Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Fresno family law lawyer murdered with client

Fresno lawyer and her client were gunned down Wednesday at a Bass Lake restaurant, reportedly during a court recess in the client's divorce hearing.
The Madera County Sheriff's Office, which was investigating the fatal shootings, did not identify the slain women by late Wednesday.
But the local legal community learned Wednesday afternoon that one of the shooting victims was Judith Soley, 65, of Fresno, the first woman to serve as president of the Fresno County Bar Association, said Melissa White, the bar association's past president.
Soley, who was known as a tough divorce lawyer, also was a Downtown Fresno Rotary Club chairwoman and president of Fresno County's women's lawyers association.Read more:

Having seen first-hand the vicious, destructive power of family law it seems inevitable that someone, sooner or later, ends up being the victim of some horrifying act of violence.

Let's be clear about one thing: no one really knows, except for a few people in Fresno, what really happened between these parties. The only thing we know is that a evil act was committed.

Whatever the rationale may be for someone who committed such a crime is, it is not rational.

What I know of family law makes it suprising that more such crimes are not committed. Given the easy access to guns the criminal and mentally ill have, I'm impressed how rarely this happens.

I won't lie to anyone about where my sympathies lie in such a case. I think that the murdered ex-spouse was a victim of domestic violence, and that the murderer was in all likelihood a controlling, manipulative, and mentally damaged person who was both untreated and personally not capable of considering himself responsible for what had happened to him. He was probably a good guy in public, and in private a total asshole. But I don't really know.

I know that the attorney for the wife was a hardened veteran of the family courts. I know that someone wrote the following post:

You are absolutely do not know me or the specifics of my case or probably any of her cases. I am positive she was a great friend, mother, and daughter......but as far as a great attorney ......not as far as loads of folks feel. .she cause much pain in and out of the court room and her office......and this time it got her and her client killed.....she went too far antagonizing this man knowing what he was capable of doing.....sometimes getting the most money for your client (and yourself) is NOT in the best interest of your client......she should have know better....she aways HAD to win and this time the other spouse didn't have an attorney.....which is usually a good sign EXTRA care should be taken as far as intentionally antagonizing the spouse......if he didn't want to pay for his own attorney and money was his main issue......then she knew how he would feel when she was about to get $155,000 in fees out of HIS half (Fees..which by the way should have included "security" for this client....this was huge mistake....again...a good attorney (with forty years of family law experience) would have provided this and should have......especially knowing he had just read her 21 page trial brief dated 2/10/11......There are Two sides to every story....and the one about Mrs. Williamson.....will never known. By the way....I always recommended Judy to my long as they were sure they NEVER want to be friends or be trusted again by their ex spouse.....and damage to their family didn't matter....because when she was finished painting a picture of their marriage and their spouse.....they will think the marriage was a complete mistake and their spouse never loved them.....she was a master and if you wanted to get or keep every dime you can...No matter what! She was the attorney to hire!P.s. If you didn't think she could be Conniving, Antagonist, and vengeful then you didn't know her as an attorney, as well as you think! Great "gutsy" attorney? Hummm? She should have provided security in her outrageous $155,000 fee...that was unforgivable not gutsy! Again, She was well aware her client was afraid of her much so that she stayed with friends the night before the trial. Read more: "

This is a post obviously written by someone from that community. Someone who knew this attorney. They also wrote this post as well:

"Thank God someone finally has told the truth about Judy. She was a conniving,antagonistic, vengeful person that If The truth was told.....was more disliked ...than liked! She cause more problems for already unhappy couples and purposely ruined any chance of a couple getting back together..... Because if they did... She would not get the Big bucks. There is a reason she was considered the "Lawyer's ... Lawyer" when getting a divorce. It was...because she knew all if the tricks and Judges ..... And also Was a MASTER as to what buttons to push... In order to get the spouse so upset they would become outraged, hurt, and scare they were about to lose everything .....knowing they and/or ANY Fresno attorney they could hire could never compete against this vicious, lying, vengefull woman. Years ago when Bill Richert (who was About as nasty and mean as Judy and the Only Local attorney who was her match) died on a Friday night, who was my attorney, she did not wait 5 days to turn what had begun as fairly Peaceful divorce into a nightmare that lasted 3 years and ended up costing "us" more than $150,000......she had my spouse File divorce papers 3 days(and deliver them to my office) after Bill's death, knowing I needed to find a new attorney...... And this was 3 weeks before Christmas!!!! (we had been separated for 18 months and had not decided when or IF we were going to divorce, but after Bill died.... She knew it was time for her to take charge... And so she did!)However, more importantly she turned a decent couple into untrusting, Angry spouses, who lost a 20 year friendship ... that has never completely recover, she was the only one who walked away happy...... If she could ever be happy.... I feel she was a very unhappy person who found joy in seeing and making other folks as unhappy as she was.......Honestly, I am surprised someone didn't try to hurt her before this.......she has spent a lifetime of hurting innocent people by her lies and "egging on" the other spouse, therefore ruining some fixable marriages for her OWN personal gain....and usually the couples with money. of course lately, she would not take a divorce case unless the folks had a lot of is pretty hard to get $150K if the couple doesn't have it!!! In the end, my ex wasn't happy with her either. she ended up with more than we did....... Except emotionally......our entire family suffered and she made it far worse. She didn't try to help us.....she just wanted to rack up the hours by keeping us at odds with each other. If she would have had her way....we would have gone to trial.....but that plan ended ......when she wanted us to put a lien against our home to insure her fee. Our accountant (and NOT the one she hired) helped us reach a settlement. Her $147,500 fee and the other attorney & accounting fee of $67K (not counting Bill's $10k fee) came right off the top..... And we got what was left....believe me ......she made loads of folks miserable!You can not go through life creating so much unhappiness for other families...for your personal gain....and then do loads of good deeds for others folks to make up for it....and expect everyone overlook it and forgive and forget the damage she did to an entire family...I haven't and it as been over 18 years.Read more:"

This is the kind of thing that I suspected might have been a part of the story. A few of the divorce attorneys where I practice are "scorched earth" lawyers. They call it being "aggressive". I call it being unethical. Lying, cheating, stealing, helping people hide money, fabricating allegations of child abuse and spousal abuse: none of these things are off the table with these kinds of attorneys. I didn't know this attorney, and we can't judge from one disgrunted poster from the sacbee website, but I can tell you that there is a deeper story here: one likely about a woman who tolerated abuse for decades and an attorney who ran roughshod over the lives of others without regard to the damage it might cause, and in the end, paid the ultimate price.

But I digress...