atlanta News began investigating Lane's alleged bias after she ruled to give Grammy-winning artist Usher Raymond custody of his sons. Lisa West, the attorney for Usher's ex-wife, said she learned of Mayoue's involvement in the Lane's campaign after the decision and asked Lane to recuse herself and order a new trial. Lane denied the motions.
Clark Cunningham, professor of law and ethics for Georgia State University College of Law, said Lane should have disclosed Mayoue's involvement in her campaign even if she didn't think it influenced her decision.
"I see now reason why she shouldn't have been forthcoming with that information."
That would have been an approach that would very much have reassured people about the integrity of our courts.
When CBS Atlanta News reporter Jeff Chirico asked Lane if she makes decisions in Mayoue's favor, she responded, "Only when he's right."
Gracie Ortiz Terrett said she believes Lane was improperly influenced in her divorce case. Terrett's husband used to work for Fulton County Superior Court. Terrett said Lane drastically slashed the amount of time she spends with her children to two weekends and two Wednesdays a month despite no allegations of abuse or neglect by Terrett.
Terrett said she can't understand how reducing her custody time with her children is in their best interest.
"Children are affected by the decisions [Lane] makes. And if she's going to make decisions based on relationships, financials, based on campaigns, then she doesn't belong there," said Terrett.
Terrett and Fisher hired West to help overturn Lane's orders. West, the attorney representing Usher's ex-wife Tameka Raymond, has repeatedly pushed for Lane to reveal her connection to Mayoue. As a result, Lane has recused herself from all 10 cases she has involving West.
"What has happened and what is happening has so clearly been going on for such a long time that why has it taken this long for someone to step up and say this isn't right. This is against the law," said West.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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