Scientology Critical Information Directory

This site is best viewed using a highly standards-compliant browser

Judge: Request to transfer Scientology trial is premature

Title: Judge: Request to transfer Scientology trial is premature
Date: Friday, 28 May 1976
Publisher: St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
Author: Vernon Kirby
Main source:

Disclaimer: This archive is presented strictly in the public interest for research purposes. All the copyrights of materials reproduced here are the properties of their respective owners.

CLEARWATER — A Circuit Court judge witheld a ruling Thursday on the Church of Scientology's bid to move Clearwater Mayor Gabriel Cazares' 8-million libel suit against the church out of the county.

Circuit Judge John S. Andrews indicated that he probably will deny the transfer request unless attempts to seat an impartial jury are unsuccessful.

"I believe at this time that it is premature," Andrews said at the outset of the brief hearing on the motion for a change of venue filed by the controversial church.

Scientologist attorney Clyde H. Wilson Jr. said that he would immediately file a demand for a jury trial if that would he required before a decision on the motion could be made, but Andrews said that granting the transfer now would mean that hearings on all subsequent motions would have to be held in the designated county.

"I'm denying your motion at this time without prejudice," Andrews said midway through the hearing. "It's more convenient for all parties if we have the motions heard here."

Andrews later agreed to withhold a ruling on the transfer request after Cazares' lawyers said that they would not object to the delay.

Andrews said that he is disposed "not to grant it until we first see if we can get a jury here."

If Cazares's suit is not moved out of the county the decision will create something of a judicial incongruity.

Another circuit judge, Charles Phillips, agreed May 12 to transfer a companion suit brought against the church by Cazares' wife Maggie to Sarasota County.

Phillips' decision was based on arguments that massive publicity would make a fair trial in Pinellas or Pasco counties unlikely.

Both suits resulted from the Scientologists' release of a "fact sheet" on the background and business dealings of the Cazareses that the mayor and his wife contend has caused them injury.